The Kirk Café's Bere Royale

If you're in Orkney or planning a trip to the islands, a visit to Sheila Fleet's Kirk Gallery & Café is a must. This beautifully-renovated former parish church now displays Sheila's jewellery collections and her very latest designs. In addition, a tasteful extension houses the uniquely-designed, Kirk Café.

An Orcadian version of a brunch classic using Orkney’s ancient grain. Head Chef, Neil, tops a toasted bere bannock with cold smoked salmon, poached free-range eggs - and a creamy hollandaise spiked with our Bere Malt Vinegar. The vinegar pairs beautifully with the smoked salmon and cuts through the rich fish and hollandaise.

Bere Bannocks (makes 6 peedie bannocks)
25g Butter
Half a cup fine beremeal
Half a cup plain flour
1 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
180 ml milk

Rub the butter through all the dry ingredients with your fingers as you would do with a crumble mixture until all butter is evenly incorporated.

Then add the milk in stages until you have a soft and sticky dough. (This step depends on how “thirsty” the beremeal is, use the 180ml as a guide but make sure the mix is really quite wet.)

Because this is a sticky wet dough either flour or oil your hands well and roll out the dough on a floured surface as you would a batch of oven scones and cut into 7-8 cm rounds with a pastry cutter.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180’c for 8-10 mins then flip them over and bake for another 5 mins (very controversial this - I can hear thousands of Orcadian housewives screaming “yi dinnae cook bannocks in an oven yi hiv tae cook em on a girdle”).

Hollandaise Sauce (serves 4-5)
6 Egg Yolks
1Tbsp Bere Malt Vinegar
1 pinch ground white pepper
250g Butter

Melt 250g butter in a saucepan and keep warm.

Put 6 egg yolks, 1tbsp bere malt vinegar, a pinch of ground white pepper in a metal or glass bowl that will fit over a small pan.

Whisk for a few mins, then put the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk continuously until pale and thick, about 3-5 mins.

Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the melted butter, bit by bit until it’s all incorporated and you have a creamy hollandaise.

(Alternatively, if you have a Thermomix you can use the hollandaise recipe on the basic cookbook recipe chip but with the same ingredients as above.)

To assemble a Bere Royale cut a bere bannock in half through the middle and toast, top the split bannock with a slice or two of your favourite cold smoked salmon, then on top of the salmon put two poached free-range eggs and nap over a generous spoon of hollandaise.

Recipe from Neil at The Kirk Café (Sheila Fleet Jewellery)

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