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 they are searching Greater Glasgow and the Clyde Valley for store cupboard secrets!
An area famed for international brands, such as Irn Bru and Tunnocks Teacakes, this Scottish region provides an endless array of pantry treats. The sheltered slopes of the Clyde Valley, with their well-drained soils and moderate rainfall, are home to dozens of orchards, yielding more than 53 varieties of fruit including apples, damsons and plums. Tomatoes are also regional favourites - particularly Clyde Valley Tomatoes, which sell across the country in markets, supermarkets and farm shops. Perhaps a bolognese or a casserole made with local tomatoes will hold the key to our favourite Scottish secret ingredient?
They say that Scottish people have a sweet tooth and those in the West certainly know how to bake to impress! With tablet and fudge producers like the Wee Fudge Company and Katie’s Homemade Tablet, Scottish people are spoiled for choice when it comes to using these ingredients in desserts. Also, Cracking Cookies in Motherwell have created a whole new kind of cookie using some unusual local ingredients, such as lemon, vanilla and honey, and orange and cardamom.
The public is being invited to reveal its 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 entrants who will be invited 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 team at Eat Drink Discover Scotland spoke with David Craig at Clyde Valley Tomatoes, who said: “Tomatoes have been grown in the Clyde Valley for well over 70 years, but the industry had just about disappeared until we restarted production in 2012. Our goal is to grow tomatoes that are the top of the class for aroma and flavour, and just so happen to be locally grown too.
“As far as Eat Drink Discover Scotland goes - any efforts made to promote hidden ingredients from Scotland's larder get a big thumbs up from us!”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.
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 the Greater Glasgow and the Clyde Valley blog please visit www.markgreenaway.com/news
For more information on the competition please visit www.eatdrinkdiscoverscotland.co.uk