Scottish Breakfast for Dinner

One small yet perfectly-formed childhood joy in almost everyone’s memory is breakfast for dinner. The squirming anticipation, the incredulous questioning: “We’re having pancakes for dinner?!?” So, I thought, what better way to kick-off the new blog’s recipe section than with breakfast for dinner. I want to keep to my older cookbooks, and I found a few promising numbers in A Taste of Scotland by Theodora FitzGibbon (1971). The book contains 60 or so recipes along with pictures of the good people of Scotland from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

To be fair, the two recipes that I chose are not really traditional Scottish breakfast fair. I guess a case could be made that the soup recipe is a bit like gruel and that the Scottish did eat the eggs for breakfast. (But they are more often eaten cold with a salad at a picnic rather than hot for breakfast). Anyway, it was a theme I was loosely working.

My biggest complaint (other than the weirdo, dead Scottish people staring at me as I tried to concoct these delicacies) is that Ms. FitzGibbon lacked a bit of recipe writin’ know-how. Not only did she cavalierly list the ingredients (with no thought to the order in which one would need them), but she omitted ingredients. Or, perhaps, she assumed that when she said seasonings the home cook would automatically know to what herbs, spices, or salts she was referring. I dictate the recipes as I found them. My only change was to get rid of her rather haphazard system of abbreviating.

Oatmeal Soup

Serves 4-6

  • 2 T medium oatmeal (I used McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal, so this recipe could be called Oppressed by England Oatmeal Soup)
  • 1 C milk
  • ½ C cream
  • 1 T chopped parsley for garnish
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 C chicken stock
  • 1 T butter or margarine

Melt the fat in a saucepan. (See what I mean? She should really have put the butter or margarine first). Chop the peeled onion finely and cook until soft but not brown. I found that you really need a touch more fat so I added a bit of olive oil here. Then, add the oatmeal and seasonings. Say what, Theodora? I just randomly guessed what would taste good here, and added some fresh thyme and a dash of dried tarragon. Cook for a few more minutes. Add the stock, slowly, stirring all the time, bring to the boil, and simmer, covered, for ½ hour. (Run-on sentence much?)

Then either put through a sieve, or liquidize for 1 minute. Because I like when people use the word liquidize (and I also wanted a thicker soup), I threw this whole mess in my food processor. Liquidization commenced! Return to pan, reheat with the milk, and serve with cream and chopped parsley as garnish. Instead of milk and cream, I used up the rest of my half-and-half with a bit of milk and then didn’t use cream to finish it.

Results

Tasty. Thick and hearty with a surprising amount of flavor for something that is essentially onions and milk. But, Ms. FitzGibbons is smoking the whacky weed if she thinks that this recipe will serve four to six people. Paul and I each had a bowl—about the size of a cereal bowl. And, then the pot was empty.

Scotch Eggs

Serves 4

  • 10 eggs (8 hard-boiled)
  • 1½ lb pork sausage-meat (her hyphen, not mine)
  • A pinch of mace (which I didn’t have so I used nutmeg)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 C breadcrumbs
  • Deep oil for frying (I have no idea what deep oil is, so I used canola.)

Boil 8 eggs for 10 minutes in boiling water (redundant much?), then drain, and let them run under the cold tap, and when cool, shell them. (Give this link a click for an easy, fool proof method to egg boiling.)

Beat up (violent much?) one of the remaining eggs and add 1 T cold water. Season the sausage-meat and add the mace (There she is again with this whole season thing. I know she means salt and pepper, but because I used mild Italian sausage I did not add anything but the nutmeg), then dip the hard-boiled eggs into the beaten egg, and cover each one entirely with the sausage-meat, pressing it on with the hands. Beat up the remaining egg and gently roll them in this, then dip them in the breadcrumbs.

OK, let’s pause here for a few suggestions. First: Set up all of the boiled eggs, whisked eggs, meat, and breadcrumbs assembly line fashion BEFORE you start packing sausage on to eggs. Second: Make sure your sausage is in an even layer around your egg. This will help immensely later on. Finally: Roll the meaty fun in the breadcrumbs. If you go the dipping method, you will need about 10 times the amount of breadcrumbs. And, now back to Ms. FitzGibbon’s recipe…

Have the oil good and hot and fry them singly until the outside is golden brown. Lift up with the basket (Hey, where did she get a basket? I just used a slotted spatula.), and drain well before serving either hot with mustard, or cold with chopped raw apple and celery salad dressed with 3 T olive oil to 1 of wine vinegar.

Results

Well, first of all, hard-boiled eggs are slippery little devils and they don’t get any less slippery when they’ve been rolled around in their whipped brethren. You’re going to really need to smoosh the meat on these suckers. After that, it’s all rolling and all good.

Frying them to golden brown is probably not going to cut it for cooking the pork all the way through. Deep brown, yes. Golden brown, not a chance. We had to microwave them to get rid of the pink.

Oh, did you notice that Ms. FitzGibbons can’t portion out food? By her serving size, each person gets two eggs. Not even Paul (lover of all things sausage) was able to complete his second one.

So, how did these little sacks of egg taste? As Paul deftly put it, “Tastes like a sausage with an egg in it.” Yup, that about sums it up. Now, since we had so many left over, we did eat them the next day. I will say, vastly improved in flavor and tastiness.

Will I be bringing Scottish Eggs to your next potluck picnic? No, thankfully, I will not. But, I do think that a sausage in a bun with a bit of egg salad on top might actually work. The oatmeal soup is a definite keeper—especially for lunch with a ham sandwich.

And, yes, I am aware that our Scottish breakfast for dinner did not contain a single vegetable. But, when you were a kid having pancakes at 7:00 p.m., did you also get a side of broccoli? I think not.

Scotch Eggs and Oatmeal Soup

Golden brown, yet a bit uncooked.

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