Grampian (including Aberdeen) is a north-east region of Scotland, and these are a collection of local and regional recipes handed down within families who have lived and worked in the Grampian area. All of the recipes below are regionally authentic, originally coming from recipe books published in the 1800s or 1900s, with the weights and measurements adjusted (alongside the old standards) where appropriate for the modern kitchen.
ROWIES (ABERDEEN BUTTERIES)
1 ½ lb (750g) flour, 1 tbsp sea-salt, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 oz (30g) fresh yeast, ¾ pint (400ml) warm water, 8 oz (225g) lard, 8 oz (225g) butter.
Warm the water (140F or 70C) and add the sugar then the fresh yeast, stirring it in. Leave for five minutes. Sift the flour and salt together into a mixing bowl, pour in the yeast and warm water in gradually and mix together into a dough. Knead into a silky smooth dough and leave in a warm place covered in a bowl to rise (until it doubles in size) for a few hours. In a small bowl cream (beat) together the softened lard and butter, and divide it into three bits. Knock back the dough and gently knead for a minute. Roll out the dough into a long oblong (rectangle) strip – (the next process is similar to making puff pastry). Take one portion of the creamed lard and butter and dab portions of it over two-thirds (2/3 rds) the length of the long dough strip. Fold the plain remaining third of dough over the middle section and then fold over the last third (with the dotted butter and lard) over this, making a layered effect and enclosing all the fats. Seal the edges and once more roll the dough out into a long oblong strip. Repeat the process twice more with the remaining portions of butter and lard. Divide the dough into twelve equal portions and make an oval bun shape with each portion – and set each one, a little apart, on a greased baking tray. Leave in a warm place to rise for ½ hour (30 minutes). Bake in a hot pre-heated oven at 425F (220C) for 25 minutes.
This is a local speciality, from the town of Cullen in Moray, on the north-east coast of Scotland. It is often served as a starter at formal Scottish dinners. Cullen Skink is a thick Scottish soup made of smoked Finnan haddie, potatoes and onions. Finnan haddie, also known as Finnan haddock and Finnan or Findrum speldings, is cold smoked haddock, representative of a regional method of smoking with green wood and peat in Northeast Scotland. Using Finnan haddie or another un-dyed smoked haddock is essential.
1 finnan haddock, 2 small onions, 1 pint (600ml) of milk, salt and pepper, bay leaf, 1 oz (30g) butter, 4 tbsp cream, 1/2lb mashed potato.
Make up the mashed potato by boiling some peeled potatoes until soft and them mashing them with a little butter and cream. Put the finnan haddock in a pan with just enough boiling water to cover it – add the chopped onions and bay leaf and poach till the haddock is cooked, and then lift it out. Flake the flesh, freeing it from the bones and skin. Discard the skin, reserve the flakes of flesh, and put the bones back into the water to make a stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the stock and pour the clear stock into a clean saucepan, add the milk to it and gradually add the mashed potato, working it in to give it a good creamy consistency. Turn the heat up, add the flaked fish and bring to the boil – then turn down to a simmer – add the butter in, in small pieces and stir it in, adjust the seasoning and serve.
ABERDEENSHIRE PIGEON PIE
4 pigeons, 2 tablespoonfuls dripping, flour, gravy salt, 1 tablespoonful cornflour.
Prepare pigeons, cut in half for convenience in serving. Dry, dust with flour and gravy salt. Have dripping piping hot, fry pigeons until lightly browned. Add sufficient hot water to make a nice gravy. Thicken with cornflour. Simmer gently until birds are tender. Arrange in a pie-dish, putting a cup in centre to keep up cover.
Pastry: 8 oz (225g) self-raising flour, pinch baking powder, 2 oz (60g) margarine, 2 oz (60g) lard, water to mix.
Sift flour and baking powder. Rub in margarine and lard and mix to a stiff dough with cold water. Roll out several times. Cover pie-dish, making a few incisions to enable steam to escape, brush over with beaten yolk of egg and bake in a hot oven until crisp and golden brown.
ABERDEENSHIRE FISH PIE
Skin 1/2 salt cod and put to soak overnight in cold water to which a pinch of bicarbonate of soda has been added. Put in boiling water with a few drops of vinegar and cook until soft and tender. Remove bones and flake finely. Have ready some freshly boiled potatoes, well mashed, add flaked fish and mash again. Finally add some creamy milk which has been brought to the boil, and stir vigorously with a long spurtle (spurtle – a Scottish stirring stick) until the potatoes become light and creamy.
Serve with mustard sauce as follows: Put 1 1/2 pints (900ml) milk into a saucepan. Blend 2 1/2 tablespoons cornflour, 1 dessertspoonful dry mustard and a little salt with part of the milk. When quite smooth add to the milk in the saucepan. Stir over a gentle heat until the sauces comes to the boil. Add a couple of pats of butter and serve in a well-warmed sauce-boat. The potatoes should be piled high on a corner dish, the entire surface being roughened with a fork.
ABERDEENSHIRE POTATO SOUP
2 quarts water (2.2 L), piece boiling meat preferably with marrow bone, 1 leek, 2 good-sized carrots, piece of turnip, salt.
Bring water to boil. Add salt and meat, securely tie. Add vegetables. Boil until meat is tender. Peel potatoes (about a dozen, average size). Boil carefully, strain and mash until no lumps remain. Add carrots and turnip and mash again. Now pour on gradually the strained stock, stirring until smooth. Cut down the meat into cubes and add to the soup. Return soup pot to the stove and boil steadily for 10 minutes. Serve with oatcakes.
2 oz (60g) flour, 7 oz (200g) rough oatmeal, 2 oz (60g) lard, 1 tablespoonful brown sugar, 1/2 small egg, 3 tablespoonfuls syrup or treacle, 1/2 teaspoonful mixed spices, 1/2 teaspoonful ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoonful cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda.
Mix all dry ingredients, rub in lard, add beaten egg and syrup. Mix well. Form into small balls. Bake in a moderate oven until crisp and brown.
1/2 lb (250g) oatmeal, pinch salt, 1/4 teaspoonful carbonate of soda, 1 dessertspoonful melted dripping, tepid water.
Mix dry ingredients, rub in melted dripping and make into a soft dough with tepid water. Turn on to baking-board coated with dry oatmeal. Knead into a round, Roll out thinly, using a dusting of oatmeal to prevent rolling-pin sticking. Cut in quarters, bake on a hot girdle until pale brown on each side, then toast in front of fire on toaster until crisp.
1/2 lb (250g) plain white flour, 1/2 small teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda, 1 small teaspoonful cream of tartar, pinch salt, 6 oz (170g) butter, 6 oz (170g) caster sugar, 2 oz (60g) almonds (blanched), for the top, 6 oz (170g) sultanas, 6 oz (170g) currants, 2 oz (60g) mixed peel, 1 oz (30g) cherries, 1 tablespoonful sherry or rum, 3 eggs.
Line a cake tin 6 inches (15cm) in diameter and 3 inches (8cm) deep with well-buttered paper. Sift flour, cream butter and sugar together till pale and creamy, add eggs one at a time with 1 tablespoonful of the sifted flour to each egg. Beat in thoroughly. Divide remainder of flour and add half gradually to the mixture, mix remaining half with the prepared fruit, and then add a little at a time, beating well. Lastly add the sherry or rum, Put into the prepared tin, place almonds lightly on top. Bake 2 – 2 1/2 hours in a moderate oven, Mark 4 for 1 hour, then turn to Mark 2 for the remaining time. Electric 400 degree F, lowering to 300 degree F. (200C then down to 150C).
This is a crisp, edible, greeny-black seaweed occasionally found growing on rocks on the Aberdeenshire coast. This is how the fisherfolk cook it. Have fire down to embers, red hot but free from smoke. Place an old-fashioned long steel tongs (or girdle suspended) over this. Lay the dulse on top and fry till crisp, when it will be tender.
1/4 lb (125g) flour, 2 oz (60g) caster sugar, 2 oz (60g) butter, 1 level teaspoonful mixed spices, 1 level teaspoonful cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 egg beaten.
Mix dry ingredients, cream butter and sugar, add the egg and dry ingredients and form into a dough. Turn dough on a slightly floured board. Roll out 1/4 inch (1cm) thick. Stamp into rounds, place on a greased and floured tin and bake 10 to 15 minutes in a hot oven. This makes about 14 biscuits.