Young farmers are cooking up a treat

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Two Vale of Alford Young Farmers members beat teams from the east and west regions of Scotland to be crowned winners of the Ready Steady Country Cooks competition at the Royal Highland Show.

Donside duo Leanne Keir, of Craigievar, and Coreen Beange, of Sauchen, took part in the competition at the weekend.

Coreen is 22 and works as project co-ordinator (freight forwarder) for DHL Global Forwarding.

Although she doesn’t have a cooking or chef background, she has done plenty baking and cooking for Young Farmers competition.

“I am the currently secretary of the Alford Young Farmers and this is my third year of being the secretary for the club,” she said.

Leanne, 23, is assistant events manager at Glen Tanar Ballroom, Aboyne. She studied hospitality management at university and was also a commis chef at Kemnay Golf Club and the Crossroads Hotel.

Leanne is also current chairwoman of Alford Young Farmers.

Following the same format as the popular former BBC show, the contestants were given a bag of ingredients and it was then up to them as to what they created.

Each team had an hour to prepare, cook and plate up a meal.

The ingredients the girls were given were: Two chicken breasts, bacon, brie, onions, apples, courgette, tin of tomatoes, celery, cream, yoghurt and basic store cupboard ingredients including flour, sugar, milk, butter and spices.

With these ingredients, the pair made stuffed chicken parcels wrapped with bacon on a bed of courgettes, onion and tomato sauce, with a finishing touch of a brie cream sauce.

Dessert was apple and cinnamon muffins with a cinnamon cream, along with caramelised apples.

With a score of 94 out of 100 and a comment made by the judges that theirs was “Well presented to a hotel standard” the girls were delighted with their performance. Leanne and Coreen thanked Alistair and Dot Smart (Shiel Farm, Muir of Fowlis, Alford) for sponsoring their cooking aprons and supporting them on the day.