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A Guide To Scottish Highlands Cooking

Scottish cooking is characterized by the excellence and quality of the natural products from river, moor, sea and farm. Soups. - These number Cock-a-leekie using fowl, cut leeks and prunes; Scots or Barley Broth, a vegetable and barley soup; Game Soup; Partan Bree a crab soup and Cullen Skink made with smoked haddock. Fish. - Of the many varieties of fish, pride of place goes to the salmon be it farmed or wild from the famous fisheries of the Tay, Spey or Tweed. Served fresh or smoked, it is a luxury dish.

Trout and salmon- trout with their delicately pink flesh are equally appreciated. Breakfast menus often feature the Arbroath Smokie - a small salted and smoked haddock; the Finnan Haddie, a salted haddock dried on the beach prior to smoking over a peat fire and the kipper a split, salted and smoked herring. Game the hills and moors provide a variety of game.

The best known are the superb red grouse and venison. Like salmon the raw material is either farmed or wild. Meat, with such first class beef cattle as the Aberdeen Angus and Galloway and home bred sheep, it is hardly surprising that the quality of Scotch beef and mutton is unsurpassed.

Desserts. - Succulent soft fruits (strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants) ripened Slowly in mild sunshine make an excellent sweet. Other cream-sweets like Cranachan often incorporate one of the soft fruits. Atholl Brose is a secret mixture of honey, oatmeal, malt whisky and cream.

Cheeses. - Although not of international repute, Scotland possesses several home-made cheeses. Both the Dunlop cheese from Orkney, Arran and Islay and the Scottish Cheddar are hard cheeses. Cabot is a rich double cream cheese rolled in oatmeal while Crowdie is similar to a cottage cheese. Breakfast and tea-time. -

These two particularly Scottish meals provide the chance to taste porridge, a Smokie or kipper, a rasher of Ayrshire bacon, oatcakes, an Aberdeen buttery or a softie.

Tea-time specialities include shortbread and Dundee cake to mention only two of the many tea breads. Preserves.

Heather honey or Scottish made jam and marmalade make ideal presents to take home.

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