Sweet Potato & Carrot Side Salad

This is my entry for this month's No Croutons Required. There is still time to join in, just make a soup or a salad featuring potatoes and submit your entry to me at nocroutonsrequired@googlemail.com by the 20th of February. The line-up and voting poll will be posted the next day and then the winner will be announced on the 28th of February 2009. The rules can be found here. Please remember to include where you are from in your email.

Sweet Potato & Carrot Side Salad

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into sticks
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup fat free fromage frais
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
peel of 1 orange & 1 lemon
1 handful fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes
salt & pepper

feta cheese to serve (optional)

Boil or steam the potatoes and carrot until just tender, then rise under a cold tap to stop the cooking process.

Spoon the fromage frais into a bowl and add all the other ingredients. Mix well. Season.

Mix the potatoes and carrots with the dressing and top with some feta cheese and a little of the peel.

Herbful Pasta Salad with Mushrooms

I woke up this morning and looked out of the window to a winter wonderland. Thick, thick snow and it was coming down fast. I just had to go out for a walk, so I wrapped up warm in my walking gear and headed out. It was great and I just love the silence that accompanies a thick layer of snow.

So you might think that this sort of day would call for a hearty bowl of hot soup!

Well, that would have been nice, but I am aching for Spring to arrive. Wishful thinking, maybe, but I want Spring and I want it now! Hence this light and zesty, mushroom and herb pasta salad. After all, when the house is all toasty, you can pretend.

Herbful Pasta Salad

1 tbsp olive oil
12 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 cups Dishi Volanti pasta


1 handful fresh flat leaved parsley
1 handful fresh basil
1 handful fresh dill
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta until al dente and then rinse in cold water, to cool and stop the cooking process. Leave to drain.

Saute the mushrooms in the olive oil and garlic, until soft, then season.

Whizz up the dressing ingredients.

Transfer the pasta to a large bowl, mix in the mushrooms and coat with the herb dressing.

Serves 4 - 6

Graham was sent home from work early because of the snow. A snow day, lucky him. He was very pleased to come home to warm house and a bowl of this pasta salad. It got a big thumbs up!

I am sending this salad over to Ruth at Once Upon A Feast as my entry for Presto Pasta Nights. I haven't entered a dish for ages, but I couldn't miss out on this line-up as it is the 100th edition. So a big congratulations to Ruth and her guest hosts for continuing to present us with a gorgeous selections of pasta dishes every week!

Scottish Cranachan

If you're on a diet, then look away now! This traditional Scottish dessert is full of cream, raspberries, honey and oats. It has a generous dram of whisky too.

Scottish Cranachan

 Scottish Cranachan

Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert.

It is made with fresh Scottish raspberries, oats, cream and whisky. Not many ingredients and it's easy to make, but it's a really decadent dessert.

The fresh tangy raspberries are a great contrast to the boozy whisky, cream and oat filling.

Non-Alcoholic Cranachan

Cranachan is a boozy pudding, but it can be made non-alcoholic for children or those who don't want to eat something with alcohol.

Orange juice works well in the cream instead of whisky or you could just whip in some vanilla extract.

History of Cranachan

Raspberries are a traditional crop in Scotland. When the raspberry harvest was over there would be a feast of raspberries and cranachan would be made to make the most of the raspberries and local ingredients.

Cranachan is also known as Cream Crowdie and sometimes confused with an Atholl Brose, which is a drink with similar ingredients.

punnet of fresh raspberries


Scotland is famous for it's beautiful plump raspberries.

The climate is perfect for raspberries. We have the right type of soil, frost in the winter, long days of sunlight but not too hot in the summer and enough rain to keep them happy. 

Raspberries are very particular, don't you know?

England aren't so fortunate in growing the same quality of raspberries, so Scottish raspberries are transported down to Englamd. In the 1950s they were transported down in a steam train known as the Raspberry Special, but now they are driven down in lorries.

porridge oats


Oats are also a staple crop in Scotland. We use them in our porridge; in our fruit crumbles; we make oatcakes and flapjacks with them and we add them to bread.

Oats come in different forms from fine oatmeal to more coarse porridge oats and even bigger jumbo oats.

Porridge oats are the best type to use in cranachan as they have a bit of texture. They are lightly toasted before they are folded into the whisky and honey enriched whipped cream.

Recipes using Oats

You may be surprised at some of the recipes I use oats in. Here is a selection for you to try.

  1. Tomato Gnocchi Bake with Cheesy Oat Crumble
  2. Butternut, Red Pepper and Potato Pastry Plait
  3. Scottish Mushroom and Chestnut Pate
  4. Vegetarian Picnic Eggs
  5. Instant Veggie Haggis, Neeps and Tattie Burgers
  6. Veggie Haggis and Red Lentil Nut Loaf
  7. 10 Minute Spicy Bean Burgers
  8. Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats
  9. Creamy Blueberry, Banana and Coconut Porridge
  10. Blueberry and Lemon Oaty Breakfast Bars
  11. Pineapple, Banana and Chocolate Flapjacks
  12. Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble

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Scottish Cranachan - A recipe for Cranachan, a traditional Scottish dessert made with oats, raspberries, cream and whisky. Perfect for parties, as it can be made ahead or for Burns Night. #scottishcranachan #scottishrecipes #scottishdesserts #scottishpuddings #burnsnight #burnsnightrecipes #raspberryrecipes #raspberriesreipes #oatsrecipes #whiskyrecipes #dessert

whipped cream

Whipped Cream

The main filling of cranachan is flavoured whipped cream.

The cream needs to be fairly thick to hold the honey, whisky and oats, but don't over whisk it. Did you know if you keep whisking cream you end up with butter. Yep, don't overwhip it.

Vegan Whipped Cream

For a vegan cranachan, you can use stiffly whipped coconut cream instead of whipped dairy cream.

It's not so simple as pouring it out of a can and whipping. You need to put a can of good quality full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight.

Next day turn the can upside down to open it and pour the coconut water into a dish and set aside, this can be used in smoothies. 

Next scoop the thick coconut solids in a bowl, sweeten with some icing (confectioners) sugar and add a little vanilla extract and whip until thick.



Cranachan is traditionally sweetened with honey which would have been available locally. It adds to the flavour of cranachan, so don't substitute it with golden syrup or sugar, as the flavour will be different. Honey pairs so well with oats, raspberries and whisky.

Dairy-Free Sweetener

If you are making a dairy-free cranachan, you could use agave syrup instead of honey. The flavour won't be exactly the same, but it's a good option for dairy free cranachan.

glass of whisky


What can I say? Scots love a tipple and Whisky is our national drink, so of course it's added into desserts too.

As well as a boozy hit, it also adds a warm and flavour to the whipped, sweetened cream.

As I said before, for an alcohol-free version, you may substitute it with orange juice.

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Yield: 4-6 servings

Scottish Cranachan

Scottish Cranachan

A traditional Scottish dessert is full of cream, raspberries, honey and oats. It has a generous dram of whisky too. Can be tweaked to a vegan recipe.
prep time: 12 Mcook time: total time: 12 M


  • 500ml/2 cups double (heavy) cream (or whipped coconut cream, see notes)
  • 100g/1 cup porridge oats
  • 4 tbsp whisky
  • 3 tbsp honey (or 2 tbsp agave nectar)
  • 250g/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar (confectioners sugar)


How to cook Scottish Cranachan

  1. Toast the oats in a dry frying pan for a few minutes, being careful not to burn them. Tip them onto a plate and leave to cool.
  2. Whizz up half the raspberries with the icing sugar.
  3. Whip up the cream, with the whisky and honey (or agave) until you have soft peaks. Then fold in most of the oats, but keep some aside for serving.
  4. Layer small glasses or dessert bowls with raspberry sauce, then carefully add the cream mixture. Sprinkle with oats and top with raspberries.
  5. Chill until you are ready to serve.
  6. Enjoy!


Vegan version of cranachan - pop a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Next day turn it upside down, open and pour out the liquid, which can be kept for smoothies or adding to your porridge. Whisk the solids with a some icing sugar to sweeten and 1 tsp vanilla extract until thick. Use in place of cream.

Coconut cream - I have had one fail with coconut milk, when I used a different brand from usual. Until you know which type works every time, pop two different brands in the fridge. If the first fails, the other hopefully we ill be ok.

Non-alcoholic cranachan - add orange juice instead of whisky to the cream. It's better with whisky, but sometimes you just need to remove it.
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The reason I said small glasses, is that it is very rich!
The wine glass I filled would have been enough for a family of four to sit down to for a week! Honestly!
For a lighter version, try folding in some natural yoghurt and serve it in a small glass!

Tomato, Lentil and Coriander Soup

Snow is on the ground again here in Scotland. The Winter does not seem to want to let go it's icy grip. On the bright side, we are gaining a few minutes of daylight every day, so it doesn't seem so dismal. My one complaint is that it is absolutely baltic at work. It is hard to use a computer when your fingers are stiff with the cold.

So, it is soup time again!

Tomato, Lentil and Coriander Soup

Tomato, Lentil & Coriander Soup


6 ripe tomatoes, halved
2 red onions, quartered
2 cloves of garlic, left in papery skin
1 cup red lentils
2 cups vegetable stock
1 handful of coriander, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Place the tomatoes, onions and garlic in a roasting tray, mix with the olive oil and season. Roast the vegetables for 20 - 30 minutes until the vegetables are starting to brown at the edges. 
  2. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before removing the skin from the garlic. 
  3. Whizz up the vegetables in a blender and add to your soup pot, along with the stock and lentils. Cook your soup for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are tender, then add the lemon juice and coriander and taste for seasoning.

Serves 4

Here are a few snowy pictures from our walk in Den of Alyth.

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