In a world of international cuisine, noodles and nachos, rice and cornmeal, it is refreshing to see a celebration of potatoes! Travel to Germany and their food markets have stalls solely specialising in potatoes. Switzerland and the Nordic countries also appreciate their tubers – indeed many of their seed potatoes originate from Scotland, such is the recognition of the quality of our varietals. For disease resistance and blight-free seed potatoes, those from northern Scotland are held in high esteem. One such potato is Kullen Favorit that is really Pentland Javelin in disguise!
So today we attended Strathmore Tattie Day. Strathmore is home to the Coupar Angus Growing Project that, in conjunction with Skea Organics, organized this inaugural event. This fertile valley is famed for its berries and tatties although the latter is arguably less well known – until now! There were probably a couple of hundred folk in the Coupar Angus Cycle Hub today including the BBC and The Courier, all of us treated to a talk, A Peruvian Tattie, by John Marshall and Q&A with Andrew Skea. What these two don’t know about spuds could probably fit on a postage stamp!
Having been a regular delegate at Slow Food Terra Madre where I met Peruvians with their ancient varietals of potato it was fascinating to see John’s photos showing how they are grown and nurtured. Lama dung plays a key role in the soil fertility there. Back on our wee Swedish croft it is goat poo! Bosse scythes and hangs our meadow hay for our friends’ organic goats and in return they bring us sacks of dung. Fair trade! There we grow Highland Burgundy Red, Arran Victory and Shetland Blacks in abundance, all on Ark of Taste, from Andrew Skea’s http://potatohouse.co.uk
Today we purchased Pink Fir Potatoes so by autumn they will be ready for harvest too. Our raised beds in Fife also give a good yield of heritage potatoes although they have to make do with our veg compost unless anyone has a goat handy!?
Now is a good time to get planting so this week I offered to drop off seed potatoes to fellow Slow Food Cook Alliance Members including…Errichel http://www.errichelhouseandrestaurant.co.uk
L’escargot Blanc https://www.lescargotblanc.co.uk
It is fun to connect and talk food. It is also wonderful to think the growing season is underway. Both Fred at L’ecargot and Carina Contini have substantial kitchen gardens and the beautiful Errichel is located on their farm amidst ducks and geese, Shetland Kye and Sheep, old landrace pigs and free-ranging hens. Come August/September there will home grown potatoes featured on their menus. It is a joy to collaborate with cooks and chefs who follow the seasons as do I.
…and here are some more seasonal ideas for you from SFG Members…..
Slow down the pace this Spring with an Afternoon Tea at Prestonfield. If you book to stay in a luxury bedroom this April they will even treat you to a complimentary Afternoon Tea. https://www.prestonfield.com
Enjoy Highland and Shorthorn Scotch Beef raised on grass from Macbeths of Forres…with an online shop for those not so handy. https://www.macbeths.com
New Member Thule Ventus is a producer of fine air dried salted seafish, produced the traditional way. His latest is https://saltcod.co.uk/blogs/news/new-250g-salt-dried-shetland-piltock-coley-saithe Known as ‘hard piltocks’ in Shetland and perfect for beautiful and delicious simple fishcakes, or the delight that is known in north-east Scotland as hairy potatoes. https://saltcod.co.uk
Are you organising a business dinner, company anniversary or your very own family celebration? Contini is an award-winning family business celebrating 100 years since their families moved to Scotland from rural Italy. Contini has three iconic city centre restaurants: Cannonball Restaurant & Bar with breathtaking views of Edinburgh Castle, Scottish Cafe & Restaurant within the Scottish National Gallery & Contini George Street in New Town. Their events team love a challenge so if you have an event brief but haven’t found the perfect venue yet… https://www.contini.com
What could be more Spring than say it with Bluebells from Sheila Fleet? Celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday 31 March with Sheila’s Bluebell collection. A perfect chance to say thank you to mothers we’re lucky to have with us, and those whose memory we cherish. Order online or check out stockists but if you happen to be in the area their café is wonderful. https://sheilafleet.com/shops/the-kirk-gallery-cafe-orkney
Easter at Walkers is very cute indeed! https://www.walkersshortbread.com/uk/
Always an inspiration whatever the season check out Demijohn for great Mother’s Day gift ideas https://www.demijohn.co.uk
Fabulous gift ideas for Mother’s Day, Easter and inspiring courses for cooks too at Ballintaggart https://ballintaggart.com