Monday, October 29, 2012

Scottish Recipes - Battered Fish and Chips

Deep Fried Battered Fish with Chips,  what can I say?  Its the best !!!

Fish and Chips

Fish and Chip Shops or Chippies as the are called locally in Scotland are 10 a penny, with way more than one in every city, town and village. Especially fishing villages where fresh fish is just the best. I have great memories, going with Mr TT in the car for a run to a nearby village and sitting in the car eating Fish and Chips on our laps looking over the sea.

Fish and Chip shops are usually a place where you would takeaway the food, where you go in and order from the counter, and have your Fish and Chips wrapped in paper. Back in the day, Fish and Chips were wrapped in newspaper, these days you will more likely get your fish and chips in white and brown paper and possibly on a paper tray too.

Fish "n" Chips.

Definitely a very famous dish in Britain

In Scotland they tend to use haddock

In England its more likely to be cod

For this Fish and Chips dish, I used Cod as it was readily available here in Texas

You will need

1lb/16oz Skinless Haddock or Cod

Batter Ingred.

150g/6oz All Purpose (Plain) Flour
15g/halfoz Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
Sparkling Water

Chips (Fries to my USA friends)
4 Medium Potatoes
a glug of Olive Oil
Coarse Ground Pepper
Coarse Sea Salt

  • Set Fryer oil to 325 F for the fish

  • Pre-heat oven to 450F/230C for chips

  • Cut the potatoes length-ways into 3 sections, then each section into 3 
cut potatoes

cut potatoes

  • Put Chips (fries) into a large bowl

  • Add the glug of Olive Oil, and a good crunch of salt and pepper
add pepper/oil

  • Mix well, then pour out onto a baking tray, Bake for 20 minutes, until golden


  • While the chips are baking, Cut the Fish into big pieces, leave to the side

  • To mix the batter, first sift the Flour and baking powder into a large bowl, add salt
sift flour

  • Add sparkling water a little at a time until a smooth medium batter is formed

  • Dip the Fish pieces into the batter
Cod and batter

  • Fry without a basket (food will stick to basket) for 8-10 minutes per piece, until golden and crispy
Battered Fish

  • Once ready, lay on paper towel to drain

  • Enjoy 
Scottish Fish and Chips

Scottish Fish and Chips

Serve the British way with Malt Vinegar and Salt. 

You can also add lemon slices and/or Tartar sauce

British Fish and Chips

Typically, good old British Fish and Chips are also served with Mushy Peas (large marrow fat peas cooked until softened and mushy) Oh I feel another recipe coming on, Mushy peas, and I have a great mushy pea story from my childhood for you

Meanwhile, enjoy some Fish and Chips 

That's what we are having for dinner tonight


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Scottish Recipes - Split Pea and Ham Soup

Split Pea and Ham Soup

Split Pea and Ham Soup is Mr Tartan Taste's most beloved soup

Now that October is nearly gone and the weather is cooling this weekend in Texas (yeah, finally) I think its time for soup

Yes, even in Texas the weather cools ever so slightly at this time of year, not nearly as much as Scotland but it's still a change all the same

When leaves start falling, no matter where I am, it makes me turn to comfort foods and soup is the best comfort food there is

Split Pea soup is thick and hearty and delicious

For this amazingly delicious soup

You will need

1lb bag of Dried Split Peas
1 Smoked Ham Hock
1 Large Onion - diced
1 tbsp Butter
2 pints Water
Salt & Pepper 

  • Rinse the Split Peas, leave to the side

  • In a large Saucepan, melt the butter and add the diced Onion, cook for 3 minutes until onion is soft

  • Remove from heat and add the Split Peas to the pan with the onion and mix well
Peas and Onions

  • Add 1.5 Pints of cold water to pan and add the Ham Hock and put back on heat
Ham Hock

  • Bring to rapid boil then lower to a fast simmer for around 1.5 hours (keep stirring the peas that collect at the bottom on occasion)

  • About half way through the simmering add the other half pint of water to the pan

  • Once pea shapes have melted away, and the soup has naturally blended, remove the Ham Hock and cut the ham from it and toss the ham pieces back in the pan (discard the bone)
Split Pea and Ham Soup

  • Add plenty of salt and pepper to tastes (seriously we use a crazy amount of pepper as Mr TT loves it that way)

  • Enjoy this soup piping hot with a crusty loaf
Split Pea and Ham Soup

You can store this soup in the refrigerator, but just so you know it will set like a block of cheese, so if you reheat you will need to add more water later to thin it out again.

We have a joke in our home, we ask for a "slice" of Split Pea Soup

I am away to enjoy this cooler weather that's headed our way, and reminisce about nippy aired Scottish evenings curled up with a bowl of soup and a blanket

Scottish Pea and Ham Soup

Scottish Split Pea Soup



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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Biggest Fans

When I first started this Blog, I had no idea who would read it or use it.

But one thing has been constant throughout.

My Biggest Fans.

Who am I talking about?

My Mum and Dad

They love my Blog, they have told me this many times. They both encourage me, leave me comments and tell me every time we talk on the phone to keep up my Blog. They give me ideas and tips and they send me cute things like this Scottish Apron....

My parents have always been there for me, no matter what.

Cheering me on from the sidelines of life.

In whatever I choose to do.

My Biggest fans

Its the big things they do and its the small things.  A few months ago I posted on Facebook that I had ran out of a favourite sauce of mine that I cant get in Texas. They answered my SOS, hunted the Internet and sent me 2 bottles in the mail.

When I first sat them down and told them about our possible move to America, I was nervous, my Dad said he would be so mad if I stayed for them. Even though I knew inside they were both hurting so much at me leaving, it wasn't easy back then almost 10 years ago and it still isn't. I miss them so much.

So its on their love and understanding and letting go, that I am able to spread my wings in the world.

I only hope I can muster the same courage and do the same for my son, in his life journey.

Right now they are both going through the same things again. My Sister is on the edge of a new life adventure. She is about to move to Australia with her boyfriend and both my Mum and dad are bursting with pride that she is about to have a fantastic life out there but inside they are both hurting and will miss her more than words can even express.

Their strength and courage is beyond understanding

Mum and Dad, I love you both.

Thanks for being My Biggest Life Fan


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Scottish recipes - Fairy Cakes

Last week my neighbour had a fairy ring in her front lawn, in case you don't know what a fairy ring is, it's a ring of mushrooms forming a circle, it's very special

Being the creative person that she is, she immediately dressed her 18 month old in a fairy costume and took pictures of her in the fairy ring, the cuteness levels were off the chart

So I got to thinking about Fairy Cakes

Fairy Cakes

Fairy Cakes are actually British cupcakes and as a child my mum would make these ALL the time, basically Fairy Cakes are a light sponge cake with icing piped on top and maybe a bit sprinkle or decoration here and there

If you want to get creative you can make little fairy wings on top, and as a child I loved these ones
This is the type I am making today

Scottish Fairy Cakes

The winged variety also go by the name of Angel Cakes and Butterfly Cakes

So here is my super easy, go to recipe

Makes 12

You will need

4oz/100g Self Raising Flour
4oz/100g Butter
4oz/100g Sugar
2 Eggs
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tbsp Milk

For the icing
4oz/100g Powdered Icing Sugar
3oz/75g Butter

  • Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F

  • In a large bowl, break up the butter into small pieces then add in all other ingredients (except the milk) 

  • Using a hand mixer (or you can use a food processor) beat together until smooth
Mix well

  • Add in the milk and mix again until a thinner mixture is made

Add milk
Cake mixture

  • Lay out cake cases onto a muffin tray (I double them up to help with shape and to keep the cases clean) Spoon the mixture evenly between the 12 cases
Mixture in cases

  • Bake in oven for 10 minutes until golden and risen
Fairy Cakes

  • To make the icing, in a large bowl, sift the powdered icing sugar
Powdered icing sugar

  • Break up the butter and add it into the sugar
add butter

  • Cream the butter and sugar together to form a paste
Butter Icing

  • Once cakes cool, cut the tops off, leaving a rim on the edge
Fairy cake top off

  • Cut the "lid" in two to make two wings
Fairy cake wings

  • Pipe the butter icing onto the cake (I just used a food bag with the corner snipped off) and add the wings on top

  • Dust lightly with powdered icing sugar or sprinkles
Fairy Cake
Fairy Cakes

  • Enjoy

So I am floating back to my childhood again with these delicious little Fairy Cakes, and they taste exactly as I remember them

These are heavenly

I hope you make time to enjoy cupcakes Fairy Cakes today


Monday, October 1, 2012

DIY - Master Bathroom makeover

I know this is mainly a cooking Blog, but I do like to add in a wee DIY post now and then

Its been a while, and well, this isn't exactly a "wee" project

So here is the long, oh so long awaited, Master Bathroom Reveal

What you must know is that Mr Tartan Tastes has done most of this work himself, and he works a full time job, sometimes 7 days a week and he still managed to finish this, and did I mention he is not in the building trade either, he just loves doing this kinda stuff
Oh and with a bit of help from his trusty sidekick - Me

This guy is my hero

I still cannot believe we totally re-did the whole thing - Ourselves

Of course, we used a plumber to help with the moving and installation of water lines, but apart from that it was all us

No Design Team to help us make the decision of room relocation
No Design Consultant helping us pick tile/paint/finishes (yes we fought like cat and dog in the tile area in Lowe's - not our finest moment)
No-one helping us with the small things like light fittings/accessories/small problems that crop up (our son was so done with DIY stores, he still groans if we say we need to go into Lowe's or somewhere, poor soul)

It took over a year, and oh yes we also got so scunnered (a great Scottish word meaning we were so sick of it)

The bathroom was set in the 70s, not a nice look

This is a run down of things we did, the first pics are of the BEFORE

* we took sledge hammers to walls and built them up again in different places  (you see our old 70s bathroom was very chopped up and we wanted one large room with a better flow  - ooh I feel all Homeshow-ish saying terms like, flow)

* So out went the old vanity using a sledgehammer and brute strength

* Out went the old bath with the 'over bath' shower

* Out went the old, not very Eco friendly, toilet

* Out went the strange dressing/vanity area and dual pokey little closets

* Out went the old ugly tile from walls and floor

It was fun/sad/exciting/emotional/exhausting/thrilling (add your own adjective there)

Here are a few painful photos of the in between stages

Dun, dun, dun.....

Here it is (drum roll please)


In came the amazing new free standing vanity and stunning mirror - I love this piece of beautiful furniture

In came the 2 person corner bath tub

In came the separate toilet closet (no more flush spray landing on the toothbrushes, I know you hear me people?)

In came the massive 10 people shower - large enough for a football team and little old me (dream....sigh)

In came beautiful Italian tile and brushed nickel fixtures

I am so in love with this area of the house now and before I was filled with dread when I entered this part of the house

It really is one of the last areas to be finished and we love it so much

Isn't it amazing how much a place can be transformed

I hope you have enjoyed looking at our makeover

I am away to go and hang out in there, and just stare, yes I am still doing that .......


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