passionate about good food
From our lovely location in the heart of the Borders, we are absolutely committed to creating menus that are truly seasonal and as local as they can be.
Our imaginative menus feature delicious fresh produce from handpicked local suppliers which genuinely reflect the best ingredients that are available throughout the changing seasons.
Bringing you the real flavours of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Pheasant and Chicken Terrine
pheasant from Johnny near Kelso, pickled vegetables, Rogers damson jelly
cured in Borders gin, Eyemouth crab, pickled cucumber
from Eyemouth, roasted, black pudding crumb, herbs
walnuts, radicchio, Doddington Darling blue cheese
Borders Mallard Breast
cured in red wine and herbs, pickled cherries
from Ross in Eyemouth, herb gnocchi, langoustine broth, brown shrips, sea vegetable
from Willowford farm, chargrilled sirloin, braised featherblade, red onions, roasted and purred, chestnut mushrooms, truffled thrice cooked chips, pan juices
from Headshaw farm, slow cooked shoulder, gratin potatoes, winter greens, purred neeps, haggis crumb
Roe Deer Shoulder
from Johnny, braised in red wine and juniper, roast cauliflower, colcannon mash, crispy kale
Duck Liver Pate
Bea's buckwheat flour oatcakes, pickled vegetables
Tasting Board for 2
Duck liver pate, pheasant terrine,fish pate, salmon cured in Borders gin, pickled vegetables, chutney, oatcakes
mixed grains, kale pesto, cauliflower puree
Posh Fish Pie
fish from Eyemouth, cod, salmon, smoked haddock, crab, prawns cheese crumb top, vegetables
From the CHARGRILL
from Stobs farm, Hawick. Served with hand cut red rooster chips, salad, choice of mayo
from Willowford farm, served with hand cut red rooster chips, salad, choice of mayo
28 days matured, served with hand cut red rooster chips, salad, choice of mayo
served with hand cut red rooster chips, salad
Borders venison and juniper, served with hand cut red rooster chips, salad
Free Range Chicken Breast
Melrose blackpudding, wrapped in Martins bacon, Melrose blackpudding, hand made red rooster chips, salad, mayo
Extra Roger’s Soda Bread
Melrose Black Pudding
Extras per side
vegetables in season, mixed leaf salad, had cut red rooster chips
Hawick Whisky and Pepper sauce
Seasons own Ice Cream 1 Scoop
Served with shortbread, Vanilla Pod, Lemon Curd, peanut
Seasons own Ice Cream 2 Scoop
Served with shortbread, Vanilla Pod,Lemon Curd, peanut
Seasons Cheese Board
from Doddinton dairy, Darling Blue,Capability, Berwick Edge Bea's buckwheat oatcakes, celery, pickled figs
Seasons Cheese Board with Port
from Doddington dairy, Darling Blue,Capability, Berwick Edge, Bea's buckwheat flour oatcakes, celery, pickled figs
served with shortbread
Vanilla Poached Pear
chocolate creme brulee, crumb
espresso with 3 Hills Coffee, Seasons vanilla pod Jersey ice cream
Apple, oat topping, our vanilla pod Jersey ice cream
soaked in Three Hills Coffee, Tia Maria
23. Prosecco Riondo Collezione Spumante– Italy
Txtbook apple, pear and peach fruit, nice fizzy mousse
125ml - £5.95, Bt - £29.00
24. Procecco Ca Bolani Rose – Veneto Italy
Procecco with a dash of Pinot Noir to pink it up a bit. Fully fizzy and fully appealing.
Bt - £29.00
25. Champagne St Thomas Burt NV – France
More fruit, definite berry flavours and a luch creamy mousse.
Bt - £40.00
26. Gosset Brut Excellence NV - France
Full bodied, intense, tinged with crisp citrus, perfect for Drinking with food.
Bt - £50.00
21. Borsao Rosada 2016
Crisp and dry, ripe berry fruits
Bt - £24.00
22. Chiartetto Rose 2016 – Piedmont, Italy
Superb, delicate, dry, light, subtle, fruity Rose made from Barbera grapes in the Piedmont hills.
125ml - £3.95, 175ml - £5.50, 500ml - £14.50, Bt - £22.00
11. CaminaTempranillo 2016 – La Mancha, Spain
Medium-bodied red from an area next to Rioja. Jolly and juicy and very friendly.
125ml - £4.00, 175ml - £5.00, 500ml - £13.50, Bt - £19.50
12. Brise De France Merlot 2015– France
from the Languedoc, soft and juicy, great value Merlot,
125ml - £4.25, 175ml - £5.25, 500ml - £13.95, Bt - £20.50
13. Murphys Shiraz 2014 – NSW Aussie
Unoaked, pretty full-bodied Shiraz. Great with our beef and game dishes
Bt - £22.00
14. Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Conviviale 2016 –Italy
Medium-weight from Abruzzo on the Adriatic Coast. Cherry-style fruit. Soft, low tannins, easy-drinker.
Bt - £22.00
15. Le Fou Pinot Noir 2016 - France
A luscious, textural Pinot Noire made without oak. Intense Sweet berry fruit with a savoury twist
Bt - £25.00
16. Primitivo Borgo 2015 – Puglia, South
Deep South Italian (the heel of Italy), made from wizened primitive grapes baked in the sunshine. Really fruity, leathery, raisiny. Soft as velvet.
Bt - £26.00
17. Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 - Bellefontaine, France
An easy drinking meddium bodied dry red with blackcurrant aromas and a dry finish
Bt - £23.00
18. Chateau Mayne Vieil, Fronsac 2014 – Bordeaux
Merlot dominated Claret, lots of dark fruit, medium body
Bt - £35.00
19. Peyss Syrah by Z Mourier 2014 – Rhone
Velvety and smooth
Bt - £35.00
20. Malbec, Los Heroldos 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina
Ripe plumy fruit, leathery notes, big grown up wine. One of Rogers favourites
Bt - £30.00
1. Pe Branco 2016 – Alengejo, Portugal
Gorgeously fruity, rich dry white from the Esporao Estate. Crafted by Aussie Dave Baverstock from local varieties suited to the sunny climate – Antao, Vaz, Perrum and Arinto.
125ml - £4.00, 175ml - £5.00, 500ml - £13.50, Bt - £19.50
2. Brise De France, Sauvignon 2015 – France
Great value, tastes of gooseberries, nettles ,crushed Blackcurrant leaves. Lively, light and refreshing with a delightful zingy character
125ml - £4.25, 175ml - £5.25, 500ml - £14.00, Bt - £20.50
3. Murphys Chardonnay 2016 – NSW Aussie
Unoaked, youthful, vigourous dry white with a minerally tang & plenty of flavour and fruit.
Bt - £21.00
4. Pinot Grigio Lundardi 2016 – Veneto, Italy
Livley, peachy and lovely - almost Pinot Gris like: our new fav PG
Bt - £22.00
5. Rioja Blanco 2016 - Spain
A dry wine bursting with ample acidity and sweeter fruit flavours of honeydew, melon,lemon curd and honeycomb
Bt - £23.00
6. The Cut Sauvignon Blanc 2015 – New Zealand
The sunny warm climate of Nelson gives the wine a fraction more of a tropical fruit character rather than gooseberry. Boy is it tangy and juicy though.
Bt - £26.-00
7. Picpoul de Pinet 2016 – Languedoc, France
Characterful, fruity alternative to our top quality NZ Sauvigon. The vineyards overlook the azure Mediterranean next to Sete. Picpoul is the grape variety and Pinet is the Sleepy-little-one-horse-village.
Bt - £27.00
8. Domaine de Vedilhan Viogner 2016 - Pays d'Oc
Very classy mini-Condrieu: luscious nectarien fruit and hint of creamy oak, ripe and full-bodied
Bt - £25.00
9. Lemberg Lady 2015 - Tulbagh, South Africa
Naturally fermented in aged French oak barrels. Full bodied, great citric apple and peach fruit, nice f r3eshness straw, almonds and cream
Bt - £32.00
10. Sancerre, Domaine du Pre Semelie 2016 - France
Organic , crisp and aromatic
Bt - £36.00
Fernando Classic Amontillado
Dark style with a slightly sweet finish
Fernando Classic Manzanilla
Fino, saltier, tangier and a bit more nutty
Fernando Classic Pedro Ximenez
dried raisins and fig
William Grant – Scotland - recipe includes, juniper, coriander, citrus cucumber and rose petals
distilled in small batches using traditional botanics, juniper etc
North Berwick – artisan pure grain gin
Montrose – highland herbs are blended and patiently distilled to tease out the botanicals
The Crow man gin from Kelso - the first distillery in the Borders om 180 years
Made down the road in Lanton Mill, by Jedburgh, juniper with rowan, rosehips, elderflower, meadowsweet
Prosecco Ca Bolaini Frizzante – Italy
Softly fizzy. Elderflower fruit and soft acidity make this wonderfully drinkable.
Crème de Cassis & Procecco
Crème de Cassis & White wine
Beers / Ciders
Long White Cloud – Tempest Brewing Co
based down the road in Tweedbank, an extra Pale Ale with Citrus Spice and Tropical Fruit Flavour 330ml 5.65%
Pils – Real Lager – Tempest Brewing Co
a crisp light malt with subtle spice and soft fruits 330ml 5.00%
The Pale Armadillo - Tempest Brewing Co
expect waves of zesty citrus rolling over local barley hop amplified for
Weiherstephan – Cloudy Wheat Beer
a hazy golden beer with rich tempting aroma, creamy malt, fruit and spices – one of 300 beers to try before you die! 500ml 5.4%
In the Dark - Tempest Brewing Co
malty and dark with pine, blackberry and spice 330ml 7.2%
Farmhouse - Tempest Brewing Co
Belgian style harvest ale, mellow fruit and earthy yeast character, very refreshing and light 330ml 5.1%
Totally Ridler - Tempest Brewing Co
zesty and light. Packed with fresh blood orange and a twist of grapefruit 330ml 2.0%
Caesar Augustus – Lager/IPA hybrid
brewed in Alloa 500ml 4.1%
Thistly Cross Cider - Dunbar Scotland
hand made by Peter Scott 330ml 6.2%
Alcohol Free 275ml
who we are
With a lifetime spent both working in and owning restaurants and hotels throughout the country, we are experienced restaurateurs who can genuinely be described as total foodies, indeed with our daughters also working in the industry we are a real family of chefs!
We absolutely love what we do and work hard to ensure that Seasons stands for quality every step of the way, from the warmth of the welcome and service, to the imaginative menus and quality of the ingredients.
With Roger preparing and cooking all the food to Bea making sure everything front of house runs like clockwork, we are proud to be hands on owners who run the restaurant in as friendly and personal a way as possible.
We have the ability to deliver a wonderful dining experience where guests can enjoy fabulous food in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
The provenance of our food is of enormous importance to us and we are absolutely committed to delivering menus that are as seasonal and local as they can be.
Seasons menus always feature carefully sourced local produce from hand picked local suppliers meaning that they genuinely reflect what is available throughout the changing seasons. We are passionate about good food and have the ability to provide winning menus which always feature delicious seasonal ingredients. This extends to Roger curing his own meats and making all his own breads, pickles and jams from scratch.
We really are full of local flavour.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Thank you for all your support over 2018 – and a very Happy New Year
We are closed in January 2019 till the evening of Friday 25th January 2019
My Food Philosophy
I love using local ingredients sourced from passionate borders folk. I believe these with absolute provenance translate into great depth of flavours making truly seasonal local food deliver on the plate.
I use Scottish sea salt, with sugar, red wine and herbs to cure roe venison to create bresaola. Johnny Rutherford from Kelso supplies our game.
I dry cure salmon with herbs, finishing with a spray of Borders gin.
Vegetables are pickled in our own spiced cider vinegar, chutneys and jams are made in the summer and autumn with seasonal fruits and berries. I also pickle nasturtium seeds.
Alfred Bartlett’s red roosters make great chips which are cooked 3 times in rapeseed oil
Bob from Philiphaugh Estate, Selkirk supplies our fruit, grapes and vegetables. I avoid imported produce wherever possible.
I work closely with Martin Baird to source lamb, beef and pork from farms near Melrose, we are members of the Scotch Beef Club. I also use Martin’s black pudding and cured bacon.
Ross supplies fish and shellfish from Eyemouth which are caught by day boats and delivered to us daily.
I pick wild garlic and will use elderflowers to flavour panacotta and herbs and flowers from our kitchen garden when they appear during the year. Our wild mushrooms are foraged locally when in season.
Butter and cream for our own churned ice cream come from Brenda at Stichill Jerseys, Kelso. Artisan Cheeses from Doddington Dairy in Wooler.
Flour and oats in our soda bread and oatcakes our milled in Scotland. Eggs are organic free range from Oakwood Mill, Selkirk.
We use Three Hills Coffee beans which are roasted in the Borders, and tea from a family run tea supplier in Edinburgh, Shibui.
Single variety apple juice from Laprig Valley near Duns
Easter Sunday Menu
Sunday 1st April 2018
2 course £20.00
3 course £25.00
Twice Baked Cheese Soufflé – accompanies by pickled apple, endive, chicory and walnuts
Chicken Liver Pate – served with Bea’s buckwheat oatcakes
Salmon cured with Kelso Gin, dill and juniper
Soup of the Day – Pea and Mint
Carrot and Butternut Squash Gnocchi – with wild garlic walnut pesto and micro herbs
Eyemouth Cod – hand cut tagliatelle, samphire and parsley dressing
Chicken Breast with lemon and thyme stuffing, wrapped in Martin’s bacon – served with tarragon mash, charred baby gem and wild mushrooms
Hogget from Headshaw Farm, 4 hr braised shoulder with crispy belly, potato terrine, carrot and spring greens
Seasons own Ice Cream – made from Stichill Jersey cream and Oakmill Farm free range eggs
Espresso Chocolate Crumble Tart – served with Kahlua ice cream and salted caramel brittle
Vanilla Pod Crème Brulee and poached rhubarb
Scottish Cheese Board – Arran Brie, Blue Murder from Tain, Mull Cheddar, celery, pickled figs, and buckwheat oatcakes
Hot Cross Buns with a Twist
The beauty of food is that for each special celebration in the calendar there are foods that we directly associate with them. Easter is no exception. Chocolate eggs, Roast Lamb, Simnel Cake and of course Hot Cross Buns. For us the one that really stands out is Hot Cross Buns bringing back childhood memories of buttered Hot Cross Buns it’s a seasonal food that we look forward to year after year.
A traditional Hot Cross Bun is a yeasted sweet bun that is spiced and studded with raisins or currants and marked with a cross. Eating Hot Cross Buns marks the end of Lent because they are made with dairy products which are forbidden during this period. We love to eat them on their own with a cup of tea but did you know that they also makes a fantastic bread and butter pudding? So we thought we would share the recipe with you.
HOT CROSS BUN BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING
6 Hot Cross Buns
500ml double cream
Butter to spread
2 tablespoons sugar
Lightly grease an ovenproof dish
Split bun in half and spread with butter
Whisk eggs lightly, mix in cream and sugar
Put buns in dish and cover with egg mixture
Sprinkle with a little sugar
Cook for approx. 40 mins at 180c
We use Cameron’s of Selkirk for our Hot Cross Buns for ours along with Stichill Jersey cream and Oakwood Mill organic eggs.
Brewing up a Storm
Britain is undergoing a resurgence in craft beer now with more than 1,700 breweries and micro-breweries in the UK, that’s the highest number in 70 years. And as you’ll know there are some wonderful home-grown beers being produced right here in the Borders.
As advocates of the finest food and drink from around the region, we highly recommend that you try some of these locally produced beers as the perfect accompaniment to your food too. We are proud to stock a range of these beers and ales here at Seasons and are happy to help you to match them with your meal.
As you know we love our wine at Seasons and thanks to this renewed interest in craft beer, we’re also starting to see an interest in food pairings with beer too. Just as wine has Sommeliers, beer has Cicerone, these are certified professionals in the art of beer and food pairing. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional Cicerone to find the right pairings, and with a few tips, you can substitute any wine for a unique craft beer.
Since starters are generally lighter, you would tend to pair these with a light style beer that compliments but doesn’t overpower. The adage “white wine with fish, red wine with meat” does also tend to apply when it comes to beer pairing as well. When serving fish or shellfish, a Blonde Ale with a dry finish will help bring out the natural sweetness. When serving meat, you’ll want to take into consideration the level of fattiness of the dish. Meats like chicken, turkey or duck benefit from pairings like Pale Ales or Brown Ales, as the natural fats balance out the hop bitterness. Steak and beef are rich and should be paired with a dark Porter or Stout, while fatty pork needs a strong IPA to offset the intensity of the fat with hops.
Here’s a quick hop around some of our favourite beer producers here in the Borders.
BORN IN THE BORDERS – Lanton, near Jedburgh
The Born in the Borders Brewery is a multi-award-winning microbrewery creating real ale using barley grown in the neighbouring fields.
Founded in 2011, and originally known as the Scottish Borders Brewery, the brewery distributes in cask and bottle across the UK, and its strong “plough to pint” ethos has seen it grow rapidly.
Beers include Foxy Blonde, Game Bird, Holy Cow, Dark Horse, Flower of Scotland and Gold Dust, and the brewery also runs a unique project called Wild Harvest, which uses locally foraged ingredients to flavour a separate range of beers.
TEMPEST BREWING COMPANY – Tweedbank, Melrose
Winner of Scottish Brewery of the Year at the Scottish Beer Awards 2016, Tempest Brewing Company is dedicated to brewing high quality beer with respect, and the best ingredients, and is supported by a passionate team. In its short history Tempest has gained recognition for its cutting edge approach, and for producing award winning beers.
The team are inspired by things you might expect like different hop regions, yeast strains, and malt varieties…and then what you might not expect, like making a beer that tastes like marmalade on toast, or like a Mexican chocolate cake, or a craft version of a snakebite and black.
Red Eye Flight- Cold infused with locally roasted coffee beans for a rich porter with depth.
Long White Cloud – Flagship pale ale with their favourite NZ hops.
Brave New World IPA – Ideal IPA with big pine, resin and citrus notes. A modern classic.
Soma IPA – Winner of best IPA at the Scottish Beer Awards 2017.
The Pale Armadillo – West coast hops meets Scottish barley in their session IPA.
Easy Livin’ Pils – Effortlessly enjoyable modern pilsner lager, dry hopped and laid back.
TRAQUAIR HOUSE BREWERY – by Innerlethen
Traquair is the oldest inhabited house in Scotland and employs 2 full time brewers and its rich dark ales are now exported all over the world, although production remains tiny at only 1,000 hectalites a year.
Traquair House Brewery lies in the wing of the house directly underneath the Chapel. It dates back to the early 1700’s and was originally a domestic brewery serving the house and the estate. It was disused in the early 1800’s but never dismantled. Production was started again by Peter Maxwell Stuart and since the 1970’s, the ales have gradually gained recognition as “real ales” became rediscovered by organisations such as CAMRA. Traquair is now deservedly recognised as a pioneer of micro-brewing.
Signature ales that are brewed at Traquair House Brewery include Traquair House Ale, Traquair Jacobite Ale, Bear Ale and Spring Ale.
FREEWHEELIN BREWERY – Peebles Hydro, Peebles
Freewheelin’ Brewery is a community-owned Brewery in Peebles, now happily housed in the grounds of the Peebles Hydro Hotel. They have a small brewhouse in the former joiners shed, and sell both bottled and cask beer – The Blonde, The Ruby and XX IPA – while Dizzy is on draught only. They also do specials like rugby editions for the Six Nations. They now produce the equivalent of 3000 bottles per month.
CAMPBELL’S BREWERY – Peebles
Campbells Brewery was established last year in Peebles by Murray Campbell. The team are dedicated to producing the finest ales in Scotland and their mission is always to source top quality malts and hops to produce the very best cask and bottle-conditioned ales.
Gunner Blonde is the first beer that they have brought on to the market and are having so much success with this that they have had to increase the number of fermentation vessels to keep up with demand. Gunner Blonde is a lovely well balanced blonde ale brewed with German bittering hops and finished with delicious American hops. Flintlock Golden Ale is the second beer that Campbell’s have launched and at 3.7% ABV it is much more like a session beer.
We hope that this article has inspired you to discover some of these wonderful Borders beers and ales and that you try them with dinner too. Next time that you are in Seasons, do ask us about the local beers that we stock in the restaurant, we are more than happy to help you choose.
The Food of Love
For many people, the month of February means just one thing – Valentine’s Day.
From a delicious breakfast in bed to a decadent lunch or an even more indulgent Valentine’s Day dinner, you should surprise your loved one this year and treat them to a fabulous Valentine’s Day meal.
So, as we unveil our own Valentine’s Day menu, we thought that it would be fun to take a look at food and drink which is reckoned to be the amongst the most romantic and which is reputed as having aphrodisiac properties. Hopefully this article will get you in the mood for the most romantic day of the year?
The following ingredients are reputed to be aphrodisiacs, whether this is a load of nonsense or not, we’ll let you be the judge of that!
Sweet and sticky, honey contains the mineral boron, which helps the body utilise estrogen and improves testosterone levels in the blood.
The classic aphrodisiac is of course oysters, but other shellfish are packed with zinc too, a mineral that is said to increase libido. The classic pairing with oysters is champagne.
Rather surprisingly but garlic increases blood flow throughout the body.
Figs have long been associated with love and fertility and they do make a standard fruit platter look decadent and more romantic.
Chocolate has many feel-good properties but it is also said to release the chemical that induces feelings of attraction and happiness.
With great health benefits for the body, the scent of basil is said to have an aphrodisiac effect – maybe that’s why the Italians love it so much?
Packed with B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and the bromeliad enzyme, bananas apparently increase the male libido.
Boosting the immune system with B vitamins and potassium, avocados have excellent health giving and stamina giving properties.
Thanks to their high vitamin E content, almonds help support female hormones, and have been seen as a fertility symbol for hundreds of years.
Asparagus is packed full of vitamins and minerals, in particular folic acid, which can help improve libido in both men and women.
Whether these foods do genuinely offer these qualities or not; one thing is certain, they are all natural, delicious and with the exception of too much chocolate, they are all super healthy too. We hope that you have enjoyed reading our food inspired article about Valentine’s Day and that it proves that being romantic is also good for our health.
Happy Valentine’ Day to you.
Christmas Season with Seasons
CHRISTMAS DECEMBER MENU 2018
Served 5th December till 24th December 2018 along with our
blackboard and ‘Always in Season’ menus – open for Bookings
Christmas Eve Monday 24th for lunch and dinner
2 courses 21.00 3 courses 25.00
Duck Liver Pate orange gel, Buckwheat flour oatcakes
Salmon cured with Borders gin, dill and juniper,
horseradish crème fraiche
Pickled Pear walnuts, endive, Berwick edge cheese
Roast Cauliflower 3 grain risotto, spelt, pearl barley, and drum wheat,
Borders Lamb from Huntington farm, braised shoulder, crispy belly,
pea and carrot purees, greens, baby potatoes
Roast Turkey bubble and squeak, sprouts with chestnuts and bacon,
Martin’s chipolatas, bread sauce
Roger’s Posh Fish Pie cod, smoked haddock, crab, prawns,
Doddington cheese crumb top, Philiphaugh vegetables
Seasons Ice Cream made from Stichill Jersey cream and
Oakmill Farm free range eggs
Tiramisu soaked in Three Hill coffee
Bea’s Mince Pie Christmas pudding ice cream
Seasons Cheese Board Doddington Dairy cheese, pickled fig,
celery, Buckwheat Oatcakes
2 courses 21.00 3 courses 25.00
Make mincemeat of Christmas!
When it comes to Yuletide treats, nothing quite says Christmas like mince pies. You can buy some pretty good mincemeat in the shops, but home-made really is in a different league.
Mincemeat is ridiculously easy to make and once you have made it yourself, there really is no going back to the shop bought variety. Why don’t you try making your own with our deliciousrecipe below, but remember that you should be making it well in advance of Christmas to give the flavours maximum time to mature. Delicious in a range of recipes, a jar of mincemeat also makes a lovely Christmas gift.
The history of mincemeat
Mincemeat is a mixture of chopped dried fruit, distilled spirits and spices, and beef suet or butter. Originally, mincemeat always contained meat such as beef or venison, hence the name. However, many modern recipes do still contain beef suet, though vegetable shortening or butter is commonly used in its place. English recipes from the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries describe a mixture of meat and fruit used as a pie filling and these very early recipes included vinegars and wines, but by the 18th century, distilled spirits and most frequently brandy, were being used instead. The use of spices such as clove, nutmeg, mace and cinnamon was common in late medieval times, but it was the introduction of sweetness from added sugars and those produced from fermentation, which meant that mincemeat become less of a savoury dinner course and more of a dessert.
In the mid to late eighteenth century, mincemeat in Europe had become associated with old -fashioned, rural and traditional homely foods. But it was the Victorian’s in England who rejuvenated the ingredient as a traditional Yuletide treat, many recipes continuing to include suet, venison, minced beef sirloin or even minced heart, along with dried fruit, spices, chopped apple, and fresh citrus peel, currants, candied fruits and brandy or rum. There are many different recipes, with variations by region and country too.
Mincemeat is mainly consumed during the festive season when mince pies or mincemeat tarts are served but our American cousins also enjoy mincemeat pies as a traditional part of their Thanksgiving holiday, often served with a piece of Cheddar cheese.
But as we said above, mincemeat is best if it is aged to deepen and mature the flavours, this activates the preserving effect of the alcohol, in fact preserved mincemeat can be stored for years, but our own supply never tends to last beyond the festive season each year! Maybe just an unexpected treat come January or February.
TOP TIP – Of course, mincemeat takes centre stage in mince pies and mincemeat tarts but why not try it in pies, pastries and tarts with apples and pears. You can also stir a little mincemeat into your fruit for extra special crumbles and bakes.
Get ready for Christmas and try our own mincemeat recipe from Seasons.
We use Bea’s old family recipe from Mrs Beatons Everyday Cookery Book – which was given to us by Bea’s parents on our wedding day!!
1 lb cooking Apples peeled and finely chopped
2 ½ lbs sultanas, raisins and currants
2 oz of mixed peel
2 oz chopped almonds
1lb shredded suet
2 lemons rind and juice
¼ pt of Brandy
3 table spoons of rum
½ teaspoon of – nutmeg finely grated, ground ginger, mace, ground cloves,
Pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients together stirring well and cover closely in clean dry jars.
Keep of 2 to 3 weeks to allow the flavours to mellow before using.
We have recently imported some wine from our favourite place to stay and eat in the Western Cape of South Africa……. Springfontein. So, we thought it would be fun to take a closer look in our latest blog.
Springfontein Wine Estate only make very small quantities of wine, all of which are quite delicious. Our particular favourites are the Merlot, Dark Side of the Moon (they are big fans of Pink Floyd) and their dessert wine, in fact we are the only people they supply other than their own restaurant. We were delighted to receive our delivery from South Africa today after 9 months of organising.
The wine has travelled a very long way, Springfontein on the Western Cape is actually less than 100 miles from the southernmost tip of the continent of Africa. Doctor Johst Weber first set foot on the virgin soils of Springfontein (Strong Spring) in 1994, right after the fall of Apartheid. He had a dream of creating a project that involved family, friends and a product that, in his words, “is a combination of nature and human craftsmanship.”
The Estate is breathtakingly beautiful and the ocean, with its icy wind that blows across the Klein River Lagoon and across the vineyards, is close by. Along with the cool climate, pure limestone soils and their diligent work in the vineyards, the team are able to hand harvest the beautiful fruit to carefully handcraft natural wines that are structured, yet elegant and well balanced.
Springfontein focus on the varieties that South Africa is famous for, Chenin Blanc and Pinotage, as well as old favourites like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, they also have small plantings of Petit Verdot, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. In case you were wondering about the title to this article, Classic Rock songs by Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and others lend these wines their memorable names. Dark Side of the Moon Chardonnay, Chenin and Blanc de Pinotage. Whole Lotta Love Pinotage, Shiraz and Petit Verdot, Child in Time Petit Verdot and with a little Pinotage Gadda da Vida Pinotage with a little Petit Verdot.
The harvest period runs from mid February until mid April, grapes are handpicked in the vineyards at the lowest possible temperatures and taken to the cellar to start the production process. Upon arrival at the cellar, the grapes are hand sorted and all unripe and inferior quality berries are removed. From there the grapes go through the de-stemmer and crusher where the stems are removed and the berries are cracked open ever so slightly. In the case of white grapes, the juice is drawn off the skins and pumped to the settling tanks where the juice will be settled clearly before moving it into the fermentation vessels which can be either wooden barrels or stainless steel tanks. In the case of red grapes, the juice remains on the skins to extract its flavors and rich colour. This carefully monitored extraction is aided by regular punch-downs which are done by hand and plays a vital role in the style of wine that the winemaker has in mind.
To wood or not to wood, is a controversial and most discussed subject with winemakers, and wine lovers as well. The team have chosen to use a mixture of French, Hungarian and American Oak, and a variety of new, 2nd, 3rd or 4th fill barrels. Some serve as traditional wood-support, and some serve simply as a vessel. All have different influences, and Springontein enjoy the complexity and structure the wood adds to some of our wines. Reds are barrel aged, and some are kept in the cellar in the bottle before being released.
The Klein River along Springfontein’s northern border marks the boundary line between the acidic soils derived from Table Mountain sandstone to the north, whilst Springfontein’s soils south of the river, have an alkaline maritime limestone base. This doesn’t keep the heat as much as the darker undergrounds of other South African wine regions, giving a specific subtlety to the grapes as it allows much less, or even no sulfur, to be added during winemaking and bottling.
During ripening season, mostly south-easterly winds from the sea keep the air temperatures low and away from any heat charging generated by land. The Klein River Mountains opposite the estate along its northern border are rising very steeply causing significant cloud generation so that the sunshine hours are far below the average of other South African wine regions. These topographical and geological specifics, mean that Springfontein Wine Estate’s terroir is determined in a unique way by the Agulhas and the Benguela Current.
We really hope that you have enjoyed our little journey around these delicious wines from South Africa and that it inspires you to try one or two here at Seasons. We will be only too happy to advise you on which wine to pair with the seasonal dishes on our menus or you could just choose your favourite Rock song title!
Without a shadow of a doubt, we think that the best berries in the world come from Great Britain. Whilst the season for raspberries and strawberries is now over, the autumn season heralds the arrival of the magnificently tasty bramble.
And yes, we call them brambles! However, the naming of these shiny black beauties does vary depending on where you live. The Scots and those from the North of England tend to call them brambles, whilst our cousins further south call them blackberries. But whatever you call them, they are absolutely delicious and the berry season certainly goes out in spectacular style each year.
The Bramble is actually a thorny, fruiting shrub of the rose family, famous for its berries which are loved by people and animals alike. They grow well in a variety of habitats including woodlands, hedgerows, gardens, cliffs, roadside verges and even waste ground. Its dense bushes provide valuable protection for nesting birds and a good habitat for a range of other small animals. White or pinkish flowers appear between May and September and juicy black fruits are visible throughout the autumn. The thick, arching stems of the scrambling plant are protected by an army of sharp thorns.
You will see bramble bushes growing freely in the hedgerows, woodland and lanes as you are out and about and we would encourage you to take an empty ice cream container with you when you go out for a walk. Watch out for the prickles and they will stain your fingers, but they are well worth the effort and it doesn’t take long to pick a couple of pounds. Great in pies, crumbles and cheesecakes but they are also quite delicious in your gin and tonic! Bramble sauce tastes great with venison, or serve the berries whole with pigeon and other game birds. Add bramble coulis to ice cream, pancakes and jelly or layer with meringue for a show-stopping pudding.
Versatile and delicious, they also freeze superbly well and provide a lovely treat during the winter months, but don’t be tempted by the tasteless, commercially grown fruit found in supermarkets, which bear no absolutely no resemblance to the real thing.
Brambles are normally at their best throughout September and into October, gorgeous, free and fun to pick – be sure to get out brambling this Autumn.
A world of wine
Good food enjoyed with good wine is one of the greatest partnerships in the world and wine definitely has the ability to elevate a dish to another level.
Here at Seasons, we take great pride in making sure that our own wine list includes many of the varieties that you love along with some exciting and perhaps lesser known wines too. We are always pleased to share our wine knowledge with you and hopefully introduce you to some of our own favourite wines from all around the world. The beauty and fun with wine is that it changes all of the time and that no two years are ever the same.
Wine is of course a very old and complex drink with a fascinating and long history and it can take years to fully understand its intricacy and become a wine connoisseur. But for most people, enjoying wine is quite simply all about whether it tastes good or not, this is of course the most important thing but it can also mean that we do tend to stick to what we are most familiar with, which is a shame. So, we thought it be a good idea to take a look at some of the interesting facts about wine, from when it was discovered to how wines are named to recognising the different characteristics of wine.
Whilst this only scratches the surface, we hope that you enjoy reading some of these interesting facts and that it encourages you to discover a world of exciting new wines.
When was wine first discovered?
Wine was discovered about 6,000 years ago in the Middle East with the earliest remnants of wine being discovered in Iran, dating back to the Neolithic period (8500-4000 B.C.) It is supposed that the drink originally fermented by mistake, native yeasts accidentally came into contact with grapes that were stored in containers, turning the sugars in the grapes into alcohol.
The art of winemaking was later refined by the Egyptians and this then spread throughout the Mediterranean by the Greeks. The Romans made it popular all over Europe and the Spanish and other Europeans took it to the New World.
Thanks to the monks
Monastic orders such as the Cistercians and Benedictines preserved and innovated the art of winemaking during the Middle Ages. It is thanks to their indefatigable efforts that we have such an elaborate winemaking technology today.
In fact, one of the world’s most famous Champagnes was named after a monk. Dom Pérignon was an early advocate of organic wine-making, experimenting with new methods and successfully improving the winemaking process. His practices and techniques are still used today.
Who drinks the most wine?
The French still drink more wine per capita than the Chinese but China has now surpassed France as the largest overall consumers of wine in the world. It is even said that increasing popularity of red wine in China is due to the fact that red is considered to be a lucky colour in China!
Whilst Italy is world’s biggest wine producer, Italians are ranked at only fourth on the list of wine consumers, surpassed by both France and Portugal.
How are wines named?
Understanding why two wines, such as Pinot Noir and Burgundy, are exactly the same type of wine yet have two different names is very confusing to wine drinkers. This is because most wines get their names in one of two different ways, they are either named after the grape variety that has been used to make the wine or they are named after the region of the world in which the wine was made.
Depending on where in the world the wine was made, the location will determine whether or not the wine is named after the grape variety or the region. For most wines, this determination is made depending on whether the wine was made in the New World or the Old World. Old World wines are usually named after the region in which they were grown, while New World wines are usually named after the sole or principal grape in the bottle.
New World Wine Names
In the majority of New World wine regions, the winemakers choose to name their wines after the sole or principal grape varietal that has gone into creating it. So for example, if Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were used to make the wine, the wine is called Cabernet Sauvignon. This would even be true if the wine wasn’t made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, if the grape is in the majority, most New World winemakers would still call the wine Cabernet Sauvignon.
Old World Wine Names
With wines that are made in the Old World, these wines generally receive the name of the region from which the wine was made. For example, a wine made in the Bordeaux region of France might contain 70% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, giving it the name Cabernet Sauvignon in the New World, however because the wine has been made in the Old World it is called Bordeaux.
Terroir is a French term that simply means “a sense of place.” The reason wineries from the Old World name their wines after regions is because Old World winemakers tend to feel that the location where the wine was made has as much, if not more, to do with how the wine will taste as the grapes characteristics do. This sense of place is called terroir, this is the idea that the sun, moon, soil, rain and climate all impact on the finished wine. It is therefore believed that a Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux will taste very different from a Cabernet Sauvignon from Italy, therefore the regional name is used for the name of the wine instead of the grape.
What’s in the colour?
You can tell a lot about a wine by looking at its colour. One of the things that you can tell is the region and climate where the grape vine is located. Darker shades of wine, namely the darkest reds and yellowest whites come from warm climates whilst lighter colours come from cooler climates and taste lighter and less lush. Age, concentration, winemaking techniques, sugar, location: all of this information is contained in the colour of the wine.
A wine’s body
Wine body falls into three categories: light body, medium body and full body.While there are many factors that can contribute to a wine’s body, the main factor is alcohol.
The reason alcohol is the main contributor to a wine’s body is because alcohol is what gives a wine its viscosity and is responsible for either the heavy or light feel we experience when we sip a wine. As a wine contains more and more alcohol, it becomes more viscous and becomes heavier and thereby feels fuller in our mouths. This is why a heavily viscous wine is called full-bodied and a low viscosity wine light-bodied.
Wines under 12.5% alcohol are said to light-bodied, these are generally the white wines we think of as crisp and refreshing. Good examples are Riesling, Italian Prosecco and Vinho Verde.
Wines between 12.5% and 13.5% are considered medium-bodied, good examples of these wines are Rose, French Burgundy, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.
Any wine over 13.5% alcohol is considered full-bodied, examples include Zinfandel, Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec. While the majority of wines over 13.5% alcohol are usually red, Chardonnay is an example of a white that can also be considered full-bodied.
Why does wine have so many different flavours?
The more that you drink wine, the more you start to notice subtle flavors like vanilla, spice, chocolate, plum, peach, tobacco or even tropical fruits. Of course, the winemaker doesn’t actually add spices or flavouring into a wine, so how is it that wine can end up having these subtle flavours and smells?
Grapes are an incredibly impressionable and delicate fruit, each decision that the winemaker makes throughout the process, from how and where the grapes are grown, to what occurs to them after they are juiced, impact how the wine tastes and smells at the end.
Insects are important to the health of grapes and none more so than bees. As the grapes grow in a vineyard that is surrounded by plants such as wild herbs, flowers and grasses, the bees distribute pollen and as the grapes ripen they absorb the subtle characteristics from these plants.
After the grapes transition from the vineyard to the cellar, each decision the winemaker makes also has an influence on the flavor of the wine. How the grapes are pressed, whether the fermented juice is aged in oak, how long the winemaker lets the wine sit in these vessels, all of which impart unique flavours and smells into a wine.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading our blog on wine and that you have discovered a few little facts that you perhaps didn’t already know. And we hope that the next time that you open up a wine list or choose a bottle of wine in the supermarket or your local wine shop, that it inspires you to try something new and discover a world of wine.
Whilst we find that most of our guests can’t resist our dessert menu, we are also finding that more and more people are opting for our inspiring cheese board too.
With superb Scottish cheeses such as Blue Murder from Tain, Isle of Mull Cheddar and Arran Brie complemented with Membrillo that we make from our garden quinces, homemade pickled Philiphaugh Fig and Bea’s buckwheat oatcakes served with grapes and celery, it’s hardly surprising why!
Of course, the climate and geography of Scotland are very well suited to the art of cheese-making. The short making season in Scotland meant that traditional cheeses usually needed to be capable of being stored and matured through the winter, hence the predominance of hard mature cheeses in both Scotland and in fact Britain as a whole. At one time, most farmhouses or crofts made their own cheese, but there was little financial return. But today we are lucky to have dozens of wonderfully diverse cheese makers across Scotland, ranging from large-scale Cheddar creameries to small and unique artisan cheese makers.
Here are just a few of our personal favourites that can be regularly found on the cheese board here at Seasons, from a New Order inspired cheese to Scotland’s oldest cheese to tipsy cows from Tobermory! we are sure that you will really enjoy reading their eclectic stories.
Arran Mist Brie
Nestling in the sleepy village of Blackwaterfoot on Arran’s west coast, Bellevue Creamery produces a range of delicious and award winning soft cheeses. From a modern creamery converted from a former milking shed in the heart of Arran’s dairy land, the Creamery makes Arran Mist, a smooth, creamy Scottish brie, from the milk of Arran cows
Arran Brie is a creamy Brie style cheese with a twist, cream is added to the recipe to give the cheese a firmer, smoother texture. This award winning soft cheese is made with 100% pasteurised Arran milk and every single cheese is turned by hand to ensure optimum quality. The cheese has a delicate, buttery flavour and is best served young.
Isle of Mull Cheddar
Made on Sgriob-Ruadh Farm near Tobermory, Isle Of Mull Cheddar is an artisans cheese made with traditional methods and unpasteurised, slightly alcoholic milk from quite possibly the happiest cows in Scotland!
A hearty, full-flavoured Scottish Cheddar but Isle of Mull Cheddar certainly doesn’t taste like any other cheddar and it doesn’t look like the same either. It is a pale ivory colour with a very sharp, fruity tang thanks to the unusual diet of the cows that eat the fermented grain from the nearby Tobermory whisky distillery. As a result, Isle of Mull is a bit drier in texture than other Cheddars with delicious flavours that are boozy, rich, savoury and mellow. Matured for 17 months in the farm cellars the cheese can often have a slight blue vein, but this just adds to the flavour. The cheese maker is proud to announce that using only wood and water for power, only renewable energy is used to produce the cheese.
Blue Murder from Tain
Blue Murder is a spicy, sea-salty, ripe and creamy blue cheese from Scotland, of quite some pedigree.
Previously named after the famous New Order song Blue Monday, the cheese is now named Blue Murder. Made in Tain by the Highland Cheese company for ex-Blur bass player Alex James and British food champion Juliet Harbut (both cheese experts).
The cheese, which is made in Tain in the Scottish Highlands, has a delightfully rustic appearance and a bold, strong flavour, due to the rich milk from a herd of Holstein Fresian cows, who roam freely in the lush grass filled fields of the Highlands.
Brenda Leddy of Stichill Jerseys has been producing butter, cream and cheese for over 30 years, and her cheese, made using traditional methods and unpasteurised milk, has been featured in Jenny Linford’s book of ‘Great British Cheeses’.
Stichill Jerseys near Kelso also claims to be the only maker of clotted cream in Scotland. Their milk comes from their own herd of Jersey cows, and they also produce a wide range of cheesecakes. An absolute stalwart of the Borders food scene, Brenda is passionate about fresh, local produce and can be described as a true local food hero. Perfectly illustrated in the following quote from Brenda herself:
“I was making cream at night and cheese in the morning. But I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
ARTISAN cheese-maker Margaret-Ann Maxwell is something of a big cheese and a local food hero to boot.
Her award-winning Doddington Dairy cheeses, from the family farm near Wooler in Northumberland – are the cream of the crop.
Using fresh whole milk from the Maxwell dairy cows, the cheeses are crafted from the raw milk and matured on pine shelves in the cool, Northumbrian air for up to 24 months to give a good depth of flavour.
Berwick Edge is a strong and fruity Gouda-style cheese which is smooth in texture, and matured from 10 months to two years of age.
Darling Blue named after the world famous heroine from the Farne Islands, is a wonderfully mellow buttery blue cheese with notes of a savoury saltiness reminiscent of Graces home by the sea. Darling Blue is made from our pasteurized cow’s milk and traditional rennet. It has a natural rind.
Capability is like a Darling Blue without the blue veins so is similar to a white Stilton or a Caerphilly. It is a smooth and delicately flavoured cheese with hints of lactic and lemon . it has a white bloomy rind.
We hope that you have enjoyed of cheese lovers trip around Scotland and that it has inspired you to seek out some of the wonderful cheeses that are produced right across the length and breadth of the country. Scottish cheeses really are full of local flavour.
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