Roast dinner at the Juniperlea Inn, Pathhead, Midlothian.
Is there anything more comforting and traditional than a good Sunday Roast? It’s a tradition dating back to the 15th century during the reign of King Henry the VII when the royal guard would eat fresh roast beef every Sunday after church hence them being referred to as “beefeaters”. I do enjoy a historical food fact.
It’s a tradition that has endured ever since and a good roast dinner is an absolute joy. It’s a meal that takes time and care to prepare and that should be lingered over with friends and family. Even better is having it prepared for you in one of our fabulous Midlothian restaurants who are well and truly knocking the Sunday roast game out of the park! I have eaten a lot of Sunday roasts in recent weeks (purely for research purposes of course) and here are my absolute winners!!
The Laird and Dog, Lasswade This has to be one of the best roast dinners I have ever had. So good in fact, that I visited twice so that I could try both the roast chicken and roast beef options. It is beautifully presented on a wooden platter groaning with succulent roast beef or a half roast chicken, crisp and golden roast potatoes and homemade Yorkshire puddings (surely the crown on any roast dinner). The vegetables also really shine here, not a dull under seasoned carrot baton in sight. The carrots cooked in honey and marmalade were just perfect as was the beautifully cooked red cabbage and tenderstem broccoli. It was a feast for the eyes and packed full of colour and flavour. There was also plenty of rich gravy which is an absolute must for the perfect roast and I genuinely think that this is, for me, the perfect roast. You are guaranteed the warmest of welcomes here from Adam and the team and you can expect to enjoy a fabulous Sunday lunch in a traditional setting.
The Paper Mill, Lasswade Another strong Lasswade contender, the Paper Mill is located in a beautiful setting overlooking the river Esk. It is a modern, airy and contemporary venue and a firm Midlothian favourite. There is very much an emphasis on supporting local suppliers and using the best locally sourced produce here. Indeed many of the vegetables and herbs featured in their menus are from their sister venue, The Secret Garden. Although there is just one roast option, roast beef, it is an excellent one. My plate was piled high with slices of beautifully tender roast beef, perfectly cooked golden roasties all topped with a huge Yorkshire pudding. The vegetable options are also very strong, with well-cooked and seasoned cauliflower, parsnips, red cabbage and broccoli. With an extensive and imaginative cocktail menu and an excellent selection of wines at very reasonable price points, the Paper Mill is definitely one to add to your Sunday roast lists.
The Juniperlea Inn, Pathhead This was a first time visit for me but it certainly won’t be my last. It’s only a 30 minute drive from Edinburgh and has a lovely rural feel. The décor is stylish and modern but still manages to be warm, welcoming and cosy. There are a good selection of roast options to choose from, all at very reasonable prices. I opted for the roast chicken and was served a beautifully presented, mouth-watering dish. The chicken was perfectly cooked with crispy, well-seasoned skin, just as it should be. The vegetables were excellent and the roast potatoes were amongst the best I’ve had. Bonus points were given too, as it was the only one to feature cauliflower cheese, which is a firm favourite of mine and always a welcome addition to any roast. The quality of their locally sourced ingredients is very clear to see as is their passion for the highest levels of customer service. I plan to be a regular visitor from now on.
The Craigie Hotel, Penicuick – I have written about the Craigie hotel before in previous articles and once again, they do not fail to impress. Located at the foot of the Pentland Hills and only 20 minutes south of Edinburgh, the Craigie is a beautiful, stylish and family friendly destination, perfect for a fabulous Sunday lunch. Their roast offering is very strong with locally sourced roast sirloin of Scottish beef, crispy roast potatoes, velvety mash and honey roast vegetables. Topped with a substantial home-made Yorkshire pudding and lashings of rich, real gravy, I can verify that it’s one of Midlothian’s finest!
Sunday lunch is such a wonderful tradition of ours. It’s a time to connect with friends and family at the end of a week, to talk and to relax over a delicious meal and a glass of wine. We are so lucky in Midlothian to have such a fabulous choice of locations and venues to choose from, and with no washing up to do afterwards, it’s a winner all round.
I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and I’m looking forward to discovering and sharing more of Midlothian’s culinary delights in 2023
For more recommendations, reviews and questions head over to @eatsleepgreet on Instagram.
Fiona Maher (on the right) with a participant at one of the workshops.
An Artist in Residence appointed by the Penicuik Heritage Regeneration Project has been working with local community groups to produce artworks reflecting the history and heritage of the town.
Print maker and sculptor Fiona Maher, who has many years of community-based experience, is a former pupil of Penicuik High School. She currently runs regular classes at Edinburgh Printmakers on a freelance basis.
Fiona chose to concentrate her work for the Penicuik project on the paper making history of the town. Over the past year, she has held 15 residents’ workshops in Penicuik Town Hall and at the Pen-y-Coe Press with around 160 people taking part. The workshops, which included community groups and pupils from Beeslack High School, involved printing and drawing, etching and other techniques using materials from the Penicuik Historical Society and other local groups.
Eight prints have been produced as a result, with all but two of them created by the participants under Fiona’s guidance. The new artworks will hang permanently in Penicuik Town Hall.
To celebrate the project’s completion, a special event will be held on Saturday 21 January when Fiona will present the artworks to the community. Midlothian Provost, Councillor Debbi McCall, will be there to welcome visitors and to thank Fiona for her work.
“Fiona has done a great job working with local community groups to stimulate interest in the history and heritage of the town, with local people creating some attractive and exciting prints,” said Provost McCall. “By displaying these permanently in the town hall, we will hopefully encourage people to take an interest in the heritage of the town and to learn more about the creative processes involved in drawing and printmaking.”
Local residents and visitors are welcome to attend the presentation of the artworks in Penicuik Town Hall on Saturday 21 January 2023 at 10.30am.
The Penicuik Heritage Regeneration Project is a 5-year scheme aimed at regenerating the historic core of Penicuik through historic building grants, shop front improvements, public realm improvements and an extensive education, training and engagement programme. It is funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, and Midlothian Council, and supported by Penicuik Community Development Trust, Penicuik First and Penicuik and District Community Council.
Danderhall Guerilla Kids collect the prestigious David Welch Memorial Trophy from Keep Scotland Beautiful.
A volunteer gardening group which, created a memorial statue to honour child miners in its community, has won a prestigious award for its work.
Danderhall and District Guerrilla Gardeners formed during lockdown after it united against the use of pesticides by Midlothian Council.
In its first 18 months it created an army of volunteers of all ages to maintain green space across its community. And when it discovered an old mine wall lost in weeds, the group began researching the area’s history and uncovered the plight of child miners who were enslaved to pit owners and the lives they faced.
Now a statue the group worked to have put up in the community has been awarded the David Welch memorial trophy by Keep Scotland Beautiful judges. And the group’s overall work in its community saw it given a Silver award in the annual competition.
The David Welch trophy is a discretionary award from judges in honour of a life long member of the Royal Horticultural Society whose family gifted it to Keep Scotland Beautiful for “something special.”
Judges visited the memorial at the weekend to present the trophy which was received by junior members of the Guerilla Gardeners.
Helen Graham, chairperson of the Guerrilla Gardeners, said: “We told the child miner slaves story and everyone including this wonderful community got behind us and made this development possible.
“The Coalfield Regeneration Trust, Midlothian Council and Shawfair LLP all invested in this site working closely with the Guerrillas to do this site justice.
“Huge fundraising efforts were supported by our community and the end result gets its justifiable award.”
During the gardening group’s work they uncovered part of an old colliery waggonway and began researching Edmonstone Colliery.
They read the 1840 account of a Childrens Employment Commissioner’s inquiry into conditions in the mines, which described Newton parish, where Danderhall is, as having pits that were the worst in Scotland.
The heart-wrenching accounts given to the commissioner from children working in the mines helped bring about new legislation changing conditions in the mines.
The group raised funds to build a statue in their memory and the youngest members went along to the site on Sunday to collect the trophy from the judges.
Helen said: “The Guerrilla Kids, were invited to accept the trophy on behalf of the child miner slaves of Newton Parish whose strife and struggle and bravery changed the future for miners’ conditions, working rights, and working age.
“Thanks to Keep Scotland Beautiful for choosing this memorial and for their support for our group.
“All of our Guerrilla kids were presented with a beautiful medal for their hard work in this community, and it is in those children that we trust to keep our work going, and to keep the history and heritage of this community alive in this ever-growing community.”