The Owl and the Pussycat went to Sea….

… a beautiful pea green boat.
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.

Well, they’d have had a rare old time if they happened upon a floating gin palace with a cash bar but they probably wouldn’t have eaten very well once the honey was gone. Thankfully the clever pussycat also had with him a Sea Pie. Despite the name Sea Pie has very little to do with fish. It’s a great, warming and filling dish designed to keep fishermen going when they’re out at sea. Mr Stovies’ granny was a fine North Eastern fishwife and our version is an ode to her epic meaty dish.

This recipe will serve 6-8 people and is great for a relaxed late Sunday lunch. We would say on a winter’s day but really with a traditional Scottish summer any day will do!

For the meat stew:
750g Oxtail
500g Boiling beef (just ask the butcher, it’s a funny cut)
2 Onions, cut into large slices
3 Large carrots, in 1 inch chunks
1/4 Medium turnip, in 1 inch chunks
1tbsp Flour, heaped
750ml Water
1 or 2 Bay leaves
A good pinch of white pepper

Put all of the ingredients except the flour into a large, oven proof, lidded pan. Bring up to simmering point on the stove then turn the heat down low, cover with the lid and cook for a long time. A 4 hours plus long time, all day if you can. Stir occasionally. When the meat is falling away from the bones, fish the chunks out, pull the meat away from the bone with a fork and return to the pan. Discard the bones and the bay leaves. Mix a little cooking juice with the flour to make a lazy roux, thin it down with some more cooking liquor and stir through to thicken the stew.

For the dumplings:
200g Self raising flour
75g Suet
1tsp Dried thyme
Salt & pepper
Water to mix

Mix the dry ingredients together, add enough water to make a sticky dough then form into dumplings either by getting your hands dirty and rolling golf ball sized balls between your palms or get a little cheffy and use two spoons to make quenelles. Make sure you have one dumpling per person, although a couple of extras are a good idea too!

Asses the stew, the dumplings will suck up lots of water so you may need to add some more to compensate. Ideally there will be about 1/2 a cm of stew juice above the body of the meat. Place the dumplings evenly on top of the stew, cover with the lid and cook on a medium to low heat for half an hour.

Serve with crusty bread, a good red wine* and good chat.

*or a craft brewed ale, Harviestoun make some beautiful beers…..



Team Stovies took a toddle along to Stockbridge Market today and were delighted to find ‘The Marshmallow Lady’ hosting a stall.

We took the opportunity to taste some of her wares and my oh my were they good. Our top two bite sized tasters were passion fruit and lemon meringue, both light, pillowy and very very fruity.

We scarpered home with a bag of Oreo Cookie mallows for the princely sum of £2.50. The proof is in the pudding however as the cookie encrusted clouds lasted less than five minutes and were a world away from a packet of flumps.

We’re looking forward to trying out more flavours soon, especially when The Marshmallow Lady’s cafe opens on Rodney Street at the end of June. Until then we’ll have to hope to bump into her again at the market soon.


Aubergine or Eggplant?

Either way it tastes goooooood. This parmigiana isn’t the same rot as usually found in Italian restaurants as a bland starter. Instead, it’s Stovies take on the classic north Italian dish which amps up the flavour with eggs and a piquant tomato sauce.


Stovies tomato sauce (see below)
1 aubergine
3 tomatoes
1 tbs flour (seasoned with salt, pepper & cayenne)
3 hard boiled eggs
A large handful fresh basil leaves
1 ball buffalo mozzarella
Large handful grated Parmesan
Olive oil

Slice the aubergine just under 1cm thick and toss in the seasoned flour. Heat some oil in a pan and fry off the the slices in small batches until coloured and slightly crisp. This won’t take long and you might need to wipe out the pan after a few batches to stop the excess flour catching.

Cut the eggs & tomatoes into wedges and tear up the mozzarella. Spread a spoonful of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a medium baking dish. This will stop the cooked parmigiana sticking and make it easier to serve. Using half of each ingredient make a layer of aubergine, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves. Cover with half of the remaining tomato sauce and then repeat the process once more. Finish the top with grated parmesan & a good drizzle of oil.

Bake in a hot oven (gas 6) for 20 minutes and serve with salad and fresh bread. We think it’s a brilliantly light yet filling alternative to lasagne. We hope you agree.

Tomato sauce:

1 can of good quality chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs balsamic
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 crushed garlic cloves
Salt & Pepper

Chuck everything in pan and slowly simmer for an hour or so. Bosh.

(We could have had a whole post for that but 12 words didn’t quite seem enough)

A little Lady Marmalade

So you think making jams and sweet treats for your brekkie is difficult yeah? Wrong! It’s surprisingly easy and you can make a tiny, one to two jar batch in a flash. Mrs Stovies has always been a lover of lemon marmalade and finally settled upon this as her favourite recipe. It’s tarte but not sour, sweet but not sickly. Slather it liberally on toast or even better, a crumbly croissant.


You will need:

3 good sized, unwaxed lemons
1-1 1/2 pints of water
1-1 1/2 lbs granulated sugar

First up give the lemons a good wash. We’re going to take the easy route to get a fine shred marmalade now so arm yourself with a potato peeler and peel the fruit with it. Long strips are the easiest to work with in the next step but it’s not crucial. Once all three lemons are peeled, slice the peel as finely as you can then pop it into a heavy based pot. Squeeze the juice from the lemon centres into the pan too. Roughly cut the lemon innards, wrap in mulin and tie into a loose pouch with string. Add this to the pot too and cover with water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat slighly and continue simmer for an hour.

Remove the pouch of lemon bits. Measure the lemon liquid and peel in a jug and return to the pan. Add 1lb of sugar for each pint of liquid/peel. Once it has cooled a little squeeze the muslin pouch to release the golden goo that will help the marmalade set. Bring the marmalade to the boil again and keep it going for 20 minutes or until setting point is reached. You’ll have about half the volume of liquid & sugar that you began this stage with.

To test for setting chill a small plate in the fridge. Pour a spoonful of the hot liquor on to the plate and pop back in the fridge for 5 minutes. If the jelly goes crinkly when you poke the edge with your finger it’s ready. If not keep cooking and checking every five minutes until it is.

When ready pour into sterilised jars – the easiest way to sterilise them is on a tray, along with the lids at gas 3 / 160′C for 20 minutes. When the marmalade is nearly cool screw on the lids.

Lightning fast!

If you have a hankering for a zingy and fresh sauce to top off your pasta with you got it. This sauce takes the same time to prepare AND cook as the pasta does to boil. Eat your heart out Jamie Oliver – this is the Ten Minute Tea.

The recipe will make enough red pepper pasta sauce for four.



1 Red pepper, core & pith removed
4 Fresh flavoursome tomatoes (watery ones just won’t do it justice)
1 Red chilli (medium hot), deseeded if you prefer a mild sauce, leave them in for piquant
3 Garlic cloves
Olive oil
Dried Pasta

Fill a large pan with boiling water and add the pasta with a little oil and a sprinkle of salt.

Take all of the ingredients bar the oil and blitz to a pulp. Pour into a saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Don’t allow the sauce to boil, we’re aiming for a hot fresh sauce rather than cooking it down.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Pour in the sauce, mix through then serve with a drizzle of oil, a sprinkling of parmesan and a dusting of pepper.

Stovies’ Mouthwatering Mango Cod

This may be an odd creation but it is a brilliant one. When the weather was awesome a few weeks ago it seemed like the perfect middle class concoction to celebrate the sunshine. Cook at home or over a BBQ in the park.ImageMango Cod
Serves 4

2 Smoked cod fillets
1 tsp Dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp Mango chutney
200g Pancetta slices (or thinly cut streaky bacon)

Cut the fillets in half length ways. Now, we shouldn’t ever have to say this but if you are using smoked fish that is the colour of fake tan then just stop cooking right now and have a word with yourself. Anyway, lay the slices of pancetta out in four sections, each big enough to wrap the halved fillets.

Place (plaice?) the fish on top of the pancetta, spread evenly with mango and sprinkle with chilli. Wrap the pancetta gently, yet tightly around the fish.

If you are barbecuing these they will only take about ten minutes, just turn them every so often to ensure even cooking and that they aren’t sticking, even better, cook on top of a sheet of tinfoil.

If cooking at home lightly oil a baking sheet and lay out the wrapped fish. Bake in a preheated oven at gas 6 for around 15 minutes.

Serve with a nice crisp, fresh salad. Or in a flatbread. Or sliced cheffily and on a plate with some lentils. Or with roasted toms and braised lettuce. We could go on but you get the idea.

Use your loaf!

Meatloaf hasn’t enjoyed a particularly good rep in Stovies’ house, purely because in movies the prospect of meatloaf us usually met with a groan and eaten under duress. Perhaps it’s just the name that makes it seem unappealing, Mr Stovies solution to this would be to rename it meatcake. Mrs Stovies just wants to cook it more often! This recipe will feed eight fairly ravenous folk for a celebration feast.

Stovies’ Mighty Meatloaf:

500g Minced beef
500g Minced pork
200g Breadcrumbs
12 Slices Parma ham
1 large Red onion
1 tsp Garlic powder
2 Eggs
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Brown sauce
2 tbsp Tomato ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Small handful fresh mint
2 Sprigs fresh rosemary
A handful fresh parsley

Very finely chop the onion, it needs to be really small so even better, grate it (and suffer onion flavour hands for ever!) or pop it in a magimix type contraption. Transfer to a large mixing bowl with the minced pork and beef.

Make the breadcrumbs and sling them in too. Top tip here: use breadsticks instead of stale bread and simply chop up in a blender. They come out a lot like panko crumbs.

Next put the garlic powder, eggs and condiments into the blender with the herbs. You will need to remove the leaves from the stalks although not each and every one, just enough to get rid of the woody or stringy stalks. Whizz until finely chopped then add to the meat. Thoroughly mix the while lot together with your hands. Yes, it’s messy and feels squelchy but it’s worth it. Alternatively use a food mixer with a dough hook or a bread machine with the heat turned off. Please don’t use a mixer with knife blades, you’ll end up with sludge!

Roll out a piece of clingfilm about 80cm long onto the work surface then place another next to it, overlapping enough to make a square. Repeat, this time at 90 degrees to the first layer. Make one last layer then lay the Parma ham on top, in the middle, towards the front. To make the ham wrapping paper the right size lay out eight slices vertically, overlapping slightly. Use the remaining four slices horizontally above the other strips to make a large rectangle. Dollop the meaty mix in a line across the ham, leaving an inch or so of space at either side. It’ll be 2-3 inches tall when its all on. Using the clingfilm as an aide, wrap the ham around the meat then tightly roll the whole lot up, twisting the ends to make a neat sausage shape.

Cocoon the meatloaf in another couple of layers of clingfilm the place in a roasting tin half filled with water. Bake in a medium oven, gas 4, for 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours. To test if it is ready, pierce the centre of the loaf with a knife. It the juices run clear, Bob’s your uncle. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes before unwrapping and carving.

Dish up with mash or roasties, plenty of seasonal veg and a simple red wine gravy.