Scottish Recipes

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There are three components to this pudding.  Don't be put off by the date puree.  I don't know why it works, but it does.

Date Puree

375g (12.5 oz) dates, with stones removed

375 ml ( 12.5 fl oz) water

Toffee Sauce

640ml ( 22 fl oz) heavy cream

340g (12 oz) sugar

130g (4oz) unsalted butter


130g (4oz) unsalted butter

375g (12.5 oz) soft dark brown sugar

3 medium eggs, lightly beaten

450g (15 oz) white bread flour

10g (1/3 oz) baking powder (sifted into the flour)

3g (1/8 oz) bicarbonate of soda  (sifted into the flour)


plus creme fraiche, vanilla ice cream  or whipped unsweetened heavy cream to serve



1)  Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius, or 350 fahrenheit.

2)  Make the date puree by simmering the dates in water over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until they are soft and the water has almost evaporated.  Process them in a blender until they are smooth.

3) Make toffee sauce.  Pour half the cream, and the sugar and butter into a thick bottomed pan and mix well.  Bring the sauce to the boil stirring with a wooden spoon, and continue until the sauce is golden brown.   This will take a while, and needs an eye kept on it to stop it boiling over or burning.  When it goes golden brown, remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, and then whisk in remaining cream.

4) Grease and line a baking tin, measuring approximately 30 x 24 x 6cm deep with baking parchment.  Now make the sponge.  In a food processor or mixer, cream the butter and sugar with the paddle on a medium speed until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs slowly , taking care the mixture doesn't separate.  (If this happens, add a little of the flour and continue mixing for a minute or so.)  Then fold in the sifted flour mixture slowly until smooth. Finally, add the warm date puree and mix well.

5) Spread mixture into prepared tin, and bake for about 50-60 minutes or until the sponge is firm to the touch.  Allow to cool - it can be left in the tin.  Remove, the sponge from tin and trim the outside edges.  Cut it horizontally into three, then reassemble it in the baking tin, spreading two thirds of the sauce between the layers.

6) Once you have reassembled the pudding, reheat it in the oven at 175 celsius, 350 fahrenheit, for 15-20 minutes, then cut it into eight equal servings and top with remaining toffee sauce.



"Auld Reekie" Cock-a-Leekie Soup

The "Auld Reekie" does not refer to the soup being "smokey" but to the origins of the recipe in Edinburgh which used to be called Auld Reekie in the days of coal fires. Cock-a-Leekie soup makes a regular appearance in Scottish kitchens but this variation has a special ingredient - Scotch whisky! It will, as the say, "stick to your ribs".

3lb boiling chicken (giblets removed)
3 slices of streaky bacon
1lb shin of beef
2 lb leeks
1 large onion
5 fluid ounces Scotch whisky
4 pints water
1 level tablespoon dried tarragon
Salt and pepper
8 pre-soaked prunes (optional but traditional!)

Mix the whisky, tarragon and sugar in the water. Chop up the bacon and place the chicken, bacon and beef in a large bowl and pour over the whisky marinade. Leave to soak overnight. Place the chicken etc in a large soup pot. Chop up the leeks (reserve one) and onion and add to the pot. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for two hors, removing any scum as required. Remove the chicken from the pot, remove skin and bones. Chop the meat into small pieces and return to the pot. Cut up the shin of beef, if required. Add the prunes and the last chopped leek and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. It will serve up to eight people.





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