Enroot – The Nomadic Kitchen
Hiya All good? Can you give these guys a wee push on Twitter or else! @We_are_enroot Great job they are doing!! Please please’
This was a plea I received from an Edinburgh chef and I’d’ve thought he’d have known that I had already endorsed this band of roving food venturers!
I invited the two founding members of Enroot, DeVonn Francis and Angus Buchanan-Smith to come and chat about what they do on my CastleFM radio show, which they agreed to with such enthusiasm, I was giddy with excitement. That was last Thursday and due technical issues, I had to abandon the evening. Fortunately, they both said yes to a return visit this Thursday. But have no fear; here is a grief outline of what Enroot is about.
Their ethos is simple –
‘Enroot is a nomadic, grassroots venture that travels around hosting farm-to-table events in collaboration with local farmers and businesses alike. We strongly believe that there is an ever-increasing disconnect between the food people eat and the farmers who produce it. Enroot’s ambition is to bridge the widening gap between producers and consumers by removing the barriers separating them. We aim to contribute to local communities by means of initiating conversation around the table. The food we provide will be carefully sourced and curated in an effort to facilitate a shared experience in hopes of generating sustained relationships. Our desire for communal dialogue involves resurrecting lost knowledge, building upon existing relations and creating a way for the general public to understand the value of the generations of knowledge embodied in any one farm or farmer. It is our hope that we can help secure a future for small-scale British farming operations.’
I love the idea of a roaming band of latter-day foodie troubadours, setting up camp in a farmer’s field with sourcing, cooking and serving local produce instead of singing, music and poetry to display their passion and love. This appeals to my aging hippy heart on so many levels.
I was lucky enough to join them at Angus’ family farm on the outskirts of Balerno for an evening of good food, good company and an amazingly romantic and beautiful setting.
This is what we ate and drank amid the beautiful dell where we experienced it all.
To drink – I had a Crimson Tide cocktail made with a hopped vodka, a syrup of lavender and redcurrant served with Fevertree tonic. A pretty pink concoction that had a mild bitterness from the hops. The other was the Walled Garden made from sorrel and gin. It might not win any beauty contests, but from the nods of approval, I guess it all comes down to taste over looks!
This simple menu was full of flavour, cooked in what can only be described as a field tent (or the Girl Guide tent found in one of the stables on the farm) and a fire pit. This is the kitchen I want when I go camping; as for the fire pit – BOGG (Big Ol’ Grumpy Git), get out the shovel!
First up – crunchy, fresh and lightly pickled carrots dusted with crushed coriander seeds and served with fire baked naan.
The smokiness of the bread and the earthy notes of the spice were a perfect combination and a fitting start to the meal.
The second course was a refreshing salad of kohlrabi and apple. Lifting the sheaths of fruit and vegetable revealed a heart of sweet cobnuts that had been toasted to produce a nutty crunch against the soft saltiness of the cheese. A healthy grinding of black pepper added an aromatic kick.
Guests couldn’t fail to notice the heady waft of smoke as they arrived and this is what we had all been waiting for, salivating over – the slow-fired lamb on a bed of creamy beans, a herby sauce and potatoes. I nearly forgot to take a photo and finally remembered just before the last morsel of meat was shoved into my gapping maws!
Due to a problem with the fridge, the cream that had been chilling, froze overnight. Undeterred they made the panna cotta anyway but unfortunately it separated. These guys know how to think on their feet, so we were presented with a panna cotta French toast served with blackcurrant compote. I did take a photo but due to subdued and atmospheric lighting, it didn’t come out too well.
You maybe thinking to yourselves, if I was out in a field, what were the toilet arrangements? The end of this lantern lit path lead to a tent that housed an earth toilet; whistling or singing was optional! 🙂
So if you fancy taking a walk (well dinner) on the wild side, Enroot are hosting a vegetarian event this Friday, Saturday and Sunday in conjunction with Henderson’s and will be held at 67 Holyrood Road. For reservations just click here
With thanks to the following producers for supplying the fab food we ate:
Ainville Dairy, West Lothian
Newton Spirit Company
(c) Lea Harris, Off the Eaten Track, 2015