Scottish cuisine is misrepresented in the minds of most people as being based around unhealthy fried foods that cause the country to suffer with more than its fair share of diet-related problems.
This is a media myth that gets repeated and then gathered strength, but of course it is far from the actual truth.
For instance, with a long history of raising cattle on some of the finest farmland in the world, Scottish beef is recognised as being amongst the very best you can buy. Cattle fed on fresh, green grass in natural environments means that top quality Scottish beef is a healthy option that also provides unbeatable flavour at a very good price.
All Scottish beef is regulated by the food standards agency and that means you can be sure of what you are eating. After the recent scares about horse meat being sold as beef in pre-prepared ready meals, more people than ever are taking steps towards a healthier diet by being careful about what they buy.
This means that people want to know that their meat hasn’t been treated with antibiotics, or fed by-products or even other animals.
You can use Scottish beef to make a whole range of meals, from traditional steaks through to many regional variations on a beef stew.
A basic beef stew has been around for centuries across many different countries where it may be known by other names. In the British Isles beef, potatoes and other vegetables put in a pot and cooked in the oven is a strong favourite across numerous regions.
However, elsewhere in the world a similar approach can result in dishes such as goulash, couscous and chill con carne. Each of these will have other flavourings from things that are commonly used in the regions they originate from. Paprika features heavily in each of these three as it is the intensely flavoured and coloured spice made from dried and ground chilli peppers.
Hungary, Serbia, Spain, and Portugal have long used the spice to flavour some of their most famous traditional dishes. Many people like paprika because it can come in mild and hot varieties and therefore can be adapted to most palates.
Steaks and roasts
Of course, some of the most popular beef dishes are really focused on the taste and flavour of the meat unadorned by other spices and seasonings. A grilled steak served simply with potatoes is one of the most popular dishes of all time and in Britain, the Sunday roast holds a particular place in the image of the nation.