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Family Matters

A great escape to Scotland’s furthest corners awaits couple

June 22 2016

Actor and motorbike addict Steve McQueen once said: “Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.” And while biker Calum Laird isn’t quite such a fanatic, he’s taken McQueen as his inspiration for a tough charity venture. Retired journalist Calum (he was the editor of Commando comic books) and wife Liddy, both 59, from Newport-on-Tay, aim to complete more than 1,000 miles in just two days on one motorbike, a BMW 1200GS, taking in four corners of mainland Scotland (Mull of Galloway, Ardnamurchan, Thurso and Peterhead) between June 25-26 to raise funds for a school in Uganda. Calum explains how the crazy endurance plan, named the 48-Hour Fence-Loupers project, was born. “Liddy, a local dentist, formed The Uphill Trust, a small Scottish charity, three years ago with a very simple aim — to build and maintain Uphill Junior, a small rural school for three 12-year-olds in western Uganda,” he said. “The charity has made huge progress in less than three years and if that pace can be kept up, the school could soon be running on its own. “However, it really needs a security fence round it. Steve McQueen’s best-known motorcycle moment was the famous fence jump in The Great Escape, so it occurred to me to roll the two together – bikes and fences. There was no chance we were going to replicate McQueen’s jump (or loup to use the Scottish word) so an endurance trip around the four corners of Scotland seemed the next best thing.” And as Uphill School is at 5,000ft above sea level, the couple plan to go past Leadhills Primary School — the primary with the highest altitude in Scotland. Thanks to generous sponsors, the couple are approaching their goal of £1 per mile, which will give them enough to pay for the fence. “I’m looking forward to two days on a bike, on Scottish roads, in good weather with my best pal on the back seat,” says Calum. “Mind you, if it rains, it might not be too much fun. Then there’s the possibility we might end up having to walk like cowboys for the week after the run. Oh and there might be midges.” To donate visit: www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/48HFL. For more information, go to www.uphilltrust.uk.

Chef's Table

Turning a day out into a cherished memory

July 2 2016

Graeme Pallister, chef patron of 63 Tay Street in Perth, knows how to turn a simple picnic into a special occasion What images come to mind when you think of a picnic?  A grand, elegant affair with champagne and crudités, or a well-worn  thermos flask full of tinned soup with a cling-film-wrapped squashed cheese sandwich? For me, it’s lots of friends and family sitting on a rug (parents get the seats!) on a grassy hill somewhere. It might even be sunny for a change. The kids will be arguing over who ate the last chicken vol-au-vent and every so often a misplaced kick of a football causes havoc when it destroys the neatly arranged ‘banquet’! A picnic is a fantastic way to extend and enhance a day out.  If you’re in the city you can find a park and really soak up it’s urban feel. Or if you’re out walking or bagging a munro you can take advantage of a beautiful view to eat and rest – it can be a great incentive knowing you have real treat ahead to help get you through that extra mile! But quite often a picnic can be a last minute decision where you nip into the supermarket to stock up on prepared salads and finger food. However, if you plan in advance, it can be something really special, with your friends and family each bringing something different to be shared. It doesn’t have to be just sandwiches, there are lots of exciting choices to be made: roast chicken drumsticks, grilled vegetables, potato and egg salads, melon (spiced with gin perhaps), crispy tortillas with various fresh dips, fruit kebabs or simply some good cheese or a roast ham. For me, one thing that is an absolute must at a picnic - Victoria sponge with cream and strawberries or raspberries. Without it I become a proper grumpy chef! So if you are thinking of a day away soon, spend a little time planning your basket. It can turn a day out into a cherished memory. Chef’s Tip I love roast chicken on a picnic. The night before, roast a chicken with half a bulb of garlic and half a lemon placed in the cavity. Once cooled, pick the meat from the bone then squeeze the garlic and lemon over the chicken pieces and toss in a little olive oil and seasoning. This can then be used in wraps, or as part of a salad. Try it with diced avocado, some Scottish soft cheese and spinach leaves.  Yum!  

Page To Plate

Simply does it

October 1 2016

Food may be more trendy than ever, but Diana Henry believes we'd all be happier in the kitchen if we remembered cooking's a life skill - not a hobby. She tells Ella Walker about the inspiration behind her 10th cookbook We tuck ourselves into a nook in an overcrowded cafe, the coffee machine belching wildly, and compare states of bedraggledness - Diana Henry's had a late night; my hair has frizzed in the rain. But despite this - and the fact we're wedged in this fogged up cafe because the original venue, Diana's kitchen, is being hurriedly redecorated thanks to a leak just days before the launch party of her new book, Simple - she's on great form. "It's nonsense that people can't cook, complete nonsense," the award-winning food writer practically shouts. "If you like eating stuff and you know a few things, like how long it takes to roast a chicken, or how to put a tray of red peppers in the oven, you could make really good stuff." Her 10th recipe collection, Simple, makes that process even easier. Building on her fourth book, Cook Simple (which was "never as big as I wanted it to be"), it's divided into clear sections, including chicken, fish and eggs (the building blocks of mealtimes, as Henry sees them), and provides a slew of straightforward ways to cook and eat them. "I'm a food writer and I still think, 'What can I do with chops? What can I do with that salmon fillet? What can I do with pasta?' And I think most people think about their weekday meals like that," says Diana, explaining her approach. "When I worked in telly, I used to come home on the Tube and keep a notebook which had lists in it: 'Chicken thighs - what you can do with them; Salmon fillets - what you can do with them', and I just kept adding to that." While the Northern Ireland-born journalist started out in TV, making music and arts programmes and human interest documentaries, as well as TV Dinners with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Diana, 52, switched to food writing when she had her first child. "I was a massively keen cook, had him, and I was just knackered! He cried all the time so I always had to carry him around," she remembers. For some time, her first book was even going to be called Cooking From The Hip, as it was about cooking with one hand "because you had a baby in the other". That baby just turned 18, but Diana still has "as much trouble as anyone else getting a meal on the table on a Wednesday night", so Simple is a way of solving that problem. In all her writing, she recognises that many find food - and wrangling it into an edible state - a chore, often stressful, or see cooking as a realm reserved purely for obsessed foodies. "People see cooking as a hobby. It's not a hobby - it's a non-negotiable life skill," she says matter-of-factly, noting that between poor cookery classes at school and an ongoing national obesity crisis, we're struggling with a mindset that needs rattling. "I want people to love food and care about it, but at the same time, I want them to not think about it at all - just let it go. We've become really over-anxious about it," she muses. "Food's about wonderfulness and poetry and memory and joyfulness - but it's very easy to lose that." She's much more interested in what home cooks do than what chefs are doing, and you can find lots of recipes she's borrowed from friends in Simple. "When you swap recipes, you have a connection. Food is about connecting, and I do like the process of cooking; I like dealing with olive oil and fish and cutting lemons," Henry explains. "That's another reason why I think we should cook every day, there's a real, small, sensual pleasure in it - it's those small things that make a better life." Ten books in, Diana is still planning another four ahead in her mind ("I'm a workaholic"), with no sign of slowing. "I'm 52 now - someone suggested that it was about time I hung up my spurs. I thought, 'You've got to be kidding!' "I started doing this at 35, it was my second career, and I've hardly begun!" she says with a grin. "I'm not nearly finished." Want to cook Simple too? Try these three recipes from Diana Henry... :: CUMIN-CORIANDER ROASTED CARROTS WITH POMEGRANATE AND AVOCADO (Serves 6 as a starter, or 8 as a side dish) For the salad: 30 young carrots, ideally slim 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2tsp cumin seeds 1tsp coriander seeds, crushed 1tsp chilli flakes Salt and pepper 3 ripe avocados 25g walnut pieces, toasted 100g watercress, coarse stalks removed Leaves from a small bunch of coriander 250g Greek yogurt 1 garlic clove, crushed Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate For the dressing: 3tsp pomegranate molasses 1 garlic clove, crushed 1/4tsp Dijon mustard 6tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1/4tsp honey Squeeze of lemon juice Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Trim the carrots at the tops but leave a bit of green tuft on. If you can't find slim carrots, halve or quarter large ones. Don't peel them, just wash well. Put in a roasting tin in which they can lie in a single layer. Add the olive oil, spices and seasoning. Turn the carrots over in this to ensure they are all well coated. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes; they will become tender and shrink slightly. Be careful not to overcook them. To make the dressing, just whisk everything together with a fork. Halve and pit the avocados, cut into slices, then carefully peel each slice. Put everything except the yogurt, garlic and pomegranates into a broad shallow bowl (or onto a platter) and gently toss in three-quarters of the dressing. Mix the yogurt with the garlic and dot spoonfuls of this among the vegetables, then scatter with the pomegranate seeds. Spoon on the rest of the dressing and serve. :: PORK LOIN WITH PUMPKIN PUREE AND PECORINO (Serves 8) For the pork: 2kg boneless pork loin, skin off 6 garlic cloves, sliced 3tsp fennel seeds 1tsp chilli flakes 4tbsp olive oil Salt and pepper For the puree: 1.2kg butternut squash or well-flavoured pumpkin Olive oil Freshly grated nutmeg 100g mascarpone Pecorino cheese, shaved, to serve Salt and pepper Lay the pork on a board, flesh side up, and make incisions all over it with a sharp knife. Push slivers of garlic into the incisions. Crush the fennel and chilli in a mortar and pestle, add the olive oil, season and rub this all over the flesh, pushing bits down inside the slits. Put in a dish, cover and put in the fridge overnight, then return it to room temperature before cooking. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Roll the loin and tie at intervals with kitchen string (not too tight; it should hold its shape, not look like a sausage). Cook for 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and cook for one hour, basting now and then. Cut the squash into wedges and remove the seeds. Put the wedges into a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil, season and bake alongside the pork until completely tender, about 40 minutes. Check the pork for doneness; the juices should run clear with no trace of pink when pierced. Cover with foil, insulate (I use tea towels) and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Discard the skin from the squash. Puree with plenty of seasoning, nutmeg and the mascarpone. Gently heat, then scrape into a warm dish and top with pecorino shavings. Serve with the pork. :: LEMON AND LAVENDER CAKE (Serves 8) Unsalted butter, for the tin 300g granulated sugar 3/4tbsp dried lavender 175g plain flour 1/2tsp baking powder 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda 1/4tsp salt 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 250g Greek yogurt 125ml mild-flavoured olive oil Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, plus 1 tbsp lemon juice Icing sugar, to dust Sprigs of fresh lavender, to serve For the icing: 150g icing sugar, 2tbsp lemon juice, sifted Mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice until smooth. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Butter a 20cm diameter, 6cm deep cake tin and line the base with baking parchment. Put the granulated sugar and lavender into a food processor and whizz until the lavender has broken down. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together into a bowl. Stir in the lavender sugar. In a jug, mix the eggs with the yogurt and oil. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and gradually stir in the wet ingredients. Add the lemon zest and juice, but don't over-mix. Scrape into the prepared tin. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake is coming away from the sides of the tin and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Turn it out, peel off the paper and set on a wire rack until cold. Dust with icing sugar just before serving and decorate with sprigs of fresh lavender. :: Simple by Diana Henry is published in hardback by Mitchell Beazley, priced £25. Photography by Chris Terry. Available now THREE OF THE BEST... Greek yogurts :: Sainsbury's Greek Style Natural Yogurt 500g, £1 (Sainsbury's) Not too rich or sweet, this pot contains around four servings and is particularly tasty when topped with fresh berries and granola. :: Yeo Valley Greek Style Natural Yogurt 450G, £1.70 (Waitrose) For a more decadent breakfast option, this is thick, creamy and needs nothing more than a spoon and a drizzle of honey. Also good as a dip for flatbread if you fancy something cool and savoury. :: Tesco Greek Style Honey Yogurt 450G, £1.10 (Tesco) No need to grab the honey from the cupboard, this pot already comes with it. Quite sweet and dessert-like, add chopped nuts and stewed fruit to up the ante.

Blazing Saddles

Some cycling rules are made to be broken

May 5 2018

The world of cycling is filled with dos and don’ts. I don’t mean the thick race rule book that arrives every year with my British Cycling membership, or even the Highway Code. What I’m talking about are the self-penned and arbitrary notions that cyclists come up with to govern their own peculiar habits. They are often based on fashions that come and go, perceived wisdom and superstition. They serve the idiosyncrasies that are part of a sport that is steeped in tradition and reflect the rather unique nature of those who partake in all things two-wheeled. Velominati, Keepers of the Cog – it is fun and mostly tongue-in-cheek, but is the modern day equivalent of what all cyclists having been doing since the invention of the bicycle: telling us what we should and shouldn’t do while riding our bikes. New York World, the now-defunct US newspaper, published an article in 1895 with 41 rules it set down for female cyclists. Among the hilarious, sometimes practical and often downright archaic and shocking, are some, such as “Don’t forget your toolbag” that wouldn’t be out of place in our modern Lycra-clad world. Others are Python-esque in their surreality: “Don’t scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run.” There are some that turn the helmet debate upside down with statements like “Don’t wear a garden party hat with bloomers”, and “Don’t wear a man’s cap.”   By the time the list reaches “Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes to see how it feels” I couldn’t get past thinking of David Walliams and Matt Lucas in a Little Britain sketch. However absurd many of them may seem it is not a big stretch of the imagination to think of riders in another century looking back with shock and amusement at the Velominati rule book: “Facial Hair is to be carefully regulated” is one criterion I already fall foul of, but which also would not seem out-of-place in 1895 either. Many of today’s suggested cycling rituals have practical reasons. Lining your inner tube valve up with the label on the tyre might seem at first pernickety, but it helps with finding the valve when you go to pump up a tyre. There are the rituals that are borne out of superstition and have now become such common parlance that they are often followed through without an irrational thought – pinning the race number “13” on upside down is one. Over the years I have developed my own rules and generally, my actions are based on purely practical reasons. The night before an early morning ride I place my kit out in the order that I put it on in the morning (it means I can dress quickly without faff), but I also pack my kit when I’m travelling the same way which means I’m less likely to turn up in France and realise I’ve left my cycling shorts in the cupboard back home. My most recent discovery and one that is fairly obvious when you think about it (but I didn’t) is that I should never, ever buy another white bike. Unless you are scrupulously attentive towards its cleaning, then you are always going to have a bike that looks filthy. Rather than detracting from the pleasure of riding a bike, these etiquettes, whether you heed them or not, bring dimension to the activity we love so much and reflect the variety and whimsical notions of those who partake. Rather than rigidity, they offer the opportunity to express your own individuality within the wider world of the bicycle. Route: Dundee to St Andrews Details: 20 miles/ 34km (one way) Maps OS 1:50,000 Map 54 & 59 Start: Tay Bridge  OS 1:50,000 Map 54 – NO407301 Finish: St Andrews OS 1:50,000 Map 59 – NO5117 Details: The route starts with a crossing of the Tay Road Bridge, before turning east at Newport-On-Tay along a lovely section of cycle path towards Tayport. The route then carries on through Tayport and into Tentsmuir Forest, before heading back out to Leuchars. A short road section at Guardbridge will lead you onto another section of cycle path that finishes in St Andrews The Map: A detailed GPS plot of the route on an OS map can be found at: http://www.gps-routes.co.uk/routes/home.nsf/osmapdisp?openform&route=dundee-to-st-andrews-cycle-route  

Chef's Table

Celebrate St Andrew’s Day with Scotch pancakes

November 26 2016

I’m often asked about the difference between a Scotch pancake and a regular pancake, says Martin Hollis, executive chef at the Old Course Hotel, St Andrews. .Well, they’re thicker and smaller than the standard pancake and are often served with jam rather than the classic lemon and sugar. Outside Scotland, they’re also known as drop scones. Robert Burns described Scotland as the “Land o’ cakes” and with scones originating in Scotland, a Scotch pancake is a form of our much loved scone. These simple-to-make pancakes are a great, warming treat around this time of year and perfect for adding to the table on St Andrew’s Day on Wednesday. To start, you’ll need 1lbs of plain flour, 1oz of baking powder, 7oz caster sugar, 4 floz oil, 3 eggs and approximately half a pint of milk. Pre-heat a griddle plate or a frying pan. Sieve the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the eggs and oil together separately and then slowly add them into the dry ingredients before adding in the milk to form a batter. Allow to rest for a minute before putting the mixture in a piping bag. Pipe one pancake to test the heat of the griddle plate. Then pipe into uniform sizes. If you start in a clockwise direction then it’s easier to turn them and they will cook in a timely fashion. Cook on one side until it starts to bubble then turn over and lightly colour. Finally, place on a rack to cool. Looking to add something extra? My favourite topping has to be winter fruit compote. Why not look at what type of fruit is available at your local market. Winter fruit options range from oranges, pears, pomegranates and grapefruit, so there’re plenty of options still available to make a winter compote. Chef’s tip The possibilities are endless with these pancakes. You don’t have to have them plain (although they’re delicious). Why not try adding chocolate chips, maple syrup, honey or jam and cream! The best thing about these simple snacks is that you can freeze them. Once you’re ready to use, just pop them in the toaster to bring them back to life.  

Lifestyle

Getting a paw on the property ladder

April 25 2017

New pop-up Estate Agent for Cats selling desirable cardboard box homes  Estate agents are commonly found on most high streets, but you won’t have seen one quite like this… Blue Cross pet charity has announced it is opening the world’s first Estate Agent for Cats. The pop-up estate agents in London is offering unique properties for sale, all designed and built exclusively with feline tenants in mind. All of its listings - from Georgian manors to quaint cottages - are constructed of cardboard. The inspiration for this unique ‘prop-paw-ty’ proposition came from observing a common cat phenomenon – that cats love cardboard boxes. The more serious message behind the Estate Agent for Cats is the importance for pets to have mental stimulation and a private place to have some quiet time where they won’t be disturbed. The charity also wants to promote the hundreds of homeless and unwanted cats currently in its care all needing a real home to call their own. Ryan Neile, head of animal behaviour at Blue Cross, said: “Cats are very inquisitive and love to explore new things, so most won’t hesitate to jump inside a cardboard box. Owners often provide cardboard boxes for kittens to climb and play on and jump in and these early experiences create an affection for boxes in later life. Cats also love to hide and feel safe and secure, they will often seek out dark nooks and crannies with high sides.” The cardboard box  ‘architects’  include journalists and bloggers, designers, retailers, 3D design university students and even school children. The box homes, including a tropical tepee, thatched cottage and palatial Taj Mahal are all up for sale via a silent auction ballot in the pop-up estate agents, with proceeds going to help the thousands of homeless, unwanted, sick and injured pet Blue Cross cares for each year. Each cat featured in the imagery used at the Estate Agent For Cats is a Blue Cross rescue pet looking to find its forever home. The houses will be on display to the public, complete with detailed property descriptions and even floor plans wherever possible. Estate Agent for Cats  Open:  26 April – 29 April 10.00am – 4.00pm Address: Estate Agent For Cats, 81 Leonard Street, London, EC2A 4QS The pop-up is based at PetsPyjamas’ East London HQ – home of Europe’s number one online pet lifestyle destination selling over 10,000 pet accessories. PetsPyjamas have donated their prime London real estate to host the Estate Agents for Cats for Blue Cross. Find out more at www.petspyjamas.com https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ4ylYBNiPc&feature=youtu.be Blue Cross offers helpful expert tips for owners planning to move home with their cats. Cats are highly territorial and can become very unsettled when there is a change to their environment – visit www.bluecross.org.uk/movingwithcats. To find more information on the Estate Agent For Cats and advice from Blue Cross visit the www.bluecross.org.uk. With thanks to PetsPyjamas for hosting the Estate Agents for Cats for Blue Cross – find out more at www.petspyjamas.com

Lifestyle

The Courier Kindness Campaign: Reaching out the hand of kindness to tackle loneliness and isolation

November 13 2017

The Courier Community Kindness Campaign begins today. Aiming to tackle loneliness, we hope readers will help us extend the hand of friendship to those who most need it. Here at The Courier we believe no one, young or old, should feel lonely or isolated. That’s why we’re launching our second Courier Community Kindness Campaign today – and we want you to join in. Our Kindness Campaign last winter saw more than 500 wonderful Courier readers redeeming vouchers and reaching out to vulnerable members of society. This time, we want to double that figure and we need your help to do it. It’s really easy: all you have to do is cut out the coupon in today's paper for a free Courier, and the Spar voucher for a free 125g packet of their own brand tea bags, claim your free paper and tea bags, and then take them round to someone in your community you know is on their own. At the same time, you can take the opportunity to ask if they’re OK and if there’s anything you can do to give them a helping hand. It could be an elderly neighbour, someone recently bereaved, a person with disability who finds it hard to get out, a young mum struggling with a new baby, a war veteran or someone who has recently lost a beloved pet. A recent report by the Scottish Government reveals poignant real-life stories of older people suffering from extreme negative effects of social isolation and loneliness: the older people who go to their doctor each Monday because they have no one else for company, a woman so socially isolated she lived without power for months, and young people who can forget what it is like to be in the company of other young people. And yet sometimes all it takes is a knock at the door and a friendly face asking: “Are you OK?” to open the channels of communication and offer a social lifeline. Our four-week campaign, which will run every Monday between today and December 4, aims to combat these issues by helping to raise awareness of anyone in Courier Country who might be feeling lonely or isolated, for whatever reason. Morna O’May, head of service Scotland at Contact the Elderly, is right behind our campaign: “We are absolutely delighted The Courier has launched a campaign to promote kindness in the community,” she says. “It is a superb initiative to encourage people to make a difference with tea bags accompanying today’s paper. “Loneliness is a blight on society and it is more important than ever to proactively consider how we can tackle this mounting issue. Whatever the best avenue for individuals to break the cycle of isolation, the route is always kindness. “Our charity offers an invaluable lifeline of friendship to older people who live alone. Our monthly tea parties are beloved by our guests and volunteers throughout the region and to hear the difference they make month after month, year after year is incredibly heartening,” she continues. “Isolation is a huge issue but eradicating it can be very simple. Striking up a conversation, enjoying a cup of tea and being open to the idea of making new friends is the solution in many instances. Keith Robson, Age Scotland’s charity director, adds: “Most of us will feel lonely at some point in our lives. But loneliness and social isolation are a daily reality for far too many older Scots, especially those who have lost family members or have limited mobility. “Sadly, one in six people over 75 say they haven’t spoken to friends, relatives or neighbours in a week, while 40 per cent say that the TV or a pet is their main form of company. At this time of year, many of us are looking forward to spending the festive period with family and friends, but 40,000 older people in Scotland will spend Christmas Day alone,” he continues. “This not only impacts people’s enjoyment of life, but it also has a devastating impact on our mental and physical health. Loneliness is as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and worse than obesity. It can exacerbate health conditions such as heart disease or cancer, and make people more vulnerable to dementia. “Something as simple as popping round to see a neighbour for a cup of tea and a blether can make a huge difference and really lift their day. I’d encourage everyone to get involved with the Courier Community Kindness Campaign, reach out to someone, and start to tackle social isolation in our community.” Men’s Sheds, a concept that originated in Australia, support the social, psychological and physical well-being of men. Derek Keiller, chair of Carse of Gowrie Men’s Shed and the Scottish Men’s Shed Association, says: “We are delighted to be associated with the Courier Kindness Campaign. “We applaud The Courier’s initiative of highlighting loneliness and depression and welcome this opportunity to work with them to enhance people’s lives. “Remember, a little kindness costs you next to nothing but it will mean a great deal to the recipient.” So make it your good deed to look out for someone and help brighten their day. You never know – this simple gesture might lead to a whole new valued friendship for both of you.  

Lifestyle

Local model Elaine is the face of revolutionary luxury yacht

November 3 2017

  Dundee model Elaine Harris has recently returned from a photo shoot in Monaco for the launch of a revolutionary new super glider yacht - the prototype SS18  The Spirit of M. "It is amazing to be the face of such a revolutionary project, to have watched the yacht build go through its different stages and to be there at its launch at the most prestigious yacht show in Monaco," says Elaine. "With a tag line of ‘To get you from Cannes to Monaco in half the time without spilling your champagne’, no one has ever seen a yacht like this before - it is double the speed of other super-yachts, double the stability and double the fuel efficiency. Along with its futuristic looks, it caused quite a stir and Monaco which is famed for its rich and famous was the perfect location for it. "I definitely enjoyed the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera and I’m really looking forward to next year where I will out in lots of other exotic locations along with the next yacht in the series ‘The Limousine,’ Elaine continues. "Because it's so groundbreaking, it caused quite a stir in Monaco. It’s a British company and the boat was built in Southampton - the brain child of Robert McCall who is half Scottish." www.glideryachts.com Specs of the SS18 The Spirit of M: - It's fast (up to 56 knots) - Smooth (it has wave piercing technology and cuts through the waves) - It looks fab (All cutting edge technology along with futuristic looks) - 18m x 3.5m - Draft 0.4m - Engines 4x Yamaha 300bhp supercharged petrol engines driving 2 thrust vectoring water jets  - total 1200 BHP!     There is an option to have 2 x supercharged engines and 2 x turbines (HS18) which will be even faster with a top speed of 96 knots ! The SS18 is a day boat, it can take four people, a pilot and can even be beached. It has a price tag of £1 million. In December the Limousine (SL24) goes into production - 24m x 6m - Draft 0.65m - Engines 4 x high speed common rail marine diesel - Speed upto 56 knots SLX24 with 2 x diesel engines and 2 x turbines - up to 76 knots This yacht can take 12 guests, 2 crew, bathroom & kitchenette.

Lemony and lovely

July 23 2016

One of the many delights of living and working in Perthshire is the beautiful surrounding farming countryside, which at this time of year provides us with a steady supply of berries, says  Fabrice Bouteloup, chef patron of Barley Bree Restaurant  in Perth. Berry picking is a great way of keeping the children occupied in the long holidays and also getting them interested in what to do with all the fruit once you get back home. At the restaurant I like to use this very simple traditional Scottish recipe for lemon posset and serve the fruit with it.   Take 900mls double cream, add 200g caster sugar and the juice of 3 lemons. Bring the cream and sugar to the boil until the sugar has dissolved, then add the lemon juice. Divide the mixture evenly between 8 to 10 ramekin dishes or dessert glasses. Leave to set in the fridge overnight. You can make a raspberry sauce by puréeing the raspberries, passing through a sieve, and then adding icing sugar to taste.  Serve with whole strawberries for a dessert the whole family can enjoy. Alternatively, make a granita which can be done without the need for an ice-cream maker. Granita originated in Sicily as a semi-frozen dessert made with sugar, water and a variety of flavourings. Simply use 250g of berries of your choice, 200ml water and 120g caster sugar.  Boil water and sugar together, add the fruit, blend till smooth (sieve if you wish) then place into a flat container and freeze.  Every 40 minutes give a good whisk until you have ice flakes. Serve the lemon posset topped with granita or raspberry sauce, a few whole strawberries, and, just to be really indulgent, rosemary shortbread on the side to give a bit of crunch. An easy recipe which will wow your friends, and doesn’t take long to make. Bon appétit! Chef's Tip This recipe can be made using any citrus fruit in season. Try making the posset with juice from grapefruit, mandarin or blood orange. At Barley Bree I like to use Kalamansi, which is a type of Philippine lime. The posset can then be served with whatever fruit happens to be in season. Other summer fruit such as gooseberries and blackcurrants, then brambles, pears and apples as we go into autumn.

Food & Drink

Food blog: Brodie Williams

March 10 2018

Brodie Williams is from Cupar and reached the semi-finals of MasterChef 2017 Tundra Although our weather currently feels more akin to the Siberian tundra, there is a promise that spring is on its way. It’s that awkward period between seasons where we are fed up of the cold weather and dream of more daylight. As such I want to focus on something that can be done at anytime of the year. Last week I discussed the benefits of homemade stock. This week I want to talk about pickling things. Granted, it can sometimes seem a bit of a superfluous chef thing to do, but when used properly it can elevate a dish.   People have been pickling their produce for centuries. Initially this was out of necessity in the pre-fridge days, but it also happens to be good for you too. Pickled fruit and vegetables are filled with probiotics, which are good bacteria that live in your gut. My parents’ plum tree at home tends to yield far more fruit than we can eat, so we make spiced plum chutney out of it that lasts for years. It’s delicious, cheap, and means we don’t waste the plums. Pickles A simple pickle can consist of as little as three ingredients. These are vinegar, sugar, and water. Something I really love to make is pickled cucumber, as it cuts through rich foods. For instance smoked salmon mousse and pickled cucumber is a winner! First peel ribbons from the cucumber into a colander and sprinkle with salt (this helps draw water out of the cucumber). Leave for half an hour or so, meanwhile heat up 200ml water, 200ml white wine vinegar and 50g sugar until dissolved and leave to cool. Squeeze the moisture out of the cumber and put into a jar and cover with the pickling mixture. It can be eaten anytime from a couple of hours, to a couple of months after this. And there you have it: a simple pickle. From there you can experiment with different ingredients and pickling components to create your own wonderful pickles. In season in March – venison, mussels, razor clams, oysters, kale, wild garlic, spring onions, chicory, rhubarb   Music to cook to If, like me, you felt like you achieved nothing by the age of 19, then prepare to feel sick as the Grammy-nominated teenager Steve Lacy produced his debut solo EP on an iPod. He’s produced music for the likes of Kendrick Lamar, but check out Dark Red for some Southern California funk and soul. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-OzspEcQG8 Instagram handle: @brodiecooks  

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