Scotch broth and oat cakes

Time does tick on, huh? Lucky for me I’m home with an unstoppable cough today, so I can catch up on blog writing between coughing fits.

The very first Scottish-ish meal I turned my hand to, in the distant past of about two and  half weeks ago, was Scotch broth accompanied by some oat cakes.

Scotch broth is made of meat, leek, root vegetables and barley – what I grew up just calling “soup”. Obviously I didn’t use any meat, but instead flavoured mine with fake beef stock from Massell. I was also unable to find any leek, it not really being the season for them, so I used lots of spring onion, shallot and garlic tops from the garden instead.

I based my recipe around this one from Jamie Oliver, and this one from Angela Hartnett from the Guardian. I have since found that vegan versions abound, so my apologies if my recipe is exactly the same as other peoples’.

Vegan Scotch Broth
Vegan Scotch Broth

The broth looked pretty, and tasted pretty good in that nourishing, wintery kind of way. I don’t think this sort of soup is ever going to win my heart back from curried carrot or creme of cauliflower, but it made a fairly decent attempt. To make it look pretty, and not go too stodgy, I mucked around a little during the preparation and soaked and boiled the barley in its own pot before adding to the soup. You don’t really need to do this, I was just trying to ensure I didn’t accidentally make porridge.

I served the broth up with some oat cakes. I first tried them in Scotland, and fell in love. For those who haven’t tried them, they’re basically just a dry biscuit (or a cracker, for the yanks) made of oats and oat flour. And they’re very tasty and moreish.

As with the broth, I based my recipe around several others, including this one from TriniGourmet and this one on the Bob’s Red Mill site.

I won’t post a full recipe, but will add that:

  • I veganised by using plain old vegan marg, and it worked out well, so no need for shortening if you don’t have any, and
  • I used a coffee grinder to make the oats into rough oat flour. I did this for about 3/4 of the oats called for in the recipe.
Home made oatcakes
Home made oatcakes (pictured with mushroom pate)

I was impressed with how easy they were to make, and how tasty and dry they were, and think I think I’ll add them to the standing rotation. (Actually that probably won’t happen, because I always say that and I never do it, but what the hell, why change now?).

They seemed to go down well with Mr also – he didn’t realise they were home made.


Vegan Scotch Broth

Serves 4-6

  • 1/2 cup pearl barley, soaked for 2 hours
  • 1/2 cup lentils, soaked for 20 minutes
  • 2 tbs vegan margarine
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 swede, diced
  • 2 radishes, diced (you don’t have to do this, I just have a radish glut)
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1 leek or 1 cup of chopped spring onion, onion tops, shallot tops and garlic tops
  • 2 litres of stock (I used massell beef stock powder)
  1. In a pot of boiling water, cook the barley and the lentils. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan melt the margarine and fry the onion until soft.
  3. Add the vegetables, including leek if you have it but leave the onion and garlic tops out if you’re using them instead. Add the stock ad bring to the boil. Return to a simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the onion etc tops if using, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Serve with bread (or oat cakes).






One Comment Add yours

  1. Johanna GGG says:

    I grew up with a watery vegetable soup as our main soup and wish it had been more hearty like scotch broth – I love the maltiness of the pearl barley in soup but my scotch broth got thicker and thicker until I had to start adding a lot more water or the spoon was getting stuck – I guess I made porridge 🙂

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