Talisker toddies and tearing gales

A couple of weeks ago, I took Monday afternoon off to travel down to Lyme Regis on a foraging expedition – mainly for whisky. Unfortunately, God punishes those of us who skive off in favour of boozing, and, as we travelled south, the weather took a distinct turn for the worse. Here’s the lovely Helen Lewis-Hasteley of the New Statesman, enjoying all the fun of the seaside. Anyway, undaunted, we set off on a foraging expedition with Mark Hix, heads bent low against the driving gale. We found sea spinach…

rock samphire…

…and sea kale. Amongst other stuff.

Thank God we then returned to Hix Lyme Regis, where I managed to score two helpings of Nick Strangeway’s superb Talisker-sodden sea buckthorn toddy

and steal the ‘recipe’. I’ve come across sea buckthorn before, on a trip to Helsinki a few years ago, where we juiced it and had it for breakfast. It’s pretty common on the east coast of England in particular – I’ve certainly spotted it a few times in Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

Back to those sea veg. Here’s an amuse bouche of a haddock Scotch egg with sea spinach – which could have done with some smoked fish for my taste.

And some tempura rock samphire, which was very good indeed.

After a brief break for hot baths and some quiet personal reflection on the Eurozone, dinner followed: red-leg partridge with elderberries and wood sorrel:

my favourite dish, Torbay silver mullet with Barra cockle and sea vegetables, which was wonderfully buttery – the salty, succulent shoots were excellent with the fish

then a Talisker whisky and walnut tart with local clotted cream, served with some superb cask-strength Talisker 25-year old.

Which Helen, Chris and I naturally dignified with the attention it deserved:

It was a fun evening – which has left me with two new resolutions. Firstly, to revive my long-cherished idea of a whisky dinner party, with matched malts for every course, as once experienced, never forgotten at Royal Lochnagar (a little drop of Talisker in the rock oysters, for example, knocks Tabasco for six) – and secondly, to make it up to Skye and visit the distillery for myself. It’s been a long while since that Patrick’s Day Bushmills trip. Oh, and I might extend my seashore foraging beyond the ice cream van in future.

Also, I somehow managed to come away with a Talisker umbrella. Which makes me very happy indeed.


3 responses to “Talisker toddies and tearing gales”

  1. Sooo gutted I missed this, despite the crap weather. Damn you work!

    1. shame – yes, it does have a nasty habit of getting in the way of proper stuff like whisky…

  2. Does sound a really lovely trip…

    Enjoyed the restaurant when we were down that way on holiday. My OH is big whisky fan and, alongside the Islays, really enjoys Talisker…

    They all taste disgusting to me, but he loves them! Means I can be the designated driver on whisky trips though, which makes him happy! Heh!

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