Traditional Scottish fare does share some traditions with British and European cuisine; this is mainly due to migration and cultural exchanges during times of specific alliances. For example, during the late Middle Ages (and especially during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots) we can see French influence in Scottish cooking techniques and terminology, such as referring to a large platter as an ‘ashet’ (assiette) or boiling fowl as ‘howtowdie’ (hétoudeau). Viking influence can also be seen with the use of salting and smoking techniques.
|via Flickr by Moyan Brenn|
Of course the Scottish terrain also greatly influenced the ways in which Scots chose to prepare food. With an abundance of fertile soil and bodies of water, the Scots saw an opportunity to grow vegetables, hunt game, herd cattle and catch fresh seafood. Spices were rare and expensive; so many traditional dishes only include simple seasoning. In fact, most dishes are very simple – their primary purpose was to provide warmth, strength and energy.
Breakfast – Porridge
The Scots know that nothing sticks to your ribs quite like a good bowl of porridge. This old favourite is a little different in Scotland though – stirred with a wooden spurtle and (if you’re a real traditionalist) only including water and oats. We’re not quite as traditional as that, so go ahead and add a little milk and dried fruits!
|Photo by Felicity Cloake|
Lunch – Cullen Skink
If you are somehow still hungry after your big bowl of porridge, you can always grab a hot bowl of Cullen skink to tide you over until dinnertime. This thick soup is full of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. Sounds delicious...
|Photo by The Hairy Bikers|
Dinner – Stovies
This is a traditional Monday night dinner, because it’s supposed to be made with the leftovers from the Sunday night roast. Stovies is the quintessential thick Scottish stew and is usually served up with oatcakes and pickled beetroot sides. Go ahead and make it on a Wednesday, we won’t tell!
|Photo by The Greedy Girl|
Dessert – Cranachan
This dessert is simple and sweet. It takes advantage of Scotland’s fresh raspberries, and if you’re feeling a little adventurous you can splash some whisky over the top. We love desserts that are five ingredients or less – thank you Scotland!
|via Flickr by Robert Young|
Sweets – Scottish Shortbread
I know that we said Scottish cuisine isn’t all haggis and shortbread...but how could we possibly leave out the shortbread? Done right, Scottish shortbread is absolutely melt-in-your-mouth delicious. For this one, use lots of butter and skip all the fancy alternate flavourings...simple does it for the best shortbread around!
|via Flickr by storebukkebruse|
Do you have a favourite traditional Scottish meal? Have you ever sampled authentic haggis? We’d love to hear about it, so sound off in the comments below!