Cosy Celtic food to consider during lockdown


Colette Cooper

WEEKS and months spent in lockdown is not always the most pleasant experience and, if you’re like me, keeping yourself busy really does help take your mind off the doom and gloom side of life.

Something that always boosts my mood and makes me feel a little brighter is testing out some new recipes and treats. So why not consider some of these heart-warming dishes, full of Irish and Scottish flair.

There are many online recipes to follow precisely, of course, but here’s a little overview in the meantime.

Firstly, you can’t go wrong with some traditional Irish Stew; this hearty meal is sure to give you that rustic feeling on a crisp winter’s day. Perfect for the meat lovers among you and—depending on the recipe you follow—only takes around two to two and a half hours to prepare and cook. Simply pack the dish with colourful veggies to soak up the juices, your meat of choice, and stock, then you’re good to go!

For the sweet toothed among you, why not try challenge yourself by making some Scottish tablet? This sugary treat is sure to brighten up your day with its crumbly, buttery texture and syrupy taste. Tablet can be made with milk or dairy-free and you have the option of swapping golden caster sugar for more of a caramel flavour. Different recipes tend to vary in time of preparation and cooking, from around 30 minutes to over an hour. If you’re looking to stay healthy in the new year however, this may not be the recipe to go for.

If you feel like getting in touch with your medieval side, perhaps give Celtic Knot Cookies a try. The vanilla flavoured delights, also known as ‘Jumble Biscuits,’ are said to take around and hour to an hour and a half preparation and cooking time. If you’re not as precise and intricate at rolling out shapes, this may be a difficult recipe to follow, but if you like the idea of a challenge, get baking! There’s also the option of purchasing a Celtic-shaped cookie cutter if you’re hesitant about shaping the cookies yourself. More importantly, these are a great little treat to share with the family.

Perhaps these recipes are not really your cup of tea and you’re in the mood for something a little more succulent. If that’s the case, why not consider an Irish Cream Bundt Cake (above)? This rich and creamy dessert comes in all shapes and sizes. You can stay traditional or even change things up and go for a chocolate version. The choices are endless. Add pecans for an extra crunch, and of course, some Irish cream liqueur. Depending on the exact recipe you use, the cake should be ready in just over an hour and is something to share with the whole family.

Finally, another cosy winter recipe to try is some Scottish Lentil Soup. Not only is this a favourite of mine, but when made right, will feel like receiving a hug in a bowl. This tasty dish contains lentils—obviously—leek, turnip, carrots, potatoes and vegetable stock, among other things. As everyone likes to make their soups slightly different, I won’t list everything, but these are the basics to start with. If you’re not a fan of lentils, however, go for a classic Scotch Broth made with barley instead. Once you have finished making this beautiful broth, don’t forget to accompany with some good old bread and butter.

Hopefully you’re now inspired to be more creative in the kitchen and try out some of these savoury dishes or sweet treats during lockdown.