The Colours of Summer

Last year around this time David Craig and his team at Clyde Valley Tomatoes were making a great splash as they entered the market (http://www.greenshootsphotography.com/#!clyde-valley-tomatoes/c21si). Since then the company has gone from strength to strength with the tomatoes not only being a regular and much appreciated feature of the farmers markets both here in Glasgow as well as those in Edinburgh but you will now find their tomatoes in a lot of shops and delis ranging from Waitrose and the Whole Food Supermarket through to Roots and Fruits and the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar at Cairndow as well as many other places I am sure.

I am a great fan of tomatoes and it is one of the hardships of winter that even with the year round availability of fruit and vegetables coming as they do from right around the world tomatoes always taste and smell their very best when they are at their freshest and local.

The following pictures give a little taste of all that summer goodness; each of these tomatoes is as packed with flavour as it is with colour!

 Market Fresh

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Summer JewelsMixed Varieties of Tomatoes

Summer Sunshine

A simple snack: slice fresh tomato, a slice of grilled ham or bacon, a slice of toasted Ciabatta ad  a sprinkle of sea salt together with a little basil and you are close to heaven!KG140525029bWeb1

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2014. All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

Schwarzwälder Schinken & Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict is, by far, my favourite breakfast dish but I am so often disappointed when I order it in a restaurant. Restaurants seem to specialise in making this most tasty of meals as sterile and as unattractive as possible. Traditionally the dish consists of an English Muffin (despite its name an essentially American concoction!) cut in two and each half is then topped with a round of ham, followed by a poached egg and finally a spoon or two of Hollandaise sauce. The result, while potentially tasty, is often bland and visually sterile – don’t believe me, do a Google image search, there are notable exceptions of course but the majority of the pictures can hardly be called appetizing!

So how to improve on this sorry state of affairs? First, ditch the muffin! A couple of slices of toasted Ciabatta make a far superior foundation for the dish while ensuring that there is enough bread to mop up the egg yolk and sauce without totally dominating it.

Next comes the ham and please, not slices of bland, watery processed ham, Iberian ham is perfect but expensive, back bacon works well but increasingly I find myself using smoked Black Forest ham (Lidl, for more details see the earlier post  https://brunchatgoodies.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/schwarzwalder-schinken-and-shopping-at-lidl/). This ham is amazingly versatile and after baking on a good quality (i.e. heavy and non-stick) metal tray together with a drizzle of olive oil at 190 oC for 8 -10 minutes or so you will have wonderfully thin crisp slices of intensely flavoured ham, (any spare slices should be kept in the fridge in a sealed box for several days until required).

Schwarzwälder Schinken

Slices of crisp oven baked ham make a perfect accompaniment for eggs benedict

 

 

Schwarzwälder Schinken

Slices of crisp oven baked ham make a perfect accompaniment for eggs benedict.

Tomatoes drizzled with a little olive oil are roasted in the oven, again at 190 oC, for around about 20 minutes; its worth preparing the tomatoes some 10 or so minutes before the eggs are ready to allow them to cool down, it is impossible to appreciate the flavour of a tomato no matter how good it is if it is scalding hot!

As for the eggs I have for long been a fan of both Burford Brown and Cotswold Legbar eggs from Clarence Court® (frustratingly these eggs are becoming increasingly hard to find in and around Glasgow and are no longer stocked at my local Morrisons, instead I have to trek right across the city to go to Waitrose or in the opposite direction to the Whole Food supermarket (who, for some as yet unfathomed reason sell Cotswold Legbar eggs lose). Both of these eggs have incredibly rich golden yolks and while the colour probably doesn’t add directly to the taste the difference between these eggs and so many others which are in comparison only pale imitations make me feel that these eggs do indeed taste better!

For the Hollandaise sauce I always “cheat” and buy mine ready-made from Maille which has the advantage of both convenience, being able to use just the amount you need while keeping the rest in the fridge for as long as 4 weeks. The Hollandaise is carefully warmed in a bowl over a pan of freshly boiled water which is then kept on a very low heat; be careful not to let the sauce get too hot or it will split.

Assemble the dish on a warm plate building up from the Ciabatta, followed by the Black Forest ham and Hollandaise sauce and roast tomatoes. Finish of with fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of oil from the bowl the tomatoes were cooked in.

Schwarzwälder Schinken

Schwarzwälder Schinken

Rich runny yolks are a must!

Schwarzwälder Schinken

Rich runny yolks are a must!

Enjoy!

A more detailed recipe can be found at: https://brunchatgoodies.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/eggs-benedict/

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013 All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

Black Pudding Burgers

Today is National burger Day or as “Burgerac so ably expressed it: “In order to celebrate the UK’s buzzing and burgeoning burger culture, Mr Hyde (the daily email newsletter from the same folks that create Shortlist magazine) has declared that the 27th August is National Burger Day here in the UK…”

So here is a burger with a difference or at least it is if you define a burger as a bread roll with some meat sandwiched in between two halves of a bread roll. In this case the meat is a slice of Nick Nairn’s superb black sausage (blood pudding; available from Morrison’s) lightly fried in olive oil and combined with a slice of tomato and a spoonful of scrambled egg in a miniature bread roll (Waitrose); a perfect breakfast!

Black Pudding Burgers

Nick Nairn Black Pudding KG130827006aWeb1 KG130827008a1Web1Perhaps I should have revised the order of the fillings and the this dish could have become the national dish of Germany or Belgium!

To learn more about Greenshoots Photography please follow the link

Good food – it’s all about sharing. ENJOY!

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013 All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

Slow Food Week and Wild Garlic

Escargot and Wild Garlic Pesto

The 1st of June sees the start of Slow Food Week here in the UK to find out more visit Slow Food UK website.

Meanwhile, very much in the theme of slow food I have been exploring the various uses of wild garlic. Wild garlic, the latin name for which is Allium ursinum, has a variety of other names including ramsons, buckrams, ramp, bear leek or bear’s garlic and it is native to Europe and Asia, typically growing in damp shady deciduous woods where it will form extensive stands. The plant typically is at its best during April and May, this year with the hard winter and spring in this part of Scotland it is appearing about a month later than usual. At its peak the fresh green leaves are accompanied by delicate white star like flowers and even without actually walking through the woods you can smell the characteristic garlic smell from some distance! All parts of the plant are edible but most usually it is the leaves that are used while the flowers make an attractive garnish.

Allium ursinum

To show you just how versatile this wonderful plant is here are just a few of the wild garlic  recipes published by other WordPress bloggers:

Grab the Garlic (pesto recipe)

Beech and Wild Garlic Canapés

Herby Wild Garlic Tagliatelle

A Daring Cooks Challenge: Wild Garlic Stuffed Trout en Croute

Mashed Potatoes with Fresh Wild Garlic

Spring Salad: Wild Garlic and Dried Cranberries

Goat Cheese and Wild Garlic Muffin

Wild Garlic Season (uses and storage ideas)

Spring Butter

Wild Garlic Soup

I was a Ramp Virgin until last Sunday

Mussels with Wild Garlic, Grape Tomatoes, and Guanciale

The Stink of Spring: Creamy Wild Garlic Baked Eggs

Wild Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms

and my personal favourite given the opening shot to this blog:

 A delicious way of keeping vampires at bay – Escargot with Wild Garlic

Give them a try they taste great!

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013 All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

Pasta With Love

Tagliatelle by “Pasta With Love”

Given that tomorrow is Valentines’ Day the title of this post my be regarded as a little contrived, however, the title has made itself in that it is the name of a small startup company which has been making a big impact on the farmers market scene in both Glasgow and Edinburgh ever since they first started business a little under a year ago. “Pasta With Love” is the work of a young couple, Duncan and Ness Fildes, who are clearly on a meteoric trajectory after winning a Great Taste Gold Taste Award for their linguine only three weeks after they started to trade!

“Pasta With Love” are to be found at the Mansfield Park Market in Glasgow every second and fourth Saturday each month and they also attend the markets at Queens Park, again in Glasgow as well as at Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Market. For more information visit their FaceBook page and see also Caroline von Schmalensee’s excellent article about “Pasta With Love” in her blog the “Edinburgh Foody”

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Tagliatelle with cheese sauce, tomato, mushrooms and bacon

This is a simple and quick dish packed with wonderful flavours and makes a perfect meal. For an even easier version use smoked Bavarian ham (Lidl) instead of bacon, a great taste and no need to cook it, though it is fantastic on pizzas!

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Serves 2 ready in 15 minutes.

Switch on the oven and set to 190oC, put a large pan of water, half full, on to boil, adding a glug of olive oil to the water; extra virgin (Is there any other? This will help stop the pasta sticking together once it has cooked). Wash a dozen or so freshly plucked basil leaves and 4 to 8 ripe tomatoes, depending on size, before slicing the tomatoes; crossways is best and leave to one side. Place 4 or 6 rashers of smoked bacon (pancetta or streaky bacon is fine too) in a baking tray lightly coated with olive oil and put in to the oven. Take 6 or so chestnut mushrooms, brush off any dirt and cut off the base of the stems before slicing vertically and placing in a frying pan with a good glug of oil and sauté. By this time the water for the pasta should be boiling, remove the saucepan lid and add the pasta, approximately 300g will be ample and boil for 3 to 4 minutes (4 to 5 minutes if cooking from frozen). While the pasta is cooking finish off the mushrooms by adding a dash of dark soya sauce and stir well. As soon as the pasta is ready tip it into a colander and allow to drain, covering with the saucepan lid. Return the pan to the stove and tip in 250ml of four cheese sauce (widely available from most supermarkets, alternatively make your own but we are keeping things simple!), reduce the heat to medium, tip in the pasta and mix thoroughly with the sauce. Put the plates in the oven to warm, (pasta hates cold plates!) while removing the bacon. Cut the bacon into stamp sized pieces and together with the mushrooms add to the pasta – cheese sauce mix and stir in. Take the plate from the oven and plate-up not forgetting to add the sliced tomato and basil! Season to taste and enjoy!

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Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013. All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and Restaurant Closed!

Before I start a nationwide panic I should say that I am referring to The Loch Fyne Oysters at Cairndow and not the nationwide chain of Loch Fyne Oyster Bars!

After days of snow, ice rain and wind Saturday dawned bright and clear and from my kitchen window I could see Ben Lomond capped with snow in the distance. The highlands were calling!

Ben Lomond and the mountains beyond

The roads were dry and the driving was easy as I headed north across the ErskineBridge and on through Dumbarton to the shores of Loch Lomond. From there it was on up to Tarbet and across to Arrochar and onwards along the A83 towards Rest and Be Thankful, though as I approached the climb up to Rest and Be Thankful there was a sanity check with a car lying upside down beside the road, a victim of a patch of ice which had formed where water had being draining across the road and frozen. Driving more carefully I made my way towards the summit, working my way through the road works which seem to be a permanent feature of this road where landslips regularly close this vital link to the west and north of Highland Scotland. At the summit I turned off along the B828 heading for Lochgoilhead and then turning off before reaching Lochgoilhead and heading along the B839 for the Dunoon road before rejoining the A83 for Cairndow and Inverary. Apart from giving a quieter and more scenic route to Loch Fyne my real purpose was to prospect for some new locations for taking photos along the streams and in the oak woods that are so much a feature of this route and while I found some good sites they will have to wait another month or two as the winter sun is still too low to reach into the deep valley bottoms to make photography really worth while. However, while I wasn’t to get any new pictures I was at least assured some oysters once I reached the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar. However, as I approached the shop the normally busy car park was almost deserted and the restaurant was clearly empty! Heading into the shop the reason soon became apparent the restaurant was indeed closed while the shop was preparing to close on Sunday in preparation for a two month long refit. The plan is that they will reopen in time for Easter. Luckily I had got there just in time and they still had oysters though I am at a loss as to know what I am going to do for the next two months!

Shop, Smokery and Restaurant, Cairndow has it all.

Clearly I will be counting the days not only for my regular supply to be re-established (mail order is still a possibility for the whole Loch Fyne range but at this stage at least ordering half a dozen oysters by mail order would seem a little decadent even for me!). It is also going to be very interesting to se how the remodelling works out. It has always seemed to me that both the shop and the restaurant fail to make the full use of their potential and while there is no doubt the demand for a full formal restaurant (the place is always busy) I think that there is an opportunity for a brasserie style restaurant offering a wide range of small dishes (just as Harvey Nichols does at their Forth Floor restaurant in Edinburgh) backed up by an extended range of products, especially seafood, in the shop. Anyway we will just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile I carried my oysters home and had a very special brunch of oysters au naturale together with a dash of Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon accompanied by a few slices of Ciabatta and a glass or two of Sauvignon Blanc.

Loch Fyne Oysters naturally!

Loch Fyne Oysters naturally!

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013. All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

Seared scallops, sautéed mushrooms & salad

Seared scallops, sautéed mushrooms & salad

Scallops are one of my all time favourite things to eat, or at least they are when they are cooked well and until recently that has been a rather hit and miss affair when it came  to my own cooking; all too often they ended up being boiled and not seared, which is something that should never be done to these wonderful delicacies. However, I have always taken comfort in that even professional chefs can sometimes also fail in cooking them, I especially remember some rather mean sized scallops being served to us in Rye but it was not so much their small size that we took issue with but the fact that they had been seriously overcooked on both sides giving a whole new meaning to the word seared, perhaps burnt would have been a better description! On another occasion we went to one of the restaurants on the edge of London’s Borough Market and while the scallops were perfectly cooked they were stone cold. On the first occasion we crunched our way through the scallops rationalising that as it was only one of a number of starter dishes that we had ordered it simply wasn’t worth the fuss and the inevitable delay if we complained. On the latter occasion we did complain only to be told that the dish was cold because we were sitting at the entrance to the restaurant and it was cold there! However, we persisted with our complaint and eventually we were grudgingly presented with a fresh serving on red-hot plates – all of which shows that professional cooks are fallible too but it does seriously beg the question how can dishes which are so obviously wrong ever be let out of the kitchen? I would love to hear about your experiences when you complain about a dish in a restaurant. And of course for all the “bad” dishes there have been many good ones and occasionally some really excellent ones: such as the small plates of scallops that you can buy as a take away from one of the fish stalls in Borough Market or here in Glasgow where Crabshakk serves bowls of sizzling scallops which are so fabulous that I have problems in ever ordering anything else when I visit the restaurant!

So what is the secret to cooking scallops? Well it’s two-fold, the scallops need to be fresh and as dry as possible and the pan needs to be really hot before you add the oil immediately followed by the scallops and they only take a couple of minutes to cook on each side. There are many ways to cook and enjoy scallops but as is so often the case with seafood the simpler it is the better it tastes and this dish is simplicity itself.

Seared scallops, sautéed mushrooms with a green leaf salad and a side dish of french fries

Total time 20 minutes, serves 2.

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 large king scallops with coral (there is an increasing tendency to sell scallops without their coral which I think is a great shame given the contrast in colour, taste and texture that they give) On this occasion I used vacuum packed scallops from MacMillan’s at the Partick Farmer’s Market which have the advantage of having a longer shelf life, up to one week (though I always use them within 2 days), compared to lose fresh scallops.
  • 6 to 8 chestnut mushrooms
  • green leaf salad (in this case a ready-made Florette “Duo” Lambs Lettuce & Ruby Chard)
  • oven french fries (McCain Crispy French Fries)
  • olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing
  • olive oil
  • dark soya sauce
  • salt (Maldon)
  • freshly ground pepper (try grinding some pepper corns in a pestle and mortar for a real pungent blast of pepper. Don’t over grind or you will end up with dust and a totally different taste experience!)

Chestnut mushrooms ready to  sauté

Method.

  1. Switch on the oven and turn it up to 190 degrees Centigrade and place a shallow sided baking / roasting tray in the oven and leave to warm up
  2. Meanwhile  rinse the scallops under cold running water, cut off the hard piece of muscle that you will find on one edge of the scallop and discard. If the scallops are especially large you may want to cut them in half but don’t try to cut the coral in half, leave it attached to one of the two discs that you have just created and pat the scallops dry with kitchen towel and leave to one side.
  3. Place the salad in a colander and rinse under the cold tap (I know that the salad is supposed to be ready to eat straight from the pack but old habits die-hard!) shake off any remaining water and set to one side.
  4. Prepare the mushrooms, cutting off the end of the stalk and brushing off any dirt from the cap, then slice using a sharp knife and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Once the oven has got to temperature remove the baking tray from oven and tip the fries into the tray ensuring that they are evenly distributed over the tray and place in the oven.
  6. Place a frying pan on the hob over a medium heat, add a glug of olive oil and once the pan is a hot tip in the sliced mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms moving them around the pan with a wooden spatula, ensuring that they are cooked on both sides. If required add more olive oil but don’t over do it we are not trying to deep fat fry them!
  7. While the mushrooms ar cooking place another non stick frying pan on the hob over a high heat and take the opportunity to give the fries a shake.
  8. Once the mushrooms are nearly cooked add a dash of dark soya sauce and work the mushrooms around the pan to make sure that they are all uniformly coated with soya sauce which will not only give them a lovely brown colour but will also give them an extra rich, meaty taste.Sautéed chestnut mushrooms
  9. Once the pan for the scallops is hot add a glug of olive oil (not too much!) to the pan followed by the scallops and season with salt and pepper. Shiggle the pan occasionally to ensure that the scallops don’t stick (I have yet to find a pan which is truly non-stick!). Once the scallops have been cooking for a couple of minutes they will be nicely browned on the lower side and they should be turned over, seasoned and cooked for a further 2 minutes (you may need to turn the heat down during the course of the cooking to make sure that the scallops are browned and not burnt!KG121209017aWeb1
  10. As the scallops finish cooking place the salad on the plates, drizzle with the oil and vinegar dressing and add the mushrooms and finally the scallops while placing the fries in a bowl as a side dish.

Serve and enjoy!

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Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2012. All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.