About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Off the Beaten Path - The Isle of Mull

Starter Course at The Ninth Wave
Goat Cheese and Egg Tart at the Iona Hotel with a little jar of  chutney
Get your globe out and look hard at the western coast of Scotland, north of Ireland.  It's an island not far out from the mainland city of Oban and not easy to reach.  It took two flights, totaling 10 hours, 3 hours by train, 40 minutes by ferry and 1 hour by car to reach our destination near the quaint community of Bunessan.  Sheep sometimes blocked the way through the rugged, scenic terrain. Drivers heading straight for you on the one lane roads felt like a game of chicken.  Our friends had bought a B&B that had been an ancient hunting lodge 17 years ago and turned it into their personal dream - Ardfenaig Lodge.  We'd been beckoned many times to come.  Finally, my husband, his brothers and wives, decided to do some family bonding as a nod to the family's Scottish heritage.
We stayed in the property's charming gate keeper's cottage and did some of our own cooking in the modern kitchen with groceries ordered on line and then delivered from the mainland, plus all the fresh eggs we could handle from the owners' 60 exotic chickens.

 Outside our own devices, the island offered extraordinary dining from a pub that dished up fish and chips to very fine dining at The Ninth Wave.  The couple who own The Ninth Wave each contribute their skills to some really special cuisine.  The husband takes his boat out in the morning and catches what his wife, a talented chef, then turns into a beautifully crafted meal.  I never expected to find such on a remote island, but why not?  In addition to the bounty of the sea, we toured a large organic garden whose kitchen had baked goods sold on the honor system.  Just leave your cash in the jar.

Another 10 minute ferry to the tiny island of Iona (population 150) offered a lot to see, do and eat.
After hiking around the island, we had lunch at the Iona Hotel, a throw back to the 60's in feel with a friendly staff. I was hungry and chilled so their hearty soup and fresh bread hit the spot.  I thought to myself, "tastes like something I made."  Their food was fresh, organic and great.  I peeked in the kitchen to watch a single young baker working over her pies, cakes and breads.  Ah!  A beautiful site.

After Mull, we changed pace to the hustle and bustle of Dublin and later a golf resort.  Both are fine places to visit but there's something about the adventure and discovery of the remote unknown that make the best memories and Mull is one of them.  I've played golf on many of the finest courses in the world with spectacular scenery but equally fine in experience was "golf" on Iona.  Borrow a bag of assorted really old clubs to share, donate 1 Scottish Pound to play, walk 2 miles to the first tee, ask the sheep to get out of the way and enjoy scenery that rivals Cypress Point or Pebble Beach. Wow!  I love the routine of coffee in the morning and a quiet dinner with my husband in the evening but stepping outside our comfort zone, becoming a temporary local and unique personal experiences are the secret ingredients for a richer life.  Life is good.

My husband takes pictures of the scenery, I take pictures of my lunch!

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