Thursday 22 December 2011

Scottish Lamb Recipe from Fife

Looking for a wee recipe for something Scottish over the holidays?

Well how about trying the following receipe posted to us on facebook by The Inn at Lathones for Braised Lamb Shank. Now I know for a fact that only the very best local Scottish lamb is used at The Inn - provenance of their food being a big selling point - so see what you can pick up in your local butcher or if you must your supermarket!

Anyway here's the ingredients and method.

4 Fore Leg Lamb Shanks
250ml Red Wine
150ml Port
100g Tomato Puree
2 Bay Leafs
1 Sprig Rosemary
1 Sprig Thyme
6 Peppercorns
4 Juniper Berries
4 Gloves Garlic
2ltrs Good quality Beef Stock

Method:- In a large Pan brown outside of Lamb Shanks, add Peppercorns, Juniper Berries, Garlic and Herbs. Place Lamb Shanks in a large oven proof dish. De glaze frying pan by heating, add Tomato Puree heat for 1 min, add Red Wine and Port, stir then add to Lamb Shanks, add Beef Stock, cover and cook in Oven on 175oC for 3hrs.

Take out of Oven, remove Lamb Shanks, and cover with Tin Foil to keep warm. Place cooking liquid in pan, reduce by ¾ or more for a more intense flavour. Strain through a Sieve into a small Pot for serving with Rosemary and Garlic crushed Potatoes and seasonal Veg.

Visit their website to find out more more about The Inn atLathones - great golf and short break destination or just ideal for a meal when in St Andrews area

Festive Segway...

Nope it wouldn't have made any sense to me before I'd seen Stephen Leckie of Crieff Hydro bombing about in one!

Apparently great fun to "glide" about on and easy to get the hang of. Well if you fancy a go why not try it over the holidays at Dragon's Tooth Golf Course in Ballachulish in the West Highlands of Scotland.
Give them a call or visit the Dragon's Tooth Website for more information.

Whisky Stramash Looking For "AmDrammers"

Was just reading up some stuff earlier this morning on Creative Scotland 2102 - the press release that came in next was not realted to the project but strikes me as a great fun idea and in itself incredibly creative! Whisky isbig news again in the export markets and tying it in with tourism seems to be increasingly fashionable in the central belt (having been always fashionable in the Highlands!)
According to the press release on the Whisky Stramash website, "Aspirant actors and actresses from across the Central Belt are being invited to act in a ‘whodunnit’ murder mystery, as part of an exciting new event set to stir the whisky industry. Organisers of the Whisky Stramash, which takes place for the first time at Edinburgh’s Surgeons’ Hall on 26th & 27th May, are on the search for an amateur dramatics group to act out the gruesome game, which is being sponsored by Jura Single Malt Scotch Whisky."

The Whisky Stramash is explained on the site as being,
An affair to excite the purists, tempt the interested and intrigue the indifferent, enthusiasts of whisky from around the world will encounter many elements and experiences. Held in the historical Surgeons’ Hall, dram devotees will be exposed to a concoction of molecular experiments, murder mystery and an insight into the gruesome lives of barber surgeons.
Taking place on 26th and 27th May 2012, the Stramash aims to challenge the traditional “stuffy” whisky-associated events and promises to be full of mystery, entertainment, comicality and madcap pioneering, featuring chilling characters associated historically with the dram.
With regards to the amateur dramatics, colleges, universities and drama clubs from across the Central Belt are invited to audition and compete against other groups across the country for the chance to take part and win £1,000 cash prize. The winning group will be invited to the event to act out dramatic death scenes, plotting along the way and leaving clues to grip the unsuspecting audience, before helping to uncover the cunning culprit.

Auditionees are asked to send a three-minute video clip of their best performance to  and videos will be uploaded onto a dedicated YouTube site, before the Whisky Stramash organisers narrow the entrants down to their favourite three. These three will be invited to audition in front of the judging panel at a location in Edinburgh, before the winner is announced and invited to perform at the event in May 2012.

Always good to see some novel ideas. You can find out more at the WhiskyStramash website.

Monday 12 December 2011

Scottish Rugby Moves The Goalposts to Glasgow

Scottish Rugby has announced that the world famous HSBC Sevens World Series is heading for Glasgow in 2012.

The event, seen in more than 140 countries worldwide and with a following of over 200 million, will be held at Scotstoun Stadium on the weekend of 5 and 6 of May in 2012.

According to the press release "The move of the event from its traditional home in Edinburgh will give the people of Glasgow a chance to savour the unique festival atmosphere that a sevens tournament of this size and scale can deliver." Edinburgh losing a rugby event to Glasgow! The establishment must be rocking!

Anyway, it puts Glasgow on the international circuit of sevens which also takes in Hong Kong, Dubai and Australia’s Gold Coast and the First Minister was rolled out with his quote too,

“Scotland is well known as the home of rugby sevens and it will be tremendous to see this global spectacular staged in Glasgow. It is a city that knows how to put on a show and I have no doubt that come May, the people of Glasgow will take great pride in staging another major international event.

“I’m very pleased that we are part of the launch today and we look forward to working with Scottish Rugby and all those involved in making the event a world-wide success.”

Present at the launch, IRB Vice Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Scotland is the home of Sevens and today’s announcement represents a further boost for the sport as we count down to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Rugby’s return to the Olympic Games stage in Rio in 2016.”

“We are confident that the Scottish Rugby Union’s commitment to deliver a spectacular round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Glasgow in 2012 and 2013 will be a huge success and engage new fans throughout Glasgow, across Scotland and from further afield.”

Scotstoun Stadium, soon to be home to the Glasgow Warriors rugby team, will see 16 teams from across the world competing and 15,000 fans descend on the site each day for the penultimate leg of the World Series.

The stadium will see two temporary stands built to take the capacity to three times it's current level. In keeping with the atmosphere of the unique global tournament there will be live entertainment, a food court and the event will be licensed. It will be the first time a sevens tournament of this scale has been played in Glasgow.

Tickets for the event are on sale now at the price of just £10 for those who buy before the end of the RBS 6 Nations (17 March). All concessions are at half the equivalent adult price. Tickets will be sold for particular stands and designated days, with two-day ‘weekend’ tickets also available.

AC/DC - Scotland's Family Jewels Exhibition

Been following an interesting discussion on music tourism to Scotland and how it may not be exploited fully enough.

Regardless of how it's viewed music plays a massive part of the majority of our lives in triggering emotional responses and whether Scotland has failed to exploit it is questionable.

Events such as the Edinburgh Festival, Celtic Connections and other smaller festivals have always waved the flag for Scotland as a destination. The old Apollo in Glasgow was a must play venue for every self respecting rock artist and we were always quick to exploit the festival scene - I remember Runrig playing on the banks of Loch Lomond in 1991 I think.

T in the Park and events such as RockNess have only cemented Scotland's musical relationship with large scale events.

On the micro music scale we are delighted to have been involved more recently with Mundell Music based in Kinross in developing marketing activity to promote their wonderful venues at The Inn at Lathones near St Andrews, Backstage at The Green Hotel (Kinross) and most recently Ducks at Kilspindie.

The list of artistes performing for Mundell Music is truly breathtaking and it is in the area of developing regular live music at this scale that the challenge exists. This is where the unexploited opportunity exists. We've just developed a great new project for him - his very own SiteBuilder Bands - which is a template based website project allowing his artistes to upgrade their online presence from their clunky old MySpace presence to a site that incorporates their own Content Management and integrates their social media presence into the website. Delighted just to have put Benny Gallagher's site live. What a wonderfully way to start a new website project.

Anyway if you need to see the link between music and tourism have a look - or better visit - the AC/DC Scotland's Family Jewels exhibition at The Kelvingrove Gallery in Glasgow. For those of us old enough to remember them back at the Apollo in Glasgow it's a fantastic couple of hours escape featuring a superb collection of memorabilia and telling a great story along the way. The exhibition also highlights the band's strong connections with Glasgow and Scotland.

It's open until 12th of  February 2012 and it only costs between £1.50 and £2 to get in. You can get your tickets in person at the Kelvingrove Shop or Buy your tickets online

And just as a personal indulgence here's our very own footage from AC/DC's last visit to Glasgow. Yes we were far too old to be that close to the stage but that's what music does to you isn't it!

Great Glasgow Golfing Destination - Welcome to Mar Hall

We always like to be a little different so why not promote golf when everyone else's mind is on skiing!

Well it's never too early to be thinking about your next golfing vacation or short break and new ideas are always good. So we were delighted when we got a link through from an old golf industry friend David Whyte whose Go Golf TV company produces promotional pieces for golf courses.

It just so happened we were putting out a mail shot for the hotel at the same time so it worked out pretty neatly.

The golf course is one of those locations that doesn't hit the headlines but provides a magnificent challenge for anyone staying in the Glasgow area. Of course the luxury rooms and Spa facilities of Mar Hall Hotel and Resort provide a pretty compelling case for staying on site!

Have a wee look at the video below and if you need some more information on some great golfing deals have a look at the December newsletter or visit Mar Hall website to Book on line

West Highlands Fishing at Tomdoun

On a recent wee drive around bits of the West Highlands I took a brief detour off the A87 en route to Inverness from Fort William to spend a night at the wonderful sporting estate of Tomdoun Hotel. 

I arrived in autumnal darkness and it made the expectation of arrival all the sharper. I checked in had a wee drink in the bar in front of the log fire and I couldn't help it; even although I was working I relaxed!

Checked into my room after a wee bottle of a Cairngorm Brewery beer to a magnificent King Size (plus) bed and deep deep bath and headed down to dinner with owner Mike.

Over dinner he explained the plans for the fishing market over the coming year with the purchase of a new multi seater landrover which will allow the accommodation of groups of fishing clients to enjoy more of the camaraderie. Being a townie and knowing nothing about fishing and stalking Mike explained a little more for me,
He pointed out the unique nature of Tomdoun, "It's not often that you find some of the best fishing, walking and stalking opportunities in the same location, even if you are not experienced you can learn to either stalk or fish here at Tomdoun. Many of our fishermen, walkers and stalkers have been coming here every year to enjoy a refreshing break with their favourite activities. It's the lure of the location that keeps bringing them back time and again."

"For fishermen there is approximately 25,000 acres of water including our own river the Upper Garry and Lochs Garry, Inchlaggan, Poulary, Loyne and Quoich where the guest can fish from our own boats or from the bank. And as far as stalkers are concerned, the estates of West Glenquoich and Barrisdale are legendary."

It's for this reason that Mike and his small team are looking to market their fishing credentials further.

Mike continued,
"You could try the small mountain lochans like Nan Breac or Staic, where a small 8ft 4# rod will suffice to catch sparkling wild brown trout up to two pounds on small traditional flies. Or the tumbling reaches and large pools of the upper Garry river, where a rod with a little more beef , 9ft 6ins 6# or even a 10ft 7#, may be needed for the longer casts for the heavier brown trout - last year a 11½lb came to the fly.Later in the year, break out your salmon rod and try for the late silver tourists the river can produce in the autumn to Alie’s Shrimp or Teal Blue & Silver.

The more leisurely angler may prefer a day on Loch Quoich, Loch Lochy or Loch Garry in a boat to drift with a team of three flies traditional loch style for Brown Trout or be a little more adventurous and try dapping for the bigger fish.Speaking of bigger fish our lochs are renowned for their Ferox trout so why not take out a boat and troll for these monsters of the deep with spoons and Rapalas - you could be rewarded with trout up to 18lb.The pike fisherman is also well catered for. You’ll find an abundance of hard fighting, well fed specimens in Loch Lochy with fish to 35lb. Loch Garry fish go to 20lb and Loch Loyne to 25lb. These fish will take dead baits, spinners and lures, either from the bank or boat."

Now I was lost and he could see that from my nodding head, "Tomdoun's great for the experienced fisherman but we're more than qualified to introduce the novice to the joys of the outdoors. We can tailor packages and events for any and all on the estate."

The conversation about the unique location and the benefits Mike outlined only really came into full understanding the next morning when I awoke to the view across the loch surrounded by hills. The beauty of arriving in the dark was that my sunrise vista was entirely unknown to me.

It is stunning and I can heartily recommend the Scottish breakfast too.

For more on fishing and outdoor pursuits at Tomdoun have a look at their website and then call Mike to discuss your requirements.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Skerryvore Live Act of the Year

One of the unexpected musical highlights of this year was during a wee trip to Dundee with the family. We were actually there to watch the good old Ayrshire Kille get hammered by Dundee United but that's a by product.

The aforementioned bonus was finding out that "bagrock" band Skerryvore were playing in the city and a quick call and we were off to see them play.

I think the kids were initially less than overwhelmed at the prospect but went along with the idea and we headed over to the Arts Centre in the city. Turns out it's a great wee venue with a fantastic bar and a tidy auditorium.

And Skerryvore?

Well I'd seen them before playing a set for us at the Golf Tourism Awards at Turnberry a couple of years earlier but in front of the more receptive audience they were excellent and totally won over the kids too - son even spending his pocket money on a T-shirt!

So we were delighted to hear that they won a gong in theTrad Awards winning 'Live Act of the Year' on Saturday at the awards ceremony in Perth.

The event was filmed for BBC Alba and shown on monday night with a short live Skerryvore set as part of the show. You can watch it HERE on the BBC iplayer if you wish but be warned some of  Gaelic and it will probably only be available in the UK and for a short preiod of time. But it's a pretty good piece of TV and worth a look.

Anyway, congratulations to the band and if you get the chance to watch them take it you can find out more at