Posts Tagged ‘scotland’

July 2nd, 2011

Nanny’s Shop, Shieldaig Category: Reviews

Its that time again, when we have been on our annual holidays in the Highlands of Scotland except this year we ventured to the West Coast.

We spent a week in a really lovely holiday house in Annat which is just South of Torridon.  I will do another blog about our holiday but one of the highlights of our holiday was our quick visit to Nanny’s Shop. A fantastic little shop which was re-opened in 2008 by owners Lynn & Lisa.  The shop is quaint and stocks so many beautiful things. It also serves fresh coffee, fantastic cakes and you can even get some fresh smoked salmon (or order some fresh seafood for the next day if you get there in time).

The shop has a lot of history & I believe it is much unchanged from the previous owner, Nanny Grant, who had run the shop since 1950.  Before that her father (who built the shop in 1918) ran the shop when he had also been carrying on the family tradition.

It now attracts visitors from all over with its modern, chic interior and offers a really friendly service, quality gifts & fantastic food and all set in a beautiful location overlooking Loch Shieldaig. I mean, how lovely is this…

If you are in the area, we really would recommend a visit, a coffee and a cake!

March 9th, 2008

Butteries and Morning Rolls Category: Other Foodiness


Last time we went to Scotland we came back with a few bags of Butteries (or Morning Rolls as they are also known). Having some Scottish blood I would say it is only natural for my family to be hankering after these naughty treats.

They are a speciality to Northern Scotland – so with some of my family roots being in Elgin it is something my Gran & Grandad would have enjoyed on a more regular basis. We bought most of ours from the bakers in Aviemore but they have to be eaten fresh, so when we got back last Saturday eveing I took a quick drive round to my mum & dads so they could be enjoyed the next morning.

Carry on reading & leave a comment…

February 29th, 2008

Review: The Cross, Kingussie, The Highlands Category: Reviews

For a special occasion, this is somewhere to go for a treat” This was how The Cross was described in the welcome booklet we found at our accommodation in Aviemore.

As you will know, we came to Aviemore to celebrate our first wedding anniversary and for a couple of weeks before I had been googling various ideas to find somewhere special to enjoy a meal. I had found a few ideas before getting up here but nothing that jumped out at me. So when I read the above review in the booklet I had to Google it and was very pleasantly surprised. The Cross entices you by telling you that ‘Dinners are served by an open fire in the stone walled and wood beamed restaurant. Menus feature carefully prepared fresh and seasonal produce and the wine list is one of the best in the UK‘ it continues ‘The Good Food Guide has rated The Cross as one of the six best places to eat in the Scottish Highlands and Trip Advisor ranks The Cross as #1 in the area. Recommended in all other independent guidebooks, including Michelin, The Good Hotel Guide, Scotland the Best (upgraded to two ticks for 2008!), Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, and Fromers

Further, it comments that ‘we use only the finest fresh produce, locally sourced where possible. Game from local estates, Highland beef, Shetland lamb, prime fish from Scrabster, and shellfish from Skye. Wild mushrooms picked locally, soft fruits from Alvie Estate and cheeses from Mull and Galloway

The only downside was that it doesn’t open on a Sunday or Monday and our anniversary was the Sunday, so whilst we went out for a nice meal on our anniversary itself we also booked a table for two at The Cross for Thursday evening.

When we arrived we were very warmly welcomed and thus started a truly special meal.

The whole service was provided by the owners who were assisted by a couple of chefs back in the kitchen. We started with olives whilst pondering the menu. The olives were the best we’ve tasted in some time, slightly flavoured with rosemary. We were then given some homemade sour dough bread and unsalted butter.

Whilst enjoying these nibbles we were enjoying the quiet surroundings and a warming log fire quietly crackling away in the background. There was only one other couple dining and a chap on his own who we thought may have been reviewing the food as he was scribbling in his notebook the whole time!
Next to arrive was the appetiser – a small cappuccino cup full of Jerusalem artichoke soup with a drizzle of truffle oil. It may have been small but it was truly delicious and warming – I could have enjoyed a whole bowl of the soup on its own and been a very happy lass but it just kept getting better…


Next was our first course. I had chosen the tian of kyle of lochalsh langoustines, avocado & vine tomato and Anthony chose the seared breast of scottish woodpigeon, date puree and goats cheese emulsion.

I really enjoyed the fresh langoustines and had a small taste of the woodpigeon and goats cheese emulsion, which just melted in your mouth. I dont think I could eat much of the pigeon myself, but Anthony really enjoyed every mouthful and said he would pick it again.

Onto the mains, we both chose roast breast of organic highland chicken, vine tomato fondue, leeks and peas with garlic mash. The chicken melted in your mouth it was just perfectly cooked. The tomato fondue was simple but the flavour was really rich. The garlic mash, again, just melted in your mouth – this is one mash I will by trying to recreate at home soon!


For dessert, Anthony had to try the hot chocolate fondant with chilli ice cream. He seems to have been craving chilli chocolate recently so this definitely put a smile on his face.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t resist the creme caramel, caramelised spiced bananas with creme brulee ice cream. Not being a huge fan of banana I was very pleasantly surprised, they were very lightly spiced and truly delicious. The creme caramel and crunchy creme brulee ice cream were really creamy.

The portion sizes throughout the meal were absolutely spot on. We both finished each plateful and as we finished the meal with coffee and petit fours we decided that we were just nicely full. And as I mentioned earlier, the service through out was just right. Food and service arriving just at the right time, food was introduced to us at each course and both proprietors knew everything about the food and where it came from.

At £45 per person we felt that we got extremely good value for money. The only down side being that the credit card machine didn’t have an option for service which we would have most gladly left. However the menu did state that the cost per person included service and tax. Either way we came away knowing that we will return at the drop of a hat next time we are up here, whenever that will be!

It was most definately one of the best meals we have devoured and would both heartily recommend it to anyone looking for genuinely good, well sourced food by people who obviously love it even more.

Ps. Again, apologies for lack of food pictures – I really wish we’d taken the camera with us.

February 26th, 2008

More of Aviemore Category: General, Other Foodiness

As I said last week, we have travelled North for a weeks holiday. Our first stop was an overnight stay at the Q Hotel just North of Glasgow, The Westerwood. Anthony treated us to a Suite and the price included Dinner & Breakfast. The dinner was lovely – unfortunately I didn’t get any photos but I enjoyed some Pollock from Peterhead served on a potato rosti with wilted spinach and a rather lovely creamy but light sauce.


On Saturday we carried on North and up into the Highlands, arriving at our accomodation after a leg stretching walk around Loch an Eilein. We are self catering in a very nice house towards the Northern end of the town. A view of a snowy topped Cairngorm can be found from the kitchen window.


Sunday was our first wedding anniversary and we spent some of it near the top of Cairngorm where we found some snow!


After wandering around and taking photos we grabbed a warming cup of hot chocolate & coffee before heading back down. In the evening we enjoyed a very pleasant meal at The Old Bridge Inn – it even started snowing whilst we sat enjoying our food. Proper big flakes of snow. Bliss. I enjoyed scallops to start – they were served in a light sauce flavoured with lemongrass and honey. For mains, I thoroughly enjoyed braised monkfish served with asparagus and seasonal vegetables. Anthony sampled some bruchetta followed by a venison steak (no photos again sorry!)

Yesterday we drove over to Aberdeen. If I am completely honest it was a miserable day weather wise. We kind of wish we hadn’t bothered with the 2 1/2 hour (each way) journey. You live & learn! On the positive side, we came back via the scenic route & literally came face to face with the most magnificent deer, possibly a stag. It was huge. I had put the camera on the back seat but was too slow in turning round to get it!

Today we ventured out for another walk, in the drizzly rain. After stopping off to get Anthony some more water resistant trousers. We climbed from Glenmore up to the valley in between
Creagan Gorm and Meall a’Bhuachaille. The views were beautiful. Lake Morlich shining in the grey light, snowy topped mountains and pine trees. By the time we reached the top the weather took a turn, the wind got up, the drizzle turned to hail and there was nowhere to shelter so we did a quick about turn and started back down the same route we had walked up.

Through the valley…
Views from near the top…

After getting back to the car we travelled a few miles back down towards Aviemore and stopped at the Ord Barn for a heart warming Parsnip & Honey soup served with homemade bread and a hot cup of coffee. Delicious. If I was to open up a cafe it would be something just like this… hot drinks with lots of homemade soups, sandwiches and cakes. Mmmmm.


September 30th, 2007

Eating Out in the Highlands Category: Other Foodiness, Reviews

As I have already mentioned we had a fab time when we went oop North. We stayed in a beautiful cottage at Tormore Distillery – whilst we were there we went on the look for dolphins, but the blighters didn’t keep to their appointments – twice we sat in the cold wind and for nothing. We also:

  • had a lovely walk through the Glenlivet Estate
  • saw snow on the top of Cairngorm (it was -4° one night)
  • Mr C played golf at Craggan and I was official photographer/videographer and scorekeeper
  • went on a horse trek through a forest
  • Mr C watched Elgin City beat East Stirling 6-0
  • visted two distilleries and one organic brewery
  • ate out lots

The first night we stayed over in Perth & went into town to eat – Mr C gave me a Pizza Express club membership so we headed off there. We both had dough balls to start and then I had my usual Fiorentina pizza & Mr C had a Pollo ad Astra.

The next morning we headed North up the A9 – and after a detour to the small distillery of Glenturret (whose whisky is part of the Famous Grouse blend & is now branded as the Famous Grouse Experience). After a tour of the distillery we stopped for lunch in what appeared, I thought, to be a dull little restaurant – however we both had soup and a doorstopper slice of fresh bread and it was very tasty indeed.

Our next dining delight was the following day at Glenfiddich (anyone spotting a trend here?!). We ended up here earlier than expected during our week away as the weather was quite dull and it seemed to make sense. Last year we had enjoyed two fabulous baked potatoes here and we had both been looking forward to going back. So after another distillery tour (well, it is free & you get a dram) we stopped for lunch in the beautiful restaurant. We both repeat ordered our jackets – mine with smoked salmon and cream cheese, Mr C had Orkney cheese & ham. All I can say is they were delicious (picture to follow).

Tuesday was spent dolphin watching and as you already know they didn’t show. So after spending a few hours wrapped up like a pass-the-parcel we gave up, went ‘home’ & I made some delicious Yellow Split Pea soup.
(The day light was quite bright, so the sunglasses aided my water watching as I didn’t have to squint!)

The next day we had a lovely walk through the Glenlivet Estate. It was probably about 2.30pm when we’d finished the walk in the car park of Glenlivet distillery however after popping in to look at their lunch menu we decided to hop in the car back to Glenfiddich! This time we both had a sandwich – they make delicious food there so if you get a chance do go in and have a look.

In the evening we went to the Mash Tun in Aberlour. The food was nothing less than fantastic & considering the leaflet we had which classed the establishment as having boutique hotel accommodation we were surprised to find the meals were inexpensive. I enjoyed deep fried brie with an onion chutney and Mr C experimented with Haggis, Neeps and Tatties with a whisky sauce. His plate was clean in minutes – I think he really enjoyed it! For mains I chose the only veggie option which was Savoury Bread & Butter pudding with feta and roasted vegetables. I don’t think I would have instinctively chosen this but it was excellent – the portion sized beat me though and I had to leave some. Mr C opted for his all time favourite – a trio sausages (1 haggis, 1 wild boar & leek and 1 venison) served with mash and gravy. Doubtless to say there was another clean plate!

We tried to burn off some of the calories the next day walking around the golf course at Craggan – it was very, very windy but most enjoyable. I mean how can you not enjoy it with scenery like this…
, pOn Friday we went for a horse trek through a forest at Loch Alvie. Lucy, my horse may have been the slowest in Scotland but was very adorable. Mr C rode Murphy…

On Friday evening we took my mum & dad up to the sunset dining experience at Cairngorm which is 3600 feet above sea level – the highest in the UK. After arriving at the base, a funicular takes you up to the summit. Unfortunately it wasn’t the clearest evening for the sunset but the views were still fantastic – if you ever go I’d recommend taking a nice warm jumper or coat as its very windy at the top!

Its not the cheapest meal in the world but with the views and experience we would definitely do it again. I started with Mussels and Smoked Haddock with Orkney Cheese sauce and Mr C had Breast of Pheasant with pink peppercorn mousse , red onion marmalade and watercress salad. Mine was delicious but I did have a quick taste of the pheasant & it was divine – something we’ve never tried before but something I’d definitely have again.
For mains I had the veggie option – Spiced aubergine and lentil parcels with vegetable couscous. Mr C chose the Fillet of Aberdeen Angus beef with rosti potato, asparagus and Ptarmigan whisky sauce.
For dessert we both enjoyed the Hot chocolate fondant with home made vanilla ice cream.

The next day was our last full day in the Highlands so the boys went to watch Elgin City and then we ended the holiday in true Anderson family fashion – with some of the best fish & chips ever and as we were in Scotland we had to have a white pudding too. We sat by the banks of the Spey to devour it and it was the perfect end to a perfect break.

September 26th, 2007

Scotland: Foodie Presents Category: Other Foodiness

We managed to bring back quite a few foodie treats from Scotland, mostly with thanks to the Spey Larder in Aberlour. Here is a quick list:

Spey Larder Deli -

  • Eggs from a local farm in Elgin
  • 4 Butteries (the nicest we had!)
  • 1 real Haggis
  • 2 x bags of polenta
  • 1 x quinoa (let me know if you have any ideas for this please!!)
  • Celery salt
  • Bay Leaves
  • Organic Sesame seeds
  • Blue Poppy Seeds
  • Ground Mace
  • Gardeners Spicy Tomato Chutney

And from other places -

  • Isle of Arran Cheese
  • Real Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Veggie Haggis
  • 2 Mealy Jimmies (white puddings)
  • Walkers Shortbread
  • Black Isle Brewery beer
  • 6 Posh Chocolates
  • 1 Granary Loaf from the Water Mill at Blair Atholl
  • 1 bag of bread flour from the Water Mill at Blair Atholl

I think that’s about it… some bits I bought for cooking whilst up there, others I just fancied picking up for a change. I’m looking forward to making some nice soups & home-made bread rolls – hence the sesame seeds & poppy seeds. I did take a picture of my haul but due to us having broken one camera the photo is quite poor in quality..