And in and amongst the bust time we have been beavering away developing our Winter menu which we are delighted to launch for your enjoyment. We have expanded our repertoire in technique by now including water bath sous vide - probably best explained in the short video below
To prepare food sous vide (say: sue veed), we pick our desired doneness, then set a water bath to the appropriate time-and-temperature settings. The bath is heated just enough to cook the food as we like it, meaning we never need to worry about over- or undercooking it. This technique locks the flavours in and allows us to take for example the rump of beef, marinade it in our treacle marinade, bag it and vac pack it then slowly cook it in the water bath overnight to make a melt in your mouth cut of meat.
So we use the technique now with our Duck dish, marinading it in Galloway Lodge's Whisky Honey Marmalade, sealing it a vacuum pouch and cooking it in the water bath. The result a very tender melt in your mouth duck breast.
It has also been an exciting time in the development of our local food heroes link. We have such wonderful suppliers on our doorstep that we felt the time was right to ensure our customers were aware of the quality and commitment we and our food heroes have to providing simply the best.
Commissioning local photographer Giles Atkinson to creatively capture the true character and persona of local suppliers that the hotel use.
“I wanted to tie together the important link between what we do and our passionate support for the local suppliers. People often perceive us to be expensive, yes we are to some extent because we refuse to buy Argentinean Beef or New Zealand Lamb, we don’t go down the Ice cream from anywhere avenue and we hope the product we serve reflects that. The Horsemeat scandal last year made many people look at what they were eating and where it is from. We have a wonderful selection of local suppliers and we wanted to showcase them to our customers.”
Local food heroes include:
SHEENA HORNER - GALLOWAY CHILLIES - WIGTOWN
Sheena's Chilli jam is quite amazing, home grown chillies from Sheena's poly tunnels in Wigtown - this is Sheena's story
In October 2012 after finally having enough of being unable to buy chillies anywhere locally except Jalapeno and Scotch Bonnets, I decided that enough was enough and I was going to do something about it.
I love chillies and there is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t cook with them or use them when baking. So after a couple of months carrying out some research – Galloway Chillies was born on the 1st December 2012.
I am a farmer’s daughter and I am passionate about local and British produce. Therefore I had decided right from day one that only British chillies would be used in my products. I currently make eight types of preserves which are available in five heats.
When they are available my own home grown chilli plants (40 plus varieties) and chillies will also be available to buy but of course this will be limited as I will also need the chillies I grow to go into my own products.
The chilli preserves are made from scratch in my own kitchen in small batches so that every batch is of good quality and flavour.
I hope you will enjoy this journey with myself and Galloway Chillies. Hey, maybe we’ll bump into you soon at one of the many markets and shows we attend.
FIONA HESKETH - GALLOWAY LODGE PRESERVES
Galloway Lodge Preserves have been producing jam for over 40 years, after Nigel Hesketh starting selling to locals in his small town in the heart of Dumfries & Galloway. The company now supplies both retail and foodservice customers throughout Scotland, has a shop and café in Gatehouse of Fleet and is starting to increase its list of customers in England. For Director Ruaridh Hesketh (Nigel’s son), this growth is thanks to persistence and seeking out the right distributors and Nigel's wife Fiona is still very much hands on in the day to day manufacturing. Thanks Fiona and Ruaridh we just love your products
ALLAN WATSON - GALLOWAY SMOKEHOUSE
Nestling on the banks of Wigtown Bay is the Galloway Smokehouse, home of prize winning smoked salmon, trout, seafood and game. From the simple kipper to the grand salmon a huge variety of smoked food is on offer. As well as selling smoked foods, they sell a wide variety of local produce including Galloway honey, jams, pickles, sauces and ice cream. Some of the fish they catch themselves, some is bought from local fishermen who they know personally, and some comes from further afield.
Allan Watson the owner and smoker says "We know our fish, we are local fishermen ourselves, fishing Wigtown Bay mainly for Sea Bass and Grey Mullet, but we can also catch Flounder, Thornback Ray, Dover Sole, Plaice and Mackerel. We also smoke our produce on the premises."
"If you would like to have a look around our smokers and have someone explain the smoking process to you, or you would like us to smoke a fish you’ve caught yourself – just ask! We can also offer a polystyrene box and an ice pack to keep your purchases in best condition if you have a long way to travel – do ask! We are here to help!"
Well worth a visit when you come up to the area.
WILMA FINLAY - CREAM O'GALLOWAY
The Finlay family have farmed at Rainton since the 1920s. Originally we made farmhouse cheese with our milk but in the 60s and 70s mass manufacture made that unprofitable and we reverted mainly to producing milk. Rainton became organic in 1993 and a year later we decided to try something completely different with our milk, using it to create delicious produce to make the most of its rich, creamy flavour.
Cream o’ Galloway ice cream was launched at the Royal Highland Show in 1994. Over the past twenty years we’ve massively expanded our range of flavours, we’ve sold it throughout the UK, and indeed overseas, and we’ve won numerous awards.
However, at the heart of our ice cream, always, is a natural approach to creating food made with normal, real ingredients – no chemical nasties, gums or artificial flavours.
ALLEN HENDERSON - SULWATH BREWERS
A family run brewery originally started by Allen's Mum and Dad, Helen and Jim. sadly Helen passed away a number of years ago but father and son continue to brew great real ales right here on our doorstep, so good that we were instrumental in the creation of the Grace beer that now goes into making our batter, one for the batter, one for me !! Hic !!!
Allen says "We take great pride in the production of our products which are brewed traditionally, with no concentrates, colourings or extract and with accent on the taste of yesteryear
When was the last time you savoured the aroma of a mass produced beer, or tasted its wholesome natural flavour?
The name "Sulwath" is the ancient name for the Solway Estuary. This is reputed to date back to a ford, or crossing near the mouth of the river Esk which marked the border between Scotland and England around the 13th Century, and from general usage, the estuary became known as "Sulwath"With the predominance of migratory seabirds in the upper reaches of the Solway."
Come & meet the brewer on their conducted tours every Monday & Friday at 1pm.
GILLIAN WARDEN - IN HOUSE CHOCOLATES
House Chocolates has built up a reputation for quality and presentation. Gillian Warden owner of In House Chocolates has developed and produced several Gold Award Winning chocolates and with her design background produced a unique gift presentation which was shortlisted for the Scottish Food Excellence Awards on two occasions.
In House Chocolates produces a wide range of chocolates, truffles, a wide selection of chocolate bars, chocolate seasonal lines and kids selections.
All their products are all truly made by hand and the highest quality ingredients are used at all times, their ethos in business is never to substitute quality for cheap imitations. Gillian says
"We are a small company but small is beautiful and our company has built up a reputation for quality, proven in the repeat custom we receive year after year from wholesale and retail clients. "
SCOTT CARSON - TH CARSON BUTCHERS
Scott looks particularly mean in this great portrait, the truth is he's a gentle giant with a heart of gold.
Scott says "At TH Carson, we're proud of our heritage. We still hold true to the founding principles of the business started in 1933 by my grandfather, Thomas Carson and to the fact we remain a traditional family business to this day.
We specialise in the supply of the very finest quality Scottish meat sourced locally from farms right here in Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland. We have built up a solid reputation with our customers in and around Dalbeattie (and visitors to the area) over the years, something which has been recognised by the many industry awards we have received."
JOHN AND JACKIE KING - WEST COAST SEA PRODUCTS
Another family business now run by John King Jnr and his lovely wife Jackie. How many hotels can get fresh Scallops literally off the boat ?? Well we can and they are amazing, I just love King Scallops.
The story of West Coast Sea Products begins when Mr John King, a lobster and subsequent white fish fisherman, discovered he had a flair for detecting and raising King and Queen Scallops from the Irish Sea.
He invented, patented and produced a new kind of dredge with springs to prevent the teeth snagging on the sea bed and began to fish for the prized catch using strong, powerful, fishing vessels.
In 1968 the firm of Galloway Shellfish was established, initially with fourteen employees.
Mr King discovered there was an eager market for King and Queen Scallops in the USA. In 1966 The Gulf Of Mexico, which was the main fishery supplying the USA was overfished and the Americans started to look elsewhere for product.
In 1971 the company name changed to West Coast Sea Products Ltd, employing 35 members of staff, supplying product mainly to the USA and broke into the French market.
The company continued to expand under Mr King's direction with his son joining the company in 1989 following a successful career as a scallop fisherman. The administrative section has recently moved to larger, roomier premises beside the processing section. The firm now employs almost 150 full and part time operatives.
So - there you have it - our local food heroes and the stories behind them. You can take a look at our new menu on our web site or by clicking the picture below which give you a taster as to how we have incorporated the portraits into our menus and marketing material.
A huge thank you is also due to WOLFFE design in Edinburgh who have helped me develop this journey with special thanks to Andrew and Rebecca.
And a huge thank you to our Exec Head Chef Paul Somerville and the team in the Kitchen for all their hard work and dedication in bringing this new menu and new direction to life.