Border Gem

The Collingwood Arms

The Collingwood Arms

Birthdays are very special occasions, a 60th birthday is all the more special. We were lucky enough to be invited by our dear friend to celebrate his birthday at The Collingwood Arms, Cornhill on Tweed.
I have had the privilege of dining at this venue on two previous occasions and have never been disappointed.
The country style entrance gives this hotel an immediate warm and welcoming atmosphere, the staff greet you in the entrance lounge and are very attentive without spilling over into intrusive. It is a great place for a relaxing meal for couples but also caters for groups or families as well.
As we were quite a large party we had the dining room to ourselves. The décor is stylish and sophisticated with wooden dining tables and comfortable upholstered chairs. The interior fills you with confidence as does the menu which is reasonably priced and offers a good selection for carnivores, fish eaters and vegetarians.

Slow Braised Belly Pork

Slow Braised Belly Pork

To start the meal I ordered the Slow Braised Pork Belly with black pudding, apple sauce and pork jus. This dish I have to say was sheer bliss. The pork was so tender it melted in the mouth and the flavours of the black pudding, Apple sauce and jus blended together so well they tantalised the taste buds to brilliant effect.

Pan Seared Chicken Supreme

Pan Seared Chicken Supreme

For main I ordered Pan Seared Chicken Supreme, Black Kale, heritage carrots, roast potatoes with Dijon gravy – the chicken was deliciously succulent with superb presentation coupled with the flavoursome vegetables and crisp roast potatoes made this meal sheer perfection.

Everyone knows a good meal should always end with a moreish sweet treat. Well that’s my view anyway and I stick by it. The Collingwood offers a good selection of desserts which in my opinion will cater for a wide range of palates.

Strawberry and White Chocolate Parfait

Strawberry and White Chocolate Parfait

I ordered the Strawberry and White Chocolate Parfait with cocoa crumble, mini meringues and yogurt ice cream. This course did not fail to please, not only was it a delight to the eye the taste of the soft, cool strawberry parfait lingered on the taste buds leaving a refreshing aftertaste . The meringue, cocoa crumble and yogurt ice cream element of the dessert added a little bit of joy making this particular dish an irresistible combination.

I was not alone in my enjoyment of the meals that were presented.  All the diners in our party were suitably impressed so much so I heard resounding comments saying ” I will definitely be recommending the restaurant to friends and relatives.”

Selection of mains and desserts

Selection of mains and desserts

Advertisements

Lemon and Blueberry Meringue Cupcakes

image
The Hummingbird Bakery has, deservedly so, one of the best reputations for cake making in this country and across the world. The Hummingbird Bakery first opened its doors in Notting Hill in early 2004 to become the home of quality American baking in London. Today it has six branches across the city and is renowned the world over for its delicious cupcakes pastries and desserts.
The bakery for all its fame and popularity does not keep its recipes a closely guarded secret. Many of their recipes can be found in their best selling books. It has to be said however, their cakes and pastries are not for the calorie conscious ….but they can be enjoyed on special occasions.
Whenever I make one of their cupcake recipes I invariably freeze the undecorated cakes and decorate only the number we intend to eat. The reason for this….their recipes are just so moreish it’s very difficult to stop at just eating one cake.
Today I had some lemon curd to use up. It’s pouring of rain outside and the family was in need of some comfort food. I decided to make the Hummingbird Lemon meringue cupcake. I also had some blueberries in the fridge so I thought I would incorporate them into the recipe.
Ingredients
Makes 12-15 cupcakes ( I made 12 in a muffin tin)
For the sponge
80g unsalted butter, softened
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
240mls milk

For the filling and frosting
( I only made half this amount to ice 6 cakes. I put the other 6 cakes into the freezer for another day. Oh do not fill the cakes if you are going to freeze them)
200g caster sugar
4 egg whites
70g lemon curd

50g blueberries

Muffin tin
Cooks blow torch (optional as you can use a grill)

image

Method
Heat oven 190C Gas 5 and line muffin tin with muffin cases.
Beat together butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and lemon zest until ingredients resemble breadcrumbs.
Break eggs into a jug, add milk and whisk together. Pour three quarters of the milk and eggs into the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour in remainder of the liquid and continue to mix until you have a smooth batter.
Spoon the batter into the paper cases until three quarters full.
Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes.
Take out when ready and cool completely on a cooling rack before you fill and ice them.

image

To make the frosting,put the sugar into a small saucepan and cover with water (about 150mls) and bring to the boil. Allow the sugar to boil for approximately 5-10minutes until it has reached the soft ball stage.

( to check for this stage. Drop a small amount of the syrup into some water if it is cooked correctly it will form a soft ball in the water. When removed from the water it should flatten in your hand)
While the sugar is boiling, whisk the egg whites until just foam
y.

When sugar is ready pour it into the egg whites while still whisking on low speed ( be careful, because it will be extremely hot) increase the speed when all sugar has been added. Continue whisking until the underside of the bowl feels Luke warm. The meringue will have doubled in size and be white,smooth and shiny.

image
Once the cakes have cooled, hollow out the middle of each cake with a sharp knife,keep the cut out bit of each sponge.( I used my little cut out gadget to do this) Using a teaspoon, fill the holes about half full with lemon curd, place a couple of blueberries into the cut out and replace the little piece of sponge.
Top the cakes with the prepared meringue and swirl. Use your blowtorch to slightly brown the tops of the meringue. Decorate with blueberries.

image

Spicy Apple Chutney

 

Spicy Apple Chutney

Spicy Apple Chutney

Summer is coming to an end and Autumn is approaching. That’s the time my mind always turns to making preserves. Still in this mind set,it was a welcome surprise when my neighbour turned up at my front door with a bag full of apples from the tree in her back garden. With Christmas approaching I decided to make some Spicy Apple Chutney.
It has to be said,the worst thing about making chutney is the preparation of the fruit or vegetables, in this case the apples. They were a small tart eating apple and seemed to take an age to peel,core and dice ( in actual fact approximately 30 minutes) Boring….but in the end hopefully it would all be worth it when I saw my filled jars of chutney.
This particular chutney is especially nice served with pork ( as an alternative to apple sauce) or cheese and crackers and will be well matured for the Christmas festivities.
It takes approximately 2 hours to make and will keep for months in sealed sterilised jars.
Just to remind you, making chutney does produce the most wonderful odours around the home which is great during cooking but can linger on and on and on so…..remember keep the kitchen well ventilated when making.

Ingredients
1½ kg cooking apples, peeled and diced
750g light muscovado sugar. (I used 500g as I was using eating apples, although they were tart, this can actually be a very sweet chutney. So do use personal judgement when adding sugar)
500g raisins
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp salt
700ml cider vinegar
Method
Put jars in a water bath to sterilise in the oven.

imageI

Method

Combine all the ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium heat, then simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, for 40 – 60 mins, or until thick and pulpy. Remove from the heat, leave to cool and transfer to sterilised, clean, dry jars and seal.