Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Recipes

Nick Nairn's Burns Night supper

Pay homage to Scotland's national poet by cooking up a Scottish feast

To celebrate Burns Night, celebrity chef Nick Nairn shares some of his favorite winter-warming recipes that showcase Scotland’s wonderful natural larder.

Seared Scallops Salad with ‘Scad the Beggars’ & Rocket

Serves 4


Seared scallops salad

2-3 scallops per person

4 eggs

80g watercress

80g rocket

Sea salt

50g butter

Squeeze of lemon juice

Scad the Beggars

300g bacon lardons

200g jumbo oats

50 ml veg oil for frying

Salt and pepper

Salad dressing

5 parts olive oil

1 part white wine vinegar

Tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

Scad the Beggars

Cut the bacon into small bites if necessary and fry in a little oil for about 10 minutes until brown.

Once off the heat, set aside some of the oil for a dressing later on.

Fry the oats in the same pan as the bacon for 5 minutes. Add extra oil if needed. Add salt. Mix the oats with the bacon.

Salad dressing

Make the salad dressing by mixing the oil, vinegar, a tablespoon of the bacon fat, mustard and seasoning.

Seared scallops salad

Hard-boil the eggs for 8 minutes. Once cooked very slightly crack each egg then rinse in cold water. This makes it easier to peel off the shell.

Halve the scallops and fry in a little oil and butter – 1 minute each side. Add a squeeze of lemon.


Peel and quarter the eggs. Rinse and dry the rocket and watercress and arrange on each plates. Drizzle over the vinaigrette. Arrange the eggs around the plate. Sprinkle the plate with the bacon and oats mix. Finally, arrange the scallops on top and serve.


Pheasant with Caramelised Apples, Chestnuts and Cider Gravy

Serves 4


4 pheasant breasts, skinned and boned

8 pancetta (or bacon) slices

2 tbsp sunflower oil

2 small green apples, peeled & cored

2 tsp icing sugar

16 cooked chestnuts (fresh, tinned or vac-packed)

300ml dry cider

300ml game or chicken stock

200ml double cream

2 tbsp chopped chervil or parsley

juice of ½ a lemon

40g unsalted butter

Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Season the pheasant breasts with salt and pepper and wrap each neatly in a couple of pancetta slices, finishing with the end wrapped underneath.

Heat a large frying pan until nice and hot then add the sunflower oil. Place the pheasant breasts into the pan on what was the skin side and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn them over and cook again for another 2 minutes. Add half the butter to the pan, let it foam up and baste the breasts. Lift them out of the pan and keep on a warmed plate.

Quarter the peeled & cored apples. Add the rest of the butter and the apples to the pan, then sprinkle over the icing sugar and gently fry for 3-4 minutes until browned and glazed. Now add the chestnuts to the pan. Turn up the heat slightly and stir until the chestnuts are coated with butter. Add the cider and boil hard to reduce until the liquid has almost disappeared. Add the stock and reduce again by about two thirds. Add the cream and bring it back to the boil.

Return the pheasant breasts to the pan. Warm everything through for 2 to 3 minutes. Add most of the chervil or parsley, then taste and season, adding a squeeze of lemon juice. Scatter sprinkled with the remaining herbs. Serve immediately on warmed plates.


Roast Fillet of Market Fish with Chorizo and Black Olive Mash

Serves 4


4 x 160g thick fillets market fish (whatever looks good on the day: sea bass/cod/hake, skin on; turbot/halibut, scaled and skinned)

80g chorizo, thinly sliced

4 bay leaves

3 tbsp olive oil

2 sprigs basil

700g mashed potato, made earlier

50g unsalted butter

splash double cream

70g stoned black olives, roughly chopped

1 tbsp chopped flat parsley

250g green beans, cooked in salted water for 3 minutes

30g unsalted butter

Maldon salt

freshly milled black pepper

squeeze lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Heat an ovenproof stainless steel frying pan over a good heat and add the olive oil. Lightly season the fish and add to the pan, skin side down, if applicable.

Add the sliced chorizo and bay to the pan and cook quickly alongside the fish to allow the flavours of the chorizo to be released. When the fish skin is lightly coloured, turn the fillets over to colour the flesh side, then turn back to the skin side. Transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking the fish. Exact cooking times are difficult to predict, as it depends on the thickness of the fish, but about five minutes in the oven should be about right for the average fillet. Add time for thicker fish and reduce the time for thinner fish – or do not place in the oven at all.

While the fish is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the cream. Add the mashed potato to the pan with a little seasoning, and work the butter and cream into the potato as it heats up. A heatproof spatula is good for this. Add the olives and parsley to the hot potato and stir in.

Add the basil leaves to the fish pan then transfer the fish, chorizo, bay and basil to a warm plate to rest. The fat in the frying pan will be a combination of olive oil and chorizo fat, flavoured by the fish. Tip two-thirds of this fat over the fish then add the well drained green beans to the hot pan. Return the pan to the heat and toss the beans into the hot oil for a minute to heat through and flavour them.

Set a scoop of olive mash in the centre of four hot plates, and then spoon a portion of beans on to each one. Place a piece of fish onto the beans and sprinkle the cooked chorizo sausage and basil around. Spoon some of the cooking juices and oil over the fish and serve.


Hot Chocolate Figs in Brandy Syrup with Cardamom Custard

Serves 4


For the figs

12 fresh figs

12 squares dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids

chocolate splinters to garnish

100g brandy

200ml water

½ vanilla pod

200g caster sugar

For the custard

220ml whipping cream

4 cardamom pods, bruised

45g caster sugar

3 egg yolks


Take each fig and using a sharp-pointed knife, make two shallow cuts into either side of the stem at the top and ease open the cuts. Take a square of chocolate and cut it in half. Press a half piece into each cut in the figs. Be careful not to tear the fig skin as the chocolate goes in, but do push it right in and then close the skin over the gap as much as you can.

For the syrup, split the halved vanilla pod and loosen the seeds with the back of the knife. Place the pod and seeds into a pan broad enough for all the figs to sit on the bottom. Add the sugar, brandy and water to the pan and bring to the simmer. Place the figs into the pan, stalks up, and cook on a gentle simmer for 10-12 minutes. Once the figs are cooked, carefully lift them from the syrup on to a tray and keep them warm. Put the syrup back on a high heat to reduce and thicken to a coating consistency. While the syrup is simmering, start the custard.

For the custard, place the cream and bruised cardamom pods into a thick-bottomed pan and place on a medium heat until simmering. Remove to the side of the stove and leave for 5 minutes in order to obtain the full flavour of the cardamom.

Place the egg yolks and sugar into a stainless steel bowl and beat well with a whisk. The sugar should melt into the egg yolks and produce a thick fluffy mixture. Slowly pour the hot cream on top of the egg and sugar mixture mixing continually. Return the mixture into a clean pan and place on the heat, stirring carefully with a heatproof spatula, taking care to cover the whole surface area of the pan. Cook the mixture until a light coating consistency is reached and immediately strain through a coarse sieve into a clean bowl. Do not let the custard boil, otherwise it may split. When strained, cover with cling wrap to avoid a skin forming, and keep warm. The custard can be kept warm for up to three hours in a Thermos flask preheated with boiling water.

To serve the figs, insert some chocolate splinters into the cuts in the figs, pour some of the cardamom custard onto the centre of each of four warmed plates and set three figs onto each plate. Spoon a little of the reduced syrup over each fig and sprinkle a few more chocolate shavings around.

The chocolate splinters are best made by scraping a large sharp knife over the back of a large bar of chocolate that is at room temperature. Too warm and you’ll get chocolate sludge, too cold and the chocolate will be too brittle. Having said that, when you’ve successfully made a batch, freeze them in a container and next time you need some, they’ll be ready to sprinkle straight from the freezer.


Poached Pears in White Wine with Cinnamon

You could use red wine for a deep red colour.

Serves 4


4 firm Williams pears

2 sticks cinnamon

2 whole star anise

juice ½ lemon

250ml white wine

250g caster sugar

500ml water

100ml plain Greek yoghurt

handful toasted almonds


Peel the pears, keeping them whole with stalks. Slice a little off the bottom so they stand up. Carefully remove the core from the base using a sharp paring knife, corer or melon baller.

Place the sugar, water and wine in a large saucepan with the cinnamon and star anise. Gently bring to the boil and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Place the pears in and simmer on a low heat for about 35 mins.

When just tender, serve each pear in a bowl with the liquor around. Serve with plain Greek yoghurt and toasted almonds.

These can be made the day before, refrigerated and heated through in the pan. If you want the scorched look, use a blow torch or pop the pears in a hot oven for 5 mins.


For more information about Scotland’s natural larder and events during Homecoming Scotland 2014 visit

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph