Tonight is Burns Night!

I am a Scot (albeit with an English mother) who has lived here since the mid seventies and whilst I am very happy here there are two things which always take me back to my roots and like to celebrate – Hogmanay and Burns Night.  The former has no particular culinary history (other than clootie dumpling and black bun (another story), a lot of alcohol and emotional singing of Auld Land Syne). The latter, of course, has the Burns Supper. Haggis, neeps (why do you English call the orange veg swede and the wee white ones turnips when everyone knows in Scotland it’s the other way round? ) and tatties are a given and can really only be served one way – but you may not know the following 2 recipes – and which can be eaten any time of the year.

Cullen Skink – a hearty soup made from leeks, onions, potatoes and smoked haddock

  • 50 grams butter
  • 1 small onion and 1 small leek, finely chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 150 mls water
  • 200g (ish) smoked haddock
  • 200 mls milk

Melt butter and leek in a saucepan and cook for about 5 minutes without browning. Add potatoes and cook till soft.

In another pan cover the haddock with the milk and cook gently till tender (you can also do this in the microwave).Remove from milk when cool and and flake gently into large pieces, removing bones.

Drain the potatoes (keeping the water), take out some of them with some leeks and onions and mash the rest. Return the vegetables to the pan with the liquid and add the milk and haddock.  You may need more liquid – you can add some more milk, white wine and/or cream or creme fraiche – whichever takes your fancy! You can also add some chopped parsley and/or chives for a bit of colour. Serve with lots of crusty bread to mop up!



Now for the pudding : Cranachan – a delicous mix of raspberries, cream, whisky, honey and toasted oats.  What’s not to like?

  • 50 grams porridge oats
  • small pot of double cream
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons honey to taste
  • 2 tablespspoons whisky (I personally hate whisky but somehow can take it here!)
  • raspberries – fresh or frozen

Heat a heavy based frying pan up and toast the oats until nutty and pale brown (I sometimes add a little demerara sugar so they caramelize but you do have to keep moving them around!). Put to one side to cool.

Whip the cream till soft peaks and fold in the honey and whisky.

Layer up the cream, rapsberries and oats and eat immediately whilst the oats are still crunchy!





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