WREN - Wester Ross Environment Network

Seaweeds Tastetastic 16th May

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At 2pm Saturday 16th May, people were queuing outside the door for the Seaweed bake-off at Beth’s Café, Balmacara Square, even though the event started at 2.30pm. Elizabeth Morrison (owner and head chef of the Café) is a chef par excellence and very loved locally, but with the promise of something extra in the mix, the crowds were in an eager stampede to know more. The whole afternoon was a free event sponsored by the Highland Seashore Project.

The doors were opened early and the flood surged inwards. There was an array of perfectly presented goodies, tasters of flans, cakes, biscuits, crackers with tasty toppings, and breads from Isle of Skye Bakery. All with that bit of added extra, local seaweed or Hebridean dried seaweed from the seaweed specialists, MARA Seaweeds.

Coupled with this bountiful plethora of seaweed tastetastic food, was Miriam Drysdale with her demonstration of how to add MARA seaweed to food and her hands on preparation of seaweed salad made from freshly harvested Sea Thong from the Plock of Kyle that morning. Miriam had been very busy, out early with a group of seventeen Seaweed Surveyors on a workshop with Dr Clare Scanlan and Mhairi Wilson of SEPA, who were busily expanding people’s knowledge of all things marine algal. Then after a morning of collecting seaweed, Miriam left her fellow students, busily examining fronds and stipes under microscopes in the Balmacara National Trust for Scotland Classroom, to examine her haul from the beach for goodies to cook and eat.

It was standing room only in the café with coffees being poured and free good food tasted with a resounding smacking of lips. In fact many of the Seaweed Surveyors from the classroom migrated over to join the throng later that afternoon, with the added bonus of being able to identify what they were eating in the wild and know it’s Latin scientific name as well. For those who were not holding a plate or two, the Hebridean Ishga Organic Seaweed Skin Care products were available for trial and soon people were cooing over the softness of their skin as well as the fullness of their tummies.

At 4pm another queue was forming outside the café doors as folk gathered for the storytelling session with the well-known Gaelic broadcaster and author Roddy Maclean. Chairs were pushed to the sides and children gathered around Roddy, silence falling as Roddy began to spin magical tales of local sea monsters, sea witches and wizards. Princes and princesses in peril, mayhem, dark deeds and mischief on storm lashed coasts. Soon children were counting backwards in Gaelic, what ever their Mother tongue and adults perched on the edge of their seats as hearts raced. It was with some difficulty that the hard working folk of Beth’s; Elizabeth, Angie and Margaret, cleared the café! People wanted more stories, more food and just more. However who knows! Same place, same time for next year? See you there then.

By Janet Ullman

WREN would like to thank the following organisations for their support:
Scottish Natural Heritage
The European Agriculture fund for Rural Development. Europe investing in rural areas
The Highland Council
The Scottish Government

Tom Forrest (Chairman) chair@wr-en.co.uk

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