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The search for Scotland’s best-kept secret ingredient: Grampian

Continuing my tour of Scottish regions, this week I’ve arrived in Grampian. It’s a region packed with amazing ingredients, famous the world over.

We all know the Aberdeen Angus cattle breed, and I’m sure most of us have enjoyed its rich flavour in the form of a steak. But what other ingredients from Grampian do you enjoy?

One of my favourite foods from Aberdeen is the Rowie, or the buttery as it’s more commonly known. Despite the fact they’re quite salty, this savoury bread roll is usually eaten toasted with jam or butter. I guess the fishermen who were eating them in the 19th century were a hardy bunch who needed proper sustenance - a kind of Victorian fast food. I do enjoy a good buttery, even when I’m not spending the day at sea!

Further up the coast, you’ll find Peterhead, the largest white fish port in Europe, where things like haddock, cod, lemon sole, plaice and mackerel are landed and sold to the whole of the UK.

We Scots love to smoke our haddock with Finnan Haddie being one of the oldest examples of a cold-smoked fish.

Along with potatoes and onions they form the basis of Cullen Skink, a traditional soup from the seaside town of Cullen on the Moray coast. A few years back I created my own version, inviting diners to pour broth over the rich, creamy fish themselves at the table. That’s the great thing about Scottish ingredients, because the quality is second-to-none, rustic dishes can easily be transformed into elegant restaurant dishes.

And finally, I better not forget to mention the mouth-watering shortbread from Dean's of Huntly, or the lip-smackingly good ice-cream from Mackie’s. I’ve not eaten them together yet, but maybe now is the time to try?!

I’m always excited by the ingredients of Scotland, they’re the best in the world. And there are endless possible ways to use them. So, let me know which Scottish ingredient you couldn’t live without and what you cook with it. It could be a herb, a condiment, meat, fish, or even alcohol. As long as it’s from Scotland, it counts.

Email your entry to before Friday 8th August 2014 to be in with a chance of being selected to join me in a cook-off at Eat Drink Discover Scotland.

Visit for terms and conditions.

Next week my travels take me to Perthshire. See you there!

Eat Drink Discover Scotland, which is taking place at the Royal Highland Centre between 12th and 14th September, will bring to life the rich diversity of Scotland’s brimming larder by featuring exhibitors from the length and breath of the country. One for the foodies, it will be offering something for every palate, plate and price range and with a regional focus, it will be providing opportunities for smaller rural food producers to share centre stage with more established brands. The weekend will also include demonstrations and masterclasses such as chocolate workshops, cocktail making, game butchery and craft bakery.

Follow the search on Twitter @EatDrinkSco


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