Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Jam’ Category

Yesterday was the delightful assistants’ 53rd wedding anniversary.

Acting as chauffeur, I whisked them off into the county of Angus for a tasty luncheon, an invigorating walk and afternoon treats.

Here they are attempting to gaze lovingly at each other for the camera:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

They found this highly amusing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Delightful assitants in a more natural pose.

Delightful assistant no.1 chose to go to Peel Farm, near Kirriemuir, for lunch:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A welcoming sign at the entrance to Peel Farm.

We arrived nice and early, a little before noon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The entrance to the coffee shop at Peel Farm, decked out with wreaths and other Christmas decorations.

Due to our fortunate timing the coffee shop was unusually empty, which allowed me to take a photograph of the inside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Inside the lovely Peel Farm coffee shop, unusually empty of hungry punters.

The delightful assistants wisely chose a table at the fireside end of the room, from where we all ordered a farmhouse special of soup with a roll and butter, followed by a scone and tea or coffee.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Delightful assistants perfectly placed near the fire with bowls of hot soup.

Delightful assistant no.1 and I both chose carrot and parsnip soup, while delightful assistant no.2 had red pepper and tomato.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Carrot and parsnip soup with a crusty roll.

Our soups warmed us up, and when they’d been polished off it was time for scones.

There were three options available: plain, fruit, and raspberry. After considerable deliberation I plumped for raspberry, while delightful assistant no.1 chose fruit and delightful assistant no.2 chose plain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My choice of a raspberry scone – I was not in any way disappointed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A fruit-studded scone for delightful assistant no.1.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A beautiful plain scone for delightful assistant no.2.

A delicious jam was delivered with the scones and delightful assistant no.2 felt that his plain scone gave the perfect base for it.

The jam was a new creation by one of Peel Farm’s master jam makers and was a combination of plum and orange. It tasted a bit like marmalade because of the orange, and it had a wonderfully zingy sweet flavour. Delightful assistant no.1 christened it ‘jarmalade’. Here’s a blob of it on my raspberry scone:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Raspberry scone with a blob of jarmalade on it.

I wasn’t too sure how my raspberry scone would fare as a platform for such a sprightly spread, but when I tasted them together I was immediately won over and slathered the rest of my scone with the stuff, enjoying each mouthful with gusto.

When we’d finished our scones and downed our tea and coffee we had a quick look in the Peel Farm craft shop where I spotted the happiest little gingerbread men I think I’ve ever seen.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cheery wee chaps on a string.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Utterly delighted to meet you.

We got back into the car and drove to nearby Loch of Lintrathen, which has a level road all round it, virtually devoid of traffic and very pleasant for strolling along.

It was grey and chilly but we walked briskly, enjoying the fresh air and the noise of wind in the trees and on the water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Loch of Lintrathen.

Quite a few branches and twigs lay scattered about after recent high winds; delightful assistant no.2 fashioned one such branch into a walking stick.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Delightful assistant no.2 taking twigs off the fallen branch of a larch tree.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The old chap making use of his newly acquired walking equipment.

On our walk we passed a well constructed bird hide, and I popped in to see what I could spot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Loch of Lintrathen bird hide – I had it all to myself.

I didn’t see anything particularly unusual, although someone had noted a white tailed sea eagle in the visitor’s book a couple of weeks before.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gateway to the bird hide at Loch of Lintrathen.

After my bit of birding I caught up with the delightful assistants and we scooted on to the nearby town of Kirriemuir to seek out an afternoon snack.

On past visits to Kirriemuir I’ve been unable to find interesting tearooms, so my hopes weren’t terribly high.

We parked in the free cark park and walked towards the town centre.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Delightful assistants keeping each other upright.

Before we even reached the main street, to my astonishment and delight, we passed this promising looking establishment down a little alleyway:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A side window at The Auld Surgery Tearooms in Kirriemuir.

Just around the corner we found the front door, and swiftly sailed in:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Front entrance to The Auld Surgery Tearooms in Kirriemuir.

The interior had a charmingly rustic farmhouse feel with solid wooden furniture and gifty things dotted about. We perched ourselves at a table for three:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seated comfortably close to the wooden dresser where there was a selection of tasty looking treats.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A dresser showing off its cakes and biscuits.

Delightful assistant no.2 was the first to make up his mind and went for a mug of hot chocolate and a mint chocolate traybake, which was enticingly decorated with broken bits of fondant-filled mint thins:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chocolate mints on top of a traybake – a stroke of genius.

Although very fond of mint chocolates, I thought this traybake might be too sweet for my tastes. However, having tasted a piece of the one in the photograph, I would gladly return to Kirriemuir just for a slice of this excellent confection.

As it was, I went for a slice of fruit loaf with butter, downed with a cafetiere of decaf coffee:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Delightful assistant no.1 also had coffee, but in the solids department she made a traditionally festive selection:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Delightful assistant no.1’s choice of a mince pie. Such a good girl, she didn’t make a fuss about the lack of cream.

After enjoying our treats we had a quick squiz at a few of the items for sale, some of which were displayed at the bottom of a gracefully curving banister:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One item in particular took the fancy of delightful assistant no.1.

In her youth she remembers having a little wooden rocking horse that rocked very nicely, and when she saw something similar at The Auld Surgery Tearooms she didn’t want to go home without it:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Small wooden rocking horse with teacup: a happy ending to a lovely day.

Read Full Post »

Last week I tootled off to Scotland’s peaceful south-west with the delightful assistants for a little holiday.

Purely for scientific reasons (although what they were I couldn’t say), I gave myself the challenge of having a scone in a different tearoom every day. What follows is the photographic evidence of my work.

On our way south, we stopped at Le Jardin Cafe near Kinross. There was an excellent choice of scones, and I plumped for a plain one.

The scone was delightful, but the jam was outstanding. We were brought two different jams: mixed berry and apple, and apple and plum, and both were extremely good. This is not the best photograph of a scone, but I’ve included it because there’s a little pot of jam in the background.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Saturday at Le Jardin Cafe – a plain scone with excellent jam

The next day, settled in nicely at our holiday cottage, we went to the beautiful Logan Botanic Gardens, where we had both morning tea and luncheon in the Potting Shed Bistro.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunday at Logan Botanic Gardens – a fruit scone

The following day we visited Wigtown, known as Scotland’s Book Town for all the bookshops it contains, and called in at Cafe Rendezvous for our morning snacks.

It’s very nice when your expectations are exceeded, and such was the case with my scone at Cafe Rendezvous.

The scone was not only somewhat on the small side, but looked to me as if it might be lacking any great taste sensation. How wrong I was, it was a triumph!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Monday at Cafe Rendezvous, Wigtown – a fruit scone

Tuesday’s scone was provided by the Pilgrim Tearoom in Whithorn. There were two scone choices, I think one was plain (it might have been fruit) and the other was treacle. I chose the treacle.

When you’ve had a particularly good scone experience one day, it  does make you wonder what the next one might be like. Again, my expectations were low, and again they were exceeded. What a happy set of circumstances.

The scones were so good that we returned to the same place for lunch, and I daresay I’ll be doing a separate post about that anon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tuesday at the Pilgrim Tearoom – a treacle scone

Wednesday, the middle of the week, was a red letter day. We went to one of my very favourite tearooms anywhere in the world, Kitty’s in New Galloway (a post will follow about that too, no doubt).

We went there for the first part of our lunch and, after a walk to work up our appetites between courses, returned for sweet treats.

The many exquisite cakes on offer at Kitty’s made choosing what to have very difficult, but I was lured in by the prospect of a cream scone. It was served with an excellent full-bodied English Breakfast leaf tea.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wednesday at Kitty’s Tearoom – a plain scone with cream and jam

Topping Kitty’s would be very difficult and indeed it didn’t happen. Thursday’s scone was taken at the Seasons Tearoom in Dunskey Gardens, where we met up with various other family members. The company on this occasion was what mattered more than the comestibles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thursday at the Seasons Tearoom – a fruit scone

The joy of Friday was that we went to a tearoom we’d never been to before, Granny’s Kitchen in Newton Stewart, where there were several flavours of scone on offer.

I delighted in choosing the unusual coconut scone, one that I’ve rarely seen in tearooms. It was a top class confection.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Friday at Granny’s Kitchen – a coconut scone

Last year when I was in Galloway, I had a truly magnificent scone at the Woodlea Tearoom in Sandhead and I had been dreaming about having another one there.

On the last day of my holiday my dream came true. Just look at the stretch on this beauty:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Saturday at Woodlea Tearoom – a fruit scone

Thank you to all of the wonderful Galloway tearooms that provided me with opportunities to conduct my work, it was a most enjoyable task.

Read Full Post »

Following on from my last post, after luncheon at Duff House my delightful assistant and I tootled up to have a look at one or two of the small villages that are strung out along the Moray coast.

Our first stop was the attractively named Gardenstown, which was reached via a steep narrow road full of hairpin bends.

We parked in a quiet street just above the harbour and got out to amble through the village and gaze out to sea:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I didn’t realise at first that this smart little building at the harbour was a toilet block. We didn’t make use of the facilities but they looked very well kept from the outside.

Attached to the railing I was leaning on to take the above photos, and at various other points in the town, there were curious little signs:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For those not in the know, there is a department store chain in the UK called BHS, which stands for British Home Stores; I assume it inspired the name of this Gardenstown emporium.

The delightful assistant and I were keen to take a look, and found said shop lurking inside this green wooden building:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Inside, it had the feel of a thrift shop, being largely stocked with second-hand oddments such as handbags, puzzles, books, clothes, photo frames and ornaments.

There were also a few brand new items, some of which had presumably been made locally, and amongst them were what I can only assume were gnomes. They were unlike any gnomes I’ve ever seen before, however, and I wish I had a photograph to show you. Alas, I didn’t feel able to take pictures under the watchful eyes of the assistants, who sat silent and motionless behind an old wooden counter observing our every move (we were the only customers).

The thing that impressed me most about this peculiar little shop was the high prices. In this tiny out of the way place, haphazardly dangling from the walls and strewn about dusty shelves, everything seemed to be surprisingly expensive. I remember there were a few very small notebooks filled with cheap lined paper that I would expect to cost a maximum of 30p, but which were priced at £1 each. I don’t wish to criticise the owners of this store or to pass judgement on their efforts to run a retail business, but I find it hard to imagine them ever selling anything.

On the plus side, visiting it was certainly an experience.

Back outside the store, I was attracted by this somewhat unusual pair of bollards outside someone’s front door:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On closer inspection they reminded me of chess pieces:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I confess, their purpose wasn’t entirely clear to me but – thanks to the heads on top – I drew the conclusion that they must be for tying your horse up to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By this time the afternoon was drawing on and I wanted to have a peek at the interesting village of Crovie, just along the coast, before we turned round and headed towards home, so we got back into the car and set off up the steep winding streets of Gardenstown to rejoin the main road.

Unfortunately, our departure coincided with the arrival of a convoy of funeral attendees coming down the hill and looking for places to park on the roadside. We were forced to sit with the handbrake pulled up as far as it would go, on a steep slope next to a sharp bend with another car right behind us, constantly attempting to pull away but being thwarted by ever more vehicles appearing round the bend.

In this country, there is an understanding (it may even be mentioned in the Highway Code, I can’t remember) that traffic coming downhill gives way to that going uphill, but there was none of that in Gardenstown. Mind you, due to hairpin bends and buildings obscuring the view, I expect the downhill drivers didn’t know that there were uphill drivers waiting round the bend, and by the time they swung into view there was no room for them to give way to anyone.

It was not the most comfortable part of our day out, but at least it was summer time and the roads were dry. I shuddered to think what it would be like on ice in the winter, and made a mental note never to relocate to Gardenstown.

A few miles along the main road we saw the sign we were looking for, next to an attractive bus shelter with a not so attractive bin in front of it. The little blue and white anchor on the signpost denotes that Crovie is on the scenic route along the Moray coast:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The single track road leading down to Crovie from the main road:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Crovie, like Gardenstown, lies by the sea at the end of a steep road with a few sharp bends in it.

We passed a sign at a car park by the roadside before the village suggesting that any non-locals might like to stop there rather than continue down, but after surviving Gardenstown I wasn’t too put off by that. We did in fact find another place to park a bit further down the road, which was possibly just as well because there wasn’t a lot of land to park on down in the village.

The cars in the distance on the left of this picture were the only ones I saw there:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The west end of Crovie village.

Looking in the other direction there didn’t seem to be enough space for cars, and according to the Undiscovered Scotland website this is in fact the case.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The east end of Crovie village: no room for cars.

It surprised me that people actually chose to live here with it being so close to the sea, although I’ve since found out that quite a few of the houses are now holiday lets occupied only in the summer. On a stormy day at high tide I imagine it could be quite invigorating to stick your head out of the window of one of these houses.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For a more professional photograph of Crovie, you might like to have a look at Scott Marshall’s blog, here.

When we’d finished gawping at Crovie, we buzzed off south again and stopped in a most curious place for cream teas.

The location was a castle and apparently photography was forbidden indoors ‘for insurance reasons’ and so, despite having taken a lot of pictures before I was aware of this rule, I’ve decided not to publish them here. This is a pity, particularly as many of them were taken in the tearoom where we enjoyed truly excellent cream teas. I even went to the trouble of conducting an experiment involving a cherry scone, some raspberry jam and a large pot of whipped cream.

The ‘cream tea’ (i.e. a pot of tea served with a scone, jam and cream – traditionally clotted cream, but often whipped double cream is used instead, as it was on this occasion), is said to have originated in the English county of Devon in the 11th Century, but the county nextdoor, Cornwall, also claims the cream tea as its own. I’ve only ever had a cream tea in Cornwall, not having spent any time in Devon, but I have heard that the difference between a Devonshire cream tea and a Cornish cream tea is in the ordering of the jam and cream on the scone.

In Devon they put the cream on first (butter isn’t usually part of a cream tea, unless my delightful assistants happen to be in charge) with the jam on top, and in Cornwall it’s the other way round: jam first, then cream. Here’s an example of what I’m on about (admittedly, this is one of the forbidden pictures, but you’d never know the location from this photo), with Devon on the right and Cornwall on the left:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve observed that in Scotland people tend to follow the Cornish method, with jam first and cream on top, and I think I understand the reason for this.

Whenever I’ve tried it the other way round, with the cream on first, I’ve found it difficult to apply the jam on top of the cream in such a way as to make it look appetising. Usually what happens is the heavier jam sinks into the cream and when an attempt is made to spread the jam, it combines with the cream to create a bit of a delicious mess. Applying the jam first means you lay a good solid foundation for the lighter cream, which when spread atop the jam layer manages to hold its own without mixing in with the jam too much.

When I take a cream tea (which I fear I do far too frequently for the good of my health), I tend to use the Cornish method, simply for neatness. What is a little unfortunate is that when I tested it on the occasion pictured above, I discovered (as I had already known, deep down) that I slightly preferred the taste sensation of the Devonshire method, with the cream underneath the jam.

I say it’s unfortunate but that’s like saying that a good solid 10 hour sleep is better than a sleep of 9 hours 55 minutes, i.e. there’s not much in it and I really can’t complain about the minimal difference in the end result.

Read Full Post »

If you happen to be in Scotland driving along the A90, the main road between Dundee and Aberdeen, you might be surprised by the dearth of good eateries along this busy route.

However, about halfway between the two cities, near the little town of Laurencekirk and about half a mile off the main road, there lurks a gem of a place called Balmakewan:

According to the website, Balmakewan is not only a farm shop and tearoom (housed in the old coach house building pictured above), but also a small family run mansion house, with holiday cottages to rent and a large selection of rhododendrons and azaleas for sale.

When you go through the doors of the old coach house, you find a very spacious and nicely laid out shop area:

Beyond this there is a big table surrounded by tins, jars, packets and bottles of food and drink for sale:

The big table is one of the places you can sit if you want to make use of the splendid tearoom facilities, but there are smaller options too:

Much of the seating appears to have been acquired from a church, many of the chairs having storage areas on their backs (see picture above) for a Bible/hymnbook. Old wooden church pews are also provided:

The tables are remarkably shiny, as can be seen in the picture below. The only other place I’ve seen wooden tables gleaming like this was in a small farm tearoom not far from Balmakewan. Perhaps it’s all the rage in rural Aberdeenshire.

The menu is more of a restauranty affair than you’d expect to find in the average tearoom, but helpfully they offer small portions as well as full size versions.

My delightful assistants and I all went for small portions in order to leave room for pudding.

Delightful assistant no.1 had smoked haddock with boiled new potatoes and spring greens:

Delightful assistant no.2 and I both opted for pea risotto, which came with creamy cheese fritters and was artistically finished with watercress and pea shoots. I thought it was one of the most beautiful meals I’d ever eaten:

I was particularly delighted by the curling pea shoots:

The main courses were very good, but what of the desserts?

Choosing a sweet was a fairly painful business. I’m often torn in situations where there’s a number of pleasing pudding options, and I had a sort of pleasurable nightmare at Balmakewan.

I almost plumped for St Clement’s Log, one of the day’s specials and the choice of delightful assistant no.1. I tasted a bit of hers and, although you might not get all this from the photograph, it was a creamy, moussey, extremely citrussy slab of near perfection:

Delightful assistant no.2 also went down the creamy pudding route, with Bailey’s and white chocolate cheesecake. Texturewise, it struck me as cheesecake perfection, melting in the mouth like a snowflake on the tongue:

Faced with such decadent delights, what do you suppose I went for?

Regular readers might not be too surprised by my choice of a very decent sized (enormous) fruit scone:

It was served with a little dish of swirling butter and a small cup of excellent strawberry jam:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Due to its great girth I struggled to finish it, but the accompaniment of a pot of Lady Grey tea helped it down nicely. The assistants both went for coffee.

Prior to hot beverages, with our main courses we had a carafe of water between us. In addition to that, delightful assistant no.2 had a bottle of Thistly Cross cider, an alcoholic beverage crafted in the Scottish seaside town of Dunbar.

He enjoyed it very much, but it left him ready for a nice nap, so when our luncheon was concluded he headed off to the car for a sleep while delightful assistant no.1 and I went for a little walk up a quiet road.

On the way we passed the garden of Balmakewan House, which had an unusual stone fence (or perhaps, being made of stone, it would be considered a wall):

There was also a curious old tower in a field that caught our attention. I have no idea what it was doing there, but I thought it looked rather nice sitting alongside some pylons (I like a nice pylon):

When we got back to the car, delightful assistant no.2 was awake and ready for a new experience, so we all whisked off to the nearby Steptoe’s Yard. I wrote about this amazing place on my Teacups Press blog last year but on that occasion it was only delightful assistant no.1 and I who visited.

As anticipated, delightful assistant no.2 was fascinated by the garden implements:

Despite the profusion of items on offer, we left empty handed.

It’s several days since we had this little outing, but while I’ve been writing this post the memory of that Balmakewan scone has been looming large in my mind. It exceeded expectations and days later I’m craving another. This, in my view, is an indication of scone greatness.

 

Read Full Post »

Re: my previous post, I’m delighted to report that Dundee was full of jam today!

I did go for the scone this morning, not because the tea breads didn’t look tempting enough (they did, it was a dreadfully difficult decision) but because, as predicted,  I simply couldn’t resist the glorious raspberry jam.
 

 

 
It looks as if I didn’t slobber on much jam in the above picture, but I piled on as much as I could without it slopping off the scone too much (I got it all over my hands, if truth be told, and enjoyed licking it off).

An excellent tearoom visit and, what’s more, the parents chose a different tea bread each (date and walnut, and fruit loaf) so I got to taste those as well. As tasty and delicious as the tea breads were, I’m very pleased I went for the scone.

Incidentally, the jam is for sale to take away.  I tried to buy some but although they had the jam, they had run out of jars. It was suggested that I might like to bring in a jar of my own and have it filled up, but since I was about 20 miles from home and on my way somewhere else, that wasn’t really feasible. I did briefly consider going to a shop, buying a jar of inferior jam, emptying out said jar and then going back to the tearoom for a refill, but I thought that might be slightly ridiculous. Far better to go back another day, have another wonderful scone and jam experience and take an empty jar with me, just in case. I’m looking forward to it already.

The next food stop was Arbroath, which was bathed in lovely sunshine this afternoon, but in order to work up a bit of an appetite we went via Monikie Country Park for a stroll. If you ever happen to be driving around in the Dundee/Angus area wanting a bit of exercise and wondering where to get it, I heartily recommend a stroll in this excellent park. In the summer it even has a cafe in the grounds, which makes it worth visiting even if all you want to do is haul yourself from the car, fill up with goodies and then slump back behind the wheel again.

The park is very flat, with tarmac paths through some woods and wide, flat, grassy banks running around three reservoirs. This makes it an excellent choice for anyone with a buggy, pram or wheelchair. There are also toilets, an adventure playground and other interesting features. (If you click on the first mention of the park above you’ll find out more about it). Parking is free at this time of year, although between Easter and September it costs £2 for the day. It got the thumbs up from my dad too:
 

 
Just before leaving the park I gave the Arbroath tearoom a ring and booked a table. I was glad I’d done that, because when we arrived they were very busy and a queue was forming. Our table was in the conservatory, which was a little unfortunate due to our position being out of the line of sight of the waitresses. They forgot to bring us menus, and then they forgot to take our order. However, they apologised, and after we’d ordered what we wanted, the food came quickly, and was exellent. I had one of their specials, beer battered fish with chips and petit pois, and a glass of Elderflower presse.

If you’ve been to Arbroath, you’ll perhaps have noticed how fish-dominated the town is. There are a number of fish shops, selling a variety of seafood, but Arbroath smokies are the big thing. There are several suppliers of smokies in Arbroath, and Spink’s is perhaps the best known (click on Arbroath smokies above for Iain Spink’s website and a definitive answer to the question ‘what is an Arbroath smokie?’). My mum had Arbroath smokie pate with oatcakes, which I tasted and thought was superb.

Any visitors to these shores searching for somewhere to taste some top quality Scottish fish would do well to call in at Arbroath. There are other fishing villages and towns up and down the country, but Arbroath can compete with any of them, in my opinion.

Thus filled with fresh fish, we had a gentle wander round the harbour, enjoying the sunshine and watching the waves crash onto the stony beach, dragging the stones back with a loud roar. The roaring stones were very good free entertainment, and I was slightly loathe to leave because I found it so absorbing, but hot beverages were calling, not to mention little sweet somethings, and so it was off to our third tearoom of the day. I hadn’t actually planned to go to three today, but it’s always nice to have a wee bonus.

Number three was an old favourite in Edzell (see previous post ‘A wee bit of Angus’), and I again opted for the cafetiere of decaffeinated coffee, this time with a chunk of deliciously moist carrot cake:
 

 

It was jolly tasty, and I enjoyed it greatly, despite having stuffed my face with fish and chips not long before.

All in all, I can say that Friday 27 January 2012 was a fine day for tearooms and, who knows, tomorrow might be another corker. Tomorrow my mum, my dad, my sister and I are all meeting in Dunkeld for lunch, at a tearoom that does wonderful scones. They also have my favourite tearoom teapots, and hopefully I’ll have some photos to show you after the visit.

This has been a long post, so if you’ve managed to read all the way down to here, well done! I wish I could bestow upon you a scone with that wonderful raspberry jam slopped all over it as a prize for your efforts. 

Read Full Post »

At this time of year, during a Scottish winter, my mum regularly wears two vests. I’ve known about this for a while, but for some reason donning two vests myself has never really occurred to me. It somehow seems so decadent, having not just one cosy vest on, but two, and yet I’m perfectly happy to wear a t-shirt over a vest, so why not two vests?

You may be thinking I’m making a fuss about nothing, and perhaps you yourself frequently go around with two vests on, but today is a big day for me, for it is my First Day of Two Vests. It’s a cold, frosty morning in Blairgowrie and if I was going to try it any day, today is a good day to give it a go.

And so to the two tearooms.

My plan today is to re-visit two recently discovered tearooms (recently discovered by me, at least), one in Dundee and the other in Arbroath. Both of them are tipped for the guide book but my policy is to visit each tearoom that gets into the guide at least twice so that I’m convinced of their merits. Both of today’s tearooms made a big impression on me on my first visit to them, so I’m looking forward to today’s little outing.

When I went before, the Dundee one made me feel as if I’d gone back in time. It had me thinking I was sitting in the late 1940s, recovering from the second world war and feeling that Blighty was getting back on its feet again. My notes remind me that leaf tea was served in a teapot that poured well, and that the place had an air of tranquility and calm about it. I am also reminded of the possibly unsweetened and slightly salty tasting fruit scone with only two sultanas in it, and the way in which it was completely transformed by the application of the tearoom’s own home-made raspberry jam. I remember that I was sorely tempted by the range of tea breads on offer, and almost chose one over the scone. Will I have an even greater dilemma today, knowing that the jammed-up scone is such a wonderful taste experience? Will I be able to choose an alternative option just to try it out? Thank goodness I’m taking the parents with me, and between us we can perhaps order both scone and tea bread. I think it will be impossible for me to pass up another opportunity to savour that glorious raspberry jam.

Tearoom two is one of those little gems beloved by locals but possibly not known about much outside the county boundaries. I may be wrong about that, but it was certainly a revelation to me. It was hotching when I went there last time for a late-ish lunch, and I was asked if I had booked a table. Just to be on the safe side, I’ll take the tearoom’s phone number with me today. During my last visit there, I had the impression I was sitting in someone’s house, but with lots of tables full of people I didn’t know. It had that friendly, community sort of feel about it.

My dad hasn’t been to either of these tearooms and so I’ll be interested to see if he agrees with my first impressions, or if something else strikes him about them. I’ve got my camera in my bag and will endeavour to take a photo or two to share anon.  I do hope they haven’t run out of that jam in Dundee…

 

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,727 other followers

%d bloggers like this: