"No love sincerer than the love of food"



festival pic

Festival season is upon us, but forget T in the Park, we are talking food here.

As soon as the sun puts his hat on (okay okay …  I am sure he will soon) it’s time to get out and about in the fresh air and sample the fabulous local produce Scotland has to offer.

Here is a list of just some of the fantastic foodie events going on this summer and beyond.  So grab your diary and get planning.

Apologies to my friends south of the border –  your events are too many to catalogue!!  Maybe these Scottish events will encourage you to pack your weekend bag and take a trip …

I will set up a special events page on the blog so that this information is easily accessible – if  you want me to include any festivals that I have missed then let me know and I will add them.


One day event giving you the opportunity to meet local producers and sample the food from Grampians larder.  Expect beautiful smoked salmon, creamy fudge, shortbread and much more.


This is free and takes place in locations across Scotland.  Farms open their doors or should I say gates to allow visitors to experience the smells of the farmyard and really get in touch with the land that feeds us. So come and feed your senses on Open Farm Sunday. At a farm near you.


This great two-day festival includes an indoor food market, music events, local producers and a lobster shack at the picturesque harbour PLUS wild food walks and foraging.  It’s a cracking one to go along to and this blogger has been part of their innovative 2013 blogging project this year (very proud!)

AFTERNOON TEA ON A STEAM TRAIN – throughout the summer

Ok so not a festival but a great thing to do and worthy of a mention on my summer food list.   Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea of freshly made sandwiches, cakes and homemade scones with clotted cream and Scottish jam served with a pot of coffee or tea aboard a lovingly restored steam train.


This festival in the charming village of Falkland includes a family picnic, street fair and tea dance amongst other family fun activities.


Its an institution!  I tend to bypass the tractors and the coos and head straight for the food hall where there are almost 100 companies featuring their quality products as well as a line-up of some of Scotland’s top chefs demonstrating their culinary skills.  The Highland Show is a fantastic day out (especially if the sun shines)


Calm down I know it’s not actually a food festival BUT it is one of my favourite festivals of the year (not only because it was where I grew up long before  there was a sniff of an arts scene).  In between seeing the art EAT some food.  There is a big tent selling top-notch grub down at the harbour and various fabulous places to hang out for cake and coffee too.  Finish your day off with fish and chips from Pittenweem’s chippy.  It was always known as the best in Scotland when I was young.  Just as good as the now famous Anstruther Fish Bar‘s suppers but without the queues and the price tag.


Not to be missed! This huge event held in Edinburgh’s Inverleith Park is into its seventh year now and it really is a stonking day out for any foodie.  As well as hundreds of stands showcasing fabulous local produce there is a cake and bake theatre, chefs theatre, a children’s cooking theatre,  pop up restaurants and so much  more.  I am hoping they have their little beach in situ again this year and mini grumbling tummy loved it.


I love a berry I do and where best to taste berries than smack in the middle of fruit farm country.  This one day event is held in Strathearn at the peak of growing season.  As well as a large selection of berry based produce you will find breads, chutneys, baking and more – it’s a good un’.


Dumfries & Galloway’s celebration of local food and drink returns on 31st August till 15th September 2013, giving you 16 days of delicious experiences to indulge in.  The full programme is not available just yet but keep an eye on the website.


This is one I definitely shall be attending!  This three-day (ticketed) event  is Tayside’s top lifestyle event.  The Festival offers the best in food, horticulture and live entertainment, with a packed weekend programme including free cookery and gardening demonstrations, children’s activities, a craft fair, live music and TV celebrities. Now what’s not to love about that.


This is the second non specifically food festival I have included. I briefly lived in Aberdour and really liked this festival and it does include food – honest.  There is a beach day where you can partake of the BBQ whilst watching the fabulous regatta, the great Aberdour Bake Off is a highlight this year and it is always nice to watch people struggle on the Donkey Brae Run whilst you sip on pimms and munch a puddledub burger (hope Puddledub are there this year – they normally are!)


This festival, now in its eighth year promises “tasty trials, sumptuous suppliers, festival fun and interesting information” .  20,000 folk flock to the area for this festival  – that in itself speaks volumes.  Definitely going into my diary.


A luscious fourteen days celebrating all that is fabulous about Scottish produce.  There are tastings and special events across the country so keep an eye out on the website for more details nearer the time.


The 20th annual World Porridge Making Championships will take place in the Scottish Highland village of Carrbridge. So good it has to go on the list.


Head over to this blinding event at the SECC. Its huge and you should get your elbows at the ready but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.  It is one of the best places to try and buy the best of Scotland.  Gregg Wallace and John Torode are among the celebs there this year which to be honest is enough for me to buy a ticket!  I blogged about it last year – have a read.

photo credit: <a href=””>j l t</a> via <a href=””>photopin> <a href=””>cc</a>


Rhubarb Ice Cream with Lemon Spiced Biscuits – Recipes for Life Challenge

I  was recently impressed by a desert of  chocolate brownie and rhubarb ice cream at  Rufflets Hotel in St Andrews and had already talked idly about trying to replicate the fresh creamy ice cream myself.

Then as luck would have it Vanesther over at Bangers & Mash issued her May ‘Recipes for Life Challenge’ which called for entrants to get creative with rhubarb – a golden opportunity!

So what is the Recipe For Life challenge all about?  Each month Bangers & Mash issue three seasonal ingredients with which to create a (hopefully)  fabulous dish.  May’s ingredients are rhubarb, lemon and spice.  The best recipes entered will be included in a new charity cookbook to be published by SWALLOW later this year.  Swallow is a charity supporting adults with learning disabilities.

Swallow – a Somerset based charity

My challenge entry is Rhubarb Ice Cream with Lemon Spiced Biscuits.

I am an ice cream making virgin and therefore I am not entirely sure how technically correct my method is but it was certainly simple and tasty.

Prior to freezing this mixture tastes like a sumptuous version of  rhubarb fool; it is actually a miracle that any of the mixture made it as ice cream as every 15 minute stirring trip to the freezer resulted in large spoonfuls finding their way into my gaping maw!

The little biscuits are adapted from a Rachel Allen recipe.  They complimented the ice cream perfectly.


Ice Cream


  • 3 cups sliced fresh  rhubarb
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup double cream 


  • Place rhubarb in a baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar. Cover and bake at  for 30-40 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
  • Process in batches in a blender or food processor. Transfer to a bowl; cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  • Stir in lemon juice. In a bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold into rhubarb mixture.
  • Transfer to a shallow freezer container. Freeze, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cover and freeze overnight.

Lemon Spice Biscuits


  • 175g plain wholemeal flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • zest of lemon
  • Teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 110g butter


  • Rub the butter and flour together with your fingers
  • Add the sugar, spice and lemon
  • Work the mixture into a stiff dough
  • Roll out and cut biscuits (around 1/2 cm)
  • Bake for around 8 minutes or until lovely and golden

1 Comment

Girls, Fizz and The Pantry

Photo 04-05-2013 13 40 36I was very pleased when my friend Katie suggested The Pantry as a possible venue for our girls lunch.  The Pantry, a relatively  new kid on the Stockbridge block,  made it onto my hit list after a number of fellow foodies noted that it was an excellent lunch option,  known for serving fresh, locally sourced food.

The general criteria for a successful girls lunch is good food, a great atmosphere and bountiful wine supplies.  This time round we were keen to lunch in a BYOB restaurant to save the coffers just a little bit – another tick for the Pantry.

And so it was on a (relatively) sunny Saturday that four girls took their seats  in the lovely light and airy Pantry.  I must mention at this point that I was feeling a slightly embarrassed and a little amused about the the quantity of wine we had plonked onto our table.  You see The Pantry was awash with Stockbridge families out for coffee and cake, nice couples having lunch washed down with healthy bottles of water and lots of very cute babies.  What is was not awash with was groups of girls about to pop the cork on a few bottles of Prosecco, in fact we were actually the only people who were drinking.

We soon forgot about offending the cake eating community of  Stockbridge after the first glass was sunk and we concentrated on the food.  The menu is made up of some tasty brunches and breakfasts, light bites and some more substantial additions.

Fond of ‘dibbly dabs’ we decided to select a few light bites to start of with, before moving on to a more substantial main course.   We ordered BEETROOT  TATIN, CORN FRITTERS WITH SPICY TOMATO CHUTNEY and some CRISPY PORK BELLY.

Photo 04-05-2013 13 48 31 Photo 04-05-2013 13 48 27 Photo 04-05-2013 13 48 22

The corn fritters were fantastic and my only regret was that we didn’t order more of them – a lot more of them.  They were beautifully crisp on the outside and soft and flavoursome on the inside and sadly they were gone in seconds.

The Beetroot Tatin was made up of  very delicately  slices of layered beetroot and looked very pretty on the plate.  I am a bit of a fan of beetroot so what was there not to like?  The flavouring was very delicate and I may have drowned it with liberal gulps of prosecco (shame on me)

The crispy pork was the most controversial part of the meal as  it was not really what any of us expected.  It came as very large triangles of  very very crispy crackling.  I actually liked the taste and crunched my way through one of the big triangles but it was not the highlight of the day – that was still to come!

Move over ‘dibbly dabs’, the main courses were undoubtedly the highlight of the meal!

A good substantial portion of  SAUSAGE AND MASH for Rhian,  KOHLRABI AND SHRIMP SALAD for me and for Kate and Cat KEDGEREE & EGGS BENEDICT WITH SMOKED SALMON which they chose to share (fickle creatures found it hard to choose!)

Photo 04-05-2013 14 26 14 Photo 04-05-2013 14 23 31 Photo 04-05-2013 14 23 02 Photo 04-05-2013 14 22 50My salad was fresh and tasty.  Kohlrabi was new to me.  It looked like a close relative of cucumber but it is in fact closer to the cabbage family – it was interesting and I liked it.  Nestling on top of the Kohlrabi were a cluster of little brown shrimps which were juicy and bursting with flavour – again this was a first for me and an experience I would love to repeat.  Next in this rustically layered salad came ….. well the salad, which included lots of peppery rocket tossed in a beautiful dressing which made a path all the way through the dish.  It was lush.

My dining companions all loved their respective main courses, especially the mash, which we all had a good taste of.  I have no idea why this mash was so damned good – it just was.  The kedgeree was really smoky and the fact that it was from good quality (non coloured) fish was obvious.  The Eggs Benedict was an impressive looking beast and although I didn’t taste it myself it definitely got the thumbs up.

The rest of the crew were very good and resisted a third course but this sugar lovin’ blogger was powerless to the lure of a flour-less chocolate cake perched on the counter, I swear it spoke to me.  My light salad had left plenty of room for such indulgence, and indulge I did.  It was absolutely divine, bitter sweet and gooey in all the right places.

So a few pleasant hours later, four every so slightly giggly girls waved goodbye to the Pantry to go and  find Cocktails (a story in itself for another time).

The Pantry was a  lovely venue, the food was excellent, the staff  friendly and the prices  reasonable.  For our feast we  paid around £15 each.  I will definitely be back although I think next time I will take B and mini grumbling tummy and perhaps ditch the wine.

Leave a comment

Rufflets Country House Hotel – A little taste of luxury

Photo 30-04-2013 13 46 34 Photo 30-04-2013 13 45 43Rufflets Country House Hotel was the  venue for our very first romantic lunch after little  Grumbling Tummy burst into our lives.  We had a wonderful time then, helped along by a marvellous setting, great food and the thrill of a few hours of freedom. We returned to Rufflets last week for another romantic outing, in the hope that it would live up to our memories.

It was a lovely day and Rufflets looked resplendent in the sunshine – it was a good start.  Although not far from the hubbub of St Andrews you feel a hundred miles away from everything as soon as you step inside – think understated elegance and serenity. This is one of the oldest and most established country houses in Scotland and its pedigree shows.

We started off with a glass of wine (me) and a coffee (the chauffeur) in the lounge.  Relaxing by a picture window looking out onto the impressive and well manicured gardens, I felt the outside world melt away –  just a little bit.

Sat in the  elegant dining room idly musing about how I could possibly move in without the management noticing,  I munched on a tasty seeded roll and waited for the arrival of our first course from a menu which I would describe as traditional British with a twist.

Photo 30-04-2013 12 43 16 Photo 30-04-2013 13 05 14 Photo 30-04-2013 13 05 01I started with the Chicken, Cheese and Walnut Terrine.  The delicate flavour of this dish surprised me.  I had expected a strong cheese suh as  a stilton to feature, instead of which mild cheese and understated nutty walnut notes allowed the flavour of the chicken to shine through. It was served with small thin toasts which I am sure have an official name,  however this humble blogger has no idea what that is.  Mr Grumbling Tummy had a ham hock dish which was set in a cider jelly.  He was not quite so keen on the jellied element but the tastes were wonderful – each to their own.

Next up was a my wonderful Cajun Salmon with Crushed Peas, hand cut chips and Hollandaise Sauce.  The salmon was cooked to perfection and the cajun spices delivered just the right punch.  I love a crushed pea and hand cut chips are always  a winner in my book.  Apart from the Salmon the highlight of this dish for me was dipping all of my chips liberally in Hollandaise sauce much to the disgust of my fellow diner – delish.  Mr Grumbling Tummy indulged in a steak pie which was surprisingly refined when plated, and belied its bold flavours  with beautiful cinnamon notes.

Photo 30-04-2013 13 30 42 Photo 30-04-2013 13 30 26I don’t know why I even bother to pretend I’m not eating sugar, it is just getting a little bit on the silly side now.  Bring on the Dark chocolate Brownie smothered in chocolate sauce with an interesting side of Rhubarb Ice Cream.  I asked our waitress if I could have it warmed up even though the chocolate sauce was also warm – she obliged.  Oh My God – I could have eaten that dish again and again and again.  The brownie had a lovely crunchy top layer yet was beautifuly moist and squidgy inside .  The chocolate sauce was sweet and bitter and perfect and as for rhubarb ice cream – who knew!!! I was so impressed with the ice cream that I plan to have a go at making my own version.  Now what did my dining partner have?  Who cares frankly – I was a bit busy mooning over a brownie.  I think it was a treacle sponge with custard which through my brownie haze I  seemed to notice that he liked very much.

Following lunch we rolled out to the sunny garden to sit on the patio and finish off our drinks.  I would have been perfectly happy to sit there all day long but there were parents to visit and St Andrews shops to re-explore.

I disappeared off clutching a Rufflets brochure and hatching the beginnings of a plan for an overnight stay  – watch this space!

Photo 30-04-2013 12 31 51