If you’re looking for hearty peasant food rather than something elegant, consider this tasty Scottish recipe. Small fish such as herring or sardines are perfect for making this dish, or you could even try mackerel, croakers, dabs or similar. If you make friends with your local fishmonger, perhaps he will remove the bones for you. If you have to do it yourself, cut along the underside and hit the backbone a few times. Next, pull the backbone out along with as many of the bones as you can. Now scrape the scales off using a knife, and discard the heads and tails. It’s easy to fillet herrings, I promise you!
The flavour is really nice, and you will find the mustard cuts through the richness of the fish. The oats make me think of cosy autumn or winter. The traditional Scottish way of serving oat-crusted herring is mashed or boiled potatoes or thick slices of bread and butter, although modern cookbooks featuring this recipe suggest lemon and parsley, or even crispy bacon (yum, we like that idea!)
My family loves creamy mashed potatoes on the side, and plenty of them, but sometimes bread and butter is good too. You don’t need many ingredients for this tasty Scottish recipe so you can rustle it up quickly when you want something hot and tasty to eat for lunch or dinner. The herring fillets are covered in salt then soaked in a creamy mustard mixture. They are then coated in oats and pan-fried until crispy. Herring and oats are both Scottish staples, so it makes sense to combine them and make this wonderful rustic dish. Give it a try and see how it compares to your family’s usual crispy fish dinner. I bet you’re going to love it! This recipe serves 2 people but it’s easy to make more if you’re feeding a crowd. Continue reading
Scotland is famous for its salmon, both fresh and smoked. This type of fish teams well with lemon juice and cream cheese to make canapes, and it can also be used to make sandwiches, quiches, pasta dishes or salads. The term ‘smoked salmon’ refers to wild or farmed fish, hot or cold smoked, and either filet or steaks. The term ‘lox’ is often used to refer to smoked salmon, although lox is salmon which has been cured in a salt and sugar brine or rub. Choose good quality, cold-smoked Scottish smoked salmon for this recipe, or another type of good quality smoked salmon instead from another region.
The following recipe serves the smoked salmon with a simple lemon, olive oil, sugar and black pepper dressing, along with a few capers. Consider some finely sliced onion and salad leaves on top. If you do not want to use onion, snipped chives would also work here. Else just omit both of these if you prefer. This is a light and healthy starter recipe which would go before any kind of meat-based main course.
Smoked salmon provides a range of vitamins as well as minerals like copper, selenium, calcium, zinc, iron, and phosphorus. Adding smoked salmon to a dish also adds a touch of luxury to the plate. Consider this as a starter for Valentine’s Day or another special occasion. It takes just a few minutes to assemble and there is no cooking required. The acidic lemon and salty capers really showcase the delicate smoked salmon flavour. So if you want to experience the exquisite flavour of true Scottish salmon but a fishing expedition is not on the calendar anytime soon, give this recipe a try instead. Continue reading
Hairst bree is Gaelic Scottish for ‘harvest broth’ and is also known as hotch potch. It is traditionally made with mutton or lamb neck, although you can use lamb shanks if you prefer. The vegetables in this soup tend to be anything which is in season locally. Hairst bree is a hearty, substantial dish, and it would have been filling and comforting for outdoor workers after a cold day in the highlands. This chunky dish is part soup and part stew, or ‘stoup’ if you like. Lamb is a natural choice in a country where sheep are numerous and often fare better in the harsh climate than cattle, thanks to their warm wool.
We are using swede (rutabaga), carrots, spring onions, beans, peas, cauliflower, and lettuce to make this, although you may substitute any other vegetables depending what is in season and available locally. Consider broccoli instead of the cauliflower, or potatoes instead of the carrots. Fresh mint and parsley also go into the dish, and both of those combine beautifully with the hearty lamb flavour, and suit the dish well.
A lot of Scottish cooks will keep this simmering away for a large part of the day, but you might prefer to cook it until the vegetables are ‘just’ tender rather than until they are only just holding together. Ladle generous servings of this hairst bree into mugs or bowls and serve piping hot. This is a robust soup which is filling enough to pass for an evening meal, rather than a mere appetiser or snack. Consider serving some crusty rustic bread on the side which can be used to sop up every last drop of this flavour-packed soup. Continue reading
This delicious Scottish fruit and whisky tart is known locally as Ecclefechan tart. Ecclefechan is a small town in the Scottish Borders and it is where this tasty recipe originated. Enjoy it with ice cream, whipped cream or custard, for the perfect dessert. It is rich so you will only need a small slice. Although this tart is not that well known outside of Scotland, it is well worth making for a special occasion because it offers such a unique flavour. You will need sweet shortcrust pastry for this tart, which you can buy or make yourself. Mix some lemon zest into it before rolling it out to make the crust for your tart.
The filling is a rich combination of butter, sugar, dried fruit, syrup, eggs, nuts, Scotch whisky and lemon. The filling is spooned into the crust and then the tart is baked in the oven until your whole kitchen smells incredible and the filling is set but slightly jiggly in the middle. Let it cool down and then enjoy it as a special treat after your meal. This is a recipe for those with a real sweet tooth, who love all things wonderfully sticky and sweet.
Making this tart is very easy, and most of it is simply a question of combining the ingredients. It is of course best to use Scotch whisky to make it, rather than another type, to keep it authentic. This hearty, rib-sticking dessert is perfect for Christmas or a special occasion. Continue reading
Haggis is world-famous as a Scottish delicacy. A lot of people talk about it but not everyone knows exactly what it is or how much work goes into making the perfect haggis. This famed dish is made with offal, oats, onion and spices. The mixture is stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and then served with ‘neeps and tatties’ (translated from the Scottish, that means swede, turnip or rutabaga and mashed potatoes). This is a traditional Burn’s Night supper. Burn’s Night falls on January 25 – Robert Burns’ birthday. He was Scotland’s bard and wrote a poem ‘Address to a Haggis’ because he loved this unusual dish.
Depending where you live, some of the ingredients might be hard to find. Not everyone has access to offal, so you might have to visit an ethnic shop and buy a readymade haggis if you cannot find the pieces needed to make this homemade version. The idea of haggis might not be immediately appealing, but if you like meat, you will probably enjoy its nutty texture and hearty, meaty flavour.
Haggis is believed to date back to ancient times, when as many parts of the animal as possible would be used after the hunt to make a meal. Today, a ‘dram’ (of Scotch whisky) is the traditional accompaniment to haggis, neeps and tatties, whether you are making it for Burn’s Night, another special occasion, or just to see what all the fuss is about and enjoy something unusual for your dinner. ‘Vegetarian haggis’ has been sold since the 1960, using pulses, vegetables and nuts instead of meat, but we suggest making the authentic kind at least once. After all, can over 5 million Scotsmen be so wrong? Continue reading
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