Politicians and their plates: Rachael Hamilton makes a Sunday roast
The Conservative MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire loves to cook
Rachael Hamilton with her hostess trolley and autumn fruits - Image credit: Rachael Hamilton
Describe your favourite plate of food.
That’s a really difficult question. I generally just love food, but Sunday roasts are my favourite. We love shopping at Kelso Farmers’ Market and try to shop locally as much as possible. Starting with something light like smoked Scottish mackerel pate and toast or Scottish smoked salmon topped with capers, lemon and pepper with brown bread, followed by a roast and a homemade pudding such as apple and bramble crumble and custard or treacle pudding and cream. Any roast meat is fine by me: organic chicken with lemon, thyme and olive oil; roast lamb with garlic and rosemary; roast pork with apple sauce or roast beef and Yorkshire puds. All, of course served with delicious steamed green veg and roast potatoes and gravy made from scratch along with a nice glass or two of French red.
Why is it so special?
I try to clear the diary on Sundays to spend valuable time with family and friends. We all go our separate ways during the week, but on a Sunday we catch up with each other. My parents are farmers, and growing up my mother made traditional home cooked meals. I suppose I’m just doing the same for my kids. A Sunday is also an excuse to see friends, because I don’t see enough of them.
Who have you shared this plate of food with and what was the occasion?
I don’t need an excuse to cook! My husband and I compete to be the best in the kitchen and get the kids to score our dishes out of ten. I have extensive recipe books and shop for the ingredients; he makes it up as he goes along depending on what’s in the cupboard. He calls it store cupboard foraging.
More generally, what’s your most memorable meal and why?
My best recent meal was a Scottish Highland beef burger, chips and salad at Beef & Liberty in Hong Kong Airport. My most memorable meal was cooked by my husband for my birthday. It was memorable because he actually cooked his favourite food, Borders Aberdeen Angus steak tartare and Scottish grouse.
Have you ever had any culinary disasters?
During the 2017 election campaign, I had very little time to see friends, so I decided to invite a few round for a last-minute supper cooking my absolute favourite recipe ‘Feel-good chicken curry’. Perhaps I was tired but I really mucked it up – the sauce was thin and the chicken over-cooked. Everyone agreed it was awful. The culinary disaster didn’t stop us having a great night though!
What would be your last meal of choice?
I don’t really mind, as long as my favourite people were with me. Okay then, perhaps a full cooked Scottish breakfast.
What’s your comfort food?
A cheese omelette.
Is there any plate of food that you would never eat?
Shellfish – I’m allergic – and I really don’t like ready-made meals. You just don’t know what’s in them.
What is your favourite thing on the Scottish Parliament menu?
Chicken gumbo or celeriac soup.
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