Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread

I do love shortbread, I think it’s mainly because I grew up with it, we would visit my Gran’s house and get shortbread for a snack but more so every New Year as this is the tradition in Scotland.

Through the ‘Taste of Scotland’ scheme that promotes authentic and innovative Scottish cooking, Scottish cuisine has enjoying a renaissance and now many believe that the best food in Britain is to be found north of the Border. The story of shortbread begins with the medieval “biscuit bread”. Any leftover dough from bread making was dried out in a low oven until it hardened into a type of rusk: the word “biscuit” means “twice cooked”. Gradually the yeast in the bread was replaced by butter, and biscuit bread developed into shortbread.

Shortbread was an expensive luxury and for ordinary people, shortbread was a special treat reserved just for special occasions such as weddings, Christmas and New Year. In Shetland it was traditional to break a decorated shortbread cake over the head of a new bride on the threshold of her new home. The custom of eating shortbread at New Year has its origins in the ancient pagan Yule Cakes which symbolised the sun. In Scotland it is still traditionally offered to “first footers” at New Year.

Shortbread is traditionally formed into one of three shapes: one large circle divided into segments (“Petticoat Tails”); individual round biscuits (“Shortbread Rounds”), or a thick rectangular slab cut into “fingers.” However, these days as we see some amazing cookie cutter shapes, they can be cut into whatever you like. As it is the Winter Season here just now, I decided to go for some lovely Snowflake Designs.

From memory when my Gran’s used to make Shortbread, the rule of thumb is always 3,2,1, 3 parts Flour to 2 parts Butter to 1 part sugar. Stick with this and you can’t go wrong.


Makes about 10-12 Shortbreads

115g Plain Flour

55g Rice Flour

115g Butter

55g Sugar (Caster or Icing) – (Extra Sugar to finish)

  1. Pre heat your oven to 150 deg C Fan.
  2. In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar, sift in the flours.
  3. Mix until it resembles bread crumbs, then tip onto a floured surface and work by hand to bring the dough together.
  4. Gently roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness, if using a cutter, cut into your designs and lay onto a greaseproof baking tray. If creating petticoats, press into a round baking tin, or fingers, press into a rectangle baking tin. Now refrigerate for about 20 minutes, this helps the biscuits to stop spreading when being baked. Prick the shortbread with a fork and bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and while still hot sprinkle with some sugar to finish. Allow to cool.


The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes

Best Crispy Roast Potatoes

It’s coming up to the Festive time of year when we start planning our Christmas dinner get together. Roast Potatoes are probably one of the most popular side dishes on the table for most households. We all hope for those crispy skins and fluffy insides for our Roasties but sometimes that just doesn’t happen for whatever reason, so this is my foolproof recipe for the most amazing Crispy Roast Potatoes every time . Great for the festive dinner table but also great throughout the year for the perfect accompaniment to a good Sunday Roast dinner. Enjoy.

Serves 4

1kg Maris Piper Potatoes (these are the best kind)

100g Goose Fat (I used high grade Goose Fat from my local Butchers, S.Collins & Son) (you can also use a good Duck Fat too)

2 Tsp Cornflour

Sea Salt Flakes to taste

Rainbow Peppercorns to taste

  1. First place a Baking Tray in an oven and pre heat to Fan 220 deg C.
  2. Peel and cut the potatoes into quarters (or which ever size you prefer), place into a pan of cold water and season with salt. Bring to the boil and reduce to a medium simmer, covered for about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, spoon the Goose Fat onto the hot baking tray (be careful) and put back into the oven to heat the fat up, about 10 minutes until the fat is smoking slightly.
  4. Drain the water from the potatoes, give the pan a good shake to fluff up the potatoes, sprinkle the cornflour in and give it another shake, keeping the lid on let the potatoes sit for about 10-15 minutes so that the steam can air dry the potatoes. (the Drier the crisper they’ll be)
  5. Carefully with a pair of tongs, place the potatoes onto the baking tray ensuring they are coated with the Goose Fat. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn the potatoes over and bake for a further 15 minutes, turn again and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until all golden brown and crisp.
  6. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of sea salt & some pepper.

Some people add garlic and herbs like rosemary etc, which is fine, but I love my traditional recipes to be traditional, if you get a good potato there is no need for extra flavouring, the duck fat & salt are simply perfect for a roastie.


Gingerbread & Coconut Kisses

Gingerbread & Coconut Kisses

Oh yum…..these were so tasty. I do love experimenting with flavours and using up what I have in my cupboards, sometimes my best recipes come from emptying my cupboards and using whatever is in there and trying things out…lol!

As it is coming up to the festive season I wanted to try some festive flavours and of course gingerbread is almost one of the all time favourites. With the coconut I wanted to create a snowy feel/look. I call them kisses because of the Jam, when you bite in you get the lovely gingerbread flavour and then the Jam gently kisses the back of your throat….yum! Baked in under 15 minutes these are a perfect quick snack with a cuppa. Will be best up to 3 days stored in an air tight container.

Makes about 20-24

200g Self Raising Flour

100g Rice Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Pinch Salt

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

40g Softened Butter

100g Dark Brown Sugar

1 Egg

2 Tbsp Honey

Finely Grated Zest of 1 Orange

For the Spice: 1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon, 1 1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger, 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves

100g Desiccated Coconut

Rasperberry (or any flavour) Jam

2 Tbsp Icing Sugar for decoration.

  1. Preheat oven to 175 deg C Fan. Line Baking Trays with Greaseproof paper
  2. In a bowl beat together the butter, dark sugar, honey, oil, egg and citrus zest until blended.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together flours, salt, spice mix and baking powder. Spoon half of the flour into the wet mixture and bring together, add in the remaining flour mixture and mix until you have a soft dough. It will be slightly sticky, this is o.k., but if too sticky just add a little more flour. Let stand for a few minutes.
  4. Take about 1 Tbsp of the dough and roll into small balls. Place coconut into a bowl and roll each ball into the coconut to cover. Place onto the baking tray and press down with your thumb or finger to make a well in the centre.
  5. Place about 1/2 – 1 Tsp of Jam into the well and bake in the oven for approx 12 – 15 minutes until set. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
  6. Finish off with a light dusting of Icing Sugar. Serve. Yum!

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Squares

Peanut Butter Squares

OMG! Well what can I say, if you love Peanut Butter like me these are delicious. They are also very light and cut up into small squares they are only about 70 calories per square, so in my book that’s a guilt free treat with my cup of coffee.

We always have a little treat on a Sunday, it’s something to look forward to while we relax and chill after our working week. Peanut butter is a good source of protein, fiber, folate, phosphorus, potassium & magnesium. And yes, peanut butter does have fat, but the fat is monounsaturated, which is more cholesterol-friendly.

I first saw this recipe from a Diabetic Website https://diabeticgourmet.com/ when my mum was a Diabetic, unfortunately I never got round to making them for her. This recipe I change a little to suit our sweet tastes….lol!

Makes 16 small squares

60g Butter

120g Caster Sugar (Splenda if diabetic)

40g Light Brown Sugar

100ml skimmed or semi skimmed milk

60g Peanut Butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

120g Self Raising Flour

90g Rolled Oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

Pinch salt

120g Chocolate Chips

1. Beat the butter, caster Sugar and brown sugar until well combined.

2. Stir in milk, peanut butter, egg and vanilla until blended. Gradually mix in combined flour, oats, baking powder and salt until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Spread mixture evenly into a 9 x 9-inch baking pan covered with greaseproof paper. Bake in preheated 170 deg oven for 25 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Leave to cool on wire rack. Cut into squares.

4. Store in airtight container at room temperature, will be best for up to 3 days.


Timbale of Avocado, Crab & Caviar

Timbale of Avocado, Crabmeat & Caviar

I was lucky recently to have meet Duncan Smith from Duncans Caviar https://www.instagram.com/duncanscaviar/ , who is the Exclusive Scottish Distributor for Royal Belgian Caviar https://royalbelgiancaviar.be/en/caviar. The Royal Belgian Caviar are based in Belgium and home farm their sturgeon for the best quality product. It is a firm favourite with all the Top Chefs. Click link for more information.

I used the Beluga Caviar which leaves a lovely after taste with its rich, Buttery and Creamy notes. Holiday season is fast approaching, so why not treat yourself and indulge, you only live once!

Makes 4

1 Ripe Avocado, peeled and mashed

1 small Red Onion, minced finely

2 tbsp lemon juice

Salt & Pepper to taste

100g Crabmeat

2 tsp Caviar

  1. Mix together the crab meat, seasoning and 1 tbsp lemon juice, set aside
  2. In a separate bowl mix the mashed avocado with the red onion, 1 tbsp lemon juice and seasoning.
  3. For each serving take 1 tbsp of the avocado mix and fill a 1.5″ cookie round, then top with 1 tbsp of the crabmeat mixture, smoothing the surface as you go. Ensure your plate has been refrigerated before hand. Put back into the fridge for 10 minutes, this makes it easier to remove the cutter and stay in tact when removed.
  4. When ready to serve, remove the cutter and finish off with a little Caviar.

These little bitesize timbales are great for a party or get together, the avocado and crabmeat give the creamy base some texture and the delicate topping of the Caviar makes these super decadent. Serve with a glass of Champagne for ultimate taste sensation.


Mini Caviar Cocktails

Mini Caviar Cocktail

I was so lucky to receive some Beluga Caviar from Duncans Caviar https://www.instagram.com/stories/duncanscaviar/2437284876312845688/

by Royal Belgian Caviar Company

https://royalbelgiancaviar.be/en/caviar/beluga

I received the Osietra and Beluga Caviar and so excited to try. The Royal Belgian Caviar are based in Belgium and home farm their sturgeon for the best quality product. Click above link for more information.

Duncan Smith is the Exclusive Scottish Distributor for this excellent product, check out his Instagram above for more information.

I was looking for something a bit more sophisticated for my afternoon tea, so something in a cocktail glass sounded good. This little dish is great for the party season coming up or if you just fancy treating yourself like we did.

The Beluga Caviar leaves a lovely after taste with its rich, Buttery and Creamy notes.

Makes 4 Glasses

4-6 tbsps of Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche (both work well)

1 Medium Avocado

2 tbsp Minced Red Onion

2 tbsp Lemon Juice

1 tsp Chopped Fresh Dill

1 Small Plum Tomato – chopped finely

1 Boiled Egg, peeled and chopped finely

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 tsp Caviar (do not use metal spoon as it can effect the taste)

  1. Spoon the creme fraiche or sour cream into the glass.
  2. Mash the avocado with a fork and mix in the onion, lemon juice, dill and seasoning. Put 1-2 tbsps into the glass on top of the cream.
  3. Sprinkle some of the chopped egg and tomato on top then finish with a small spoonful of caviar an sprig of dill.


Beetroot & Goats Cheese Bites

Beetroot & Goats Cheese Bites

I recently visited Transylvania Shop & Coffee in Glasgow, https://www.transylvaniashopandcoffee.co.uk/, the shop opened this year and they are so passionate about their home produce and Country. Everything that you could wish for from Transylvania, Romania, they have it. Their selection is vast and all excellent quality produce, from grocery store to a cake store to even coffee, yes they have it all. If you are a foodie and love seeking out new products then this shop is for you. If you are a massive Dracula fan, like me, and just love everything Transylvanian then you must visit this shop, you will not be disappointed.

Transylvania Shop & Coffee

On my visit I decided to try out some Romanian Meats, Cheeses, Coffee and of course their awesome selection of cakes, honestly, I have never seen anything like it……mouth watering flavours and designs that just take your breath away.

Coming soon is a season of get togethers and this gives us the opportunity to share all things food. I believe food brings people together, whether it’s just around the table in your home or different families & friends coming together for a celebration, there is always food around. With the recent Lockdown situations this year it has definitely given people more time to spend at home and to find their new love of food, be it baking with the kids or experimenting on using up store cupboard essentials to create new recipes, we have all tried something new. I would like to help with this journey and give you some new ideas. Please have a look around my blog, hopefully you will find your inner chef too!

This recipe brings both of the above together, I used a fabulous Romania Goats Cheese from the Transylvania shop and harvested some Beetroot from my garden to make these little bites, they are perfect for that get together event, or even just a simple snack for something different with the family in your home.

Makes about 20

About 4 Medium Sized Beetroots – Pre cooked

100g Goats Cheese (preferably the LaColline)

Handful of Pistachio’s or Walnuts, chopped

Cocktails sticks to hold together and a choice of your cutter shape (I used a star from my cookie cutter selection)

  1. Using a cutter, cut out the beetroot and goats cheese into your desired shape. Make sure the Beetroot is slightly bigger than the goats cheese. Stack the goats cheese on top of the beetroot, sprinkle your choice of nuts/seeds and secure with a cocktail stick. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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.


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

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