I have just returned from the beautiful Isle of Skye, Scotland. I have been visiting the island for 22 years, and as a result feel like I know it pretty well. We stayed in Portree, the main town on the island, in a beautiful holiday home within walking distance of the harbour.
Due to a severe lack of funds we failed to sample the two most renowned restaurants on the island; Kinloch Lodge and Three Chimneys. Here the ingredients are the stars of the show and Skye has wonderful fish, seafood and meat to offer. So, instead we decided to eat some bits and pieces in some smaller restaurants and to do some cooking at home.
Top picks began with some squat lobster tails with a chilli sauce in the Old Inn in Carbost near the Talisker distillery. I was concerned that the sweet chilli sauce described might just be a squirt out of the bottle of the gelatinous, sticky stuff you get in crap thai restaurants but it was lovely, balanced by spring onion and red pepper. We wished we had ordered the large version.
We took a day trip out to Plockton on the mainland one day and ate at the Plockton Hotel for lunch. I tried my first ever shandy in the bar in this hotel many years ago, and spat it out all over my dad. Here we ate three truly great plates of food. To start the famous (really?) Plockton Smokies, well they deserve to be famous because it was lovely, smoked fish with tomatoes and cream and garlic topped off with breadcrumbs. We followed that with a perfectly light and fresh battered fish and chips and a venison stew.
Whilst in Plockton we bought a variety of fresh fish from the travelling fishmonger. It strikes me that things really are coming full circle. J’s nan used to have a fishmonger deliver to her door and it seems this gentleman is doing the same thing. This could have course have been going on out in the islands the whole time but considering the uptake and amazing reviews of MarkyMarket‘s service (delivering fresh meat and fish from Smithfield and Billingsgate) and veg boxes from the likes of Riverford and Abel&Cole perhaps this is the way forward!
We bought 4 huge scallops, a dressed crab and 2 kippers (with heads etc.) for £8.00, an absolute bargain and all local and incredibly fresh. Later that evening we made scallops with bacon and white wine, followed by an old favourite of crab and chilli linguine. I felt so relaxed and happy, in a charming kitchen cooking fish which had (I hope) come out of the sea earlier that day.
We ended up giving the kippers to my dad for his birthday (they won’t buy fish from supermarkets and their only fishmonger went bust a year ago so now they only eat fish that my dad has caught – hippies), and my apologies lie with all the passengers on the 14.01 from Glasgow to Birmingham on Saturday just gone.
All in all the trip was all I had hoped for, we left Scotland feeling at ease and rested, all the more ready for the challenges to come in September! (sorry, I’m already excited about the prospect of becoming a student)