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Scottish Food and Beverage Fortnight: Wild Salmon Recipe

Posted by Bertie Badger on Sep 20, 2014 3:15:37 PM

Over the last few months Scotland has been in the spotlight all around the world.

With the buzz of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer, the hype of the recently passed Independence Referendum and even the selection of a Glaswegian actor for the lead in the new Season of BBCs “Doctor Who”, there’s been a great surge in Scotland's pride for their own heritage.

Though, of course, Scotland has always been a proud country, with a particularly rich history and incomparable beauty, and in particular are proud of the food and whiskies that are native to Scotland's very own land and waters.

This is marked annually in the month of September during the Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight, which celebrates fine quality Scottish produce through a copious number of events taking part throughout the country.

Our very own Chef, Ross Stovold, even took part in a cooking demonstration for the fortnight, which alas nears its end. The demonstration, as part of the “Best of the West” Festival, was held at Inverary Castle last week and since then everyone’s been dying to get hold of his secret recipes!

So we thought we’d ask him for you...

For those wanting to try their hand at cooking some proper Scottish food, look no further than Ross’s Wild Salmon! It's surprisingly simple and tastes great

Wild Salmon, Fennel Emulsion, Pickled Turnips (Serves 4)



  4 x 120g Salmon Fillet, Skin on

  8 x Baby White Turnips

  3 x Soft Boiled Eggs

  45g Fennel 

  100ml Rapeseed Oil

  60ml Water

  60ml White Wine Vinegar

  30g Caster Sugar

  Lemon Juice




  1. For the Pickling Liquor, put the water, sugar and vinegar into a pan and bring to the boil. This will dissolve the sugar, do not reduce as the pickle will become too strong. Allow to cool.
  2. Peel and dice the turnips into 1cm2 cubes and add the cooled pickling liquor for at least 6 hours (this can be done the night before).
  3. Boil the eggs for 4 minutes then refresh in cold water. Peel the eggs and blend in a food processor with the fennel until smooth. . Slowly add the rapeseed oil until the mixture becomes thick and creamy. Season with salt and lemon juice.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200oC and warm a non-stick pan.
  5. To the pan add 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil followed by the salmon (skin side down) and press it down until you feel it relax (this will ensure the skin is crispy)
  6. Cook for 1 minute on a medium to high heat then place in oven for 4 minutes. Remove the Salmon from the pan and rest for 3 minutes.
  7. On the plate place a heaped spoonful of the Fennel Emulsion. Add the Salmon to the plate and top with drained turnip.

Witness the Aurora Borealis in Scotland

Posted by Bertie Badger on Sep 13, 2014 6:16:45 PM

auroraThose in and around the Scottish Highlands last night may have been lucky enough to witness the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) last night. The display was viewable yesterday evening throughout most of Scotland and Northern England in the clearer parts of the country.

The lights are caused by the collision of highly charges electrons that travel to Earth’s magnetic poles in solar winds, from the sun, with elements in the Earth’s atmosphere (Nitrogen and Oxygen). Colour variation comes from the collisions with different atoms at different altitudes and the wave-like movement is down to the continual shifting in magnetic and electrical forces.

But if you missed it, don’t worry! With reports that the Aurora Borealis will return to Scotland again this evening – 13th September – those who missed it last night have a second chance to spot this amazing natural occurrence.


West Coast of Scotland Weather - Week Commencing 7th September

Posted by Bertie Badger on Sep 7, 2014 3:31:00 PM

Autumn has made a guest appearance on the west coast of Scotland

There’s mixed feelings pouring through Scotland at the moment. While the question of independence draws to a close in the final weeks leading upto the Scottish Referendum, a cold chill descends upon the whole country as Autumn finally takes full swing.

Scottish Flag at the Isle of Eriska

This last week has been all about adjusting. Adjusting to darkness enveloping the sky at such early hours on the west coast of Scotland and the Scottish weather in general; adjusting to the temperature drop that cause condensation on the windows and mean you need to wear that extra layer; even adjusting to the change in colours in your surroundings.

Today: Expect sunny spells, with clouds thinning in the late afternoon for a bright evening.

Monday: More sunshine in the morning, though things will become cloudier as the day progresses.

Tuesday: Another dry day ahead with brief patches of sunshine in the early afternoon.

Wednesday:The forecast is predicted to remain mainly unchanged, with another dry and cloudy day ahead.

Thursday:Thick white cloud will dominate, making for another dry day.

Friday: Looks hopeful for another dry day, with thick white cloud throughout.

Saturday: The week ends much the same, an abundance of white cloud, gradually dropping temperatures and mild winds.

This coming week looks like the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the last few weeks of the West Coast's tourist-season, as the weather is still mild enough and before local companies and shops reduce their hours for the winter season.


8 Ways to Relieve the Symptoms of Stress

Posted by Bertie Badger on Sep 5, 2014 2:57:00 PM

Everyone needs the opportunity to relieve the stress in their lives - let the Isle of Eriska help you...

In today’s culture it’s surprisingly hard to relax. It’s hard to get a good balance of you-time when you sleep through a 1/3 of your day, work through another and the rest  of the time is spent keeping everything else in order and preparing for the days ahead. You’re weekend seems to be over before you can blink!

Try reserve a bit of time out of your week to focus on you! Spend a day feeling like royalty, being waited on hand and foot by others or enjoy solitude. There are lots of ways for you to spend your much needed you-time.


You may think we’re twisting your arm with this one, but proper breathing techniques has been adopted as a form of meditation by many and has proven very effective as a form of relaxation. Spending some time focusing on your inhaling and exhaling can really help the oxygen flow through your body and give you that restorative kick needed to get rid of all that tension!

Go outside


The outdoors holds unlimited possibilities for ways to relax. Find a nice tranquil spot and allow it to stimulate your senses with new and interesting sights, sounds and smells; and if that isn’t really your cup of tea why not spend some time at a lake or reservoir and skim stones across the water?



Sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself to a little indulgence. Society, now more than ever, is very health conscious and many of us make sure to eat a properly balanced diet while limiting our intake of those “I shouldn’t, but it tastes so good” treats! On occasion, a trip to a nice restaurant for a delicious meal or maybe a spot of afternoon tea is just what you need.


There's nothing relaxing about living in a mess! Cleaning to most of us is a huge chore and might be defined as the complete opposite of relaxing. But let’s focus more on the aftermath: The feeling of gratification that comes with checking a task of your to-do list is already reward enough, but there’s something incredibly relaxing about lying down in a clean, fresh room.

Go to a spa


What could be more relaxing than a spa? With professionals trained in helping you relax and getting rid of the signs and symptoms of stress, there’s no way better to rid yourselves of life’s burdens. And with most spa’s now equipped with pools, saunas and gyms you can make a day of it and enjoy your own little spa break!

Listen to Music.

With iPods and smart phones, most of us listen to music while on the move. But it really doesn’t compare to playing some of your all-time favourites in the comfort (and privacy) of your own home and dancing along like you were 14 again! You’d be amazed just how care-free you felt after loosening up to the best hits of your time.

Socialise with friends

Going out with friends to catch up and rant is always comforting. When something is getting on your nerves, no one understands like your friends and getting it off your chest can be a huge relief. Some time with your closest group of friends can be just what the doctor ordered to rid yourself of life’s troubles.

Read a Book


Reading a book to relax may be a cliché – but for good reason. Wither you’ve delved into some classic Jane Austin or are reading the latest Crime Thriller by your favourite author, reading gives you a fantastic opportunity to literally jump into someone else’s world. The words on the page can captivate you so intensely that, before you know it, you’ll have forgotten whatever it was that had you all stressed in the first place!

West Coast of Scotland Weather - Week Commencing 31st August

Posted by Bertie Badger on Aug 31, 2014 8:30:00 AM

Welcome to the end of the summer on the west coast of Scotland

The last day of August marks the end of the meteorological summer. This means that from now we’ll have to sit back hopelessly and watch as the weather conditions declines down an icy slope into below-freezing temperatures with torrential rain, snow and hail as we welcome the next phrase of the Scottish west coast weather.


Though, of course, it’s not all bad. With a week or two of sunshine possibly on the cards and the local flora changing rapidly into a nice crisp gold, the last trace of summer has the potential to go out with a bang.

Sunday: Starting off with a dry and sunny morning, things are due to take a bit of a turn nearer the later half of the afternoon, with heavy rain predicted for the rest of the night

Monday: Looks to remain dry for the duration of the day, with thick white cloud and brief sunny spells in the afternoon

Tuesday: Things become a bit overcast in the morning, though seems to remain mostly unchanged.

Wednesday: Another dry day ahead with southern winds adding a bit of a chill.

Thursday: Light rain showers and sunny intervals throughout the day, expected to dry up in the evening.

Friday: More rain showers to dominate with another dry night ahead.

Saturday: The week is predicted to end with a dry spell, with light cloud expected throughout.

As we officially enter into the Autumn months, it seems we’ll be welcomed by a largely unchanged weather forecast on Scotland’s West Coast. Now might be the perfect time to try all those things you never quite got round to doing this summer, while you still can. Later this month the increased summer-schedules will go back to normal, meaning many businesses will soon reduce their opening hours and some may even close for the colder seasons!


5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Holiday

Posted by Bertie Badger on Aug 28, 2014 3:25:00 PM

Reasons Why You Should Take a HolidayLife can be hard. Life is hard.

We spend our days following a monotonous routine: wake up, eat, work, eat, wash, eat, sleep. Restart. And if you have children you have the added stress of trying to raise them into functioning human’s on top of this.

But do you know what? You deserve a break. A break from this routine; some alone time to recharge and relax away from all of life’s dramas. With the summer coming to an end, you may not think it’s the time for a holiday but here is some reasons why we think a September break is just what you need:

1. The School Summer Holidays

Though the school summer holidays are more or less at their end, you’ve just had to deal with the inconvenience of suffering crowded restaurants, streets, shops and roads since July. For the last six weeks, your five minute coffee break at the local Starbucks has consumed your entire lunch hour as you queue behind groups of teenagers waiting for the cream frappes, at the end of which you can’t even guarantee a seat to enjoy your caffeine fix and blueberry muffin.

You may think things will go back to normal from then, but remember – a new batch of university students will be flooding the cities later this month!

Escape somewhere nice where you can get your coffee when you want it without having to worry you’ll appear in the background of someone’s #starbucksselfie

2. Change of Scenery

A change in your surrounding can go a long way in helping you maintain your sanity.

Going to the same places every day and doing the same things offers very little in terms of mental stimulus and will eventually result in stress and maybe even laziness.

Visiting new places and trying new things keeps your brain sharp and can be very fulfilling. You’ll quickly find yourself with a lot more energy, leaving you feeling recharged and ready for anything.

3. Create Memories

Doing the same thing day-in day-out turns everything into a big forgettable blur.  You need to break up your year a few times just so you can tell one month from the next and stop it all from merging into what seems like one never-ending day.

One of the most important reasons why you should take a holiday is that you create new memories through experiencing different cultures or trying new activities. The memories you create will stay with you forever and the story of your travels can always be shared with friends and family.

4. Discover New Food

Trying food from other countries is always a great excuse to get away. All over the world different cultures prepare their food depending on the ingredients and resources available to them, opening up an infinite option of flavours to which you are likely ignorant.

You may not think you need to bother visiting Asia with row after row of takeaways at your convenience, but these are hardly the true article! Of course you don't have to travel to the other end of the world for some tasty new food! There are chefs throughout Britain with unique and inventive styles that will blow your mind!

This is why we believe that one of the best (and most delicious) reasons why you should take a holiday is to expand your palette by introducing new and exotic foods to your diet!

5. You’ve worked too hard!

There could be hundreds of reasons why you should take a holiday, but in the end it all comes down to this: you’re a hard worker and deserve a break!

UK employees work longer hours than almost all of Europe – averaging 42.7 hours per week – while in countries, such as France, the standard working week is just 35 hours per week. This means that over the course of a year you are literally working hundreds of hours more than your European counterpart .

Think of all those hours spent trying to meet deadlines and given yourself a headache for staring at a computer for 9 hours out of your day! You’d be surprised how quickly you regenerate after a long weekend away!

West Coast Weather - Week Commencing 24th August

Posted by Bertie Badger on Aug 24, 2014 3:08:00 PM

Over the last few weeks, the luscious green flora in and around Scotland's West Coast has began to show signs of age, with subtle hints of auburn weaving themselves into the surrounding colour spectrum and indicating the much dreaded end to a great Scottish summer.


With the hints of another cold Scottish winter looming over our heads, Scottish natives have entered into a stage of denial that luckily seems to fit perfectly with this weeks weather forecast:

Today: Bright skies with a subtle breeze. Things look to remain calm and dry for the rest of the day.

Monday: Another bright and sunny day ahead, with moderate eastern winds creating a chill.

Tuesday: Predicted to be another sunny day, with some cloud forming in the afternoon.

Wednesday: Plenty of sunny spells in the morning and afternoon, becoming more sporadic as the day continues as more white cloud forms

Thursday: Things look to take a turn, with heavy rain showers dominating the day and brief patches of sunshine.

Friday: Looks to me mainly unchanged with more heavy rain showers and intermittent sunny spells.

Saturday: The week looks to end on a bit of a downer as more rain sweeps through the West Coast.

Though the end of the week looks less that ideal - unfortunately for those attending the Oban Games later in the week - we certainly have no lack of opportunity to make the most of the plethora of outdoor activities in the area. For those coming to visit this week, that are looking for things to do in oban, why not give some of the watersports and activities available in the area a try while enjoying the breathtaking scenery in the fines of the West Coast weather.

Guest Blog: Hill Running

Posted by Beppo Buchanan-Smith on Aug 22, 2014 4:46:08 PM

The anniversary of the start of First World War has given rise to some interesting television programmes. Many readers may have seen Beppo’s aunt, Dame Mary Corsar, being interviewed after the Drumhead Commemoration. Two of her uncles fell in action.  George Buchanan Smith was mortally wounded at Loos in September 1915. His brother, who was nicknamed ‘Beppo’, was ambushed in East Africa fighting with the Indian Army.

As a small boy I had a keen interest in the Second World War. This curiosity was fostered by playing with soldiers, Action Man and watching numerous war films (most frequently The Great Escape). It wasn’t until I was older that I read Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man, and had my mind opened to the horrendous conditions endured by both sides during the Great War.

Last week I took another look at some of George Buchanan Smith’s poetry. There is no doubt that my generation is made of less stern stuff.  One clear piece of evidence is our recent showing in the Law Breakers (a Scottish hill race). Race results are now freely available on the internet but anyone interested in the performance of the Buchanan-Smiths in this year’s race can save some time by starting at the bottom of the results list! With these thoughts in mind I decided that it was time to remove my bottom from my armchair and get out and do something. So on Sunday I decided to drive over to the Lomonds of Fife Hill Race, which is a run I had not previously attempted.

Hill running, or fell running as it is often alternatively known, is a simple sport. You start at the bottom of a hill. You run to the top of the hill, and then you run back down the hill. Sometimes you run over several hills, but the format is more or less the same. Compared with many other sports you need very little equipment, as a minimum all you need is a pair of trainers, a pair of shorts and a t-shirt or vest. The logistics are also extremely simple and most of the time little organisation is required. You drive there, park in a lane, pay a few quid, get given a race number and four safety pins and you’re all set.

For many years I thought that you had to be either an Olympian or Royal Marine to participate in this sport, until a friend kindly encouraged me try it. Anyone who goes jogging occasionally can run a hill race. In fact anyone who can manage some brisk hillwalking can participate in a hill race. That said I would advise that your try a short race that isn’t too steep on your first attempt. I would also warn you not to be too surprised if the first half of the race takes much longer than the second half.

The hill running community is especially friendly and the organisers (usually local clubs) are always hospitable. The top-level runners and seasoned participants are always welcoming and encouraging. I had the pleasure of meeting Scottish legend Manny Gorman, who was signing copies of his book. Manny is an experienced hill runner and in 2009 he set out on a continuous unmotorised journey to run all of the Scottish mountains that are between 2,500 and 3,000 feet high (these hill are known as the Corbetts). On this expedition he covered a staggering 2,600 miles and 420,000 feet of ascent by foot, cycle and yacht in seventy days. I am looking forward to reading the account of this journey through the Scottish wilderness which I suspect involved fantastic stamina and determination, not to mention plenty of fresh Scottish weather.

Manny arrived at the start and said ‘I am just gonna jog around’. I noticed that he positioned himself at the front of the pack however, and by the time I got back to the village hall he had already got changed (the official results report him in 21st place). I positioned myself cautiously at the rear of the field. One couple from Edinburgh told me that they regularly run the Pentland Skyline Race. It is a race that I always fancy, but feel that it is a little beyond me. It occurred to me that if I could stay in front of them it might be a litmus test of my fitness. I also heard two fellas chatting about a 65km race that they were going to run in Scandinavia next week. They agreed that they would go slowly to ‘loosen themselves up’ but set off slightly more quickly than I expected. I decided that I would try to keep up with them in hope that I could put some distance between myself and the Edinburgh couple.

It was a relatively warm and sunny afternoon but there was a ferocious wind. Like many fell races the Lomonds route goes through some fantastic countryside. The run takes in two peaks, East and West Lomond, which are sometimes known as the Paps of Fife. As I approached East Lomond the South Fife coast and the Firth of Forth revealed itself. The view on the ascent of West Lomond exposed the rolling fields and flatter landscape of Fife. The race continues further west from the summit of West Lomond and takes in one of the steepest descents of any hill race in Scotland. Runners are forced to glissade as if descending a snow slope. There are three forms of glissade. They are the ‘standing glissade’, the ‘sitting glissade’ and the ‘out of control glissade’. This is also the order in which the runner finds themselves descending this slope!

There is a cruel sting in the tail as the descent from West Lomond is followed by a climb back up hill. I managed to stay ahead of the Edinburgh couple and on the final downhill section one of the two chaps destined for Scandinavia pulled a muscle which meant that I was able to pass them. The race was great fun and I can thoroughly recommend it. One of the pleasures of trying a new event is the reward of an inevitable personal best. The race is 16.2km (10 miles) and involves 800m of uphill. I arrived back in 2 hrs 18 mins 11 seconds, and was 137th out of a field of 197 runners. I was relieved to be some way off of the bottom of a results table this time. I also had a wry smile when I spied that a student that I taught last year came in over half an hour behind me!

Many runners and hillwalkers visit the Isle of Eriska Hotel each year and it is ideally located for a number of Scottish Hill Races. Most obviously the Beinn Lora Hill Race starts in Benderloch, but the hotel would also make a great base for the Lorne Highland Games Race which is only 3.2km. The Oban Games has a race as does the Taynuilt Games and the Appin Show. There is a much longer and tougher race between Creagan and the Clachaig Inn in Glen Coe (24km) after which the spa would be a fantastic location to recuperate.


Vernon Gayle


Topics: activities in argyl, activities, Guest Blog

Grow Your Own: 5 Vegetables to Sow in August

Posted by Bertie Badger on Aug 21, 2014 4:47:00 PM

It's been a few months now since Eriska brought their greenhouse back to life, growing fresh vegetables for the kitchen's daily use to add to the guests dining experience, and the Eriska experience as a whole. With a large selection of our vegetable patch ready for harvesting, visitors to our restaurant can literally see their food transform from start to finish.

Alongside our vegetable patch, and a selection of wild herbs and berries, Eriska also welcomed some quail and pigs to the Island this summer, giving our little Scottish Island Retreat a bit of a farm feel much to the delight visitors who have expressed much enthusiasm in Ross's "home-grown" approach.

Though the best months are behind us it's not too late to late to try grow your own vegetable garden. For those looking to try their hand at a bit of gardening but don't know what to grow in August, here's a bit of advice from our professionals:

  • Radish

Radish's are very easy to grow, and ideal for beginners. For those wanting quick results from their labour - radish takes very little time to germinate and are usually ready to harvest after only 4 weeks! These root vegetables can be sown as late as September/October and make a tasty addition to any Salad.

  • Spring Onion

Another delicious addition to a nice garden salad, winter-hardy Spring Onion are ideal to grow in small plots or containers. With sowing possible as late as August/September, a winter crop can be left in the greenhouse over the worst months to produce a spring harvest.

  • Winter Cabbage

It can be difficult finding vegetables that are able to grow during a typical British winter. Winter cabbage is ideal for this, boasting a higher tolerance to the cold than most of their photosynthesising comrades. By planting later summer, you will find them harvestable in the heart of winter can use them in many tasteful coleslaws and salads.

  • Turnip

Though it fairs from the same family as Cabbage (Brasicca), turnip - like radish - is a fast growing crop and is often ready in 5 - 8 weeks, making it another brilliant choice for any beginners. However, if left they become less tender and flavourful so it is best to spread out the sowing of these vegetables to establish a constant flow of fresh, sweet turnips.

  • SwedeEriska_Vegetable_Patch

Though often confused with turnip, swede is much more resiliant to frost. They crop over a longer period, due to being left in the soil over winter, and are usually ready to harvest around 20 weeks after sowing. Another good choice fpr the novice gardener looking for a sweeter flavour.

Though the time for sweet berries and juicy tomatoes is gone for this year, there is still a large selection of herbs, salad leaves and vegetables to sow in august that can lead to a nice winter garden. 

Topics: Eriska Farm

West Coast Weather - Week Commencing 17th August

Posted by Bertie Badger on Aug 17, 2014 8:30:00 AM

One thing we believe can be agreed on by all who have been residing in our neck of the woods this August is that the west coast weather has been - to be blunt - rubbish!

What usually is the summer's best month has, this year, been a constant array of disappointment, with thick cloud blocking out the sun and casting us into darkness about an hour prematurely in the evenings and frequent rain showers drowning our flora and leaving behind puddles so large we can hardly distinguish them from the pond on the front lawn.


Though we can officially say the summer holidays are over, with the Scottish school's commencing for a new year this week past, we still remain blindly optimistic for our last stretch of summer before the Autumn chills take over

Today: Heavy rain showers sporadically thoughout the day, with some brief spells of sunshine.

Monday: Will remain dry, with frequent sunny intervals in the morning and afternoon.

Tuesday: Expect more sunny spells during the day, with light, breviloquent showers mid-afternoon

Wednesday: Looks to be dry for most of the morning and afternoon, with rain developing in the later half of the day

Thursday:Rain showers predicted to dominate a large part of the day, with moderate winds adding a chill.

Friday: Rain showers and sunny intervals throughout, with things expected to dry up in the evening,

Saturday: The week looks to end on a dreich note, with showers persisting throughout.

The average temperature high for the coming week of 13-14 seems fitting to the stereotype of the weather in the west highlands of Scotland, however residents to the area seem less that willing to accept the end of what has been one of the better scottish summer's in ages - especially with the upcoming Oban Games, which is largely an outdoor event.

Though not to worry, guests to the Island can take shelter this week in our spa and experience pure bliss with one of our luxurious pamper days which will help you forget all about the gloomy scottish weather!

Topics: weather forecast