Fish Supper

A fish supper is the most popular take away of choice after a good night on the bevvy. Dundee claims to have sold fish and chips first in Scotland in the 1870’s – it was supposedly sold by a Belgian immigrant in the city’s Greenmarket area.

Haddock or Cod are the main fish used in most chip shops.

In Edinburgh, fish and chips are traditionally served with salt ‘n’ sauce. In Glasgow, it is always salt ‘n’ vinegar which they claim is the correct and only way to serve fish and chips.

Being from Edinburgh, where we know best!  It is always salt ‘n’ sauce for me.

Years ago when I first went to London and asked for a fish supper in the local chip shop nobody knew what I was talking about, I thought everywhere in the UK called it a fish supper.

Scotland’s most famous chip shop is probably the Anstruther Fish Bar it has queues each evening, with people waiting to taste the freshest fish and chips around. It has won numerous awards throughout the years and is busy all year round.


Tae a Fish Supper by Jock Smith

Fair fa’ yer sonsie haddock or plaice,
Great chieftain o’ the battered race;
wi’ vinegar laced an’ chips an’ peas,
A sicht tae mak ye weak at the knees.

Wi’ plastic knife I stab ye braw,
An’ then staun back an’ stare in awe.
Wi’ a smell like you it is nae wonder,
My bellie rumbles, lood as thunder.

Is there that ower his haggis an’ neeps,
Or ower his Irish stew he peeps,
Wi’ envious glances at my plate,
Wishin’ it was you he’d ate.

A dish like you I hae each day,
As lang as yer din the Itie way,
Wrapped in the Daily Record ye lie,
A finer feed ye’ll never spy.

O’ Lord, forget yer breed an’ jam,
Or great big pieces wi’ lumps o’ spam.
Tae let me ken I wilna suffer–
Jist gae me a big fish supper.

(This was printed in the 1985 Burns Chronicle.)

Scottish Word of the Day!

Braw – fine, pleasant, attractive, pretty wonderful grand, super

She’s a braw lass! – She is an attractive girl

It’s a braw, bricht, moonlicht nicht the nicht“   – It is a wonderful, bright, moonlit night tonight)

It’s wis a braw day the day –  It was a grand day today



Rumbledethumps is a traditional dish from the Scottish Borders.

How can you not like a dish with a name like that?

Rumbledethumps is a quick and easy recipe often compared to “bubble and squeak”.

Supposedly the name of the dish comes from the sound of the wooden spoon thumping on the pan when mixing the potatoes and cabbage.

Serves 4

  • Cooked and mashed potato
  • Cooked and thinly sliced cabbage
  • 50g Butter
  • 125g Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200°C

Cook equal amounts of potato and cabbage.

Combine potatoes and finely chopped cabbage  mix with a wooden spoon to get the thumping sound that names the dish, in a large saucepan in which the butter has been melted while all the ingredients are still hot, and season well.

Transfer everything into a roasting tin.

Scatter over the cheese and bake until the cheese melts and colours.


Scottish Word of the Day!

Haud yer wheesht! – Be quiet. Hush Up. Shut Up.

Some folk don’t know when to haud their wheesht – Some people do not know when to shut up.

Will yer wheesht, you pair! Ma heid’s loupin! – Will you pair keep quiet, my head is throbbing!

Politicians, of course, find it harder than normal people to haud their wheesht.

Herring and Oatmeal

This is a traditional Scottish recipe for a dish of herring that are boned, coated in oatmeal before being pan-fried until cooked golden brown.

Herring and Oatmeal is a healthy, thrifty and tasty meal.

Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’?
They’re bonnie fish and halesome farin’;
Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’,
New drawn frae the Forth ?

Lady Nairne 1766-1845  Caller Herrin’

Herring Fillets Fried in Oatmeal
Serves 4

  • 4 small herringsSalt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp medium or coarse oatmeal
  • 60g unsalted butter or lard

Season the fish well.

Spread the oatmeal on a plate and coat the fillets in it, pressing it on well.

Shake off any excess.

Melt butter or lard in a heavy-based frying pan until smoking.

Add the herrings and cook on a medium heat for a couple of minutes, carefully flip over and cook for a minute or two more, until cooked through.

Serve with lemon slice.

Scottish Word of the Day!

Scran – Food – A snack of food

Gis a bit of scran i’m starvin’ – Give me some food I’m starving

Thu’re gien me juist the merest scran o maet – They’ve given me just  a tiny bit of meat

That I may be blest wi’ health, And scran. – Robert Wilson, Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1824)

Irn Bru

Irn bru is Scotland’s second national drink. Made in Scotland fae girders was the claim many years ago. Irn Bru is also considered one of the best hangover cures and gallons of the stuff is consumed all over Scotland every weekend.

Irn-Bru was first produced in 1901, in Falkirk, under the name Iron Brew. In 1946, a change in laws required that the word brew be removed from the name, as the drink is not brewed. The company came up with the idea of changing the spelling of both halves of the name, thus giving us the iconic Irn-Bru brand.

Scotland is the only country in the world where Coca-Cola and Pepsi are not the dominant choice in soft drinks.


Scottish Word of the Day!

Sair – Sore

Sair Heid – Sore Head, Headache

Gie’s Me A Sair Heid – It gives me a sore head

  Ye’ve got a real sair wan there. –  That really is a painful injury.

It’s a sair fecht” – “It’s a sore fight.” – “It’s a hard life.”

Mince and Tatties

Mince and Tatties is an extremely popular Scottish dish, consisting of minced beef and potatoes, usually but not always mashed.

It is a staple food in Scotland and is usually served on a very regular basis.

People world wide are often homesick for the memory of their Ma’s or their Grannies Mince and Tatties.

This recipe, like a lot of Scottish food varies throughout Scotland as each region and town all have thier own variation.

Mince and Tatties even has a poem written about it.

mince and tatties

Serve 4

  • 500 G of good beef  mince
  • 1  onion, finely chopped
  • 2 or 3  carrots  diced
  • Dash or two to taste of  Worcester sauce
  • Beef stock or Bisto
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Mashed potatoes to serve

In a large saucepan, brown the mince but do not overcrowd as the the mince will stew instead of brown, best cooked in batches.

Only drain excess fat if you must – or else you will lose flavour and tenderness if you do.

Remove mince when fully browned.

In the same pan, fry off the onion for 3/4 minutes, before returning the mince to the pan.

Add the worcester sauce, and beef stock to cover.

If using Bisto, mix with cold the take pan off heat and stir in thoroughly.

Cover the pan and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Adjust seasoning if required, then add the carrots.

Bring to a simmer and cook for a further 30 minutes, leaving the pan uncovered as required to reduce the stock down to a thick sauce.

Serve with your mashed potato.

Essential extras include a big dollop of Broon sauce.

This can be stretched further by adding oatmeal when browning the mince to make a more economical meal.

Mince and Tatties – A Wee Poem
I dinna like hail tatties
Pit on my plate o mince
For when I tak my denner
I eat them baith at yince.

Sae mash and mix the tatties
Wi mince into the mashin,
And sic a tasty denner
Will aye be voted ‘Smashin!’
J. K. Annand

from A Wale o Rhymes (Macdonald Publishers, 1989).

Scottish Word of the Day!

Mince – nonsense, rubbish

Yer no listenin’ tae whit that heid-the-ba tells ye, ur ye?  His heid’s full a’ mince!

You’re talking Mince – You’re talking a load of rubbish

Ma Heid’s full ‘o’ Mince, meaning that you cannot remember things.


The flapjack originated in Britain. It is a dense sweet cookie bar made from oats, butter, golden syrup or honey and sugar. The main ingredient is oatmeal , thus making it a very food popular in Scotland

Shakespeare refers to flapjack in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Act II Scene I, but this is one of the many anachronisms in his historical plays and does not suggest that he thought it was a middle eastern dish, merely a common English dessert of the time:

“Come, thou shan’t go home, and we’ll have flesh for holidays, fish for fasting-days, and moreo’er puddings and flap-jacks, and thou shalt be welcome.”


Serves 12-16 Flapjacks

  • 250 g Rolled oats
  • 150 g Butter
  • 75 g Golden syrup
  • 75 g Light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 180C.

Grease and line a shallow 20cm square tin with baking parchment.

Put the butter, sugar & golden syrup in pan and heat gently until completely melted.

Mix the oats into the liquid.

Turn into the tin, level and press the mixture evenly and firmly with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until just golden around the edges.

Place pan on a cooling rack and leave for 15 mins.

Cut into 12 or 16 pieces whilst still warm.

Leave to cool and set.

Flapjacks will keep up to a week in an airtight container.

Scottish Word of the Day!

Jessie – A Jessie is an effeminate, weak, or cowardly man.

Ye’re just a big Jessie!  – You’re a big girl’s blouse!

What are ye greetin for, ye big Jessie?

Shinty is definitely not a game for Jessies!

Cullen Skink

Cullen Skink is a rich thick Scottish soup made with smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. An authentic Cullen Skink will use Finnan Haddie, but it can also be prepared with any other undyed smoked haddock.

The name of this rich, tasty soup comes from the fishing village of Cullen, in Morayshire. “Skink” is a soup made originally from a shin of beef. But in this case, the main ingredient is smoked haddock.

cullen skink soup

Serves 4

  • 300g Finnan Haddie
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 20g butter
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 large leek, trimmed, halved & thinly sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled & cut into 1cm dice
  • 350ml  milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parsley or Chives finely chopped, to serve

Put the fish and bay leaf into a large pan cover with about 250ml cold water

Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 5 minutes, turning once

Remove from the heat and remove the fish with a slotted spoon, keep the poaching liquid.

Remove the skin from the haddock, plus any bones, then gently flake the fish.

Melt butter in another pan over a low heat, and add the onion and the leek.

Cover and allow to sweat, without colouring, for 5 minutes until softened.

Add the potato and stir to coat with butter. Pour in the haddock cooking liquor and bay leaf, and bring to a simmer.

Cook for 5-10 minutes until the potato is tender.

Discard the bay leaf, add the milk, some salt and white pepper to taste and process the soup with a hand blender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Add half of the smoked haddock flakes to the soup and reheat.

Divide the remaining Smoked haddock between warmed bowls and surround with soup, sprinkle with Parsley.

Serve immediately with crusty bread.

Scottish Word of the Day!

Help ma Boab! – “Goodness gracious me!” – Expressing frustration, amazement, etc.

Help ma’ Boab a nearly smacked ma heid off  the lamp post!

The phrase is famously used by Scotland’s One and Only Oor Willie

Help ma Boab! is that the time !