Scottish Cuisine: Delicious Simplicity
Scottish cuisine is simple both in its preparation and presentation which is what makes it distinctive and unique. Dishes are hearty and nutrient filled being filled with fish, meat and a lot of vegetables from the land. The main reason that explorers settled in Scotland was because of how efficient living off the land would be.
Access to fertile soil, rolling hills and plenty of bodies of water meant that there was a plethora of food sources. Since all ingredients could be sourced locally, the Scottish had an easy time in making items like bread from oats and wild barley that they could gather.
There were also animals such as wild boar, mussels and sheep that they could hunt. Throughout the centuries, Scotland was influenced by the Scandinavians, French and British, but to this day their food remains simple, hearty and delicious.
Scottish Cuisine Facts and History
Scotland is a small country that has an abundance of water in the forms of lakes, streams, rivers and the sea which surrounds it. It is believed that the first people to arrive to Scotland were the Picts, around 800 – 1000 BC. With the fertile soil, natural resources and warm climate it was a prime place for hunting, fishing and raising animals like sheep and cattle.
Oats, barley and soft fruits as well as root vegetables like potatoes and carrots were easy to grow here because of the nutrient dense soil. Towards the end of the 8th Century, it is believed that the Vikings arrived to the northern isles of Scotland, bringing with them Scandinavian methods of smoking and salting food. It is believed that the Viking raids of the northern isles is what brought the famous Aberdeen Angus cattle to the lands.
During the late middle ages (16th Century), cultural exchange began to take place and with it the Auld Alliance during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. With her reign came French cuisine and the incorporation of French cooking terms like “collop,” “Gigot,” and “Ashet,”. Finally, new foods were introduced during the 20th and 21st centuries when large scale immigration to Scotland from places like Italy, India and Pakistan took place. These too had a dramatic influence on what type of spices and fresh produced were used.
Scottish Cuisine Menu
• Sausage links,
• Sautéed Mushrooms,
• Grilled tomatoes,
• Baked beans,
• Buttered toast,
• Bacon and Maple Syrup Pancakes
• Scotch Eggs
• Black pudding (pigs’ blood, fat, oats, barley, spices stuffed into intestine),
• Tattie Scones
• Porridge and kippers (cold smoked herring),
• Fresh Fruit
• Cullen Skink (smoked haddock, potato and onion soup),
• Fish and Chips,
• Smoked Salmon,
• Cabbie Claw (Cabelew),
• BLT with parsnip crisps, sweet potato and carrot,
• Smoked Haddock,
• Arbroath Smokies
• Rowies (bread usually spread with jam)
• Cheese topped fish pie,
• Udon Noodles with Thai spices and smoked tofu,
• Confit pork belly with leak mash and cider
• Neeps (turnip)
• Fillet steak with caramelised onions
• Risotto cake topped with poached eggs,
• Sesame chicken with hot peppers and mango
• Blueberry coconut scones,
• Raspberry meringues with cream
• Deep fried mars bar,
• Shortbread cookies
• Cranachan (whiskey-soaked oats, raspberries, honey, cream),
• Banana Parfait
• Dundee cake,
• Scottish tablets
• Black bun (dark fruitcake),
• Clootie dumpling (steamed fruitcake),
• Coconut bread with butter pudding and ice cream,
• Vegan chocolate orange and cardamom cake with soya ice cream
• Hot chocolate,
• Ginger Wine,
• Breakfast Tea,
• Scotch Mist,
• Roasted turkey,
• Roasted potatoes,
• Roasted parsnips,
• Scottish Rolls,
• Steak pie,
• Roast pork,
• Roast goose,
• Bread sauce,
• Red-wine gravy,
• Cranberry sauce,
• Brussel sprouts,
• Scotch Trifle,
• Cloutie Dumpling,
• Christmas Pudding.
• Cream of carrot and coriander soup,
• Scottish tablet,
• Roasted turkey,
• Roasted potatoes,
• Roasted venison,
• Roasted lamb,
• Cullen Skink,
• Tipsy Laird,
• Profiteroles with Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.
Most Popular Dishes
Traditional Scottish dishes that are popular include:
• Haggis: Which is the national dish of Scotland. It is a savory pudding that contains sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, salt and spices.
• Scottish Oatcakes: Which are flat oat cakes that are quick and easy to make. They work well as a snack or can accompany many dishes with cheese on top.
• Scottish Tablet: This is a sweet Scottish candy that is similar to fudge but much sweeter. It contains sugar, butter, and condensed milk.
• Scottish Arbroath Smokies: These are haddock that is smoked over hardwood. It must be made within five miles of town.
• Scottish Tattie Scones: These are a big part of the Scottish breakfast. They are a potato scone that is made by using leftover mashed potatoes.
• Scottish Cullen Skink: This is a hearty soup that is traditionally made with smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. It is rather thick and is served with bread and made with milk and cream.
Most Used Ingredients
Meats/Fish: Salmon, beef, lamb, mutton, wild boar, venison, pheasant, grouse, partridge, Pidgeon, hare, rabbit, haddock, trout, mackerel, herring, lobster, crab, prawns, scallops and mussels.
Vegetables: Potatoes, turnips, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, peas and leaks.
Fruits: Raspberries, strawberries, slaes, tayberries, brambles (blackberries), apples, rhubarb.
Other: Oats, barley, almonds, sugar, maple syrup, flour, cheese, salt, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, wheat.
Travelling Foodies: What to Eat When You Travel to Scotland
For those who are interested in travelling to Scotland, there are some foods that are must haves! You can get them at pretty much any café or restaurant that you visit. First and foremost, you have to try out the national dish which is the haggis. Although it may be a required taste, it is definitely a dish you want to try as the experience will always stick with you. Other then that, you should definitely try out the oatcakes if you want a potato snack and if you want to try something sweet then the Scottish tablet is a must. Overall, you are going to be eating a lot of either hearty soups, potatoes, breads and dishes that use parts of animals that you wouldn’t normally eat, like the liver, heart and lungs.
Are you from Scotland? Maybe you visited there? Please feel free to comment and add your own thoughts on Scottish ethnic food.