The Roxburghe Hotel

Afternoon Tea has to be the ultimate mid-day indulgence. (Well at least that’s my view). Recently friends and I spent the afternoon celebrating a special birthday at The Roxburghe Hotel in Edinburgh. We were treated to a wonderful Champagne Afternoon Tea. (Thank You, Pamela).

The Roxburghe is “a luxury 4-star hotel in Edinburgh city centre. Ideally located for short breaks in Edinburgh, the hotel is just two minutes’ walk from Princes Street and overlooks the magnificent Edinburgh Castle.”

The Roxburghe Hotel, Edinburgh

The Roxburghe Hotel, Edinburgh

Poem of the season

Poem of the season

The hotel is set in a smart inconspicuous terrace in Charlotte Square and only stands out because of the welcoming carpet at the main entrance. However, once inside the main doors you immediately see why it won Edinburgh Hotel of the Year at the Scottish Hotel Awards 2014.

The hotel has a special ambiance which makes you feel pampered as soon as you enter. The door staff are very welcoming. The friendly but professional attitudes of the staff continued as we were escorted to the Samovar Lounge,and seated at our table for tea.

We settled very quickly into our roles of ‘Ladies who take tea’. The very pleasant waitress explained our options, and once the decisions were made about the type of Twinnings tea to be digested, the service began.

Menu

Menu

We started our experience with a glass of  Champagne and an Amuse Bouche ( an iced tea with fruit and mint) to cleanse the palette before we began our savoury/sweet experience.

Champagne and Amuse Bouche

Champagne and Amuse Bouche

The tea was served in individual pots and we were given what I can only describe as a ‘brew timer’ and told our teas would be ready to drink when our timer had emptied of sand.

Brew timer

Brew timer

The Afternoon Tea was served and did not disappoint. It consisted of the usual treats…four types of dainty sandwiches with various fillings;

Cucumber on white

Smoked Ham and chutney on brown

Roast beef and grain mustard open sandwich on crusty bread

Hot smoked salmon and Dill Creme Fraiche open sandwich on crusty bread

The scones were served with clotted cream and jam and YES of course we had the obligatory discussion about the etiquette for eating scones  ( Does the jam or cream go onto the scone first?). Needless to say we couldn’t agree so we just did our own thing and enjoyed them anyway.

Three tier Afternoon Tea

Three tier Afternoon Tea

The top tier of cakes looked delectable, but I’m afraid we did have to take a short but well needed break before we attempted to eat more. Once rested we made short work of the fruit tart, mini meringue, choux bun and lemon drizzle cake.

Mini cake selection

Mini cake selection

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Finished…….full tummy and feeling like the cat who got the cream,we were able to ‘sit and chat’ for a long while after finishing tea, without anyone rushing us out of the door.

If your heading up to Edinburgh give The Roxburghe Hotel and its Afternoon Tea a try. Overall an excellent experience.

Vanilla Panna-Cotta with strawberry and whisky syrup

This has to be one of my all time favourite desserts. It is so light and refreshing and is perfect to serve at the end of any dinner party but it is especially good made in the summer when British strawberries are at their best. Once again I have my time at Nick Nairns Cook School to thank for this recipe. The strawberries in whisky sauce compliment the vanilla panna-cotta, but are equally as nice served with a bowl of vanilla ice cream or served spooned over a Pavlova. The whisky is not overpowering, so even if you are not a whisky lover you will still love this dish. Enjoy.

Vanilla Panna-Cotta with strawberry and whisky sauce

Vanilla Panna-Cotta with strawberry and whisky sauce

Ingredients

250ml Double Cream

150ml milk

1 and half leaves gelatine

25g caster sugar

vanilla pod

2 tbsp whisky

60g water

60g caster sugar

400g strawberries (washed and halved)

lemon juice

caster sugar to taste

Method

Oil lightly,4 small ramekins or pudding moulds

Place the gelatine into a bowl of cold water to soak.

Pour the milk into a small pan, split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds adding both pod and seeds to the pan.

Bring the milk to a simmer and stir in the sugar insuring the sugar is dissolved.

Lift the gelatine from the water and squeeze lightly, remove the milk from the heat and add the gelatine stirring until dissolved.

Measure the cream into a large mixing bowl then strain the milk into the cream. Mix well, cover and refrigerate.

The mixture must now be chilled until it begins to thicken. The mixture can then be poured into lightly oiled moulds and refrigerated overnight until ready to serve. If the mixture is not thickened before moulding the vanilla seeds will fall to the bottom of the mould and spoil the presentation.

The fruit

Place the water, sugar, whisky,lemon zest and juice in a pan and bring to the simmer. Reduce the syrup by half then thicken lightly with the arrowroot. Toss the washed and halved fruit in a little of the sugar syrup.

Fillet Steak with grilled potatoes and red wine shallots

A few years ago I was given the chance to spend a couple of days at Nick Nairns Cook School in the Port of Menteith, Stirling. Certainly this was an experience I shall always remember.  Being a keen cook I had a great time cooking a variety of dishes over two days. The tuition was excellent and I picked up some great tips involving food preparation.  Some of the recipes, I have to admit, I haven’t looked at for a number of years. This steak recipe is one of those recipes. So, recently I hunted it out again, made it for myself and hubby as a Saturday night treat. It certainly tasted as good as I remembered and brought back some great memories of those two days spent at the cook school. I feel I have to share this recipe with you as it is just too good to keep hidden away. I certainly will be making it again in the near future.

 

Fillet Steak with grilled potatoes and red wine shallots

Fillet Steak with grilled potatoes and red wine shallots

Ingredients

2 Portions

2 x160g fillet steak

6 small potatoes ( cooked with skin on)

10 ml olive oil

Red Wine Shallots ( this makes enough sauce for 4 steaks, depending on how much you like to serve per person)

400g  medium shallots ( try to get them the same size)

175ml brown chicken stock

225ml intense red wine

1tsp  castor sugar

50g butter

sprig of thyme

sea salt

mill pepper

Method

Peel the shallots taking care not to remove too much root. (This is made much easier if you put the shallots into a bowl, pour over boiling water, leave for a couple of minutes, pour off the water then peel.)

In a heavy saucepan sauté the shallots in half the butter until golden brown.

Add the chicken stock, sugar,thyme and a pinch of salt.

Reduce the liquid over a high heat then add the wine and boil down until only two or three tablespoons of sauce remain, stir in the remainder of the butter and hold until required.

Cut the cooked potatoes in half longways and flatten off the curved back to form elongated potato slices with skin on. Toss the slices in olive oil and grill on a griddle pan ( if you do not have a griddle pan a fry pan will do). Season and set asides and keep warm.

Grill the steaks to your liking  and allow to rest.

Re heat the sauce while you assemble the dish.

To serve

Set 5 or 6 potato slices in the centre of the plate in a star pattern. Arrange five shallots around the potatoes and set the steak on the potatoes in the centre of the plate.

Serve with the sauce.