Guest Author - Asha Sahni
Scotland has a hearty appreciation of potatoes - tatties as they are often called here. Versatile use of potatoes includes scones, soups, stovies, variations on mashed potato and macaroons. Potatoes have caused a lot of hardship in Scotland when crops have failed. Concurrent with the Irish Potato Famine Scots in the Highlands struggled during the mid-1800s when potato blight reduced crop yields. The famine caused people to leave Scotland in search of a better life - some through their own choice, some due to having passage to new worlds paid for them by landlords eager to clear low yielding lands.
Champit Tatties. Champit tatties are mashed potatoes often made with butter, milk, salt and pepper. Additions to the mash may include one or several of the following - bacon, cheese, chives, onion and/or spring onion (scallion).
Clapshot. A dish bred in Orkney consisting of mashed potato and turnip – a vegetable the English often call swede. Additions can include chives, onions and green vegetables such as cabbage or kale.
Macaroon Bars. Traditional macaroon bars are created by mixing smooth mashed potato with icing sugar until you it tastes more of sweet than potato; the mixture is covered with chocolate and dusted with coconut.
Potato Scones. Recipies I have seen use 1 part or less flour to 5 parts potato. The potato is mashed, often with butter, then mixed with the flour to form a dough. The dough is cut into circles which are then quartered, and the scones fried. Potato scones are often eaten for breakfast, though they also seem to be happily consumed by Scots at other times of day. Those who have been brought up on potato scones often see them as a form of comfort food – a memory of Scotland if they no longer live here. Varieties of ready made potato scone can now be ready bought in supermarkets.
Potato (Tattie) Soup. Scottish potato soups often use meat stock and whatever root vegetables are available/in season such as carrots, leeks and/or onions and neeps.
Rumbledethumps. A mixture of mashed potato and finely sliced cabbage/kale. Sometimes cooked in the oven before serving with a cheese topping.
Stovies. Stovies consist of slow cooked potatoes and leftover meat (often minced/finely chopped). The potatoes are sliced thinly and cooked slowly in fat and/or a low covering of water. Fat used could include butter, dripping or oil. Modern variations are endless including additions of herbs, vegetables and spices.