Situated in the heart of the East Lothian countryside, Colstoun Estate and cookery school is a wonderful place to spend time. I was, very kindly, invited along to a day course at the cookery school in order to enjoy the full experience – and what an experience it was! Colstoun has, amazingly, always been occupied by one single family. The Brouns of Colstoun have lived in and owned Colstoun for over 900 years.
Just 30 minutes from central Edinburgh, Colstoun Estate can be hired for weddings, parties and events, while cookery courses take place in two converted cottages next door. All produce is sourced locally, with an onsite kitchen garden providing much of the inspiration for the recipes and dishes made on site.
While the ‘Seasonal Game’ course appealed to me immediately, there are a multitude of other courses at Colstoun Cookery School which sound incredible – from week-long intensive courses for students, to French Bistro and Bread Making. Our class of 10 was taught by head chef and tutor, Fiona Misselbrook. A Cordon Bleu graduate herself, Fiona has years of experience. Starting her career catering for shoots in the Scottish Highlands, Fiona is more than familiar with all varieties of Scottish game and was the perfect person to guide us through the day.
Fiona is hugely knowledgeable and certainly put the class at ease immediately. No question was left unanswered, in fact, I may owe Fiona a little apology here – as I asked the majority of the questions! It was such a pleasure to spend the day with others interested in cookery, some of whom were total beginners, others who seemed to have been to most cookery courses in Scotland.
The game course varies according to what is in the Gamekeepers bag. On the day, it consisted of five recipes; three game recipes, a pudding and an ice-cream. Generally, Fiona and Alison design the courses to suit all abilities.
My favourite recipe of the day was most definitely the Colstoun Pigeon salad; spelt and butternut squash salad, with pan fried pigeon breast topped with toasted hazelnuts, thyme and bramble dressing. The recipe was easy to follow, and the flavours are robust and earthy. However, it made for a perfect winter main course or a smaller, lighter starter. You can follow the recipe yourself here.
Other recipes of the day included roast grouse with celeriac, chard and pear tartin – a warming dish, perfect for a cold December’s day. In fact, the beauty of the day at Colstoun is that what is made in the morning is eaten for lunch, and the remainder can be packed up and taken home for supper. After spending the morning in the kitchen, we sat down to enjoy our lunch of roast grouse, alongside a well-earned glass of red. This was followed by a giant, old-fashioned bramble pudding (made by Fiona while our individual puddings were steaming), and cinnamon ice-cream.
All in all, the day was fantastic – a wonderful way to spend a crisp December Saturday. Thank you to Fiona, Alison and the rest of the team for such a special experience.
Find Them: Colstoun Estate, Near Haddington, Haddington EH41 4PA
Contact Them: 01620 822922