Week 11: Scotland

Scottish Cheeses
Scotch and Cheese

Meal number 11!

I’m kind of blanking on what to tell you about Scotland. I swear it has nothing to do with all the  Scotch we drank…. okay it has everything to do with the Scotch.  We each brought a bottle of Scotch ranging from 12-16 years old. Bill and I even went to this Scottish store in downtown SF to look for a bottle. Everything there was a bit out of our price range (think $80 to unlimited) but if you really want a good bottle I highly recommend it. Our Scotch was called Bunnahabhain 12 and around $60. Now, let me preface this by saying, I love whiskey. How much do I love whiskey? Here is a picture of me right before I was about to walk down the aisle (I know it’s bourbon): 

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Ahh good old Bookers Bourbon. So spicy. Anway, whiskey and bourbon and I are great friends, but Scotch was new to me. I have only had scotch once or twice; sadly my grandfather was not one to store it in his liquor cabinet alongside crystal glasses- but I promise to be the kind of grandmother who always has a flask on hand. So for Scotland, we had to have scotch. We tasted in order of age for comparison sake. Here is where I’d insert my tasting notes if I remembered the differences between the three, but I sadly all you get is a picture of me cheersing my friends.

Cheers
Slainte!

What I mainly came away with was, I don’t particularly like scotch. I thought it was a bit too harsh and spicy, and it wasn’t as round of a flavor as I’m used to with other dark liquors. Does that mean I’m not going to go on a scotch tour when I find myself in Scotland? Of course not! Does that mean that when you hand me a glass of scotch and say it’s this or Smirnoff Ice I’m going to ask if you have the raspberry flavor? Oh hells no! But for now, I’ll just stick to my Kentucky style friends.

For appetizers we had Scottish cheese and smoked Scottish salmon. Bill also made Scotch pie, consisting of minced lamb with onions. They were individually portioned on mini- pies which Bill made using pastry dough. (Bill is going to work on his presentation). Although slightly bland looking, they were a great bite- I can see pubs in Scotland serving these alongside a chilled mug of beer.

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Scotch Pie

Sergio decided to one-up Bill and make his own appetizer. Scotch eggs! Scotch eggs are a pretty incredible appetizer if you ever have a chance to eat one- better yet make one yourself! Sergio went extra fancy on these eggs, by using a sous vide machine. He began by boiling the eggs in water for one minute, then sous vide them for 45 minutes at 145 degrees. This allowed for a perfect soft boiled egg that wasn’t going to crack under pressure. He packed fennel sausage around the eggs, coated the outside with breadcrumbs, and deep fried the entire thing! All resulting in meaty, delicious balls. (I couldn’t resist).

Ready to open the eggs...
Ready to open the eggs…
So far so good...
So far so good…
We have a Scotch Egg!
We have a Scotch Egg!

For the main course we had an absolutely amazing lamb stew. The stew included carrots, potatoes, onions, and herbs. It was a great example of fresh, seasonal, and simple ingredients creating a hearty meal that was bursting with warmth and flavor. We were transported to some kind of fancy Scottish hut.

Rabbit Stew
Lamb Stew

And for dessert I made shortbread. Now if you recall, I made the claim that baklava is one of THE worst desserts for you based on the amount of butter and honey and pastry dough going into it. Well shortbread falls in the same category! It’s a good thing I buy butter at costco because that’s basically all this dessert was. The upside is, they are one of the easiest cookies I’ve ever made. You basically cream a pound of butter with sugar, mix in salt and flour, then kneed it until thoroughly combied. You do have to kneed for a good amount of time- 5 minutes- which gets pretty greasy with all that butter. Finally, spread the dough evenly into a baking pan and prick holes onto the top with a fork. Adding holes allows steam from the butter to release. Cut into squares and you’re done! I added rasberries and made a whipped cream with a bit of scotch to keep in theme.

Shortbread
Shortbread

The remainder of the evening was spent watching Braveheart with tartans wrapped around us for warmth.

You think I’m kidding…

Slainte!

Braveheart
Braveheart
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