Much as we shall all miss the Royal Highland Show this year, us Scots are made of strong stuff and the virtual version will bring us together until we can once again greet our friends, caress the Clydesdales, shop till we drop and perhaps taste a Scottish gin or two along the way!

The sights and sounds will be online … but for the tastes you’ll have to cook up the recipes in your own kitchen this year! We have a great bunch of chefs lined for you so be sure to watch our fabulous programme of demonstrations.

This year, instead of Scotland’s Larder Live Cookery Theatre, we bring you chefs at home, cooking up a feast. Neil Forbes, of Café St Honore, is preparing North Ronaldsay mutton and pigeon; Paul Newman, of Errichel, cooks his own Large Black pig and new season’s rhubarb; and Craig Wilson, of Eat on the Green, gets innovative with butteries and Scotch Beef, along with an exciting strawberry dessert.

Last but not least, Billy Hamilton, of The Buccleuch Arms, along with his head chef, Gareth Gilder, will regale you with their double act at Hardiesmill and in their own walled garden, with Jacob’s Ladder beef and wild roe deer.

I guarantee, whatever your cooking skills, you will learn tips from these experts and be highly entertained along the way. Their year-round support of Scottish produce is absolute and their loyalty to the Royal Highland over the years outstanding. By sharing their recipes, there’s no excuse for you not to be inspired and enjoy a feast.

Elsewhere in the world of food we will have the Scottish Bread Championship, created by and in association with Scottish Food Guide and Scotland The Bread.

Like the Scottish Dairy Championships, they will be judged at Ingliston and filmed for viewing over the event. We have an excellent number of entries across all categories, a line up of specialist judges, and a wonderful showcase of artisan breads and dairy produce in the ring!

Scotland’s Royal Highland Show is precious, indeed priceless: for farming, food production, the people of Scotland, tourism and as a world showcase for Scotland’s brand. The show is part of our heritage and at the same time provides a snapshot of contemporary Scotland – its agriculture, speciality food and drink, country sports, skills and crafts.

Few places in the world still have such an impressive event and it is to be valued and treasured … so until we can return in our hundreds of thousands to Ingliston, let’s savour the bits we can online and gather for a virtual hug!

And here's a taste of what to expect.

To start ... we have Neil Forbes of Cafe St Honoré's Borders wood pigeon with celeriac and salt-baked beetroot

Serves 2

Prep time: 45 minutes; cooking time: 20 minutes plus 3 hours to salt-bake the beets

Borders wood pigeon to start a la Cafe St Honore

Border's wood pigeon to start a la Cafe St Honore


1 whole pigeon for a starter; or 2 whole pigeons for a main course

1 tablespoon cold-pressed rapeseed oil (to marinate the pigeon)

1 garlic clove, smashed (to marinate the pigeon)

2-3 sprigs of thyme (to marinate the pigeon)

75g good bacon, skin off, bone off

1 red beetroot, skin on

1 golden beetroot, skin on

1/3 celeriac

100ml double cream (for the celeriac purée)

1 garlic clove, smashed (for the celeriac purée)

3 sprigs thyme (for the celeriac purée)

2 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil

A few wild garlic leaves

1 shallot, finely diced

1 tablespoon curly parsley

A few knobs of butter

Isle of Skye salt

Black pepper

1-2 tablespoons of good gravy or reduced chicken stock

A few sprigs of chervil


Heat the oven to 150°C/Gas Mark 2

Cover the beetroots with a little oil and salt then wrap in foil and bake for three hours, or until soft. Once cooled, peel and cut into slices. Set aside.

Make a marinade for the pigeon using the oil, garlic and thyme in a shallow dish. Rub over the pigeon and leave for a couple of hours, or overnight.

Cut half of the celeriac into cubes then par-boil in salted water. Set aside.

Make a purée with the remaining celeriac. Cut into a small dice and heat in a pan on the hob with the cream, garlic, thyme and seasoning until soft. Remove the thyme and purée in a food processor or pass through a fine sieve. Check the seasoning and keep warm.

Remove the breasts from the pigeon and season with salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of oil in frying pan until hot then fry the breasts for a minute or two on each side. Add a little butter along with the garlic and thyme from the marinade. Once browned, set to one side on a clean tray.

Return the frying pan to the heat and add the remaining oil and the lardons. Fry on a moderate heat for 3-5 minutes until just golden. Next, add the diced celeriac and beetroot to the pan until they start to colour. Then add the chopped shallots and about a tablespoon of butter. Stir through the parsley and set to one side.

Wilt the wild garlic in a small pot with the remaining butter and some seasoning, this will only take a minute or two to cook.

Just before plating up, give the pigeon a quick heat under the grill and warm the gravy.

To serve, add a spoonful or two of the purée to the centre of a warm plate and top with the wild garlic. Then arrange the bacon, diced celeriac and beetroot around the outside.

Carve the pigeon lengthways, season with salt and add on top of the wild garlic. Trickle a spoonful or two of gravy around the dish and garnish with a few chervil leaves. Serve immediately.

For the main:

This is Neil's North Ronaldsay mutton with herb crumb and petit pois à la Française

Serves 2

Prep time: 20 minutes; cooking time: 30 minutes

Neils dish feature North Ronaldsay mutton ... looks like a real treat

Neil's dish feature North Ronaldsay mutton ... looks like a real treat


1 piece of seam-boned leg (topside) of mutton from North Ronaldsay (a gigot steak would do)

1 tablespoon cold-pressed rapeseed oil (to marinate the mutton)

1 garlic clove, smashed (to marinate the mutton)

1 sprig rosemary (to marinate the mutton)

1 cup of fresh or frozen petit pois or peas

4-6 potatoes (he likes Jersey Royals), scrubbed (skin on) and parboiled until just soft, then halved

1 head little gem lettuce, shredded

75g good bacon or four thick rashers, cut into lardons

1 shallot, finely diced

2 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs

1 spring onion

1 tablespoon curly parsley, chopped

1 sprig rosemary, chopped

1 or 2 cloves of garlic

A few mint leaves, chopped

2-3 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

A good knob of butter

Isle of Skye salt

Black pepper


Make a marinade using the oil, garlic and rosemary in a shallow dish. Rub over the mutton and leave for a couple of hours, or better still, overnight.

Heat an oven-proof frying pan on the hob to a moderate heat then add a tablespoon of oil. Season the mutton and add to the pan along with the rosemary and garlic from the marinade, turning and colouring all over.

Add the potatoes, season again, then add a wee knob of butter to colour the meat and add flavour, this will take a couple of minutes. Set the potatoes to one side and keep warm.

Either place the pan with the mutton in a hot oven (180°C), or under a grill to finish cooking, being careful not to overcook the meat. This will take a few minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest.

To make the breadcrumb topping, add a tablespoon of oil to a pan and bring to a moderate heat. Add the shallots and garlic and fry until just golden. Add the breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper, then add some finely-chopped herbs like parsley and rosemary. Add a little butter and stir. Once cooked, set to one side

Next, fry the lardons in a tablespoon of hot oil on the hob for two to three minutes until golden. Now add the shallots, spring onions, peas, some butter and give it a good stir. Season and add the shredded lettuce, mint leaves and some chopped parsley.

Brush the mutton with mustard and top with the breadcrumbs. Give it a little flash of heat under a hot grill. Remove from the heat and carve. It should be nice and pink.

To serve, place the peas on one side of the dish and the potatoes on the other and place the mutton on top of the peas. Serve at once with a tiny trickle of cold-pressed rapeseed oil.