- Published: 08 October 2018
Sleat | Isle of Skye
Now in October we have an amazing plethora of foraged foods we’ve been able to use on our daily-changing menus this month. Due to the weather over the Summer, there has been an abundance of delectable mushrooms from behind Kinloch. Delicious chanterelles have been a key feature in many dishes this months; part of a filling for our roast young grouse (more on this in a minute), or simply sautéed with garlic butter and served on our own granary toast as part of our Talisker bar menu.
We’ve had brambles and blueberries in abundance. These have been served ‘au natural’ as part of our breakfast fruit salad, but also turned into sorbets, compotes and savoury jus to serve with game. It’s not just me and my team that love this wild fruit; Misty, our soon to be one-year old collie, has taken a real shine to the brambles on our long walks. She used to sit and quietly whine, whilst the brambles were collected into a tub, ready for a delicious crumble, but soon grew impatient and decided to harvest her own. We’re always a little nervous as to whether she may have one too many, but it’s a challenge to dissuade her!
I always look forward to getting young grouse for our guests’ at this time of year. Sadly, there hasn’t been so many to buy this year, due to the extremes in weather we’ve encountered. We have been lucky to get some from the Lammermuir Estate. I’ve created a delicious, rich gamey dish of grouse, wrapped in pancetta and stuffed with venison and Skye blueberries, served with our very own Kinloch Forest Chanterelles.
Another delicacy from ‘nature’s larder’ is the crab apple, they are very tart and unpleasant raw, but they are so intensely apple’y when cooked. The high pectin and acid content make them ideal for setting fruit jams and jellies. I like to serve a delicious heaped teaspoon of crab apple jelly with our slowly roasted Moray pork cheeks, a match made in heaven!
Another highlights of my role at Kinloch is hosting Cookery Workshops. They take place in our professional kitchen and it’s a joy to dispel the myth that commercial kitchens are boisterous, loud places full of shouting prima donnas. At Kinloch, guests find quiet and orderly calm, where they can learn tricks of the trade, gain practical knowledge and try new recipes that they can recreate easily at home.
I was recently joined in one of these classes by a lovely lady in her 80’s, who accompanied by her two daughters, took part in a bespoke Cookery Class on soups and sauces; Pam had spent her working years as a school cook and it was fascinating to hear what type of ingredients were available to her and the type of kitchen she worked in. This exchange of information and sharing of knowledge with fellow food lovers is fascinating and rewarding.
It’s a tough job this cooking malarkey, but someone’s got to do it and I’m just glad it’s me.