Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nourished - a rambling recipe


Hello there! It's been a busy old time lately - lots going on - my heart and hands occupied elsewhere, and my little online world has been neglected.  Truth be told, my mind is still in the Sheiling - as the memories of our long sunny summer days linger on. But, the wheel keeps on turning, and once again it is time to draw inwards and catch our breath.
And so - 'tis me!  Well, a filtered, instagrammed, just back from the hairdressers sort of me - but this is blogland, so that's just fine.


And it is my birthday tomorrow - I will be 52! How did that happen? Time passes indeed, but anyway, sit down with me, have a cup of tea and a slice of fruit cake and lets talk about food.

Food, you may have noticed, is important to me. I spend a large part of my life, thinking about, planning, organising, cooking and eating food. I grow and produce as much food as I can.  I am driven to provide good, honest, nourishing food for my family.  I would rather spend my income on high quality, nutrient dense foods that anything else (even yarn - even books).
I feel so incredibly grateful to be living here and now, being in a position to buy nourishing food, to have the time to prepare it, cook it, and serve it at my table. Thankful indeed. I see it as a duty not to waste these resources, but to make use of every scrap. Good, traditional Scottish cooking - I was raised on such wholesome fare.

My mother was a great cook. When I was a child, our meals were home cooked from scratch. Plain food - meat, fish, soups, milk, bread -  we had out main meal at noon, and my dad came home from work for this - most people I knew ate this way. Later, when my mother returned to college, I  went to my grandparents at lunchtime. My grandmother was also an amazing cook and had a set meal plan which rarely varied from week to week. I can still recall it yet (you knew that...)

Monday - Scotch broth, apple pie or crumble with egg custard
Tuesday - Mince 'n tatties
Wednesday - Tripe, potato and onions, followed by rice pudding
Thursday - Stewed beef, potatoes and veg, 
Friday - Mince pie, homemade chips fried in dripping, and beans - ice cream.

What a legacy to have been left with - a love of good, simple food, cooked with love that nourished the soul and well as the body. I can still taste it - and whenever I tie on my apron, I remember them and take them into my kitchen with me.


So - on Sunday, we had a small joint of venison saddle. Venison does not have much in the way of fat on it, so for roasting, it is best to add some extra.  It protects the meat in the oven, bastes it and keeps it moist and juicy.


A simple Sunday roast dinner - fabulous. And then, of course, there are the leftovers!!

Growing up, we always had a family meal after Church on Sundays, usually involving a large  roast.  Monday was a busy night - Brownies and Guides for my sister and I, and my Dad was secretary of the local football club, so we all had to rush out quickly. Dinner was usually cold roast whatever, with proper chips (fries) and beans. Tuesday dinner though, would often be a big plate of Stovies.

Stovies is a classic Scottish leftover dish - a bit like hash, but nicer ;-). It is the best and tasitest way to use up the end of a roast, in my opinion. Basically, potatoes and onions are simmered slowly in the fat and drippings of roast meat. if there are any scraps of meat left, then they are added to the dish at the end. It is filling, frugal and delicious. Here is a quick run through.



After you have cooked the joint, save all the fat from around the meat - the stuff you spoon off before you make the gravy, and any bits that you sieve out.  Keep it in the 'fridge until next day. I also kept the fat from the roast potatoes too - and the leftover gravy.  My fridge is always full of little pots of substances to be added to something or other.


Melt all these fats, juices, drippings etc in a large pot, and then add a couple of  chopped onions and some thickly sliced potatoes. I tend not to peel potatoes now, but you can if you prefer. I usually add between 5 and 7, depending on the size, but if you are feeding more people then add more -  this is one of those expandable dishes, Turn the potatoes and onions in the melted fat (add a garlic clove if you like - I certainly did). Add salt and pepper to taste (I add about 1 tsp salt, but you may want more or less)
If you are a bit short of fat from your roast, then add some more - lard, beef dripping, suet or butter. The idea is to stew the potatoes and onions in the fat.


Put a tight fitting lid on the pot and turn the heat right down to a low simmer.  Cook until the potatoes are nice and soft, stirring every now and then.  If you find they are sticking to the bottom of the pot too much, add a splash of water or stock.



If you have any leftover meat, then add it now, and heat through.  I had some cooked carrots left too, so they went in too. Check and adjust the seasoning - 


and there it is - unctuous, lip-sticking and delicious. 



                                             and gone...                                       xx


39 comments:

  1. Happiest of birthday's my dear friend! I think time is in overdrive and just flying by too fast.
    I adore your haircut, you look so beautiful.
    I prepare venison just like your recipe. My family eats a lot of venison and seafood that
    we harvest. I never buy meat and truth be told, use venison just like beef. This year I have plans to learn how to make venison pepperoni for the guys pizza.

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    1. Sounds great - we love venison - was thinking of making jerky, but j would love pepperoni xxx

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  2. You look beautiful! And it was such a lovely post, I enjoyed it so much.

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  3. Oh thanks for tutorial on how to make stovies, I"ve always wonder'd how real Scots do it ! And... HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!! You look incredible !

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    1. Haha - it is one of those recipes that can cause arguments over the best and right way xx

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  4. Wishing yo a very Happy Birthday for tomorrow...
    Love your photo, and what a great post.
    I love simple, nourishing food... you just can't beat it can you. I am now very hungry!
    Much love to you.

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  5. Happy Birthday Sweet Lady! I hope it's absolutely wonderful! Fifty-two looks good on you ;)

    I love hearing about the food from different areas, but yours isn't much different than what we eat. I live in an area of the States that was largely populated by the Scots and Irish. It is wonderful, wholesome and filling food.

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  6. Great post! Glad you are back to posting, missed you in the summer! I miss Scotland so! My grandfather hailed from Dingwall, small town in the Highlands. Love it, love Scotland! A very happy birthday to you tomorrow, keep happy!

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  7. That left me hungry and nourished, at the same time. Happy birthday, each one is more precious than the one before.

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  8. Happy Birthday for tomorrow. Your post reminds me of my own childhood. I no longer eat meat but I do cook it for my family occasionally, the Stovie recipe sounds great I will remember that for the future as I don't have many recipes.

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  9. yum yum yum! hope you have a very special day tomorrow, missed you here and you've been popping into my head often. love and hugs x x

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    1. Thanks Laura - you too. I haven't been on the computer much, only the phone, so it is hard to leave blog comments, but I am sending you lots of love xx

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  10. Gorgeous as always Jacqui, both you and the food!! Fab new hairdo and just right for a birthday girl too!!

    Love to you from all of us

    San and co xxxx

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  11. Happy birthday! My mum as a west coast girl cooked very much the same way. Mince and tatties, broth and stovies we ate weekly. When my mum cooked spaghetti she would only make it with mince and gravy no tomatoes lol Still loved it though.

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    1. Yes - although my mum had a spaghetti and ham recipe, made with ketchup and semolina that was considered very daring, but soon became a favourite too x

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  12. Happy birthday, that all looks very tasty x

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  13. My family would enjoy this! With three teens at home, there's no such thing as leftover meat, but the drippings I have a shot at.

    I envy the simple predictability of your Grandmother's menu. I confess I still find menu planning an unwelcome drain of creative resources, though I'm better at living in the moment now, and can enjoy the actual cooking. More recipes from that list would be welcome - I'm 1/4 Scottish, but I don't know what all of them are!

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    1. Hi Quinn - I am hoping to get more regular recipes on if I can, and they will be featuring this kind of food. It does take up so much time, planning menus, but i find it frees up some space in my head, if I don't have the dinner question hanging over me.xx

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  14. Happy Birthday Jacqui! You look very good for it. Must be all those wonderful meals :) Thanks for the recipe, it looks like one I would try, and Ben would love it I'm sure. Honest, simple goodness. We ate a lot like that when I was small. Lots of mince (almost wrote mice there!) Happy days xxx

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  15. Your hair is lovely I really like the cut. As Melissa says I am here in the states but my Irish grandmother and great aunts also cooked this way. We usually had a big roast every sunday with potatoes, carrots and onions or brisket with cabbage and soda bread and the left overs were hash and stews for Mondays. I still cook all the foods I grew up with thinking of grandma and aunties as I do. Have a wonderful birthday!

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  16. I love that traditional forms of cooking always made use of everything- all parts of the animal were utilized.
    I also think having our main meal at noon makes so much more sense than in the evening- it gives time for one to properly digest the food while up and about!

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  17. Yum, and happy belated birthday, Hun!

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  18. Stories, and white pudding. How I've missed them both :).

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  19. Happy Birthday !
    Love stovies ,we were discussing cornbeef versus square sausage but everyone agreed ,its the crispy bits at the bottom of the pot that everyone loves.

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    1. Well, you see, I think of that more as a hash than proper stovies, although they have their place. Square sausage are better though - as long as you use proper fat to cook the potato and onion x

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  20. Stovies....iPad obviously hasn't heard of them :). And you look lovely (have you ever seen the Stovies sketch with dustin Hoffman?

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    1. I hadnt, but I looked it up. Hilarious and true. Love his West Lothian accent. These ones were so good, we wished they would last forever - lol

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  21. Happy Birthday! You look radiantly beautiful. It is so comforting those food traditions we have and in turn pass down to those we love.

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  22. happy birthday and thanks for the delicious food post. it is amazing how you can take something left over from one meal and add it to the next and it tastes so yummy.

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  23. oo, is it wrong to fancy Stovies for breakfast!!!!!
    Happy birthday : )

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  24. Happy solar return. You get even more gorgeous as the years roll by. I want your hairdresser! :-)
    With love, and wishing you another beautiful year.

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    1. Thanks V - my hairdressing salon is the back room of the nearest petrol station, in a tiny village halfway down the road to Harris. :)

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  25. Happy birthday Jacquie. All the best. I haven't had Stovies since leaving Scotland many years ago. It was a firm family thing, regular as clockwork when I was a kid. Must have some soon, I think.

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  26. Oh my - thank you all so much for your lovely comments - I had a really nice day, and reading your good wishes made it so much better xxx

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  27. A belated Happy Birthday, Jacqui! As you know, I love the natural look. You're just a few months younger than me. 52 so far is turning out to be a good age for me: still have all my teeth, can mostly remember stuff, knees only occasionally wobbly, still manage to have a laugh every day. Things could be worse! xox

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    1. Lol - thank you Christine - as the book says - the trick is to keep breathing!

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