On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond………………

We’re just back from a little break in Scotland. I’ve never seen Loch Lomond and there was a super deal at Cameron House, which houses one of Martin  Wishart’s restaurants. We went to his restaurant in Leith about 5 years ago and it was really special, but I’ve not been to Edinburgh since so there’s not been an opportunity till now. BD and I grabbed the chance as soon as we could.

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We left early on Thursday morning and got back Saturday afternoon. We had to get up at 5 to get the ferry and there was a howling gale and driving rain, which made us wonder if we’d make it at all. As soon as we boarded our vessel the skies cleared and the sun came out and we chased that lovely weather east that morning. We arrived at Loch Lomond far too early to check into the hotel, so we motored round one side of the Loch in a wonderfully old fashioned way. BD drove, I took the photos. At a suitable hour we presented ourselves at Cameron House Hotel which is perfectly placed on the edge of the Loch. There was a seaplane parked which brought back memories of a visit to Vancouver Island. There we flew by seaplane to a variety of places. I can’t imagine why we don’t use seaplanes in more places in the British Isles. It’s a wonderful way to travel as you are not very high up and the landscape below you presents itself like map.

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Dinner in Martin Wishart’s restaurant was everything we had hoped for, from the amuse bouche to the final petit four. I have in recent weeks been experimenting with chicken, but I have decided that chicken is best with its skin on. No amount of herbs, spices, bacon, lardons, lemons or any other ingredient makes chicken as delicious as some crispy skin. The chicken was amazing, as was the plaice, so rarely seen on a tasting menu, but I now wonder why?

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The next morning it was grey first thing, but later the weather improved during the day. part of which we spent in Edinburgh. One of the places we managed to see was the Georgian House in Charlotte Square. This is beautifully restored by the Scottish National Trust, but for me, the food historian, I was particularly happy having seen the kitchens in the basement.

DSC_0153rsDSC_0150rsOn the left you see the main hearth with a warming cupboard to the left, an open hearth with pot cranes and a smoke jack in the middle. To the right of the same picture you can see an open oven door, this is a biscuit oven. The most interesting thing for me was the cast iron charcoal bench to the right. You can see much older versions, but built in brick with small baskets that could hold the charcoal for when you wanted to make more delicate thing like a custard. But I have never seen one made in cast iron.

Now if they had had all this amazing kit in one kitchen, the heat would have been so great no human could have worked in there, but we were told that none of the pieces actually belonged to this house. I guess one thing it reflects is that our ancestors also wanted the latest kitchen when they bought a new house.

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