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The Kilted Chef: Make sure spice is right with these recipes

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Craig Wilson presents a couple of easy-to-prepare dishes to help keep the romance alive for hard-working couples, long after the magic of Valentine’s Day has become lost in the mists of time.

Valentine’s Day may have passed, but let’s face it, between home working and home schooling, we all need to put some time aside for a “date night”.

My recipe for smoked salmon and dill pate is super simple and quick to prepare.

The combination of the dill, saffron and lemon makes it fresh and light, while the brittle crumb gives extra texture and crunch.

My spicy “date night” sponge is a twist on the traditional sticky toffee pudding, and perfect for sharing.

It’s indulgent and moreish, so make sure you don’t leave the table, or there may be none left when you return!

Whipped smoked salmon and dill pate with Orkney oat and walnut brittle crumb

(Serves 2)


For the pate:

  • 200g smoked salmon trimmings
  • 10g fresh dill
  • A pinch of saffron
  • Half a lemon
  • 150ml double cream

For the oat brittle crumb:

  • 50g Orkney whole oat oatcakes
  • 30g walnuts
  • 15g caster sugar
  • Pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 10ml Mackintosh of Glendaveny Rapeseed Oil
  • Pinch of sea salt

To garnish:

  • 2 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 2 pieces smoked salmon trimming
  • A sprig of dill
  • Half a lemon, cut into wedges


  1. In a food processor blitz 200g smoked salmon until it reaches a smooth consistency, add 10g dill and blitz again until mixed through.
  2. In a pan squeeze half lemon, a pinch of saffron and warm through. Take off the heat and add the mixture to the food processor and blitz again until mixed through.
  3. Reduce the speed of the food processor and slowly pour in the double cream. Once combined, remove the mixture from the food processor and divide into small serving dishes and chill for 30 mins.
  4. Crumble the oatcakes (perfect to use up those that are broken) and chop the walnuts.
  5. Pre-heat a pan, add the sugar and stir with wooden spoon, tip in the crumbled oatcakes, chopped walnuts and a pinch of cracked black pepper.
  6. Keep stirring on a gentle heat until the sugar melts and caramelises the mixture.
  7. Add a pinch of sea salt and the rapeseed oil and stir until the oil coats the mixture.

To serve:

  1. Remove the pate from the fridge and garnish with a small piece of smoked salmon and piece of dill.
  2. Place on a serving plate or slate.
  3. Place the oat brittle crumb on each plate arranged in a line.
  4. Place a spoon of crème fraiche on each plate, and with the back of the spoon, swipe downwards to create a design.
  5. To finish, add a small wedge of lemon.

Date night spicy sponge

(Serves 2, plus leftovers) 


For the sponge:

  • 150g salted butter
  • 100g soft dark brown sugar
  • 200g dates
  • 300ml cold water
  • Half a tsp ground ginger
  • Half a tsp ground nutmeg
  • Half a tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g self-raising flour plus enough to line a loaf tin
  • 15g bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 local, free-range eggs

For the sauce:

  • 10g salted butter
  • 50g soft dark brown sugar
  • 100ml double or whipping cream
  • Quarter tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. Grease and lightly flour a standard-size loaf tin (approx 18 x 9cm) and set aside.
    Pre-heat your oven to 185C/165C Fan/ 355F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. For the sponge: Put the dates, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon into a pan and add the water.
  3. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from the heat, add the bicarbonate of soda and mix well. Allow to cool.
  5. Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and cream together.
  6. You can use your hand to do this, as the heat of your hand is perfect for bringing the ingredients together nicely.
  7. Beat one egg into the mixture, then sieve in half of the self-raising flour and mix.
  8. Then repeat the process with the second egg and remainder of the flour.
  9. Add the cooled date mixture in and stir everything through with a spoon.
  10. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and pop into the oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to rest.
  11. Once cool, remove from the tin and place on sharing plate.
  12. For the sauce: Put all of the sauce ingredients into a pan. On a gentle heat keep stirring until the butter has melted.
  13. Once everything is melted and combined, pour the warm sauce over the sponge. Get two spoons and indulge!

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