Welcome back winter: Recipe share

Graeme Taylor celebrates winter in Scotland with a warming menu idea.


If home is where the heart is and the heart is in the kitchen, then should cooking up a meal make a home, home sweet home? Without getting too lost in clichés, this week Graeme Taylor welcomes winter to Scotland with a nostalgic look at Scottish food, a warming menu idea and a main course recipe.

"Traditionally the Scots would have always eaten with the seasons and lived off whatever was provided locally by the land, sea and sky. These days local to me means Scottish rather than regional, but there is still something rather satisfying about sourcing great quality food on your own doorstep."


"I always try to cook in this manner and even as autumn gives way to winter it’s still fairly simple as the harvest has delivered an abundance of seasonal fruit and vegetables."

"There’s nothing better in my mind than a full day cooking in the darkening autumn and winter months. Sometimes this can simply be making batches of broth or mince for the freezer as the nights get colder and longer, but on occasion it could well be for family or friends, coming together to celebrate with age-old Scots hospitality.

"On occasions like those it’s great to truly celebrate our ‘local’ Scottish produce in some style. I’ve put together my early winter housewarming menu here; starting with the comfort of smoked fish and potatoes combining in a rich yet light Cullen skink, I prefer to use all milk and no cream to keep it fresh and not too filling."

scot mountains

"Wild mushrooms, even if shop bought and dried, add great flavour to beef stew while cheaper cuts and longer cooking yield the most flavour. For dessert it has to be apples and brambles and for me crumble means custard, nothing else will do.

Homemade oatcakes and Scottish cheese to finish should see your guests well sated wi’ guid Scots fare."

Take a look at my beef stew recipe below to get your warming, winter meal started!

Winter warming menu


Cullen skink


Beef stew with mushrooms served with clapshot and braised kale

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  1. 15g dried porcini mushrooms or 30g wild mushrooms
  2. 250ml boiling water
  3. 1.5kg braising steak (diced)
  4. 12 shallots (halved)
  5. 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  6. 250g mini portobello mushrooms (quartered)
  7. 1 glass red wine
  8. 2 sprigs thyme (large ones)


1. Rehydrate porcini mushrooms in the boiling water for 30 minutes. Retaining the liquor from the drained mushrooms. If using wild mushrooms ignore this step.

2. In a heavy bottomed pot, brown the beef in a glug of oil. Add in the shallots and garlic and stir through for a minute.

3. Add all the mushrooms, stir again and then pour in the porcini liquor (or 250ml water if using wild mushrooms) and wine. Place the largish branches of thyme in the liquor, bring to the boil then cover and reduce to a simmer.

4. Simmer for two and a half hours until the beef is meltingly tender. Check for seasoning and serve.

Image credit: Beef stew with mushrooms by Sumayya Jamil of pukkapaki.com

beef stew


Apple and bramble crumble with custard


Dunlop, Caboc and Lanark Blue cheese with homemade oatcakes and a wee dram!

food set

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About the author

Graeme is fuelled by an intense passion for the rich and eclectic food landscape of Scotland. His recipes encompass all the local seasonal produce with a lot of heritage, cosmopolitan and contemporary influences on Scottish cuisine and they can be found at scotslarder.co.uk