Having travelled the world it’s rather embarrassing to admit I first visited Scotland only last year. But as a friend pointed out, it’s quicker to get to the Alps than Scotland and, before my trip, I would have said the Savoie had better food.
After spending three incredible epicurean days in Glasgow and the surrounding area, though, I had a change of mind. Fears of deep-fried foods were quickly dispelled – though there were a few rumours about battered Cream Eggs.
I ate fantastic seafood straight from Scottish waters at the excellent Cafezique in the city’s West End and tucked into spectacular game and fish at The Ubiquitous Chip – one of Glasgow’s best known restaurants, famed for its classic regional fare.
The head chef at The Chip is Ian Brown, who’s been cooking there for 20 years, and whose son takes on the task of piping in the haggis come Burns Night on January 25.
With a little coaxing he shared with me his recipe for a Scottish classic – cranachan. Although traditionally made with ‘crowdie’, a thick, cream cheese, it is more commonly made with double cream these days. This is a truly yummy desert and quite wonderfully naughty.
If you can’t get hold of pinhead oatmeal, substitute some biscuit or cake crumbs. The result makes a perfect end to a Burn’s Night supper.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
3 tbs pinhead oatmeal
1 pt double cream
Approx 2 tbs vanilla or caster sugar to taste
A few drops vanilla essence (if you are using regular sugar) or a vanilla pod
450g soft fruit (traditionally this should be Scottish raspberries, but Ian suggested using blackcurrants, brambles, bayberries or gooseberries, and you could use frozen fruit)
30ml of your favourite whisky
1 tbs runny honey
Toast oatmeal in a non-stick pan or under a grill on a medium heat until it turns a nutty brown colour. Allow to cool. Whip the cream to the soft peak stage, and then fold in the sugar, honey, whisky and vanilla essence or pod, if using. Then just layer up the pudding in glasses – cream, fruit, a little drizzle of whisky and so forth. Finish off with a few berries on top. Scatter over the oatmeal and serve.