Monday, 10 July 2017

Cullen Skink - A traditional Scottish Smoked Haddock Soup

Post in collaboration with a2 Milk™

Cullen Skink is a full flavoured, hearty, and comfortingly traditional creamy Scottish soup made with smoked fish, potatoes, onions and milk. It's Chowder with a distinctly Scottish accent. 

When I'm asked to describe my style of cooking I always struggle as it's a bit of a mish mash of styles combined with a passion for seasonality, cooking from scratch and family friendly recipes. However if there is a particular area of speciality it's probably 'Quirky Scottish' or 'Scottish with a Twist'. Today's recipe definitely falls into the Scottish category but it's my take traditional rather than one of my more outlandish creations (i.e. no Irn Bru or Tunnock's Teacakes involved!) For the uninitiated, Cullen Skink possibly doesn't sound the most enticing of foods but I can assure you that it is. Hailing from Cullen, a small fishing village on the North East coast of Scotland, it's a hearty soup made of milk, smoked fish, potatoes and onion. Think Chowder with a Scottish accent.

Touch wood we don't have any issues with food allergies or intolerences within my immediate family (although my daughter appears to be allergic to vegetables...) however I'm all too aware that many people face such challenges on a daily basis so to make my Cullen Skink I used a2 Milk™ which comes from specially selected cows and is naturally easier to digest. As a farmer's daughter this immediately piqued my interest! Research has found that different cows produce milk with different proteins (A1 and A2) and that each of these proteins are digested differently. It's the A1 protein that many people struggle to digest. The folks at a2 Milk™ work with farmers to hand select cows that naturally produce only A2 protein. Nothing added, nothing taken away, just easy to digest cows’ milk. You can find out lots more about a2 Milk™ and see if it might be suitable for you or someone you know who experiences intolerance issues with regular milk at  Both my kids drink a LOT of milk and they confirmed that a2 Milk™ tastes exactly the same as regular milk so no worries in that respect.

So with a2 Milk™ in hand it's back to my recipe for the tastiest of soups with the least promising of names. Much like Scotch Broth everyone and their granny has a different idea what should and shouldn't be in it and you can of course juggle with adding, removing and adjusting ingredients to suit. Garlic, Bay Leaves and Cream could be a good place to start. However you make it, it's really a meal in itself especially if accompanied by bread or oatcakes. I've jumped onto the on trend edible flowers bandwagon with a garnish of chive flowers. Their purple hues contrast amazingly well with the yellow fish but they are far from essential and definitely not traditional. Perhaps they can be my quirky twist and an edible nod to the Scottish thistle. 

Cullen Skink - A Traditional Smoked Haddock Soup

750ml Milk
2 fillets Smoked Haddock (approx 300g)
1 Leek
1 large Onion
400g Potatoes
Knob of Butter or splash of Scottish Rapeseed Oil
750ml Vegetable Stock
Salt & Pepper
Flatleaf Parsley
Chives and Chive Flowers

Gently heat the milk in a shallow saute pan. Add the Smoked Haddock and poach for 10 minutes until lightly cooked. Set aside to cool.
Slice and wash the leek thoroughly.
Peel and finely chop the onion.
Peel and roughly dice the potatoes (no need to peel if you use new/baby potatoes)
In a large soup pan melt/heat the butter/oil, add the onion and leeks and cook gently for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured.
Add the potato and the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the potato is soft.
Add the milk from the poached haddock to the soup but not the fish.
Gently mash the soup to crush some of the potatoes.
Skin and flake the smoked haddock with a fork.
Add flaked fish, a generous amount of chopped parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat through and serve garnished with chopped chives and chive flowers.

For more ideas utilising a2 Milk™ do check out these creative milky recipes from some of my food blogger colleagues

♥ Pin me for later... Cullen Skink is a full flavoured, hearty, and comfortingly traditional creamy Scottish soup made with smoked fish, potatoes, milk and onions. It's Chowder with a distinctly Scottish accent.

Disclosure: This is a commissioned post for a2 Milk™. As always, all views expressed are my own. 
Thank you for supporting the brands who make it possible for me as a passionate Scottish Food Blogger to continue to share my Edible Food and Travel Adventures with you. I’m super choosy who I work with and promise to bring you only the cream of the crop.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Double Dipping Dilemma with Philadelphia Flip and Dip

Post in collaboration with Philadelphia

You know the song lyric 'You'll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties'. For me it should be you'll always find me next to the crisps and dips at parties. I absolutely LOVE a dip. Give me cheesy and savoury over chocolaty and sweet any day of the week. But when it comes to dipping we are all faced with a food etiquette dilemma...

To double dip, or not to double dip? That is the question! 
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer 
The slings and arrows of outrageous tutting 
Or to take arms against rolling eyes 
And by double dipping partake in the ultimate foodie faux pas

The majority of Brits (60%) deem double dipping an absolute no-no, except when in their own company. One in five people would go as far to ask a culprit to stop double dipping if they caught them in the act at a party. However, in true British fashion, the majority of Brits (62%) would rather suppress feelings of discontent and suffer in silence or gossip with other guests about the double dipper in question.

Double dipping was recently highlighted on a hit BBC1 cooking show in an exchange between celebrity chef John Torrode and Lisa Allen, where Lisa tasted some sauce from a pan – using the same spoon she had just licked – the judge scolded her, saying: ‘No, don’t do that! Get a fresh spoon you double dipper!’

In case you are still blissfully aware of what double dipping even is, let me give you an explanation. To Double Dip is the act of putting a food item (eg a crisp or crudity) into a dip, taking a bite and the putting the self same item back in again. I'm pretty sure William Shakespeare would have been a #singledipper But what of my food blogging colleagues? I solicited their thoughts on the subject and they all had pretty strong opinions when it came to dipping.

Where you dip, take a bite, then dip the same piece of food back into the dip? ewww! Unless, of course it's only you eating it, or you are very intimately acquainted with the person you're sharing it with. In all other instances, no. Break or cut the food into bite-sized pieces like a civilised human being! 
Nicole @

Hate double dipping - it's a tad unhygienic

I would never put the same piece of something back in but would snap a breadstick in two and use both pieces! 

Double dipping makes me cringe. I often avoid dips at parties for that very reason. And I have been known to pointedly remind my children about dipping etiquette... when really it's the adults within earshot I'm speaking to!

Double dipping is a big no no for me and is bad manners. 

Unless it's just me, on my own, in front of the TV with a bag of crisps and some dip, double dipping is totally unacceptable! 

I'm going to be really brave and admit that I double dip all the time when it's just me, my husband and the children at home but I wouldn't if I was out anywhere! I'm now thinking I may need to set a better example though!

It's my dip and I'll double dip if I want to! In all honesty, it depends on how well you know the people you are, dipping with. Close friends or family? Double dip away. At a dinner party, or around unfamiliar people? One dip will do, thank you. 

Now that my colleagues have 'fessed up I guess I should really share my own standpoint on the subject. I can't say hand on heart that I have never double dipped but it's not something that I would consciously do in polite company. However.... with my own personal tub of dip, or at home with my husband and kids my dipping morals are less scrupulous! So I'm a #doubledipper at home and a #singledipper in public.

Could a seriously enticing new product from Philadelphia (yup the cream cheese people) turn you from a #singledipper to a #doubledipper? Philadelphia Flip & Dip is the brand new dip perfect for sharing at summer barbecues, parties and get togethers. Lightly whipped cream cheese topped with one of three mouth watering sauces - Sweet Chilli, Mexican Salsa and Caramelised Onion. To serve first you need to flip and then you need to dip. The packaging is akin to that of a creme caramel with a little flap on the base to help release the dip. When you flip the contents out onto a plate the sauce drizzles down over the cheese and then the dipping dilemmas really start. We tried out all three variants with tortilla chips and a selection of crudities. I am deeply dippy for all of them but the star of the show had to be sweet chilli. If I was to dabble in double dipping it would be with this. However whilst trying it out (a purely altruistic act by me for you dear readers) I realised that the real reason I don't double dip is due to another etiquette failure. Rather than take a ladylike nibble I just shove the whole dipped chip straight into my mouth!

Could new Philadelphia Flip and Dip unleash the double dipper in you? Find it now (next to the dips, not the cheese) at Tesco and Asda with an rrp of £1.49 and join the debate on social media with #FlipandDip #DoubleDipper and #SingleDipper

Disclosure: This is a commissioned post for Philadelphia. As always, all views expressed are my own.
Thank you for supporting the brands who make it possible for me to continue to share my Edible Scottish Adventures with you. I’m super choosy and promise to bring you only the cream of the crop.