All you can eat [almost]
Let’s talk food. Any why not, considering that we are about to open a cafe? [And I haven’t talked about much else this month as the gallery/cafe inches towards opening].
We’ve been quite consistent as to our culinary vision, even before we moved to Skye. A meat, a seafood, and a vegetarian option, plus soup, cakes, and a choice of teas and coffees. Whether this will be sustainable in our small cafe only time will tell, but at least it should be a menu we can cope with. Beyond this, the meat option is broadly ‘hot meat rolls’, although in practice this will mean hot meat with something bread based, so it could be a lamb dosa, hot salt beef on rye, or slow roast pork belly in BBQ sauce on a roll. Likewise with the seafood and veggie options, there is likely to be a baked component.
This week I’ve experimented with cranachan cheesecake©. For those not familiar with cranachan, it’s a traditional Scottish desert made with whipped cream, toasted oatmeal, raspberries, honey and whisky. As such it seems perfect to adapt to a baked cheesecake. And so it has proved, especially with crowdie , the traditional highland soft cheese made with skimmed milk, substituting for some of the cream cheese, helping to add tartness to work against the honey [and slightly reduce the fat content!]. It baked really well, although it needed a more strongly flavoured whisky as it’s not very obvious despite the amount that was put in! I used the left-over raspberries to make a tart raspberry whisky sauce to accompany the cheesecake – you can definitely taste the whisky in that! Definitely a premium product. I need to find a cheaper source of cream cheese than Portree Co-Op though, where Philadelphia costs as much as the organic crowdie at Connage dairy…
The other cheesy experiment was shortbread. It was going to be Parmesan Shortbread, but a visit to the cheese-box yielded Pecorino Romano instead. If I’m honest, I prefer pecorino, the salty, ewe’s milk cheese that, according to Elizabeth David, was the preference of the rural peasantry in Italy [probably because they kept sheep rather than water buffalo…]. Mind you, she was writing in 1954, so anything could have happened by now, not least not describing people as peasants, although I’m more than happy to have my tastes so described. [As an aside, my copy of Elizabeth David’s classic Italian Food, which was a gift some years ago, is illustrated with medieval paintings which have little relevance to the recipes but certainly add to the beauty, and cost, of the book…]. Another success according to feedback, and one that will definitely translate to the cafe menu. Given the saltiness of the pecorino the flaked sea salt sprinkled on top to decorate was probably unnecessary – maybe cracked black pepper next time.
All of which is making me hungry…
Currently listening to: Stormcock – Roy Harper. [A stormcock is a Mistle Thrush. Roy Harper may, or may not, be the loony on the bus…]