Brandade of Arbroath Smokies with black pudding on crostini
You can prepare the brandade in advance but only fry the black pudding at the last minute Serves: many, as canapés
2 Arbroath smokies
2 bay leaves
1 large potato (about 200g unpeeled), peeled and boiled
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley
extra-virgin olive oil
4-6 slices black pudding
Place the fish in a pan with the milk and bay leaves and bring slowly to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as you see bubbles, and cover. Leave it to stand for ten to 15 minutes.
Flake the fish, ensuring that all bones and skin are removed, then place in a food processor. Add the drained potato, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and warm milk. Process briefly. Then, with the machine still running, add about five tablespoons of oil - enough to give a soft, creamy consistency (like mashed potatoes). Check the seasoning.
Fry the black pudding in hot oil until crispy, and then drain on kitchen paper. Cut into quarters.
Spread some brandade on the crostini, top with black pudding and serve warm.
Haggis and tomato gratin with Mull cheddar
Serve with ciabatta and a tomato salad.
1 large (about 900g) haggis
250g lasagne sheets
2-3 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
40g plain flour
3 tbsp grated Mull cheddar
Cut open the haggis and crumble with your fingers. Scatter some over the base of a buttered lasagne dish. Top with a third of the lasagne sheets and another layer of haggis. Top this with the tomatoes, season well and top with a layer of lasagne and then the remaining haggis and a final .
For the sauce, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring to form a roux. Then gradually add the milk, stirring or whisking to form a sauce. Stir for four to five minutes and then season to taste. Pour this over the lasagne, then top with the cheese and a drizzle of oil.
Bake, uncovered, at 180¼C/350¼F/gas 4 for 45 to 55 minutes, until golden. Allow to rest for ten minutes or so before cutting.
Red wine and beetroot risotto
Use a good wine in this gorgeous, brightly coloured risotto; the rest of the bottle can, of course, be sipped as you cook.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
250g arborio (risotto) rice
150ml gutsy red wine
600ml vegetable or chicken stock, hot
175g cooked (not pickled) beetroot, diced
2 tbsp freshly chopped dill
freshly grated parmesan
Heat the oil and 20g of butter in a heavy saucepan and cook the onion and celery gently for five to ten minutes. Then add the rice and stir well.
Pour in the red wine, bring to the boil and let it bubble for a couple of minutes. Reduce the heat and gradually add the hot stock: do this one ladleful at a time, allowing each ladleful of stock to be completely absorbed before adding the next.
After 15 minutes, add the beetroot and dill, then continue adding sufficient stock until the rice is tender - the whole dish should take no more than 30 minutes to make. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and then stir in the remaining butter.
Cover and leave for four to five minutes. Then sprinkle the risotto with parmesan and serve straight from the pan.
Partridge with wild mushroom sauce
Serve with broccoli and pappardelle pasta.
20g dried porcini mushrooms (ceps)
100ml white wine
2 oven-ready partridges
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/4 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 heaped tsp flour
2 tbsp double cream
1 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Madeira or truffle oil, optional
Rinse and then soak the dried mushrooms in the wine for about an hour.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small roasting tin on the hob and brown the partridges all over. Add seasoning and roast in the oven at 230¼C/450¼F/ gas 8 for five minutes, then lower the heat to 200¼C/400¼F/gas 6 and continue cooking for ten to 15 minutes, basting once.
Check that the partridges are cooked in the same way as you would for chicken - insert the tip of a knife into their centres; the juices should run clear.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small saucepan and gently fry the garlic and onion for five minutes. Then add the mushrooms (reserve the liquid), and fry for five minutes, stirring all the time.
Increase the heat, sprinkle in the flour and cook for another minute. Add the reserved mushroom liquid and cream, stir and cook for four to five minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat.
Season the sauce with salt, pepper and the parsley, and then stir in a dash of Madeira or truffle oil to taste.
Swedish roast lamb with coffee and cream
I realise this sounds really bizarre, but it is divine - dark, rich, creamy and delicious. Serve with roast potatoes and green vegetables.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 leg of lamb
1 onion, peeled and quartered
300ml strong black (unsweetened) coffee, hot
25g plain flour
300ml lamb stock, hot
1 heaped tbsp crème fraîche
1 tsp redcurrant jelly
Heat the oil in a roasting tin on the hob, then add the lamb and onion and brown. Place in a preheated oven (220C/425F/gas 7) for 40 minutes. Remove and pour the hot coffee all over.
Then reduce the heat to 180C/350F/gas 4 and continue roasting until the meat is medium. Remove the lamb and keep it warm.
Strain off the liquid and reserve. Add the butter to the tin and melt over a direct heat. Then add the flour and cook for one minute, stirring.
Add the strained liquid and the hot stock and cook for three minutes, whisking constantly. Add the crème fraîche and the jelly, season to taste and serve with the carved lamb.
Fillet of beef with rocket sauce
The rocket sauce for this dish is a kind of pesto, but without the addition of garlic - to allow the flavour of the rocket to come through. The sauce can also be served on top of baked potatoes, hot pasta or vegetables such as courgettes or green beans. Serve this dish with steamed green vegetables and sautéed potatoes.
75g pine nuts, toasted
50g parmesan cheese
6 tbsp (approx) extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
4 x 150g-175g Scotch beef fillet steaks (at room temperature)
1 tbsp ground-nut oil
Place the rocket, pine nuts and parmesan in a food processor and whizz briefly, until well chopped. Slowly add sufficient oil to make a thickish paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Just before cooking the steaks, season them with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan to a very high heat. Sear the steaks for two minutes on each side (the fat will splatter all over the place, but do not be tempted to turn down the heat yet). After the four minutes, reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook the steaks to your liking - another three minutes for rare, about five for medium and about eight or so for well-done. Timing depends on the thickness of the steaks.
To serve, place the fillets on warmed plates and top with a generous spoonful of the rocket sauce. Serve at once.
Roast fish with butternut squash wedges
Use whichever fish your fishmonger recommends at this time of year; but it should be as thick as possible, and of even thickness. I I like to serve this with a dollop of pesto: coriander pesto is now available, made by Sacla, and is superb with the fish and squash combo.
1 butternut squash
extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 thick fillets of haddock or other white fish (gurnard, rock turbot or cod loin)
extra-virgin olive oil
Cut the (unpeeled) squash lengthways and remove the seeds and pith. Cut into thick wedges and place on a roasting tray. Drizzle with two tablespoons of oil, season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and top with the thyme. Roast in a preheated oven (200¼C/400¼F/gas 6) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender.
Place the fish on an oiled oven tray (tucking any thin ends under to make a thicker parcel), drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at the top of a preheated oven (220¼C/425¼F/gas 7) for about 15 minutes, until the fish is just cooked. Test with the tip of a sharp knife: it should no longer be translucent in the thickest part.
Serve the fish on top of the squash wedges with a dollop of pesto.
Apple-dapple cake with butterscotch sauce
Serve as pudding with plenty of whipped cream or thick yoghurt; or cold, with a cup of tea.
3 medium free-range eggs
200ml sunflower oil
300g golden caster sugar
50ml cold water
375g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large Bramley apples, peeled and chopped
100g light muscovado sugar
3 tbsp milk
Whisk together the first four ingredients, then sift in the next four and stir well. Add the vanilla and apples. Pour the mixture into a buttered, deep, loose-bottomed 24cm cake tin.
Bake in a preheated oven (180¼C/350¼F/gas 4) for 60 to 70 minutes. Test by inserting a skewer into the middle - it should come out clean. Cover loosely with foil towards the end, if necessary.
Meanwhile, place the last three ingredients in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Boil for three to four minutes, stirring often, until thickened. Leave to cool for at least five minutes.
Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven. Slowly pour over the sauce, then return to the oven for a further two minutes.
Remove to a wire rack and run a knife around the inside edge of the tin to loosen it. Allow the cake to cool in the tin, and then remove it, cut and serve with pouring cream or yoghurt.
Based on the wonderful French batter pudding, this recipe is made with brambles instead of the more classic cherries. Eat warm or at room temperature.
Serves four to six
40g plain flour, sifted
40g ground almonds
3 large free-range eggs
75g caster sugar
25g butter, melted
150ml double cream
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp kirsch (or gin)
400g brambles (blackberries)
Butter a shallow 22cm gratin dish. Whisk all the ingredients except the brambles in a food processor (or whisk thoroughly with a balloon whisk) until smooth. Strain if there are any lumps.
Place the buttered dish in a preheated oven (200¼C/400¼F/gas 6) for a couple of minutes, until it is very hot. Immediately pour in half of the batter and scatter the brambles on top. Pour over the remaining batter.
Bake in the oven at once, for about 30 minutes - until it is puffy and golden brown. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving with crème fraîche.
Chocolate Mousse with cardamom and olive oil
Depending on what texture you like from your mousse, chill for only an hour or two (for a fluffy, light texture) or overnight (for a more fudgy, dense spoonful). Serve with thin buttery shortbread.
Serves four to six
250g quality dark chocolate
2 tbsp strong coffee
4 large free-range eggs, separated
25g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp crushed cardamom pods (crushed black seeds from snipping green pods)
50ml extra-virgin olive oil (fruity not peppery)
Melt the chocolate and coffee together. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until stiff.
In a separate bowl, beat the yolks and sugar together. Then add the chocolate mixture, followed by the cardamom and the olive oil, and stir until it is smooth.
Gently fold in the whites, starting with one spoonful. When this is fully incorporated, carefully fold in the rest. Tip into a glass bowl and chill for a couple of hours or overnight before serving.