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Vive La France et L’Écosse!!

August and September are plentiful months in the harvest calendar. Today I have been making jam with Slow Food Ark of Taste Prestonfield Rhubarb and James Grieve Apples (almost aboard!) so our kitchen has the sweet scent of food in progress! Herbs dried and butters made whilst all the time nibbling from our bowlful of home grown Victoria plums. All due credit to Bosse who creates our incredible kitchen garden in a miniature space on the site of an old Georgian quarry! He puts his organic farming experience to good use here, not wasting a drop of compost nor using a drop of chemical. A wonderful range of birds feast on unwanted insects, solitary bees pollinate and Bosse does the rest!

My new website is up and running and will host my Blogs and Scottish Food Studio courses, complete with Paypal to enable you to book online immediately. Courses currently filling up are Ark of Taste and Be a Cheese Champion. These are unique and fascinating so please do support them. There are special offers for Scottish Food Guide Members.

Bosse and I have been busy researching Slow Food’s Ark of Taste both in Sweden and Scotland. We have re-written the Shetland Hen entry as there are really two distinct breeds – it is absolutely fascinating and well worth a read when you get a moment. I have written an article in this week’s Shetland Times on the hens and the wonderful Isbisters on Shetland who we have to thank for ensuring these hens are not extinct! The Aberdeen Buttery also boards the Ark thanks to Bob at SF Aberdeen and I have been working on more details on other forthcoming products.

Perthshire on a Plate at the Perth Show was fun to be involved. Great to catch up with Summer Harvest Willie Deans of Deans and Chris Rowley of Ballintaggart Farm . I only wish certain other chefs would stick to local produce rather than supermarket ingredients – there should be a law against it!!

Later this month, Uist and its environs are hosting their first ever Festival of Food & Writing. There will be a wealth of knowledge and superb produce; great debates, foraging walks, croft trails and convivial dinners. For full programme

The heat is on to brush up my French before Scottish Food Guide takes a (luxury) coach of producers and musicians over the sea to Challans, France to Each year they feature a different country for their theme and they got in touch to invite SFG to represent Scotland. All our exceptional participating producers have won top awards for their artisan produce …

Belhaven Smokehouse with their finest seafood

Uradale Farm producing Slow Food Ark of Taste Organic Native Shetland Lamb and Beef, plus their Organic Shetland Wool knitting yarns

Dunlop Dairy’s Traditional Ayrshire Dunlop Mature Ayrshire Dunlop (SF Ark of Taste) PGI (cows) & Bonnet (goats) cheese

St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company: Fife’s only farmhouse cheese. Anster & St Andrews Farmhouse (SF Ark of Taste)

Barwheys Mature Ayrshire (SF Ark of Taste) and Smoked Barwheys

Howard & Eileen Wilkinson from Slow Food West Scotland will be joining us and in charge of the cheeses in France.

The Scottish Experience will be there with tartan scarves and gifts and we shall have wonderful music and dancing courtesy of The Lomond Ceilidh Band Fraser Wilkinson, Pipe Major Haddington Pipe Band, accompanied by pipers, Graham Wells and David Watt, and Joyce Anderson School Of Dancing with her fabulous team of Scottish Lassies.

…and when not cooking up Scottish Breakfasts with I may be found singing Scottish folk songs!

We shall be quite a clan, all in tartan to some degree and all raring to go!

More Members News….

Café St Honore has won two prestigious awards so far this year. In May they were named Restaurant of the Year at the Catering Scotland Awards. This makes it a hat-trick having previously won CiS Sustainable Restaurant of the Year, and Neil won CiS Chef of the Year.Most recently they were named UK's Best Organic Eating Out at the Soil Association's BOOM Awards at Borough Market.

Ballintaggart Cook School has just released a fantastic new programme of Saturday Masterclasses. Their August Feast Night is sold out so they are having an additional Extraordinary Feast on Thursday 31st August. Click for details

Contini has new August menu full of delicious summer dishes bursting with Italian flavours. Lots to get festive about throughout the Edinburgh Festival!

Demijohn have created the Midsummer Muddle Cocktail for you to keep the positive spirit of Summer holidays alive longer

Sat 26th August - Folk and Family BBQ from 5pm at Whitmuir with live music, great food and a bar. Further info at

Hendersons have opened another venue at the top of the Mound with an enticing menu of their popular classics and innovative vegetarian and vegan dishes. Along with their eatery at Holyrood and the original Salad Table, Hanover Street (where there is live music every night) Hendersons is a great place from which to take in Edinburgh’s Festival.

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