We don't really make as much of a fuss about St Andrews day as we should. It's the 30th of November in case you don't know. The Patron Saint of Scotland seems to get overshadowed somewhat by Rabbie Burns. I was asked to come up with a fun St Andrews day idea for the Quality Meat Scotland Good Family Food Facebook Page to put a meaty twist on proceedings. I pondered upon Saltires, bagpipes and tartan but settled on the iconic Scottish Thistle.
Skewer some Scotch Beef meatballs onto cocktail sticks. Peel and slice raw beetroot into thistle flower head shapes (disposable gloves will save you from purple fingers!) Top the skewers with the beetroot, brush with Scottish Rapeseed Oil and roast in the oven.
There's not much that can beat a bowl of hearty seasonal Scottish soup and there's 52 of them in recently published Fraser's Seasonal Soups. Fraser Reid is a Dundee greengrocer who’s been teaching the city to cook with his weekly soup bags. Following a career U-turn from Arts Marketing to Fruit & Veg Man he's now celebrating 5 years in business. When he opened his doors there weren't any other greengrocers in Dundee city centre and many considered it a nonviable proposition. Proving the doubters wrong the shop became a thriving community hub and he began to sell weekly soup bags containing a recipe and all the ingredients for a batch of soup for 4. This ingenious idea helped everyone from busy mums, OAPs and starving students to get a healthy, cheap home-cooked meal on the table.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Jen Collins and has a lovely back to basics no nonsense feel to it. The recipes are simple but unusual. No huge lists of ingredients or complicated instructions. This is a soup bible for everyone from complete beginners to seasoned cooks. Organised month by month the recipes reflect the changing seasons and produce available. I'm totally with him on the pointlessness of making your own vegetable stock. Cube or stock pot for me every single time. The particular soup calendar entries that have caught my eye are:
January - Spicy Kale & Noodle
February - Sweet Potato, Lentil and Blood Orange
March - Granny Smith Green
April - Golden Dahl & Spinach
May - Asian Noodle Broth
June - Jamaican Curried Banana
July - Brock-A-Leekie
August - Roasted Pepper, Butterbean & Rosemary
September - Creamy Cauliflower & Coconut
October - Pumpkin & Lemongrass
November - Smoked Chilli, Sweet Potato & Barley
December - Beetroot, Parsnip & Horseradish
Recipe reproduced with permission of Kitchen Press
Butternut Squash, Coconut & Apple Soup
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil or Butter
1 Onion peeled and roughly chopped
1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
1 Butternut Squash peeled, deeseded and diced
1 Apple peeled, cored and roughly chopped
2 Stock Cubes
1½ Tablespoons Creamed Coconut
Salt & Freshly Grount Black Pepper to taste
Heat a pot on a medium-low heat and add the oil or butter. Fry the onion, carrot and garam masala for 5 - 10 minutes.
Add the squash and apple and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
Pour in 1.2 litres of boiling water, and add the stock cubes and the creamed coconut, stirring to make sure it dissolves. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Blend the soup until smooth, and then season to taste.
Foodie Loon is the soup dragon in our house so he cooked up a pan of Butternut Squash, Coconut & Apple Soup. A couple of wee changes to the recipe. He used Scottish Rapeseed Oil as opposed to Olive Oil or Butter and a whole sachet of Creamed Coconut. No idea how you would measure out 1½ Tablespoons. The soup tasted fantastic and touch of sweetness Looking forward to trying out some more and have bookmarked Split Pea, Pear and Mixed Spice and Sweet Chilli Lentil for December
Kitchen Press have provided a copy of the book as a giveaway for readers of Foodie Quine. Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget below. To enter, let me know in a comment "What's your favourite soup?" For additional bonus entries you can follow me on Twitter or like me on Facebook. Good Luck!a Rafflecopter giveaway