Newspaper Food Section Wednesday
But first...a little appetizer about Scotland....
Scotland is known for it's arts and it's parties. Put them together for a whole lot of fun. There are now twelve international festivals each year in Edinburgh alone: apart from the main festival there is the vast Fringe Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival (the largest of its kind in the world), the famous Edinburgh Tattoo, the Children’s Festival, the Science Festival, the Film and Television Festival, the Jazz and Blues Festival and the multicultural Edinburgh Mela.
Aberdeen has a dynamic biennial literary festival – Word - and Glasgow has its own Jazz and Blues Festival and the exciting Celtic Connections showcasing the best of contemporary bands. Lewis and Skye also have music festivals with a Gaelic twist and the Gaels also have their own annual festival, The Mod, which moves from location to location.
And speaking of the arts, one of my favorite bands, Travis is from Scotland.
Scotland is also known for its mountainous and beautiful scenery. Much of the upland within the UK is contained within the borders of Scotland, along with the highest peaks. Some of the highest mountains in Scotland are Ben Nevis (1343m or 4406 feet high), Ben Macdhui (1309m or 4296 feet) and Braeriach (1296m or 4252 feet)
It is also noted for its lochs (this name is generally used for lakes in Scotland). Much of the west coast of the country is intersected by Sea Lochs, the longest of which, Loch Fyne, penetrates more than 40 miles inland. Notable fresh-water lochs include Loch Ness (yes...the one with the Monster!).
You can podcast an insider's view of Edinburgh...here. Or see what you can see and do in Scotland...here.
Although, Beppo, the proprietor of Eriska shared with me his family's recipe for Shortbread, I'm keeping it a secret! You will have to email him and beg for the recipe. The recipe that caught my eye in the Scotsman was their take on an American tradition..."brownies" using dark muscovado sugar which I thought was an interesting departure from the usual variety.
Dark Muscovado Brownies
350g dark chocolate (55-60% cocoa solids)
250g unsalted butter
3 large free-range eggs
250g unrefined dark muscovado sugar
50g plain flour1 tsp baking powder
Melt the chocolate and butter together, then cool a little. Whisk the eggs until pale and frothy then add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking until thick and glossy. Gently fold in the melted chocolate mixture, then sieve in the flour and baking powder. Pour into a buttered 23cm square cake tin. Bake at 170C/325F/Gas 3 for 35-40 minutes until just done - when a skewer is inserted into the middle there should be some mixture adhering. Remove and cool for at least 20 minutes, then cut and remove to a wire rack to cool.