MULL chef and author Carla Lamont mixes the hedonistic with sustainability in the food at her Hebridean restaurant
When the sun shines on Mull its magic is there for all to see, but even in the winter gales with the wind howling, the island exerts a primal pull on the traveller.
My husband and I invite you to explore the adventures of island life with us. We’ll welcome you into our kitchen, take you out to forage on a traditional Highland croft, drag you into the garden to dig tatties and whisk you away on our boat to sort crabs on the pier on landing day.
Our restaurant Ninth Wave is just outside the village of Fionnphort. You will find a traditional Hebridean croft brimming with wild flowers, thyme and sorrel. We sum up our ethos as “hedonism on a plate; where luxury meets sustainability”. As much as possible is made on our croft from the kitchen garden and foraged wild foods.
The Ninth Wave, Love and Food on the Isle of Mull, is published by Birlinn Books, £20
BOGLED TATTIES AND GARDEN HORSERADISH WITH FRESH MACKEREL
Sweet, creamy-fleshed new potatoes contrast with the crispy skin of seared mackerel fillets to produce the ultimate comfort dish. The horseradish and dill add shape and herbaceous notes to this symphony of taste.
1 Blanch broad beans in a pan of salted boiling water for 1 minute. Drain. Peel off the outer skin if desired.
2 Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and boil the washed potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain. When cooled slightly, cut them into quarters. Transfer the potatoes to a mixing bowl.
3 Stir in the sour cream, vinegar, horseradish, shallot and broad beans and season with salt and pepper.
4 For the mackerel, diagonally score the skin three times on each fillet. This will keep the skin from shrinking too much when searing. Rub the fillets with the chopped dill. On a plate, mix the flour, salt and a few twists of ground black pepper together. Coat the mackerel fillets all over in the seasoned flour. Shake off the excess.
5 In a very large frying pan, heat the rapeseed oil on medium high and place the fillets skin-side down. Fry until the skin is crispy and the fillets move easily in the pan – about 2 minutes. Turn over and fry for 1 to 2 minutes until the fish is just opaque.
6 Divide the bogled tatties between four warmed plates and top with the pan-seared mackerel fillets. Garnish with dill and broad bean shoots.
NINTH WAVE MALTHOUSE LOAF
This is our signature bread that we serve with whipped Scottish organic butter. It is moist, flavourful and goes with everything. Malthouse bread flour is made from wheat and rye flours combined with flaked malted grains for a wholesome crunchy texture.
Makes one loaf
1 Mix together the flours, salt, half the seaweed flakes, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm water and oil. Stir to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put in a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Keep in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour).
2 Punch the dough down and shape into an oblong. Place on a greased baking tray and spray the loaf and tray with water. Sprinkle the remaining seaweed flakes over the top. Cover with a large piece of foil, leaving enough air space for the bread to expand and not touch the foil. Put it in a warm place and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (about 50 minutes).
3 Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Bake for 45-55 minutes until the bread is golden brown. It should make a hollow sound when tapped underneath.
4 Remove from the tray and place on a cooling rack. This bread can be frozen as soon as it is cooled, but is best eaten fresh as it has no preservatives.
At Ninth Wave you’ll find these crunchy spiced biscuits on top of our ice creams and panna cottas.
Makes three dozen
1 Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5. Sift the flour, spices, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder together into a medium bowl. Add the sugar and mix well.
2 With your fingertips, rub the margarine into the dry ingredients until it resembles fine crumbs. Add the syrup and mix in well. The mixture should be silky and not sticky. If too wet, add a touch more flour and knead.
3 Place a silicone baking sheet on a flat surface and coat lightly with flour. Place dough on the sheet and sprinkle with flour. Roll out with a floured rolling pin until 3mm thick. Cut with a star (or other) cookie-cutter.
4 Place on a greased baking tray 3cm apart and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and firm in the middle. Keep a close watch as they only take a minute or so to over-bake and every oven’s temperatures vary.
5 Remove from the oven. Wait 5 minutes and then place the biscuits on to a wire rack to cool.
BOGLED TATTIES WITH MACKEREL
80g garden broad beans
480g new potatoes, cooked with skin on
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp sugar dissolved in 1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh horseradish, grated
1 large shallot, minced
8 mackerel fillets (pin bones removed)
1 tsp dill, finely chopped
4 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
sea salt and black pepper
2 sprigs dill for garnish
30g broad bean or pea shoots to garnish
150g organic malthouse flour
350g organic strong white flour
½ tsp sea salt
2 tbsp dried dulse seaweed flakes
1 tsp quick yeast
40ml olive oil
333ml warm water
1 tsp sugar
a spray bottle of water
115g self-raising flour (and extra for dusting)
½ tsp ground cardamom
pinch ground ginger
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
50g vanilla caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup