Scottish Mince ‘n’ tatties

Mince ‘n’ Tatties

Mince ‘n’ Tatties (Mince & Potatoes) is a traditional Scottish dish and one that will never go away. Historically it was popular in school canteens because it was easy to make batches and feed lots of children. I grew up with mince ‘n’ tatties, at least once a week we would have this dish, whether it be at home, my grannies house or my Auntie’s it was a household meal that satisfied everyone every time.

There is no wrong or right way to make this, but does need to include minced beef and root vegetables such as onions & carrots. Here is my version and always a winner in my house. The only debate we always have is Brown Sauce or Tomato Sauce? Maybe you’ll make it and let me know…lol!

Best served with a buttered Scottish plain outsider slice too…….oh….this is a must! Or even a Scottish plain mince ‘n’ tattie piece (Sandwich)! Haven’t tried it….go on I dare you….you won’t look back…trust me!

Scottish Plain Bread

Serves 2

For the Mince

250g Scottish Steak Mince

1 onion – chopped

1 Carrot – chopped

Handful of garden peas (frozen is fine)

200ml Beef Stock

1 tbsp Beef Gravy granules

Salt & Black pepper

Splash of Worcestershire Sauce (optional)

For the Tatties

400g Potatoes (ones good for mash)

2 tbsp butter

  1. Heat a little oil in a pan on medium heat and brown the onions, then add the mince, season with plenty black pepper and salt to taste and brown.
  2. Add into the pot the carrots, peas and beef stock, mix and bring to the boil, then simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
  3. Next stir through the gravy granules to thicken the sauce, cook for a further 5 minutes. At this stage if using worcestershire sauce, then stir through.
  4. Meanwhile, cook potatoes in slightly salted water until soft, drain and mash with the butter.
  5. Serve.
Mince n Tatties

Go on, go back to your school days and use an ice cream scoop for yer tatties! In our households as kids and still to this day, we wouldn’t eat it like this…..oh no…..we would mix the tatties with the mince on the plate then cover in sauce….this is where the debate of Brown or Tomato sauce comes in…lol! Sometimes too we would make a piece with scottish plain bread and the mix of M&T’s in the middle…oh yum! You gotta try this. Proper home comfort food.


Chicken Curry with Almond Milk

Chicken Curry Pot

Who doesn’t love a Curry? Especially when it’s a healthier version. This Curry came about when I was trying to use up leftover Almond Milk, nutritionally, store-bought almond milk (like Alpro or Almond Breeze)  is a low-calorie product with about 56 calories per 100ml. It’s typically low in fat, with just 1.5g per 100g – all of which is largely unsaturated fat.

This Curry is a great family curry as its low in spice but with great flavour. It’s also great if you love batch cooking as you can make a hug pot and freeze into portions.

Chicken Curry with Almond Milk

Serves 2

2 Chicken Breasts – cut into chunks

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt & Pepper

1 tbsp Tomato Paste

300ml Almond Milk

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp Chilli powder

Handful of Cauliflower Florets (I used frozen)

Handful of Peas (I used frozen)

Curry Paste (see below)

Curry Paste:

1 Onion

1 tsp garlic granules

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp gram masala

Sea salt

  1. Mix all the Curry Paste ingredients into a blender and mix until you get a smooth paste.
  2. Heat a little oil in a pan on medium to high heat, add chicken, season and brown.
  3. Add the Curry paste to the pan and heat through for about 2 minutes.
  4. Next add the tomato paste, almond milk, cinnamon and chilli powder and mix through.
  5. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer on low for about 1 hour. 15 minutes before serving add in the cauliflower & peas, mix through and cook for remaining time.
  6. I served with some of my Chickpea Chaptai’s. https://theweecaledoniancook.com/2020/08/29/chickpea-chapati/
Chickpea Chapati


Chickpea Chapati

Chickpea Chapati

I am always looking for healthier options but without compromise on flavour so I decided to try Chickpea flour to make my Chapati’s. This recipe was so much better than my traditional one, so much more flavour and healthier too. These Chapati’s are much lighter on the tummy too. Chickpea Flour or known as Gram Flour or Besan is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber & Magnesium.

Makes 4-6

100g Gram Flour

100g Plain Flour

1 tsp salt

100ml Milk

1 tsp olive oil

  1. Mix the flours & salt together, then slowly add in the milk then the olive oil and bring together to a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  2. To bake, heat a little olive oil in a hot pan. Cut the dough into six equal sections and roll out with a rolling pin. Place into the pan a cook until you see the bubbles appear then flip over to the other side and cook for a further minute. If you are like my other half and like it a bit well done, keep your pan on a very high heat. (Beware the smokey room…lol!)
  3. Remove and pat any excess oil. Serve.


My Best Beef Chilli Recipe

Beef Chilli Taco

The weather was turning a bit colder this weekend & there is no better dish than a warm chilli to heat your soul. I decided to slow cook this time and it definitely paid off as the flavours were more intense and the sauce lovely and thick. Chilli is always good the second day too, so this can be made in advance. Some cooks swear by lots of different spices from mustard powder to even cinnamon & I’ve even heard of chocolate in chilli…..(not sure about than one…lol), this combination I found works for me.

Pot of Beef Chilli

Serves 2

250-300g Scottish Beef Mince

1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

1 Red Onion – Diced

1 Red Pepper – Diced

1 Garlic Clove – crushed (or 1 tsp garlic granules)

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tbsp chilli powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Salt & Black pepper to taste

1 tsp Herb mix (oregano, basil, coriander)

1 x 225g kidney beans

1 x 400g chopped tin tomatoes

1 Beef oxo cube

150ml water

  1. Heat the oil in a casserole dish or large pan on medium to high heat & fry the onions with the garlic until softened. Add in the Red pepper and cook for a further few minutes until softened.
  2. Add in the Beef mince, season and brown.
  3. Add in the tomato puree, spices & mix through.
  4. To the pot add the kidney beans and tin tomatoes & mix. Sprinkle over the beef oxo cube & the herbs, add in the water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer on a low heat for about 2-3 hours. If the sauce hasn’t thickened, remove lid and cook uncovered for about 10-15 minutes to help thicken sauce.
  5. I Served with Taco’s, Grated Cheese and sprinkled some fresh spring onions on top…yum! Also nice served with rice and soured cream.

Chicken & Chickpea Thai Cakes

Chicken & Chickpea Thai Cakes

These little cakes are so easy to make and quick too, a great mid week dinner or even a quick lunch bite. What’s even better is that they are healthy, low in fat & low in calories at just 150 per cake.

Makes 8

2 Chicken Breasts

4 Spring Onions – chopped finely

1 tsp garlic granules or 2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 tsp ginger or 1″ fresh ginger chopped finely

1 tbsp dried coriander

2 tsps Soy Sauce

Zest & Juice of 1 lime

Salt & Pepper

1 tin of Chickpeas drained (400g)

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

Sweet Chilli Sauce to serve.

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Using of food processor blitz the chickpeas and chicken until minced.
  3. In a bowl mix everything together with your hands and form 8 small cakes about 1cm thick, place onto baking paper and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with some Sweet Chilli Sauce. Yum!
Chicken & Chickpea Thai Cakes

Conic Hill

View from Conic Hill

Conic Hill is in the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, it rises above Balmaha on the East side of Loch Lomond. The Hill is 361m high, so not a high mountain but none the less can be quite challenging at points. It has a clear path up, mostly steps then a gravel path, there is a bit of a scramble at the top.

You first start out at the far side of the Main Car Park in Balmaha. Walking through the forest firstly until you come to a gate which then opens up the route to a gravel path. Once you get to the top of the first section, the views are simply stunning, you can see some of the Islands on Loch Lomond and there is also a nice place to sit & get your breath back while absorbing the glorious views.

Continuing onto the next section the stone steps continue but with the views that open up more. The good thing about this walk is that you don’t need to go to the top to take in the views, half way up there is an opening that allows you to do exactly that.

Once you get to the top, there is a bit of a scramble but for only a minute or 2. It really is worth going to the top, keep to the left hand side path this will take you around to the top. There is a path to the right that makes you think that’s the top but don’t take this.

Once you get to the top, just sit and admire the views of Loch Lomond and its surroundings. Take a picnic if it’s a nice day.

As always, before you go, please ensure proper footwear and clothing as Scotlands weather can change in a second. Please Respect the Mountains & Park area & Stay safe.


Crunchie No Bake Cheesecake

Crunchie No Bake Cheesecake

It was National Cheesecake Day on July 30th, 3 days after my partners birthday & he wanted Cheesecake for his dessert. We must have went through every flavour on the planet until he decided that it was Crunchie he was going to settled for. To be honest I was glad as I do love a Crunchie Bar, it’s just that lovely melt in the mouth honeycomb that I like. This was delicious!

Fork full of Crunchie No Bake Cheesecake

Makes a Deep fill 9″ Cake

300g Cream Cheese (I use Philadelphia & full fat, it dosen’t work with the lighter one)

150ml Double Cream

80g Icing Sugar

3 Cadburys Crunchie Bars – Blitzed in a processor

1 tsp vanilla essence

13 Digestive Biscuits – Blitzed in a processor

50g Melted Butter

Milk Chocolate shavings for the topping

  1. Grease and line the bottom of a springform tin with greaseproof paper, set aside
  2. Mix the melted butter with the crushed Digestives and spoon into the tin, pressing down with the back of a spoon until compact and smooth. Chill in the Fridge for about 1 hour
  3. Meanwhile, mix the cream cheese, crushed crunchie bars and Icing Sugar together in a bowl with a hand mixer.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk the double cream and vanilla essence until soft peaks form.
  5. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mix, don’t over mix as you want to leave as much air in as possible. Once your biscuit base has set, gently smooth the cream cheese filling on top, return to the fridge and allow to fully set for at least 12 hours or preferably overnight.
  6. Remove from fridge about 10-15 minutes before you are ready to serve and shave some milk chocolate over the top, or you could grate or break up another crunchie bar for extra flavour. Yum! Remove from Cake tin and slice.
  7. This can be kept in the fridge for about 2-3 days.

Roasted Beetroot Salad

Roasted Beetroot Salad

As you may know I started my very first Raised Vegetable Beds this year, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but as the story goes, we work & we work and never seem to find time to start anything. This was the year that I was finally going to put a plan of action together, ordered my raised beds, got them all painted and treated, filled them up, planted the seeds and waited. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to see my first little green shoot pop up.

I love Beetroot, so that was the first seed planted and I am now starting to harvest them. Oh my, freshness, freshness, freshness…..there is nothing better that eating straight from your garden, I harvested some yesterday and decided on a lovely refreshing salad today for my lunch.

Fresh Beetroot from my garden

How to Roast Beetroot

First wash all the mud etc off of the beets and trim of the stalks & leaves, but keep the leaves aside for later. If not using straight away, store in a perforated plastic bag in the salad bins in your fridge, these will keep for about 2 weeks.

Beetroot & Beetroot Leaves Storage in Fridge

Using Tin foil, place the Beets (with the skin on) on and sprinkle a little olive oil & salt, wrap up into a parcel, not too tightly as you want the steam to help cook the beets, then bake on a tray in centre of your oven at 200 deg for about 45 minutes.

Remove and allow steam to escape from parcel then allow to cool slightly. At this stage, I advise to wear gloves, you WILL get Beetroot stained if you don’t…lol! With gloves on gently rub the skin and you’ll notice it comes away very easily, remove all the skin and slice into wedges or bite sized pieces. Yum!

Using the saved leaves, these can be cooked just like Kale. Bring a pan of water to the boil add a little salt and blanch for a few minutes, remove and drain excess water through a colander/sieve. I love the colour of the water here too.

Place leaves in a bowl with beetroot, squeeze some lemon juice and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar over and mix. Sprinkle over some Goats cheese or Feta cheese and chopped walnuts to serve.

You could also cook some couscous or bulgur wheat to add to make it a more filling bowl.

A Bowl of Roasted Beetroot, Beetroot Leaves, Goats Cheese, Walnuts


Thai Beef Balls

Thai Beef Balls

I do love it when an ad hoc recipe comes together. We fancied some Thai tonight but didn’t really have the right ingredients, so I compromised! I am so bad at compromising…..lol….. I am forever adding and changing things to suit what I have in my cupboards…..but that’s where good recipes come from…right?

This was one of them, super tasty and satisfied us for dinner tonight.

Thai Beef Balls & Thai Potato Wedges with Lime & Mayo

Made 18 Bitesize Balls

250g Scottish Beef Mince (you could use Chicken or Turkey)

2 tbsps Soy Sauce

4 Spring Onions – chopped finely

1 tsp Dried garlic granules

1 tsp Dried ginger powder

2 tsps Dried coriander

1 tsp Chilli flakes

Zest of 1 lime (keep lime for juice later)

150g tin Broad Beans (crushed) (Water chestnuts, blitzed in a processor would be nice too)

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg and place greaseproof paper onto a baking tray.
  2. Mix the Soy sauce, ginger, garlic, chilli, lime zest, coriander, spring onions and seasoning in a bowl. Then add mince & broad beans, mix together with hands until it comes together.
  3. Take a small amount and roll into a ball, put onto baking tray. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. At end of cooking, turn on grill and brown for a few minutes.
  4. Serve with a Lime Wedge. I also served with Thai Potato Wedges (recipe below) and some Lime & Coriander Mayo.

For the Potato Wedges

Slice your potatoes into wedges and place in a food bag or bowl.

For the coating, mix 3 tbsps olive oil with 1 tsp chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp garlic and 2 tsps coriander. Season then mix with the wedges and cook as normal. (I use my Crisper plate in my microwave to cook them as it only takes 10 minutes) Check below for info on the Crisperplate. https://www.hotpoint.co.uk/Appliances/Cooking/Microwaves

Thai Potato Wedges

Baked Pretzels

Cinnamon Sugar Coated Baked Pretzels

OMG! Delicious! This was a recipe from BakedIn https://bakedin.co.uk/pages/pretzels . First time I’ve tried the Pretzel shape too, fairly easy.

Sunday for me is a chillout day and normally a baking day, so today I decided to give these a go for our Sunday Brunch picnic at home. Sugar & Spice & all things nice……so yummy!

Makes 4

150g Strong White Bread Flour

1 packet 7g Dried Yeast

15g Caster Sugar (plus 40g for Topping)

1/2 tsp Salt

2 tbsp Bicarbonate Soda

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

100ml Milk

40g Butter (plus 30g melted for coating)

50g Chocolate (if using a dip)

Chocolate Dip for Pretzels
  1. Melt butter and milk in pan on low heat, do not boil, needs to be lukewarm about 40 deg.
  2. Place strong white flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix. Make a well and pour in the melted butter and milk mixture.
  3. Mix everything together until a soft dough forms and knead either using a stand mixer with dough hook or on a work surface with your hands for about 8-10 minutes. Grease a bowl and place the dough in, leave to rise for about 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
  4. Knock back the dough and cut into 4 equal sections. Roll each section into a long rope approx 50cm long.
  5. To make the Pretzel shape, curve the rope into an upside down U Shape, then twist the ends together twice, each time left over right. Bring the ends of the rope up to the top of the curve (loop) and press down to secure.
  6. Preheat your oven to 200 deg and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  7. Bring a pan of water to the boil. Place 1/2 tsp of Bicarbonate Soda into the pan of water for each Pretzel, 1 at a time using a slotted spoon, slowly lower the pretzel into the water on the slotted spoon, leave for about 10 secs, lift out the spoon & drain the water then place onto the baking tray. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Meanwhile mix the caster sugar & cinnamon together in a bowl.
  9. As soon as the Pretzels come out of the oven, brush with the melted butter and leave to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled toss in the sugar mix and serve straight away.
  10. Melt chocolate with a little milk to serve. (if desired)
Yummy Baked Pretzels