A Taste of Scotland

My daughter having been in Scotland last week, I have been sampling some Scottish recipes.

She prepared some very, very tasty soup for us called cullen skink; it was one of the tastiest meals I have had for a long time.
I also ate haggis with her last week, and enjoyed it greatly.
In fact, I ordered some from my supermarket so that I can have some next week!

Personally, I think haggis tastes delicious.
You could easily (well, fairly easily) make your own!

A haggis boiled for 2 hours will keep for 2 weeks, because it becomes very hard.
Any good cookbook will have cooking instructions, or you can follow these.

Here is a recipe:

1 sheep's stomach
1 calf's kidney
1 calf's pluck (heart,lights etc.)
1 bay leaf
12 sprigs of parsley
1 handful of young green onions
1 handful of shallots
1 handful of small mushrooms
A tablespoonful of butter
1 wineglass of Madeira wine
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons gravy
2 egg yolks
1 handful of brown breadcrumbs
8 ounces of lightly toasted oatmeal

Thoroughly wash the stomach, scald in boiling water,soak overnight in salted water.
Wash the calf's kidney and pluck in salted water, trim and mince finely.
In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients.
The mixture should be firm and moist.
Pack the mixture into the stomach until three-quarters full.
Stitch the stomach together with strong thread.
Prick to make sure it does not burst when cooking.

Simmer for two or three hours.

It really is a delicious treat!
Many butchers will sell you a readymade haggis.
Probably a good idea?

As for me, I shall certainly buy it ready-made!

Now for the Cullen Skink, a fish soup with real zing.
This is an excellent winter warmer.

Scottish Cullen Skink - Smoked Haddock Chowder Recipe

Cullen is a small town in North east of Scotland and the home of one of Scotland's most famous dishes, Cullen Skink, which is a hearty soup and traditionally made with Finnan haddock (smoked haddock), potatoes and onions or leeks.

Cullen Skink is also known as Smoked Haddock Chowder in other parts of Britain as the recipe is very similar.

1 ¼ pints/700 ml milk
½ cup/ small handful flat leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
1lb /450g undyed, smoked haddock fillet
½ stick/55g butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
8oz/ 250g new potato chunks,partly cooked
Salt and pepper

Preparation: Serves 4
Pour the milk into a large saucepan.
Remove the leaves from the parsley and add the stalks to the milk.
Finely chop the leaves and keep to one side.
Add the bay leaf and the haddock to the milk.
Bring the milk to a gentle boil and cook for 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and leave for 5 minutes for the herbs to infuse their flavour into the milk.
Remove the haddock from the milk with a slotted spoon and put to one side.
Strain the liquid through a fine sieve and reserve the herb-infused milk.
Heat the butter in another saucepan, add the onions and cook gently until translucent (about 5 mins,) taking care not to burn them.
Add the milk to the onions, then add the potato chunks and stir well.
Flake the smoked haddock into meaty chunks taking care to remove any bones you may find.
Add to the soup.
Add the chopped parsley leaves to the soup and bring to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 4 - 5 minutes.
Do not over stir.
If over stirred then you will break up the fish too much.
Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed, be careful with the salt, the fish will impart quite a salty flavour all on its own.
But pepper is fine!

Serve hot with crusty bread.
Optional extras: Garnish the soup with more chopped parsley or a little extra pepper as is your taste.
Sometimes Cullen Skink is served with a softly poached hen's egg on top for an even more filling soup or lightly poached quails eggs dropped into the soup before serving.
This would add a touch of sophistication if you were serving the soup on a more formal occasion.

Occasionally, you can add a cup of cooked or warmed, canned sweetcorn before serving your soup.

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