highlands

Carnivore Club Champions Scottish Charcuterie 


If you’ve been reading for a while then you’ll know that I love meat, I love local and I love trying new things. So when I was emailed by a company that send you boxes of Artisan British charcuterie it immediately piqued my interest. Each month uses a different charcuterie company and this months box contained meat from a Highland business called Great Glen Charcuterie. 



Great Glen Charcuterie are based in Roybridge, which is down Spean Bridge/ Fortwilliam way. I’d heard of them and been wanting to try their meat so this was a great taster box. They specialise in charcuterie using wild Scottish venison that they make by hand and air dry. 


The Carnivore Club is essentially an online company that send you meat. They use different British charcuterie companies every month so that you can try meat from smaller companies that you might not have heard of. Good for small businesses to get the word out. You can order a box as a one-off for a gift or start a monthly/bi-monthly/quarterly subscription. 
Perfect timing as it’s much easier for us to have a nice dinner in than out right now with a little baby. 

It arrived by courier and the meat was encased in a sturdy gift box. Inside there was a leaflet with information about the box and serving suggestions and five different products to try: two salamis, two chorizos and a venison bresaola. The aforementioned were venison pork salami, green peppercorn salami, chili venison chorizo & venison and pork chorizo. 

The first meat that we tried was the pork & venison chorizo. We used it in place of bacon on treat night in a creamy seafood pasta… delicious! We then used the venison and pork chorizo in place of our regular chorizo in our affectionately named ‘sexy pasta’ that uses roasted Mediterranean veg and herbs. Again, it was lovely. We liked both of the products and the only thing we found was that the chorizos weren’t as oily or paprika-y as normal chorizo so adjust recipes accordingly. 

The salamis are rich and tasty, a fantastic addition to an antipasti board alongside cheese, olives and proscuitto. 
The bresaola is being kept until date night because it is the one we are looking forward to the most. I’ll be doing it the traditional way with rocket and shaved Parmesan on top of the slices then drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over it. 

I thought that the box was good value. It’s £29 if you subscribe and £32 for a one-off and if my maths were right the box had £27.41 worth of products (not to mention the nice gift box) plus Great Glen charge £4.95 delivery so you’re making a saving. Since getting the box I’ve spotted Great Glen charcuterie at The Storehouse & Corner on the Square and they are (obviously) a little more expensive than buying direct so The Carnivore Club are competitive price wise. 

To get it every month you’d have to be a true carnivore, I would say that I am more on the bi-monthly part of the scale. The boxes are compiled using British companies & I hope to see and try more Scottish charcuterie in the future as I like to support local. 
We have friends scattered all over the UK and I’m constantly wracking my brain over what to buy them as gifts that are easy to send but still special so this will really help me out. It’s also a nice idea for new parents who might not go out for a while so that they can treat themselves at home.
I can be somewhat sceptical about these subscription services that send you things because I don’t always feel that they are good value for money but I can honestly say that the box I was sent by the Carnivore Club felt like it was. I’ve seen photos online of another box and it also looked like you got your money’s worth. A nice way to spend some disposable income on or to gift someone. Just not to a vegetarian! 

 

N.B The Carnivore Club kindly sent me a box to try. There was no pressure to be nice about it so I just gave my honest opinion. Im very selective about what I write about so research anyone who contacts me first. I’m actually about to order another box! 
This content has also been posted on my sister blog Highland Foodie 

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Glasgow You’re Slipping Out Of My Reach

I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve felt terrible not saying anything on here about it but this morning I decided that the time has come… I’m leaving Glasgow!
By the end of the year I will no longer live in this amazing city and I’m feeling sad about it this morning. Being away from my friends & family up north finally pulled me back to Inverness when a job offer up there came about.

So that’s why things on here have been so quiet recently. Between painting and decluttering the flat, sorting out getting the flat on the market, working full-time & spending as much time with friends down here as possible, it’s been a busy month.
I have a bit of a backlog so I’ve still got some lovely meals to tell you about and the BBC Good Food Show Glasgow. To be honest I’m not sure how I’m going to live without Celino’s, La Lanterna and Tempo Tea (among others) so I’ll be up and down the road regularly for the first year at least to wean myself off these delicious addictions.

I intend to still blog on here whenever I’m down visiting folk so make sure you’re signed up for e-mail notifications. It will just mean relentless eating and drinking in a small space of time- I think I’ll manage!

Until then, keep reading what I’ve been up to recently and follow my second blog, Highland Foodie, as I begin this new journey.

I’m going to miss you more than words can say Glasgow.

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Afternoon Tea At Culloden House

Culloden House stands on the outskirts of Inverness, near to the Culloden Battlefield. Bonnie Prince Charlie even stayed there during the Jacobite Rising. It is close to my childhood home & was the setting for afternoon tea with some of my closest & longest friends for one of my birthday celebrations.

 

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The hotel stands on manicured grounds with highland cattle at the back. You could have a pre eating walk if you wanted to work up an appetite. It is now in a fairly residential area but it doesn’t feel like it.
You book afternoon tea so that the pastry chef has time to whip up the goods. I wasn’t sure what to expect since it’s quite grand but when we went inside we got the warmest welcome from the manager, Murray. He took us into a lounge and asked us whether we wanted the fire on. There were no other people in when we were, but I know other people who have visited when others have been in so we must have got a quiet day. It was off season so probably down to that but we loved having the place to ourselves.

He obviously knew his audience when he started talking about prosecco and we were only too happy to oblige.

The sandwiches were a crust off, traditional affair. Soft bread and tasty fillings so they got nods all round.

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Ahh, and the tea. Loose leaf complete with tea strainer and served in gorgeous wares. Murray also gave us a pot of boiling water in case it was too strong for us – little things make all the difference.

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It was time for something sweet to go with the tea. We all had our eye on something different, and I’m sure we all sampled everything else too. Mini scones with little pots of jam were warmly received. After a few of these afternoon teas, I realised that I can’t managed sandwiches then a whole scone then all of the cakes so the minis were designed for me.

 

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There were meringues filled with fresh cream and served with white chocolate cigarettes next to traditional shortbread rounds dusted in sugar.

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Gooey thin flapjack type delights were small enough to curtail the richness.

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My favourites were the chocolatey, caramel bites. So soft that they were like a rich mousse and I’m sure I could detect a saltiness. They were so good that Murray packed up the last one for me to take back for mum to sample.

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We were so relaxed in there that we asked to see some of the other rooms they use for dining and weddings. They were all so grand and beautiful.

I always wondered what the bedrooms were like and we were allowed to wander freely around some. They are currently refurbishing some of the rooms but what we saw can only be described as romantic.

 

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It was unintentionally fitting to visit Culloden House for a 30th birthday visit – we grew up around it but always thought it was so adult as youngsters. When we became adults I couldn’t tell you but surely by 30 we are there!

 

 

Afternoon tea at Culloden House is currently priced at £14.95 per person.

 

Many thanks to my good friend Iona for taking the food photographs. You can check out her photography here

 

 

 

Inverness Round-Up…Beer, Cheese & Baking

A little round-up of some places that I have been this year during Inverness trips to visit the good people. I’m not going to lie, I spend most of my time drinking cups of tea and catching up on the Sneck gossip but occasionally I have time for other things…

 

A positive element to blogging is that companies follow your blog, so often I find places that I would never have known about. Even those that I already know about that follow me draw my attention to them once again. I first tried The Cromarty Brewing Company Happy Chappy pale ale at The Allangrange Arms and I’ve been drinking it any time I see it on a menu ever since. After following The Cromarty Brewing Co on twitter I made a point to visit next time I was in the area. It was a Monday and my sister and I were Cromarty bound when Google maps told me the brewery was shut. I phoned them and Google was lying…phew! We were greeted by a lovely little Jack Russell and spent some time choosing a selection of bottles to take back to the house.

 

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After collecting  the important stuff, we went to Cromarty Bakery to pick up a picnic lunch of bridies and cakes then drove to Rosemarkie beach. We had planned to eat outside but it was cold and windy so we sat in the car and ate the delicious baked goodies. Chanonry point is nearby so we were dolphin spotting but the water was too rough too spot anything.

 

Rosemarkie

Rosemarkie

 

On the way back we stopped in at the Highland Bottle Shop for a few more beers. This pint sized place (da-dum) has a great selection of Scottish beers and also an around selection, including my favourite Little Creatures from WA.

 

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I grew up living nearby to Culloden Battlefield but I hadn’t been in years so mum and I took a jaunt up to the new shop and centre. The shop is full of tartan, walking books, jewellery, ceramics and other Scottish pieces. The battle of Culloden was the final battle from the Jacobite rising in 1746. You can walk out on to the battlefield as I have done many times before but it was a windy day so we gave it a miss this time.

 

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We also paid a visit to Connage Highland Dairy out at Ardersier to get some cheese for my birthday meal. They have a big, cold cheese pantry with their own organic cheeses on display as well as other British and Continental offerings. This is where to go if you are a cheese lover that’s for sure. There is a massive selection and you can try before you buy. They make their own natural yoghurt for you to buy and if you go at the right time you can even watch them making cheese.

 

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After choosing what cheese we wanted we picked up some baby gherkins and oatcakes then had a cappuccino in their adjoining coffee shop. In the shop they sell local foodie items like oils, biscuits, chutneys, cheese boards and accessories.

 

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Harry Gow’s bakery is an Inverness institution & my parents work right next to their original premises so growing up our favourite treat was a dream ring. It makes me sad that we don’t have them down here – a Harry Gow sausage roll or even morning roll is a thing of beauty!

 

 

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The girls and I also went for afternoon tea at Culloden House so I will be writing about that in a separate post soon.

 

 

You can read about other Inverness posts here:

The Allangrange Arms

A Wee Day Trip To Perth

Just to clarify, I am talking about Perth in Scotland this time, not about the aforementioned Perth in Australia. As much as I’d love to go back to Perth in Oz, it’s slightly cheaper to take the train to the Perth here.

Coming from Inverness and with all of my family still living there, Perth usually signifies that we are almost back in Glasgow after a long car journey or that we still have about another 115 miles to go. The only time we really stop there is to go to McDonalds at Broxden for the obligatory quarter pounder with cheese to see us through until we reach Sneckie.

On this occasion, mum and I decided that a catch-up was long overdue so we would meet somewhere in the middle and chose Perth. For those of you who have never been to Perth, about 50,000 people live there (and it’s suburbs) and it is a city but seems like more of a town to me. ‘The gateway to the Highlands’ has a quaint little High Street that we managed to locate easily on foot from the train station with some prior research.

 

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Perth High Street

 

We started the day with a catch up and a cuppa in Small Talk cafe after it being recommended to us. We adored this place with its old fashioned feel – I felt like I was in somebody’s grannies house with all the knick-knacks. The tea came served in silver with vintage teacups & saucers, I was in love. They had a good selection of herbal teabag flavours and the scone was obviously home-made & yummy.

 

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Small Talk tea wares

 

After leaving the cafe, we strolled along the small High Street stopping in a few shops and then we went in to St John’s shopping centre. It boasts high street shops such as Topshop, Accessorize, River Island, Primark (Prada to most of us) & Waterstones. We had a good sales rummage and I even managed to find flip-flops for my holiday in Accessorize in a tiny size XS (UK size 1-2.5) for my minuscule feet & mum got a pair of sunnies. We wandered on to the end of the High street and crossed Queen’s Bridge, taking in the lovely views on the way.

 

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Taken on Queen’s Bridge looking towards Smeaton’s Bridge

 

There is a short walk through gardens called the Norie Miller walk after the bridge on the left so we followed in along the River Tay then walked along until we made our way to Smeaton’s Bridge. Then we veered to the right a bit ending up near Perth Concert Hall, which is a brand new modern building. We must book a show next time to check it out further.

We found a lovely little shop nearby (The Bean Shop) that sells coffee, tea, mugs and other hot drink related items and ended up buying some coffee beans for dad. The staff were knowledgeable when we were choosing what to get him and there were samples to try.

After doing a few loops of the centre we found St John’s Kirk, which is the oldest building in Perth. It first appeared in written record in 1128 but is thought to be older than this. You can take self-guided tours around the church using the information sheets provided, soak in the history and admire the beautiful features like the stained glass.

 

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St John’s Kirk

 

Stomach’s rumbling, we walked along to Cafe Breizh with my mum fancying a crepe. The menu has a wide variety from pizzas to crepes, salads to meat dishes. To start we had mussels and salade mediterranean – tomato, mozzarella, peppers, olives, basil with a balsamic and oil dressing. Starter portion sizes were large and we really should have just shared one between us. They were both tasty and my only negative comment is that the mussels were quite big. That is just a personal preference that I like smaller mussels but I also understand about sustainable fishing so shouldn’t really complain.

 

ImageStarters: Salade Mediterranean (£6.90) & Mussels in White Wine (£5.90)

 

For the main course mum found a crepe that suited her in the Popeye – spinach, mushrooms, brie & creme fraiche. It would have been nice to have a salad garnish or something for presentation but It was jam packed with flavoursome filling and delicious.

 

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Popeye Crepe (mum just couldn’t wait) £7.90

 

I chose one of the specials – duck breast with sautéed potatoes and green beans. It was a lovely dish and I enjoyed it but the duck was overcooked for me. I should have asked for it pink but I thought that’s how duck is always served in restaurants so never bothered. The duck was good value at nine pound something during the day & the prices increase at night.

 

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Duck Breast Special

 

We were short of time & tummy space so skipped dessert in favour of coffee and then headed back to the train station to say our goodbyes.

 

Perth was a good host for our catch-up day out and now we just need to find our next A9 location.