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The Scottish breakfast: It’s the country’s great ingredients that make it the greatest there is, says national chef Gary Maclean

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We have the best ingredients and that’s why nothing compares with a Scottish breakfast to start the day.

People talk about English breakfasts being a joy but, for me, the Scottish breakfast is the best meal to start your day.

Granted, there isn’t a huge amount of difference between what is served up when you compare an English and Scottish breakfast.

However, what is different is what makes our breakfast the best – in fact, in my humble opinion, the English breakfast trails in in third spot in British breakfasts as I believe the Ulster fry, from Northern Ireland, is also superior.

A wonderful mouth-watering Scottish breakfast.

Plan in advance

If I am looking to enjoy a cooked Scottish breakfast, then it’s normally at the weekend and I plan in advance for the occasion to ensure I have the very best produce in for the event.

There has to be haggis, tattie scones and Stornoway black pudding in a Scottish breakfast, three key ingredients that make our version top of the tree.

Add to that free-range eggs, bacon, sausages, lorne sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, fried bread and beans and you have a meal fit for a king.

Also, for me, it must be a cup of tea that is served with a Scottish breakfast, not coffee.

You are, however, permitted to tinker with the ingredients. For instance, using some lovely white pudding from a local supplier, and maybe a slice or two of polony are ideal additions to a Scottish breakfast.

National chef Gary Maclean.

The best

Scotland’s national chef Gary Maclean agrees that the Scottish breakfast is the greatest in the world.

Gary, who won MasterChef: The Professionals in 2016, believes produce and ingredients unique to the country ensure it is the best there is.

“The Scottish breakfast stands out because it has got additional ingredients on it that create that completely different balance,” he said.

“I love haggis, I love black pudding and white pudding, and lorne sausage just changes everything up as well. There’s a real identity to our full Scottish I would say.

“Another thing we are really, really good at that you don’t see down south is that morning roll, that sort of crispy, maybe more of a west coast thing, but it’s amazing and if that was in any other country that would be an artisan product. In Scotland we just fling on a bit of sausage and a bit of brown sauce and we’re away!

“The other thing as well which is really unique to us as well if the tattie scone. Again it is an absolute staple in Scotland, you don’t get many people having a Scottish breakfast without a tattie scone. You don’t see that anywhere else.”

National chef Gary Maclean says the addition of lorne sausage is a game changer for the Scottish breakfast.

Nothing compares

Gary says that our influences in the first meal of the day can be seen all over the world.

“When you travel, and I do a lot of travelling, even if you compare our breakfast with anywhere there’s nothing that compares with it,” he said.

“When you look at things like our porridge, for instance, it’s a worldwide dish that we can all be proud of. You can go to the States and you can go to Asia and still see an option of porridge in the morning offering.

“It’s that variance. Obviously we have Stornoway black pudding, it’s PGI (Protected Geographical Indicator of Origin) which is unique to that area and it eats completely differently to any other black pudding. Again it goes back to our great ingredients in Scotland.”

Top tips

Getting a cooked breakfast spot on is a tricky ask – I know I’ve had a few disasters in my time, mostly with eggs. Does Gary have any tips for getting it just right?

“The problem with a breakfast is it uses every single piece of equipment because everything is cooked in different ways. It’s getting all your cooking right and making sure you don’t have your oven too high,” continued Gary.

“If you have a modern oven with a fan you can get away with cooking everything on an oven setting as opposed to a grill and that wee bit more temperature helps, particularly when you are looking at black pudding and lorne sausage.

“Lorne sausage, for instance, cooks very quickly, a lot of people overcook the lorne and you get this kind of crispy thing, but if you can cook it right it’s a completely different thing to eat.

“I also like a poached egg with a cooked breakfast as opposed to a fried. I think it goes better and it gives you another texture,” the national chef added.

“I would always try and get them done the day before even. A lot of people try to do the full Scottish on Christmas morning – I know we certainly do – and I just try to get in advance of that and you can poach and refresh, keep in the fridge overnight and warm them up as you need them.

“It is quite a difficult thing to get right when you take into account all the different cookery techniques that you are using. Tattie scones in the frying pan, sausage, black pudding and the haggis in the oven.”

No beans or tomato thanks

And is there anything Gary doesn’t enjoy in his own Scottish breakfast?

“Beans! I don’t like beans in a breakfast,” he revealed. “And it’s totally personal preference, I don’t like this grilled tomato thing but I do it in the house because everyone else does.

“I’m not a fan of tomato in a breakfast, but that’s just me. I am not keen on that hot, melty, half-cooked tomato – really doesn’t do it for me at all.”

Other breakfast dishes support the fact that our morning cuisine is one of the best around.

Gary continued: “Even looking at some of our delicacies on a breakfast, such as a finnan haddie for instance, which is perfect – and obviously we have nicked kedgeree as well. You don’t see it that much, but I do it a lot at events abroad, people love it.

“That kind of Anglo Scottish / British Army type of dish which again is another really famous dish which I love to take claim for, for Scotland. There’s lots and lots of stuff that differentiates us from really anywhere in the world when it comes to morning offerings.

“I think the biggest thing that makes a difference in a Scottish breakfast is haggis. It kind of breaks up and seasons everything and it adds moisture. It’s a great thing to have anytime, but more so at the end of January with Burns Night coming up.”

Breakfast delivered

If you don’t fancy making your own breakfast, but like going out to enjoy one, something you can’t do at the moment, many restaurants and cafes are doing breakfast boxes.

Some that you can order from are listed here:

Hel’s Kitchen – Rosyth

🔥 Treat yourself and your family with our amazing MONSTER boxGive us a call for a delivery 🔥Feeds 2-4 people – £21-…

Posted by Hel's Kitchen on Sunday, 24 January 2021

The Hungry Cow – Auchterarder

Still a few slots left for the breakfast munchie boxes on Sunday morning folks 🐮

Posted by The Hungry Cow – Auchterarder on Wednesday, 23 September 2020

WeeCOOK, Barry Downs –  Carnoustie

HELLO ALL DAY BREAKFAST & BRUNCHHangover cure not guaranteed! We love a good Brekkie and a proper Brew on a Sunday…

Posted by Wee COOK on Sunday, 17 January 2021

Jessie’s Kitchen – Broughty Ferry

Breakfast Rolls and Naans(!) available 10-3.Toasties, Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Pulled Pork Stovies (!) from 12-3.Cake,…

Posted by Jessie's Kitchen on Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Brunch – Dundee

Brunch is open today🍔!10am till 3pm Call us for collection or delivery Or catch us on just eat🍟Thanks for supporting local businesses Stay safe everyone ❤

Posted by Brunch Dundee on Monday, 11 January 2021

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