scottish broth

Having some Scottish roots and all, of course I have to celebrate Burns night! (actually I stumbled across it this year as well…). Burns night is about honoring the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796), and any tradition celebrating the man who wrote Auld lang syne must be an important one. I am not being silly now, the song makes my eyes tear every time I hear it.

I am not sure what one does on Burns night (except sings Auld lang syne I guess) but when I goggled it I found some recipes that I immediately got tempted to nutmeg and chivesify.

The traditional Scotish food are very much about haggis and lamb and other heavy meaty stuff (trust me, I intend to have a go at both vegetarian haggis and Scottish eggs but I just haven’t got there yet). But there is also many flavours that I find tempting, specially now in the winter time. The oats, the root vegetables and the earthy, warming flavours that comes from bay leafs, thyme and leeks, among others.

I found two dishes at a Jamie Oliver site with Burns night recipes that felt very Scottish to me.

Potato scones I tried a few years ago when I visited a friend in Glasgow. Golden brown and steaming hot with the butter running down the sides they were a total calorie bomb, but also absolutely wonderful. I made my version a little bit healthier, substituting the potato with sweet potato and some of the flour with oat flour. I choose to call them sweet tattie scones (after the Scottish word for potatos). I think it sounds quite cute.

I know there is nothing Scottish or brittish about sweet potatos but they are just such a good, funny vegetable and they are said to have less calories then potatos so I will have no shame making this crazy Scottish caribean/african mix.

The soup is inspired by Jamie Olivers Scotch broth with root veg but instead of chicken I used big white beans and I also added some sun dried tomatoes for extra saltyness. Its not a soup with huge flavours, but I like how you really can feel the taste of the carrots and the swede, and the thyme, sage and bay leafs are like a comforting lingering in the background.

I barely had time to photograph the food before it got dark, so the focus is not great. But with some positive thinking one can imagine that the blurry corners and the dark colours makes it look like a painting, from say the days of Robert Burns.

scottish broth 2

Scottish broth with root vegetables and white beans

(serves 4)

½ leek

2 garlic cloves

2 carrots

1 small or ½ swede

1 litre vegetable stock

1 tsp dried thyme or oregano

½ tsp dried sage

3-4 bay leafs

1 decilitre white wine

5-6 sun dried tomatos

Lemon juice to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the leek thinly and crush the garlic. Slice the carrot and swede. Fry with some oil until golden. Add 1 litre of water and 1 vegetable stock cube. Season with dried herbs and boil until the vegetables are soft. Add the wine, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley if you prefer.

 Scottish sweet tattie scones

(serves 4)

2 big sweet potatos

2 dl oat flour (can be rolled oats that are grinded in the blender)

1 dl wheat flour

(1/2 decilitre cheddar cheese)

Salt and pepper

Butter to season and to fry

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut in to big cubes. Boil until soft, drain and place back in pot. Mash the potatoes with a knob of butter, salt and pepper. Mix in the flour, and the cheese if you prefer that (I realised that I am not a fan of cheese in bread so will rather put a big nice slice on top of the scone next time).

Steer everything well, heat some butter in a pan and form flat, round scones with your hand. Fry the scones a few minutes on each side, until they are golden.

Serve with some butter together with the soup.

Vegetable stuffed pumpkins

stuffed pumpkin 1

These baked pumpkins stuffed with mushroom, vegetables and barley are a great dish for halloween or bonfire night that are coming up this  weekend and next week. Until a year or so ago I didn’t know about bonfire night, or Guy Fawkes day as it is originally called. Here follows a short description of why Guy Fawkes night is celebrated, all though I cant promise that I get all the facts absolutely right: On November the 5th 1605 the catholic activist/terrorist Guy Fawkes was arrested trying to blow up the British parliament. As a celebration of his failure people started to light fires and make this day full of festivities. Later the tradition started including shooting fireworks (maybe as a symbol of the failed explotions?). In recent years Guy Fawkes has had a revival, becoming the symbol of the anti capitalistic movement Anonymos. I will celebrate bonfire night for the first time this year. Not so much because I am for or against Guw Fawkes, but more as an excuse to gather with friends on a dark autumn night, and because I like alternatives to Halloween. There wont be any chances of fire watching and probably no fireworks either, so I choose to focus on the important stuff; the food. Apart from these stuffed pumpkins I also plan to serve a celeriac and apple soup and some kind of sticky ginger parkin as a desert. More about that later, now lets cut the rambling and go straight to how to make these delicious pumpkins. They might not be the most typical food for Britain or for Bonfire night, but I still think they fit in quite well for the occasion, and that the flavours are typically British autumn flavours. And I am sure they will impress any dinner guests when you put it on the table!

. filled pumpkin 2

Vegetable stuffed pumpkins

(serves 4) 2 small eatable pumpkins or butternut pumpkins

2 carrots

1 parsnip

3-4 kale leafs

10 mushrooms

1 apple

2 garlic cloves

½ red onion

2 tbsp white wine

1 tsp dried thyme ‘

1 bay leaf

2 decilitre barley

1 cube vegetable stock

Salt and peppar to taste

(parmesan or other strong cheese for topping)

Turn the oven to 200 C. Boil the barley with the double amount of water and the vegetable stock, until it is soft but still has some resistance when chewing.

Split the pumpkins in half. Cut a piece at the bottom of the two half’s so that it can stand steadily. Scrape out the seeds and most of the flesh, until about one centimetre remains together with the peel. Cut the flesh of the pumpkins to small pieces. Cut the onion and the garlic finely. Fry it in oil until it starts to turn golden. Add the pumpkin flesh, grated carrots and the parsnip to the pan and fry for some minutes more. Add thyme, bay leaf and white wine. Let it fry gently while stearing.

Chop the mushrooms and the kale and add to the pan. Fry it until the vegetables starts to feel soft. Season with salt and peppar. Finaly add the cooked barley to the mixture.

Scoop the mixture in to the pumpkins, top it of with some cheese if you like and bake in the oven for about 20- 30 minutes, until you easily can pinch a fork through the pumpkins.

Serve with some ajvar (sauce from roasted red peppers) a large salad and possibly some roasted vegetables.

If you like it even more fancy, save the seeds from the pumpkins and fry them in some oil and salt and sprinkle it over the pumpkins before serving.

If yofilled pumpkin 3 Source historical facts: Wikipedia