Saturday, 28 August 2010

The Queen's Own...

Image via Google Images & Postcard Heaven

Next stop for The Elemental Kitchen - Royal Deeside - this is our second trip this month! We do love visiting bonnie Ballater where we've been known to have afternoon tea with.........no, not The Queen. Not even Miranda Richardson. Billy Connolly actually. Aside from starring in the royal drama Mrs Brown, set amidst those very hills, he's one of the many fans of this beautiful part of the world. Who knows who we'll bump into next time..? Either way, we'll be back soon with news from the north, the best of Ballater and recipes fit for comic royalty! All this and more right here at Elemental News.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Elemental Wisdom...


"If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not
let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way".
- The Buddah

Quote discovered via the book, The Deeper Secret by Anne Marie Postma

Thursday, 19 August 2010

I get a kick out of you...


Champagne Sorbet by The Elemental Kitchen chef, James Lowe...

I arrived to cook in Champagne with the bare minimum of kitchen kit - knives, a few moulds and my indispensable tart ring. It is tempting to play safe when you're in a strange kitchen without recourse to 'normal' methods, techniques or gadgetry. Sometimes, this urge would have you decide not to make something because convention dictates that it won't be up to scratch. While I was making this dish, someone asked whether one could make a sorbet or an ice cream without an ice cream / sorbet churning machine. It's true that the texture of machine churned sorbet is undeniably better - but if you make a little effort, the hand made stuff is pretty good too. Sometimes, the urge to use a standout ingredient wins over any snootiness about something being 'the best that it can possibly be'. So it was with this lemon and champagne sorbet. When you have half a bottle of champagne looking at you pleadingly, and you have to drive later.....you feel that maybe you should use up the champagne. If you're actually in Champagne and this happens, it is a no-brainer. Even if you don't have a recipe! I remembered the basics I read in one of my favourite books, 'Nico' by Nico Ladenis - a book that is sadly now out of print and tough to find. The more acidic the fruit used, the more you should reduce the sugar syrup. In essence, a more syrupy syrup for lemon than for, say, strawberry. With this in mind, I made a sweet sugar syrup with two thirds water, one third champagne (probably about half a litre of liquid, all in all) and around 250 - 300g of caster sugar; added strips of zest from two lemons and the juice of three or four (I honestly can't remember). Some star anise for luck, and three or four cloves. And then I boiled the living daylights out of it for about five minutes and left it to cool and infuse for a while, before sieving out the bits. Having burned off the alcohol, I remembered that alcohol helps keep things from freezing completely, so I then added a splash of Limoncello which I found in the freezer - on the basis that if I was 'churning' the sorbet by hand, I wanted some help in the war against crunchy ice crystals. I'll admit, the above isn't much of a recipe. That's where your tastebuds come in. Taste the syrup, and remember another important rule of frozen puddings - when frozen, the flavour is more muted. So make it sharp, if it is truly a lemon sorbet, make it more boozy if that's what you want! Adjust until you're happy. Into a tub it went, with a lid and plenty of space for bashing later, and into the freezer. Then I just took it out and whisked it every half hour or so, to break up the ice crystals. The more you do it, the smoother the result. The results were pretty good, I must say. It definitely had a kick, that's for sure - but I wanted people to know there was champagne in there! For an al fresco lunch pudding, I served it in a strawberry tuile surrounded by cassis coulis and fresh strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants from the quite incredible garden where we were working. Alas, the only picture was taken after the main event, where you see a more simple approach. But there's nothing wrong with just a glass of champagne, is there?

The French Connection...

Ooh la la... The Elemental Kitchen has just returned to Scotland, following an exciting trip to France, cooking at a family chateau in the heart of Champagne. Here we experienced the joie de vivre that comes from cooking with ingredients from one's own kitchen garden! Courgettes, Lettuce, Celeraic, Tomatoes, Carrots, Potatoes....Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Basil, .....Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Rhubarb, Apricots, Red Berries....tres tres bon! Of course the bubbly also flowed in abundance and featured throughout the menu - soups, sauces and sorbets! James has posted a rough guide to champagne sorbet here. Meanwhile, take a peek at our view from the chateau kitchen below...


Monday, 2 August 2010

Join us in the kitchen...

It's been a long time coming....we are delighted to launch our Elemental Kitchen blog. The Elemental Kitchen is part of Acoustic Wave - our boutique media & entertainment studio, which anchors our portfolio in Media & Promotion, Events, Music & Bespoke Hospitality. We already run two blogs which feature regular references to The Elemental Kitchen. Our studio blog, Acoustic Wave - News covers anything and everything related to all of our ventures. Postcards From The Coast is linked to our virtual seaside retreat, Acoustic Wave Cafe, which celebrates coastal living - we're based by the sea on Scotland's beautiful east coast. Still, we felt the need to say more about The Elemental Kitchen - so many fabulous places, delicious recipes, interesting people. So, here we are! We are going to cross reference a few posts from our existing blogs straight away - just to whet your appetite! Meanwhile, we look forward to sharing many more of The Elemental Kitchen's adventures in bespoke hospitality - join us on our culinary travels around Scotland and beyond! Next stop, a remote chateau in Champagne....

Welcome To The House of Fun...


We've just completed a week at the House of Glenmuick in Royal Deeside, with a fun-loving, music-loving party visiting Scotland from South Carolina to celebrate the host's 50th Birthday. We were delighted to share our love of Scotland and of course Glenmuick! Ballater, the local village is also the Queen's nearest stop for groceries when she's in residence at Balmoral and it really shows. The butcher, the green grocer, the flower shop and countless more producers in this picturesque village by the River Dee are all 'by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen', providing ingredients of impeccable quality. The House of Glenmuick is a grand old lodge, steeped in history. The estate offers fishing and hunting activities, while the housekeeper, Fern, and her team provide warm and friendly service in classic, luxurious surroundings. Our chef, shared both his cooking skills AND his singer-songwriting talents at an exclusive live music performance of his debut album. You can find out more about James' music by clicking here. He is available for exclusive music performance at Live In Your Living Room. Of course, you can also book James to cook exclusively for you - contact us at The Elemental Kitchen.

Friday Rocks!

Originally posted 11/6/2010 at Acoustic Wave - News

Fabulous Friday has arrived! We're kicking off the weekend cooking for a birthday gathering here...

It's the first foray for our bespoke hospitality team, The Elemental Kitchen, into The Rocks - a Fabulous Locations property in our neighbouring village, Elie. I'm really looking forward to having a peek inside the house - available for self catering holidays by the seaside! We'll no doubt update you on how it all goes. Meanwhile, hope your weekend rocks too!

Fine food from land & sea...

Originally posted 7/6/2010 at Acoustic Wave - News

Hello! Hope you had a great weekend? We were over on the Isle of Mull providing our bespoke hospitality service, The Elemental Kitchen, for a special Birthday celebration at Torosay Castle. Our brief was to create a delicious banquet for 80 guests, with an emphasis on showcasing wonderful Scottish seafood. We served local langoustine bisque, Oban crab & langoustine verrines & smoked mackerel nicoise with quails egg. We also introduced guests to delicious hot smoked salmon from our own east coast producer Wilson's in St Monans.Alternatives included smoked beef from Penmans of Crail and coronation chicken. The main dishes were accompanied by a range of delicious salads including new potato, pea & mint, lentil & feta, asparagus & fennel and beetroot coleslaw. Finally, we served a selection of Scottish cheeses, alongside our individual strawberry pavlovas & the Birthday Boy's favourite - Trifle! Click here to find out more about The Elemental Kitchen. You can see more beautiful images from our crossing to Mull over at Postcards From The Coast.

Manor Born...

Originally posted 17/5/2010 at Acoustic Wave - News

Finally, I can reveal Acoustic Wave's secretive event collaboration with designer Alana McConnachie! We de-camped to the countryside (near Findhorn on the Moray Firth) at the weekend for a surprise 21st Birthday celebration and family affair in honour of lovely young lady, Michelle McConnachie. The event weekend was hosted at the classically cool country mansion, Burgie House. Our role: A welcome dinner by The Elemental Kitchen, event coordination, event styling, social stationary design and entertainment (Rokit powered speakers, virtual DJ playlists). The Brief: Sex & The City meets Scottish highlands - a fusion of vintage chic & urban glam, posh, pearls & preppy, trendy tweed & tongue-in-cheek, edgy elitism! Details: A relaxed but festive country house weekend, allowing Michelle to enjoy a memorable, special birthday celebration with her cute little boy Kia, closest family & friends.The Results - In Pictures....

Inspiration Boards


The Venue...

Arrivals...

Room allocation...



Welcome Dinner for 26 guests...


Chef At Work ...


Aperitif & canapes - by the fire...

The Birthday Girl's Banquet...


Saturday Sunshine - BBQ & games on the lawn...



21st Century Ceilidh...

Acoustic Wave's boutique event production studio can provide planning, booking & co-ordination, bespoke hospitality and event styling. We can also work with designer Alana McConnachie to create stunning social stationary & paper-goods. We'll happily work with you to design the whole occasion or we'll just help put the icing on the cake! Feel free to get in touch to chat about ideas for creating your special bash! PS. Thanks to Michelle's sister Jane for finding and securing this lovely country venue - it's a keeper!

Oh sooooo fyne...

Originally posted 6/5/2010 at Acoustic Wave - News

Some days, it's busy work running Acoustic Wave's bespoke hospitality service, The Elemental Kitchen. Today was not one of those days. James and I ambled into Edinburgh for a lovely lunchtime introduction to Loch Fyne produce at the offices of holiday agent, George Goldsmith. We enjoyed an excellent cookery demonstration (thank you Colin!), alongside simply-yet-beautifully prepared oysters, smoked salmon, scallops, langoustines and beef, washed down with copious glasses of most quaffable wine. Loch Fyne's philosophy is captured in a gaelic saying - Nach Urramach an Cuan - How worthy of honour is the sea. Sold! We returned home with their organic smoked salmon, which was devoured on homemade brown bread, with a wedge of lemon and freshly ground pepper. When the produce is this delicious, it doesn't really need embellishment. If you're ever in the Loch Fyne area - a visit to their famed oyster bar is not to be missed! Thank you again to everyone on the team for bringing a taste of Loch Fyne to the city.


The Elemental Kitchen launches it's blog....

It's been a long time coming....we are delighted to launch our Elemental Kitchen blog. The Elemental Kitchen is part of Acoustic Wave - our boutique media & entertainment studio, which anchors our portfolio in Media & Promotion, Events, Music & Bespoke Hospitality. We already run two blogs which feature regular references to The Elemental Kitchen. Acoustic Wave - News covers anything and everything related to our ventures. Postcards From The Coast is linked to our virtual seaside retreat, Acoustic Wave Cafe, which celebrates coastal living. We're based by the sea on Scotland's beautiful east coast and host occasional intimate, live events which showcase delicious, simple seaside dishes, alongside beautiful music and awesome art. Still, we felt the need to say more about The Elemental Kitchen - fabulous places, delicious recipes, interesting people. So, here we are! We are going to cross reference a few posts from our existing blogs straight away - just to whet your appetite! Meanwhile, we look forward to sharing many more of The Elemental Kitchen's adventures in bespoke hospitality. Join us on our culinary travels around Scotland and beyond - next stop, a remote chateau in Champagne....