Mark Greenaway is on a mission – to discover the secret ingredients that Scottish cooks just simply have to have in the pantry. He has teamed up with foodie flagship event of the autumn, Eat Drink Discover Scotland, and this week (4th – 11th July) they are searching the store cupboards of the country’s capital and surrounding areas - Edinburgh and the Lothians.
The capital is an empire of eating experiences, partially due to the high-quality ingredients available to buy from an array of local farmer’s markets, such as Stockbridge and Morningside, that stock everything from venison, water buffalo, organic beef and lobster, to duck eggs, honey, chillies and artisan bakery treats. There is also a range of high quality local farm shops that stock everything from seafood, seasonal fruit and vegetables to beef and lamb.
The public are being invited to reveal their favourite Scottish ‘secret ingredients’ by detailing 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. Mark and the Eat Drink Discover team will draw up a shortlist of the best entries and will invite them to join him 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.
The Eat Drink Discover team spoke to Hopetoun Farm Shop, which has become a destination for Scotland's finest foods, and stocks fresh local produce from the surrounding Hopetoun Estate including beef, lamb and game as well as a huge range of Scottish cheeses and other food and drink from award winning local suppliers.
Hopetoun Farm Shop Manager, Elaine Shirley, said: "I think this a great initiative. While meat and game will form the basis for many a meal it is often the addition of a special ingredient that brings the dish to life and makes it unique to the cook. It could be our Dundee Orange Marmalade, Scotch Bonnet Whisky Sauce from the Whisky Sauce Company or Supernature's flavoured cold press rapeseed oils."
To show how one ingredient can make all the difference a Eat Drink Discover Scotland masterclass with chef Mark Greenaway will take place at Hopetoun Farm Shop on 10th July. The Ready, Steady Cook format will see Mark creating dishes from what’s in stock and what the aidience bring along showing how a little imagination can create great dishes.
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 masterclasses, such as chocolate workshops, cocktail making, game butchery and craft bakery.
Mark Greenaway said: "It’s all too easy to keep using the same ingredients for the same dishes, so this competition is all about discovering new ingredients and new ways of using them. I’ll be sharing my favourite products from the length and breadth of Scotland on my website’s blog, suggesting ways to make the most of them. But I want others to follow suit and share their favourites with me. This is what food and cooking should be about and, with Scotland’s truly amazing larder, I’m sure I’ll find it extremely difficult to choose a winner."
To read Mark's Edinburgh and the Lothians blog, please visit www.markgreenaway.com/news
For more information on the competition please visit www.eatdrinkdiscoverscotland.co.uk