When I was a fresh-faced graduate I worked for a short time in politics. Fiercely passionate and more than a little naive, I set out to change the world, without much idea of how to go about it.
During my time in Moray I learned enough about politics to realise that although it would always be my passion, I wasn’t cut out of the right cloth to become a politician myself, a humbling and sometimes lonely experience for a young lassie. However, the warmth and affection of the folk of Moray has stayed with me, and in particular that of Ian and Margaret Hamilton, a couple of dedicated ‘Nats’ from Portknockie, who looked after me and fed me cheese pudding.
It’s a meal that I’ve often thought about in the years since, and today Margaret shared this historical recipe with me (although apparently it’s been passed down through generations of the Hamilton family – so what Ian thinks of his wife sharing such family secrets is yet to be confirmed!).
1 pint of milk
1 1/2 oz butter
6oz breadcrumbs (best when the bread is slightly stale)
4 1/2 oz strong cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp mustard
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
Heat the milk and butter in pan. When boiling remove from heat and add the breadcrumbs and cheese. Beat in the egg yolks and add seasoning. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks and fold in. Pour into a greased dish. Bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees C.
And there you have it. And what’s great about this dish, is that not only is it gorgeous warm and bubbling from the oven, but you can also cut slices and eat it cold too.
A traditional Scottish recipe it may be, but the Hamilton’s are also happy to shake things up a little and have suggested the following variations:
- Sliced tomato on top before baking
- Add chopped bacon at same time as breadcrumbs and cheese
- Add mixed herbs to seasoning
- Try chilli powder to make a lovely hot version
- Add Marmite as seasoning (only if you love Marmite – which I do!)
I served my English husband a big slice of Scottish foodie history with a large glass of French red. He had seconds. So did I.