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 with root vegetables and white beans
2 garlic cloves
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
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.