"The greatest Indian cook in Britain"Jay Rayner "The Observer"
"Cook with love. Love your cooking" Gita Mistry

Monday, 18 February 2013

Feed Me Scotland

Do you remember when you were at school the first thing the teacher made you do on your first day back  was to write about what what you did on your summer holidays.   Well, as I have been away for a while I will tell you what I have been doing.

Last  year  I was fortunate  enough to visit Scotland again - not just once but twice and attended  the Pitlochry theatre festival. There I watched a The 39 Steps and The Little Shop of Horrors which is all about food.   Watch the video:

I sampled weird and wondrous food in Scotland - not just haggis which I mentioned in "Burns Night Bradford Style" 26 Jan 2012 - but white puddings, clootie dumplings, stovies, tatty sconesbridies and a wee dram or twa at Edradour. . and to finish with I sampled the finest chocolates at The high land Chocolatier  I am told that curried bridie, beans and "chups".were student staples at St. Andrews, especially when carrot soup and mutton pie were on the menu in hall, students dodging lodging fare. 

There are lots of lovely things to see near Pitlochry: the Queen's View over Loch Rannoch and Loch Tummel, Blair Castle with its Hercules gardens and private army, Salmon ladder  and the magnificent waterfalls known  as the Falls of Bruar.   Right next door to the falls is a shopping centre in the middle of nowhere called House of Bruar

I spent hours in the food hall exploring every counter - the bakery, dairy, deli, pantry, patisserie and even the butcher's which says a lot as I am not a conviction carnivore.   If you are worried about horse flesh that's where you should go for peace of mind.   I bought apple juice, lemon curd, scotish crackers, scrumptious Scottish cheese and a lovely book about potatoes . Who would of thought it that from its humble beginning in Peru it was transported to into every continent on Earth and beyond including a potato plant transported onto space aboard the space shuttle.

For a tiny town Pitlochry has more than its fair share of top notch restaurants.   I tried the Fern Cottage, Port Na Craig, Strathgarry, the theatre restaurant and the restaurant of the House of Bruar. My favourite?  The theatre restaurant commanded the most spectacular views over Ben Vrackie. Fern Cottage was possibly most friendly.   Strathgarry had a great atmosphere.  But the salmon at House of Bruar was delectable and excellent value.

I dined at some interesting restaurants on the way to Pitlochry - Henderson's in Edinburgh and Mother India in Glasgow and the legendary Ubiquitous Chip which merits a post in its own right.Which I will mention again later.

So here's my food tip:  For lovely roast potatoes part boil your spuds fro 10 mins drain & pat dry ,shake in the pan to roughen the edges, place then into hot fat and rotate and bake in a hot oven for 30 to 40 mins. Or you could try" my lovely potato and cahew nuts with cool cumber raita recipe                            

Potato with cashew nuts and lime leaves, served with cucumber raita
(Serves 4)


500g/1lb Potatoes part boiled
60g/2oz cashew nuts
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp paprika
1⁄2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp onion seeds &  a handful of lime leaves
2 tsp dried coriander
1⁄2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp of ginger pulp
1 medium dry whole chilli
salt to taste
Ground nut oil
1tbsp chives
Juice of a Large Lemon
Zest of a lime

For the raita

1⁄2 cucumber grated
250g plain yoghurt
1 clove garlic
1 small rocket chilli
1⁄2 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
1⁄4 tsp mustard seeds crushed


Peel and chop the potatoes into chunks and part boil in salty water for 15 mins. Set aside. (For the raita) Prepare the grated cucumber and remove the water by squeezing it in your hands (For the raita) Crush the garlic, finely chop the green chilli and grind the mustard seeds in a pestle and mortar.


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Lowu or shallow level pan, and lightly fry the cashew nuts, cumin seeds and add the limes leaves and stir.Now add in thre ginger and whole green chilli.
  2. Add the potatoes and sprinkle in the onion seeds, paprika, chilli powder, dried coriander, salt and turmeric. Give it all a good stir and cook on a medium heat for 2-3 mins, add in the lime zest and lemon juice. (This brings out all the flavours.) Finally, after a good stir sprinkle over the chives.)
  3. (For the raita) Add to grated cucumber: the yoghurt, garlic, chilli, and turmeric and give it stir. Add salt to taste and mix in the crushed mustard seeds.
use of bruar

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