A Kitchen is the Heart of a Home

Sunday 2 September 2012
I have sore feet due to spending the best part of today wandering around the Scottish Home Show at the AECC.  Wasn't really quite sure what to expect to be honest.  As far as I know its pretty much the first event of its kind to be held this far north.  Hard to believe but those of us living further afield than the central belt do have homes.  Tickets were £6 in advance or £9 on the door.  Plus £3 to park  The exhibition space and number of exhibitors was smaller than I had envisaged and because of that the entry price seemed somewhat on the steep side.
Clearly there was a range of exhibitors (151 to be exact) covering the full gambit of homely goings ons but for blogging purposed I'll concentrate on the foodie ones. The recently opened Aberdeen branch of Nick Nairn Cookshool had a stand in conjunction with Kitchens International and we pretty much scheduled our day around seeing all three cookery dems that were taking place here.  The first of these included homemade pasta.  During which both me and my chum admitted to owning pasta machines and never having actually used them. *blush* I will endeavour to rectify that this week so watch this space.  A top tip was picked up about using semolina rather than flour when working the pasta as it acts like ball bearings.  The accompaning chicken dishes were made by deboning a whole chicken.  I definately need new knives in order to try this at home.  Officially the Health and Safety police said we weren't allowed to sample any of the food but unoficially we did and it tasted amazing.
The homemade spaghetti was served with Chicken wrapped in parma ham with lemon and crispy sage whilst the deboned crispy chicken leg came with salad leaves and a cabernet sauvingnon dressing. The second demo of the day was Seared Loch Duart Salmon with avocado and chilli salsa.  Unfortunately we hadn't sharpened our elbows enough to barge to the front and get a taste of this but we did manage to sample the mussles dish and learn two life changing facts.  Firstly female muscles are the really bright orange ones and they are the tastiest.  No surprise there really.  Secondly it's a myth that you need to throw away any cooked muscles that remain closed.  As long as they were closed, or made an attempt to close when they were alive they are absoltely fine to eat. This could well revolutionise my seafood eating habbits.
We headed for lunch after the second demo and the catering on offer was a bit of a comedown from what we just had tasted.  We opted for baked tatties with chicken curry and a couple of coffees.  Lets just say it wasn't the best.  Our next stop was From Scotland which was a super friendly stall selling the most amazing hand blown decanters of Speyside Malt Whisky, Scottish Farmhouse Cider and Cairn O' Mohr Wines.  Much sampling ensued and we purched Strawberry, Ginger, Whisky and 7.2% Cider and a bottle of the limited edition Shrubbery wine.  Apparently this Elderberry and Blackurrant combo goes particularly well with venison and I reckon it could be pretty good chilled.
By the time we got to Foster and Merchant Cheesemongers the stock was somewhat depleted but we were excited to find that they offer corporate and home Cheese and Wine Tastings from between £6 and £10 per person depending on numbers.  I am so hosting one.  They don't have a shop, or a website as yet but can be contacted on foster.and.merchant@gmail.com  Tell them I sent you.
Back to Nick Nairn for the last demo of the day.  Loin of Lamb with mustard mash, wilted spinach and watercress topped with mushrooms and bacon.  This contained an eyewatering amount of butter and cream but tasted soooo good.  Really need to dig out my food probe thermometer to try cooking it in the way suggested.  It was fascinating to see how quickly the internal temperature of the meat rose during cooking and continued to do so even when dished up on a cold plate.
Quick shout out for the other foodie exhibitors on offer Mackies Ice Cream, The Cock & Bull, Pampered Chef, Mrs Smiths Cupcakes and Wowzie Sweet Shop.

We did spend the best part of 5 hours wandering around but without the cookery dems it would have been a much shorter day.  Hopefully the exhibition will be back even bigger and better next year.  In the meantime I've got pasta to make and a man to email about my chair with the soggy bottom that needs re-upholstered.


  1. Ohhh I learned something new about the gender of mussels! Still don't know if I would chance eating an unopened one though....

  2. I'd still not risk the closed ones unless I'd witnessed it closing on it's own before hand - not sure I'd trust someone else to have made that call! Maybe I'm just paranoid after a dodgy mussel or two from the Mussel Inn once!


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