So Scotland, a land of mountains and glens, seas and lochs, cities and wilderness, rain and sometimes shine. It is a diverse, perfect, climate and landscape for so many of natures finest flavours and so many others that have been introduced, farmed and cultivated. Where the national dish of Haggis is a pudding made from offal, oatmeal and spice and elevated to that position by surely one man, Robert Burns, who wrote an ode to it as he preferred the 'hamely fare' of the Scottish peasant to the fancy stuff frae France.
The sea is equally as abundant. Haddock which is fresh, hot or cold smoked as well as Cod, Whiting, Mackerel and numerous others. The 'Silver Darlings', Herring, which were the original catch of many of the fishing villages around the coast appear as Kippers, Rollmops, fried in oatmeal and many other guises which bring out the wonderful flavour of these oily fish. Salmon, once plentiful in the rivers of Scotland like the majestic Tweed in the Borders, is now more commonly farmed but Smoked Salmon from Scotland is still loved the world over despite the wholesale change from wild caught fish. On the west coast especially, shellfish and crustaceans thrive, many of which are sold round the world as delicacies and never see a Scottish table. Scallops, Langoustines, Mussels, Squat Lobsters, Oysters and Crabs are farmed, dived, grown or caught in creels and if you're lucky enough to arrive at a table where they are served fresh then you truly are in heaven.
|Haggis, neeps and tatties|
On top of all these fish and animals there's the produce from the land. Soft fruits like raspberries, strawberries and currants are grown all over the central area from the west coast to Tayside especially and have a wonderful intensity of flavour during the relatively short season. Many a childhood memory for many Scots of pick your own farms and Mum making gallons of jam. Add to this wild plants like brambles, seaweeds, rowans and sloes and you'll find plenty of flavour enhancers.
|Talisker Distillery on Skye, home to my favourite whisky|
These are the reasons, and many more that I've probably forgotten to include, that I love to cook from the Scots Larder. Why every mealtime becomes an adventure and why I love trying to let the flavours and character of my homeland take centre stage in so many meals. Happy travelling through this amazing landscape, many places thronging with people and some so inaccessible that the Golden Eagle is the lord of the mountains. Scotland, my favourite larder.