Kieran CreevyExpedition and performance chef, Kieran is an International Mountain Leader and aspirant Arctic wilderness guide with more than two decades of experience leading, teaching and cooking on four continents.
Owing to their exposed location – in the North Atlantic – Scotland’s Hebridean islands lie at the mercy of the volatile and often violent weather conditions that pass through their waters. Suffice to say then, that stable weather isn’t something the Isle of Skye, the largest of the Inner Hebrides, is known for. As such, those who venture onto its mountains and cliffs are well versed in the dark art of weather forecasts.
Earlier this year, expedition chef Kieran Creevy made the most of fleeting flawless conditions to explore the unusually sun-drenched volcanic ridge lines before sealing the day the way he knows best: Preparing a well-sourced meal to be shared in good company.
The green walls of our tunnel tent glow, light shimmering and flowing in waves, the dawn chorus ebbing, reminding us that time is a wasting. Waking slowly in cocoons of silk, down and nylon there’s delicious sense of lethargy, we’re slow to get moving.
Here, beneath stark basalt mountains on the Isle of Skye, the scent of sun warmed earth and heather flows into the tent. Still in our bags, there’s good natured banter as to who has to leave the comfort of a warm bag to light our stove and get breakfast going.
The contrast in this landscape bewitches, and pulls us into its embrace
Grumbling slightly, one of the team wriggles out of the tent, the fly taut with the heat from a cloudless sky. A rare and unexpected joy here in the far North West of Scotland, where sunshine is a thing to be celebrated.
The contrast in this landscape bewitches, and pulls us into its embrace. Packs lie in the lee of the tent, the pink loops of our climbing rope wedged underneath a lid, ready for today’s scramble along beautiful ridges. The beams of sunlight shade the rock formations, calling to mind a Jacobs Ladder of sorts, ascending to the heavens.
Descending to the stream, Vreni slides up a sleeve and fishes for the dry bag wedged between boulders and fill the kettle for a brew. Inside, chilled overnight in this makeshift fridge are wild salmon fillets, and hard boiled eggs, cooked the night before. The flesh of the salmon holds a dark pink hue, far removed from the pale colours of their farmed brethren.
Coming across a farm yesterday added the final element of free range eggs to this mornings breakfast. Handing over cash, crumpled in a ball to the farmer who raised the animals gives a far greater sense of human interaction than any chip and pin transaction in a supermarket.
These type of exchanges are still an everyday occurrence in the area from which we gather the elements of our meal. Rice and spices from markets mingle with the colonial addition of fish and eggs transforming the local dish of kichirī into today’s kedgeree.
Though some Kedgeree recipes include curry powder, no self respecting Indian cook would ever resort to the vaguely brown powder sitting in a jar at the back of the cupboard. Use the mix below, or add to it as you will, the flavour will be far better than any pre made mix. Dried whole spices weigh little, changing the quantities below can greatly alter the flavour of the recipe below so we encourage you to experiment
2 cups long grain rice or a mix of long grained and wild rice
2 tbsp garam masala powder, or use the mix below:
1 tsp tumeric
1 tbsp curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp black onion seeds
1 tsp rock salt or sea salt
1 tsp pepper
2 organic duck or chicken eggs, hard boiled the night before and kept fresh in the drybag fridge.
2 fillets wild salmon or trout
Chervil and coriander leaves
1 tbsp olive oil, butter, or ghee
Heat the ghee in a pan, when hot, add the spices and salt. Cook the fish fillets, skin side down first until crisp then flip and cook for 1-2 minutes more, remove and leave to rest. Rinse the rise in clean water, drain the excess starch and add clean water to the top of the rice, then one knuckle deep extra. Bring to the boil, with lid on until fluffy, season.
Peel and chop the eggs. Flake the trout fillets into the rice, add the eggs, tear the chervil and coriander leaves and mix well.
2 tbsp wild heather honey
3 tbsp butter
4 tbsp raspberries
4 tbsp strained yoghurt.
Bring water to the boil, add the oats and cook. You should have a thick mixture. Add 2 tbsp butter to the mix, and stir in.
In a pan, heat up the other tbsp butter. Spoon some of oatmeal into the pan and flatted down to thick disks. Fry on one side, flip and fry again. Spoon into bowls and top with yoghurt, raspberries and honey.
You can also make this dish with cream instead of yoghurt and add a tot of good Scottish Whiskey if you feel like it.
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