Friday, February 17, 2012

New Shanghai Restaurant - Ballater

While in the Highlands at Glenshee we stopped at this nice litle chinese in Ballater. We were fed up with rubbish Scottish restaurants (see my review on Fern) and decided hey a Chinese would work. We had Chow Mein and ate it in the car and it was all we wanted. Not the best Chinese at all, but wholesome and tasty and hit the spot for a quick lunch on the road.

The Fern Cottage restaurant, Pitlochry

A place to avoid I'm afraid. Lovely physical presence but the food vastly inferior. I had steak pie and it was all from a can or processed including the very poor pie crust. Plain boiled vegetables no flavour. We all tried to order mussels on their "daily special| menu only to be told "oh we didn't get any today" why are they on the daily special menu then???
My wife had ravioli so bad we complained and they took it off the bill, the mushroom filling was awful and we suspect the ravioli and the sauce were from Tesco.
My son had fish and chips which was not so bad as the rest, but they clearly don't cook fresh food and I wouldn't go again.

2012 - What Grows in the Borders

Well its the planning your vegetable garden time again. We have now had 2 years here and have a good idea what works and what doesn't. First potatoes, they grow but we have been disappointed with the potatoes bursting while cooking. Besides Fawside farm around the corner sells huge bags 25kl of lovely potatoes for 5 pounds, two last all winter.

Broad beans and onions are very good here as is garlic. They are all crops that require little attention too, so we will be putting these in a lot. Also carrots are good (no fly), and runner beans but only one row of each. Last year we planted asparagus so may get a little this year. We also will plant asparagus peas to see what they are like.

On the fruit side we have plenty of good apples plus raspberries, gooseberry and strawberry. We did try blueberry but not too successful and expensive to buy.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eddies Seafood fish shop Edinburgh

Again a Rick Stein recommendation but this time a good one. Eddies is in Roseneath st and not easy to find but well worth the effort as they have very fresh fish and are most helpful. We bought some lovely fresh sea bass, ling and monkfish. The have the fish in boxes and you can choose your fish and they will clean. Prices good too.

The Shore restaurant, Leith

Came highly recommended by Rick Stein, must have changed since he went. Went for lunch yesterday and was disappointed. We had mussels and scallops for a starter and the scallops were nicely done in butter and with panchetta, the mussels were Ok but my wife said the sauce (white wine and cream) had very little wine and was just milky. As a main course we both had the fish special, mine lemon sole whole and hers john dory. The plate was awash with butter and oil so everything was swimming and oily. The fish was a bit overcooked but not much and overall ok although the John Dory was dry. The sauce was a lot of chopped fresh herbs with concasse of tomato and it totally overpowered the fish. The vegetables were French carrots oand sauteed potato. Again carrots a bit strong for fish, and the problem with the excessive oil was that everything was wet and not nice. The bread and butter was lovely and the staff tried hard, but we went home wishing we had spent 60+ pounds for lunch at some other restaurant.
The other thing we notice about supposed "classy" restaurants is the inordinate amount of time everything takes. We got our starter quickly but then the main took ages and even after when we asked for the bill it took a long time to come. There was no snap in the place, it wasn't a "leisured time" thing it was a can't be bothered thing.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Glenshee, Breamar and Ballater

Our family took a 4 day trip to Glenshee and stayed in a nice little cottage on an estate (Dalmunzie) at Spittal of Glenshee. We had a great time although it was quite warm at 4 degrees. The Glenshee ski resort is not at all like Ben Nevis or Aviemore which are much more tourist oriented. Glenshee is just for skiers and I think if you are a skier a much better experience as right from the road both sides there are ski lifts going straight to the slopes. We had a great time sledging right off the road on nice 50-100ft slopes of good snow.
We visited Breamar and Ballater and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. It is apptly named Royal Deeside as the high quality is evident everywhere. The cottage was a bit rough and ready, but cozy and quaint with log fires so we had nice evenings. We can highly recommend Dalmunzie and the friendly staff, I have put a link below to their web site),  We also saw a good 50 stags and deer on the hills a wonderful sight.

Link to Dalmunzie

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Heavy Snow February 4th

Snow started falling this morning around 9.30 and it has thickened and increased from there. We now have snow covering the ground and still falling heavily at 11.40am.