Now living with a professional sportsman you may think it would be easy for us to view food in our household merely as fuel. Don’t get me wrong we go through bags of sweet potato, kilos of pasta and dozens of eggs, but food is much more than a means to add bulk and fuel the machine. Meal times are a chance to take time out and experiment, create new dishes and celebrate the wonderful produce, which Scotland’s larder boasts. Granted I understand for many it could be really easy to opt for the convenient option when it comes to dinner time, with lifestyles becoming increasingly busy and everyone seemingly pressed for time. If this is the case however you’re missing out on some great taste adventures.
Saturday marks the start of the second Slow Food UK Week (1 – 9 June). With this in mind it’s time to take stock, get in the kitchen, gather around the dinner table and celebrate the wonders of British food. The Slow UK Food movement is making waves, gaining the support of some of the most respected chefs in the culinary world. Following the launch of the Slow Food UK Chef Alliance in partnership with Highland Park single malt whisky in 2011, over 80 chefs are now members.
On Saturday 9 June in Edinburgh’s Summerhall, ten Slow Food UK Chef Alliance chefs, including Neil Forbes (Cafe St Honoré), Tom Lewis (Monachyle Mhor) and Tony Borthwick (The Plumed Horse) will jointly host a special Slow Food UK fundraising event, ‘Meet and Greet the Champions of Scottish Food’. Showcasing the best of local and seasonal Scottish produce there will be live demonstrations focusing on bread making, preserves and curing. What’s more there will also be an opportunity to match the chefs creations with a dram or two of Highland Park!
This is a great opportunity to reconnect people with food, making them aware of the wealth of fantastic produce on our doorstep and that cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but a delicious experience for all. If this has whet your appetite, Slow Food UK member and Café St Honoré’s very own Neil Forbes has shared with us one of his own recipes, which goes rather nicely paired with Highland Park 12 year old!
Beremeal Bannock, Organic Spinach, Free-range Poached Egg (serves four)
65g plain flour
½ tsp cream of tartare
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Milk to bind
Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
4 handfuls of organic spinach
4 large free-range eggs
50g unsalted butter
The Cooking Bit
1. In a mixer, or by hand, combine the flour, beremeal, cream of tartare, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt. Then add enough milk to make into a dough. Shape into a 1 inch thick cake and sear on a skillet or frying pan using no fat. Turn and colour on the other side, slide onto a baking tray and cook for 30 minutes in a moderate oven. Remove and cut into 4 pieces.
2. In a thick-bottomed pot, melt the butter and wilt the spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Simmer some water and poach the eggs for 4 minutes.
4. Place the spinach onto the bannock, place the egg on top.
5. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with a dram of Highland Park 12 year old.