Tour Scotland
Home Page

 

Scots Cooking

Scots Cooking: The Best Traditional and...Contemporary Scottish Recipes

Traditional Scottish Cookery

Traditional Scottish Cookery

Book of the Scottish Kitchen

The National Trust for Scotland Book of...
The Scottish Kitchen.

Classic Scots Cookery

Classic Scots Cookery

Jamie Fleeman's Country Cookbook:... Traditional Recipes from the North East of Scotland.

Traditional Scottish Recipes

Traditional Scottish Cookery

Traditional Scottish Cooking


Traditional Scottish Food

A plateful of good barley broth, a slice from a well cooked sirloin of prime Scots beef, with mealy potatoes and fresh green vegetables, followed by an apple dumpling with a generous libation of cream that’s a typical Tayside farmhouse dinner. And who, coming in from the fields or the hills, could “fa’ oot” with a meal like that!

Scotland is a food producing country. Nature may not have been lavish with the larger fruits, but it is to our climate (maligned wrongly though it be) that we owe the delectable flavour of our Aberdeen-Angus beef, our mutton from the braes, our game (especially the unrivalled grouse from our moors), our salmon so rich of curd and flavour, our silver darlings the herring, our oats and potatoes, our heather honey and our berry fruits.

Scots cookery is traditionally simple, but it has some distinguished dishes of long pedigree. Cookery, being an art, should hold its place in the national culture. After all, the fate of a nation depends greatly on how its people are fed.

There have always been differences between Scottish and English cooking. The difference might be symbolised by the kitchen utensils. In Scotland these are traditionally the kailpot and the girdle; in England the frying pan and the oven. In Scotland (as in France) we have always gone in for braising and stewing. In England it is frying and roasting.

On Tayside our traditional bread was the girdle-baked oatmeal bannock. In England it was the wheaten loaf. We have always eaten plenty of fish. In England they use more butcher-meat.

At one time, in every cottage and farm in our part of the country, the kail-pot was on daily duty. The English rustic, on the other hand, seldom tasted soup, but he liked his pudding.

Yes, soups have always been popular in Scotland, and many of our native soups are admirable. For example, there is Hairst Bree (harvest broth), Cock-a-leekie (the name explains itself), Bawd Bree (Hare Soup), Parton Bree (with crabs, rice and cream), Powsoudie (Sheep’s head broth) and Skink (a beef or fish soup).

Our grandmothers found endless uses for oatmeal. It was used for porridge, gruel, mealie-puddings, stuffing, haggis, as thickening for soups and so on. Such good things as Dundee cake and shortbread are known all over the globe, and the world’s breakfast would be the poorer without Arbroath “smokies” (which, to be accurate, originated in Auchmithie) and Dundee marmalade.

Dulse, a finely flavoured seaweed, used to be gathered along with “buckies” on the rocks at low-tide At one time it sold well in the towns of Tayside, and was eaten both raw and cooked.

In the glens, venison was usually braised or stewed, but sometimes made into scallops, pasties or patties. This was savoury eating, with the astringent flavour of rowan jelly added as its right complement.

Kale or curly greens, grown in every farm and cottar garden, were usually boiled with a fleshy bone, then mashed till smooth with a hoggin of cream, a lump of butter and a good sprinkle of freshly ground black spice. This was something to remember, and the bree made wonderful brose!

To make this brose, the oatmeal, salt and pepper-along with a good lump of butter were put in a bowl or cappie, and stood on the warm hearth or hob. Then the boiling bree was added, stirred a little and set in a warm place to swell-just the very thing after hard work in cold weather.

Almost on a par with kale-brose were neep-brose, beef-brose, and just plain brose. Rumledethump was a “fluff” made by beating boiled potatoes and turnips with a good measure of cream and some white pepper. Of cheeses, crowdie was soft and white, while kebbocks were often flavoured with carvies (carroway seeds), and eaten with oaten bannocks.

Sowans were made from the sids of the meal after the milling. They were sourish to taste, and usually eaten with syrup, either supped or drunk.

Morning rolls varied, there were safties, butteries, flouries, baps and so on. In Arbroath they still ask for liffies, and this may well be another relic of the Franco-Scottish Alliance, deriving from se lever, to rise.

Then there were those delectable heckle-biscuits, rich in butter and pricked all over; thin, square, ginger and treacle parleys or parliaments, and paste biscuits which were rounds of puff pastry glazed with sugar and enriched with currants.

A pleasant subject, but one I cannot pursue further here. “The Scots Kitchen,” by F. Marian McNeill, is a book I recommend to those wishing to delve into the matter further.



Tour Scotland
Tour Edinburgh
Tour Island Of Skye

Rent A Self Catering Hoilday Cottage In Scotland

Share This Tour Scotland Web Page

Top Destinations
Tour Europe