food and drink and foraging


High Brow or What

It is no coincidence that food and drink feature highly on my list of first fifties. I adore food (and drink). The weekend before last was the beginning of my collection of food firsts.

Every year Aberfoyle hold a mushroom festival and being close at hand seemed like an opportunity not to be missed for a novice forager like myself. I booked a couple of places on a mushroom foray. The weather has been pretty yuck here but thankfully the rain stopped just in time for us to meet Liz, our guide for the day. She led us under screaming children having fun on the Go Ape slide that operates from David Marshall Lodge. Liz was very knowledgeable about her subject and without being too technical managed to engage an audience of about twenty adults and teenagers. We were given an opportunely to forage for mushrooms and bring them back to Liz for identification. In one small patch we managed to collect a fair haul, most were inedible, some poisonous. There was one log covered in Angels Wings, a white fungi Liz said was edible, so I took a couple of wings to try later.

Next morning I chopped up a small piece of mushroom and fried it in butter. Colin and I both tried some and waited for an effect. When but there was no ill effect I chopped up the rest and put in our chicken gravy. I was not happy when clearing the plates away I found that Colin had left most of his mushroom lying on the plate. Coward.

The next first was a long overdue visit to a Concert, a Canapé and a Cocktail, which plays every Monday at Oran Mor and is a sister event to the much loved Play, Pie and Pint. The concert played by the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland was superb. Unfortunately the canapés were unremarkable and the cocktail had dubious ingredients and little alcohol content.

Not so the last of my firsts this week. On Saturday night we went to dinner at friends’. We were royally treated to champagne, red wine, roast beef with perfect vegetables and a cocktail I have never tasted before. ‘A dirty girl scout’ was served between courses, this is a concoction of three parts Baileys to one part crème de menthe, I think vodka might have been mentioned too. It tasted like peppermint creams and judging by the hangover I had yesterday it was lethal.

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