9 Mar 2013

March came in like a lamb

The crispest sunniest first day of March arrived like a lamb, and so hoping it won't leave like a lion.

Glorious sunny days, snow capped Cuillins, and blue sky reflections on becalmed lochs.

Enticed out by the sun, and keen to try out my new digital camera, the early days of March have been a photographer's dream.

Dancing snowdrops nestling in the straw coloured winter grass; the winding single track road that leads from our gate to the post box.

The vibrant white of our neighbour's byre, brought to life by the low rays of the morning sun.; the ice crazed puddles along the road.

It is indeed a wonderful world. 

11 Feb 2013

Chocolate Hearts for Valentines

It's still a busy time for us at Skye Fudge as everyone loves chocolates at this time of year!

Isle of Skye Chocolate, the other side of the business, has been making Valentine's Day boxed truffles for all true romantics amongst us.

We've been making red hot chilli hearts - solid deep dark velvety chocolate infused with chilli oil. And, romantic red raspberry with balsamic truffles - white chocolate folded into double cream, dipped in 70% dark chocolate and topped with freeze dried raspberries.  

But, for the serious chocoholic we decided to get creative with three hearts full of solid chocolate heaven. We made a large chocolate heart in intense dark chocolate, overlaid with  a white chocolate heart sprinkled with freeze dried raspberries, and finished with a solid milk chocolate heart. All wrapped in gold and red hearts cello, and ribboned with burgundy voile ribbon. Sure to win hearts.

23 Jan 2013

Winter warmer - thanks to Burns

Most of the east coast is laden with thick snow but here on Skye we have escaped the worst. Time to wrap up though;  thick socks, cosy boots, warm gloves, and scarf at the ready to see off the bitter cold that pinches my face in the wind.

How to avoid the winter blues? Well, this weekend I'm off to a Burns Supper at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Skye's Gaelic College, an inspirational place of learning within the University of the Highlands & Islands. Three trays of handmade Scottish tablet for the coffee, and some Talisker and Drambuie tablet for the tables will help ward off the winter chill.

Key speakers are Lesley Riddoch and Maxwell MacLeod, both highly respected journalists, offering an honest challenging and often humorous account of Scottish politics. With the 'Immortal Memory' from Lesley, a tongue in cheek 'Toast to the Union' from Maxwell followed by a 'Toast to Independence' by college lecturer Mark Wringe, it should prove an interesting and entertaining exchange!

9 Nov 2012

Independence - consider this

There's been a lot of talk, about Scotland's independence referendum in 2014, but none of it particularly well informed when it comes to the mainsteam media. Many of us campaigning for a YES vote would more accurately describe it as scaremongering, and prefer to get the facts from www.newsnetscotland.com and www.yesscotland.net.

But, in conversation with those who say they will vote no ('because it's too scary'; their words not mine), most become undecided when you ask what they would do if Scotland were already an idependent country being asked to join the Union.

Consider this from Blair Jenkins, Chief Executive of YES Scotland...

  • Your main parliament will move hundreds of miles away, and your MPs will be in a tiny minority.
  • You will get a government you didn’t vote for.
  • All of your oil and gas revenues will be handed over to the London treasury (read the McCrone report).
  • The biggest nuclear weapons arsenal in Western Europe will be built on the Clyde, 30 miles from your largest city.
  • You will be joining a country where the health and education services are rapidly being privatised. 
  • Now and then you will get dragged into an illegal foreign war.
  • An austerity budget will be imposed from London, cutting jobs and threatening the provision of vital public services. 
  • Weak regulation of the banking sector will bring your economy to the brink of disaster. 
  • And, on top of all that, the most vulnerable people in society, instead of getting protection and support, will be interrogated and humiliated in order to deprive them of the very meagre level of provision to which they are entitled.

           Surely it's a no brainer.   It has to be a resounding YES in 2014. If this convinces just one more person to vote yes, and in turn helps convince one more, we will win!


30 Jul 2012

Over the sea from Skye - literally

The Black Cuillin, Skye
When I came up with the strapline 'great taste, over the sea from Skye', I thought it would add a bit of romanticism to a take-home holiday gift for the many summer visitors to our beautiful island.

But this year it took on a distinctly literal meaning, when CalMac Ferries decided to stock our handmade Scottish tablet on the MV Coruisk Skye to mainland Mallaig route, and MV Hebrides Skye to Lochmaddy and Tarbet, the Western Isles crossings

With Isle of Skye Chocolate bars also on board, we have been flat out this summer juggling fudge and chocolate making, while trying to find a few hours left in the day to enjoy the amazing sunny weather that has eluded most of the rest of the UK.
Sound of Sleat

Skye's Gaelic name Eilean a' Cheo, the island of mist, is but a tiny facet of our eclectic weather. When the sun shines, it's idyllic. So, come see for yourself. Book a ferry. Buy a hopscotch ticket. Sail away, over the sea to Skye.

Have a look at all the stunning sea routes that CalMac has to offer, not just across the Minches and the Sound of Sleat, but to Mull and Iona, Coll and Tiree, Islay and Jura, Arran, Bute, Cumbrae, Rhum, Eigg, Barra.....get in the mood. Savour the heady tangle o' the Isles.
The Road to the Isles (Traditional Scottish Song) 
Sure by Tummel and Loch Rannoch and Lochaber I will go
By heather tracks wi' heaven in their wiles.
If it's thinkin' in your inner heart, the braggart's in my step,
You've never smelled the tangle o' the Isles.

         Oh, the far Cuillins are pullin' me away,
         As take I wi' my crummack to the road

         The far Cuillins are puttin' love on me,
         As step I wi' the sunlight for my load

14 Aug 2011

BBC Radio 4 Food Programme

Was delighted and chuffed to meet one my food heroes, Sheila Dillon, of Radio Four's iconic Food Programme. Lucky that Sheila, and producer Maggie Ayres, arrived on one of those idyllic, fresh but balmy days that only these Atlantic facing islands can muster.

The focus was on the Scottish Government's first ever National Food Policy, and how it had translated into action on the ground. Changing Scotland's diet is still a challenge, but the changes in government thinking have been enlightening to say the least. Scotland's food reputation is, to me, one of the key elements in changing our food culture. 

Five a day has its place, but I'm not sure it's all that inspiring. Better to take chilren to the seashore, and collect some mussels then cook them over a beach campfire; organise a school trip to a working farm and collect some freshly laid eggs; grow tomatoes on the window sill and smell the ripeness before biting into their sweet, bursting juiciness. Then, perhaps, allow yourself a treat of traditional handmade Scottish tablet from Isle of Skye Fudge!

Listen again at Radio Four Food Programme