On Sunday, I visited the Foodies Festival, held in Edinburgh’s Inverleith Park, not far from where I live.
I persuaded my partner Neil to come with me and, in the afternoon, we had a leisurely 10 minute stroll up to the park.
The festival was crowded with people walking around or lying on the grass, enjoying the sunshine and the music.
The aroma of smoking haddock and herrings filled the air.
There were stalls selling everything from artisan breads, organic oils, balsamic vinegar, hand-mixed herbal teas, smoked fish, sweets, preserves, hand-made cheese, olives as well as a host of other delicacies you won’t find in your local Tesco or Sainsbury’s.
I decided to go to the festival mainly because I missed the event last year; there was not much travelling involved; and I wanted to take photographs and improve my camera skills (any opportunity).
It was also a chance to buy food that hadn’t been sprayed, injected or pumped full of additives. In other words, wholesome, unadulterated food of which Scotland has an abundance, if you know where to buy it and are willing to spend a bit more for quality.
There were several masterclasses and chef’s theatres on, most of them fully booked by the time we arrived.
However, we managed to book one, delivered by the head tutor of the Edinburgh School of Food and Wine. We had no idea what he was going to make but it was a chance to sit down for an hour in the shade, relax and watch someone else do the cooking, for a change.
He made smoked fish risotto, using plain water instead of stock. The reason was, he said, if you use good quality vegetables – in this case, leeks and onion – and you sweat them slowly in the butter and oil, they should impart enough flavour to the dish without having to use stock.
We all had a chance to sample it and, although it tasted light and fresh, I thought it lacked the flavour and creaminess you usually find in a good risotto. I’ll be sticking to stock for the time being.
When the sun is out, you have to have ice cream. We bought cones from a Rolls Royce! The Rolls, built for the Marques de San Miguel, of Spain in 1923, is the ice-cream ‘van’ owned, since 1937, by a well-known family firm of Scottish ice-cream makers, S.Luca of Musselburgh. The 89-year-old car is in wonderful condition and still on the road. The ice cream was good too.
We stayed at the Festival for about 3 hours and came home with packets of herb teas made from real dried herbs; organic rapeseed oil; a bottle of 5 year old balsamic vinegar (the 10 year old cost more than the best single malt whisky); a jar of apricot jam with brandy; and ‘posh’ pork pies which we ate for dinner with salad.
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