Bruce’s Recipes: Fish Soup

It’s time for another guest post! This one comes from our incredible head chef at Crieff Hydro, Bruce Perry.

 Bruce has agreed to share some of his favourite recipes with us over the next few months so that you can cook up a little taste of our Meikle restaurant’s magic in your own kitchen!

 This week’s recipe is for a delicious fish soup with croutons…

Bruce fish soup

Ingredients

Fish Soup

160g mixed fish such as salmon, cod and sea bass

120ml rapeseed oil

150g onion, celery, leek and fennel, chopped

4 garlic cloves, sliced

Juice of 3 oranges, plus ¼ each strip of the zest

400g tinned chopped tomatoes

2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced

2 bay leaves, sprig of thyme, pinch of saffron

180g unpeeled, cooked langoustine bones frozen

Pinch cayenne pepper

2lt good quality fish stock

320ml white wine

Rouille

50g day-old white bread A little fish stock ½ tbsp good quality harissa

1 egg yolk

100ml rapeseed oil

1/6gr saffron

Isle of Mull Cheddar Crouton

2 French petit pain rolls 100ml olive oil 1 garlic clove

100gr Isle of Mull cheddar gratin

Bruce recipes

Method

Fish Soup

1. Fillet the fish, removing any bones

2. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the vegetables and garlic and cook gently until soft but not coloured

3. Add the orange zest, tomatoes, red pepper, bay leaf, thyme, saffron, langoustine, cayenne pepper and fish

4. Cook for 2 -3 minutes, then add stock and orange juice, bringing to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes

Meanwhile, make the crouton as below

5. Liquidise the soup and pass through a sieve into a clean pan, pressing out as much liquid as possible

6. Return the soup to the heat and season to taste with the cayenne, salt and pepper

Crouton

1. Thinly slice a small baguette then fry the slices until crisp and golden

2. Drain on kitchen paper and rub a garlic clove over one side of each piece

3. Cut into 220g balls, shape and place on to greased trays, cover with cling film and chill in fridge

Rouille

1. Cover the bread with fish stock, saffron and leaves to soften

2. Squeeze out excess liquid and put the bread into a food processor with harissa, garlic, egg yolk and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt.

3. Blend until smooth

To Serve

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and allow each person to spread the rouille on to the crouton, float them on their soup and sprinkle them with Isle of Mull cheddar

Enjoy!

 

Raise a glass to our brewers and distillers!

 

As many of you will already know, Visit Scotland have named 2015 the Year of Food & Drink and this month’s focus is Brewing & Distilling. So, we thought we’d take a look at one or two local gems and what we have on offer here at Crieff Hydro.

Local Micro-breweries

Perthshire is home to a number of breweries and micro-breweries some of which can boast national (and even international!) stockists. But we wanted to take a look at a couple of smaller operations that are producing some fantastic drinks for the local market…

StrathBraan Brewery

The StrathBraan Brewery is a family-run operation based just north of Crieff in Amulree, Dunkeld. They have been producing beers commercially since March 2012 and currently produce just 2 beers:

‘Head East’ – A traditional bitter, 4.2% ABV, appearing a copper colour in the glass. A well balanced beer with a malty character and pronounced floral aroma.

‘Due South’ – A classic pale ale, 3.8% ABV, appearing a golden colour in the glass. An easy drinking session beer with slight citrus flavours.

StrathBaarn Brewery beers can be found in a number of local pubs (including Greyfriars Bar in Perth) and beyond. They have been featured on Belhaven’s guest beers list numerous times and there are plans in the pipeline for a steady expansion.

If you’d like to know more, check out this great blog post.

Allanwater Brewhouse

If you’re willing to venture a little further afield then the Allanwater Brewhouse in the lovely Bridge of Allan is definitely worth a visit.

This hidden little treasure is located just of the main street in Bridge of Allan and offers an ever changing array of beers and ciders on tap, as well as bottles of some their best selling products available to buy for there and then or for later.

They’ll often have live music and quiz nights in their cosy little snug and there’s a wood burning stove to keep you warm. You can even nip across the road to pick up a fish and chips supper from the Allanwater Café and then bring them back to enjoy with a pint in the Brewhouse!

Check out their website here.

Behind our bar

Here at Crieff Hydro we’re proud to support our local suppliers and the drinks we stock behind our bars is no exception to that. We stock a number of well known Scottish brands, like beers from the Inveralmond Brewery and the Ayrshire-distilled Hendricks Gin, but we also have a few you may not have heard of…

Caorunn Gin

Speyside is malt whisky country but Simon Buley, a distiller at Balmenach Distillery, had a rather unconventional thought: the combination of pure Highland water and Celtic botanicals would make a rather special Scottish gin. And so, Caorunn Gin was born.

They describe themselves as ‘a perfectly balanced, super-premium small batch Scottish Gin, infused with hand-picked botanicals, inspired by Celtic tradition’. We describe them as ‘delicious’.

Pincer Vodka

Jonathan Engels had a hunch that the world was ready for a premium Scottish vodka and he was spot-on – Pincer arrived in 2009, distilled using the finest Scottish mountain water, along with natural botanical extracts of milk thistle and wild elderflower.

So, why not join us for a drink and celebrate our local drinks makers!

Return of the Crieff Hydro Wedding Fair

Crieff Hydro Wedding Fair – 1st March 2015

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We love weddings. It’s just that simple. The dress, the flowers, the cake, the rings… the list is endless which is exactly why, every year, we host a Wedding Fair!

The Crieff Hydro Wedding Fair gives us the perfect opportunity to share our love of weddings with all you lucky brides (and grooms!) to be, as well as some who are just feeling pretty optimistic about the year ahead…

After all, it’s never too soon to choose your venue or plan your day. They’re big decisions, but they are also exciting ones. So make sure you have fun making them.

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What we offer…

Whether you come to view our grounds, to gain inspiration for your big day by speaking to Crieff Hydro’s wedding experts, or to meet our recommended suppliers, The Crieff Hydro Wedding Show will meet all your wedding needs.

For glamour and grandeur; Crieff Hydro meets all expectations.  Impressive architecture and scenery (we have both in spades), no bride deserves anything less.  But it’s the things you might not expect that really set us apart…

You want to arrive in style in a classic Rolls Royce? That can be arranged. You want to roll down the aisle on Segways? Unusual but doable. You want doves to be released as you leave the venue? We’ll call the photographer.

In fact, we’ll do our best to accommodate any request you can think of!

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On the day…

Start your happily ever after early and plan your perfect day at Crieff Hydro on Sunday 1st March 2015 from 12 noon – 3pm.

We’ve over 40 exhibitors who’ll be there on the day to help you organise all you need for your big day.  At the fair, you’ll enjoy:

  • a glass of fizz on arrival
  • the chance to sample our latest wedding menus and drinks packages
  • entertainment
  • photographers
  • florists
  • and much, much more!

To top it all off, registration is absolutely FREE – you can’t say fairer than that! To register, click here.

Tweed suits, fire alarms & the breaststroke…

This is the behind the scenes story of our Great British Railway Journeys journey…

GBRJ 1

It’s mid-August and Michael Portillo, along with five of the GBRJ crew, is due to arrive at Crieff Hydro any minute.

Waiting to greet him at Reception, dressed in his signature tweed suit, is Stephen Leckie – CEO of Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels.

After a quick meet and greet, it’s straight to business as Stephen escorts everyone up to the top of The Knock to begin filming. It’s a beautiful, clear day and the stunning surrounds of the Crieff Hydro estate and beyond make the perfect back drop for the first interview between Michael and Stephen.

GBRJ 2

Interview over it’s back down to the hotel to film some exterior shots before moving inside and up to the Signature Room where Michael will spend the night. After capturing some more footage, the GBRJ crew decide they’d like to get down to our Victorian Spa and film a short segment of Michael enjoying the pool facilities before we lose daylight. It’s at this point that the Crieff Hydro GBRJ train, which had been running so smoothly, starts to derail…

Michael changed into his swimming costume and emerged from his room wearing a dressing gown and walking boots ready to be escorted down to the Spa in comfort (and sensible footwear). Then, out of nowhere, the fire alarm goes off! So, Michael Portillo is now being escorted out of the building in the company of hundreds of guests… in his dressing gown!

Ever the professional however, Michael takes it all in his stride smiling and chatting to guests. Luckily before making it outside we’re informed by one of the Crieff Hydro Duty Host team that there is no fire and that the alarm was triggered by an accident involving a break glass unit.

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Eventually, a somewhat relieved Michael reaches the Victorian Spa and begins shooting his final scene of the day, proudly displaying a wide array of swimming strokes – front crawl, backstroke and, of course, the breaststroke!

And that’s a wrap!

If you want to see our appearance on Great British Railway Journeys (or even if you just want to critique Michael Portillo’s breaststroke) then you can catch us on the iPlayer here.

New Year, New You

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A little too much turkey this Christmas? You’re not alone.

We know just how hard it can be to shift those holiday pounds but don’t worry – help is at hand.

Our in-house, fully qualified personal trainer, Bethany, will have you back in shape and looking your best in no time.

Over the last 12 weeks, Bethany has been putting our Lesley through her paces to prove just how effective a balanced and structured diet and exercise programme can be… the results speak for themselves.

Lesley PT Col.

2st 7lbs (16kg) lost across 12 weeks.

14% of body weight lost.

Down 2 dress sizes.

Measurements reduced by 29” in total.

BMI reduction of 6.4 points.

Here’s what Bethany had to say…

Lesley and I started in September with a goal of 2st 7lbs and 12 weeks of hard work ahead of us.

Our first session started with a full health and fitness assessment – weight, blood pressure, cholesterol level, lung capacity etc. were all checked in private to give us a starting point. Working from this I put together an exercise programme and meal plan for Lesley to follow. This wasn’t an unrealistic low calorie diet but more a plan encouraging Lesley to make better choices when it came to food she was eating – there’s no reason for someone to feel hungry!

At Crieff Hydro our aim isn’t to push people towards crash dieting or fad diets that try to achieve drastic weight loss – these are destined to fail. Instead, we try to set realistic and gradual weight loss targets that are tailored to the individual and made achievable through a controlled diet and exercise programme.

Lesley did fantastically well and was extremely dedicated! She even put in some lunch hour training, came along to exercise classes and always gave 100% during our one-to-one PT sessions. We finished our 12 week journey having lost 2st 7lbs right on target, which we are both delighted with!

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Here’s what Lesley had to say…

I jumped at the chance to participate in the Hydro Challenge – not that jumping came easily to me, considering all the extra weight that I’d accumulated over the years!

Bethany quickly had me settled into an exercise routine, which I supplemented with step class, long weekend walks and swimming lessons with Alison and Becky at the Hydro.

During the long cold winter days it took resolve to visit the gym either before work, at lunchtime or after work and there were many times when I almost faltered. However, the exercise when combined with Bethany’s eating plan, quickly showed encouraging results. I routinely lost 3lbs a week, occasionally 4 or 5 lbs and – following one particularly stressful week – I lost an astounding 9lbs!

Bethany worked me hard during our one-to-ones and I always achieved so much more during these sessions than when I exercised alone. Her dedication and confidence in my ability spurred me on, even on two occasions when I flatly refused to go on. Both times all it took was one withering look from Bethany for me to get back on the bike and keep pedalling!

I soon started to look and feel so much better. My clothes were getting loose and my stamina had improved enormously. Better yet, I was beginning to enjoy exercise. Unlike other gyms where I’ve felt very self-conscious, the Hydro gym was refreshingly status free, welcoming all – regardless of age, shape or size. Honestly, no-one batted an eyelid whilst I puffed and panted!

At the end of the 12 weeks, after achieving my goals, I felt absolutely brilliant and ready for the party season. However, knowing from past experience how easy it is to regain weight, I’ve already arranged another block of PT sessions in the New Year with Bethany.

If you want to improve your fitness levels or shed a few pounds, I honestly can’t recommend PT sessions with Bethany strongly enough – after all, what have you got to lose?

To find out more about the range of facilities available, click here.

If you’re interested in Personal Training sessions then call 01764 651624 or you can book your fitness assessment here and take the first step towards a fitter and healthier you.

A short trip down memory lane

Last week we received a small and unexpected treat – a reprinted ordinance survey map of Crieff from 1899 (courtesy of the generous folks at Godfrey Maps).

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We know what you’re thinking – “that sounds boring and/or useless” – but you’re wrong. Well, you’re half wrong.

Granted, if you tried navigating your way around Crieff with the map today you’d probably take a wrong turn or two and yes, you’d be a little confused by the missing train station but what it lacks in functionality it more than makes up for in terms of interest…

The map got us thinking about the rich history of the Crieff and Strathearn area that revolves around some of the building’s located on the map.

Strathearn House

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One such building is, of course, Strathearn House (or as we now affectionately refer to it – Crieff Hydro). Back in 1899 Strathearn House would’ve been just over 30 years old and known for its motto of ‘water is best’ – this meant no alcohol consumption and using water in a whole host of ways to cure all manner of Victorian ailments.

However, we already know all about our history and we’re proud of it. From our early days under the guidance of our founder Dr Thomas H Meikle right up to the present day, we love our part in the story of Crieff. But the map holds more treasures than just Strathearn House…

Ferntower House

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Located roughly a mile from Crieff Hydro sits Ferntower House, another building steeped in local history and home, at one stage or another, to some pretty big names.

As this fantastic blog post explains in detail, the Ferntower House had hosted Bonnie Prince Charlie and Queen Victoria, amongst others, before being unceremoniously blown up as part of an army exercise in 1963!

We like reading and knowing about Crieff’s history and heritage but more than that we love being able to share these stories with you, our guests!

Introducing the Clarins Rebalancing Massage

At Crieff Hydro Spa we love being on the cutting edge of all things pampering and relaxation. So, whether that means exploring Germanic thermal spas in pursuit of wellness perfection or introducing the latest range of skin products to keep our guests looking young and vibrant, we want to know about it!

This month it’s been all about the latest signature massage treatment from our friends over at Clarins

Rebalancing Massage with Relax Essential Oils

This deeply relaxing, rhythmic full body massage releases even long-standing knots and tensions within the deeper muscle layers, using a bespoke sequence of slower movements and pressure point techniques. The relaxation is intensified with an essential oil blend rich in deeply soothing Basil, Camomile and Petit Grain.

Rebalancing Massage with Tonic Essential Oils

Using a bespoke sequence of more energizing movements and pressure point techniques, this deep and rhythmic full body massage not only releases muscular knots and tensions but restores vitality and flagging energy levels. The effect is intensified with an essential oil blend rich in invigorating Rosemary, Mint and Rosewood.

As soon as we heard about these treatments we knew we had to introduce them – an 85 minute treatment,  for 70 minutes of which the therapists hands never leave the body! With gently warmed essential oils and constant contact leaving your skin feeling completely and utterly relaxed… what’s not to love?!

So, we invited Clarins guru Siobhan along to Crieff Hydro to teach our Spa team how to deliver the perfect Rebalancing Massage..

ClarinsMassage4

Our team loved it and so did our very lucky guinea pigs! Here’s what Amanda thought..

“Having never been for a full body treatment before I was a little apprehensive but from the moment I arrived Tina put me completely at ease. Tina recommended the tonic oils as these would leave my body feeling relaxed while at the same time leaving my brain alert so I could still function at work!. The treatment from start to finish was a perfect mixture of invigorating yet relaxing. I will definitely be going back for a Rebalancing Massage in the near future.”

Want to try one for yourself? The Clarins Rebalancing Massages will be available at Crieff Hydro Spa from the 1st November for the introductory price of just £69!

To book call 01764 651609.

Crieff Hydro Spa on Tour #2

It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for – instalment number two from our Fiona’s German wellness adventure! When we left her she’d been strutting around from showers to scrubs to steam rooms all absolutely starkers…

“After the incredible natural steam came another shower followed by a succession of thermal water stations.

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Whirlpools and pools of various temperatures that included a soak in the magnificent central domed pool  – crystal clear water, roman murals on the ceiling and different roman gods looking over you from various marble points – all it needed was someone to hand-feed me grapes and fan me with palm tree leaves and I’d have felt like Caesar!

Thermal water treatments over we’re handed a thick warm sheet and told to dry off for four minutes (German precision at its finest!) then it’s swiftly onwards to get lathered up at the cream and lotions station before being led to the relaxation room…

Now, this is a station that I can picture coming to Crieff!

A big comfortable massage-like table, a huge thick and warm sheet that the therapist lifts up and around, taking care to tuck in your feet, and then… rest.

Just lie down and rest for 30 minutes in this blissful state.

It sounds so simple but how often do we give ourselves permission to lie and do nothing? How often do we give ourselves this treat?

I’m at home with my wellness; cocooned in a blissful state of relaxation, warmth and self-love. Sinking in and out of dreamlike state – pure bliss.

Reluctantly, after half an hour, we managed to get off our warm tables and make it to our final station – the reading room, where we were greeted with tea, books and a final gorgeous mosaic to look at. The sheets wrapped firmly around us this sunshiny room brought us gently back to real life in a soothing fashion.

Garment free treatments over, I leave Germany full of wellness inspiration and excited about shaping the future of Crieff Hydro Spa (don’t worry, it won’t be naked!)”

You can keep an eye on all our latest Spa news via the Facebook page or, if you’ve been inspired by Fiona to treat yourself to a little R&R, you can view everything the Spa has to offer here

Halloween thrills at late night Aloft!

Want a treat that won’t rot your kids’ teeth this Halloween? We have something that’ll do the trick…

Aloft night

Join us for a special spooky late night Aloft! session this Halloweeen.

Climb, swing and zip-line your way through our aerial assault course in the dark of night with nothing more than a head torch and some glow sticks to light the way.

Sounds scary already? Then we probably shouldn’t mention that there’s a few little surprises along the way that aren’t for the feint of heart!

You’ll be strapped on to the course using the latest, state of the art equipment so you’re perfectly safe while you’re in the trees at least…

But if the zombie apocalypse strikes while you’re on the ground then you’re on your own!

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Our usual age and height restrictions apply but as long as you’re little ones are 7 years or older and not too little (over 1.25m) then this is an adventure that the whole family can enjoy together!

We’ll be running three late night Aloft! specials on Thursday 30th October, Friday 31st October & Saturday 1st November with sessions starting at 6pm and 6:30pm.

It’s just £15 for kids and £19 for adults but spaces are limited so be sure to book in advance so you don’t miss out!

 

To book, call us on 01764 655 555 or to book through the website click here

Crieff Hydro Spa on Tour: German Thermals

Today’s post is the first in a special 2-part guest blog from our Spa Manager, Fiona, who has been exploring Germany in search of some Spa-inspiration!

Here’s instalment number one..

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“’Wellness’ (or to you late-comers ‘alternative medicine’) comes in multiple forms; whether it is lavender essential oil for soothing a burn or stimulating a pressure point on the hand for headaches. Wellness can be self-administered or professionally delivered. It can be a lovely autumnal walk through the leaves in a park, enjoying all that nature has to give us, or it can be savouring a lovely glass of red wine from a vineyard recently explored.

 

Wellness is many things – it’s necessary, it’s healing and sometimes (as you’re about to read about) it’s intimidating.

 

It’s the morning of my 34th birthday, I’m in Germany and my stomach is churning – today I’ll be visiting the world famous Friedrichsbad Spa.

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As job perks go, this one wasn’t bad – ‘Go to Germany, experience all that their thermal spas have to offer and report back’. Four days in Baden Baden, seeking out thermal waters, alternative therapies and maybe even managing to sample some of the local beer…  I can handle that!

 

So why then is my stomach churning? Well, the Friedrichsbad Spa is ‘mixed sex and garment free’. All day, completely naked, in a place where I don’t speak the language – fantastic.

 

We check-in and are led up a stunning marble staircase to the changing area (or more accurately, the undressing area!) and, after a brief awkward naked shuffle down a hallway, the spa experience is about to begin…

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First things first – a communal power shower (the first of 7 showers that day!) then, on to the sauna. Next came a fantastic full body soap and brush scrub, although I’d definitely recommend the soft bristle brush as the hard one could draw blood! The scrubbing ended with a quick, traditional German slap on the bum (so that you know it’s over) then onwards straight into another shower.

 

The steam room was a real highlight and a completely surreal experience. Friedrichsbad Spa is home to the last naturally occurring steam room in the world, where the whole room is heated by the water coming straight out of the depths of the earth. It was heaven; natural wellness that we were lucky to experience.”

 

… Find out more about Fiona’s German spa adventure next week and what could be in store for the Crieff Hydro Spa!


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For news and events in Crieff, Perthshire.

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