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9 Traditional Scottish dishes and how to make them

Haggis is probably the first traditionally Scottish food most people would name, but the filled sheep’s stomach isn’t to everyone’s taste. Happily, Scottish cuisine includes lots of other mouth-watering dishes, whether you’re looking for a great start to the day, a filling main meal on a budget or something sweet to finish things off.

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Oatcakes

Oatcakes have been a staple of the Scottish diet for hundreds of years and make a good accompaniment for cheese. To make the simple biscuits, combine equal quantities of oatmeal and porridge oats with a pinch of salt and a little vegetable oil. Add a splash of just-boiled water and mix into a dough. Roll the dough out and cut out discs – 280 grams of oatmeal and oats will produce about 20 oatcakes. Then simply bake in an oven at 180 C for about 20 minutes. When the edges turn brown they’re ready to come out!

Related: The history of Scottish food

Ecclefechan tart

A Scottish Christmas delicacy and extremely easy to make. Named after the small Scottish village of Ecclefechan, this special style tart is spiced with cinnamon, lemon peel and dried fruits, and served with whipped cream and toasted walnuts.

Related: Get the step-by-step recipe here

Scotch broth

Hearty scotch broth is a perfect winter warmer and makes a cheap and filling meal if you’re on a tight budget. Traditionally, you would start by making lamb or mutton stock, but shop-bought stock is a quick short cut. You can even use chicken stock as a substitute and still produce a delicious result. Warm the stock and add chopped vegetables – carrots, potatoes, celery, leek – the choice is up to you! Throw in a handful of barley, bring to the boil and simmer for between two and three hours. The broth is ready when it reaches a thick consistency.

Related: Video for the perfect winter stew

Scotch pie

Scotch pies are popular across the country and make a convenient and filling lunch if you’re on the go. Traditionally the pastry is made using melted lard, flour, salt and water but you can get good results with a shop-bought pastry. Roll out the pastry and use it to line a small pie mould. For the filling, combine minced beef or lamb with breadcrumbs and season with salt, mace, nutmeg and pepper. Fill the pastry cases, add a lid and bake in a hot oven until golden brown.

Related: A Latin take on the Scotch pie

Black Bun

Black Bun is a specialty Scottish cake that is typically eaten on Hogmanay (New Years Eve). The cake resembles a brick in form, a dense fruit-cake wrapped in pastry which typically gets its richness due to being made and set aside to mature for several weeks.

Related: Get the step-by-step recipe here

Cullen Skink

Cullen Skink is another hearty Scottish dish based on smoked fish and cream. Traditionally the recipe calls for undyed smoked haddock, but any smoked white fish will do. Start the soup by frying a finely chopped leak in oil over a low heat, says Chef Andrew Fairlie of the Gleneagles Hotel. Add fish stock, along with a bay leaf, chopped potatoes and the smoked fish and simmer for around 15 minutes. Remove the cooked fish, flake it and return it to the pan with some double cream. Continue to simmer for just two or three minutes before seasoning with pepper and serving.

Related: Get the step-by-step recipe here

Colcannon

Colcannon makes a great side dish for meat or chicken but can also be enjoyed on its own. Roughly chop potatoes and other root vegetables of your choice – carrots and turnip are both traditional. Boil the vegetables for around 20 minutes, throwing in a few cabbage leaves a few minutes before the end. Mash the cooked vegetables and shred the cabbage before mixing the two together and seasoning with salt, pepper and plenty of butter.

Related: Get the step-by-step recipe here

Lucky tattie

The sweet taste of lucky tattie can be addictive! Cassis flavoured insides, cinnamon dusted outside, lucky tatties are an old-time beloved Scottish favourite. Also known as lucky potatoes, back in the day these sweet treats used to be every kid's best friend since it contained a small charm inside.

Related: Get the step-by-step recipe here

Cranachan

Traditionally a summer dish served at special occasions, Cranachan combines well-known Scottish ingredients of oats and whisky. Toast oatmeal in a pan until golden. In a bowl, whip double cream and add a tablespoon of whisky – you could add honey if you would prefer not to use alcohol. Place the cream in the serving bowl and scatter the toasted oats over the top. You could also add soft fruits, such as raspberries and strawberries, for extra flavour and nutrition.

Related: Get the step-by-step recipe here

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About the Author

Rita Kennedy is a writer and researcher based in the United Kingdom. She began writing in 2002 and her work has appeared in several academic journals including "Memory Studies," the "Journal of Historical Geography" and the "Local Historian." She holds a Ph.D. in history and an honours degree in geography from the University of Ulster.

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