Scotland, here we come

Scotland, here we come

We leave tomorrow for a week in Scotland leaving behind the ragweed and pollen of a long, hot summer in Texas for cooler fall temperatures in the U.K.  We are staying at the Scotsman Hotel in Edinburgh for the first part of the week before heading to Glasgow and a stop in Stirling via train.

We have a full itinerary including time tickets to tour the Edinburgh Castle on Monday as well as dinner reservations at Tuk Tuk Street Food and a class at the Crossbill Gin School in Glasgow on Wednesday.

For RM and me, Edinburgh must sees include:

  • Walk the Royal Mile
  • Tour St. Giles Cathedral
  • Coffee at the Elephant House – birthplace of the writing of Harry Potter
  • Princess and Victoria Street for shopping
  • Greyfrier’s Church
  • Old Town
  • Tom Riddell Tomb and Terrier Dog Bobby
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Hike Arthur’s Seat
  • Tea at Clarinda’s
  • Walk through Dean Village and the Royal Botanical Garden
  • Cadenheads Whisky Shop
  • Hike up Carlton Hill
  • Drinks at Port O’Leith
  • Hit a golf ball at Brunstfields Links
  • Dinner at Mussel Inn
  • Sip a pint at Sheep Head Inn
  • Tour palace of Holyroodhouse
  • Find the archivist’s garden
  • Walk along the Water of Leith
  • Listen to live music at Whistle Binkies

In Glasgow, we hope to do a walking tour of the Mackintosh Architecture and tour the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.  Stirling highlights include the city’s castle as well as the Wallace Monument.

We are packing rain gear and good walking shoes as we are expecting some rain and temperatures in the 40’s, 50’s and maybe low 60’s. Bon voyage.

Artisan Cured Meats

Artisan Cured Meats

Besides learning to preserve foods by canning and fermenting, I am now experimenting with curing different types of meats to build more flavor and learn new techniques.  Five weeks ago, I bought two pork tenderloin and following Jacque Pepin’s recipe for saucisson, a dried salami similar to lean prosciutto. I cured them in my refrigerator.  It was so easy and yummy as a snack, similar but softer than beef jerky, or added to the top of a pizza. You just have to be patient enough to let them cure for several weeks in your refrigerator and remember to turn them over every once in a while. Link to recipe:  Pork Tenderloin Salami

Next, inspired by our recent visit to Sonoma Valley, I tested a pork pate recipe with great results infused with dried cherries and hazelnuts.    I had a large pork butt and extra pork fat in my chest freezer so I put them both to great use. At Fiesta Grocery Store on 8th Avenue, I ask the butcher for extra pork fat and she packaged it up for me for a very minimal cost.  I used my food processor with the metal knife blade to chop up the partially frozen meat.  I also have a grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer that works great too.  The pork and the fat must be cold, nearly frozen to grind well.

I was guided by a recipe I read from the proprietor of The Girl and the Fig, a small french-inspired cafe located on the small square in the town of Sonoma, California.  I purchased her cookbook as a souvenir of our gastro journey though the valley this summer. This recipe makes a lot of pate by the way so plan to divide and freeze portions for later.  I don’t have a pate mold so I used a loaf pan and divided it vertically down the middle with a thin piece of wood that RM made for this purpose.  You can also use small loaf pans for individual pate molds if you like that look. Read more