Celebrating 120 Years of Service

Recently at the Kinross Show we were delighted to celebrate three of our longest serving team members (Picture from left to right; William Young, Robin Niven (Partner), David Liddle (50 years), David Syme (33 years), Thomas Alan (41 years) and Michael Niven (Partner) who were recognised for their long service having worked at Channel and Pittendreich Farm for over 120 years. They were each presented by William Young with a Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHSS) Long Service Certificate. 

Outstanding service between them we are thankful for their years of service and hard work. They’ve set the bar very high indeed. 

Christmas Wreaths

We are delighted to let you know that we are once again teaming up with Ros of Stunning Flowers and Kirsty of Fern Floristry and will be holding Christmas Wreath Making Workshops at Loch Leven’s Larder on the following dates, from 6-8.30pm:

  • Wed 1 Dec
  • Thur 2 Dec
  • Wed 8 Dec
  • Thur 9 Dec

No experience is necessary. Just a desire to learn and be creative. A warm coat and some fingerless gloves as this event will take place in our covered and heated canopy under the stars giving it a real festive and fairytale feel*. This we feel is the sensible option to try and reduce any risk particularly as there is still much uncertainty as to what winter might bring. 

Light refreshments will be provided a warming mug of soup, scone, and a sweet treat. The cost of the evening will be £65, payable on booking through Ros’s Stunning Flowers website . Should you have an inquiry please direct them to Ros by emailing her at Info@stunningflowers.co.uk

We will have a lot of fun and you’ll create a beautiful locally sourced fresh wreath embellished with pine cones, cinnamon, and lots more. 

*If it’s absolutely baltic we will come inside!

Introducing our Beekeeper in Residence:  Jacek Wroblewski

We are delighted to introduce our new Beekeeper in Residence, local beekeeper Jacek, originally from Poland.

We were introduced to Jacek through his connections with Scottish Gliding Centre at Scotlandwell, local to us, where he not only has hives but partakes in the recreational activity.

Jacek has been beekeeping for over 20 years he initially started learning with his Dad as a young boy. In his first year he remembers fondly having bought a hive and honey extractor but finding it incredibly difficult to populate his hive as he struggled to find his first colony but luck was on his side as one day sitting beneath a tree in his Grandma’s garden he was lucky enough to find, and subsequently catch, a swarm of bees, the rest then became history.

Some years later when arriving in Scotland his friend mentioned that he would like to do a beekeeping course organised by the Edinburgh and Midlothian Bee Association so Jaceck decided to tag along and revive his love of beekeeping. He was eager to go along to see if beekeeping was practiced differently in Scotland compared with Poland. One thing then led to another and he subsequently bought his first hive in Scotland and so begun his journey into Scottish beekeeping, he’s never looked back since.

Jacek is incredibly passionate about beekeeping and is often consulted as an expert to give advice or help someone who may have got into a difficulty with a swarm eg recently he was called to a house where a swarm had become trapped between a chimney and wall, he had to retrieve the swarm by smashing through the outer chimney breast in order to free them. This was an extreme case but he is available if you do ever need help safely removing a swarm.

Whilst it is still only a hobby to Jaceck he would dearly love to turn it into a full-time job particularly as he enjoys being so close to nature whilst beekeeping. He also finds that every day is a school day when you are beekeeping he’s always learning something new. When it comes to beekeeping he believes you gain a far more in-depth knowledge of agriculture as you learn what helps and hinders beekeeping and the bees thriving and how to work with the agricultural seasons and calendar.  He very much believes that as a beekeeper you almost always have to be a joiner, learning to connect the pieces of puzzles together to understand how best nature works. He also finds it incredibly rewarding, relaxing and often wonders at the magic that goes on within the hives.

We asked him what his top tips would be for becoming a beekeeper. He believes the best way to get involved is first to talk and join a local beekeepers association and do a course so that you have a good understanding of what’s involved and something to work from going forward.

Jacek was delighted to get involved with beekeeping at Loch Leven’s Larder particularly with the abundance of wildflowers in and around our farms, offering a plentiful supply of food and nectar to his bees. The field directly beside the hives is currently in full bloom with a brilliant mixed display of Buckwheat, Kings Berseem Clover, Kings Crimson Clover, Serradella Vetch, King Red Clover and Phacelia a real sight to behold. Jacek has slowly been introducing hives over recent weeks to this area and they now contain both Buckfast Bees and Carniolan Bees. Currently, he believes there are around 200000 bees.

We asked Jacek, perhaps naively, how long he thought it would be before Loch Leven’s Larder bees began to produce honey. He explained beekeeping is a science and often unpredictable, there are so many factors that can affect production one of which is weather and with new colonies, it’s often really hard to say. So for now it’s an exciting waiting game, one we eagerly anticipate. 
 
We asked Jacek if there was anything we could be doing to help bees and their survival. He explained that the best we can do is to plant fruit trees like apple, plum, cherry, acacia, and pear that gives bees a good start because these trees flower early and give bees a great start, he also rated lime tree or sycamore trees which we have readily available on our land. 
 
Jacek can be seen regularly visiting and tending to the Larder bees. You’ll often see him getting prepared beside his car, putting his beekeeping suit on at the bottom of the Cricket Field just in front of the Larder, Loch Side. He’s very happy to be approached there (but not at the hives) and offer advice or answer any questions you might have. If you need his services otherwise it’s best to call the Larder and we can put you in touch. 

Potted Crab with Abernethy Smoked Butter

Another delicious and secret recipe kindly shared by Allison Abernethy of Abernethy Butter. This alongside our homemade Larder Baquette is a definite winner. Ingredients are available to buy at the Larder when available and in season.

INGREDIENTS

100G WHITE CRAB MEAT

100G MELTED SMOKED BUTTER

CAYENNE PEPPER

DASH OF TABASCO

SALT AND PEPPER

METHOD

MELT THE BUTTER GENTLY IN A SAUCEPAN AND SET ASIDE. ADD A PINCH OF CAYENNE PEPPER AND 2 -3 DROPS OF TABASCO. DON’T ADD TOO MUCH OR IT WILL OVERPOWER THE DELICATE CRAB.

SEASON THE CRAB MEAT AND MIX IN A TABLESPOON OF MELTED BUTTER.

PUT THE CRAB IN RAMEKINS AND POUR OVER THE REMAINING MELTED BUTTER.

CHILL IN FRIDGE UNTIL THE BUTTER HAS SET BUT TAKE THEM OUT AND LEAVE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE AN HOUR BEFORE SERVING.

SERVE WITH TOAST.

Abernethy Butter Smokey Bonfire Toffee

A secret recipe kindly shared by Allison Abernethy of Abernethy Butter, Abernethy Butter is a welcome additional to our locally sourced ingredients and is available to buy in our food hall.

INGREDIENTS

400G LIGHT BROWN SUGAR

100G GOLDEN SYRUP

100G BLACK TREACLE

100G ABERNETHY SMOKED BUTTER – CHOPPED

1/8 LEVEL TEASPOON CREAM OF TARTER

1 TEASPOON SMOKED PAPRIKA

1 TEASPOON SEASALT

1 TEASPOON VANILLA EXTRACT

METHOD

GREASE AND LIN THE 17CM SQUARE TIN WITH PARCHMENT PAPER ALLOWING A FEW INCHES OVER THE EADGE TO LIFT THE TOFFE OUT ONCE SET.

POUR THE SUGAR AND 50MLS OF WATER INTO A HEAVY BOTTOMED PAN AND PLACE ON A GENTILE HEAT AND ALLOW THE SUGAR TO DISOLVE. DON’T FIDDLE WITH IT.

STIR IN THE GOLDEN SYRUP, TREACLE, SMOKED BUTTER, CREAM OF TARTER, SMOKED PAPRIKA,SALT AND VANILLA.

HOOK A SUGAR THERMOMETER ONTO THE PAN AND BRING TO THE BIOL. ONCE IT IS BUBBLING, TURN THE HEAT DOWN LOW SO IT IS SIMMERING AND COOK, STIRRING WITH A WOODEN SPOON EVERY NOW AND THEN FOR ABOUT 30 MINS UNTIL THE TEMP REACHES 140Oc

TAKE THE THERMOMETER OUT AND POUR THE MOLTON LIQUID INTO THE TIN AT ONCE. LEAVE TO SET.

ONCE COOLED LIFT OUT OF THE TIN, TURN UPSIDE DOWN ON A BOARD AND BREAK WITH A ROLLING PIN INTO BITS.

STORE IN AN AIRTIGHT CONTAINER.

We are Recruiting

On Tuesday 3 August between 6pm and 8pm we will be holding a recruitment fair.

You might be the one we are looking for!

We’re hiring and have lots of fantastic opportunities across all areas and levels of the business from Management / Assistant Managers to Front of House, General Assistants and Chefs.

We have full-time, part-time, 4 day week, job share opportunities etc.

Apply now by completing an application form (available on our website) and sending in your CV OR why not come along to our Recruitment Fair on 3 Aug 6-8pm

More information is available here

Everything’s coming up Rosé

Summertime signifies the start of Rosé season, does it not, so to celebrate we’ve picked six of our finest for you to enjoy this summer:

1. Borgia by Borsao Rosado
Borgia by Borsao Rosado wine is a classic Spanish rosado. Delicate pink colour with aromas of ripe berry fruit and strawberry. Dry, approachable and well-balanced, with more appealing juicy strawberry fruit and a creamy mouthfeel. This easy-drinking wine will pair beautifully with grilled white meats and fish with roasted Mediterranean vegetables. 
Country: Spain ABV: 13.5% | 75cl                                                                                                                                                                        

2. Taittinger Brut Prestige Rosé NV Champagne
Taittinger Brut Prestige Rosé is a brilliant pink shimmering and intense. With fine bubbles, this Rosé is intense both fresh and young with aromas of red fruit (freshly crushed wild raspberry, cherry and blackcurrant). A velvet, smooth champagne of fine balance, and body – a subtle wine with flavours of fresh fruit. On the palate, this wine strikes a fine balance of velvety and full-bodied. 
Country: France 12% | 75cl                                                                                                                                                                                 

3. Burlesque White Zinfandel Rosé
Luscious strawberry ice cream on the nose supported by a bright, berry fruited palate and an off-dry finish.  A lively and fruity rosé with aromas and flavours of strawberries and fresh summer berries. Not necessarily one for pairing but it’s fun in the sun!
Country: USA  11% |  75cl                                                                                                                                                                                          

4. False Bay Whole Bunch Rosé
False Bay ‘Whole Bunch’ Rosé wine is produced from Cinsault and Mourvèdre grapes.  A pale, spicy and textural Rosé mostly sourced from bush-vine Cinsault with summer fruits on the palate and a lovely clean, dry and finish. Perfect with Mediterranean dishes especially juicy pan-fried garlic prawns… or drink chilled on its own.
Country: South Africa 12.5% | 75cl                                                                                                                                                                        

5. Château Saint Pierre, Tradition Côtes de Provence Rosé
A cracking manually harvested blend of Cinsault and Grenache with a powerful nose of white peach, spice and apricot. This wine is fruity and ripe with layers of strawberry, guava, white peach and candied apricot, with a fullness to the mouthfeel that is both elegant and refreshing at the same time. Great with Mediterranean-cuisine: salads, charcuterie, olives, tuna – or on its own, ideally sipped in the scorching sun.
Country: France 12.5% | 75cl                                                                                                                                                                                

6. Lunetta Prosecco Rosé Extra Dry 2020
A fresh and dry sparkling rosé with persistent white foam, beautifully cherry pink in colour. Redberry characters on the nose and palate make this soft and approachable in character. Perfect as an aperitif or with summer salads – just as enjoyable on its own!
Country: Italian 11.50% | 75cl & 200ml 

July 2021 Guest Featured Recipe: Squeaky Cheese Couscous Tabbouleh Recipe

Collect your fresh ingredients and prepare this Yorkshire Dama Cheese Tabbouleh recipe for an abundant yet healthy meal for all the family! For this recipe, there’s the added twist of couscous and pomegranates for a sweeter taste.

Ingredients:

  • Yorkshire Squeaky Cheese 
  • Little gem lettuce leaves – washed and kept whole
  • Couscous – cooked as per packet instructions 
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Spring onions
  • Mixed bell peppers
  • Parsley and mint leaves, torn up
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Lemon – zest and juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper for taste

Method:

  1. Cook the couscous to the time instructed on the packet and season with the zest and juice of one lemon
  2. Whilst the couscous is cooking, start to prepare the vegetables by chopping them into fine pieces
  3. Cut the cheese into slices and grill on both sides for a few minutes
  4. When the couscous is ready, mix in the vegetables
  5. Place the washed lettuce leaves onto the plate and spoon on the couscous mixture
  6. Top with the grilled squeaky cheese
  7. Dress with chopped parsley leaves, pomegranate seeds, and molasses
  8. To season drizzle on olive and sprinkle on salt and pepper to finish.

You can find a range of Yorkshire Dama Squeaky Cheese in our fridges in the Food Hall at Loch Leven’s Larder. For more recipe ideas head to the Yorkshire Dama Cheese

July: Nature Watch on Loch Leven Nature Reserve by Simon Ritchie, LLNNR Officer

The month of July promises wildflowers a’ plenty, butterflies and bees in the summer sunshine, and young birds taking their first steps of independence. It is a great time to spot signs of life all around the reserve. Here at Loch Leven NNR, we have some encouraging news! We took a trip out to St Serfs with our telescope to check some Black-headed Gulls which looked to be interested in nesting. Black-headed Gulls used to nest in great numbers on St Serfs and they were a key part of the whole ecosystem on the island! Sadly, these elegant gulls have been absent on the Island for more than a decade. We’ve had a few ‘false starts’ for the colony in recent years. However this year, we are extremely pleased to confirm nesting. We are hoping to see a few fledglings in a month or so, fingers crossed everything goes well and we get this delightful gull returning to breed on St Serfs Island!  Black-headed Gulls can be extremely sensitive to disturbance, so as always, it is important that visitors adhere to our Local Access Guidance and refrain from landing on any Islands.
 
Mid-summer is also the time where Blue-Green Algae can be at its most prevalent. Thankfully, as I write this in mid-June there have been no blooms as of yet. However, it only takes a few warm and dry days for things to change. If you are planning on entering the water, please look out for physical signs of Blue-Green Algae; this includes a Green/Blue colour in the water which can form a scum-like material on the surface. Please also take note of any signage in the area.
 
When out and about on the trail, there are summer wildlife specialties to look out for. Painted Lady butterflies can appear en-mass in July. Often coastal areas can see large arrivals of this migratory butterfly, however, large arrivals can be noted in-land also. A variety of Orchids can be seen in summer, look out for Northern-marsh Orchid, Early-marsh Orchid, Lesser-butterfly Orchid, and Common Spotted Orchid. Young Roe Deer can be seen with their mothers and if you are lucky you might come across a young fox that has just become independent for the first time. Summer is a magic time, and I often find myself gazing skywards in the evenings watching the Swallows, Swifts, and Martins flying overhead.  
 
Look out on our social media for updates on potential Summer Events. We are hoping to run Osprey WalksHimalayan Balsam Bashing and something for Meadows Day all depending on Covid restrictions at that time.
 
Recent wildlife highlights include; Swan Cygnets, Coralroot Orchids, Barnacle Goose Goslings, Stoat, Red Squirrels, Goldeneye pair, Common-Spotted Orchid and Ospreys.
 
You can keep up to date with life on Loch Leven National Nature Reserve by following their blogFacebook page and orInstagram Page for regular updates or follow the link below.

Meet the Producer, July 2021 – Razan Alsous, Squeaky Cheese

This month we’d like to introduce you to small business producer Razan Alsous, owner and producer of Squeaky Cheese. Razan came over to the UK in 2012 after fleeing war-torn Syria. She has an incredible story to tell and in particular, explains how she overcome many challenges in order to start her own business making Halloumi cheese in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. 

1. How did you get started?
It was all about the need to survive and thrive. Because of a bomb at my husband’s office, we left our home in Syria in 2012 and moved to the UK. Before we left I was studying for a second degree in Pharmacology at the university, as I have done Laboratory work before, and my husband was an Electronic Engineer.

When we arrived in the UK we came with nothing. We had to start again. We had three children which made me think responsibly about their future and resettlement and the need to build a new life.
Our story started from zero really then we became a hero. We have spotted the gap in the market in Halloumi cheese production/consumption after research I have done on milk production in the UK and the waste, how that is affecting the environment and there is a real need for Halloumi in the British market due to the increase in demand, and from this point, our business idea started.

2. What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I have enjoyed each moment because you feel that you’re changing something, you are working and planning your family’s future, your feel the positive response from the consumers, you see the appreciation. We wouldn’t grow without our cheese lover support.
Starting a new business is not an easy thing, we felt tired, we’ve been down so many times but it is a matter of keeping going and reaching your goal, our target was to be producers, not consumers, to be effective in society, our partnership with British milk made it the real success.

3. What did you do before you created Squeaky Cheese?
I was ready to do any work, I did some interpreting jobs in the UK and before that I helped my husband in Syria in his company, doing some marketing with him.

5. What was your inspiration for creating your delicious products?
It was the relaxed feeling you get from the countryside in the UK, uniting with nature.

6. Future plans?
Before the pandemic we were thinking of growing our business and having mass production and thinking of exporting, however we have managed to survive during the pandemic by changing our plans and being flexible, and we have learned a lot, and proven that small little steady steps will grow the business better. There are plenty of different possibilities to grow your business it’s not always mass production.

7. Favourite ingredients?
I love to mix flavour from the middle east with local ingredients because I believe food is one of the important ways to deliver your love message and enrich life by mixing quality of life from the best in the middle east with the best of British milk, and this is what made us develop the Rosemary Squeaky cheese as rosemary is organically growing in the UK, and the smoked Squeaky cheese inspired by the smoked Scottish salmon.

8. Favourite place to eat?
I love to eat in those small restaurants you often find in the Yorkshire Dales.

9. Favourite time of the year?
The summer in July when life is vibrant.

10 Top Tip
1st: never give up, and think out of the box.
2nd: the success will be made by the amount you fall down then you stand up again, energetic and happy.
3rd: think positively as the negativity will damage you first.
4th we are all human and we react the same, don’t be afraid of anyone.
5th all the big companies started small, it is good to be small sometimes.
6th learn how to dance on your pain, tell your dream in loud voice, and start the first step, your idea will stay as a dream until you do the first step.
7th in business don’t copy others, make your identity and believe in it, if you don’t believe in yourself no one will believe in you, and always ask yourself Why??! Why people will buy my product??!!
8th it is never too late, if you can’t achieve what you are thinking, then change the way you think, change the place, take a break and your view will change.
9th think quality, it is durable.
10th don’t fight, your competitors use them as motivators.
 
11 Biggest challenges:
1- changing your country with no plan, and having children at a critical age and stage of life.
2- introducing a product that already existed in the market.
3- building a business from zero, especially having no relations or established relationships when we first came to the UK.
4- keeping going with your plan even when you hear lots of “NO”
5- motivating yourself
6- being accepted in the community
7 – changing your way of thinking
9 – supporting yourself financially
10 – being flexible and managing different roles at the same time whilst balancing between them.
11- being hurt but the need to keep smiling.

12 Inspirational story
I actually have two people in particular who have inspired me and one company. The most inspirational and the first person I met in the UK was Judy Bell the owner of Shepherds Purse Cheese Factory, she has a confident amazing personality.

Then when I met HRH Princess Royal. I understood what real royalty was. It is not as the fairy tales paint but by sheer hard work she is doing what she does, she also has an amazing natural personality which really put me at ease.

I have also taken inspiration from the Wensleydale Cheese story especially how they managed to thrive after being so close to closing down, and how they received amazing community support.

Summer Nights at the Larder

School’s Out and Summer’s here. It’s a chance to sit back, relax and enjoy time together and what better place to begin than at The Larder. Drinking in those views over the Loch whilst enjoying quality seasonal food and drink produced by our dedicated team of Chefs.

Our MENU is inspired by brighter, lighter and warmer days. Using some of Scotland’s finest and freshest produce.

To avoid disappointment we strongly urge that you book by calling 01592 841000. Of course, you can pop in and enjoy a drink and a nibble without booking also. We are looking forward to seeing and serving you.

Loch Leven Heritage Trail Scooters now available to pre-book from Loch Leven and RSPB

Kinross-shire Partnership Trail Scooters can now be booked twice daily from Loch Leven’s Larder.

We have a Morning Slot and Afternoon Slot:

AM session  (9am return by 12 noon)

PM session (1pm return by 4pm)

Please note the Trail Scooters will be out of service between 12 and 1pm for a ‘top up charge’.

Anyone wishing to book the Trail Scooters must book in advance by contacting Loch Leven’s Larder on 01592 841000.

You will be asked to complete a Registration Form every time you loan one of the Trail Scooters (see Terms and Conditions). Two forms of ID are required when coming to use the Trail Scooter. One must be photographic eg passport, driving license etc and must contain proof of address eg Utility Bill etc.

There are two Trail Scooters currently available, one to be managed by ourselves the other by the team at RSPB Vane Farm but for the time being until the RSPB are fully operational we will be managing both. 

Scooters must be collected and dropped off from the same point. The Trail Scooters have their own registration plaques to ensure you return to the correct location:

KY13LLL (Loch Leven’s Larder)

KY14RSPB (RSPB Vane Farm)*

*currently both should be collected and returned to Loch Leven’s Larder until further notice.

The Trail Scooters are available to hire 7 days per week.

Whilst the Trail Scooter scheme is free and run voluntarily the annual costs for their upkeep is significant and funding isn’t always available. Therefore a small donation of £10 is requested for their service and upkeep to ensure the longevity of the scheme for all.

You can book by calling 01592 841000.

Kinross-shire Partnership fund and maintain the Trail Scooters.

Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust have routes of Loch Leven available to download from their website.

RSPB Loch Leven Trail Scooters can also be hired from here.