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Politicians and their plates: Finlay Carson makes beef wellington

Politicians and their plates: Finlay Carson makes beef wellington

Finlay Carson's beef wellington - Image credit: Finlay Carson

Describe your favourite plate of food

I have very much a savoury palate and would always choose a starter over a sweet and even then, given the choice, I’d have a cheese board. One of my favourite starters to cook is creamy garlic mushroom on crispy toast. I remember cooking it one Christmas as my contribution to Christmas dinner. When my elderly father was asked what his favourite part of the meal was, he said the mushrooms, much to the upset of the main cook…

However, my favourite plate of food is beef wellington. I love the combination of a lovely fillet of Scotch Beef and the combination of pâté and pastry and gravy. On the side, some dauphinoise potatoes and fresh garden peas.

Why is it so special?

It is special simply because of the lovely flavours! I am definitely a meat lover and there can be nothing better than perfectly cooked fillet of beef. I am very lucky to be close to some of the best butchers in the country in Castle Douglas. People travel many miles to buy their meat in one of the three fantastic butchers.

Who have you shared this plate of food with and what was the occasion?

My partner, Jackie, and I live in a very small house with a tiny kitchen, so making any sort of complicated meal is very difficult. Being in Edinburgh during the week, weekend meal times are a really important time for us. We are both quite competitive when it comes to cooking and often try to surprise each other. Beef wellington can be prepared and popped into the oven just before you are ready to eat. I love the look on her face when she was expecting another of my curries and I produced the beef wellington. It looks very impressive and is easier to cook than it appears.

More generally, what’s your most memorable meal and why?

My most memorable meal was the first meal I cooked for Jackie. She had travelled up to Edinburgh expecting me to have bought a carryout. I had prepared garlic mushroom starter (again) and then fillet steak. I will always remember the look on her face when she walked in the door. She was very impressed.

Have you had any culinary disasters?

Oh yes, regularly. I appear to be totally incapable of poaching an egg! It is a weekly challenge.

What would be your last meal of choice?

This answer is maybe a bit of a cheat… It would definitely be a BBQ with my family around me, good music playing and a beer in my hand! I am never happier than when I am cooking in the garden, rain or shine.

What’s your comfort food?

My late mum used to make the very best macaroni cheese, so it is comforting in more than one way.

Anything you’d never eat?

I can’t bear the taste of kidney, even in a steak pie.

Favourite thing on the Scottish Parliament menu?

I love the chicken and leak pie that used to be on the menu, but haven’t seen it for a while!

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