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Tag Archives: Scotland
  • Posted on January 22, 2016

    Great chieftain o' the puddin'-race

    Happy Friday! Burns’ Night is literally just around the corner (25th January for those not in the know…that’s Monday) and we're quite excited. So, you could just buy a Macsweens Haggis, followed by Cranachan and a wee dram of something delicious. OR you could do it the Muddy Boots way and make your own haggis this weekend. Go on, be Brave(heart)!

    Homemade Haggis

    This is such a delicious, good-value and nutritious meal. I love the full tradition with the offal and stomach casing, but they’re not always easy to source, so this has an alternative version to achieve an equally delicious flavour and texture.

    75 g/2½ oz. lamb’s liver

    100 g/3½ oz. each of lamb’s heart and lamb’s lungs or 200 g/7 oz. lamb mince/ground lamb

    100 g/3½ oz. beef suet or vegetable shortening

    A big pinch of allspice

    A pinch of cayenne pepper

    1 small red onion, finely chopped

    1 garlic clove, finely chopped

    A big pinch of freshly chopped parsley, plus extra to garnish

    1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

    30 g/2 tablespoons tomato purée/paste

    120 g/¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats

    salt, to season

    1 sheep’s stomach (alternatively, use baking parchment)


    1 swede/rutabaga

    2 baking potatoes

    A large knob/pat of butter

    Black pepper, to taste

    Butcher’s string/twine

    SERVES 2

    Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (325°F) Gas 3.

    Finely chop the liver, heart and lights/lungs, if using, or chop the liver and mix it into the lamb mince/ground lamb. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the chopped suet/vegetable shortening, allspice, salt, cayenne pepper, onion, garlic, parsley, white wine vinegar, tomato purée/paste and oats.

    Then either stuff into the stomach and seal the end with butcher’s string/twine or squeeze into a tight ball. Place into the centre of a square of baking parchment and twist or tie the ends to lock it in.

    Wrap in a layer of foil and place into 1 cm/ inch of water in the bottom of an ovenproof pan. Set a lid on top and cook in the preheated oven for 2 hours. Remove the haggis from the casing, season with salt and slice it to serve.

    ‘Neeps and Tatties’

    While your haggis is cooking, you can make your ‘neeps and tatties’, the accompaniments for this famous Scottish meal. Peel and chop the swede/rutabaga and potatoes into small dice. Boil separately (or together, if you prefer), drain and mash with the butter and freshly ground black pepper.

    This recipe is taken from Modern Meat Kitchen by Miranda Ballard. For more cooktchery tips and tutorials, why not check out our videos with Miranda on The Pantry YouTube channel.

    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, savoury, Miranda Ballard, recipe for the weekend, tomato, Burns Night, Scotland, 2015, meat, Modern Meat Kitchen

  • Posted on November 27, 2015

    St Andrew's Day Baking

    Whilst our friends and colleagues in America are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, we’re looking forward to Monday and St Andrew’s Day with today’s recipe. Victoria Glass has updated the Scottish classic ‘Millionaire’s Shortbread’ in her book Deliciously Chocolatey, and we’re sure you’d impress even the heartiest Highlander with this one! So go on, put the kettle on and enjoy a wee piece! And don’t worry; if your Thanksgiving celebrations were delayed until the weekend, we recently shared our Turkey tips and Pumpkin Pie recipe to ensure the tastiest holiday feasts!

    Billionaire’s Shortbread

    Millionaire’s shortbread is thought to date back to nineteenth-century Scotland, but I’ve brought it into the twenty-first century by making it even richer. This traybake goes up a financial bracket with chocolate shortbread and a shimmer of edible gold.

    200g/6½ oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate (60–70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces

    Edible gold lustre, to decorate (optional)

    Chocolate shortbread

    75g/⅓ cup caster/granulated sugar

    150g/1 stick plus 2 tablespoons soft butter

    125g/1 cup plain/all-purpose flour

    75g/⅔ cup rice flour

    25g/3½ tablespoons cocoa powder

    A pinch of salt

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Salted caramel

    125 g/1 stick butter

    75 g/⅓ cup light muscovado/brown sugar

    25 g/1½ tablespoons golden/light corn syrup

    1 tablespoon vanilla extract

    1 heaped teaspoon salt

    379g/14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

    20-cm/8-in. loose-bottomed square cake pan, greased and lined with baking parchment

    Makes 16

    First make the chocolate shortbread. Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Sift in the flours, cocoa and salt, and mix together with the vanilla until just combined. Do not overwork the dough or your shortbread will be tough. Press the dough into the base of the prepared baking pan with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Chill for 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) Gas 2.

    Bake in the preheated oven for 35–40 minutes, or until firm and dry to the touch. Leave to cool in the pan on top of a wire rack.

    Meanwhile, make the salted caramel. Put all the ingredients, except for the condensed milk, into a saucepan and stir continuously over a gentle heat until the butter has melted and the sugar and salt have dissolved. Add the condensed milk and increase the heat, stirring frequently, and being careful not to let the base of the mixture catch. Bring to the boil, still stirring every now and then, until the mixture has thickened and turned a deep golden colour. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool slightly.

    Pour the still-warm salted caramel over the cooled shortbread base and leave to cool completely.

    For the topping, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of barely simmering water to melt. Stir every now and then. Once melted, leave to cool slightly before pouring the chocolate over the cold caramel. Leave to cool completely before dusting the top with edible gold lustre, if using, and pushing the base of the pan out. Cut the billionaire’s shortbread into 16 even squares or alternatively, for larger portions, you can cut it into 8 bars.

    Deliciously Chocolatey by Victoria Glass is available here. For more tasty treats like this, make sure you're signed up to The Pantry, you can subscribe here.

    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, chocolate, recipe for the weekend, Scotland, sweet, Victoria Glass, 2015

  • Posted on January 23, 2015

    Recipe for the Weekend

    As we mentioned yesterday, Sunday 25th January is Burns’ Night and this weekend’s recipe will ensure that whatever you’re up to this weekend, everyone can bring a taste of Scotland to the table! Incidentally, this recipe by Hannah Miles features in The Creamery Kitchen by Jenny Linford, and we’re super excited at RPS Towers about her new book, The Tomato Basket! You can pre-order it here!

    Whisky & Raspberry Cranachan Cheesecakes

    This cheesecake is inspired by the classic Scottish dessert, cranachan – whipped cream flavoured with whisky and honey folded through with toasted oats and fresh raspberries.

    for the base

    50 g butter

    30 g caster sugar

    40 g golden syrup or maple syrup

    100 g rolled oats

    a pinch of salt

    for the filling

    150 g raspberries

    80 ml whisky

    300 g cream cheese

    300 ml crème fraîche or double cream

    80 ml honey

    2 eggs

    generous 1 tablespoon plain flour, sifted

    to serve

    a handful of fresh raspberries

    pouring cream

    baking sheet, greased

    8 x 6-cm diameter chef’s rings, greased and placed on a greased baking sheet

    makes 8

    Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.

    For the base, heat the butter, sugar and golden or maple syrup together in a saucepan until the butter and sugar have melted and the mixture is syrupy. Stir in the oats and salt and mix well so that all the oats are coated.

    Spoon the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 20–30 minutes until the base is golden-brown.

    Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes. Whilst still warm, use one of the chef’s rings to stamp out 8 rounds of flapjack to use as bases, then leave them to cool completely. Leave the oven on.

    For the filling, soak the raspberries in the whisky for 30 minutes.

    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and crème fraîche. Whisk in the honey, eggs and flour, then fold through the raspberries and any remaining soaking whisky. Spoon the mixture into the chef’s rings on the baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes until golden brown on top.

    Leave to cool then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.

    When you are ready to serve, place a flapjack disc on each plate and top with a cheesecake. Serve with extra fresh raspberries, cream and a tot of whisky if desired.


    The Creamery Kitchen by Jenny Linford is available here, and The Tomato Basket can be pre-ordered here.

    Cheesecake by Hannah Miles is available here. Other cookery books you may like in our Food category as well.

    Happy Burns’ Night and have a lovely weekend, chaps!

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US and was tagged with baking, recipe for the weekend, dessert, 2014, Burns Night, Scotland, The Creamery Kitchen, sweet, whisky

  • Posted on January 22, 2015

    All about Scotch

    This Sunday is Burns Night, celebrating the life and poetry of Robert Burns. But it also tends to celebrate all things Scottish, including another famous Scottish export: uisge beatha…the water of life…whisky! The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey of Malt, Bourbon & Rye Whiskies by Tristan Stephenson has taught us that there is so much more to this golden liquid than a dram of Famous Grouse. So in celebration of the Scottish poet, this extract helpfully explains the difference between the different categories of Scotch. And check back to the blog tomorrow, when we’ll have a recipe so that everyone can have a bit of a Burns’ supper this weekend! But for now, over to Tristan…


    The term Scotch Whisky by itself is a bit useless, since any given product must reside in one of the sub-categories listed below. But broadly speaking, Scotch whisky must abide by the following rules (according to the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009: it must be made in Scotland from water, cereal and yeast only, whereby sugars are obtained through malt enzymes (diastase). Mashing, fermentation and distillation must take place in the distillery and it must be distilled to less than 94.8% ABV. It must then be aged in oak casks no bigger than 700 litres/739 quarts, for a minimum of three years. Before the three years are up, it is known simply as ‘British New-Make Spirit’. Plain caramel colouring may be added.


    Single Malt Whisky must be made from 100% malted barley, but the barley can be grown and malted anywhere in the world. It must be distilled a minimum of two times in a copper pot still; you can distill three times (like Auchentoshan), or even more, but it’s not all that common. As with all Scotch Whisky, the maximum permitted distillate strength is 94.8% ABV, but most Single Malt Whiskies run off at 65–75% ABV.

    Ageing must take place in Scotland, but not necessarily on the site of the distillery. Obviously most bottlings are much older than the required three years, but it is possible to get young whiskies that exhibit a lot more distillery character than the 12-year+ drams most of us are familiar with. During the period in which the whisky is kept in barrels, it’s stored in a government-bonded warehouse.

    As with all types of Scotch, the age statement on the bottle must refer to the youngest whisky in the bottle. Vintage Single Malt Whisky poses another challenge, as it can be a little confusing when deciphering its age. These whiskies are permitted to list only one year on the label, and it can be either the ‘distilled on’, or ‘bottled on’ date, accompanied by an age statement. As of 2009, all Single Malt Whisky must be bottled in Scotland.


    As the name eloquently suggests, this type of whisky is a blend of two or more single Malt Whiskies. In the past, Blended Malt has gone by the title ‘Vatted Malt’ and ‘Pure Malt’, but 2009 legislation put a stop to that. This type of whisky is usually big, bold and not all that often seen, since most people would rather drink a Blended Scotch or a Single Malt rather than something inbetween.

    As is the norm, the age statement on a Blended Malt refers to the youngest whisky. Johnnie Walker Green Label is a great example of a smoky Blended Malt (partly down to the inclusion of both Talisker and Caol Isla in the blend), and I also love Compass Box’s Spice Tree, which controversially spent a brief spell out of production over a dispute with the Scotch Whisky Association.


    Like Single Malt, Single Grain must be the product of one single distillery, but it can be made from any combination of malted barley and other unmalted cereals (but not other malted cereals). It is typically produced in a column still, which produces a much lighter spirit than a pot still. Single Grain Whisky is seldom bottled for consumption on its own, and almost all of the Single Grain Whisky in Scotland is used in blends.

    If you are in the market for a bottle, check out Cameron Brig, which makes up the backbone of many famous blends.


    Despite the growing demand for Single Malt in the past 20 years, blended Scotch makes up over 90% of the global Scotch Whisky sales today. It must be made from at least one Single Malt and one Single Grain Whisky. As far as I am aware, there are no blends that contain more than one Single Grain Whisky, but many contain over 30 Single Malts.

    The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey of Malt, Bourbon & Rye Whiskies by Tristan Stephenson is available here.

    If whisky straight up makes you a little nervous, you can get your Burns Supper off to a great start with this whisky cocktail recipe. Enjoy!

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Interviews, Interviews, UK, US and was tagged with drinks, Tristan Stephenson, 2014, Burns Night, Scotland, whisky

  • Posted on January 24, 2014

    Recipe for the weekend!

    Burns Night has arrived for another year and countless celebrations will be held all over Scotland and beyond in honour of the great poet himself!  So whether you are heading out for a céilidh or celebrating with a hearty helping of haggis we have the wee dram to set you on your way.  In fact, we have two…!

    For a modern twist on an old classic try this reworking of the Manhattan:


    50 ml/2 oz. scotch whisky • 25 ml/1 oz. fresh lemon juice

    12.5 ml/1⁄2 oz. sugar syrup

    1⁄2 egg white (optional)

    a fresh cherry and a slice of lemon, to garnish

    Shake all the ingredients together with cubed ice. Strain into a beaker and blitz briefly with a stick blender or aerolatte. Pour into a rocks glass and garnish with a cherry and a slice of lemon.

    By Tristan Stephenson

    Most recipes for a sour with whisky in them would include the letter ‘e’ in whisk(e)y, denoting the origin of the liquor to be American (bourbon and rye) or Irish. Scotch whisky is not the norm for a sour, but not wholly unheard of either. I’ve chosen to use Scotch for one simple reason – it tastes really good. That’s not to say that this drink doesn’t work well with bourbon, rye, Irish, Indian, Welsh, English or Japanese whiskey, too – or in fact virtually any other spirit – but the Scotch sour deserves a bit of recognition in my opinion. The Sour is one of the staple cocktail families – not particularly exciting in itself, but an essential part of the cocktail demographic. Sours are the basis for other families of drink, such as Fizzes (a Sour shaken and topped with soda), Collins (a Sour stirred with soda), Rickeys (a lime Sour topped with soda) and the family that the Sidecar, Cosmopolitan and White Lady belong to. They are simple, dependable creatures that there is no shame enjoying from time to time.  Jerry Thomas’s 1862 How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivant’s Companion was the first cocktail book to publish a Sour recipe, five in fact, including the Whiskey Sour (with bourbon), Gin Sour, Brandy Sour, Egg Sour (with brandy and curaçao) and Santa Cruz Sour (with rum). The Whiskey Sour reads:

    Take 1 large teaspoonful of powdered white sugar, dissolved in a little seltzer or Apollinaris water. The juice of half a small lemon. 1 wine glass of bourbon or rye whiskey.

    Fill the glass full of shaved ice, shake up and strain into a claret glass. Ornament with berries.

    This formula has remained almost untouched over the last 150 years and there’s a very good reason for that – it works. Thomas’s recipe calls for the reader to mix a water/sugar solution on the fly, but these days we use sugar syrup or gomme. The combination of spirit, lemon juice and sugar syrup in a 4:2:1 ratio results in a balanced drink most of the time, every time.

    Why Scotch? Well, Scotch and lemon juice have as strong an affinity as any two ingredients I can think of (see exhibit A – the Hot Toddy), there’s something medicinal abut the pairing. I also love the way the malt and peaty (if applicable) notes shine through, softened by the sweet and sour balance, but still more than apparent. In fact, I’ve found that a Whisky Sour is an excellent tool for initiating non-Scotch drinkers into the balmy folds of malt whisky appreciation.

    The Curious Bartender by Tristan Stephenson is published by Ryland Peters & Small and is available here.

    Or try making your own version of this timeless original!


    The original Manhattan was made with rye whiskey and the slightly spicy flavor works well. If no rye is to hand, bourbon makes an excellent substitute – softer and slightly sweeter. This is often known as a “West Coast” Manhattan because of its more laid-back nature. Try altering the proportions slightly to your taste, and the particular whiskey and vermouth being used.

    4 parts rye whiskey

    2 parts sweet vermouth

    2 dashes Angostura bitters

    Garnish: twist of orange zest,

    cocktail cherry

    Stir the ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze the orange twist over the surface of the drink and discard. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.

    Brown Booze by Michael Butt is published by CICO Books and is available here.

    Happy Burn’s Night to one and all!



    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with Burns Night, Scotland

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