I have always made a concerted effort to understand as much as possible of the products I work with, as traceability and minimal waste are extremely important to me. Most of the ingredients I use in my cooking are sourced locally and I always strive to work with suppliers who can demonstrate strong ethical credentials.
I’ve created this Easter special to showcase some of the many fantastic companies in Scotland who are passionate about sustainability, doing their part to help preserve and protect our precious environment for future generations.
Smoked trout pâté
Sea trout is versatile, tasty, low in calories and high in potassium. In Scotland, we are fortunate to have access to exceptional, high quality farmed fish, which play an important role in protecting our wild trout stocks. Dunoon’s Argyll Smokery is committed to using only hand-raised sea lake trout, smoked in small batches to achieve exceptional flavor and quality. Products are hand-packed to order, ensuring minimal waste. www.argyllsmokery.com
Here I made a quick and easy pâté with some sourdough crackers to go with (a good way to cut down on your waste) – but if you’re not baking sourdough, oatcakes make a great alternative.
Ingredients: Pickled cucumber
1 whole cucumber
200ml white wine vinegar
50g of sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
A few sprigs of fresh dill
300g sourdough leaven
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon of dried Provencal herbs
1 tbsp olive oil (for coating)
2 smoked trout fillets (approx. 125g)
100g cream cheese
2 teaspoons horseradish sauce
Juice and zest of half a lemon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Peel the cucumber then cut it into sticks about 6 cm long and 1 cm thick. Mix with salt in a bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, dissolve the sugar and vinegar by heating the mixture a little, then let cool. Add the mustard seeds, dill, lemon zest and juice. Drain the liquid and salt from the cucumbers, then transfer them to a jar and cover with the vinegar and herb solution. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or ideally overnight.
Mix the seasoning and spices of your choice into the sourdough scraps. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush evenly with a layer of olive oil. Spread the mixture thinly and evenly then bake for 12-15 minutes at 180°C until lightly golden and crispy. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.
Put all the ingredients in a blender (be careful to remove the bones from the trout before adding it), blend until smooth and puree. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (will keep in the fridge for 2 days) then serve with pickles and crackers.
Slow-roasted leg of goat cheese
Goat is unlikely to be many people’s top priority when they think of the traditional Sunday roast, but this underrated meat is exceptionally flavorful and has great nutritional qualities. It’s a fantastic alternative if you don’t like the full flavor of lamb, it’s mild and versatile, and is as delicious prepared with minimal seasoning as it is with spices and herbs. I really encourage you to try.
This beautiful leg is from Lunan Bay Farm. Owners Jillian and Neil are committed to producing ethically grown, pasture-fed goat meat using the principles of regenerative agriculture. They place great importance on sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. Lunan Bay also produces exceptional Scottish asparagus and honey berries.
1.4 kg goat leg with bone
8-10 garlic cloves (3 cut into thin sticks)
5 sprigs of rosemary
½ lemon, sliced (optional)
30g olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
125g dry white wine
100g chicken stock
1 kg peeled potatoes, halved/quartered
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter (hot)
250g carrots, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
For the icing
3 tablespoons of honey
1 tsp ground coriander
Salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 220c. Sear the meat in a pan with olive oil, then rub it with a generous pinch of salt and pepper, make small incisions all over and, inside these, add a thin stick garlic and rosemary. Add the remaining rosemary, garlic cloves and lemon to a roasting pan then add the goat cheese. Pour in the wine and broth, then the oregano. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and put in the oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 140°C (goat is lean, so it is best to cook it on low to preserve tenderness) and roast for 3-4 hours. After 3 hours, check – the meat is ready when it comes off the bone. About an hour before serving, boil your potatoes for 6 to 8 minutes, drain them, toss them lightly in the colander. Remove excess liquid from goat cheese platter (remember to use for gravy), coat potatoes in hot olive oil and butter, then add to platter, keeping meat covered with foil of aluminium. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip gently. Turn again after another 20 minutes. For the last 20 minutes, remove the foil from the goat, mix the ingredients for the glaze and spread them over the meat.
In a separate roasting dish, mix the carrots with the honey, olive oil, balsamic then season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes in the same oven as your meat and potatoes. Serve immediately with any other accompaniment of your choice.
Pavlova with berries and lemon
Although we’re still a bit early in berry season, it’s relatively easy to get your hands on fresh Scottish fruit if you’re selective in your shopping. For this pavlova I used beautiful berries from Castleton Farm, Aberdeenshire. The team hand-picks their precious fruit for 9 months of the year, then distributes it to suppliers within 24-48 hours so it’s exceptionally fresh.
The farm uses biomass boilers and solar systems and generates more electricity than it uses, exporting it at night and importing it during the day. Castleton Farm is also committed to regenerative agriculture and its packaging is made from 80% recycled materials, which are also 100% recyclable.
4 large egg whites (I use Corrie Mains)
250g caster sugar
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Mixed berries: 300 g raspberries and 400 g strawberries, hulled and halved
300ml whipped cream
3 tablespoons lemon curd (you can try making your own with leftover egg yolks)
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 lemon zest
Heat the oven to 150C/130 fan, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a large circle using a plate or bowl (about 25cm in diameter). Separate the egg whites from the yolks (it’s easier to cool) then bring them to room temperature, letting them rest for 30 minutes. In a clean, dry glass bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric whisk until they form stiff peaks, then add the caster sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating between each addition until stiff. until your meringue is thick and shiny. Then add the lemon juice and cornstarch.
Gently spread large dollops of meringue onto the parchment paper circle until well filled, dip in the center with the back of the spoon and bring the sides up slightly, then place in the oven and bake for 60 minutes. When you’re done, turn off the oven and leave the oven door open to let the meringue cool completely.
Whip the cream until nice and thick, then gently fold in the lemon cream and zest. Garnish the meringue with the lemon cream, then the mixed red fruits and sprinkle with icing sugar. Serve immediately.
Unruly Lady Gin Cocktail
I was gifted a bottle of Crosskirk Bay gin for Christmas and immediately fell in love not only with the gin but also with the story behind it.
North Point Distillery, Caithness uses a blend of 17 botanicals, including Scots pine taken from a Christmas tree planted in one of the founder’s gardens.
Sustainability is at the heart of North Point. From offsetting carbon footprints by sourcing raw ingredients and using recycled materials for all of its packaging (including bottles), to using stills powered by renewable electricity, it’s a proud and ambitious team that not only produces fantastic spirits; he really lives by his core values too.
This gin pairs perfectly with the citrus fruits I used as a fondant for my cocktail, but is just as delicious served with ice, a grapefruit wedge, Cushiedoos tonic and ice.
Ingredients: Makes 1
50ml Crosskirk Bay gin
1/2 squeezed grapefruit
75 ml cloudy apple juice
25 ml Cointreau-type orange liqueur
15ml creme de cassis
1 tablespoon of egg white (optional)
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice, shake vigorously, then strain through a fine strainer and serve immediately in a martini glass or similar.
Garnish with a fresh raspberry or a grenadine swirl.
Gary Townsend is head chef at One Devonshire Gardens by Hotel du Vin, Glasgow. See www.hotelduvin.com or call 0141 378 0385 to book.
Twitter @Chefgtownsend Instagram- @chef.g.townsend