Monday, October 31, 2011

A Taste of Scotland

Scotland was definitely a culinary surprise. I was expecting deep fried Mars bars and greasy fish and chips served up with a side of haggis. I couldn't have been more wrong. Well, except for the part about the haggis.

Can I just point out something? You can pick almost any location on this planet and chances are there is going to be at least one pizza place nearby. The reason for this is obvious. Pizza tastes good. Now, answer this question. How many haggis huts have you encountered on your travels? Exactly.

One of my favourite things was the side dish of stewed plums that would be served every morning, ready to spoon over our breakfast porridge. I don't think this is necessarily just a Scottish thing, but I am giving the Scots full credit since that is where I was introduced to it.

Here's my recipe for "a wee taste of Scotland."

8 cups pitted plums (I used Italian prune plums)
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
the juice of one lemon

Bring all the ingredients to a boil, then simmer for about an hour. It's that simple.

The stewed plums can either be canned or put in the freezer. I ended up doing both (I had a plethora of plums).

I promised to include some links from the trip once I returned home. When I was travelling I was using a blogging app on my iPad called Blogsy. I highly recommend this app to anyone interested in blogging from their iPad. I should add it was possible to include links in a post when using the app, but I hadn't figured out how to do it before I left, which is why these links are coming to you now.

Our accommodation in London was through LSE Vacations. They open up student residences for travellers when university is not in session. The rates are fantastic, the locations are great, and the rooms are clean. It's the perfect combination! We were at Northumberland House, which was a one minute walk from Trafalgar Square.

Our walking holiday was booked through Glentrek. They did a great job of booking us accommodation and moving our luggage from point to point. If you are planning a walking tour in Scotland these are the people to contact!

The night before we started our walk on the Cateran Trail we stayed in the town of Blairgowrie at the Gilmore House B&B. This is where we were introduced to that amazing thing called a Perthshire Breakfast, including the stewed plums featured in this post.

The first day of our walk ended up in the village of Kirkmichael, where we stayed at the charming Strathardle Inn.

The next two nights we stayed at the Falls of Holm B&B. This is the B&B where I sat in front of the fireplace while the rain and wind raged outside, writing a blog post as Kath read aloud some Robert Burns poetry. It is a moment that will stay with me forever. I absolutely loved this B&B.

Of course this whole trip would never have happened if it hadn't been for my favourite blogger Jean Miles.
Reading her blog is what inspired me to visit Scotland, and she was the person who told me about the Cateran Trail. Meeting her in person was one of the highlights of my trip!

Slainte Mhath!


  1. You can make stewed prunes sound delicious! Kudos! :)

  2. I'm envious. I still have a huge santa rosa plum tree in San Dimas, and it used to give me abundance of fruits. I didn't know what to do with them then, but now I know because of you but the tree doesn't produce any more fruit. How sad.

  3. @Tana - Stewed plums are delicious!

    @keiko - I wonder why your tree isn't producing fruit? Does it need a cross pollinator?

  4. As I was thinking I'd never heard of stewing plums, only prunes, I read that you used Itlaian prune plums. Not sure why, but that made me chuckle. Was it the skin of the plums that turned the mixture red?

  5. @Ric - I am not 100% sure, but I think prunes might actually come from the kind of plums I am talking about. And yes, it is the skin that turns the stewed plums that beautiful shade of red. That is one of the reasons I canned some of them - they are so nice to look at in the glass jars!

  6. Kristie,

    Yes, it needs cross pollinator. I thought maybe someone cut a plum tree nearby. But I also heard that plum trees produce only for certain years. I don't remember, but mine produced about five years or so. Fruits were good, but I couldn't handle the amount.