As one looks forward to summer, here are 4 Instant Pot recipes perfect for sunny days and fun times with friends. And what’s the point of good food, if there’s no fine wine to drink it with?

Well, no point really! This is why the recipes presented have been paired with a top-quality wine each. The food-wine pairings mentioned here are all made for each other, like yin and yang!

And why the Instant Pot? Well, the device cooks food faster, holding more flavor and moisture, while also retaining more nutrients than any other cooking method.


Instant Pot Mongolian Beef

This Mongolian beef recipe is perhaps the easiest beef recipe on Corrie Cooks! It takes just 10 minutes of cook time in the Instant Pot – half the typical time required to cook beef, which is usually 20+ minutes. The Instant Pot also ensures that the beef is juicier and way more delicious than otherwise.

The strong flavors of beef need an equally powerful wine that will not get overpowered by the meat. Most wines can’t hold up to beef, and among those that do, it doesn’t get more exotic than the 100% Sangiovese varietal – Le Miccine Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2014. Just 1200 bottles of the wine were produced from a single Italian vineyard in 2014. Its been aged in oak for 30 months, with an additional 6 months in the bottle. This wine is lively, fresh, and pure, with notes of blackcurrant, black cherry, and a hint of sweetness. The wine is very delicately balanced, and the flavors on the palate deliver exactly what was promised on the nose.


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ lb top round beef/flank steak, cut in slim strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup Hoisin sauce
  • ½ tsp ginger, fresh, chopped
  • ½ cup green onion, chopped, as an optional garnish


  1. Place all the ingredients into the Instant Pot.
  2. Seal the lid, and cook for 10 minutes under high pressure.
  3. When done, let the pressure release naturally.
  4. Stir once, and serve with rice, broccoli, and a glass of the very exotic and rare, Le Miccine Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2014.


Instant Pot Crumb Fried Shrimp With Triple Mushrooms Treat

Shrimp and mushrooms join hands with Asian flavors to deliver a dish that’s easy to make, and tough to resist. A fresh Pinot Grigio goes well with the seafood, as well as the creaminess of the dish. The perfect choice is Adria Vini Conviviale Pinot Grigio 2019. This light-golden wine has ripe fruity notes on the nose, and delivers good texture as well as weight on the palate, along with a dose of fresh citrus acidity.


  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • 4 tbs white button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 tbs cremini mushrooms
  • 1 cup seafood inventory/stock
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 lbs shrimp fritters, crumb fried
  • ½ lb scallops
  • Pepper and salt, to season


  1. Put the Instant Pot into sauté mode, and throw in the butter, garlic, and onions.
  2. Cook for 3 minutes, and then stir in the mushrooms.
  3. Cook for 2 more minutes, and mix in the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Close the lid, and cook for 5 minutes under high pressure.
  5. Allow the pressure to release naturally, and serve hot with a glass of cool Adria Vini Conviviale Pinot Grigio 2019.


Instant Pot Chocolate Cake

This melt in your mouth chocolate cake is complimented perfectly by a peach-pink glass of Stanton & Killeen Rutherglen Muscat. This Muscat is made from late-harvested grapes, is lightly fortified, and comes from Rutherglen, Victoria, the Australian region famous for sweet wines. It offers a typical grapey Muscat nose, with tasting notes of caramelized sugar and raisins.


  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 3 whisked eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Powdered sugar, as a decorative topping


  1. Line a 6-inch cake form carefully with parchment paper, ensuring it also covers the sides.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together – flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and sugar – in a large bowl.
  3. Mix in milk, melted butter, vanilla extract, and eggs.
  4. Pour in the batter, and cover with foil.
  5. Pour the water into the Instant Pot, and put in a trivet.
  6. Carefully place the cake form with batter on top of the trivet.
  7. Cook for 30 minutes under high pressure.
  8. When done, let the pressure release naturally.
  9. Take the cake form out, remove the foil, and allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes. Slice into portions of your choice.
  10. Sprinkle slices with the powdered sugar, and serve with a chilled glass of Stanton & Killeen Rutherglen Muscat.


Instant Pot Basil And Rosemary Braised Beef

Another beef dish calls for another coveted classic. Chateau Lanessan Les Caleches de Lanessan (DL) 2011 is one of 2 wines produced by Chateau Lanessan, a highly-rated estate with a known history of 700+ years. It is located in the heart of French wine country – Bordeaux, and this wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (36%), and Petit Verdot. It is full-bodied, medium to dark ruby red, with a hint of acidity, and delicate, silky smooth tannins. A versatile wine, it does well when consumed young or aged for a decade.


  • 2 lbs beef
  • 1 tbs Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 tbs basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 cup water
  • Black pepper and salt, as per your taste


  1. Rub the beef with black pepper, Italian seasoning, and salt.
  2. Put the Instant Pot into saute mode, and pour in the olive oil. When hot, put the beef in, and cook for 4 minutes, turning the meat around.
  3. Add in the basil and rosemary, to cook for another minute.
  4. Add water, and cook for 15 minutes under high pressure.
  5. Let the pressure release naturally.
  6. Place the meat on a serving plate, slice, and serve. Don’t forget a generous pouring of Chateau Lanessan Les Caleches de Lanessan (DL) 2011 to go with it.


And when summer comes there’s a lot more to look forward to at Dornoch, besides great food and drinks. There’s golf, North Coast 500 (500-mile route around the Scottish coast), walking and cycling trails, as well as visits to famous distilleries to choose from. Best of all, to rest after all that activity, are historic castle rooms, or luxury Black Isle cottages.

Hosting Weddings here at Dornoch Castle has been one of the things Ros and I have most enjoyed over the past 20 years, especially Ros, who has tallied up a total in the hundreds that she personally has overseen, and she has the wedding albums to prove it!

We take great pride in knowing that we have provided the venue for a couple’s very special day. We get to share it with them, and we especially love it if they come back a few years later, perhaps on their anniversary, or when they have a young baby to show us. Many people marrying here have had a connection with Dornoch, or it can just be that they wanted a Highland castle wedding. When Madonna had her son Rocco christened over the road at Dornoch Cathedral back in 2000, then marrying Guy Ritchie at Skibo, we received a huge wedding spin off the following few years, especially with American brides.

Weddings can be costly affairs though, and so to celebrate our 20th anniversary of ownership we are offering the amazing deal of a winter wedding for 40 guests for £2020!  Extra guests can easily be added on a pro rata basis. The offer is open from November 2019 to end March 2020, and November 2020 to March 2021!

We can’t wait to see who takes us up on this fantastic offer – weddings have changed a bit over the years in that nowadays, many couples want to make it a celebration over a number of days, and it needn’t be a weekend, there can be weddings any day of the week now.

Some bridal couples only want their close family and friends there, so 40 guests may suit them perfectly. Sometimes there are no evening reception guests.  Weddings can be for a second or third time, and can be same sex ceremonies. They can be civil or religious. All of this has certainly opened up the market.

Ros has plenty more room in her current wedding album, so please get in touch if you are looking for a date this winter!  All T&C’s, and more details are here on this website!

20 years

Join us as we look to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of our family ownership of Dornoch Castle Hotel!

We’ll be keeping you updated with all sorts of news and anecdotes over the next few months as we count down to the anniversary in July 2020.

We can’t believe that twenty years have passed since Ros and myself bought the business. It’s always been a family business, with our sons, Philip and Simon, earning  their keep by working in the bar and hotel throughout their university holidays, doing whatever was needed to help us out, and then becoming full time in the business as it grew.

We’re really proud that they have both chosen to make the hotel, and our distillery, their full time career. Working in the bar, and becoming familiar with all the different Malt Whiskies and so on, led them to their exciting rare whisky sideline. The incredible depth of knowledge they have built up on over the years in the industry has brought Dornoch Castle huge success as an International Whisky Bar venue, with numerous awards and accolades, many of which we still hold for our whisky selections.

Without them, we would not have been able to diversify the business into launching and running our own Gin and Whisky distillery – becoming the first Hotel in the UK, if not the World, to do so! We’re also the only UK gin distillery that exports so much gin to our growing customer base in the Far East.

Quite a journey for Philip and Simon, whilst still helping us to run the hotel through all the usual economic ups and downs over the past twenty years!

In the year 2000, our new ownership coincided with global superstar Madonna deciding to come to Scotland to get married to Guy Ritchie at Skibo, and have their son, Rocco, christened over the road at Dornoch Cathedral.

It was a fortuitous start for us, creating a real frisson of excitement in the area, and certainly boosting bookings from our American cousins, who continue to love coming to Dornoch.  It also boosted our own wedding trade as we were able to say to brides, quite rightly, that they could get married in the Cathedral and have their reception right over the road with us.

A highlight for us this year has been refurbishing our Restaurant, which now bears the name of our Head Chef, Grant Macnicol. He returned to us last year, having trained at North Highland College, and then started his career with us in 2004 as a Sous Chef, going on to win Scottish Young Chef of the Year in 2007, and becoming a Young Highlands Ambassador. In 2008, having been Head Chef at Dornoch Castle for three years, he decided to leave and work in other restaurants and hotels throughout Scotland.

Having returned last year as our Head Chef and new Partner in the business, Grant quickly put his stamp on the menu, with inventive seasonal dishes indicative of his time spent in two and three rosette kitchens throughout Scotland.

Grant is keen to help us develop additional menus showcasing our organic gin, and build up our private dining, and afternoon tea trade.

It’s been wonderful for Ros and I to welcome Grant back as an experienced and passionate chef with so many fresh ideas. We hope that our customers, old and new are enjoying his food, and the new look restaurant!

We’d also like to pay tribute to our fantastic General Manager, Matthew Logie, who joined us in 2017, and has also really helped us these past two years.  Hailing from Inverness, Matt previously worked as assistant manager for a couple of major Inverness hotels, so has a great tourism and restaurant based background. Overall, we hope that the past twenty years have seen us all play a part in putting Dornoch on the map – along with Madonna!

Make sure you browse the special offers we have come up with to celebrate our twenty years – see below – many more exciting announcements to come!


With much love

Colin and Ros