Badabing Badaboom….Eating Fish Makes You Smile

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Fish and Seafood isn’t just utterley delicious but is a real power up for our bodies at this time of the year.

Eating fish actually makes us Happy! Salmon is an amazing source of Omega-3, you can see below on our clever infographic. Benefit central!!  And full of the cheeky little”Happiness” secret agent

Every time we eat oily fish, Salmon, Trout, Tuna, Mackerel, Kippers our body gets a super hero hit of Vitamin D. Although the best source of this Little mood enhancer comes from exposing our bodies to a little sunshine.  At this time of the year Vitamin D levels from the Sun are pretty low or non existent on our Latitude. Coincidentally we are on a Latitude 57.8 which is higher than Moscow, the same as Gothenburg Sweden & Hudson Bay Canada. We eat lots of fish here!!

So by putting a little fishy on your little dishy, you get all of these benefits and a Big Fat Smile.

Visit our Fine Food Emporium here:  Make me Smile

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Happy Birthday to You Robert Burns

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ROBERT BURNS 1759 – 1796

Happy Birthday Robert Burns, a celebration of your great life, fairly short lived at 37 yrs.  Your work, has to be Scotlands most famous with ballads, romantic songs and ponderous poems.  

The first Burns Supper was in July 1802 on the fifth anniversary of his death. Nine of his closest friends met at the cottage in Alloway in celebration of his life. The evening was a triumph and so it turned into a firm date in the diary, this time celebrating his birth on 25th January.

Just a really fabulous reason to have a bit of a party in late dark January.  Now we are all over our food & alcoholic comas of Christmas…..So lets go again and have a riotious & fun supper with laughter & poems.

No hard or fast rules here ………. although the running order usually works like this:

Host say’s a few words, everyone sits and the Selkirk Grace is said, starter eaten Smoked Salmon a good option here.  Haggis piped in (handy to have a clever piper as BFF) the host preforms Address to a Haggis, all toast and haggis is served with a good stab of your trusty Skean Dhu, usually kept in your right hose (stocking/sock). A couple of Burns recitals preformed then the important bit, toast to the Lassies.  All rounded off with Auld Lang Syne, no hard fast rules, jokes, poems, dancin all a great option.

Invite friends & family….. folk you like.

The Supper is large amounts of Haggis, Neeps (Swede) & tatties (mashed potato) all washed down with Whisky………so hasta la vista to Dry January & Hello to a meaty fun feast with carbs for China.

Happy Birthday to you Robert……X

Address to a Haggis
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
       Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
       As lang 's my arm. 

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
       In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
       Like amber bead. 

His knife see Rustic-labour dight,
An’ cut ye up wi’ ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
       Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
       Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
       Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
       Bethankit hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
       Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
       On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
       His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bluidy flood or field to dash,
       O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
       He'll make it whissle;
An’ legs, an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
       Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
       That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
       Gie her a Haggis!
Robert Burns

 

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Wild swimming…. in the fast lane.

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Sunday mornings…….. Highland stylie rain, shine or biting Westerly gale, Janette our database supremo dons her wetsuit and braves the elements with other like minded highland folk. Loch Ewe swimmers

Love this image taken by Stan McDonald end Oct, just off the Boom beach. Usually a totally empty expanse of open water……

Then the navy arrived.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Sunday swimmers

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Flying High

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Is it a bird, is it a plane or is it Johnathan Livingstone Seagull????…Nope a drone’s eye view of us on the shore of Loch Ewe.  Come & see for yourselves, Oct is a fabulous month to visit the North West Highlands.  The best month for a genuine Jackson Pollockesque sunrise or sunset, the amazing Aurora Borealis,its the season for venturing out into the night in your jim jams for a peak at mother nature at her best.  Check out http://www.aurora-service.eu/ this gives a really great guide to when you may get a glimpse. . Ultimately the midge factor………. hasta la vista Midges!!

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Daniel Allen, National Geographic Traveller rides the NC500 to isle of ewe smokehouse.

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Paddy’s Day, in March and Danny Boyle could not have staged a better Blue sky day for Daniel’s road Trip out West.  It was a real pleasure to meet Daniel, an amazing photographer, travel writer & handily drop dead gorgeous.

Scotland: Take the high road

A home-spun take on Route 66, the scenic new North Coast 500 Highland route boasts everything from salmon rivers and soaring cliffs to sea caves and secluded, sandy bays

Scotland: Take the high road
Ardvreck Castle. Image: Daniel Allen

I remember a friend from Edinburgh laughing once when I enquired about Scottish weather in the spring. “You guys in London have the ice bucket challenge,” she explained, with a twinkle in her eye. “Up north, we just call it ‘going outside.’”

Waking up in the village of Gairloch, on the northwest coast of Scotland, I’m therefore mildly surprised by the view of golden sand and a cloudless sky from my bedroom window. Just below the hotel, a pair of seals frolic in the surf, while the horizon is edged by the distant mountains of Skye. So much for the dismal weather.

Perhaps because of Hollywood and Jack Kerouac, the phrase ‘road trip’ typically conjures up images of convertibles, flat-topped mesas and lonely desert highways. But today I’m continuing a road trip of a very different kind. The North Coast 500 — a new, home-spun take on Route 66 — is a journey as Scottish as Rabbie Burns or Nessie. No roadside diners or bumper stickers here.

After a hearty breakfast (“Would you like some white pudding with your black pudding, sir?”), it’s time to get behind the wheel. First stop: the Isle of Ewe Smokehouse, where I’m promised some of the finest smoked salmon in western Scotland.

Passing through a succession of gorgeous whitewashed villages, I skirt the shores of Loch Maree and Loch Ewe, their wind-ruffled waters overlooked by mountains with tongue-tangling Gaelic names. Highland cattle and tumbledown crofters’ cottages dot the iconic landscape.

Paula and Alistair Gordon, the husband-and-wife team who run the smokehouse, turn out to be utterly charming. Situated in Ormiscaig, on the northern shore of Loch Ewe, their home and garden boast magnificent views of the Torridon Hills, still dusted with snow in late March, and the more low-lying Outer Hebrides.

“Our products are imbued slowly with aromatic wood smoke and a west coast breeze,” explains Alistair in a lilting Scottish brogue, as he passes over a freshly smoked scallop for sampling. I make sure to pick up a gift box containing more of these divine creations on my way out.

Conceived by the North Highland Initiative — a project that aims to highlight the varied attractions of northern Scotland — the NC500 was launched in 2015, and has already won rave reviews. The 500-mile loop, which starts and finishes in Inverness, boasts everything from salmon rivers and soaring cliffs to sea caves and secluded, sandy bays. After a day-and-a-half’s driving, I’m already smitten.

Less than 15 minutes after leaving Ormiscaig, a short drive down a single-track road reveals one of the most idyllic stretches of British coastline I’ve ever seen. Lapped by a turquoise sea, the beach at Mellon Udrigle turns out to be a deserted arc of sand bisected by a meandering burn. To the north east, the mountains of Coigach provide a stunning backdrop, while a gentle breeze carries the plaintive cries of oystercatchers and curlews patrolling nearby Gruinard Bay.

Driving onward to Ullapool, I pass the sheer-sided spectacle that is Corrieshalloch Gorge, which, rather inappropriately, turns out to mean ‘ugly hollow’ in Gaelic. Then it’s on into an even wilder, more imposing landscape, as peaks such as the table-shaped Ben Mor Coigach and the colossal nunatak Suilven rear up from the rolling moorland.

I stop briefly beside Loch Assynt to admire the marvellously atmospheric Ardvreck Castle. Constructed in the late 15th century, this ruined fortress sits below the brooding bulk of Quinag, a reminder of man’s fleeting presence in this rugged, timeless environment.

The day ends in Lochinver, where I’m just in time to sample the wares of Lochinver Larder, northern Scotland’s most famous pie shop, before closing time. Gobbling down hunks of succulent venison, I look out over the local harbour as the engine cools. Geographically, I’m in the middle of nowhere. But if the next 300 miles are anywhere as good as the last 200, I’m in for a real treat.

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North Coast 500 – June 24th 2016

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The Stunning Attadale House & Gardens, pure Fairy Tale.

A fairy tale day at glorious Attadale Gardens with a real Prince, HRH Prince Charles & just a few of the amazing folk & businesses that are all contributing & working together to make Wester Ross and the NorthCoast500 shine.
Sunshine, Smiles & Friendship.Some photos from a Fabulous Friday in June with a visit from HRH The Duke of Rothesay (aka Prince Charles) when he visited Wester Ross. An excellent day was had by all, summed up by a comment made after the event:
We were all thrilled to meet HRH. It was almost as great as meeting up with all these fabulous very hard working and genuinley inspiring people looking after Scotland’s larder and land. We hope to see you on the North Coast 500, here are some of the folks you may meet on your road trip. Joanna and Alec of Attadale Gardens.

Gille Brighde, Kishorn Seafood Bar, Applecross Smokehouse, West Highland Dairy, Strathcarron Brewery, Carron Restaurant, North Coast 500, Hebridean Whale Cruises, Gairloch, Torridon Sea Tours, Inverewe Garden & Estate, Aultbea Hotel, Isle of Ewe Smokehouse…..The Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve, The Estate of Gairloch, ……and Visit Wester Ross https://www.facebook.com/Wester.Ross/

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Robin of Revolutionary Aultbea Hotel
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Kishorn Seafood Bar, its all about seafood.
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HRH Prince Charles with Tom Campbell, CEO of the North Highlands Initiative, Douglas Gibson of Visit Wester Ross, David Whiteford NHI Chairman.
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Douglas Gibson, Visit Wester Ross, wins the best tie badge for this one. Fabulous
Little & Large ,Art of Gillie Bridgde Restuarant in Lower Diabeg & Paula Gordon, isle of ewe smokehouse, Aultbea
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Lorna & Derrick of Applecross Smokehouse, smokey freinds.
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Joanne Macpherson, Attadale House & Gardens.

March Madness & the 3 Omega’s

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Just to help you March into spring with plenty of Omega 3’s in your step, we are offering 10% on our hand sliced smoked salmon packs.

These little 3 Omega’s are so good for us…….they boost brain power & keep our hearts healthy.  Our bodies can’t produce Omega 3 naturally so by eating & enjoying fish & seafood twice a week that will give you the required .Mackerel, Sardines & Salmon are all top of the Omega chart and that includes smoked salmon!!!  Check out our earlier blog post for more Omega fish facts.

To help you on your way to boosting those 3 Omega’s use our offer code below for a 10% discount on our 150g, 200g and 500g hand sliced smoked salmon.

Simply follow this link to our shop, fill your basket and apply our March Madness Code “March16” at the checkout.

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isle of ewe smokehouse #Unplugged

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isle of ewe smokehouse #unplugged by Scotlands most delicious food blogger Graeme Taylor

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One of the real joys of holidaying in Scotland is getting to discover local producers and cook with their produce. This year whilst in Gairloch I had the delights of fresh picked local chanterelles from Poolewe weekly market and squat lobsters from Dry Island. However it was the chance discovery of Isle of Ewe Smokehouse on the last day that was the real highlight. Getting to meet Paula and see her passion and energy for the food that her and Alistair are producing was a joy, and the impromptu tour of the smokehouse that has yielded multiple Great Taste Awards stars was wonderful. The purity of flavour of everything they are producing was quite outstanding and I’m delighted they agreed to a short interview to introduce Isle of Ewe Smokehouse.

When did you start the smoking business and what inspired you to set up in Aultbea?

We had both met whilst working on superyachts as crew in the Med, Alistair had previously worked for ten years for two of the biggest smokehouses on the West Coast, Inverawe & Loch Fyne Smokehouse, so he had plenty of smoking expertise.

In 2005/6 we settled back in Edinburgh,  me working freelance cooking & Alistair teaching sailing and yacht deliveries.  We also worked at Fenton Barns Farmshop & Café, East Lothian, Alistair in the Farm shop and myself cooking in the café. This fuelled our love of great food especially Scottish Artisan producers. All the time we were looking for a business that we could run together somewhere in Scotland.

I was cooking on a freelance job for a stalking party at the Letterewe Estate on Loch Maree, Wester Ross and the local smokehouse, Sleepy Hollow Smokehouse based in Aultbea, supplied the smoked salmon. It was sublime and we were both completely blown away by the pureness of the flavour; great salmon and robust smokiness. I had never tasted fish like this before….it was love at first bite! During those few days there together the whole majesty of the landscape: mountains and glens, sea and loch captured our hearts.

Haunted by the evocative north west highlands life in Edinburgh was not where we wanted to be. We found out that the owners of the smokehouse Andrew & Jenny Wiseman wanted to sell Sleepy Hollow Smokehouse, and in March 2007 we bought it, smoking our fish in an old croft house that Andrew had converted. He owned the building so we rented it from him until we could find a suitable property to buy that would give us a building for the smokehouse and somewhere to live.

The following August we bought our crofters cottage on the shore of Loch Ewe with enough land attached to build a purpose built smokehouse to our specifications, moving into these premises in January 2010. In July 2011 we rebranded and changed our name to Isle of Ewe Smokehouse, the isle sits out in the middle of the loch, we can almost touch it, this has given us more provenance to our brand and is truly us.

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With such a wide range of products do you work with people you know to source the raw materials  or was it very much trying out suppliers until you found ones you liked?

We source our raw materials from producers and suppliers with the same kinds of ethos and provenance that we give to our products with all our fish being Scottish and sustainable. Our fresh salmon is from a sustainable source, Scottish Seafarms is an independent Scottish company,  they have freedom food & label rouge accreditation and provide us with stunning fresh Scottish salmon. All our scallops are hand dived from Keltic Seafare and hail from Shetland. With the our small but perfectly formed deli inside the smokehouse we have found suppliers of stunning produce to sell alongside our products, it’s all very addictive particularly in Scotland as we have a massive selection of artisan food producers such as Great Glen Charcuterie, Highland Fine Cheeses, Culliesse, isle of skye sea salt & Mr Trotters.

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Smoked hake is a really unique (and wonderful!) product, but what possessed you to start smoking hake?

We both love fresh hake and were glad to see it back on the sustainable list, so thought it would be just dandy smoked. Also we tried rock turbot, commonly known as catfish which was great hot smoked.  Our smoked hake was awarded a whooping 2 star Great Taste award in 2012, ever since it has been much loved by our customers and a regular fixture on the smokehouse dinner menu with us.

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In the beginning did you go through many brining recipes before coming up with the rum, sugar and salt which you use?

No, we were so aware of not changing the way that the smoked salmon tastes.  We have kept strictly to the same way that Andrew had always smoked his fish. Dark Rum and Dark Brown Sugar. If it ain’t broke…

What is your favourite product which you make and do you have a favourite meal/recipe to use it in?

We love it all, but especially hot smoked hand dived scallops, firstly open a chilled bottle of favourite prosecco, drink preferably with your beloved whilst making a risotto bianco and having a good blether.  At the last minute add in a good plug of prosecco and once off the heat stir in sliced smoked scallops! Finish with fresh herbs lovage or parsley or basil or cracked black pepper, drizzle of olive oil & zesty zingy lemon to squeeze. A feast fit for a King, Queen or Diva.

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What does the future hold for Isle of Ewe Smokehouse?

Sell more fish from our new shiny office our Smoked Salmon HQ….. expansion of our new rebranded Fine Food Emporium at the smokehouse, discover more amazing products to stock……. develop our range of smoked foods……enjoy our children……..run on the beach and dance like nobody’s watching!

 

 

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You can follow Isle of Ewe Smokehouse on Twitter @smokedbyewe and Facebook Isle of Ewe Smokehouse

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All images used courtesy of Isle of Ewe Smokehouse

About Graeme

I want to tell the world of the natural larder and eclectic cuisine of Scotland