Historic Scottish recipes brought back to life at Blair Castle

To celebrate the Blair Castle Highlanders Parade – the annual march of Europe’s only remaining private army – the attraction’s chefs are recreating centuries’ old recipes found in the Castle’s archives.

Published 22nd May 2017
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

Dating as far back as the 1600s, the recipes have been reimagined for 2017 and will be available for guests attending the Parade on Saturday 27 th May in the Tullibardine Restaurant.

Here are the recipes for you to try out at home.

Atholl Brose

A traditional tipple, which according to local legend, is named after the 1st Earl of Atholl.

The Earl is said to have quashed a Highland rebellion in 1475 by filling the well of rebel leader the ‘Wild Man of the Isles’, with the mixture.

The enemy enjoyed the drink so much, he passed out and was easily captured. This recipe dates from 27th November 1990.

To make 1 Quart (1.1 litre)


• 4 x dessert spoons of runny honey

• 4 x sherry glassfuls (around 720ml) of pinhead oatmeal

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• A good quality whisky

• 1 litre bottle to store


To prepare the oatmeal

1. Working a handful at a time, add the oatmeal to a basin and mix with cold water, before passing through a fine strainer. Be careful not to make the oatmeal too watery.

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To prepare Atholl Brose

1. Add the honey to the oatmeal and stir well so both come together

2. Add to a 1 litre bottle and top up with your favourite whisky

3. Give the mixture a good shake before serving

Essence of Beef

The equivalent of today’s ‘pulled’ or ‘shredded’ beef, this recipe was brought back to the Castle by the Atholl family’s cook, following a trip to Westminster in the early 1900s.

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Ingredients (serves 6):

• 6lbs of high quality, lean beef

• 900g of potatoes for mashing

• 50g butter

• 3 tbsp milk or cream

• Salt & pepper

• Spring greens to serve


1. Cut up the beef in to small pieces

2. Add to a slow cooker with ½ teacup of water and a small piece of salt, roughly the

size of the top of your finger, and leave to stew for 6-8 hours

3. Remove and strain through a sieve, mashing the beef with a spoon until all the juice and pulp are out of the meat, leaving just the fibre

4. Sit to one side and to cool

5. Peel the potatoes, chop in to small chunks and boil in a large saucepan for approx. 10mins

6. Meanwhile, prepare the spring greens, chopping roughly in to pieces and add to a pan of boiling water for about 4 minutes

7. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain well and mash until smooth

8. Stir in the butter and cream to the potatoes and season with salt and pepper

9. Drain the greens and season before serving alongside the beef and mash

Rich Port Wine and Venison Casserole

This recipe was originally titled ‘Roe Deer Mariane’ and is a very slow cooked venison stew, which in the 18th century would’ve taken almost a month to prepare.

Ingredients (Serves: 6)

• 55g butter

• 2 onions, finely chopped

• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

• 2 potatoes, diced

• 300ml Port wine

• 500ml Beef Stock

• 2 tablespoons tomato puree

• 1 bay leaf

• 1 sprig fresh rosemary

• 1 sprig fresh thyme

• 1.35kg venison steak, diced

• 50g Bacon Lardons - cooked


1. In a large casserole dish, melt the butter and add the onions, cooking and stirring for 5 minutes until soft

2. Add the carrots, potatoes, Port wine, stock, purée and herbs, and give a good stir

3. Add the venison and cook over a low heat for 3 hours until the venison is tender

4. Sprinkle with cooked bacon lardons and serve

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