Politicians and their plates: Shona Robison’s comforting lasagne
The SNP MSP for Dundee City East also really likes soup
Describe your favourite plate of food
Juggling work and family life has meant, especially midweek, that I need to cook quick, nutritious meals for a teenage daughter whose stock phrase to me every night is “what’s for tea?” One of the best gadgets I’ve ever purchased, which hasn’t just gathered dust in a cupboard, is my soup maker. I use it many times a week and I admit to being a bit of a soup hand. I love a bowl of freshly made soup, which is often enough for me when I get home from work. My daughter loves it too, leek and potato soup is probably our favourite midweek staple.
Weekends afford me more time to cook, although I’m not one for spending hours in the kitchen. So at weekends I will attempt to produce some of my family favourites. But my favourite plate of food is my homemade lasagne, either the meat or veg version. I love how comforting it is – a rich meat or veg base topped with a really cheesy sauce, served with a simple green salad and garlic bread.
Why is it so special?
It’s special because it’s a dish that can be placed in the centre of the table and served from there, the flavours are great, it’s rich, filling and quite simple to make. I like to put loads of garlic in the sauce! Using good quality steak mince is important and to make sure that the onions and peppers are well cooked before adding the beef. Make sure you don’t skimp on the cheese either!
Who have you shared this plate with and on what occasion?
I like to serve this when I have family visiting, maybe when my sister who lives down south and her family come to visit. It’s a great dish to take from oven to table with the minimum of fuss. My niece’s son apparently once raved about my lasagne for weeks after they visited, which is nice to hear.
What’s your most memorable meal and why?
My most memorable meal is Christmas dinner, which I’ve cooked each year for over 20 years. It’s both a challenge and enormously rewarding when it’s served up to (usually) great praise. However, this year is a departure from that ritual and my daughter, my partner and I are dining out on Christmas Day. It’s quite a nice thought to not have to fight with the turkey on Christmas morning and allow someone else to do all the hard work for once.
I have had many. The one that springs to mind was when my late Papa came to visit me in my flat, about 25 years ago, and I decided to push the boat out and cook roast beef. Unaware of the different cuts of meat and how they should be cooked, I just put the piece of brisket in the oven and cooked it for ages. My poor Papa tried to bite into it and ended up chewing and chewing until we all agreed it was inedible. You really could have soled your boots with it!
Last meal of choice?
I think in order to make the most of the time left, I would have family and friends round for a carry-out curry. Probably a korma for me, with some nice cold beers.
My late mum used to make fantastic mince and tatties, which reminds me of my childhood.
Anything you’d never eat?
Favourite thing on Scottish Parliament menu?
Soup! Soup! Soup! Always a good choice and being a creature of habit, I find it hard to resist.
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