If you’ve ever watched River Cottage and thought, I’d love to go to dinner there, THIS is for you.
On Saturday night we donned our boots, scarves, and heavy knit jumpers and took a drive to Balerno. We followed the wooden signs painted ‘Free’ and we were led to a 17th century farm house, Cockdurno Farm.
Here live three young artists, Angus (whose parents own the farm), Jack, and Stella. Following the demise of Angus’ parents dairy farm, Angus was left wondering what the future held for the family business and home. After studying for an arts and architectural degree in New York he returned to the farm with friends, Jack and Stella and has set about reimagining how farms can be used in a modern way. Over the last year they have built a FireHouse and turned the old Hayloft into a rustic but cool events space. During the summer they run a series of festival dinners, they were so successful they decided to run a winter series.
I attended the first dinner in the series, and what a wonderful experience it was. There are many foodie experiences in Edinburgh to enjoy, but you’ll be hard pushed to find one as life affirming as this. Simple, honest food. Warm and friendly hosts. Set on farmland away from the hustle and bustle. It was wonderful to take some time out and just relax and enjoy the atmosphere and the sense of getting back to basics. I must admit, despite being there to cover the event for Foodinburgh, I lost myself a bit – and that’s the biggest compliment I can pay to the event – I became so caught up in the atmosphere that on one or two occasions I forgot to photograph the food! And to be honest, I didn’t care. This event is about so much more than the food (though the food is excellent). It’s the kind of event you leave feeling warm and fuzzy inside (and not just because you’re a little bit tipsy!)
The bar was serving a small selection of cocktails, one red, one white, one beer, and something non alcoholic for the drivers. What more do you need?
Simple is always better.
The pre starter was freshly baked bread from the FireHouse with whipped butter.
Simple is always better.
The starter was roasted beetroot with feta.
The main was slow roasted lamb with garlicky kale and hasselback potatoes.
Everything tastes better slow cooked in a wood burning stove.
Dessert was poached pear with lashings of whipped cream.
Honest, simple food. Cooked with love. Executed to perfection.
Stella’s parents run one of my favourite Scottish soft furnishings businesses ANTA. All the food was served on their beautiful stoneware. Each guest was gifted an ANTA Christmas decoration, mine is already proudly hanging on my tree.
Everything was perfect about the evening. We sat next to Angus’ cousins who were lovely company, it was a pleasure chatting to them, they too were clearly passionate about their older cousin’s vision.
The evening is run on a ‘pay as you wish’ basis. The reservation fee is £10, and are you invited to leave what you wish at the end of the evening. Everyone is priced in here, and I urge everyone to go and experience the warmth and the generosity of spirit, and of course to give what they can.