A Taste of Scotland

John and I have been away driving the NC500 which is a 500 mile circular trip from Inverness to Inverness, west, top and east of Scotland.  With some additional visits to Wales, my brother in Ayrshire, meeting up with a friend on the Crinan Canal, a visit to Skye and a stay on the Lake of Menteith in the Trossachs plus getting there from home and back, the speedometer clicked on to 2001 miles as we turned into our drive, 2 weeks later! I could write a whole new blog on our trip – the places we went to, the people we met, food we ate and things we did – but as this is supposed to be a cooking blog, we better stick to the plan – unless anyone wants to know anymore!

Obviously, touring around the Scottish coastline, we ate lots of fish (although I have to say we were surprised by the number of French, Spanish and Chinese boats who were seemingly allowed to fish our waters, leaving the local fishmongers and restaurants fairly short of the fresh catch (but that’s another soapbox perhaps not for here!)).  However, what we did, was delicious and so I really feel I must do something fishy today – and because I’ve been away and it’s the weekend – two for the price of one!

Smoked Salmon and dill soup (partly inspired by the fact that the dill in my herb garden had gone into Triffid mode whilst away!)

  • olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 potato, cubed
  • 400 ml chicken/vegetable/or fish stock (cube will do)
  • small handful of dill
  • 150g smoked salmon, flaked (you can sometimes find smoked salmon trimmings which  you can use)
  • 25 ml double cream or crème fraiche
  • 25 ml whisky (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Gently cook the shallot in a little olive oil for a few minutes.  Add the cubed potato, 1/3 of the salmon and the stock and bring to the boil.  Reduce and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the dill, stir well and allow the soup to cool.  Blend until smooth, add the remaining salmon, cream (crème), whisky (if using) and the seasoning.  Reheat the soup slowly and serve garnished with a swirl of cream and chopped parsley.

Haddock Rarebit – how easy is this!

  • 1 piece of fresh haddock
  • Coarse grain Arran Mustard (if you can’t get it, any coarse grain will do)
  • 50 grams smoked Scottish cheddar, grated

Place the haddock in a baking dish.  Spread with mustard and cover with the grated cheese.  Bake in a hot oven (200oC) until the cheese is melted and browned.  Serve with a green leaf salad and chunks of bread.

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