There’s a whiff of déjà vu in the air. Life is feeling a lot like it did last spring, with the return of Zoom calls, home-schooling our children and jumping around the living room to YouTube workout videos. And with more time on our hands, there is also the opportunity to be a bit more ambitious in the kitchen, trying out new dishes in the absence of being able to go to a restaurant. If you are hoping to get something productive out of this lockdown, why not try your hand at making one of these delectable Scottish recipes?


Most Scots will be familiar with cranachan, the raspberry-oat-whisky dessert that is a staple of any Burns supper. This version, by Edinburgh-based chef Paul Wedgwood, uses homemade bramble cream and will be a hit for Burns night and beyond.

Paul Wedgwood’s Cranachan

with Brambles

Ingredients (serves 6)

300ml double cream

200g white chocolate

100g brambles (frozen are fine!)

60g butter

53g Demerara sugar

40g plain flour

40g oats

2g bicarbonate of soda

2g salt

250ml milk

250ml double cream

150g egg yolk

250g sugar

100g honey

50ml whisky

1 vanilla pod or tsp of essence


Place the cream in a pan and bring to the boil. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour over the heated cream, whisk until combined. Cool in the fridge for a minimum of two hours (ideally overnight). Whip the mixture to soft peaks, then add brambles and whip to firm peaks.

Cream together the butter and sugar, add the dry ingredients and mix well. Roll out like a sheet of biscuit to about 1cm thick. Bake at 180C, checking after 15mins, take out when it is a nice golden brown, cool then break into a crumble. Bring milk and cream to the boil; whisk egg and sugar together. Take the milk and cream mixture off the heat and carefully whisk into the egg and sugar mix, add the vanilla. Whisk slowly on a gentle heat until it thickly coats the back of a spoon, cool.

Add the honey to a small pan and bring to the boil for one minute then deglaze with the whisky. Blend into the Anglais when cool (but set a bit of the syrup aside to drizzle over the finished dessert). Pipe or spoon the bramble cream into glasses or bowls, sprinkle the crumb mix over and drizzle with whisky honey. Garnish with brambles and mint leaves.

Cullen Skink

You can’t get much more Scottish than a bowl of Cullen Skink. And while you’ve almost certainly tried this famous smoky soup, have you ever made it yourself? If not, then lockdown is the time to give it a go – this recipe only takes half an hour all in.

Shirley Spear’s Cullen Skink

Ingredients (serves 6/8)

500g undyed, smoked haddock fillet

1 pint full cream milk

Zest of 1 lemon, plus the juice set aside

4 sprigs of parsley

1 level tsp black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

500/600g floury potatoes, weighed when peeled (eg Maris Piper or King Edwards)

250/300g onion, weighed when peeled

25g Scottish butter

1 pint water

Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Extra parsley or chives for garnish (optional).

Seaweed flakes to garnish (optional)

100ml fresh double cream to serve if wished


Place the milk, lemon zest, parsley sprigs, peppercorns, bay leaf and one slice taken from an onion, divided into rings, into a wide saucepan, preferably a shallow one with a lid. Place the fish fillets into the milk. Set on a low heat and bring to simmering point very slowly. Don’t allow the milk to boil. Turn off the heat, cover with the lid and leave for up to 15 minutes for the fish to cook gently in the warm liquor.

Peel and dice the potatoes into small cubes. Peel and cut the onion into small pieces. Melt the butter in another medium/large saucepan. Add the onion and stir in the butter and cook until soft and translucent. Add the chopped potatoes, stir well and allow to cook without catching on the base of the pan.

Cover the potatoes with water and add two tablespoons of juice from the lemon. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft. Using a straining spoon, lift the cooked haddock out of the milk and place on a plate. Strain the milk into a large jug or bowl, discarding the parsley and other contents.

Break up the fish into large flakes. Once the potatoes are cooked, lightly liquidise, if you wish, but if not, simply add the retained milk mixture, followed by the flaked fish and stir carefully together.

Check for seasoning. Add a little salt and pepper if required (the fish is salty and extra may not be necessary). Just before serving, reheat the soup gently and stir through the double cream.

Shirley Spear is owner of The Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye, see

Vegan stovies

Whether you are doing Veganuary, or just want to cut down your meat consumption, there are plenty of recipes offering a meatless version of classic Scottish dishes. One such recipe comes from vegetarian food writer Jacqueline Meldrum, who has come up with a plant-based version of stovies that taste almost identical to the original.

Tinned Tomatoes’ Vegan Stovies

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 large onions, halved and sliced

2 large cloves garlic, crushed

400g veggie mince (frozen, chilled or dried, if using dried you will need a little more gravy)

3 tbsp brown sauce (BBQ sauce or Marmite would work too)

1 vegetable stock cube

500ml/2 cups onion gravy

(using 3 tbsp granules)

2 kg potatoes

Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce (optional)


In a large frying pan, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add the veggie mince, a crumbled stock cube, the brown sauce, salt and pepper and a generous splosh of water (just to get it moving). Mix well and cook for three or four minutes to give the flavours a chance to absorb into the mince.

Peel and halve the potatoes. If they are smaller leave them whole – it can be good to have different sizes as it varies the texture. Some bigger pieces will remain whole and smaller pieces will turn to mash. Place in a layer along the bottom of the slow cooker pot.

Top with the veggie mince and the gravy and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Slow cook on high for 6 hours. Don’t be tempted to keep looking at the stovies. Each time you open the lid, you reduce the temperature and the water from the lid runs into the stew making it watery.

Full recipe available from Jacqueline Meldrum, aka Tinned Tomatoes, at

Italian Scotch Broth

Traditional, hearty, and ideal for a chilly winters day, Scotch Broth is a staple that proves very handy to have in your repertoire. Edinburgh restaurateur Carina Contini puts an Italian twist on her version, which is sure to prove popular with kids and adults alike.

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the Scotch broth:

200g dried pearl barley

200g dried mixed beans, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water

2 carrots, washed, peeled and chopped

2 onions, peeled and chopped

1 baby turnip, washed, peeled and chopped

2 leeks, trimmed, washed, and chopped

200g curly kale, washed and chopped

2 litres hot mutton or vegetable stock

For the garlic and rosemary pesto:

1 garlic clove

1 tsp salt

1 handful rosemary leaves, finely chopped

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Rinse the beans that have been soaked overnight in fresh water, add to a pot of cold water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, drain the beans. In a separate pot, bring the stock to the boil and reduce the temperature to a simmer. Add the beans with the barley.

Next, add all of the vegetables, except the kale. Simmer for at least one hour until the beans are tender. Add the chopped kale, cook for another 10 minutes until the kale has “dissolved” and the soup looks thick. Check the seasoning.

Finally, cream together the pesto ingredients using a pestle and mortar. Use the oil to achieve a lovely, smooth consistency. Add a tablespoon to the soup just before serving.

Carina Contini is owner of Contini George Street, Edinburgh; Cannonball Restaurant & Bar, Castlehill, Edinburgh; and The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant, visit: