Thursday, 5 March 2009

Highland Fling (Part One)

ANYONE who has watched the television programme The Vicar of Dibley will have probably seen the regularly repeated Yuletide episode.
It's the one where Dawn French's character is invited to consecutive Christmas lunches at the homes of all of her parishioners - and is too polite to turn any of them down.
Well, that was the running theme for my time in bonny Scotland.
Our feasting began with lunch at Glasgow establishment The Ubiquitous Chip.
Famed for it's passion for Scottish produce since 1971 The Chip, as it's affectionately known, is tucked away on a cobbled street in Glasgow's trendy West End.
It's 'old pub' exterior belies the tranquil botanical garden-style interior. With it's indoor pond, sprawling vegetation and trickling waterfall, you half expected to spot a butterfly or hummingbird flutter past.
But the food they serve is far from bird food and we tucked into a sumptuous three-course lunch, which started, for me, with traditional cock-a-leekie soup. Packed with vegetables, chicken and pearl barley, it was perfect fodder for the rainy day it was. Bread was homemade and warm, with great chunks of salty butter.
Claire, meanwhile opted for the hearty vegetarian haggis, served with mashed potato and turnip cream. She proclaimed it 'delicious', although I didn't just take her word for it, so I tucked in too, and it was.
Her main course choice was Scrabster-landed salmon on vanilla and lime mash with red pepper sauce. This curious combination was a success, and the salmon was flaky and delicate.
I opted for the aubergine and tomato bread and butter pudding with aubergine fritter, tomato vinaigrette and pan-fried mushrooms which was also a generous portion, packed with flavour and expertly cooked.
We shared a dessert of Caledonian oatmeal ice-cream and fruit compote, as our tummies were full and we just craved a sweet taste.
We resolved only to eat light later. More fool us.
Later, after an afternoon shopping, sightseeing and rain-dodging, we were collected for our transfer to Kilmarnock, where our hotel and Brahead Food's cookery school are.
On the way our guide - and managing director of Braehead - whisked us off to an industry food show at Glasgow's SECC exhibition centre.
He said we must try one of the banqueting menus from the celebrated Gleneagles Hotel.
Oh, how we protested.
Fortunately for our waistlines at least, we'd missed the starter course because the following two courses of pork cooked three ways, with potato rosti and apple jelly, and chocolate fondant with vanilla icecream, proved almost a mouthful too many...
  • Don't miss tomorrow's blog on Day Two of my Scotland trip, and find out why I left Scotland bonnier than when I went...

10 comments:

Thinspired said...

Traditional cock-a-leekie soup...yes! Haggis...no! I just couldn't do it. I love your description so far of this trip and the food. I have been to Scotland once but not Glasgow. Sounds like you had a wonderful time :)

Emily said...

Thanks Lara. I did have a wonderful time. It was veggie haggis so no offal in there, only lentils and spices and vegetables. I don't know if I could do the meat version either. By the way, I found Larabars! Delicious!! Thanks

Leah said...

I've never tried that soup. I wouldn't mind though. I don't think I would ever try haggis....

Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip. Did you get the battered Mars bar?!

Neil said...

Sounds like fun, the 3way pork definitely is giving me food envy (well I am ill and its nigh 10pm and i'm about to have miso!)

Enjoy the trip, and the delights it offers

oysterculture said...

Sounds like a wonderful time, I really enjoyed Glasgow, once I got past the communication difficulties, really improved my charades skills.

Laura said...

Oh how I wish to skip off to great places like Glasgow and the like **sigh** Oh well hope you are having fun! Laura

Emily said...

Thanks for reading everyone. Had a truly fabulous time... will follow up with part two asap! And Oysterculture, I know exactly what you mean about communications difficulties!

Thinspired said...

I didn't realize they made veggie haggis! Very cool. Glad you found the Larabars :)

Emily said...

Yes, I think you can even buy it in Waitrose. My friend says she has bought it and cooked it and as long as you don't over cook it, it's delicious!

poundthatshit said...

glasgow is amazing for food, ended up in a sushi place at 5 in the morning and didnt leave till 8 it was so good!