Cullen Skink:

Cullen Skink:  A Scottish milk-based haddock soup.  Sounds ‘orrible…..tastes WONDERFUL!

For 4 people, find:

  • 1 oz (25g) butter
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 pints full-fat milk
  • 1kg (1 ½ lb) floury potatoes , peeled and cut into 1cm cubes or smaller
  • 500g (1lb) smoked haddock fillet (preferably undyed)
  • Loads of chopped parsley plus a little more for the top
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

(I did it for twelve peeps, so I had to do this…….

For 12 people, find:

 

  • 50 g (2 oz) butter
  • 4 large onions, finely chopped
  • 4 litres (6 pints) creamy milk
  • 2kg (4 ½ lb) floury potatoes , peeled and cut into 1cm cubes or smaller
  • 1.5kg (3lb) smoked haddock fillet (preferably undyed)
  • Loads of chopped parsley plus a little more for the top
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper)

Method:

  • Poach the haddock in the milk and some butter.  25 mins at 160C.
  • Melt butter in a frying pan, add the onions and cook gently for 7 – 8 minutes until soft, but not at all coloured.
  • Take the haddock out of the oven, remove the fish and put the milk in a saucepan on the heat and bring to the boil.
  • Add the onions and the cubed potatoes bringing it back to the boil & simmer for 20 minutes until they are super-soft.
  • When the smoked haddock has cooled a little, discard the skin into the dog or cat and remove any bones (from the haddock, not the dog or cat).  Break the fish up into chunks to put into the pan after thickening.
  • When super-soft,  crush some of the cooked potatoes up against the side of the pan with the wooden spoon to thicken the soup a little.
  • Pop the chunky fish into the pan, gently stirring in the parsley.  Season to taste.  Coarse, freshly ground black pepper is favourite here.
  • Serve – with a swirl of single cream if you want to be fancy, and don’t forget to sprinkle a little more chopped parsley on the top.

 

 

Roast Veg Soup:

Roast Veg Soup:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      20 mins.

Course:        Snack/Lunch/Main

Serves:        See text

Rating:         3:  Moderate

After you’ve done a posh-ish dinner party to impress your family/sexy people that you are looking after yourself really well, you may well have some roast veg left over as you will have made sure that there was twice enough for everyone, and as a result, massively over-catered.

Don’t worry, we all do it; it just happens.  But if you don’t want to eat roast veg again the following day, reheated, try this quick & cheap soup.

Find:

  • Veggie stock cubes
  • Leftover roast veg
  • Seasoning
  • Stick blender, or a blender/mixer/whizzer/blitzer – whatever you wish to call a food processor.
  • Kettle
  • Saucepan

Method:

You’ll need some stock.  Put the kettle on and break a couple of stock cubes into a mug, pouring on the boiling water and mixing.

There we are, simple; there’s your stock made.  If the legendary Keith Floyd can do it on telly like that, it’s got to be good enough for you and me.  Actually, if you can find the time to watch a few of KF’s programmes, you’d really learn a lot as he tells it like it is.  There’s none o’your prissy food like Gary  “ I’ve got a flat top just like an aircraft carrier”   Rhodes.  By the way, have you ever noticed that GR always positions his food twice on the plate to make it look pretty?  I wonder why? (Don’t ask me…. I only observe and take the piss!)

But not so with good ol’ WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) KF.  Good man is KF.  Well, he was when he was alive.  I miss him.

But I digress…

  • Take the leftover roast veg out of the fridge and coarsely chop it. It doesn’t really matter what’s left over, just do it all.
  • Add it to the stock in a saucepan and give it a low heat. The more stock you use, the looser will be the soup.

Fairly obviously, should you need further quantities of the stock because you have a lot of veg left over, make it at the ratio of with one beef stock cube to half a mug of hot water and add it to the puree as necessary.

Alternatively, make it a “Cream of….” Soup by adding milk.

  • Use a stick blender to give it a quick blitz. A short burst for a coarse soup, longer for a smoother soup.
  • When it’s as smooth/coarse as you want, add a sprinkling of dried mixed herbs – I prefer to use the Provencal mixed herbs; they don’t cost any more than the usual Mick’s terbs – but certainly keep well clear of any exotic/Thai type of mix with lemon grass in it on this occasion.

Taste it.

Remember – only taste once with any spoon unless the food is only for you, eating alone.  When you need to taste again, use a clean spoon.  An obvious hygiene precaution really, but it’s best mentioned occasionally.  I’m sure you wouldn’t be pleased if other cooks put the spoon that they’d had in their north’n’south back into the food…. your food? eh?

  • Add seasoning to taste. This particular soup can take quite an amount of ground black pepper.

Beware of using lots of white pepper, as it is far more violent with its peppery taste than the black variety.  I won’t bore you with the difference between them at this stage (I’ll bore you with it all in Tricks’n’Tips instead).

If you have made a great big saucepan of this gorgeous soup that you will not need immediately, put the Frozen Bowl Trick into operation.  Allow the soup to cool and then pour it into plastic food bags that are placed, open, in soup bowls.  Don’t close the bags.  The bowls can then be frozen – but keep them level in the freezer, perhaps on a tray.  The following day, when fully solid, they can be taken from the freezer and floated in a sink of hot water, this allows the bag to come away from the bowl and the frozen bowl-shaped lumps of soup-in-a-bag can then be popped into a supermarket plastic carrier bag suitably labelled and put back into the freezer.  Wash the bowls and you then have individual portions of a delicious soup ready in the freezer – and you don’t have redundant bowls sitting in the freezer with the soup…. Clever, eh?.  You can get out as many as you wish, when you wish, put back into a bowl.  Give each one a couple of minutes in the microwave oven and ‘hey presto’, fast food that doesn’t come with a health warning or a need to open the wallet.

If you wanna be really flash, spoon a swirl of cream or a dollop of plain Greek yoghurt into the soup just before serving.

Lovely; and dead impressive too.