Local and Seasonal

by Bo Simmons -

In September I was asked to prepare some food for a function at Mareel for the end of screenplay. On further discussion with Kathy Hubbard we decided that it would be good to highlight local produce and provide a buffet type meal, as many of the guests were of a vegetarian leaning, though there were some meat eaters too. I knew that there were lots of lovely local vegetables, fish and meat, so I set about first to find out what there was and to create something around that. The bounty that I returned home with was amazing.

My travels took me from Sandness and Transition Turriefield to Plantiecrub in the Tingwall valley, then on to Scalloway to Blydoit fish and the Scalloway Meat Company and finally Lerwick and Scoop Wholefoods to find all the remaining foodstuffs that I could not find any where else. I also had a few vegetables of my own at Muckleburgh View to add to the collection.

So now the task was to turn all these wonderful products into a scrumptious buffet!

I decided to make a couple of dips Beetroot Moutabel and a Courgette Moutabel. These dips are similar to Hummus, which we all know and love but they have the addition of roasted crushed vegetables, a little natural yoghurt and no chick peas.

Beetroot Moutabel

Course: Main

Servings: 6 people

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40-50 minutes

Ingredients
  • Raw beetroot - 500 grams (scrubbed clean, leaves removed)
  • Olive oil - 4 tbsp
  • Oranges - 3 (peel only)
  • Lemon - 1/2 (juice only)
  • Tahini - 2 tbsp
  • Thick natural yoghurt - 2 tbsp
Instructions
  1. Put beetroot into a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven 200c/gas mark 7 for about 40-50 minutes, or until cooked.
  2. Thinly peel the oranges and put the rind into a dry frying pan and toast for roughly 1 minute, put to one side.
  3. Remove the beetroot from the oven and cool. When cool enough to handle peel them. Put half into the food processor and whizz roughly so that it is not completely smooth, turn into a bowl. Grate the other half and add this with the tahini, yoghurt and lemon juice. Stir well to mix thoroughly.
  4. Season carefully and put into a decorative bowl. Place the orange peel on top
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Courgette Moutabel

Course: Main

Servings: 6 people

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients
  • Courgettes - 3 medium
  • Olive oil - 4 tbsp
  • Lemon - 1/2 (juice only)
  • Tahini - 2 tbsp
  • Thick natural yoghurt - 2 tbsp
  • Parsley - 50 grams (chopped)
Instructions
  1. Slice courgettes lengthwise, thinly. Fry in the olive oil for about a minute on each side until nicely brown.
  2. Dry courgettes on kitchen paper, put into a bowl and roughly mash them.
  3. Add lemon juice, tahini, yoghurt and parsley. Season well and mix thoroughly.

Both these dips can be served with hot pitta bread or a crisp homemade oatcake.

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The accompanying oatcakes have graced many a Shetland buffet table, so I thought that people might like a recipe to give it a shot themselves. Easy to make but patience is required to avoid trying to roll them out too soon!

Oatcakes

Course: Main

Servings: 30 oatcakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients
  • Pinhead oatmeal - 110 grams
  • Jumbo oats or medium oatmeal - 110 grams
  • Fine oatmeal - 110 grams
  • Vegetable oil - 25 ml
  • Sesame seeds - 25 grams (optional)
  • Sea salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Boiling water to mix -
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients into a bowl large enough to be able to mix ingredients together. Add the sesame seeds at this time if you are using them.
  2. Boil a kettle of water and pour over the oats, enough to be able to make a sloppy but stiff mixture. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. After this time you will see if you need to add a little more water or a little more oatmeal as the mixture will have swollen and stiffened.
  3. Take about one third of the mixture and knead into a ball on a worktop sprinkled with fine or medium oatmeal. Flatten with the rolling pin and roll out thinly. It is important to keep the dough moving freely, so turn frequently to prevent it sticking to the worktop.
  4. When you are satisfied that the dough is thin enough and evenly rolled take a plain cutter of required size and cut out. With the off cuts roll into a ball and add to the next third of the dough and repeat. Do this until all the dough is used up. Unlike scones every scrap of the oatmeal dough can be used if it gets a little dry add a little more water and knead again.
  5. Place onto baking sheets. Oatcakes can touch as they shrink on cooking, put into the oven 300f/150c/ gas mark 2 for 30-40 minutes, flipping the oatcakes half way through to get an even browning and crispness.
  6. Cool on a cooling rack and store in an airtight tin.
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To compliment the dips I made some salads. Delicious Turriefield multi coloured carrots with orange, dill and flaked almonds.

Indonesian green vegetable salad with coconut dressing, Tabbouleh made from bulghur wheat, Plantiecrub tomatoes cucumbers and my own spring onions, mint and parsley. Orzo pasta salad with the hot smoked salmon purchased from Blydoit, creme fraiche and dill. Finally, Shetland lamb from the the Scalloway Meat Company that I had them mince so that I could make Lamb and pistachio Kofte with tahini and pistachio sauce.