While potatoes may have come to England in the 16th Century, it was towards the end of the 1700s before the humble potato was grown extensively in Scotland.
We may have only welcomed the potato just over 200 years ago but us Scots took it to our hearts and its difficult to imagine a good old hearty Scottish meal without potatoes being present.
From Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, to Tattie Soup, and Mince and Tatties the Potato has made itself at home.
Tattie Scones can usually be found on most Scottish breakfast plates, possibly piled with beans or a fried egg, but has it always been so for these humble scones?
These scones were in fact just another way to use up leftovers and small amounts to make something new and filling.
They could be eaten for breakfast but were really eaten at any time with things such as Jam, Honey, stew and just buttered and eaten warm.
They are one of the easiest things to make. Potatoes and flour, a wee bit milk and a wee bit butter to cook with if desired.
There are no measurements here because the amount of flour to add can differ each time and it is a " leftover recipe "...so just use whatever potatoes you have!
First boil your potatoes and then mash them with a little milk.
Next add enough flour to make a soft dough.
Flour your work top and gently roll out the dough to about 1-2 cm .
Next cut into round or squares.
I don't use butter to fry my scones but you can if you wish BUT too much butter will make them a bit soggy and difficult to flip.
Fry each scone, flipping over a few times, until cooked- if you look at the picture you can see that it is mottled brown when cooked.
All that is left is to enjoy however you want!
Fair Fa' yer honest, sonsie face
Great Chieftan o' the puddin' race
Aboon them a' ye tak yer place
Painch, tripe or thairm,
weel are ye wordy o' a grace
as lang's my arm
- Burns, Address to a Haggis
Haggis is one of those meals that everyone tells you you should have if you visit us here in Bonnie Scotland, but what exactly is it.
Basically it is a dish that is made from leftovers and "bits" not usually used.
It is a way to make things such as offal or a small amount of meat go further.
You will find recipes all over the internet and in books telling you the best way to make Haggis is a Sheep Stomach, it's Heart, Liver and Lungs, lots of Oats, spices and Suet.
However Haggis can be made of anything! Each butcher will have his own secret recipe, historic cookery books will all give different versions, and if you have Scottish relatives then they probably have a recipe passed down through the years.
Every single one of those recipes is correct!
In one of my recipe books from 1929 there are 4 main recipes for haggis.
The " Classic Haggis" - Sheep stomach, Heart, Liver and Lungs
The " Deer Haggis" - Sheep stomach with Deer Heart, Liver and Lungs
The " Royal Haggis" - Sheep stomach with Mutton and anchovies
The " Highland Haggis"- Sheep stomach, minced beef and offal
This just goes to show that you can have haggis any way you want!
I have made a version of " Highland Haggis" with minced beef and Lamb heart, with oats, suet and salt and pepper.
I have used artificial skin ( or bung as it is sometimes known).
Now the recipe from my 1929 book does not give any measurements what so ever! For the pepper it just says to taste and add that you might want to add nutmeg or cayenne too....
This is how I done it. This will give quite a lot of haggis mix so feel free to half or even quarter the amounts of beef mince, suet, oatmeal and pepper.
2 artificial skins
1 Lamb Heart, cooked
1000 grams beef mince
240 grams suet
500 grams Oatmeal
2 tablespoons of pepper (or more or less depending on your taste)
The artificial skins will need soaked for about 30 mins in warm water before use.
Cook and mince you Lamb Heart
Mince you onion
In a bowl add the mince, heart and onion and mix
Add Suet and Mix, Add Oatmeal and mix
Add pepper and mix.
Now comes the fun bit.
Tie up one end of the skin and start to push the mixture into the skin. The handle of a wooden spoon is a good tool to get the mix to the bottom. Now the mixture will expand when cooking so I fill the skin until its full but squishy! It gives just the right amount of room. Tie the end.
Pop the haggis into a bowling pot of water for about 1 hour.
When ready take out of water, slice open and scoop out.
Now if you make the same amount I have then you will have a lot of haggis mix left over. I sometimes make Haggis Balls (just like meatballs but with haggis!) or even pop into a tin and cook like a meatloaf. I also freeze any extra mix and use to make Haggis Pakora....you really can have your Haggis any way you want!
Don't forget to serve your Haggis with Neeps and Tatties....Mashed Turnip and Potatoes or mix the Neeps and Tatties together, season with salt and Pepper and have "Clapshot" Just like Highlanders used to do.
Now have a Whisky and Slainte Mhath!
I am sure many of you have had a hot toddy at some time
Whisky, Sugar and Hot water.
Perfect for helping sore throats, when feeling under the weather, or just as a warming drink.
Whisky in Gaelic is "Uisge Beatha" which basically means "Water of Life" and I know quite a few people that would agree with that completely!
But where does "Toddy" come from?
One explanation can be found in Edinburgh. In His Poem called " A morning Interview" published in 1721. Allan Ramsey talks about copper kettles full of Todian Spring.
Todian refers to one of the wells that used to supply Edinburgh.
These wells were "life" to the Edinburgh people and since the poem is satirical, it has been suggested that his comments about copper kettles full of todian spring meant a mixture of both the waters of life- whisky and water!
Wherever the name comes from....
There are a few explanations in regards to the creation of Atholl Brose.
One of the oldest is to do with a Giant that terrorised the area around Atholl, stealing cattle and emptying grain stores.
Dougal was a young man from the glen and hatched a plan to kill the giant. He knew he wouldn't win in a face to face fight so he crept down the the giants lair, slit open bags of grain and put them in the giants drinking cup. He then added honey and whisky to the oats and then found a place to hide.
The Giant came across the cup, drank the sweet drink and fell into a stupor. Dougal was waiting and slew the giant while he slept.
Dougal returned to the village a hero, told them what he had down and the famous drink Atholl Brose was born and drunk in celebration.
Even if you don't have a giant to slay, this is a lovely traditional Scottish drink to celebrate with.
Take 1 bottle of whisky ( a blend will do, but a malt is better!)
450g of clear Scottish honey
1 handful of oats
Soak the oats in the whisky for a good 4 hours.
Drain the whisky into a jar trough some muslin, squeezing every last drop from the oats.
Whisk in the honey until fully mixed.
Pour into a bottle and allow to sit over night.
A wee note: some recipes call for the addition of cream. it is up to you if you add cream to the mix or not
A wee note on a few things. I have used oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs, please feel free to do the same if you wish.
The recipe says 250grams in total of dried fruit. We love mixed fruit and cherries so we made our 250grams up of mixed peel, dried cherries and dried currants.
I made my spice weight up with cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice. You can just have mixed spice or any other combination you like.
To start get your cloot (muslin square) and soak it in boiling water for a few mins. When cool enough, wring out and place to one side.
Now gather all you dried ingredients together, except your fruit, in a big bowl and give it a good mix.
Now add your dried fuit and mix again.
Add your lightly beaten eggs and golden syrup and mix again
Now add your milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix after each tablespoon
Don't beat the pudding or mix too hard. The mix should come together when lightly pressed.
Put the mix to one side and lay out your cloot.
Sprinkle the cloot with flour and then line a bowl with the cloot.
Put your pudding mix into the cloot. Gather up the sides with string and tie. Leave a wee bit room in the cloot to allow the pudding to expand slightly.
In a pan of boiling water place a heavy side plate and then lower the pudding into the water onto the plate.
Place a lid on the pot.
The water should be on a high simmer.
Cook for 3 hours but keep checking the water and top up with boiling water from a kettle if needed.
So after 3 hours cooking in water,lift the pudding out of the water and into a bowl. Be careful as the Cloot is hot. Turn your oven on to about 180 degrees
Let the pudding stand for about 10 mins then untie.
Put a shallow oven proof plate over the bowl and turn everything over so the pudding is now on the plate.
Remove bowl and cloot
Place the pudding into the oven for 30-40 mins. The dumpling should darken and form a sort of shiny skin.
Remove and let stand for 10 mins. Then cut a slice and serve with cream or custard! Enjoy!
If you want to make your dumpling darker use dark brown sugar and substitute the golden syrup with treacle.
Sometimes the amount of bannocks and oatcakes that can be found throughout Scotland can be a wee bit daunting!
A Selkirk Bannock is a fruit scone, Highland Bannocks are in fact oat cakes and Drop Scones are Scotch Pancakes!
In honour of Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday we have added this recipe for Scotch Pancakes from 1900.
The traditional way to make these is with Oatmeal Flour but you can use plain flour if you want.
1 pint of milk
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
oatmeal as required
Beat the Egg and add the Milk.
Stir in the soda, salt and enough oatmeal to make a dropable batter.
Pour into a jug
Rub the gridle with a piece of suet
Drop the batter in small rounds
Fire over a moderate heat until bubbles start to form on top then turn and fire on the other side.
For suet you can use some lard. I dry cook mine on the gridle without any fat.
"fire" just means to cook.