Harissa Spice Beef Soup

A Bowl of Harissa Spice Beef Soup

A Moroccan inspired recipe and perfect for coming into the Winter months, it’s hearty, filling and warming. It is also a great batch cook recipe, make the soup up to 3 days ahead, cover and keep in the fridge. Freeze portions in food bags for up to 3 months. Add a splash of water when reheating.

Serves 4

300g Scottish Steak Mince (or any good quality beef mince)

1 Red Onion – chopped

1 Garlic Clove – crushed

400g Tin Tomatoes

1 tbsp Gram Masala

2 tsps Harissa Paste

1 litre Beef Stock

250g Puy Lentils (I used the pre cooked ones from Merchant Gourmet, my fav)

1 tbsp Dried Coriander

150g Spinach, chopped

1 tbsp Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

  1. Heat a little oil in a casserole dish on medium to high heat, add the mince with seasoning and brown, about 6-8 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add in the Gram Masala, Harissa Paste and stir, next add the tin tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes to reduce down slightly.
  3. Return the mince to the pot with the beef stock, bring to the boil then simmer and cook covered for about 30 minutes.
  4. Add the lentils, spinach and coriander to the pot and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve into bowls.


Black Pudding, Beetroot & goats cheese salad

Black Pudding, Beetroot Salad & Goats Cheese Salad

I’ve loads of Beetroot growing in my garden just now and perfect season for it too, so decided on a little treat for lunch today. Certainly beats the Ryvita’s….lol.

Beetroot is packed with essential nutrients, beetroots are a great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. Beetroots and beetroot juice have been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased exercise performance.

Perfect pairing with Beetroot for me is definitely Stornoway Black Pudding & Goats Cheese, just so yummy! I served with some Homegrown Spinach too.

Serves 2

4 large Beetroots – Cooked and Sliced into bite size chunks

60g Goats Cheese

4 Slices of Black pudding

1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Pinch salt

1 tsp Mixed Herbs

Handful of Spinach – chopped

Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds to top

  1. Place Beetroot into a bowl, add balsamic vinegar, salt & mixed herbs and mix through.
  2. Cook Black Pudding in a pan on medium to high heat for about 3-4 minutes each side with a little oil. Remove and pat dry, break up into bite size pieces and add to beetroot and mix through.
  3. Chop up the spinach and lay on a plate, top with the beetroot and black pudding then tear the goats cheese over and serve with pumpkin & sunflower seeds.
Plate of Black pudding, Beetroot & Goats Cheese

Smoked Haddock Pasta

Smoked Haddock Pasta with White Cheese Sauce

Pasta is such a staple food in most households and I think one of the easiest fast foods around. It can be made healthier by using the Wholewheat variety. When eaten in moderation, pasta can be part of a healthy diet. Wholewheat pasta may be a better choice for many, as it is lower in calories and carbs but higher in fiber and nutrients. However, in addition to the type of pasta you pick, what you top it with is just as important.

This dish uses Scottish Smoked Haddock, fresh from my favourite fishmongers in Pittenweem, Ryan Black, they deliver straight from the Shore to your door.

It also uses some of my fresh vegetables from my garden….yum!

Makes enough for 2

2 pieces of Smoked Haddock (or any fish you like)

150g Wholewheat pasta

2 Carrots – chopped

Handful of Broccoli

Handful of peas

3 Sweet mini peppers – chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

White Cheese Sauce to serve (recipe here https://theweecaledoniancook.com/2020/10/03/white-cheese-sauce/)

  1. I used my Steam pot for my Combi Microwave for this recipe, but if you don’t have Steamer just cook your pasta as per packet instructions. In a pan, bring some water to the boil add your vegetables and simmer for 4 minutes until softened. (you could use frozen vegetables or tinned vegetables for this too). Bring a large pan of water to the boil, bring to a simmer and add in your fish, cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. If you have a Steam pot, add the pasta with 300ml water to the base, then your fish and vegetables onto the grid and cook on Pasta Setting for 7 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make your sauce as per above recipe.
  4. Remove fish and place onto a chopping board and remove the skin, break up into bite size pieces.
  5. Drain your pasta and vegetables. Add the vegetables to the pasta then pour over the sauce mixture and mix through, add in the fish, mix and serve.


Chicken & Bacon Hotpot

Chicken & Bacon Hotpot

It is my favourite time of the year, Autumn, the colours on the trees, the fresh crisp air, walks in the park, comfy jumpers and warming food. What’s not to like? After harvesting some of my vegetables from the garden today I decided to use them in this warming Hotpot. Nothing says home comfort food that a big pot a deliciousness & straight from the garden too.

The good thing with this recipe is that you can use just about any root vegetable and it will work just as good.

Some of my winter harvest this morning. Parsnips, Carrots & Potatoes

Makes enough for 2 large portions

4 Large Potatoes, cut into bite size pieces

2 Large carrots, cut into bite size pieces

2 Parsnips, peeled and cut into bite size pieces

1 Onion, sliced into wedges

6-8 Rashers of Smoked Bacon, sliced

2 Chicken Breasts, cut into chunks

500ml Chicken Stock

1 tsp oil

1 tsp Nutmeg

1 garlic clove, crushed

Salt & Pepper to taste

Cornflour to thicken sauce if needed.

1 tbsp flour

  1. First coat the chicken with seasoning and the flour, heat the oil in a large pot or casserole dish then brown the chicken and remove.
  2. Add in the garlic & nutmeg along with the onion and fry until softened then add the bacon and fry until cooked slightly, few minutes.
  3. Add to the pan the potatoes, carrots, parsnips and mix, then add in the chicken stock & bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce to a low simmer and cook covered for about 2 hours. Alternatively you can cook in the oven at 140 deg for about 2 hours.
  5. Remove lid and if you like a thick sauce like me just add a little cornflour and stir through. 1 tsp mixed with water should be enough.
  6. Serve with some lovely fresh crusty bread. Or if you are Scottish it has to be Plain Bread!

Chicken & Chorizo Pasta Bake

Chicken & Chorizo Pasta Bake

Oh yum! Today was absolutely stoating it down (heavy rain) and very Dreich (dull, moody) weather, so it was a warming pasta bake for dinner. Not only is pasta filling but this dish is simple and easy to make, great for a family meal or just when you are looking for something comforting to warm you up. The recipe uses a lot of store cupboard essentials so easy to put together.

Dish of Chicken & Chorizo Pasta Bake

Serves 2 large portions (or 4 small)

100g Wholewheat Pasta (again your choice, I used Fusilli)

2 Chicken Breasts

1 onion – chopped

1 red pepper – chopped

Olive oil

1 Garlic clove – crushed or 1 tsp ground granules

1 tsp dried Italian herbs or Oregano

200g Chopped tomatoes

200ml Chicken Stock

100ml Milk (or cream)

Handful of Spinach leaves, chopped

Handful of frozen peas

100g Grated Cheese (I used cheddar)

1 tsp Chilli flakes (optional, if you like it spicy)

1 tsp Paprika (for sprinkling on top)

80g Chopped Chorizo

Salt & Pepper

  1. Heat a little oil in a fry pan and preheat your oven to 190 deg fan.
  2. Brown the onions & red pepper with the garlic in the fry pan until softened, add in the chorizo and cook for a few minutes then add the chicken, season & brown chicken on all sides for a few minutes.
  3. Once browned, add in the chopped tomatoes, chicken stock, milk, herbs and chilli (if using) to the pan and mix through, bring to the boil and reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook for at least an 1 hr.
  4. Meanwhile cook your pasta as per packet instructions.
  5. Using 2 forks, remove the lid from the pan and shred your chicken breasts (if you prefer chunks, that’s fine but I like it shredded)
  6. Add in the frozen peas and Spinach and cook for a further few minutes.
  7. Drain your pasta and add to the pan and mix through.
  8. Now decant the pasta chicken into an ovenproof dish and grate the cheese on top with a sprinkle of paprika and salt & pepper to season.
  9. Bake on middle shelf for about 25 minutes. Serve. Yum!

Chicken & Chorizo Pasta Bake


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


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

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