Jonathan Trew: Sample local produce – then work it off round Ben Nevis
Asssuming that he hasn't been kidnapped by a supermarket-funded snatch-squad then Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall should have opened the Taste of Edinburgh festival in Inverleith Park last night.
Now famous for his River Cottage television series, books and animal welfare campaigns, Mr F-W originally came to the nation's attention for his show Cook on the Wild Side. Going a little further than the chef Fergus Henderson's philosophy of nose-to-tail eating, the show's more unorthodox recipes led to the presenter being nicknamed Hugh Fearlessly Eats-it-all, mainly thanks to his predilection for sauted roadkill.
While foraging has become fashionably middle-class since that series was broadcast, roadkill gathering has still to really catch on and the recession may have to bite a fair bit harder before Fearnley-Whittingstall's early, more radical ideas gain widespread acceptance. Until then, the Taste festival will be showcasing mini signature dishes from Edinburgh's most recognisable restaurants, and it's a fair bet that roadkill will be off the menu. Chef cooking demos, a farmers' market and more celeb pan rattler appearances complete the festival's attractions.
The East Coast's other big crowd puller this weekend is the Gardening Scotland show at the Royal Highland Centre. The economic situation is reflected in the themes chosen for a number of the display gardens. The Credit Munch Garden by Borders College is an edible garden created using recyclable materials. Also digging for victory is the entry by the Old School Gardening team. Called The Little Black Number Beats the Crunch, it promises year-round value and low maintenance costs.
Also eye-catching was the name of the show garden created by a Mr Roy Kemp. Some think that gardening is the sole preserve of middle-aged Radio 3 fans. Mr Kemp proves otherwise with Let There be Rock, a garden that seems to be named after a landmark album by the Australian hell-raisers AC/DC. Other AC/DC inspired garden titles might include If You Want Buds You Got It and Dirty Weeds Done Dirt Cheap.
There is more adrenaline-pumping action on offer up at the Nevis Range today as the Ten Under the Ben mountain-bike race gets under way. An endurance event that lasts ten hours, it is open to solo riders and teams. The tender buttocked cyclists who complete the most laps of the cross-country course are crowned the winners and presumably given a super-soft cushion for their troubles. The course takes in some sections of the World Championships cross-country course, so it should be as spectacular to watch as it will be to take part in.
On a more sober note, this is the opening weekend of Peter Howson's new exhibition at the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life in Glasgow. The war in Bosnia and Jade Goody in the final stages of her life have been among his subjects. This exhibition looks at the Great Irish Famine.
n For more information, visit www.tastefestivals.com; www.gardeningscotland.com; www.nofussevents.co.uk; www.glasgowmuseums.com
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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