Monday, 11 June 2012

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

totalfoodgeeksglasgow

Glasgow has a thriving food scene. Fantastic farmers markets are found all over and around the city as well as butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers serving the local community. There are some fantastic restaurants with top chefs and artisan shops abound. There's bars all over selling microbrewery beer, cocktails from Scottish spirits and serving good food in a buzzing atmosphere. Glasgow is a great place to have a love of food.

So why not come together and celebrate it? On Tuesday 12th June the totalfoodgeeksglasgow will get together for the first time. At The Arches, 7.30pm Robbie Mcguinness will welcome us for our first get together with a market menu specially prepared. Great value at £8 for 2 courses or £10 for 3. He's not giving much away but if Blueberry frangipan tart, blueberry ice cream and blueberry balsamic tickles your tastebuds then you'll be happy.

If you would like to join us can you please email or contact me via the Twitter handle, both on the right hand side and I'll add you to the list. If you can contact me by Friday 8th June. Should be a good night, look forward to seeing you there.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Fish is the dish


How many of you go to a museum and see a Dodo and think, how did we manage to kill all of these? Every time I go to Kelvingrove Museum I see the Great Auk, an example from closer to home of hunting to extinction. How would you feel if your grandchildren were seeing Cod and Wild Salmon in museums and asking the same question of you? Overly dramatic? Maybe, time will tell. So if you can't relate to that I'll ask another. How important to you is the food that you give your children? Should it be healthy, nutritious, tasty and sustainable or just convenient? How about if it was both?

Plating up mussels
Enough questions for the moment. In The Cookery School in Glasgow eighteen of us assembled at the invite of Fish is the Dish for a morning taking the fear and complexity out of cooking fish. I suspect there was a broad range of ability and experience with seafood in the room. Ahead of us was three hours of entertaining expert guidance on shellfish, smoked fish and white fish from Danny, the cookschool chef and budding comedian.

Moules mariniere
Mussels seem to strike fear into the heart of many people. There seems to be a belief that every mussel has a potentially lethal dose of food poisoning lurking inside and that the least you can expect is an hourly trip with the refrigerated toilet roll. What there actually is inside is a wonderful flavour of the sea which is sustainable, cheap and nutritious. Cheap? Well at around £3 per kilo I'd say so. But what to do with them? These rope grown mussels were clean, tidy, sand free so we were shown how to de-beard, check that they're still alive (if you don't know how it died then the bathroom sink is inevitable) by tapping on the bench. So with dead and broken discarded Danny set to demonstrating Moules mariniere and I learnt a lot here. How to make a beurre manie for thickening with flour and butter. To put the garlic, onions and wine into the hot pot at the same time as the mussels. Really? Not to say I've been doing it wrong all these years but these ones tasted better when plated up five minutes later. So who's going to take 5 minutes to make the family a healthy meal?


Next up was our turn to cook. Kedgeree for breakfast! I've made this many times, flooded with curry powder and quite overpoweringly bitter at times. The way we cooked it here was fragrant simplicity and if you don't believe it for breakfast then try this. I've copied the recipe directly for you, I hope Fish is the Dish don't mind me sharing it here, just make sure the haddock you use is sustainably sourced, ask your fishmonger.
My kedgeree

Kedgeree for 4 people
450g undyed smoked haddock (ours was peat smoked)
25g butter
1 onion finely chopped
2 cardamon pods split
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 inch cinnamon stock
350g basmati rice
600ml water
2 hard boiled eggs

Poach the fish in boiling water for 5 minutes until it starts to 'milk' (white spots of salt) and rises from the bottom of the pan. Remove the fish from the water and save the water in a jug, this is your stock. In the same pot melt the butter and fry the onion for around 3 minutes until softened then add the spices, cooking for 3 more minutes to release their oils. Add the rice and stock, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, if you need to add more water then do so. When cooked flake in the haddock, stir and serve with the boiled egg on top to garnish.

Very simple but wonderfully tasty. No need for the overpowering curry flavours like fenugreek here.

So after our breakfast we went onto Coley Goujons. This for me was the highlight of the day. I am as guilty as anyone of stuffing fish fingers and smiley faces into the oven for the children. I work full time, have two small children and frequently it's tag team parenting with Mrs. T as we both juggle work and family life. Fish fingers are just easy aren't they? Well in ten minutes yesterday I made a batch of them for the freezer after this demonstration with no Uncle Albert lookalike in sight.

Three bowls. Simple
My coley goujons
Coley is a hugely tasty and readily available white fish. Just as good as cod or haddock in my mind and far more sustainable. Aside from this I know exactly what kind of fish has gone into my goujons as I picked it myself so I know it was fresh. But how do you make them without a mushy mess of soggy bread and half naked fish that the kids look at with a 'these aren't fish fingers' incredulity as you wash welded goo from your hands? Danny taught us the secret of double pannying (no idea how to spell it but it sounded something like that) with the 'wet hand dry hand' technique. It's quite simple really when you know how. One bowl of flour, one of whisked egg and one of breadcrumbs (or oatmeal, cream crackers or similar). Cut the fish into thing equal sized slices, dip in the flour and shake off excess with the dry hand. Place in egg wash and coat with wet hand, dip into breadcrumbs and cover with dry hand. Now the clever bits. Place in the egg again and recoat and then back in the breadcrumbs. Place on the board and roll it under your fingers. This will give you a goujon shape and keep the breadcrumb coating intact. Genius is so frequently simple. Then simply give a quick drizzle of oil and place in an oven at 200C for 5-7 minutes until cooked. Making several batches cuts down on mess and waste and allows you to freeze them ready for the evening freezer foray for convenience food. Although  can't help with the smiley faces...

So that was three hours, three dishes and all delicious. It was wonderful to see so many children there too learning how to cook these dishes and the value of fresh fish. Whenever they come to your area I'd really recommend. Just follow @fishisthedish on Twitter or look up www.fishisthedish.co.uk


Friday, 1 June 2012

Braised rose veal with anchovies, red wine and rosemary

So finally the establishment has awoken to rose veal it seems. This can only be a positive, less calves being slaughtered at birth, maybe more locally sourced, ethically farmed meat making it's way onto more family tables. I get mine from Overton farm in Lanarkshire through the various farmers markets that are local to me. Their Clyde Valley rose veal is a wonderful deep pink colour, with very little fat and a beautiful sweet flavour. I've tried quite a few cuts and added to this with a piece of braising steak.

Another favourite flavour of mine is anchovy, the fantastic salty flavour of the sea that they impart to a dish is delightful. But would they be too much for the delicate flavour of the veal and beat it into salty submission? Well I don't believe they were, in fact they accentuated the sweetness and delicate meatiness. As you can see I served this with linguine alongside a little truffle oil. However I think next time I'd try it with polenta which I think would soak up the flavours really well.

Serves 2

500g braising rose veal cut into four pieces
6 tinned anchovies with a little of their olive oil
150ml red wine
Large sprig rosemary
1tbsp creme fraiche
Olive oil
Salt

Preheat the oven to 200C. In a casserole dish heat a good glug of oil and then brown the meat on one side, add in the anchovies and brown the meat on the other, breaking up the anchovies. When the veal is well browned add the wine and rosemary then cover and place in the oven. Cook for 50 minutes to an hour until tender. Remove from the oven and remove the veal. Add the creme fraiche stir well and reduce over a medium heat. Serve over the veal alongside whatever you like. It worked well with the linguine and a drizzle of oil.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Smoked Gigha Halibut

As I sit in a well known fast food restaurant in Glasgow Airport mobile blogging, I'm contemplating the difference in the food choices we have each day. Recently I was sent one of the freshest flavoured foods I've ever tried. Smoked Gigha Halibut.

Gigha Halibut farm their 'happy halibut' on this beautiful little island on the west coast of Scotland. The reason being that wild halibut is listed on the endangered species list. Their focus on quality and sustainability means you will see Gigha Halibut on many a top restaurant menu. On top of the fresh business they will smoke to order for you as well. What an amazing service to offer. So shortly after another one of my Twitter chats I was offered a sample to try. I was genuinely excited.

But what to do with smoked halibut, what's its like, is it similar to smoked haddock, do you eat it uncooked, should you flash it? Well Mrs T likes her smoked fish with a little warmth so I flashed half of it in the pan. This brought out the smoky flavour which comes from Kilchoman whisky wood chips. I decided to have it as it came on toast with tomato, so toasted the bread in the same pan as I'd cooked the first batch in.

The result was magnificent. The oil from the cooked fish had soaked into the bread and imbued it with a depth of smoke flavour. Meanwhile the fresh smoked fish sat atop and delivered quite the most wonderful sweet, smoked, taste of the sea. A depth of flavour which had layers of subtlety. If you are looking for a special ingredient to wow guests then this ticks the boxes and you can do so knowing there's no adverse effect on the ocean.

Monday, 28 May 2012

A flight of Nakedness

Wine is a particular favourite subject of mine. Ever since I wandered into Oddbins Paisley as an unemployed graduate to start work in June 1997 I've been fascinated by it. The history, the terroir, the identification with community, the artistry in making good wine from certain grapes. However as time moved on and the same tired wines were always on the same tired shelves in supermarkets I began to get a little disillusioned. Independent wine shops were few and far between on my travels, wine clubs were never going to work as I'd never be organised enough to cancel something I didn't want. Especially when invariably I didn't know it was coming!

Then I stumbled upon Naked Wines through a friend's recommendation. I was just drawn to the idea of helping the small guy fulfil his or her dream all while having a wine 'savings account'. The ethos is pretty much find somebody talented who wants to make great wine, give them some money up front to enable them to do so and then sell the wine on to your customers. If they become part of the 'club' they get it cheaper. Two years on from my first case and I've gone from becoming an Angel to being an Archangel, part of the fortunate group of people who get to taste pre-release wine to rate, go to events to discover new winemakers and so on. I should hasten to add I'm not employed by them, I just passionately believe in what they do. So I decided to give you a heads up on some wines that I've loved from winemakers I greatly admire. You should go down and 'meet' some of them yourself here and understand what Bill Small, Carmen Stevens and Carlos Rodriguez are doing that is so wonderful.

So a flight of Nakedness from fizz to sweet. Not all are still available but keep an eye for the next vintage which will hopefully be just as good or even better.

Saccheto Moscato IGT Veneto
Light fresh, honeyed, grapey with good acidity and a sweet floral finish. Bags and bags of summer fun. This would be a wonderful light aperitif to serve with canapes at the start of a meal when friends arrive or even just after lunch when the barbecue crowd arrive on a sunny day.

Vinas Tinajas Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Beautiful floral grassy passion fruit nose which was then followed up on the palate alongside a fab mouth watering acidity then a long floral finish. Wonderful summer wine, get the moules mariniere on for this beauty or even six freshly shucked oysters.

Mauricio Lorca Angels Reserve Torrontes 2011
Beautiful pale wine with a green tinge. Quite a closed nose with just a little honey and peach escaping. Lovely warming palate with good balanced acidity, some spice and delicate peachy tropical fruit flavours. Good partner to spicy food so ideal with a curry or alongside the chicken satay skewers you've just thrown on the coals.

Benjamin Darnault Pique Nique Rose 2011
Benjamin Darnault was Naked Wines Winemaker of the Year 2011. When you taste his full range of wines it's easy to see why, he has a deftness of touch for the full range from dry white through the red spectrum to dessert whites. This rose has lovely soft strawberries and cream fruit with great acidity and a very clean mouthfeel. This would be great on its own or with a wonderful oily seafood pasta or paella. Great rose.

Liz Richardson Shiraz Lagrein 2010
Spicy blackfruit nose full of promise and typical of new world Shiraz. Then the palate has an abundance of juicy fruit: brambles and cassis and a little mint but not a lot of Shiraz spice. Instead a softness of tannin that is quite delightful. Lots of mouthwatering fruity acidity on the finish with a lovely alcohol kick. This wine doesn't have the body you might expect at 14.5% but it has a fascinating complexity. I really like it!! With all that fruit it's very much a 'drinking' wine but I would match it with flavours not too complex or delicate so homemade beef or venison burgers for the summer or a big pot of chilli.

Carmen Stevens Angels Reserve Shiraz 2010
This wine to me is just stunning and probably my most favourite red to date from a remarkable lady. A deep intense dark red colour with a huge spicy black fruit and slightly vegetal nose. This is a big Shiraz. The palate has big but soft tannins with mouthful of brambles, leather and spice and a mouthwatering acidity. The finish is long and intense and the fruit just keeps going until it disappears with a slightly minty cassis note. I love it. Oh and if that's not enough it has a pretty picture of a tiger from Carmen's daughter. Have it with a big barbecued steak of your meat of choice and enjoy.

Lagrima Dramatis Personae 2010
This wine has a percentage of one of my favourite grapes, Malbec, and it adds a full bodied spiciness to this Argentinian beauty. Big rich black fruit and leather nose. Complex black fruit, pepper and cedar palate with a hint of vanilla and spiciness. Very warming finish with delicate tannins, huge fruit and a complex minty spiciness. Can't wait for the Reserva which is due out this year. I am going to throw a haunch of venison on the barbecue to give it some serious fire flavour but still wonderfully rare in the middle and serve it with this. I reckon that will be perfection for a late summers evening.

D'Aquino Botrytis Semillon NV
Beautiful Australian dessert wine using the same grape as the world famous Sauternes. Lots of honeyed apricot flavours but with a good well balanced acidity. This is the ideal meal finisher with a rich dessert or even a large slice of game pate.

So a full selection of the spectrum of wines. I've enjoyed each of them, I hope maybe you will too this summer.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Salmon and rocket linguine

What is your top urge food, what does your body say 'I must have' and then that's it, nothing else will do? I frequently 'need' a curry, often fancy some haggis. But my top urge food that I just have to have is pasta, and nine times out of ten that's linguine. I'll think about a huge plate with rich sauce all day and anything else will seem pointless.

Today was a linguine day. It was also a salmon day. I love to cook on a Friday night. It signifies the end of the week, the freedom to cook something really nice, take my time over it and have a glass of vino in the process. So what to do with salmon and linguine? A quick scout of the fridge and cupboards yielded wild rocket, creme fraiche (does it ever go off or just get more citrusy?) and capers. Perfect. Add in a little of the currently ubiquitous fennel pollen (totally optional so don't run away) and I could see my dinner developing and had a fair idea it was going to be great. In fact I loved it so much I'm blogging this as it digests.

This will serve two people

1 salmon fillet around 300g preferably the tail
1tbsp capers chopped
2 handfuls wild rocket roughly chopped
2 tbsp creme fraiche
Couple pinches fennel pollen (optional)
Pinch sea salt to season salmon
200g linguine (slightly greedy but I like a big plate of pasta)
Parmesan or pecorino or Bonnet for grating

Heat the oven to 200C, season the salmon with salt and optional pollen, cover in foil and whack in for about 15 minutes until cooked, when ready remove the skin and chop into big chunks, about 6 or 8.

Now I'm not going to teach you how to boil pasta. Just cook it your way, it doesn't even have to be linguine. Actually strike that, it does. Boil the pasta for the alloted al dente time. When it is ready drain well then stir through the salmon, capers and rocket, chopping the salmon as you go but making sure it's still 'interestingly chunky'. Add the creme fraiche and stir through again.

Serve with a good grating of the cheese and black pepper if that's what you like on your pasta. Simple bistro style food in less than 20 minutes.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Cooking with new ingredients - Wild pollens

Some ingredients sound a little odd, some sound very gimmicky. Some just make you think 'mmmmm, sounds different, what on earth is it?'. The first time I heard of someone using pollen I believe it was Dhruv Baker on MasterChef and I was intrigued. On entering the wonderful world of Twitter I suddenly heard people talking about it, tweets flying around between chefs and foodies and suppliers. I felt a bit left out, what did this strange sounding ingredient taste like, what do you do with it, is it a gimmick? Like a hayfever sufferer I put my head down and averted my attention. My kitchen would remain a pollen free zone. Only to be drawn back like a bee to a field of rapeseed, I HAD to have some. Anyway to cut a long story slightly shorter I bumped into David Mason of Global Harvest in a tweet and he offered to send me a sample. I would finally come face to face with my pollen. Whatever it looked like. I have to say I haven't looked back, I've become a little obsessed with these little heavenly particles of flavour intensity.

Smoked haddock poached with wild fennel pollen
I've paired dill pollen with salmon to cure, with trout to pan fry and with eggs which were poached. I've dusted fennel pollen on lamb, mixed it with crab, poached it in smoked haddock with milk, made it into omelette, tried it in bread. Next stop is fennel pollen risotto with barbecued new season asparagus followed by a chocolate and fennel pollen sorbet. The  mind boggles at the number of possibilities. Actually it's now up there with cumin in my favoured 'spices'.

Poached egg with dill pollen













Now I've put a few fish 'pates' on this blog. So one more won't hurt.

Crab pate with wild fennel pollen

1 dressed crab
1/2 tsp fennel pollen
2tbsp creme fraiche
Squeeze lemon juice
1/4 tsp paprika

Mix the brown crab meat with all the ingredients until it forms a homogenised mix, correct for seasoning and then add the white crab meat and mix through leaving it quite chunky. Serve on sourdough bread as a starter or with a rocket salad for a light meal.

Fennel pollen omelette with creme fraiche
Wild fennel pollen omelette with creme fraiche

3 eggs
1/2 tsp fennel pollen
1 dsp creme fraiche
Knob butter

Whisk the eggs and fennel pollen together. Over a medium high heat melt the butter and when hot enough add the eggs (this is cooking an omelette, do it the way you do!). However when you are about to fold it over put the creme fraiche in the middle. Cook, turn then serve with a salad and chips or whatever you fancy. You get a wonderful gooey centre and bags of flavour.


The omelette pictured was served with a salad of piccolo tomatoes, cucumber, picos blue cheese and sherry vinegar. Yum.

Pollen. It's not just for bees and butterflies.


Monday, 21 May 2012

Cafebarge, Tarbert, Argyll

We ate in several places while staying on Loch Fyne. Was this the best? It was certainly the most fun, the most original, the warmest service, the best engagement and the quirkiest. Does that make it the best? For experience I'd say it does. What better on a slightly dreich Monday morning than turning up for lunch aboard a Dutch fishing barge on a Scottish loch with a 'slightly' tapas style menu cooked up by a Colombian chef? I use the term slightly because it isn't a tapas bar. But in the freshly cooked, wonderfully flavoursome tasty dishes for sharing way then it is similar.

Tortilla
The menu is filled with fish, seafood and vegetarian delights. No meat in sight. It is also on a blackboard so that it can be changed whenever something becomes available/unavailable which I think is fantastic. Fresh seasonal cooking in action. We decided we would choose three or four things, and get patatas bravas (sauce served on the side please), tortilla and hummus with oatcakes for the children who were well catered for and very welcome. What I loved was the way that Mike explained how things would come, just so you knew what you were getting. 'The tortilla is soft and runny in the middle, is that ok?'. Ok? I'd say it was pretty close to perfection and so did Daughter No.1 (she of the sauceless patatas). The patatas bravas being beautifully roasted and fried baby potatoes with a delicious piquant chilli based sauce. Hummus is my arch nemesis at home, how can so few ingredients go so badly wrong so frequently? They didn't here. Creamy, rich but light with just enough lemon and garlic to offset the chickpeas and tahini. Ah I bow down in awe!

Oyster and giant whelk
I had to go for shellfish, you can't come to this part of Scotland and not. Just one oyster and one giant whelk. Giant being a slight understatement for this monster of the deep that just kept uncurling out of its shell in a beautifully briny, fleshy mouthful or three. The oyster was just amazing. Simple, clean, with the salty tang of the loch. Food this good brings goosebumps and a smile and those moments are golden. Why did I not have more?! Meanwhile my wife was pontificating on the wonderfully seared scallops, coral intact, with wild garlic pesto. Simple flavours with the freshness of spring. Delightful.

The menu!
We shared a bowl of Zarzuela which is a Catalan fish stew. Brimming with an array of shellfish; various clams, mussels, calamari, prawns plus white fish, I didn't ask which. All served over a fish soup base which had such a rich depth of flavour that it would have been a meal in itself without the shellfish intro. When they were gone a bowl of rice was tipped in to finish. This was a top quality Spanish stew and quite ironic considering most of the fish landed in this port will be getting cooked in a similar fashion. Why do we import from Vietnam and Honduras when we have this quality on our doorstep and then ship our catch to Spain? Sort it out people of Scotland, Britain or whatever you like to consider the place where we live!

Zarzuela
We decided not to have dessert, just coffees as we were pretty full. Then as I ordered my Illy (which was beautifully brewed) I decided that grilled goats cheese with honey and walnuts was a dessert. I struggle to resist goats cheese, it's soft citrussy, tangy flavour and delicate tongue coating texture. With honey it's just mind blowing. This was beautifully crisp on the outside and unctuous in the centre with the sweetness of the honey offsetting really well.

Before heading back out to explore this beautiful little port there was time for a quick chat and a tour of the galley in which there are three hotplates (one added recently for paella) and a little prep area. The herbs are grown on board, the coffee grounds are composted by local ladies, the bread comes from Tapa Organic in Glasgow and it's generally just a top class operation serving the local community. The kind of place I love. It was only a desire to sample other places that stopped us returning but next time I go to Argyll I'll be stopping for lunch or dinner.

Goats cheese with honey and walnuts


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A week by Loch Fyne

If you drive north along Loch Lomond-side, carry straight on through Tarbet on the road less travelled, over the aptly named 'Rest and be thankful' you will come to Loch Fyne. Famous for kippers and oysters, this imposing sea loch on Scotland's west coast is a thing of beauty and tranquillity. A tranquillity that belies a turbulent history. It was our home for a week in a lochside cottage.

Sometimes everything just comes together and you find the perfect spot. A beautifully refurbished cottage with a Rayburn for cooking, 45 acres of woodland for walking and exploring, the beach on your doorstep and when the evening came a window seat to watch the sun come down before lighting the open fire. Woodhouse Cottage had everything. Ten miles south of Inverary beside the hamlet of Minard it was the ideal spot for an Argyll adventure.

Loch Fyne Whiskies
Arriving loaded up with fresh food from Queen's Park farmers market and a case of Naked Wines we quickly settled into the surroundings. Time for prosecco on the beach and to be blown away by the natural peace and beauty as the kids collected shells. It was the kind of place that you could never grow tired of, a different colour every time you look, the briny smell of the seaweed filling your nose with memories of childhood seaside adventures. But what else is there to do around this beautiful loch, if sitting watching the abundant wildlife and the world go by isn't enough?

Inverary has a wonderful old world feel to it, with the jail worth a visit, it is informative whilst being suitably entertaining for children and harrowing for adults with tales of ears nailed to gallows and children raised in prison. Following it up with a meal in the old bar of The George hotel, a walk down to the harbour to see The Vital Spark or crossing the road to sample the wares of Loch Fyne Whiskies is a treat. The latter in my view is the best whisky shop I've ever experienced bar none, with welcoming, knowledgeable and passionate staff. If there's a bottle you've been looking for, chances are they'll have it. I left armed with one myself and four glencairn tasting glasses.

The Vital Spark in Inverary Harbour


Brainport heritage trail
Woodhouse Cottage
The cottage itself has the beautiful Brainport heritage trail passing by which affords a wonderful walk through deciduous and pine forest, along the lochside and over the odd dyke. Stop to forage gorse flowers and sorrel then take a turn on the ropeswing attached to one particularly large tree. Each morning if you awaken early enough you'll be treated to the sight of red deer wandering a few yards from the cottage and seals bobbing their heads from the loch. Each night the local flock of oystercatchers descend to feast on the plentiful supply of mussels by the shore and a heron may wave on his way graceful way past, disdainfully avoiding the noisy red beaked waders. The wildlife highlight for me was a bit further out in the loch. The image of three gannets circling upwards as they hunted a target and then diving at breakneck speed as the hit the water was stunning and one that I enjoyed over and over again. Add to this eider ducks, the intimidating black backed gull, blue tits nesting nearby, goldfinches and yellowhammer (or were they serin?) and the picture begins to develop of an unspoilt area where nature feels relatively untouched.

Seafood Platter in Loch Fyne Oyster Bar

Food highlights of the week were plentiful, the ingredients brought from Glasgow notwithstanding. A journey south of 45 minutes to the Kintyre peninsula will bring you to Tarbert where the Cafebarge Argyll sells wonderful seafood and vegetarian dishes in a tapas style while across the road the Anchor Inn has a stylish seafood based menu and children eat for free. North of Inverary you'll find the famous Loch Fyne Oyster Bar in Cairndow, the original one where we got a stunning seafood platter of various cured and smoked salmon and trout along with smoked mussels, rollmop herring and wonderful fresh oysters. The best I've ever tried and I've tried quite a few. A further half mile will bring you to Fyne Ales and a visit to the shop there is well worth it. With a beautiful array of ales from the lightest citrussy Jarl to the beautiful Vital Spark stout and everything in between.
Fish Counter at the Oyster Bar

Fresh produce for cooking yourself was also bountiful, with a kilo of fresh mussels and a pair of prime venison steaks procured from the Oyster Bar for dinner by the Rayburn followed by a glass of malt by the beautiful log fire. Perfectly accompanied by some freshly foraged seaweed from the shore. Next time I'll pluck up the courage for foraged mussels too.

Auchindrain
Labourers cottage, Auchindrain

Two particular highlights were a step back in time at Auchindrain township, the last one in Scotland to cease being occupied. Here highland rural life is preserved forever in the crofts and barns and possessions of former workers and tenants. The second being a short ferry crossing from Tayinloan to the Isle of Gigha, a stunning little island at the southernmost point in the Hebrides with golden sandy beaches, a temperate climate and wonderfully welcoming locals. With all this and much more besides I'd suggest you find time in your life for a week by Loch Fyne and Kintyre, it's well worth it.


Woodhouse Cottage from the beach


View from bedroom window seat
Cooking breakfast

Welcome to Woodhouse


Eating dinner

Relaxing of an evening

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