Sunday, 29 November 2015

Haggis Shepherd's Pie with Scotch Lamb

Many people tend to associate eating lamb with Springtime, but for Scotch Lamb the best time of year is the Autumn when it's at its peak of seasonality. Scotch lambs are bred in the spring so whilst a newly born Easter lamb may look cute, it won't be ready to eat until the Autumn. The Scotch Lamb label has European PGI status which ensures quality, safety and taste. The label also guarantees traceability of the meat from farm to fork meaning it has been born, reared and slaughtered in Scotland.

Quality Meat Scotland's Good Family Food Facebook Page asked me to come up with an Autumnal Scotch Lamb dish that would also celebrate St Andrew's Day. Keeping with an all Scottish theme I incorporated Haggis, Neeps and Tatties to make a Shepherd's Pie. My daughter declared this dish the best thing I have ever made, which is high praise indeed! I've often combined haggis with beef but it worked particularly well with the flavours of Scotch Lamb Mince. A perfect winter warmer with which to raise a glass and toast our Patron Saint.

Haggis Shepherds Pie with Scotch Lamb

1 Tbsp Scottish Rapeseed Oil

1 medium Onion, finely chopped

1 large Carrot, finely chopped

500g Scotch Lamb Mince

1 Lamb Stock Cube

75g Petit Pois

450g Haggis
800g Potatoes
500g Neep (Swede)
25g Butter

Preheat the oven to 200c
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the finely chopped onion and carrot until softened, approx 5 minutes.
Add the Scotch Lamb Mince to the pan and stir gently until broken up and browned.
Crumble in a lamb stock cube and add the frozen peas.
Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile peel and roughly chop the potatoes and cook in a large pan of boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes until soft. Once cooked, drain the potatoes well and mash along with the butter.
In a separate pan of boiling salted water cook the peeled and roughly chopped neep, also for 15-20 minutes, or until soft. Mash until smooth and season with black pepper.
Remove the haggis from its outer cover and cut into small cubes. 
Take the Scotch Lamb Mince off the heat and stir through the cubed haggis. 
Transfer the lamb and haggis mix to a large ovenproof dish. Top with the mashed neep and finally the mashed potato. Use a fork to make a criss cross 'tartan' pattern on the top of the pie.
Cook for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. 

For further inspiration with Scotch Lamb have a look at the Wham Bam Thank You Lamb website. Plus here are some more recipes incorporating lamb mince from food blogging friends.

Moroccan Shepherds Pie - The Hedgecombers
Pastitsio - Greek Macaroni Pie - Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary
Samosa Pie - Supper in the Suburbs
Shepherd's Pie Jackets - It's not easy being Greedy
Moroccan Lamb & Egg Tagine - Gingey Bites
Greek Lamb & Feta Spirals - Eats Amazing 

Disclosure : This is a commissioned recipe for Quality Meat Scotland

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Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - Food Year Linkup

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Shortbread Kilts for St Andrew's Day

As Scotland's Patron Saint, poor old St Andrew doesn't always seem to get the attention he deserves. Celebrated on 30th November St Andrew's Day is often overshadowed by the Burns Night celebrations of 25th January. However in recent years, particularly since 2006 when the Scottish Parliament designated St Andrew's Day as an official bank holiday, there has been somewhat of a resurgence in celebrations surrounding the date. The Good Family Food Facebook page asked me to come up with a quick and easy foodie idea to help celebrate. There's not much more Scottish than Tartan and Petticoat Tails so I made some Shortbread Kilts!

So who actually is St Andrew? Here are some quick facts about our patron Saint. 

St Andrew was one of the 12 disciples and brother of St Peter. He is also the patron saint of Romania, Greece and Russia. He is believed to have died on a diagonally transversed cross which the Romans sometimes used for executions and which, therefore, came to be called St Andrews Cross. Scotland's St Andrew's flag in the form of a white X on a blue background and is commonly known as The Saltire 

Petticoat Tails Shortbread - recipe
Writing Icing 

Use a sharp knife to cut the points off Petticoat Tails Shortbread (you can buy or make your own using my recipe above).
Then create your very own edible clan tartan using writing icing.
Great fun for both little and big kids. 

Continue celebrating all things Scottish Food with the following ideas:

Disclosure : Shortbread Kilts commissioned by Good Family Food. As always, all views expressed are my own.
Thank you for supporting the brands who make it possible for me to continue to share my Edible Scottish Adventures with you. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Fishing, Golf and Local Produce at Forbes of Kingennie Country Resort

A couple of in-service days, 2 kids to occupy and a husband working in South East Asia. All these factors collided perfectly with an opportunity to visit Forbes of Kingennie Country Resort. Situated in Angus just 5 miles from Dundee meant a journey time of just shy of an hour for us. The weather on our arrival was a typically driech Scottish Sunday afternoon however even then we could see what a fabulous setting and great views were on offer. These became even clearer the next morning when we awoke to autumnal sunshine streaming through our lodge windows.

Our accommodation was one of the waterside lodges just a stones throw from the Restaurant, Bar and Sport's Reception. The lodge sleeps 6 and with only the three of us we had a room each which pleased boy and girl very much. All the rooms in the lodge were very spacious, bright and light with plenty of storage space. I even had a walk in wardrobe in mine and a jacuzzi bath in my ensuite, much to the consternation of my daughter. The bedrooms and bathrooms were downstairs and there was a huge open plan living space upstairs with lounge, kitchen and front and rear balconies. There are 14 lodges on site, some of which are dog friendly. They sleep from 2 - 10 people and all offer four star luxury self catering facilities. They are all named after Angus glens (ours was Glen Shee). The Leannan Boathouse looks like the most fantastic romantic hideaway. It was built in 1855 and when the resort first opened it was the fishing shop. Now many of those who get married at Kingennie spend their wedding night in it.

Two of the main things that bring visitors to Forbes of Kingennie are fishing and golf. Our previous fishing experience was zero and golf to us means crazy golf. We took a fishing lesson under the expert tuition of Grant who soon had us casting like professionals. He assured us of a catch and before too long boy got a bite and reeled in his first ever fish. Girl wasn't too far behind and over the course of an hours lesson they each caught two good sized trout. No tales of the one that got away as both proudly displayed their catches and weighed them in. Girl wasn't quite so keen on the gutting part but ever the foodie boy borrowed a sharp knife form the kitchen and did the needful. 

Next on our to do list was the Angus Thistle Maze however we were disappointed to find it was closed for a couple of days due to maintenance. All the more reason to return at some point to tackle it. Green and Copper Beech and a trail of questions combine in the shape of a thistle. Instead the Cairngorms Putting Green was to be our next challenge. 18 holes spread over a course designed to emulate the Cairngorm Mountains complete with Glens, Corries, Passes and Munros. The fishing lesson proved its worth as a number of balls had to be retrieved from lochs along the way. We didn't keep score but I'm pretty sure I won. At least I didn't have to go fishing on the golf course. 

We headed to the Waterside Restaurant for lunch where local produce features prominently on the menu. The family farm next door to the resort supplies peas, strawberries, free range eggs, rhubarb, pork, beetroot, raspberries, blueberries, haskaap berries and salad leaves. They also support other local family run suppliers and have been awarded a Taste our Best award from Visit Scotland. I had the pork dish of the day which was a fantastic chunky chop with peppercorn sauce. The Forbes Peas with my daughter's sausage and mash were some of the sweetest I've tasted. These definitely need to make an appearance more widely than just on the kids menu. I was joined over coffee by Marketing Manager Libby Forbes who took me for a tour of the function and events facilities. With such a stunning setting and a location central for the whole of Scotland they can cater for everything from conferences and weddings to family gatherings and birthdays. Upstairs from the restaurant the Inglesmaldie Suite can hold up to 150 with stunning view over the fishing ponds, golf course and countryside. Meanwhile the high ceilings, beams and natural light in the Buddon Burn Suite is perfect for more intimate events and I can imagine it looks wonderful for a small wedding. 

Our lodge was fantastically well equipped when it came to cooking facilities, plenty of equipment, utensils, pots and pans plus basics like tea, coffee, washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets and dish towels. Things like these make such a difference. The first night we cooked up an Orzo, Chorizio and Scallop Risotto before getting cosy on the couch for a movie night. Breakfast next morning was Bacon In Pancakes with Maple Syrup. The Maple Syrup also made an appearance for dinner as we combined it with wholegrain mustard as a glaze for our freshly caught trout. Leftovers were served up for breakfast alongside scrambled eggs. That's almost another item ticked off my foodie bucket list although I did specifically want to catch, cook and eat a fish on a riverbank. Perhaps its a case of close but no cigar.

Two days passed way too quickly and all too soon it was time to pack up and head home. Recharged, relaxed with some new found fishing skills and a couple of trout for the freezer. Hopefully it's not too long before we can return and conquer the angus thistle maze.

Disclosure: We lunched, fished, putted and stayed as guests of Forbes of Kingennie. All views expressed are my own. 
Thank you for supporting the brands who make it possible for me to continue to share my Edible Scottish Adventures with you. I’m super choosy and promise to bring you only the cream of the crop.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Tunnock's Teacake Christmas Puddings

So today is Stir Up Sunday. The date on which you should traditionally make your Christmas Pudding. If that all seems like a wee bit too much hard work I've got an alternative idea to share. Tunnock's Teacake Christmas Puddings. If you want to stick with tradition I've also blogged my failsafe 7 Cup Pudding Recipe along with a boozy pud from Neil Forbes of Edinburgh's Cafe St HonorĂ©. 

Tunnock's Teacakes are quintessentially Scottish. Their iconic status was heightened when they made a starting appearance at the opening ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Tunnock's is a family baker based in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, Scotland. In addition to Teacakes they also make Caramel Wafers, Caramel Logs and Snowballs. The Tunnocks Teacake consist of a round shortbread like biscuity base covered with a dome of marshmallowey Italian meringue. This is all then encased in a thin layer of milk chocolate (red wrappers) or dark chocolate (blue wrappers).

In Scotland the Tunnock's Teacake is an integral part of giving blood. The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service treat their donors extremely well and there's always a great selection of biscuits to enjoy with your cuppa afterwards, but Teacakes are the top choice by a huge margin. With over 700 donors through the doors each day that's a lot of chocolate and marshmallow consumed for a good cause. Blood is required the whole year round but there are particular pressures on the service over the Christmas period. Attendance by regular donors drops off due to busy festive diaries and adverse weather can cause travel issues and cancelled sessions. As the Christmas decorations go up blood stocks go down. This festive season could you make time in your calendar to give blood in exchange for a teacake? You've got it in you to save a life.


Tunnocks Teacakes (milk or dark)

White Chocolate

Red and Green Writing Icing

Melt the white chocolate and leave it to cool slightly, if it's too hot it will melt the chocolate on the teacake.
Spoon the white chocolate over the top of the teacake and encourage some if it to run down the sides. Put the teacakes in the fridge for the white chocolate to set.
Use green writing icing to make three holly leaves on the top of each teacake. You can be as anatomically correct as you like or just go for a green squiggle.
Finally make three berries on each teacake with the red icing pen (or you could use red sweets)

Link up your recipe of the week

Festive Food Friday

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Cheesy Spinach, Mushroom & Potato Crust Pie

We've come to the time of year where comfort food is definitely the order of the day. The recipe I'm sharing today fits the bill perfectly. Its something that I've been making in various guises for more years than I care to remember. I'm pretty sure I saw the concept on the original 1980's "Food & Drink" show which ran on BBC2 presented by Chris Kelly with chef Michael Barry and wine experts Jilly Goolden and Oz Clarke. It was the first TV cookery show I ever remember watching. After that I got somewhat addicted to Ready, Steady, Cook. And the rest is history!

Once you have the basic concept of a potato crust pie you can mix and match your fillings. I've kept this one vegetarian but you could also add meaty ingredients such as bacon, tuna, chorizio etc. It can also be made gluten free by replacing the plain flour with a GF alternative. You need a good strong cheddar for this dish and Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar fits the bill perfectly. Matured for 24 months the cheddar has a fantastically rich and creamy taste. It's available online, from the deli counters in good farm shops, and Sainsbury's, Waitrose & Morrison's stores.

Cheesy Spinach, Mushroom & Potato Crust Pie

Pie Crust
700g (8oz) Potatoes
50g (2oz) Plain Flour
50g (2oz) Salted Butter, plus extra for greasing
50g (2oz) Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar, grated

5ml (1 Tablespoon) Scottish Rapeseed Oil
250g 9oz) Chestnut Mushrooms, sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
200g (7oz) Bag Fresh Spinach
1 Free Range Egg, beaten
150ml (1/4 pint) Single Cream
50g (2oz) Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar, grated
Salt & Pepper
1.25ml (¼ Teaspoon) freshly grated Nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 200c (Gas Mark 6)
Boil the potatoes in salted water for 18-20mins until soft.
Mash with the butter, flour and 50g Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar, leave aside to cool slightly.
Use the extra butter to grease a 25cm (10”) flan dish. Using your fingers or a spoon, press the mashed potato mixture into the dish until the base and sides are covered.
Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the crushed garlic and sliced chestnut mushrooms and gently fry.
Meanwhile, cook the spinach in the microwave according to the instructions on the packaging. Squeeze it well to remove excess moisture and add it to the frying pan. 
Combine the spinach, mushrooms and garlic and use a slotted spoon to transfer them into the pie, leaving any liquid behind. Spread evenly over the base.
Whisk together the egg, cream, 25g of the Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar, salt and pepper and grated nutmeg.
Pour the mixture over the pie and sprinkle on the remaining 25g of grated Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar.
Bake the Cheesy Spinach, Mushroom & Potato Crust Pie in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Perfect as a light supper with a green salad or for a more substantial meal serve with a selection of roasted root vegetables

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Disclosure: This is a commissioned recipe for Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar. As always, all views expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who make it possible for me to continue to share my Edible Scottish Adventures with you. I’m super choosy and promise to bring you only the cream of the crop.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Christmas Pudding Vodka - one of a dozen boozy homemade Christmas gifts

Now we're into November I'm hoping that it's safe enough for me to start mentioning the "C" word? Feel free to burry your head in the sand but the shops are already overloaded with cards, gifts and decorations so I don't feel too guilty about my first festive blog post for this year. It will help you get in the Christmas spirit in more ways than one as today I'm sharing a dozen boozy recipes for homemade Christmas Gifts. First up my own Christmas Pudding Vodka followed by some fantastic recipes from fellow food bloggers. Be sure to enjoy a wee tipple yourself whilst you're hard at work making these gifts for your friends and relatives.


70cl bottle of good quality Vodka

75g Currants
75g Raisins
75g Sultanas
75g Mixed Peel
300g Mixed Dried Fruit
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Teaspoons Ground Mixed Spice
6 Cloves
1/2 a Nutmeg freshly ground
150g Dark Brown Sugar
Vanilla Pod - split and seeds removed
Orange - grated zest and juice
Lemon - grated zest and juice

Mix together all the fruits and spices in a Mason Jar or large bowl and pour over the Vodka.
Seal the jar or cover the bowl with clingfilm.
Place in the fridge for 3 days and shake/stir once a day.
Line a sieve with a layer of muslin (or you can use a coffee filter paper or kitchen towel) and place it over a large clean jug
Pour the dried fruit and vodka mixture into the sieve and strain.
Decant into decorative bottles, ideally with the aid of a funnel to avoid a sticky mess.
Serve at room temperature or from the freezer. Straight, on the rocks or with lemonade or tonic.
Use the fruit (with cloves/cinnamon removed) mixed through softened ice cream or as the basis for a boozy mincemeat.

Butcher Baker Baby - Snowball Truffles (Rum)
Tin & Thyme - Chilli & Chocolate Mincemeat (Vodka)
Butcher Baker Baby - Christmas Pudding Rum Truffles

The Hedgecombers - Satsumas Poached in Red Wine
The Usual Saucepans - Mulled Gin
Veggie Deserts - Pumpkin Mincemeat (Brandy)

Supper in the Suburbs - Limoncello (Vodka)
The Crafty Larder - Earl of Orange Gin
Foodie Quine - Christmas Pudding Vodka

If you're still sober after all that you're doing very well! Vodka, Rum, Baileys, Red Wine, Brandy and Gin is quite some cocktail! If you're not quite at the stage yet of being ready for Christmas cooking I've created a wee montage below featuring all the recipes. If Pinterest is your thing that's the one to share so you can easily find all these fab recipes again when you need them.

Link up your recipe of the week
Festive Food Friday

Friday, 6 November 2015

Top Tips for a day at The BBC Good Food Show Scotland

I'm blogging from my hotel room in Glasgow after a full day at the BBC Good Food Show Scotland in the SECC. I wanted to get a quick post up to share my top tips and must dos for the day for anyone heading there tomorrow or Sunday. It was my first ever Good Food Show so I don't really have anything to compare it to. It seemed quieter than I had expected but I suspect the weekend days will be much busier so I'd suggest you get there early. The show was officially opened today by none other than Paul and Mary and they'll also be there on Saturday.

Without further ado here are my top tips 
  • Pick up a showguide from the holders as you enter the exhibition hall 
  • Book yourself a place on the #letscocktail masterclass. Best £10 you'll spend at the show. A fantastic hands on workshop with cocktail gurus Tom and Frankie. My favourite part of the whole day! 
  • Book tickets for a show in the supertheatre. Seats are numbered so there's no real need to arrive the specified 15 minutes before. 
  • Leave the car at home. Lots of boozy samples to be had. 
  • The exhibition hall is really warm, you won't need a coat. 
  • Comfy shoes. Its a long day on your feet. 
  • The pop up resturant is open 12-4pm. Go early or go late to avoid the queues. 
  • Bring a rucksack, trolley bag/box if you're going to be doing some serious shopping. Alternatively some stands will let you "buy now collect later" and there's also a "shop and drop" with donations to Guide Dogs Scotland. 
  • If you want to win a wooden spoon signed by Paul and Mary be prepared to dance like you've never danced before 


For Gin Lovers...
  • Plant-n-Grow - Fantastic Grow your own Gin Garden kits! These had all sold out on Friday so get there quick. 
  • Tonic - Scotland's first and only tonic water Walter Gregor 
  • Gin & Tonic Popcorn at Poporopo 
  • Hendricks Gin Macarons at Mademeisele Macaron 
  • Gins - Daffy's (GORGEOUS Bottle), Masons Yorkshire Gin (make sure you try their Yorkshire Tea Edition), Portobello Road, Pickerings (Fab Gin Candles & Christmas Baubles), Martin Miller, & Edinburgh Gin 

For food on the go...
Awesome Scotch Eggs frpm Aye Love Real Food
Fab Sausage Rolls from Pig In The Middle

Bread, Cakes & Sweet Treats
Ochil Fudge Pantry
Three Sisters Bake
Mhor Bread
The Brownie Bar

Fish & Meat
Smoked Gigha Halibut
Hebridean Sea Salt & Seafood
Seriously Good Venison
Campsie Glen Smokehouse
The Hebridean Food Company
Ramsay of Carluke

Oaty Goodness
Stockan's Oatcakes

Oils & Dressings
Mackintosh of Glendaveny
Summer Harvest Oils

Most generous samples!
Mash Direct

Have a fantastic time if you are heading to The BBC Good Food Show Scotland over the next two days. Its so difficult to see everything and I'm sure there are some fab stalls that I missed. I'm sorely tempted to go back again tomorrow to see Michel Roux Jr. And to buy another Scotch Egg!

Bloggers meet GBBO runner up Luis Troyano

Disclosure: I received a complimentary press ticket to attend The BBC Good Food Show Scotland. All views expressed are my own.