Haggis and Clapshot Pie

Some hae meat and canna eat, And some would eat that want it But we hae meat, and we can eat, Sae let the lord be thankit. By Robert Burns
Combining all your ingredients in a pie is a bit different from the usual ceremonial Burns night dinner with the address to the haggis and the nip of whisky but if you lead a busy life you can make and freeze it beforehand. If you are freezing it add 1 egg yolk to the mash. (defrost overnight). Try it with a nip of whisky.
Clapshot is an Orcadian dish of swede and potato mash traditionally made with dripping but I prefer to use butter. The addition of lots of freshly milled black pepper and chives makes it the perfect accompaniment to haggis.

Makes 1 large or 4-6 smaller pies

For the pastry
2 oz cold butter, cubed
2 oz cold white cooking fat, cubed
8 oz plain flour
Pinch each of salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp chilled water

Rub the fats into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add salt and pepper.

Add the water 1 tbsp at a time to form a firm dou…

Chinese New Year

Easy and tasty dishes to celebrate Chinese new year.

Sesame chicken
2 teaspoons cornflour 2 tablespoons rice wine 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 pinch crushed chillies 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger 1 clove crushed garlic 500g (1 lb) skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons sesame seeds 1 tablespoon sesame oil 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 110g (4 oz) fresh mushrooms, quartered
1 green pepper, julienned
4 spring onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
1 can water chestnuts, drained and sliced 
Beansprouts (optional)

For marinade: In a dish or bowl, blend cornflour with rice wine (or dry sherry); stir in lemon juice, soy sauce, chillies, ginger and garlic. Blend and stir in chicken strips to coat. Cover and refrigerate to marinate for 3 to 4 hours.

In a wok or large frying pan, toast the sesame seeds over medium heat, shaking the pan until the seeds are a golden brown colour. Remove seeds and set aside.

To same wok or frying pan, add se…

Pork Stroganoff

Pork is under-used when it comes to stews and casseroles, try this very tasty pork stroganoff with rice or mashed potatoes, a warming dish for this time of year, I'm sure it will become a  favourite.
500g pork fillet cut into thin strips
2 tsp smoked paprika
300g button mushrooms sliced
1 medium onion thinly sliced
300ml Crème Fraiche
1 tbsp chopped parsley Salt and freshly milled pepper
Trim any fat and sinew off the pork fillet, slice in half lengthways then cut into thin strips. Toss the pork strips in the paprika and seasoning
Heat a wide non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, spray with cooking oil and cook the mushrooms for 2 minutes stirring all the time, remove and set to one side
Add the onion and 2 tbsp of water to the frying pan and cook for 3 minutes. Add the pork and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Add the crème fraiche to the pan and simmer for 2 minutes, add the mushrooms and their juices along with the parsley. Check the seasoning.

Serve with rice.
Adapted from…

Apple Tart with Almond Sponge

A lovely winter pudding which can be eaten hot with custard or creme fraiche but especially nice eaten cold with a cup of tea.

For the filling you will need 2 eating apples, peeled and cut into thin slices and 3 tbsp raspberry jam.

Top with flaked almonds before baking and brush with warm apricot jam when you remove it from the oven.


For the pastry

4 oz cold butter, cubed
8 oz plain flour
1 oz icing sugar
1 egg, beaten

Rub the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Sieve the icing sugar into the mixture and stir to combine.

Add the beaten egg and bring it together with your hands, forming a dough, rest the dough in the fridge while you make the almond sponge.

For the sponge

200 g butter, softened
220 caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp plain flour
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
220 g ground almonds

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, stir in the vanilla and lemon zest.

Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating the mi…

Goats Cheese Red Onion and Walnut Tarts-Flavoured with maple syrup

These little tarts are so easy to make and taste great.  Have them for a starter, a snack, or with a jacket potato and coleslaw for a very quick and easy supper.  If you don't have maple syrup use runny honey (also delicious).


1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
200g soft goats cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 small red onion, finely sliced
Maple syrup
100 g chopped walnuts (hazlenuts are also good)

Pre-heat the oven to 200C

Cut out 5" rounds from the puff pastry, lay them on a baking tray.
Spoon 1 tsp maple syrup on each pastry round and spread to 1/2" from the edge of the pastry.

Scatter over some red onion slices and top with a slice of goats cheese.

Press some chopped walnuts into the cheese and spoon over 1/2 tsp of maple syrup.

Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and risen.

Serve hot.

Lamb Pasties

Eaten hot or cold with a salad, pasties make a delicious and filling lunch. For a main course try them with mashed potato and minted peas.
Makes 8
Filling 1kg stewing lamb, finely diced 110g potatoes, diced 110g swede, diced 1 large onion, chopped 1 large carrot, finely diced Salt and freshly milled black pepper Pastry 110g butter, cubed 110g lard, cubed 1 egg, beaten 75ml very cold water 450g plain flour Large pinch salt The pastry Add the salt to the flour and rub in the fats to the seasoned flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Slowly add the water and mix to a very stiff dough. Knead lightly until smooth. Place in a plastic bag and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ gas 4
Combine the filling ingredients in a large bowl.
Roll out the pastry to 5mm thick and cut into 15cm rounds. Divide the filling between the pastry rounds, brush the edges of the pastry with water and bring up the edges to meet at the top of the filling.
Crimp the edges of the p…

Petticoat Tails

Shortbread biscuits with a sugary top and a buttery flavour, what could be nicer, try them with a warming glass of mulled wine you will be pleasantly surprised. I use salted butter, which seems to enhance the flavour.
They are very easy to make and keep for about 1 week in an airtight container.

6oz plain flour 3oz semolina 6oz salted butter, softened 3oz golden caster sugar
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Seive the flour and add to the semolina, gradually add to the creamed butter and sugar until a dough is formed (this can all be done in a food mixer). Pre-heat the oven to 150C Roll the dough lightly to form a round to fit a 20cm fluted tin, press into the tin and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 1 hour until the shortbread is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin. Before the shortbread cools completely mark out wedges with a sharp knife. Break into wedges and store in an airtight container.