We hear so much about the Scots’ passion for deep-fried chocolate bars and not nearly enough about the wealth of fine food that represents the true Scottish culinary heritage.
Haggis is the dish that first comes to mind when thinking about traditional Scots fare. I have a favourite one that I’ll review for you over winter but Carol Wilson and Christopher Trotter offer us a new presentation: Haggis, Potato and Apple Tart. I think I would describe it as more of a pie having a pastry lid but it’s such a great idea and would be a nice introduction to those who are a bit wary about trying a haggis in its natural state. Carol and Christopher admit that haggis, although still popular, is more often bought than made from scratch in the home. I wonder why!
Essential Scottish Cookery has plenty of fish and seafood recipes as you would expect. The Scots are famed for smoked fish of all kinds. A Cullen Skink isn’t some kind of Highland rodent but a classic soup made from Finnan haddock, onion and potatoes. It was a staple for the fishing community in the old days. It’s easy to make, as are all the recipes in this book, and you know you should eat more fish!
Each recipe has a little paragraph about either the main ingredients or the history of the dish. Auld Alliance Apple Tart is one that I had not come across before. The Auld Alliance is that between France and Scotland, a relationship that has lasted for 600 years or so. The apple tart is the Scots’ take on the classic Tarte Tatin.
Border Tart (I guess that’s from the North side of the border) illustrates the Scots’ love of all things sweet. It’s full of dried fruit and walnuts and would be a very welcome mid-morning snack, as the authors say…..and at any other time, I would say!
Let’s not miss out the Whisky Marmalade. It has a healthy ½ pint of the stuff for each 10lb of finished marmalade. How about a Highland Coffee that the authors suggest be presented in a tall wine glass with a ½ pint capacity!
Essential Scottish Cookery is a lovely, well illustrated book (360 photographs) and full of charming surprises, and introduces us to the generosity of the Scottish table.
Essential Scottish Cookery
Authors: Carol Wilson and Christopher Trotter
Published by: Black and White Publishing
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018