Mark Greenaway has teamed up with foodie flagship event of the autumn, Eat Drink Discover Scotland, and together they’re on a mission – to discover the secret ingredients that Scottish cooks simply could not cook without and this week they’re searching the corners of store cupboards in Dumfries and Galloway.
With a surprisingly warm climate due to warm currents from the Gulf Stream, and frequent rain showers, the South West of Scotland makes for a perfect environment for quality farm produce. Famed for its rolling grassy terrain, the area is home to an abundance of sheep and many towns have thriving independent butchers. Could a secret ingredient be used in a sauce that accompanies Scottish lamb?
The good grass also produces great milk and cheese and the area plays host to an number of quality cheese companies, such as Galloway Cheddar and Loch Arthur Creamery, which are renowned across Britain for consistent quality. Perhaps a lasagna or four-cheese pasta would be incomplete without a certain type of cheese from this neck of the woods?
Grass, however, is not the only good thing to come out of the area’s fortunate climate. Large amounts of strawberries, raspberries and tomatoes from the area are sold all over Britain. Would a mouthwatering Dumfries and Galloway jam taste quite the same made from berries grown elsewhere in the country?
The public is being invited to reveal its favourite Scottish ‘secret ingredients’, by telling the team at Eat Drink Discover Scotland what they are and where they’re purchased. The criteria range from herbs to condiments, alcohol to meats and even vegetables - providing they are either grown or produced in Scotland. Applicants are being encouraged to be as unpredictable, creative and unusual as possible. The best entrants who will be invited to join Mark in a ‘cook off’ at the event, where the winner will be chosen. The producer or retailer who supplied the winner with their ‘secret ingredient’ will be given a free exhibition stand at next year’s event.
Chirstie Baird from A Taste of Galloway, Laughtmuirside Farm, Thornhill said: “The emphasis of artisan foods in Dumfries and Galloway has been a huge priority in our region. Through past projects, such as ‘savour the flavours’, our region’s food producers, restaurants and retailers have been able to connect and provide a real foodie experience for those living in our region and tourists visiting.
“Our ‘secret ingredient’ is our Galloway Free Range Goose. Every year we produce a small amount of birds for the Christmas table and they are the free-est of the free range and graze the surrounding fields of our farm and fed our own home grown feed of oats and barley. A real secret ingredient for anybody's Christmas dinner!”
The Eat Drink Discover Scotland team also spoke to Castle MacLellan who have been making pate in the artist town of Kirkudbright in Dumfries and Galloway for over 30 years. Sarah Turnbull from Castle MacLellan said: “We stay true to our Scottish roots and source only the best local ingredients to create our pate range. We think our sumptuous Orkney Crab pate could be a ‘secret key ingredient’ to a Crab Fishcake recipe - infused with a luxurious blend of Orkney crab, enriched with crème fraiche and enhanced with lemon juice and locally produced Galloway mustard.
“Eat Drink Discover Scotland is a great initiative as it’s all about showcasing regional, top quality food in Scotland to all lovers of fine food and ingredients.”
Eat Drink Discover Scotland, which is taking place at the Royal Highland Centre between 12th and 14th September, will bring to life the rich diversity of Scotland’s brimming larder by featuring exhibitors from the length and breadth of the country. One for the foodies, it will be offering something for every palate, plate and price range and, with a regional focus, it will be providing opportunities for smaller rural food producers to share centre stage with more established brands. The weekend will also include demonstrations and master classes such as chocolate workshops, cocktail making, game butchery and craft bakery.
To read Scottish Borders blog please visit www.markgreenaway.com/news
For more information on the competition please visit www.eatdrinkdiscoverscotland.co.uk