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      Cooking on Knoydart – Britain’s Most Remote Community

      8 min read

      By Rupert Shanks, Chief Storyteller
      More by Rupert

      Liz Tibbetts has been wowing our guests with her food on Knoydart for over 10 years.

      The remote Knoydart peninsula is one of our most iconic destinations. But it’s always a surprise for our guests when we visit this inaccessible place and the food on offer is out of this world.

      This is thanks to the passion and skill of our hosts at Doune Lodge, where each of our Knoydart trips are based. Liz Tibbetts leads the way in the kitchen and Doune is now an award-winning foodie destination, offering a lip-smacking menu sourced with the freshest of ingredients. With the release of Liz’s new recipe book we caught up with her to get a little insight into life on Doune and why it’s such a great place to eat.

      Can you describe your home on Knoydart for us?

      Knoydart is a pretty special place; on the Scottish mainland opposite the Isle of Skye it lies between two beautiful sea lochs and a range of big mountians that have never had a road through them. The whole peninsula is accessed by boat or foot only and has no mains electricity or water.
      Doune is on the western tip of this peninsula and our house looks over Doune Bay towards an ancient dun with the Sound of Sleat and the Islands of Skye and Rum beyond. We were lucky enough to be able to design and build it ourselves, our only constraints being money, logistics and building control! It is wood cladded inside and out which is really comfortable to live in – it kind of breathes. (And it also shakes in a strong westerly which took a bit of getting used to!)

       

      Doune bay at dusk.

      How did you end up living there?

      Having lived in the area for 10 years, when some friends suggested we come to Doune, join them as partners in the business here, and build a house to live in, we knew we wanted to do it. We are now in the middle of our 27th summer season.

      What are some of the challenges living in such an isolated place?

      Actually, after so many years we don’t really see challenges, rather it is just the way things are. We, however, have often said that when we do move, life will seem easy! Everything at Doune, from keeping fed, watered, warm, the lights on, or getting to and from the rest of the world needs a certain amount of organisation and ingenuity – we have learnt the skills as we have gone on. We neither of us feel isolated and we don’t go away very often, I guess we have been very lucky to find something we really love.

      When did you first become so passionate about food?

      I learned to cook with my Mum. Simple, straightforward real food. We had a garden and I would help pick fruit for puddings or fresh mint for the mint sauce – that was the first thing I was given to make myself. I think I found the process of cooking and combining ingredients natural and easy. If you are good at something you tend to enjoy it.

      What makes Knoydart a good place for great food?

      I think great food has a sense of place. We have fresh air, fabulous scenery and amazing ingredients right here. Basing our dishes on local produce, cooking it properly and serving it to suit our environment can’t fail.

       

      Knoydart seafood, fresh from the sea.

      Knoydart seafood, the freshest.

      Do you think others could learn from your way of life when it comes to food?

      I do believe that simplicity is the key to good food wherever you live or whatever you do. Everyone is under time pressure these days and without any access to pre-prepared food my take home from living here has been: if you don’t have time to cook something complicated, cook something really simple! Select some really good ingredients (they don’t have to be expensive or grandiose) and do as little as possible with them as you can. You will probably be eating faster than heating up a frozen dinner and you will be eating so much better!

      What has inspired your recipes?

      There have been so many influences over the years, family, friends, books, meals out, occasional travels, all of which have given me a core knowledge of ingredients, flavours and techniques. However, more and more I am inspired by locality. When I visit somewhere I want to sample what is best about a place not something that has been flown from the other side of the world. I like to do the same for my guests.

      Why is the recipe below special to you?

      My dad used to grow Jerusalem artichokes and I have done the same ever since I have had a garden – luckily they grow really well at Doune. They are such an unusual vegetable with an exquisite flavour and I love to share this. Planting them, digging them up and making this particular soup with them always makes me think of my parents’ home.

      Celery and Artichoke Soup

      Serves 6

      5 to 6 good fresh sticks of celery, washed.

      6 small pieces of peeled potato (walnut sized)

      3 to 4 large Jerusalem artichokes, peeled

      1 large onion

      25g / 1oz butter

      vegetable stock

      6 tsp fresh double cream for garnish

      Method
      Roughly chop the vegetables and fry gently in the butter.Cover well with stock and simmer until soft. Blend until smooth and adjust for seasoning. You may need to add a little more stock to get the thickness you like. Garnish with a swirl of cream. Enjoy!

      About Doune

      Liz Tibbett’s new recipe book.

      Doune has been welcoming guests for over 30 years and has developed organically from a rebuilt single stone cottage to a self contained little community with space for 20 summer guests. https://www.doune-knoydart.co.uk/

      They have built up quite a reputation for the food which is real home cooking, all made from scratch using the best ingredients, much of it local. After many requests over the years, they have finally produced a cookery book of all the best Doune recipes which is available from their website at https://www.doune-knoydart.co.uk/food/doune-food-book

      Related Trips

      Meet the Author: Rupert Shanks

      “After a spell in the corporate world in London Rupert decided to find a more rewarding way of life involving a closer connection to the outdoors and to his camera! Rupert produces a lot of the photography and video for Wilderness Scotland and works within the Marketing team.”

      View profileMore by Rupert

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