TWO of Scotland's favourite musicians, Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, have launched a new cookbook putting a healthy spin on traditional Scottish recipes.
Stovies Reloaded, developed by nutritional scientists in Aberdeen, shows how old recipes can be adapted in the light of improved nutritional knowledge.
Aly and Phil sampled a healthier version of traditional stovies – one of 20 recipes that appear in the book – and the ever-popular accordion and fiddle duo gave it their seal of approval.
Phil said: "We are huge fans of quality Scottish produce and we are known to be partial to a bowl of stovies or two! It's a great idea to come up with a healthy take on traditional Scottish recipes as we could all do with a bit of healthier eating."
Stovies Reloaded has been developed by experts from at the University of Aberdeen's Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health to help Scots enjoy healthier versions of some of the country's most famous fare.
Scotch pie, Cullen skink and Dundee cake are just some of recipes that have been adapted to contain less salt, sugar and fat.
Professor Garry Duthie from the Rowett Institute said the aim was to encourage people to rediscover traditional cooking skills and to eat a healthier diet.
"Stovies Reloaded is our light-hearted take on traditional Scottish recipes and how they can be modified in the light of increased nutritional knowledge," he said.
"There is, however, a more serious underlying message. Scotland still has a poor record in terms of diet and health. We hope that these 'reloaded' recipes may play a small part in encouraging people to revisit traditional cooking skills, take an interest in traditional Scottish fare and make healthy meal choices.
"We selected recipes from across the country and used specialist equipment to analyse the levels of salt, sugar and fat they contained. We then reformulated them to reduce these levels as low as possible without compromising on taste."
Prof Duthie explained that many of the traditional recipes derived from Scotland were originally created with healthy, natural ingredients such as beef and lamb, oats, barley and root vegetables. However, the move to a more industrial-based economy led to many changes in the dietary patterns of Scots.
"Reviving traditional Scottish recipes known to our grandmothers and great-grandmothers is not straightforward," Prof Duthie added. "The recipes have been largely forgotten by the younger generations and the fast pace of modern life and loss of traditional cooking skills now makes it difficult to prepare and cook many traditional foods from scratch at home.
"We hope that bringing back an appreciation of traditional Scottish food will bring benefits from a culinary and health perspective in the Scotland of today."
The stovies sampled at the book launch were produced by Crombies butchers of Edinburgh – part of a network of more than 300 butchers' shops, mostly in Scotland, that are members of Quality Meat Scotland's Scotch Butchers Club. It has been running a campaign to encourage consumers to "Make the Most of the Whole Roast".
Uel Morton, chief executive of QMS, said the red meat promotional body was delighted to support the new cookbook.
"The ethos of this cookbook ties in perfectly with our messaging around making the most of the top-quality food we produce in Scotland – including our Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb.
"We are also encouraging consumers to better understand how to make the most of leftover meat and we have a dietitian and a nutritionist on our staff who work hard to show children and others how to cook healthy, tasty meals using beef, lamb and pork."
Stovies Reloaded is available online from www.abdn.ac.uk/rowett/policy-industry/stovies.php
Healthier stovies recipe
900 g (2 lb) potatoes, thickly sliced
1 onion, thickly sliced
50 g (2 oz) vegetable fat spread
300 ml stock using a reduced-salt stock cube
Pepper to taste
225 g (8 oz) cooked leftover lean Scotch Beef, lean Scotch Lamb or other lean meat
Melt the vegetable fat spread in a pan and add the potatoes and onion. Fry for a few minutes.
Add the stock and pepper. Cover and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Add the meat and cook until the potatoes are slightly brown and the meat is hot.