Barbecued Honey and Mustard Herring with Spaghetti and Avocado

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Known as the ‘Silver Darlings’ North Sea Herring is one of the most sustainable types of fish around. The 2016 season is now underway and I'd really like to encourage you to include this tasty and nutritious fish in your shopping basket. Perhaps nowadays seen as a somewhat old fashioned fish the arrival of fresh herring in the shops used to be as great a feature of summer as finding fresh strawberries.

At the peak of the herring industry in the late 19th century the boats followed the shoals of fish around the coast and along with them followed an army of curers, merchants and herring lasses. Scottish herring quines were an integral part of the industry with girls as young as 15 gutting and packing the silver darlings. Working in crews of three, two would gut and one would pack the fish with salt into wooden barrels. It was cold, hard and dirty work.

Herring is an incredibly nutritious fish, packed full of minerals, vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids. Before coming up with my own recipe I had a rummage through my assortment of Scottish cookery book to see what they said about cooking it. Herring with Oatmeal was by far the most mentioned dish. Modern books cook them in rapeseed oil whist the more traditional call for generous quantities of butter or bacon fat. Traditional accompaniments are new potatoes and mustard sauce. Tatties and Salt Herring and Potted or Soused Herring (rollmops) also feature highly. There's no denying that pan-fried herring in oatmeal with a mustard sauce tastes absolutely superb and is hard to beat but there's so much more that can be done with this versatile fish.

For a traditional Herring in Oatmeal I make up a paste with English Mustard and a wee splash of milk. This gets brushed on the herring fillet before pressing on a coating of Pinhead Oatmeal. Pan Fry oatmeal side down in Scottish Rapeseed Oil until golden then flip over and fry the skin side.

"Fry me belly then my back said the herring to the fat!" 

The Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group are the organisation dedicated to ensuring a sustainable future for Scotland’s herring and mackerel sectors. They represent all sectors of Scotland’s pelagic industry, including catching, processing and marketing. In addition to overseeing the certification of fisheries to the Marine Stewardship Council eco-label standard, their activities include participating in a range of science-based initiatives to enhance understanding of these fish stocks.

I buy my herring fillets at a local fishmonger. They are great value for money, costing less than a pound per fillet. Sadly its not something that I've spotted in the supermarket as yet although they do sell them ready coated with an oatmeal crust. Simplicity is the key for cooking herring and I wanted to give them a more modern twist but keep a wee bit of tradition to the flavour. Capitalising on the good fats contained in all oily fish I added some more to my dish by means of Scottish Rapeseed Oil and Avocado. Tradition came by means of mustard. I used English but I reckon Wholegrain would work equally well.

Barbecued Honey & Mustard Herring with Spaghetti & Avocado
Serves 2 (easily doubled)

2 Herring Fillets
2 Tsp Mustard (English or Wholegrain)
2 Tsp Runny Honey
150g Spaghetti
1 Avocado
Splash of Scottish Rapeseed Oil
Dried Chilli Flakes (to taste)
Salt & Pepper
  • Rinse the Herring under cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  • Cut each Herring fillet down the middle and thread it onto a metal or wooden BBQ skewer.
  • Mix together the honey and mustard and brush onto both sides of each kebab then season with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat a grill or BBQ and cook the Herring Kebabs for 8-10 minutes turning occasionally.
  • Meanwhile cook your Spaghetti in boiling salted water according to the pack instructions
  • Skin and de-stone the avocado and chop into small dice.
  • Drain the pasta and stir through the chopped avocado and a splash of Scottish rapeseed oil. Season to taste with chilli flakes and freshly ground salt and pepper.
  • Divide the spaghetti between two bowls and top with the Barbecued Honey & Mustard Herring Kebabs.

Don't be scared to give herring a try. Fresh and properly filleted you are in for a real treat. Our European cousins make the most of it in all its states. I was somewhat apprehensive about eating it raw in a bun with pickles as 'Broodje Haring' in Amsterdam but it was amazingly good. I've pulled together some further recipe suggestions below which cover fried, grilled, baked, pickled and raw from around the world. Go on, give the Silver Darlings a go.

Disclosure: This is a commissioned recipe for the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group. All views expressed are my own. Second photo by David Linkie reproduced with permission of SPSA.

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini with a Butter and Mint Sauce

Friday, 22 July 2016

Pasta is the perfect weekday family meal but its versatility means it can be dressed up or down to suit every occasion. Often in the UK we tend to over-complicate things with our pasta, however in Italy they keep it simple and let the ingredients and flavours shine through. Bertolli have recently teamed up with chef Gennaro Contaldo to help #ShowPastaSomePassion using Bertolli with Butter.

Gennaro believes that simple pasta is delicious, and has been working with Bertolli to share some of his favourite recipes so we can all show pasta some passion. Bertolli with Butter gives a rich, buttery taste combined with a touch of Mediterranean sunshine from the finest olive oil. It really does give you the best of both worlds. In terms of cooking you get the flavour of butter without the worry that it will burn, plus it contains 45% less saturated fat than cooking with butter alone. It can be used anywhere that you would normally use butter from spreading it on crusty Italian bread to cooking up a storm. 

The long school summer holidays have already kicked off in Scotland. Alas we're not heading to foreign climes this year but my 13 year old foodie boy was my sous chef to cook up Gennaro's Italian recipe. Who am I kidding? In reality I am his sous chef! He's a bit of a pasta making master and recently spent a day making and colouring a wonderful selection of tagliatelle, lasagne sheets and farafalle. The stunning natural colours came from beetroot, spinach and tomato. I hope Gennaro would be impressed with Kyle's passion for pasta. 

We adapted Gennaro's Ricotta & Lemon Ravioli served with Bertolli with Butter and Mint sauce recipe to our own Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini served with Bertolli with Butter and Mint sauce. In my mind a recipe is only ever the starting point for a dish and I pretty much always put my own twist on things. No need to panic when the supermarket doesn't have Ricotta & Lemon Ravioli. The Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini made a perfect substitute but kept to the essence of the original. I wanted to boost the veg content of the dish so I served it on top of a bed of spinach, rocket and watercress and added my absolute favourite vegetable Edamame (soya) beans into the pasta mix. When it comes to Parmesan cheese I can't get enough of the stuff so instead of grating it over the top we used a vegetable peeler to make chunky shavings. 

Whilst the minty buttery sauced tasted duly amazing with the tortellini it would be equally good tossed in a simple dish of al dente spaghetti. I know that there are specific shapes of pasta that are supposed to go with specific consistencies of sauces but I reckon Bertolli with Butter, Mint, Lemon and Parmesan could work with them all. 

To discover all nine of Gennaro's authentic pasta recipes visit the Bertolli website and be sure keep an eye out on social media for the hashtags #BertolliWithButter and #ShowPastaSomePassion.

Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini with a Bertolli with Butter & Mint sauce
Serves 4
Adapted from the original Gennaro Contaldo recipe

This dish comes from Gennaro’s home village of Minori where wonderful fresh ricotta is made and beautiful large lemons grow. The creaminess of Bertolli with Butter is perfectly contrasted by the fresh mint and lemon, creating a delicious pasta sauce. 

400 g ready-made spinach and ricotta tortellini 
100g frozen Edamame beans 
60 g Bertolli with Butter + extra knob 
handfuls fresh mint leaves only 
juice and grated zest of 1 lemon 
140g bag of Watercress, Spinach and Rocket Salad 
40 g shaved Parmesan cheese (or vegetarian alternative) 
  • Bring a large saucepan of slightly salted water to the boil. Gennaro’s tip: use lightly salted water to cook pasta in. 
  • Add the Edamame beans and allow the water to come back to the boil. Then add the tortellini and cook for a couple of minutes until they rise to the surface. My tip: don't allow the water to boil too vigorously or your run the risk of your filled pasta bursting. 
  • Meanwhile, heat Bertolli with Butter in a large frying pan with the mint leaves. 
  • Add lemon juice and cook on a gentle heat until the Bertolli with Butter begins to bubble. 
  • Drain the tortellini using a colander or slotted spoon. 
  • Add tortellini to the sauce with a little of the pasta water and an extra knob of Bertolli with Butter. 
  • Toss well over the heat for a minute until nicely coated. 
  • Divide the watercress, spinach and rocket salad between 4 bowls and serve the Spinach & Ricotta Tortolini with Bertolli with Butter and Mint sauce on top. 
  • Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan, lemon zest and black pepper. 

Disclosure : This is a sponsored post for Bertolli with Butter. All views expressed are my own.


Pimm's O'Clock Ice Lollies

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

At long last summer is here! Please don't let it have only been for one solitary day and by the time I publish this post it has reverted to winter again. The mercury has been rising across the UK with temperatures in the 30's. Definitely 'Taps Aff' weather as we say here in Scotland. What better to cool you down in the scorchio heat than an ice lolly? Even better if it's a boozy one! The 'recipe' I'm posting today seems like a wee bit of a fraud. I'm sure there are literally hundreds of version of it already on the internet but when I shared it on my Facebook Page everyone seemed to go crazy for it. Summer = Pimm's. Lets go one step further with Pimm's o'clock Ice Lollies! (or Pimm's Popsicles if you are across the pond)

I actually made these a couple of weeks ago as a icy treat for Wimbledon. Alas the sun didn't really come out to play but I did manage to eat one whilst watching Andy Murray lift the trophy at SW19. I wasn't too sure how the boozy element would work and if I'd end up with a slush rather than a lolly but by pure luck rather than good judgement I seem to have hit on a winning ratio. Make sure you fill your lolly molds up with plenty of cucumber, strawberries and mint as if you only use a few pieces they will all float to the top (which then becomes the bottom!) The more fruit and veg you use the more legitimately you can say that these icy lollies count as one of your 5 a day. I used the mini cucumbers which are just so cute (I get mine in Lidl) but you could use regular slices of cucumber and quarter them. Say cheers and stay cool!

Pimm's O'Clock Ice Lollies
makes 8 large lollies

400ml Lemonade
100ml Pimm's
Punnet Strawberries, chopped into quarters
2 Mini Cucumbers, sliced
Fresh Mint Leaves
  • Mix together the Pimm's and Lemonade in a Jug, best to have a wee taste just to check that its OK ;-)
  • Fill up your lolly molds with the chopped strawberries, cucumber slices and mint leaves.
  • Pour over the Pimm's mixture and insert wooden lolly sticks/lids.
  • Leave to freeze overnight. 
  • Pray for sunshine.
  • Lick and Enjoy!

For more boozy icy treats check out The Hedgecombers Frozen Dark Rum Mojito Cocktail Lolly. Grown up Shandy Lollies from Kavey Eats and a Beer Slushy from Pete Drinks. 
This could get dangerous! 


Spiced Oaty Chicken Goujons

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

I was delighted to be asked by my friends at Hamlyns Oats to develop a recipe for them to be included in a leaflet that they are using at shows and events this year. There is so much more that you can do with Oats and Oatmeal than simply Porridge. Cranachan and Skirlie are particular Scottish favourites and of course oatmeal features in both haggis and black pudding. A quick look back through my own posts found plenty of baking recipes for Oatcakes, Muffins, Crumble and Flapjacks but I wanted to push the oaty boundaries a wee bit further for this particular project and came up with a healthy oven baked take on Chicken Nuggets made with a lightly spiced crumb coating of Oats and Oatmeal. 

Hamlyns traditional range of Oats and Oatmeal is produced from premium Scottish oats, grown and milled in Scotland - 100% Scottish from seed to mill to finished product. They work closely with a network of farmers across Scotland, with the majority of their suppliers located in the north east of Scotland, near their oat mill at Boyndie in Banffshire, in the heart of Scottish oat growing countryside. I've always been a traditionalist when it comes to my porridge. Always salt, oatmeal on the top and never sugar. Recently however I've been converted to a rather wonderful combination of peanut butter, raspberries and maple syrup. Not quite sure what my Brose eating grandfather would have made of that. But then again I doubt he'd ever eaten a chicken nugget!

Spiced Oaty Chicken Goujons

450g Chicken Breast Mini Fillets
100g Hamlyns Scottish Porridge Oats
50g Hamlyns Scottish Oatmeal 
1 tsp Smoked Paprika 
1 tsp Cumin 
1/4 tsp Salt 
1/4 tsp White Pepper 
50g Plain Flour 
2 Free Range Eggs, beaten 
Spray Oil 

Preheat your oven to 180c 
Combine the Oats, Oatmeal, Smoked Paprika, Cumin, Salt and Pepper in a shallow bowl. 
Sieve the plain flour into a second bowl. 
Beat the free range eggs in a third bowl. 
Coat each Chicken Breast mini fillet firstly with the flour. Then dip it into the beaten egg and finally into the Oaty mixture making sure it is fully covered. 
Place the goujons on a baking sheet and spritz them with Spray Oil. 
Bake for 15 minutes before turning and spritzing again. Return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes or until the oats are just starting to brown and the chicken is cooked through. 
Serve with your favourite dips. 

The other three recipes within the Devoated Food Bloggers booklet are 

Scottish readers may have spotted this recipe featuring on The Daily Record magazine's Page Ate. I contributed a selection of three recipes that are perfect to make with kids during the summer holidays and this was one of them. The other two were Peanut Butter Ice Lollies and Tunnock's Teacake Rocky Road. So when the kids start with "I'm bored" there's plenty to keep them occupied in the kitchen. 

Disclosure : This is a commissioned recipe for Hamlyns which originally appeared in their Devoated Food Bloggers Recipe Leaflet. All views expressed are my own.

Joseph Joseph SwitchScale Review & Giveaway

Monday, 18 July 2016
Kitchen Scales have to be one of the absolute kitchen essentials. Whilst I'm usually happy to do a bit of bucket chemistry guestimation for cooking, when it comes to baking accuracy is absolutely vital. I've used digital scales for a number of years now but there is always a panic when the battery runs out and an error message shows. Queue rummaging in the depths of the kitchen junk drawer for the correct replacement battery, which is usually something weird and wonderful. A couple of weeks ago when my daughter was baking Rainbow Fairy Cakes with a friend my old scales gave up the ghost entirely. Even a new battery couldn't bring them back to life. Luckily she managed to borrow some form a neighbour and the cake making could continue but a new set of scales was most definitely required.

I've long been a fan of the stylish kitchen products from Joseph Joseph so they were my first stop for new scales. I was impressed by both the looks and concept of their Switch Scale which I've now been regularly using for a couple of weeks. Retailing at £50 these clever digital scales offer two options for weighing your ingredients. You can either place the items directly onto the scales or flip the top over and it becomes a measuring bowl itself. The internal mechanism of the scale has a two year guarantee and comes complete with 3 x AAA batterries. An auto power-off feature helps to maximise battery life. 

The SwitchScale™ has an easy-to-read back-lit LCD display and touch-sensitive controls. It works well for measuring both liquids and dry foods and can be quickly switched between gms, lbs, ozs, fl.ozs and mls. Maximum capacity is 5kg/176.4 fl.oz/11lb/5000ml. An ‘add and weigh’ function allows multiple ingredients to be weighed during recipe by zero-ing after each addition. I've found it really easy to use and it looks good in my kitchen. The bowl is hand wash whilst the scales themselves are easily wiped down with a damp cloth. Non-slip silicone feet keep it secure on the worktop. It can also be used with any other receptacle such as a jug or a pan by placing it on then zeroing. My only tiny gripe would be that you need to bend down to view the display from side on rather than above as I was used to with my previous digital scales. 

Joseph Joseph have provided a SwitchScale worth £50 as a giveaway for readers of Foodie Quine. 

Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget below. To enter, let me know in a comment "What's your most frequently weighed item?"

For additional bonus entries you can follow me on Twitter, Tweet about the Giveaway or like me on Facebook and Instagram.
Good Luck!

Disclosure: Joseph Joseph provided me with a Switch Scale to review and giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.

Scotland Staycation - What to Buy & Where to Eat

Thursday, 14 July 2016

When I was approached by Sainsbury's Magazine to write a piece about popular holiday destinations around the UK and favourite local foods and places to eat I was delighted to contribute. However when I received the full brief I was in somewhat of a quandary. How on earth could I possibly choose only 3 Scottish foods that readers on holiday could either buy to eat there or take home. Even more tricky only 4 recommended places to eat throughout the whole of Scotland to cover everything from fine dining to tea rooms. It's akin to being asked to pick your favourite child! I started with a seriously long list for both which I whittled down with the help of some of my Scottish food blogging colleagues. Shout out to Keep Calm & Fanny On, Farmersgirl Kitchen, Lost In Food and Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary for their input. 

Do pick up a copy of the magazine which is onsale instore now until 3rd August. There are similar features to cover the whole of the UK from other local bloggers. Cornwall by Anna of The Cornish Life, Wales by Kacie of The Rare Welsh Bit, South Coast by Elinor of Beach Hut Cook, Norfolk & Suffolk by Leah of Roots & Toots and The Lake District by Alan of Cumbria Foodie. You can also click here to listen again to my Podcast on Share Radio UK extolling the foodie virtues of a Scottish Staycation.

Beach Promenade, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, AB39 2RD
A multi award winning fish and chip shop located on the seafront in picturesque Stonehaven which champions locally sourced and sustainable produce. Check out the specials board for the catch of the day including details of which boat it’s come from. Be prepared to queue, but it’s well worth the wait. If you’ve room for desert try Aunty Betty’s Ice Cream Shop next door.

Inshriach Nursery, Aviemore, Inverness-shire, PH22 1QS
Named as one of Britain's best cake shops by Dan Lepard, The Potting Shed is located in the old potting shed of a Nursery within the Cairngorms National Park. Tea and cake is served up on mismatched vintage crockery and you can choose from an amazing selection of freshly baked Scandinavian gateaux style sponges. The piece de resistance is however a large viewing window onto a wildlife feeding station where you can watch a huge variety of birds and red squirrels.

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Perthshire, FK19 8NY
You’ll be made welcome at Mhor 84 whether you arrive dressed to the nines or in full walking or cycling gear accompanied by a wet dog. The perfect pit stop on the Rob Roy way serving great food throughout the day. Amazing cakes (meringues to die for!) and wonderful fresh seafood in a shabby chic yet stylish setting with an atmosphere so relaxed you’ll want to linger a while. Be sure to checkout the games room with pool table and jukebox.

Colbost, Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, IV55 8ZT
Well worth making the journey ‘over the sea to Skye’ for this world renowned restaurant. Set within the bare stone walls of an original croft house such a remote fine dining destination really shouldn’t work. But it does. Serving the very best of seasonal produce home-grown, reared and caught on or around the island with the kitchen lead by head chef Scott Davies who was runner-up on Professional Masterchef in 2013.The Chef’s Table experience is well worth the additional charge and if you can stretch to a night at the ‘house over by’ your experience will be complete.

Scottish Raspberries
The growing season for raspberries in Scotland is short but sweet. Scottish berry growers have a reputation for producing the tastiest fruit around. Blairgowrie in Perthshire is the raspberry capital of the UK earning the nickname ‘Berry Town’. Grab yourself a leaflet and follow Scotland’s Berry Trail to find farm shops and pick your own opportunities. Enjoy straight from the punnet, make your own jam or try the traditional cranachan desert of whipped cream, whisky, honey toasted oatmeal and fresh rasps.

Aberdeen Butteries
The regional speciality food of the North East corner of Scotland is the Buttery, also known as a Rowie or Aberdeen Roll. Originally made for Aberdeen fishermen who needed a roll that would not become stale during the two weeks plus that they were at sea. They can best be described as a dense, round, flaky, flattened, buttery, salty croissant like roll. Butteries are available from bakeries and supermarkets both loose and prepacked. They are delicious warmed and spread with jam, honey or golden syrup for breakfast.

Arbroath Smokies
An Arbroath Smokie is a hot-smoked haddock with PGI status. As such the name can only be used to describe haddock, smoked in the traditional manner, within an eight kilometer radius of Arbroath. Find it at fishmongers and farmers markets where the smokies will be tied in pairs using hemp twine. If you can get them hot off the barrel all the better. If not, enjoy them warmed through under the grill or on the BBQ. Perfect for breakfast flaked into scrambled egg.

Disclosure: This article first appeared as a commissioned piece in the July 2016 edition of Sainsbury's Magazine

Rainbow Devilled Quails Eggs

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Mayonnaise has got to be my absolute favourite condiment, even as a child of the 70's and 80's I was never a Salad Cream fan. Keep it to yourself but I don't even like Ketchup! Heinz have launched a new [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise which does exactly what it says on the tin. As part of their launch campaign they challenged me to come up with a recipe using the mayo that fits on a spoon. It could be savoury, sweet, traditional or modern – the only rule being that it needed to use Heinz [Seriously] Good Mayo and fit on a spoon. Time to get my thinking cap on. Forget the dish running away with the spoon, this is going to be the dish on the spoon.

As a Child my Grandma Corntown often used to take my sister, Mum and myself for lunch on a Friday at The National Hotel in Dingwall. My starter of choice was always Egg Mayonnaise. It's not something that you tend to see on a menu these days but was a ubiquitous dish of its time. In homage to classic egg mayo I've created Rainbow Devilled Eggs with #HeinzSeriouslyGood as my recipe to celebrate the product launch. I made a pastel variation of these at Easter but have downsized from Hens Eggs to Quail Eggs to fit my tasty morsels onto a teaspoon and bumped up the saturation on the colours. I'm slightly confused as to whether they are Devilled Eggs or Deviled Eggs. The number of l's seems to depend upon where in the world you are. 

Heinz [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise is rich, smooth and creamy and made using simple, high quality ingredients, with absolutely no added colours, flavours or artificial thickeners. Made with free range eggs consumers can choose from two varieties, Standard or Light, available in both the Heinz glass jar and the familiar top down squeezy bottle. If you've got a seriously good idea for a recipe on a spoon containing Heinz [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise as an ingredient visit for details of how to enter the competition and full and terms and conditions.

Rainbow Devilled Quails Eggs
Retro-tastic multicoloured bite sized canapes on a spoon

12 Quails Eggs
Gel Food Colouring
2 Tbsp Heinz Seriously Good Mayonnaise
Salt & Pepper
Smoked Paprika

Hard boil the quails eggs in salted water for 3 minutes.
Drain and cool under cold running water before peeling.
Cut each egg in half lengthwise and carefully remove the yolks and place them in a bowl.
Mash the yolks until smooth with 2 tablespoonfuls of Heinz Seriously Good Mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Fill small bowls with water and food colouring in as many colours as you want your eggs. Gel colouring will give a better result. Experiment with quantities of colouring and how long you leave the eggs immersed to get the colour results you desire.
Remove the coloured quails egg halves and drain on kitchen paper.
Fill a disposable piping bag with the egg mayonnaise mixture.
Place the coloured quails egg halves on teaspoons.
Snip a tiny piece off the end of the piping bag and pipe swirls
Sprinkle your devilled eggs with smoked paprika, chill and serve.

Check out the creative recipes below that some of my fellow food bloggers have been putting on spoons of all shapes and sizes and follow the #HeinzSeriouslyGood hashtag on social media for more tasty mouthfuls.

Disclosure : This is a commissioned recipe for Heinz Seriously Good Mayonnaise. All views expressed are my own.

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