Si and Dave explore Aberdeenshire where they cook a traditional county favourite in Aberdeen. They mill oats and pick up some prime cuts of Aberdeen Angus.
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We're on the road to find regional recipes to rev up your appetite.
We're going from county to county to discover, cook and enjoy it the best of British.
Today, We're in search of the real taste of Aberdeenshire.
Dude, here we are, Aberdeenshire.
One of the most northerly counties we visit.
IN ABERDONIAN ACCENT: Fit like noo?!
It's so remote, it's practically got its own language. I lived here for 15 year.
"Fit like noo?" means, "How you doing, young man?"
Right. Aberdeenshire is famous for the Aberdeen Angus cow.
Great meat. It's also famous for the Highland cow, you know the one you get on the toffee bars?
Could it be a piece or a fancy piece? That means, could it be a sandwich or a cake?
-Do you know, I'm so happy to be here in me Highland home.
-We've got to get on, then.
-O'er yonder brae.
On our quest to define the true flavours of Aberdeenshire,
we make a naughty treat that's not very healthy but is too good to resist.
-We need some world famous beef, Aberdeen Angus, and we're allowed a little nibble.
-Get in there!
I get to set the wheels in motion when you visit an oat mill
that's proud to celebrate its traditional methods.
Representing Aberdeenshire in the cook-off later is David Littlewood.
Will we be able to beat him in a blind tasting judged by local diners?
Were in Stonehaven. It's raining.
We're 15 miles south of Aberdeen.
It's a bit of a food haven, Stonehaven, isn't it?
It is. It's been called North East Scotland's food town.
There's one thing, in particular, why we're here.
One product, dude. Let's go.
-Could we have, please, two of your house specials?
-Can I have two Mars bars, Doug?
-The Scottish legend.
Tom, how did it all start?
It started with two young laddies betting each other
to do this and do that, and this laddie, John Davy,
said to Brian McDonald, "I bet you wouldn't eat a fried Mars bar..."
So they put the order in to Evelyn Balgowan, who was the fryer at the time,
she phoned upstairs to the guy who owned it at the time, Ingram Mowat,
and said, "Can we do this?" and Ingram said, "Yes, of course you can do it, it's not a problem."
A wee coating of water, into the flour, then into the batter and into the fat.
That's how it all started in 1992.
I would swear that was a sausage.
How do you know when they're done?
It is. It's nice and soft on the inside so it has cooked.
Don't do it in a one-er, don't, it's hot.
Eat the inside out, dude.
-It does, it's like a chocolate fritter, isn't it?
-It is, it's great.
We have found an Aberdeenshire speciality, now it's time to find some more.
-Aberdeenshire food, what's great?
-You must know all about Aberdeen Angus.
-We've eaten several herds.
I can see that.
-What d'you mean?
-What is the beef olive?
Aberdeen Angus steak, wrapped around either sausage meat or haggis.
How about skirlie? It's a bit like oatmeal and onions all mixed together
and you can use it as a stuffing or beside your mince and tatties.
Aberdeen Angus from McHardy's over there.
Some of the finest steak you'll ever get your hands on. Absolutely grand.
There's something for you all to enjoy. I heard you were in town so...
We've got beef olives with haggis, beef olives with oatmeal...
The quality of beef in Aberdeen and the Aberdeen area is second to none.
I'm going to try one of the beef olives. Is this the one with the haggis?
Look at that. There's oatmeal, haggis, nice Aberdeen Angus...
-That's sublime, isn't it?
-Are you enjoying it? I'm glad.
I love that mixture of the beef, the haggis, the oatmeal.
That to me is really Aberdonian. So is this like skirlie?
-It's a tradition up here.
-It's quite different.
-We are very proud of our oatmeal up here.
All that oatmeal is going to draw in and take all the lovely flavours.
What's your recipe for skirlie?
-It's handed down. It's a trade secret.
-It's good, man.
That beef's really tender as well.
Skirlie, we know that it's got some suet in it, so it tastes really, really juicy.
Each little bit of oatmeal is full of flavour from the beef and from the gravy.
-I'm happy in a place of wonderful belly loveliness.
We have stovies.
-We love our stovies.
-What's a stovie?
It's the leftovers from the Sunday roast.
Potatoes, the onions, small bits of meat, the gravy.
Then you add a little bit of water and just let it cook.
-Have them with oatcakes...
-..and a glass of milk.
There's tablet, obviously, a baking thing, but a local delicacy, a sweet, a fantastic thing to have.
You've got Giulianotti's, the shop, the old style sweet shop just there.
-Have you tried Scottish tablet?
-No. I'm up for that.
This is a butter tablet that we sell.
-Would you like a big bit?
-No, just a little... Give me a big bit but Dave a little bit.
I'm more of a savoury soul.
-Do you like that?
It's quite different, isn't it?
-It's quite soft.
-I'm anxious to try the Scottish macaroon.
This is another delicacy from Scotland.
Macaroon is basically a fondant, like a vanilla fondant.
-Who wants the big bit?
-I'll give you another bit, if you like.
The outside of it is coated with chocolate and toasted coconut.
There's coconut and fondant. It melts away.
I've got the worst sweet tooth.
What else have we got? Butteries.
Yes, you have to try a buttery.
-Full of salt and fat and really bad for you but it's absolutely delicious.
They look like a flattened bun, really.
Very nice, but probably not too good for you.
Every now and again doesn't hurt, does it?
Now these really are unique to Aberdeenshire, aren't they?
Yes they are. They're a local delicacy.
Delicacy is the word.
I love them.
A little bit like a croissant but much more substance. It's like a rich croissant.
It's very much like the croissant,
but the French are quite particular about rolling them and shaping them
and we just push them out flat on a tray.
Do you know what the history is?
I believe the history was they were made to go out on ships,
hence the high salt content - so they lasted longer.
If we were to make our own butteries, do you have any tips?
Just get your hands in and make a mess. The more mess you make, the better it is.
You know, I think we need to introduce the nation to butteries.
Aberdeenshire has kept the secret to itself for far too long.
-That's it now, isn't it?
-We're going to export them around the UK.
-No problem at all.
The people have spoken.
Aberdeenshire has loads of great local foods,
but butteries sound like they're truly unique to the county and a well-kept culinary secret.
We have to try making them for the residents of Aberdeen,
and then we can show them off to the rest of the UK.
Butteries are layers of pastry, butter and lard baked till they are golden brown.
Naughty but nice.
So, we are going to attempt the martial art of buttery making.
So you start off with plain flour.
Half a kilo.
You add one sachet of dried yeast.
I've got some brown sugar, sprinkle that in, and I have got clean hands.
About a tablespoon of brown sugar.
And three teaspoons of salt. The buttery has to be salty.
The next step, we want 350ml of tepid water.
It needs to be warm enough to activate the yeast, but not too hot or you'll kill it.
-It does need kneading, this dough...
-It does, it needs kneading for about 10 minutes and you'll be fine.
You need to knock the lights out of this for about 10 minutes.
You could put windows in with this.
That is how it's meant to be.
Give it more. Is it working now?
What you need to do is to get a bowl,
oil the bowl, because you don't want the dough to stick to the bowl.
I'll take over.
You put that dough into an oiled bowl, cover it with some cling film,
bit of oil...
and then just place it over the bowl.
That needs to go in a draft-free place for about an hour until it's doubled in size.
However, this is telly land, so here's one we did earlier.
There's one that has doubled in size. Has got to be kneaded for about another four minutes.
Go on, mate!
You're very good.
It's lovely! But the heart of the buttery is lard and butter.
Creaming the butter and the lard together, it's hard work but it's worth it.
At this point we have a bowl of dough.
We have a brain!
We have a bowl of lard....!
Now, flour your board, you need a lot of flour.
That on there. It's a bit like making puff pastry.
-Take a quarter of the butter and lard and spread it over two thirds of the pastry.
-Look at that, man!
You fold the virgin side over, roll that one up to there,
then we roll out again and you've got to do this four times.
As you can see, there's a lot of lard in here.
Take some more lard and butter, spread it out to create another layer!
When I lived in Huntley, one of the nicest treats was you'd go out to the pubs,
and you know in Scotland, you've always been flexible with your opening and closing times.
And the bakers would start making the butteries about four o'clock and the smell would come down the street
so you'd be going down the street, that euphoric glow, buy a bag of six butteries straight from the oven,
just sit there in the street and just sup up your evening. It was a perfect end.
The final rolling out.
-Can you get a couple of baking trays, lightly oiled?
It's hard work down the buttery mines.
Right, with the buttery, you take your pastry, turn it over,
turn the corners in and this gives it a distinctive buttery shape.
And just bosh it down.
And that means it's gonna come out all lumpy on the top.
-They are, aren't they?
All we need to do with these, cover them over lightly,
leave them for about another three-quarters of an hour.
We haven't got time, have we? Cos we're on the telly.
-So here's some we made earlier.
-Are you ready?
-As you see, they've puffed up a treat.
380, 200 degrees centigrade, about 15 minutes.
-Do you know what?
-I think they're ready.
The big hand on the big clock says they're ready.
Right-o! The clock says they're ready, then they're ready.
-You've got them face down.
-Turn them over.
-Turn 'em over?!
-That's a buttery.
-So that's the right side?
That's it! Thank you very much! That's our butteries.
Butteries might not be too good for the arteries,
but ours proved a treat for the palates of local people.
Time to hear what they think. Here you are, love. Hairy bikers butteries.
Set up a stall. You'll sell them, no bother.
-They are amazing.
-Not recommended eating for somebody who's just had a triple heart bypass!
Set you up for a quadruple!
-Best buttery I've had all day.
How many have you had?
-Are they as good as the ones you get from the baker's or are they better?
-That's an Aberdonian one, "They're fine".
-Probably the nicest one I've had.
-There you are!
-I think that was fairly successful.
-So do I.
-We've officially made the Aberdeenshire buttery.
-We've recreated a legend. Triumphed.
-Yes, we have.
Our super-buttery butteries went down brilliantly with the locals.
But next, a bigger challenge is just around the corner.
We're taking on one of the county's top chefs, using local ingredients
to see who can best define the taste of the region.
It will be up to local diners to decide whose dish best represents the true flavours of Aberdeenshire.
Our opponent today is
David Littlewood, executive chef of the Milton in Banchory.
At just 26, David's already been a finalist in the Scottish Chef Of The Year.
The Milton has also won awards for its dedication to the local produce of Aberdeenshire.
I never really wanted to be a chef. I kinda fell into it, really.
I was at university studying law and took a job in a small restaurant
and became inspired by seeing the chefs producing fantastic things and flavours from raw ingredients.
I decided that that's what I wanted to be.
I think we're very lucky in Aberdeenshire, in that we've got
just about every possible source of produce that you can imagine,
from the wild venison in the hills to the game birds to the salmon in the rivers, the Aberdeen Angus beef.
As for the food, using quality ingredients, you don't need to do much to them.
The food's very simple, but it's fresh, local and tasty.
I think it's important to keep your team inspired and in order to do that,
we have to keep changing ourselves and evolve and better ourselves.
The most important thing is the customers, just to keep them coming back.
It's very easy for some chefs to cook for their egos and to lose sight of who's important.
At the end of the day, that's the customer, the person that's eating the food.
To take on the bikers, my taste of Aberdeenshire is
loin and slow-braised shin of Aberdeenshire venison
with pancetta and potato dumplings.
This is it, the Milton.
-Great to see you. Cracking weather, eh?
-We brought it with us!
Magic. Let's get the kettle on.
The magic words!
Dude! Headline your dish!
I'm going to do a loin and a braised shin of roe deer from Aberdeenshire
with a bit of pancetta and some potato dumplings, a little pearl barley.
First of all I'm going to do the braised shin. We need to get that on. It'll take about two hours.
-I'll grab some oil, shift you out of the way.
In the hot pan, I'll just start this sealing off.
Now that I've got that burning away, I'm gonna get another pan on with a bit of oil.
Cold-pressed rapeseed oil. It's not like an olive oil, it doesn't burn.
-It's got a much higher flashpoint, it doesn't go bitter.
-It's nutty, isn't it?
While the oil is heating up, I'll get a little bit of root vegetables.
A bit of celery, carrot, some shallots, and I'm going to roughly chop these up.
Roast this off on a high heat.
This is going to flavour the stock that I'm going to cook the shin in.
I'll take this bulb of garlic, straight through the middle and straight in the pan.
A couple of sprigs of thyme, I'll rub that.
Chuck in my star anise.
A couple of these juniper berries.
Just give 'em a wee squeeze in my fingers, like that.
A few peppercorns and a couple of bay leaves.
I wish you could smell that at home.
-I'm going to put just a little bit of tomato paste in there as well.
Whack this bad boy straight into here.
Deglaze that pan with a little bit of red wine.
And then I'm going to pour it straight into there.
To that I'm going to add some nice home-made venison stock.
Just enough to cover the meat.
-You see the steam?
-It's just about to come to the boil.
The last thing I want to do is for this to boil. Because the meat will toughen.
I'm going to tinfoil it up, into the oven, 200-odd degrees in a conventional oven.
Next job, parsnip puree. I'm going to roughly chop these bad boys.
The last one, I'm going to take
a standard peeler and take a few shavings off of this and I'll show you what I'll do with that later.
We'll cook these in some milk.
When you cook it in milk, you get a much smoother texture at the end.
I'll get a pan on here and we'll make some choux pastry to make our dumplings.
Water in the pan and some butter.
In the meantime, I've had potatoes boiling away.
-They're nice and tender.
-These are for our potato dumplings.
Stick them in there. With these, I'm going to whack them in a mixer
and let that mash the potatoes down.
-Dave, could you get me a mixing bowl from over there, please?
We'll get this choux pastry on the go.
I've taken the flour, which I've already sifted,
and this is my water with the butter,
which I've only just brought to the boil, and I'm going to stir in this...
-Is that big enough?
I'll stir this into here.
We're gonna put it back onto the stove and just allow it to dry out.
-Is this dough for your dumplings?
What I'm going to do is fold the choux pastry through the mashed potato
and that's going to help it to hold and it'll give it a nice, light dumpling.
What we're gonna do is move the potatoes into this bowl.
We'll take some eggs, four eggs for this recipe.
Into the mixing bowl.
This is basically a lazy way of folding this dough through the eggs.
You can do it in the pan but I've got other things to do.
We'll put this into the mixer.
-You can see how that's...
-Lovely choux pastry.
our mashed potatoes, our wild garlic. Just add that into there.
That's going into the potato?
Straight into the potato.
I'm going to season that up again with some salt.
Have you got Italian ancestors?
-Look at the size of that!
-I'm going to take some of the pastry now,
about two thirds potato to one third choux pastry.
I'm going to fold that in together.
I'm going to add a little bit of nutmeg.
There you are, chef.
Just a pinch, we don't want it to be too strong.
I've got some vegetable oil here, so I'll take some little balls,
-dip the spoon in the vegetable oil.
And using my hand,
I'm just gonna run...
the potato across the palm of my hand like that, and that's gonna give me a perfect quenelle.
Scottish flat kale. If you could do me a favour and just strip some of this off and take that...
Meanwhile, I'm just gonna chop up a clove or two of garlic.
So we're just gonna put some of the smoked pancetta into the hot pan.
Neeps and carrots into there.
A little bit of shallot,
-and that garlic.
-Are you done with this, chef?
Yeah, finished with those. What I'm doing with this is just roughly chopping it.
I'm just gonna add this to the pan now as well.
-That's that cooking down now. Gonna put these parsnips into the thermal mix.
Note the thermal mix, ladies and gentlemen.
It blends, it mixes, it also heats at the same time.
-It's perfect for making, say, hollandaise sauce, would I be right?
Just adding a little bit of butter to this parsnip now as well. Seasoning.
We can add our cream to our kale, now.
-There's one thing that we haven't touched upon yet, the other bit of venison.
-That's the loin piece, there.
-I was just curious.
-You can turn that off now, it should be ready.
Right, little bit of salt and pepper, nice hot pan and then the meat in straightaway.
Getting a nice colour on there, you see? Turn that over.
What I'm gonna do is pull that aside and I'm gonna take a couple of knobs of butter
and just add it into this pan. So what I'm doing is I've put the butter into the pan,
I've allowed it to melt down and then we're just basting the meat with the butter.
-Oh, this is fantastic.
-So we're just going to move this into the oven now.
-So what's missing?
Right, next one. I've got some pearl barley here which I've soaked in cold water overnight.
What we're gonna use for the sauce is the cooking liquor from the shin that we've made, so I'm just gonna...
Hold that for you?
Yeah, thanks. Just gonna pour that through that sieve, there.
I'm gonna bring it to the boil and let it reduce by just a very small amount.
-We're gonna warm a little bit of this barley through it as well.
-Let's check the venison.
And just let it rest.
-I tell you what you can do...
You can go and fry me these nice parsnip crisps that I did earlier.
On its way, chef.
-Here you are, Si.
-Bit of blue roll.
Then I think we're just about ready to go.
Spoonful of our parsnip puree onto each plate...
Then I'm gonna take a little bit of our kale and just put a little bit on the plate.
A piece of our braised shin,
and sit it on the top, there, on each one.
One of our dumplings,
And then we're gonna carve the venison.
Oh, that is perfect.
A couple of our parsnip crisps to garnish each one up,
and then our barley gravy.
-So, there you go.
-Name that dish, dude.
So we've got loin and slow braised shin of venison
with a potato dumpling and pearl barley.
We've got some parsnip puree and some creamed black kale as well.
Oh, congratulations. Absolutely superb.
It's cooked perfectly well, isn't it? The shin's perfect.
Dumpling, Dave, dumpling...
This is something I wanna cook at home.
-Oh, what a mega plate of food that is.
-This is such a generous plate of food.
Whatever we do, we've got to find robust flavours...
Again, though, reflecting the countryside and the environment that we are in.
Brilliant food. It's all very well what we think,
but the real judges are the locals who will decide whose dish is best in a blind tasting coming up.
David's deer was mouth-watering and a great example of the produce that's on offer in Aberdeenshire.
We're gonna need something just as special to compete.
Everyone we speak to in the county can't help but be proud of Aberdeen Angus beef.
Well, it is world famous.
So we have to check out this delicious breed for ourselves.
The Store has been run by the Booth family for generations.
They supply Aberdeen Angus to the best restaurants in the county. We're meeting farmer Andrew Booth.
I'm quite excited, cos Aberdeen Angus is like...
of all they single breeds, it's the most well-known kind of brand in the world, isn't it?
There's no doubt about that. It is world renowned.
We're from Aberdeen, so why do anything else but Aberdeen Angus? There is nothing else.
How long have you been farming Aberdeen Angus?
We've been concentrating on Aberdeen Angus for the last 10 years,
and before that we were pretty much commercial production for the supermarkets.
We're finding as we go around the country, people's attitude to food is changing.
People are becoming much more clued-up to what they're eating.
When we started 10 years ago, to try and sell dark, red, matured,
21 day-plus matured beef, we were like, "Woah! That's not what we see every day in the supermarket."
And that's completely changed. People are expecting it now.
So, the beast's slaughtered, it's butchered, then what?
We're fortunate enough to have our own hanging facility down at the shop, and butchery.
-Why don't we go and have a look?
-This is the chill.
So, this is a major part of the whole process of what we're trying to do.
We hang our beef for a minimum, on the bone, for three weeks.
What does hanging beef do to the meat?
Hanging it is slightly different from beef being matured.
You sometimes see it in the supermarkets, "Matured for 21 days."
Matured for 21 days in the supermarket sometimes just means like in a vacpack bag,
so what we're getting here is blood loss.
So by getting blood loss, we are taking weight loss.
We are losing about between 5% and 10% of weight between that one and that one, between one and four weeks.
So when you put your steak or whatever bit of beef it is into your grill,
what you see is what you get, it doesn't shrink into nothing.
The beef that you're buying, it's lost a lot of weight in blood, you've lost a lot of the trimmings,
so what you're getting is absolutely really good condition to eat and you eat it all.
Yeah. It'll just melt in your mouth. It really will.
We're gonna cut this bit of beef.
This is the four week old roasting steak here, so let's cut it in half and see what happens.
Oh, man, you can tell!
You can actually tell...
-Crikey, look at that!
This is a fresh bit of beef, four days old, bright red meat.
So we're gonna cut it on the fifth rib as well.
-So we've got four day, four week.
It's like a good red wine. You stick that in a glass and swirl it around, it'll be grabbing to the sides.
-Good legs on it.
-Good legs on it.
There's a great word an old butcher uses here, plappy.
-Look at that!
-That's not plappy.
-That's not plappy, that's firm.
What we should do now is cut these, get a couple of rib eye steaks off them and maybe even try them.
That would be really interesting.
Cos all the talk about hanging meat and not, there's very few people actually get the chance...
-To do it.
-To do it.
-So, guys, we've got the four week and the four day.
Plappy, not plappy.
It's a sizzling sensation.
How were you taught to tell what stage a steak was at?
You'd use a temperature probe or just press it.
So you've got medium rare, medium... and we don't do that.
You don't go any further!
And another top tip when you've got a steak on a barbecue, don't keep turning it and turning it.
You see blokes on barbecues, oomph, oomph, oomph.
-Every time you turn it, it's gonna, you know, get a bit tighter.
-Four days, there,
and the four week. Look at that!
It's all about resting. Will we let them rest for a bit longer?
-Two, three, four.
-Get in there!
Shall we taste the four day first?
Mmm. Good meat.
Flavours are coming through.
A wee bit of a chew to it. Right, let's try the four week old one.
Completely different, the way it's cutting.
-The texture's totally different on the four week old one.
-Absolutely totally different.
Flavour's different, the grain of the meat's different.
If everybody could get that eating experience every time they cooked a steak...
If we can keep doing this, and Aberdeen Angus can keep doing this,
producing beef like this, whether it's here or the other side of the world, it's gotta be a winner.
-That's really good.
-The beef in Aberdeenshire is too special to ignore,
and the idea of the beef olives we tasted in Stonehaven is great, so we'll make those.
And there's another local speciality that I remember from my time living here
that would be a perfect accompaniment to the olives, skirlie.
But to make skirlies, we need to find the best oats in the county.
Oats have always been a staple ingredient in the Scottish diet.
Oatmeal has been produced in Montgarrie Mill since 1888.
It's the last working mill of its kind as it produces flat kiln dried oats.
This is it, the nirvana of the oat world.
I used to come here and it's the best oatmeal you can get.
Do you know, it's a water mill as well, which is handy on a day like today.
Put your helmet on, it's raining, you loony!
Hello. This must be the engine rooms?
-It is, indeed.
-Hello, I'm Dave.
Hi, I'm Gwen.
-Nice to meet you.
-Look at that!
We use this for drying the corn before we make oatmeal.
-Any chance of having a look round?
-Yeah, surely. No problem.
-What's that, Gwen?
-That's how we get the corn upstairs to the kiln to be dried.
-Can we go upstairs and see where that goes?
What's going on in here, Gwen?
That's Richie. He's laying the kiln, to dry the oats.
That's what gives our oatmeal its...different flavour from your normal oatmeal.
So does the floor get hot, then?
-Of a lunch time it should be about 168 degrees.
Is it warm in there, Richie?
-Yeah, I'm roasting!
-The fire that we saw, like, four storeys below us - is that what's heating the floor?
That's right, yes. We keep that stoked up all day and that keeps the temperature nice and toasty.
So what's the difference between yours and the others that you find in supermarkets on the shelves?
Our oatmeal is dried down to about 4% moisture,
which is a lot more than others. Others it's usually about 10%.
Well, we've got the toasted oats.
-After this it goes downstairs and sits in a dry bed for a week,
to reabsorb a little bit of moisture, which adds to the flavour.
And then it goes off to be milled.
Can we have a look?
-Gwen, as it's a watermill, presumably you have to let the water in.
-And that's the wheel that does it.
-It is indeed.
-Can I have a go?
-On you go.
There it comes. It's a tidal wave! Look!
The only thing is, it's stuck behind another sluice.
It's all right - I've found the next sluice.
It's the pin that does the what-d'you-ma-call-it. That should help.
Ooh! Ah, look at this.
-Everything's come to life here, now.
Isn't that amazing?
How incredible is that?
It's all unleashed. What happens next, Gwen?
The milling's begun.
The first stone cracks the husk
and it goes upstairs through a series of fans.
It comes back to the second stone, which basically does the same job, in case it's missed any.
-And then down to the milling stone.
-Which is the third one.
-That's right, yes.
I've heard that you use something a bit bonkers to make the belts sticky.
-Yes, we use treacle for making the belts sticky.
Yes. Because the belts expand in the summer with the heat, because they're made out of canvas.
So we stick them on to the pulleys with treacle.
-I'd think you'd get through a lot of treacle.
-I bet you do.
So what's happening here, Gwen?
These are the sieves. These help grade the oatmeal.
We can change the sieves depending on what size we're making.
Gwen, can you help us?
We need some oatmeal to make some skirlies.
Oh yes, we could. No problem.
-You'll sort us out?
-Yes, no problem.
I think you need medium for that.
-There you go.
-So that's what we want for our skirlies, medium oatmeal.
That looks just about spot-on.
I fancy a quick bowl of porridge before we go. It's like drinking beer at the brewery tap.
-Here we are, in the engine room of the mill, all the workers' lockers.
-There's such history here.
Look, C McPherson, killed the 25th September, 1915.
Jack Boat, killed here on 14th December 1918, deeply regretted.
There's lives on these walls, such history.
-Hundreds of years of little ditties.
-Ah, it's superb.
-Well, I think the writing's on the wall for the recipe. Don't you?
-It is. Look, beef and skirlies.
Can't knock it. Oh, yes!
-Long live porridge.
Ee, Dave, you've set us a challenge. You know, that was good food.
We know we've got to have good taste in food to stand any chance whatsoever,
and we've gone with what we think is Aberdonian tradition.
-So we've got Aberdeen Angus beef olives.
Served on a bed of skirlies.
-With a fondant neep.
-Some champit potatoes.
And Scottish spring water carrots.
But will the local diners think our dish is good enough to beat David's in the blind tasting?
This is Aberdeen Angus topside, slices of.
I'm going to put it in between two pieces of clingfilm and beat it out nice and thinly,
and then we're going to repeat the process with the other three.
Put your spuds on. These are for the champit potatoes.
While Mr King is creating chaos, I'll try and assemble the stuffing.
-Some beef suet.
-There's nowt like it, is there?
-No. Good handful of chopped onions.
That'll be enough.
Some pork sausage meat.
The zest of half a lemon.
A teaspoon of lemon juice.
Freshly chopped parsley.
-Four rashers of local bacon.
One beaten egg.
Black pepper. Sea salt flakes. Some good old-fashioned dried mixed herbs.
You know, nothing fancy.
A bit of this, a bit of that. It's gonna cook so the flavour will come out.
-There's good flavours there.
Once I've beaten that really, really thinly,
we're just going to put a lovely smear of Scottish mustard.
Mr King's topside burgers.
I'm going to get the gravy pan on. The mustard goes on.
-Let me take a bowl of stuffing. I'm bad with stuffing. I always put too much in.
-Don't, Dave, don't!
I'm just sauteing my onions off.
Some stuffing about the size of a mouse.
Wrap that over like that.
Now we've got to tie these. We've got these new-fangled things.
I was going to use string
but the people who we got the beef from said they always use these for the beef olives.
We call them a trussing band.
-I'll just repeat.
-That's trussed to an inch of its life, that, dude, I tell you.
All of the onions are now soft. We're going to add some diced kidney.
What we do next is get your pan, some butter...
..a big glug of olive oil.
-Get that to heat.
-While that pan's coming up to heat, I'm going to add about a tablespoon of flour.
And then just cook that through.
The olives, we're just going to roll them now in seasoned flour.
Now, to this pan, what we're going to do is I'm going to add...
To this pan, I thee wed...
And some beef stock.
Right, and the last thing to go in here now is a tablespoon of tomato puree. Right?
Now, these are just going to be browned. There you go.
There's butter for flavour and a bit of oil to stop the butter burning.
What we're going to do now is pour the kidney-onion gravy mixture onto the beef olives.
What I reckon is we give this half an hour with foil on
and then the last half hour with the lid off.
Well, let's see how it is. That's the beef olives on.
OK, the Scottish classic - the neep.
The swede, turnip. We're doing a fondant neep because we're trying to do a restaurant version of turnips.
-Not a fondant neep!
-We've never done it before. Need to cut those now. Put that on there like that.
While Dave's knocking those out, I'm going to put some sour cream...
-Gone off there.
-Has it gone off one?
..and some nice, finely sliced spring onion.
Into this pan...I've got a lot of butter.
And the butter we flavour with garlic and thyme.
Sprig of thyme. Garlic.
Just give it a bash to release the flavour.
Put that on to warm on there.
Now, this is called a barrel sieve
and we're going to push those potatoes through that sieve
-so they're lovely, nice and fabulous.
In with the turnip. Swede.
Neep. These are bubbling away beautifully.
I bet there's a lot of people down south don't know what a skirlie is.
First off, I've got some suet, onions in the suet, and we're just going to soften the onions.
That's what you're after.
Fluffy, lovely mashed potato.
I'm going to add some butter.
Some finely chopped chive.
Some sour cream.
Right, let's see how these are doing. Yes!
I need some stock.
And you can get the skirlies on now. This is medium oatmeal, that we got from Alford.
So you put that in there. I may put some water in.
-We've got our sour cream into the potatoes. We've got our butter.
We've got some seasoning and chopped chives.
What we'll do, a little bit at a time, we'll add the milk that's been infusing with the spring onions.
So I'm just going to add a bit of that.
Mix it in.
And I'm going to season it up now. Potatoes and white pepper.
I think they're a match made in heaven.
I've just got some pinhead oatmeal in here that I'm dry-frying off,
this is going to be a crunchy topping on the fondant turnip.
Our Scottish carrot puree starts out in the pan, looking like this.
Now, what we got in the pan is some carrots, obviously, some butter and the zest of half an orange.
To that we add
about two teaspoons of caster sugar.
What we're going to do is put that in, sparkling water. That'll do. We're just covering it, look.
We're going to put them on.
The neeps are done. Yes. I'll get the beef out to rest.
Great. That's fine.
We can let that moulder. Is that going down, Kingy?
-Yeah, it's good.
Not a puree. Nicely mashed, though.
-Kingy, would you hold my bag?
I wonder what the chef thinks of skirlies.
Where are we having these quenelles?
I think we should put the quenelle in the centre.
It's like the sun setting over the North Sea.
I have an inkling of a sprinkling.
We're just going to put a little bit over here.
-That's just wrong.
-There we have it.
Here is our dish. We have an Aberdeen Angus beef olive.
-Served on a bed of skirlie.
-With a neep fondant.
And our carrot puree from Scotland.
With champit potatoes and banging gravy with kidneys,
made with the beef olives.
-Bob's your uncle.
-I'd eat it.
What do you think, David?
It looks great, eh?
Yeah, it's good. It is good.
Though I hate to admit it.
-You need gravy with your skirlies.
It's not as good as my mum used to make, eh.
-No, I can...
-Sorry, boys. But it's good. It's good.
-Just eat plenty of gravy with it.
Right, the beef olives.
What do we reckon?
It's good, eh.
Well, chef, it's all in the hands of the tasters.
-Then we can go to the pub.
-Best of luck, boys. You're going to need it.
It's the moment of truth. The diners here will taste both dishes without any idea of who cooked which.
First up is David's roe deer with potato dumplings, parsnip puree and pearl barley.
I thought it was delicious.
The shin of roe deer, I shall certainly be looking for it locally to cook myself.
The word shin made me think it was a cheaper cut of the roe deer, but it was absolutely delicious.
The meat itself looked slightly underdone. It was slightly rose.
the potato dumpling might have been the ingredient to lose.
The gravy worked for me. Yes, it wasn't too rich,
and the pancetta flavour was coming through, and it was very tasty.
The pear barley somehow just gives a little nod to Aberdeenshire's more rustic roots.
It would be a dish anybody could be proud of round here.
Well, they seemed to like that. Next to be served is our dish.
-It's very tasty, and you got the taste on the first bite.
-Quite attractive but but not a knockout.
I actually thought it looked a lovely homey dish and I couldn't wait to try it.
-Potatoes a little too smooth.
-The kidney gravy was fantastic.
I was very pleasantly surprised with the turnip.
It's grown widely throughout the North East.
The vast majority of the crop goes for animal feed, but lucky animals!
-Because it really was very, very nice.
-I eat a lot of skirlie.
This is very like my mother's, which is perhaps why I liked it so much.
This was a typical Aberdeenshire dish.
If this is Aberdeenshire, it's Aberdeenshire on a weekday.
It's not Aberdeenshire at the weekend.
Hello there. Good evening. How are you?
-Oh, thank you.
-Thank you very much.
It's great to come back to Aberdeenshire. It's a county that Si and I know very well.
I lived here for 15 years.
We hate this bit. We're going to ask you to vote.
You're voting for flavour, of course, but you're also voting
for what you thought represented your county best.
A show of hands, please, for the venison dish.
That's one, two, three, four, five, six. Thank you very much.
So that's six for the venison.
A show of hands, please, for the beef olives with skirlies.
One, two, three. Thank you very much.
So I'm pleased to say the venison dish was...David's.
-No, not at all. It was great. Absolutely great.
I must say, you've got a very, very talented young chef in this area.
-You should be very proud of him. Back on the bikes.
-Yes. Well done.
-Thank you. Goodnight.
David's roe deer was too good to beat but at least our beef olives and skirlies were truly local.
Aberdeenshire has so much great produce on offer, and wonderful people.
It was great to be back in this county and be reminded of the all the foodie treasures it holds.
With Aberdonian hospitality, you'll ne'er go 'wa hungry.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Si and Dave explore Aberdeenshire where they cook a traditional county favourite in Aberdeen. They mill oats and pick up some prime cuts of Aberdeen Angus. Finally, they face the challenge of a cook-off against top chef David Littlewood. Restaurant diners decide who has created the best taste of Aberdeenshire.