Tag Archives: seafish scotland

What’s in season – August

14 Aug

Inspired by Brendan MacNeill’s wonderful photograph of runner beans from my garden, here is what’s in season, with emphasis on what’s available locally. Be inspired!

Runner Beans

Runner Beans

Vegetables and Fruit

Beetroot (look out for the wonderful yellow,  orange and striped varieties), chard, cherries (a few still available on the farmers’ market from Perth); courgettes, fennel, gooseberries, runner beans, raspberries, tomatoes (check out all the wonderful heritage varieties), potatoes, onions and from further afield, apricots, nectarines, peaches and melons.

Meat and Fish

Crab, langoustines, plaice, scallops (look out for hand dived),  John Dory, poultry (Poussin, duck and chicken spotted at the farmers’ market), lamb, squid

Also look out for delicious cheeses, including mozzarella and ricotta if you’re lucky!

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Seafish Grants: How creative could we be?

12 Aug
Fresh Fish

Fresh Fish

This news intrigued me, the Seafish authority is looking for innovative ideas to apply for funds from the 2011 Seafish Project Fund of up to £1million. They are “particularly interested in applications for grants that cover seafood marketing and consumer communication, or those that promote the nutritional benefits of seafood”.

Now, setting aside the interesting amount of money available when there are government cuts bandied about everywhere, I was wondering how creative us foodies could be and get involved.  How would you promote our wonderful seafood in Scotland? Or indeed seafish in the UK? It seems to suggest that anyone can apply!

Initial thoughts:

  • Schools programme – ideal opportunity for education on nutrition, environment, ecology, cooking, budgeting …
  • Social media campaigns to promote sales, awareness, recipes etc.
  • Appearance at local events on a regular basis (why are Seafish featuring events in Hong Kong on their site?)
  • Work with restaurants to source all fish from marine stewardship approved sources –
  • Set up new supply chains
  • Appoint a well-known ambassador for Seafish – food critic, blogger, chef??
  • Hands on sessions on how to cook fish

Just a few to get going, I’ll add more as I think of them. Let me know what you think and let’s make it happen!

Promote our farmer’s market Edinburgh, not hide it

7 Jul

Our Farmers’ Market celebrated its 10th anniversary last weekend (although the actual date was back in June). It’s hard to remember back to a time before farmers’ markets, when it was nigh on impossible to shop for local produce unless you happened to live near a supplier. Scotland’s produce is now prized at top restaurants here and abroad. Many new food businesses have started (and thrived) on the back of regular attendance at markets.

Many of us have been lucky enough to visit farmers’ markets in Europe and further afield. I’ve recently had the opportunity to visit the largest of Portland’s farmers markets with more than 200 stall holders and thousands of purchasers. They put ours to shame – we have around 65 (didn’t this number used to be higher?)

Mozarella Cheese at Edinburgh Farmers' Market

Mozarella Cheese at Edinburgh Farmers' Market

I am so frustrated with our market here. The company running the market often seems to be far keener on promoting foreign markets fetching up in Castle Street selling overpriced produce than ensuring that the farmers’ market thrives. We have some truly world-class suppliers, but who is singing their praises?

Where was the support needed throughout all the building work at the Usher Hall that reduced the number of parking spaces making it difficult to park anywhere near the market with the exception of the overpriced NCP car park (how many shoppers actually want to park for 2 hours and for more than £5?). As the number of permit holder places increased, where was the encouragement for shoppers to come to the market?

Did anyone log how much less the stall holders received each week? Special Saturday parking could be introduced, or validated parking if you shop at the stalls. Where is the support for those who come on their bikes?

Do you remember the last time you actually saw some advertising for the market? Did you even know that the 10th birthday was being celebrated? Market it to the locals, not visitors – they’ll not be buying meat to taken home with them.

In Portland, you can use your credit card to purchase items (by a token system); there’s a vegetable valet where you leave your heavy bags of vegetables then drive by in your car later to pick up; a lively interactive website (you can find where your chosen stall is located); token matching (for those on lower incomes), a full programme of appropriate events and much more.

Portland Farmers' Market

Portland Farmers' Market

So we will continue to brave the parking problems and visit Edinburgh’s market as often as we can. On Saturday we found cherries from Perth (yes – grown in pots in a polytunnel), strawberries, tomatoes, fresh fish, meat, vegetables, eggs, cheeses, German baking, Italian baking … – oh and also a Ceilidh band and an MC at 9 am in the morning (hmmm).

Come on Edinburgh, you can do SO much better. What do you think?

Compare and contrast:

Edinburgh Farmers’ Market (not updated since mid June, no mention of last weekend’s activities!)

Portland Farmers’ Market


Let’s talk business – Gandolfi Fish, Glasgow

5 Jun
Langoustine at Gandolfi Fish

Langoustine at Gandolfi Fish

Many, many years ago a friend of mine took me to Café Gandolfi in Glasgow. I still remember the gratin dauphinoise I had with great fondness but have never been back. Last week I found myself staying overnight in a hotel on the very road that Café Gandolfi is on. But lo! It has a young sibling: Gandolfi Fish. This is where I took my vegetarian business advisor for dinner. He knows me well and is very tolerant so it was not as dumb a choice at it may seem.    

The restaurant was all dark wood and straight surfaces, both stylish and cozy. The main room has a number of low walls and baffles to separate out dining areas. We got a very comfortable booth in the back. All the tables were set for two – it was a Tuesday night – and most were taken by half seven. The service was friendly and cheerful, the ambiance easy-going yet intimate, but I want to tell you about the food.    

Getting started    

The menu offered one vegetarian option for each course which is plenty for a fish restaurant. The variety of seafood on the menu is, after all, the main reason to visit this restaurant. I started with the smoked salmon with capers because I thought its earthy flavours would go nicely with the Pinot Noir we were having. It did. Tiny capers, finely chopped red onion and rocket provided a tasty bedding for the salmon. Not a fan of onion soup, the vegetarian starter, my guest abstained and focussed on mapping my goals for the following day’s networking event.    

The main event    

The evening’s special was langoustine with mayo and chips. Too good to resist. (It was lucky for my pocket that they didn’t have lobster that day.) The langoustine came straight from the pot, actually too hot to handle. I got four enormous, juicy, sweet and well-fleshed critters on my plate. I took my time picking the flesh out of tail, leg and claw, slurping contentedly and trying my best not to shower my guest in bits of seafood as he helped me look at my business in a new light.    

The mayo was delicate and the chips fluffy like good roast potatoes. I didn’t have much of either – the langoustine were too good to need sauce and too big to need a side dish. The chips came in a separate bowl so I could share them with my guest, whose spinach and mushroom pithivier – a round puff-pastry pie, or pasty – was tasty but too quickly devoured, as was his side of butter-cooked courgette.    

Too full for dessert    

Too full for dessert I finished with a glass of Muscat and my guest with a glass of port. The bill came to £84. (My main and the Pinot Noir accounted for just over half of that. Crustaceans of that quality do not come cheap.) As business dinners go, I think it was a huge success: we had a good chat, great food and I came away with a lot of good advice and a plan for the future. Part of that plan is a return visit to Gandolfi Fish.    

Restaurant details    

Gandolfi Fish, 84-86 Albion Street, Glasgow
Phone: 0141 552 6813
@cafegandolfi

Fine foods in Edinburgh

2 Jun
Fred of l'Escargot Bleu

Fred of l'Escargot Bleu

 

Taste of Edinburgh, Frederic Berkmiller of owner l’Escargot Bleu is on the Peugeot stand for his first ever live demonstration: steak tartare using rosy veal. A brave choice on both accounts perhaps? Or perhaps on a mission to change the eating preferences of Edinburgh? After all, the restaurant recently received attention for serving horse meat. Continue reading