In print 4th May 2019
Be honest girls and boys, who can’t resist SAS Who Dares Wins? Anthony Middleton, JasonFox, Ollie Ollerton – Wow! have you opened my eyes. As a Jane Austen groupie, who would
have ever thought daredevil feats, endurance and blocking out the pain TV would do it forme. My husband Victor has become hooked as well.
It’s not just for the muscles and the looks, it’s the power of the challenges that leave mehiding behind my sofa and Laura Ashley dove grey velvet pillow in complete awe.
The closest thing I’ve ever got to uncomfortable is no central heating in our family home inCockenzie and Izal toilet paper when I was growing up. Other than that life has been verykind. Fitness is key for them but it’s mental as well as physical agility that they have.I know I’ll never scale the Devil’s Throat but my job as a restaurateur is to motivate andcoach our team. Creating delicious food and a lovely experience with attentive servicecomes from the people we have in our team and their energy. With over 100 strong boysand girls I’m very aware of how all our energy influences our business and can create anequally positive or negative outcome.
I used to think being shouty and bossy was my role. Yes, I’ve had moments when I’ve donean Ant (don’t tell my mother as my language has been known to be shocking on anoccasion) but trusting my team to do the job they love and are proud to do is not onlyliberating for them but liberating for me. More calm, less storm works.
Our generation is very blessed not to have experienced a war. Our armed forces who fightfor us can never be rewarded in full. Working with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo atCannonball Restaurant is the closest I get to a reminder that people lay down their lives forus and have to pick up the pieces.
This month sees the start of the stand for the Tattoo stand being built in Edinburgh Castle.It’s an incredible engineering feat. Housing 8000 guests with over 1200 performers on theCastle Esplanade. I’ve always loved the show but I love what the individuals represent justas much. I’m allowed to be a pacifist as these men and women do the very hardest of jobsfor all of us. There is still limited availability for this years Tattoo. You may not be SAS gradebut if you can dare to climb Castlehill and dare to brace the Scottish outdoors in Augustyou’ll be a winner.
The Scottish Cafe’s Classic Cullen Skink
This recipe has been on the menu at The Scottish Cafe and now at Cannonball. Withfabulous fresh fish from Belhaven Smokehouse we really can’t make it any better.
500g undyed smoked haddock, skin off – (Belhaven Smokehouse)
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 leek, washed and cut into chunks
2 medium potatoes, un-peeled, cut into chunks
200ml whole milk
300ml double cream
1. Melt the butter in a pan on a medium-low heat, and add the onion and half of the choppedand washed leek (try use the darker part of the leek for this as is tougher). Cover and allow
to sweat, without colouring, for about 10 minutes until softened.
2. Add in half the sliced raw potatoes and sweat this again.
3. Add in half the smoked haddock (try and keep the centre showcase pieces of the fishfor the garnish).
4. Add the milk and gently simmer (do not boil) until the potatoes are soft and the vegetablesare cooked through.
5. Blend soup base in jug blender to get the smoothest consistency. Strain and check soupfor seasoning – season with sea salt and white pepper.
7. Dice remaining potatoes in small 1.5 inch cubes. Cook these in boiling salted water untilthey are soft and set aside.
8. Dice the remainder of the white of the leeks, blanch and refresh. Make sure it is cookedthrough and add to the mixture when heating the Cullen Skink through.
9. Dice the centre part of the smoked haddock and set aside.
1. Add the cream to the pan and add the cullen soup base, warm through.
2. Add in the cooked diced potatoes, cooked leeks and diced raw haddock.
3. Bring to a very gentle simmer (trying not to break up the chunks of fish and potatoes) untilthe haddock is cooked through.
4. Taste and check seasoning again.
5. Garnish with some olive oil and pea shoots or crispy leeks.
6. Serve with warm Beremeal bread and Scottish seaweed butter.
Apple, sultana and no-clove pie
Classics are always the best. I love apple pie and custard. If I was ever left dreaming of foodit would be an apple pie for sure.
7 small or 4 large Bramley apples
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1⁄4 pinch of cinnamon
25g unsalted butter, melted, for greasing
egg wash made from 1 egg (beaten) for the pastry
250g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter, chilled
100g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp ice-cold water
1. First make the pastry. Sieve the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and coarselygrate the butter on top. Dip the butter into the flour to stop it sticking, then rub thebutter into the flour using your fingertips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
2. Add the sugar and mix through, then add the egg yolk and bind with the water untilthe mixture forms a ball. Place on a floured surface and knead gently. Transfer to abowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the apple filling. Peel and core the apples and slice them toroughly the same size. Place in a pan over a low heat with the water and sugar andcook for about 10 minutes, until the apples have collapsed into a soft but slightlychunky purée. Keep the apples moving in the pan with a wooden spoon to stop themdiscolouring. Remove from the heat, add the sultanas and cinnamon and adjust theflavouring, adding a little more sugar if required. Set aside.
4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and brush a 20cm ovenproof glass pie dishwith melted butter. Remove the pastry from the fridge and allow to come to roomtemperature. Cut the pastry in half. On a floured surface, roll out half to the samesize as the pie dish. Line the bottom of the dish with the pastry. Spoon the applemixture on top and gently spread it over. Roll out the remaining pastry and use tocarefully cover the apple mixture. Cut away the excess pastry from the edges andbrush with the egg wash. Make one slit in the top to let the air escape.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden, then remove and sprinklewith sugar. Serve hot or cold with a generous spoonful of chilled pouring cream.
Poppy seed rolls
Here’s one of the recipes you can easily try at home. It’s super easy. If bread and water isyour only tool this wouldn’t be too tough!
500g Doves Farm Strong White Bread Flour, plus extra for dusting
1 heaped tsp fine table salt
2 tsp dried yeast
300ml hand-hot water
1 tsp clear honey
20ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
egg wash made from 1 egg, beaten poppy seeds, for sprinkling
1. Sieve the flour, salt and yeast into a large mixing bowl. Add the water, honey andolive oil. Mix well in a mixer with an electric dough hook or by hand.
2. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth.
3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a cosy spot in thekitchen or larder for about 40 minutes, until the dough has doubled in size.
4. Once it has risen, turn onto a floured surface, knock the dough back and shape itlightly into a ball.
5. Cut the ball into 16 equal-sized pieces. Knead the balls in your hands or roll with the palm of your hand on the work surface until each ball is a smooth, uniform shape.This will ensure that the balls rise evenly.
6. Place the balls on an oiled baking sheet with enough space between to allow them todouble in size. Cover with clingfilm and leave in your cosy spot for about 30 minutes,until well risen.
7. Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8. Remove the clingfilm and lightly brush theballs with the egg wash. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and bake in the preheated ovenfor 10-12 minutes until golden and risen.