Tuesday, 26 January 2016

'From Scotland with Love' at Newcastle Castle

On Saturday evening I found myself briefly alone on the roof of the Castle Keep looking out over the lights of Newcastle. It's a beautiful view, I've rarely been into the keep and have never been up on the roof in the dark, so I snuck up as the guests were arriving into the Great Hall and took in the view.

'From Scotland with Love' was the occasion, a delicious evening celebrating the relationship between Scotland and the North East at the Castle Keep and the Black Gate in the centre of town. Myself and Simon Preston put together the menu; researching dishes from Northumberland and Scotland and coming up with a host of ideas that led to the final menu. It was challenging, and I think the most ambitious menu I have worked on for a supper club yet.

To start we served an Elderberry Whisky Fizz in the Great Hall of the Castle Keep, with a Highland Caboc cheese and radish canape, a beautiful cheese almost like butter, which is always a good thing in my book. The guests toured the Keep, stopping for a little cup of Craster Kipper Cullen Skink along the way and then came over to the Black Gate for the start of supper.

We served a Smoked Eel Salad to start with a split pea puree, a nod to pease pudding; beetroot, horseradish, a beautiful oyster leaf from Ken Holland and an elderberry shrub dressing from Buck & Birch in Edinburgh. The smoked eel was from the Inverawe Smokehouse in Oban, it's so rich and delicious.

On the table were fresh breads from Artisan Baking Community served with a homemade Whisky Butter, an idea I got from my visit to Paradise Garage in London and one I will definitely be repeating...

Then a course I've been wanting to serve for a long time, Venison Tartare with Cured Egg Yolk. I have served it as straight tartare before up at Lindisfarne, it is rich and delicious with spikes of cornichon, caper and shallot. I've always wanted to add the cured egg yolk however, it is cured in a sugar and salt mix for a week until solid and then grated over the venison adding a rich sweet and salty hit to the meat. The venison loin is like butter when you cut it, red deer from George Bower Game Butcher in Edinburgh.

These were followed by a Spiced Lamb, Pluck and Barley, a take on haggis spiced with lots of white pepper, nutmeg and marjorum, served with pink pickled 'neeps' tattie scones and a Northumbrian Leek suet pudding.

A Scotland versus Northumberland cheese course followed, of Dunsyre Blue and Doddington. Then a palate cleanser of 21212 Porridge milk, sent from the restaurant of the same name in Edinburgh. A delicious blend of secret ingredients that I'm yet to work out. Finally followed by Edinburgh Fog, a cream and Drambuie pudding served with marmalade and malt whisky English scones. Guests chatted and laughed and ate and seemed to have a lovely time, I wish I'd had the time to talk to people more but the kitchen was a bit overwhelming by the end of the night and we needed to get home at some point, finding our way out from underneath all the dishes...

1 comment:

  1. Wow amazing views! Is the roof top open to the public or does the castle have to be hired? It looks like there was a lovely atmosphere on the night, congrats on mastering the menu!

    Ami x


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