thegrumblingtummy

"No love sincerer than the love of food"


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Coos and Ice Cream in Dumfries and Galloway

 

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Last weekend I was privileged to take part in a bloggers trip to celebrate all that is good about food and drink in Dumfries & Galloway.  As well as being able to spend some child free time with my best friend, I got the chance to meet some truly lovely fellow bloggers and a whole bunch of inspiring businesses across the region.  There are great things happening in Dumfries & Galloway people.  It is impossible to cram all of my discoveries into one blog,  therefore I am going to feed you in bite sized chunks over the coming days and weeks.

First of all let me tell you about one of my favourite parts of the grand trip – the Cream O’ Galloway farm tour and tasting.  The visitor centre is not open until Valentines Day but they opened up especially for us (felt like a VIP) to tell us all about their business.  Wilma Finlay and her marketing guru Helen led the tour with an awe-inspiring passion for their business.

The Finlay family have been farming in this beautiful spot since the 1920’s.  In the 40s they produced  farmhouse cheeses to help feed a hungry population.  However the mass production of cheddar in the 70s put a stop to that and they moved their focus onto milk.  Fast forward a decade or so when the Finlay family became passionate about organic farming and since the early 90s have been producing food in a more ethical and sustainable way.  Using their milk they have become one of the leading artisan ice cream makers in the UK.

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One thing that strikes you when you hear Wilma and Helen speak is their passion for the welfare of the herd and how that affects the quality of their produce.  I will admit that the vasectomised bull wandering around ‘having his wicked way’ with the cows on our visit was somewhat distracting but I still managed to learn a hell of a lot. I know you are keen to hear about the tasting but bear with ……  I need to share just how amazing Cream O’ Galloway is and it is incredibly important to find out a bit about where your food comes from.

They have a small herd and boy do they care about the welfare of these wee coos.  They are staging a quiet revolution in dairy-farming by trying their damnedest to keep the calves with their mums so that they can wean naturally whilst still milking the cows.  Cows normally are removed from their mothers after just one day and most conventional dairy farms think they are down right bonkers.  I think they are brave and fabulous!  They went all out with this theory on a 6 month trial and although it cost them dearly due to the massive amounts of milk the hungry wee buggers drank, it did convince them that a modified version of the model had to come to fruition.   The herd were happy, confident and less aggressive.  Their determination to make this happen in the future is brilliant and I can’t wait to find out how it goes.

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OK on to the tasting.  I was as happy as the proverbial pig in …. to be able to taste a whole range of Cream O’ Galloway ice creams.  The selection we were tasting all had a Scottish theme, celebrating the best of our food heritage. On offer in more than generous tasting pots were Raspberry, Cranachan, Sticky Toffee pudding, Salted caramel, whisky honey & oatmeal and of course vanilla.  I was in heaven, it is just the creamiest most gorgeous ice cream and is wholly responsible for putting my plans to ditch sugar on the back burner.  As one of my fellow bloggers commented “this is how ice cream should taste”. Every new flavour seemed to beat the last and in the end I was confused in the most pleasurable way.  I think however looking back that I may like to take a large pot of the whisky honey and oatmeal into a room armed with only a spoon and polish off the lot – sugar be damned!

There are absolutely no nasties lurking in this ice cream, only high quality natural ingredients – no artificial flavourings or colourings.  Their pasturised organic milk simply creates the creamiest ice cream I have ever tasted.

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Ice cream was expected, cheese was a wee bit of a bonus.  Cream O’ Galloway have gone back to their roots and have started to produce cheese again.  There were three of their 6 delicious cheeses on offer for tasting –  Rainton Round, Laganory and Carrick.  Laganory won the day for me and there is a big block of it in my fridge at the moment.  It is medium strength but with a lovely clean tang to it.  Rainton Round was a beautiful creamy cheese but perhaps a little bit too delicate for my palate – lovely all the same.  The Carrick was also a winner – bursting with sweet flavour.  It is lovely to see Cream O’ Galloway go back to their roots.

I think the reason that this business impressed me the most was the amount I have learned.  I have never really thought about the welfare of dairy cows before and just take my milk and indeed ice cream at face value. But most of all I was inspired by the sheer passion of Wilma Finlay and her team – and of course it tasted bloody marvellous too.

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Next up on the Dumfries and Galloway food extravaganza is the trip to Loch Arthur Camphill Community and the wonderful Kilnford Barns Farm Shop.

By the way you will find more on Dumfries and Galloway from the other bloggers on the trip.  Read their blogs on .  www.laretour.co.uk and www.thecosytraveller.co.uk.

Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015 is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland and Scotland Food & Drink.

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WHAT’S UP JANUARY?

Have you got the January blues?  Over here at Grumbling Tummy HQ I am feeling pretty chipper.  Despite being ‘under consultation’  (a cute new word for redundancy)  and being a few pounds heavier than I am comfortable with, all is pretty good.  As my granny said – the world is your oxter (its not a spelling mistake clever clogs – my granny was just a bit quirky)

So today I have decided to ramble on a bit about what is exciting me this January on the food front.

BIG BURNS SUPPER FESTIVAL IN DUMFRIES

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I am beyond excited to be heading off this weekend on my first ever ever bloggers trip,  visiting Dumfries for a weekend of food and tourism.  It is eagerly anticipated by both myself and my trusty assistant for the weekend (Miss P T who is along for the ride).  I actually can’t think of anything I would rather do than be away with my bestie tasting lovely food, seeing beautiful sights and meeting other bloggers .  The only thing jeopordising my happiness  is the snottery coughing husband and daughter at home.  I am trying to outrun the cold by dosing myself up on echinacia and vitamin C as well as generally trying to avoid my family where I can.  So far so good!

You may be aware that In 2015, Scotland will be celebrating the ‘The Year of Food and Drink’, showcasing the wonderful local produce and gastronomy we have to offer, from the land to the larder.  This trip celebrates all that is wonderful about Scottish food as well as well as marking the birth of the Bard at the Dumfries Big Burns Supper Festival. There is lots going on in Dumfries on Rabbie’s birthday weekend.  For more information on both the Big Burns Supper and Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink click here.  Big Burns Supper 2015 and here  Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink 2015.  There will of course be lots of blogging and tweeting galore around this trip – so more to follow.

CURRY NIGHT IN 

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January also marks the grand ‘curry night in’ at the De Vries household.  V who is a truly wonderful cook has been travelling back and forth to Dubai for a while and has accumulated an array of wonderful spices.  Whilst teasing me with talk of these powdery delights I announced a curry night round at their gaff.  Nothing like inviting ourselves.  I expect great things, especially as Santa gifted V the wonderful Persiana cook book for Christmas.

LET THEM EAT CAKE

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The best bit about my cakes is licking the spoon before anything hits the oven.  They always taste OK but a light and fluffy texture eludes me, besides I just don’t have the patience to get it spot on.  With that in mind I depend on the wonderful work of www.scottishperfections.com to create special occasion cakes for me. They are based in Fife and made this wonderful cake for my Dad’s 80th birthday lunch.  I have commissioned a Tinkerbell cake for my gals 5th birthday and can’t wait to see it.  B tuts a lot and would just as happily buy a cake from Asda,  but I can’t quite explain the pleasure I get from these works of wonder – and besides they taste so much better.

ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER DIET

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Despite claiming that all diets suck and that I am never every going on another diet ever ever again.  I am going on a diet.  I know, I know.  This time it is the turn of the GI diet.  A bit retro these days but it is pretty much sensible eating (which I have a bit of an issue with).  Clearly beginning this in earnest will be after the weekend detailed above.  I did this diet before and did quite well but that was back in the day when willpower seemed to be part of my mental make up.

For those of you who live under a stone and have not heard about the low GI diet, this is what expert Patrick Holford has to say about it.

“The secret to successful weight loss isn’t starving yourself; nor is it limiting your food choices or following a rigid pattern of eating. It is simply keeping your blood sugar balanced and your food choices healthy. This will not only help you to lose weight, but will also give you more energy and plenty of welcome side effects, such as better skin, improved digestion and enhanced mood.”

Here are the 5 commandments I need to try to follow

1. Eat plenty of fiber-rich vegetables , beans  and fruit
2. Limit potatoes to small side dishes.
3. Choose grains in their least processed states. For example, replace refined and white breads with stone-ground whole wheat, sourdough, or pumpernickel. Swap jasmine and arborio rice for basmati, brown, or long grain. Instead of processed cereals like cornflakes and instant oatmeal, stick with old-fashioned oats .
4. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages, and drink no more than one cup of 100 percent fruit juice daily.
5. Consume protein and fat at most meals and snacks.

CLEAN EATING

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Dumfries marks a haitus in my attempts to eat clean, however after I have had my fill on that trip I will be back on the wagon and will aim to bring you some cleanish recipes.  This will kick off with a warming butter bean stew brought to us by the wonderful chef at Energise Body & Soul.  These guys run a luxury retreat in beautiful Northumberland and spend their time getting lucky residents into shape through healthy and nutritious meals,  bespoke fitness plans,  heaps of fresh air and hot tub relaxation. I hope to try a retreat myself in the coming months  …………  but for now I will cook!

 

In the mean time if you know of anybody who wants to hire an enthusiastic part time marketeer then you know where to find me!!  Happy rest of January guys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Boo to Winter and other Smoothies

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I  am slowly emerging from the food fest that was December and have spent a week eating cleaner and leaner.  I have been trying to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in my diet and limit the sweets, biscuits and chocolates.  I was doing rather well until I was forced to exterminate a packet of Thornton’s chocolates one afternoon after attempting to consume ‘just the one’.  It took another four chocolates and creeping guilt to realise that drastic action was needed – chocolates meet bin.

Smoothies are a good way of boosting your fruit and veg in a rather pleasant fashion and this week I came up with a couple of concoctions which hit the spot. ‘Boo to Winter’ has tropical notes and if I wear a t-shirt and close my eyes in a centrally heated room whilst drinking it I can go someway to banishing the winter blues.  The ‘Avo-Berry’ Smoothie is ridiculously creamy due to the inclusion of avocado and a great way of getting something green into the wee grumbling tummy.

BOO TO WINTER

Chopped up flesh of one mango (I actually used a packet of  fresh mango from the supermarket chiller)

One banana

Cup of coconut milk

Half a cup of natural yogurt

Blitz and pour

(this is not too thick so good with a straw.  If you like your smoothies thicker then add some extra banana)

 

THE AVO-BERRY

One banana

Cup of blueberries

Cup of yogurt

Half an avocado

Blitz and pour

(this is a thick one – rather like a really creamy yummy yogurt.  If you want it a bit thinner and straw friendly add a splash of water or milk to the mix though not too much)

 

 

 

 


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THE SEVEN MEALS OF CHRISTMAS

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Christmas really was a festival of gluttony round at the Grumbling Tummy HQ.  It started off well but ended with both myself and B rolling around the lounge in a fug of chocolate lethargy, lifted only by the occasional cherry brandy.

I have actually been far too busy actively eating to blog but here is a quick catch up on how I managed to gain half a stone in 2 weeks.  Eat your heart out Katie Hopkins.

THE GALS LUNCH – CAFÉ MARLAYNE, EDINBURGH http://www.cafemarlayne.com/

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It all began with a rollicking gals lunch at the wonderful Café Marlayne in Thistle Street.  It’s a tiny bistro style restaurant and on that particular Sunday afternoon it was occupied (in the main)  by our party of girls in Christmas cracker crowns.  The food was rather overshadowed by lots of chat, general over excitement and wine.  You can read my review of Café Marlayne from a previous and more sedate occasion here: http://wp.me/p2NKGd-gQ

On the Menu: I dined on Boudin Noir with sautéed potatoes, bacon and mustard dressing.  I know that the boudin noir is actually from France and it is really lovely.  This was followed by a gorgeous beef dish which was melt in the mouth (the wine has impaired my recall of the name of said beef dish but it was delish) served up with seasonal vegetables.

DATE DAY – OROCCO PIER, SOUTH QUEENSFERRY  http://www.oroccopier.co.uk/

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The traditional Christmas date day with B came a mere two days later.  Bravely fighting sinusitis I agreed to earn my lunch by walking across the Forth Road Bridge to our lunch venue – Orroco Pier in South Queensferry. The star of the show at this stylish restaurant is without a doubt the view.  It is nothing short of breath-taking.  We had the best seat in the house and watched the sun set and the rail bridge light up as we enjoyed our feast.  buoyed up by Nurofen with codeine (genius).

On the Menu: we kicked off the date with a mulled cider for me and a mulled beer for B.  The Mulled beer won the day both for being unique and for its spiced honey notes.  After an acceptable starter of prawns I moved onto a traditional turkey lunch.  This is the only time I ate turkey over the whole season and it was lovely.  It was all finished off with an enormous cheese plate which included a delectable runny brie.  All washed down with prosecco and wine.

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THE BIG DAY – THE RUSSELL HOTEL, ST ANDREWS  http://www.russellhotelstandrews.co.uk/

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Feeling a little rotund at this point, our next big day out was the 25th– Merry Christmas.  Following my tradition of eating scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and oodles of lemon juice, we made our way via the folks to the Russell Hotel in St Andrews. The Russell is the sort of hotel that inspires loyalty.  On booking we requested the same table as 2013 and lo and behold so did the threesome next to us.  It was deja vu but in the best possible way. My only complaint about this stonking 4 course meal is that ALL of the portions were way too big.

On the Menu:  It went something like this: duck liver and plum pate served with home-made oatcakes which were curiously sweet but rather nice.  I suspect this oatcake would have been just as happy dipped in a cup of tea.  This was followed by a spiced sweet potato soup which was pretty good but a wee meal in itself.  I then moved on to Roast Ribeye of Prime Scottish Beef with a Wild Mushroom, Shallot & Madeira Jus & Yorkshire Pudding.  This was divine and melt in the mouth.  Feeling it a bit I considered skipping dessert but in for a penny in for a pound as they say – bring on the Christmas pudding complete with sparkler!  All washed down with copious amounts of red wine.  Why was my waist band digging in I pondered?  Why indeed.

BOXING DAY LUNCH WITH THE DE VRIES CLAN –  SWEET CHESTNUT, DUNFERMLINE

 http://www.sweetchestnutpubdunfermline.co.uk/

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Oh but we were nowhere near finished yet.  A trip to our local carvery was the main event on boxing day along with our friends and assorted children.  I had quite a lot of wine at this lunch  …… because I could! The relatively new Sweet Chestnut which is part of the Marstons pub chain, serves perfectly good fayre in a child friendly environment which was just what we needed.

On the Menu: I wanted to have breaded mushrooms with a garlic dip however most of the little shrooms were naked by the time I ate them.  My darling daughter having stolen their crispy coating by the time they got to my mouth. They were followed by a rather pleasant vegetarian fandango with all the trimmings including an oversized Yorkshire pudding.

SPOT OF LUNCH DARLING – KUSHIS, DUNFERMLINE http://www.khushis.com/

On the 27th I was beginning to experience that toxic feeling where everything is just a little bit pudgy and out of kilter.  Remember that in-between these meals out there was the chocolate mountain at home. However I did not feel bad enough to argue with “shall we have a spot of lunch at Kushis darling”.  I like Kushis as a lunchtime venue – they do a cracking deal and thankfully the portion sizes are relatively small.

On the Menu: vegetable pakora and popadoms of course followed by chicken korma.  Washed down with a bottle of beer.

PARENTAL VISIT  – THE ADAMSON,  ST ANDREWS  http://theadamson.com/

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A visit to my parents on the 29th marked my favourite meal out over the whole holiday season.  The Adamson in St Andrews is just a bloody good restaurant with amazing food which is absolutely consistently fabulous every time you go.  It looks the business, the staff are fantastic, the presentation of the food is sublime and it always tastes like heaven.  I cannot recommend the Adamson enough.

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On the menu: I felt smug starting with their superfood salad  – this is a veritable health explosion of beetroot, walnuts, squash, quinoa, lentils, pomegranates and yoghurt dressing. I then ordered the blade of beef with confit potato,  pear tart, spinach and red wine sauce.  This rendered me speechless.  Not an easy thing to achieve.

AULD YEAR’S NIGHT, THE PETTINGER THOMSONS, EDINBURGH

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Food and entertainment on this auspicious occasion was provided by the Pettinger Thomsons.  We started off by popping in to the free family celidh at the Chambers Street Museum – huge amounts of fun.

There was good food, party poppers, happy children, plenty of fizz, giggles, fireworks and slight hangovers the next day.  All good!

On the menu: We started with two of my favourite foods – scallops and chorizo – yum! Mr Pettinger had been busy in the kitchen the day before preparing the main event and  his now famous beef bourguignon which was served with Miss Thomsons equally famous potato dauphinoise.  This was accompanied by green beans and a delicate swedge of puffed pastry.  After a fair smattering of prosecco (we brought along a magnum) I was the only one with space for homemade sticky toffee pudding with oodles of sauce and cream.

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So that was it for eating out and being entertained – wafer thin mint anybody?

I didn’t even include the Christmas drinks on the 20th where I gorged on little spiced Thai chicken sticks and camembert or the day when I invited the same friends around to feast on mince pies, chocolate marzipan, cinnamon stars and wine.

Now as wonderful as it has been a line has finally been drawn.  Enough is enough.  My waist line is bulging (and that is putting it politely), my hair has lost its shine and despite a very posh new moisturiser my skin is flagging.  As much of 75% of your body is made up of water I believe, however I fear that most of my water has been replaced with baileys, prosecco, red wine, cherry brandy and amaretto.  I am done!

Christmas was a whole heap of tasty fun but like any ride it must come to an end.  In January I am ditching the nonsense and trying to eat clean rather than down right dirty.  Expect the blog to fill up with clean eating, nutritious soups and stews, refreshing smoothies and salads with pizzaz.

Keep tuned in!