Set on the roadside in the quaint village of Strathtummel sits this small hotel which is just finding its feet amongst the plethora of good food establishment in Perthshire and Angus. The views of the grand Loch Tummel make a lovely backdrop and Maggie and Mabel, the sweet little dogs, provide a lovely sleepy welcome.
Gleneagles' place on the global map of fine hotels has long been assured. Whether you are lucky enough to be staying in one of the grand bedrooms, using the spa or strolling around 18 of the most scenic holes in Scottish golf, it's an establishment which prides itself on offering something special. There are a variety of levels to the luxury though and the newest string to the dining bow, the Birnam Brasserie, is a more casual, all-day dining affair. I went along to find out if it's destined to be a relaxed alternative to fine dining when staying at the hotel - or whether this French Bistro is likely to become a destination in itself.
I love eating out. And eating in. In fact I just love eating. But I digress. Getting dressed up to dine somewhere extra special used to be a thrilling treat. And it still is but these days, with a small person in tow, evenings out either take tremendous planning or have to happen at lunchtime.
The past six months have been a pleasure and an exhausting joy for me as I have been experiencing motherhood for the first time. That said, I am starting to feel that using an innocent babe as my excuse for not changing out of my jammies until lunchtime is becoming awkward - and have even accepted that I might be ready to start stepping out in the evening once again.
My husband was speaking to a Portuguese podiatrist this week. The way you do. And before you’re put off reading the rest of this by the thought of pedal extremities in need of professional attention, they did not talk of feet but of food.
Once upon a time in the early nineties, a new term was coined and lo, the "gastro-pub" was born. It was new, it was adventurous, it was exciting but what did it mean? Sadly, in a lot of cases it meant the faithful and terribly underestimated ploughman's lunch was scrapped, while a handful of good old British pubs began giving their food as much thought as their ale.
Aged 22 I was a naive cliché. Maybe I still am. I thought I needed to find myself - do something daring or out of the ordinary - so I packed a rucksack, booked a ticket and set off to South America for six months solo. It was the best decision I ever made and I wouldn't change a single minute of it.
We are blessed in Scotland to have such a vast wealth of produce reared here and exported far and wide. And we are lucky that plenty of the good stuff remains at home. One such example is obviously our beef. Scottish restaurants have been serving incredible steaks for decades and when The Meat House first opened in Dundee, it gave us another destination when a decent côte de boeuf or a hearty burger was called for.
It’s that time of year again when the sun gets higher and the layers of clothing get fewer.
As the lazy susan of foodie trends keeps on turning, we have already cheered the welcome return of dishes such as chicken kiev and prawn cocktail. The rise of all things kitsch is another encouraging comeback - Bake-Off bunting is flying high and all the trendiest tables are once again adorned with gingham and pastel-shaded enamel.