Treat yourself to a well deserved take-away to help lift the lockdown blues

Food, glorious food… where would we be without it. With so much time on ours hands right now, it’s a good question. Lockdown has rekindled my long dormant interest in cooking.
Chef and restaraunt owner Stuart MuirChef and restaraunt owner Stuart Muir
Chef and restaraunt owner Stuart Muir

The cupboard wasn't exactly bare when I looked the other day, but a trip to get the messages was long overdue and definitely not happening that cold, rainy winter’s evening. It was time to cobble together a meal from what there was... pasta shells, always a safe starting point, especially when next a £1 jar of ‘shops own’ brand tomato sauce. A rummage in the fridge uncovered a tub of pitted olives with little squares of feta and four wee fat chorizo sausages. It proved a winning combination.

I've always enjoyed cooking, but have never been one for following recipes, with the exception of when I’m working from my Marco Pierre White cookery book. Marco's advice I take.

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Like many, however, throughout lockdown, I've also found myself turning to the humble take-away as a source of comfort during this crazy time. That said, there are only so many fish suppers and pizza's you can indulge in before you run the risk of no longer being able to fit through your front door. Yes, you don't need to tell me about the Covid stone... make that stones.

So occasionally I like to treat myself to something a bit special. This week it was meal from one of my favourite Edinburgh eateries, Dine, located above The Traverse and now also at Murrayfield... or they will be again when we've all had our jags and restaurants are allowed to reopen.

It was the main course that tempted me. I never can resist a good fish pie and they don't come better than Stuart Muir's, as you might expect from the man who was the youngest ever recipient of a Michelin star back in the day. Chunks of Peterhead cod, smoked haddock and Scottish salmon in a creamy sauce all topped with light fluffy mash - what's not to like.

It reminded me of the one and only time I tired my hand at a fish and leek pie. Layering potatoes, fish and leeks alternately in a deep pan before pouring on the parsley sauce (old school) and allowing it to seep through the layers as it cooked after I’d whacked it in the oven for what seemed an age. A haphazard culinary approach maybe, but I think I just about got away with it, although I not sure I want to know what Stuart's verdict would have been.

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For those who are curious, this week’s treat started with potted garlic prawns and lemon and chilli purée - no calories, honest. If you believe that, you’ll believe anything. The dessert was chocolate and tangerine cheesecake. The diet starts tomorrow.

Still, there's something important about spoiling yourself whenever you can right now. With my order from Dine came news of their St Valentine's Day home package. I've noted the date in my diary so I don't forget. As it looks like couples everywhere will be having a romantic night in this year, it could be the perfect way of getting into the good books of the better-half.

Check DIne’s At Home menus at

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