Most of us, hearing the words Scottish cuisine, summon up a deep-fried Mars bar. This is grossly unfair because, although the Scots seem to have an affection for gastronomic ghastliness (and before you complain about sneering Sassenachs, I am half Scots myself) and there is also a fine, if thin, vein of traditional delicious dishes from Highlands to Borders.

The main reason is the ingredients, which cannot be surpassed: fresh fish, from browntrout to langoustines; smoked fish, such as Finnan haddie and smoked salmon; Ayrshire hams and bacon; highland lamb and Aberdeen Angus beef an, of course, game.

The Scots have had the good sense to leave such delights to speak for themselves in simple dishes. Although vegetables are not much used (before supermarkets, many were unobtainable), baking is another strong point. If you still need to be convinced, take a look at Sue Lawrence’s Scottish Kitchen. Her recipes cleverly adapt old favourites, creating Isle of Mull cheese and ham bread-and-butter pudding (or Selkirk bannock and butter pudding with whiskey); Scotch pancakes with smoked trout and sour cream and shortbread ice-cream with sticky bananas.Slainte mhath.