Nutty Energy Balls

As the Covid19 Lockdown is slowly and gently easing, we are now allowed to travel to the mountains again. We have longed to get back outdoors and into the picturesque landscape we call home. The Scottish Mountains are my headspace, a place where I grow, think, be at peace, laugh and get fitter…lol! To read more about the Scottish Munros, Corbetts, Grahams etc, head over to my travel post https://theweecaledoniancook.com/2020/07/08/a-list-of-scotlands-mountains/.

Anyway, back to food, my first passion. To walk or climb the Scottish Mountains you need energy firstly (then waterproofs…lol), so I made these to pack and take with us for a wee boost when needed. Great for a pre workout snack too & also Gluten Free.

Nutty Energy Balls

Makes about 16

For the Balls:-

4 heaped tbsp of Crunchy Peanut Butter (good quality, I use Whole Earth)

200g chopped mixed nuts & raisins (I used a food processor to chop finely)

2 tbsp Icing sugar

Coating/Topping:-

Choice 1:-

Dark or Milk Chocolate, 1 tbsp Butter – Melted together

Chopped Pistachios

Choice 2:-

Butter icing – Icing Sugar 80-100g, 1 tbsp butter – Melted together

Desiccated Coconut

  1. Place all ball ingredients into a bowl and mix together until combined. You may find it best to us clean hands for this. Take a tsp size and roll into a ball.
  2. Dip the rolled balls into your wet mixture of choice and then roll into the coconut or pistachio toppings to coat. Place onto a greaseproof lined baking tray and refrigerate to harden.
  3. These can be stored for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Of course you can use any coating or topping you like.

Enjoy these bite size energy boosters

A LIST OF SCOTLANDS MOUNTAINS

The great bulk of Ben Nevis, UKs highest mountain at 4413 feet, towers above Fort William in Lochaber

There are 5 different Mountain heights in Scotland, each are categorised as follows:-

Munros:- These being the highest ranges, anything over 3,000ft is classed as a Munro. There are 282 in the current list.

Corbetts:- These are 2,500ft – 3,000ft ranges. There are currently 222 Corbetts in the list.

Grahams:- They are 2,000ft – 2,500 ft ranges with a drop of 150m on all sides. Currently there are 219 on the list in Scotland.

Donalds:- Generally found in the lowlands of Scotland, as they are 2,000ft at least with a drop of 100m on all sides. There are currently 89 in the list.

Marilyns:- Are anything below 2,000ft, and currently there are around 1219 in Scotland.

Mountains can also be categorised as areas, such as Highlands & Islands, Southern Lowlands etc, here are some:-

  1. The Cairngorms
  2. The Grampian Mountains
  3. Cuillin Hills
  4. Southern Uplands
  5. Ochil Hills
  6. Campsie Fells
  7. Sidlaws
  8. Northwest Highlands
  9. Galloway Hills
  10. Cheviot Hills
  11. Arrochar Alps
  12. Lomond Hills
  13. Glencoe Area
  14. Lochaber Hills
  15. Pentland Hills

There are so many beautiful areas to explore here, I am still working my way around my homeland and hope to bring you more information as I go along.

Some of my favourites are the Cairngorms, The Cuillins & Glencoe.


Crispy Mint Squares

Crispy Mint Squares

I was looking through all my recipes the other day and came across this one from my Gran’s old Cookbooks, one I hadn’t tried before. So with the wet weather to day was that day I was going to try these. Back in the day my gran always used margarine for baking, personally I think butter is a much better flavour so this was the 1 thing that I changed & I added in some pistachios to the base to give it a bit more crunch.

Mint Square

Makes about 16-20 squares (depends on how big a slice you want…lol!)

For the Base:-

200g Digestives, crushed

120g Butter

50g Light Brown Sugar

1 heaped tbsp Cocoa Powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 heaped tbsp desiccated coconut

40g Chopped Pistachios

1 egg beaten

For the Peppermint Centre:-

50g Butter

3 tbsp milk

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

230g Icing Sugar

Green Food Colouring

For the Chocolate:-

140g Milk Chocolate (55% cocoa) I use Lindt, definitely my favourite.

40g Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa)

1 tbsp butter

  1. Use a 9″ square baking tin and line with baking paper or foil
  2. In a saucepan over a low heat melt the butter, stir in sugar & cocoa powder, bring off the heat and whisk in the beaten egg, return to heat and whisk until thickened, this only take a minute or 2. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, digestives, pistachios and coconut, mix together so everything is coated well. Using a spoon, spread the biscuit base mixture into you baking tin and smooth. Refrigerate for about 1 hour until hardened.
  3. Using a mixer, stand or hand whichever you have, beat the butter until smooth. Add the icing sugar, milk, peppermint essence and food colouring and mix until blended. Smooth this mixture over the top of your biscuit base and return to the fridge to set for about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, melt your chocolate with the butter in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water and allow to cool slightly. (about 5-10 minutes)
  5. Pour chocolate over the buttercream and smooth, return to the fridge to allow chocolate to harden. (about 30 minutes).
  6. Once chocolate has hardened you can now decorate (if you wish), I just drizzled some green icing over the top and returned to fridge to set.
  7. To prevent the chocolate from breaking when cutting into slices, remove from fridge and bring to room temperature. I made that mistake of slicing too soon and my chocolate cracked.
Crispy Mint Squares

Beef Kofta Curry

Beef Kofta Curry Dish

Another great recipe from PON book, we are loving our curries at the moment, must be all this rainy weather we are getting thats putting us in the mood…lol! After all, who doesn’t love a good curry?

There is nothing better than a homemade Curry, fresh ingredients, good scottish beef and making from scratch you can save on those extra calories to make it a guilt free Curry. This little Curry is only 200 calories per serving. (add on 50g cooked brown rice to serve, still brings it to under 500 calories) Yummy!

Serves 2

1 Red onion, diced

1 tsp garlic granules (or 1 clove peeled and diced)

1 tbsp Curry Powder

1 tbsp Tomato Puree

400ml Beef Stock

230g Butternut Squash, diced

300g Scottish Beef Mince

Fresh Coriander, chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Lightly oil a saucepan and add the onion, cook until browned. Add in the garlic and curry powder and stir, add in the tomato puree, stir then add in the stock. Add the butternut squash and bring to the boil then simmer for about 20 minutes until squash has softened.
  2. To make the meatballs, put the mince & coriander in a bowl then season with salt & pepper, mix together and then divide and roll into small balls. I got 10 out of mine.
  3. Spray a pan with a little oil and brown the meatballs. Set aside.
  4. Once butternut squash is ready, blitz with a hand blender to make a smooth sauce. Place the meatballs into the sauce and warm through for a few minutes. Remove and serve with a sprinkle of fresh coriander. Yum!

Keema Pie

Keema Pie

Oh WOW! This dish is super tasty, if you love Pies and you love Curries, you will absolutely love this. This came from my PON Everyday light Cookbook, so lower in calories too at just 400 per serving. The Sweet Potato Topping adds that extra flavour for perfection. This would be a good batch cook meal too.

Serves 2

For the Filling:-

300g Scottish Beef Mince

1 Red onion, diced

1 Red pepper, diced

1 Carrot, diced

1 tsp dried ginger granules (or 1cm fresh ginger, grated)

1 tsp garlic granules (or 1 clove, chopped)

2 tbsp Curry Powder

2 tbsp tomato puree

250ml Beef Stock

80g frozen peas

Salt & pepper to taste

For the Topping:-

1 large Maris Piper potato, peeled and diced

2 medium Sweet Potatoes, peeled and diced

1/4 tsp Turmeric

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg fan
  2. Place the potatoes into a pan of water and bring to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, spray some oil in a pan and brown the mince. Add the onion, pepper, carrot and cook for a few minutes. Add in the ginger, garlic, curry powder & tomato puree and mix. Then add the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 15-20 minutes until sauce has thickened.
  4. Once potatoes are cooked, drain and mash with the turmeric and season.
  5. Once mince has cooked stir through the frozen peas and place into an ovenproof dish, allow to cool slightly. Once cooled spread the mash potatoes on top and fluff up with a fork. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. If you have a browning setting on your oven, place under grill and brown for a couple of minutes. (add that extra crunch)

Homemade Butter

Homemade Butter

Since watching James Martin on his Saturday morning show making his own butter, I have longed to try this. Just like JM himself I am a fan of butter, loads of it too. It looked easy enough to do and it was, I urge you if you have ever fancied trying this, you must do. My next batch I will add some flavours to try, thinking herbs & chilli.

Step by Step process:-

1 x 500ml double cream – good quality (makes 250g Butter)

General rule is whatever quantity of cream, you get 1/2 amount butter.

  1. In a Mixer pour the double cream & whisk on medium to high speed until it resembles a whipped cream.
Step 1 – Whipped Cream

2. Keeping whisking, it will look like you’ve over whipped, but keep going……..

Over whipped cream

3. & keep whisking, soon enough you will see the butterfat start to separate from the butter milk. (sorry forgot to mention, cover top of your bowl with a splash guard or if you don’t have one a Tea Towel, as you can see if tends to splash everywhere)

4. Now that it has separated, drain the buttermilk through a sieve and keep to use later in another recipe.

5. Return the butter back to the bowl and you want to add about 200ml ice cold water and mix for about 20 secs, then drain again. This is to ensure to rinse away any buttermilk. Do this process 2 or 3 times until water becomes clear.

6. Using a spatula remove the butter from the whisk and put into a muslin or clean tea towel and squeeze, just to make sure you have removed all liquid. Place onto a sheet of greaseproof (baking) paper and using the paper as a guide roll up into a stick of butter…..yay! You’ve made butter! You can now store in your fridge. This will keep for up to 3 days. If you add salt, it will keep a little longer, about 2 weeks in fridge.

Ready to use Butter

Highland Hotpot

Chicken Hotpot

I am craving home cooked comfort foods these days, maybe it’s because we are all out of routine in life at the moment.

A traditional Highland Hotpot is normally made out of a Brace of Grouse (a brace is one male & one female grouse) and rabbit, however, my partner is not a big fan of these meats so I decided to make my version with free range chicken. This is a great slow cook one pot meal. Easy to make and delicious.

Hot pot meal

Makes enough for 2

2 chicken breasts – cut into cubes

1 tbsp flour

Salt & black pepper seasoning

1 white onion – cut into wedges

2 sticks celery – sliced

Cabbage – shredded

4-6 rashers of smoked bacon – chopped

spray oil

1 tsp white pepper

1 tsp All Spice (cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves)

1 pint of vegetable stock

2 medium potatoes – cubed

  1. Preheat your oven to 160 deg on fan.
  2. In an oven proof dish with lid, heat spray oil on hob at medium to high heat. Coat the chicken with seasoning and flour then brown in the pan, remove with a slotted spoon.
  3. In the same pan fry the onion and brown the bacon rashers for a few minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes & celery & mix through for a few minutes.
  5. Add back to the pan the chicken and add all spice & white pepper along with the stock, mix & bring to the boil. Then add the shredded cabbage mix, put lid on pot and transfer to the oven and cook for about 2 1/2 hours.
  6. The stock should have absorbed into the meat & veg. Serve. Yummy!
Highland Chicken Hotpot

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Curry

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Curry

This is my best homemade curry yet! (as said by my partner) I have to admit this was very delicious. I do surprise myself sometimes with my combinations out of a hat…lol! We had just come back from a mini hike nearby so we were pretty hungry, the weather was scorching (now scorching in Scotland is about 21 deg of sunshine…lol!), we fancied something light and refreshing. Looking in my cupboards & fridge, I had coconut milk, chicken and spinach to use up, so a wee light curry it was. Perfect with a light beer too!

Serves 2

2 small or 1.5 large chicken breasts – chopped into bitesize pieces

1 jar roasted red peppers

1 can coconut milk (full fat for more flavour)

1 tbsp harissa paste

Spray oil

1 red onion chopped

1 tsp curry powder

100g Spinach – I chopped finely

Seasoning (salt & pepper)

  1. Using a food processor, blend the roasted red peppers with the harissa paste and coconut milk until smooth.

2. In a pan heat a little oil, season the chicken and fry until browned. Then add the onion and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the curry powder and mix.

3. Pour in the Sauce mix and cook for about 10 minutes on a medium to high heat.

4. Add in the chopped spinach and mix through cooking for about 2 minutes.

5. If the sauce is still to thin, bring heat up to a slight boil to help thicken the sauce.

6. Serve with some brown rice or naan bread. I cooked some rice and added it to the pan mixture and mixed though.

This dish could be made vegan and gluten free by adding chickpeas instead of chicken and serving on its own.


Maw Broon’s Burgers

This just reminds me of Home. I love this Cookbook for everything traditionally Scottish (sometimes with a wee twist). Maw Broon is the indomitable matriarch of the Broons family and the original domestic goddess. In between cooking, cleaning, and setting the world tae rights over a braw cup of tea, she has also found time tae become the bestselling author of many Cookbooks.

The Broons is a comic strip in Scots published in the weekly Scottish newspaper The Sunday Post. It features the Brown family, who live in a tenement flat at 10 Glebe Street in the fictional Scottish town of Auchentogle or Auchenshoogle. Its something I grew up with, every year we would get the annual for Christmas and laugh loudly. The Broons started in 1936 and the annuals go back to 1939.

Makes 4 Large Burgers

500g Scottish Beef Mince

Handful of Breadcrumbs

1 Red Onion – chopped and fried

1 large egg

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tbsp tomato sauce

a dash worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dry mustard powder

Method:-

  1. Firstly, heat a little oil in a pan a fry the onion until cooked, allow to cool.
  2. Put all the ingredients into a bowl, add the onion and combine together with hands.
  3. Cut into 4 sections or 6 if you prefer thinner burgers and shape into your burgers. Mine where about 1″ thick and approx 31/2″ diameter. Place on a tray a refrigerate for about 30 minutes. (helps it keep together when cooking)
  4. Heat a little spray oil in a griddle pan and cook burgers for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how thick they are.
  5. Serve on a good Scottish Morning Roll & garnish as you like. Mine is always melted cheese. I think that putting lettuce and tomato on a burger, its just wrong!…lol!


Stripey Omelette

Happy National Egg Day! (well in the U.S it is on 3rd June). I am helping them celebrate today my making myself eggs for lunch and a stripey omelette at that & why not! I do love experimenting with food…lol!

Eggs are so nutritious and filling, stored with lots of protein, about 13g in a large egg size. Eggs are also low in calories and full of vitamin D & B, so a good all rounder for any meal. I love eggs, you can scramble, poach, fry, bake, boil they are very versatile. Want to know even more, check out egg info here….https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egg_as_food

I get my eggs delivered straight to my door from McQueens Dairies. This omelette made from Scottish eggs from Beaton Farms in Inverurie, Scotland.

3 Eggs – Large

Spray oil

Seasoning

  1. Start by separating the yolks from whites. Mix the yolks.
  2. Heat a little spray oil in a pan on a low heat and pour in the yolks only, cook gently for a few minutes until cooked.
  3. Using a knife gently & I say very gently as you don’t want to damage your pan, then slice into strips about 1-1.5cm thick and remove every 2nd one. (you can use the spare strips for another omelette or create a lattice design).

4. Then pour in the egg whites and cook gently on a low heat until the egg whites start to bubble.

5. At this stage if you are using a filling, lay it onto omelette and start to roll up in pan then decant onto a plate.

Serve. Yummy and Eye catching.