Community Cookery Classes in Aberdeen

Wednesday 29 January 2014
Those of you who follow me on Facebook may have noticed that I've been posting Fishy Dishes every Tuesday since the end of October. The reason for this is that I'm a tutor at the Silver (Haired) Darlings Fish Cookery class for over 65's at the S.T.A.R. Community flat in Seaton. This project has been funded by the Aberdeen Change Fund with the aim of providing engagement opportunities, boosting confidence and independence and developing budgeting and cookery skills. 

The STAR Community Flat is run by the charitable organisation Seaton Taking Action for Regeneration and provides a one-stop shop for local residents, agencies, community groups and organisations working in the area. 

Why Silver (Haired) Darlings? Silver Darlings are the Scottish nickname for herring. Participants in the class are age 65+

We work to a £10 a week budget in a very basic kitchen with a rather temperamental cooker. But there is a lot of enthusiasm and a great deal of fun. Here's a wee taster of some of our fishy going on's so far. 
1 Pint Full Fat Milk
750ml Vegetable Stock
2 large fillets Smoked Haddock
4 Potatoes diced
25g Butter
1 Onion
1 Leek
1 Tablespoon Chopped ParsleyDouble Cream (optional) 
Salt & Pepper 

Heat the Milk and half the Vegetable Stock in a shallow pan. Add the smoked Haddock and poach for 10 minutes until lightly cooked.
Slice and wash the leek thoroughly.
Peel and finely chop the onion.
Peel and Dice the Potatoes.
Wash and chop the parsley.
In a large Soup Pan melt the butter and add the onion and leeks and cook gently for 5 minutes.
Add the Potato and the remaining Vegetable Stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the potato is soft.
Add the liquid form the poached Haddock to the soup but not the fish.
Flake the smoked haddock with a fork.
Gently mash/blend the soup to desired consistency.
Add flaked fish, chopped parsley, double cream and seasoning.
Heat through and serve. 
Cream Cracker Haddock Goujons
4 Haddock Fillets
125g Cream Crackers
Zest of a Lemon
Clove of Garlic
Small Bunch of Parsley
Seasoned Flour (Plain Flour with Salt & Pepper)
Beaten Egg
Oil to fry

Cut haddock into strips and set aside
Blitz together cream crackers, lemon zest, garlic and parsley in a food processor (or bash with a rolling pin)
Prepare three bowls of seasoned flour, beaten egg and cracker mix.
Dip each piece of fish in the flour, then the egg, then the crackers.
Fry in oil until lightly browned.
Smoked Haddock Bake created to celebrate St Andrews Day by Adam Newth, Young Scottish Chef of the Year for About Scotland
Cauliflower Cheese Soup, Melba Toast and Smoked Mackerel pâté 
Retro Smoked Haddock & Parsley Flan. Recipe from a Woman & Home magazine leaflet from late 70's early 80's.
Stuffed Haddock in a Cheese Sauce
Stuffing made from breadcrumbs, onion, bacon, parsley, Parmesan cheese and tomatoes. 
Smoked Fish & Sweetcorn Chowder and Oatcakes
I've had a great time over the past three months at the STAR Flat and I'm sure that will continue over the 2 year duration of the project. The ladies (no men so far) who attend the classes have been very open to trying new ingredients, learning new skills and sharing their knowledge and life experience with me. It's been fantastic to see their confidence in cookery growing and I was especially touched to be told that I'd inspired someone to start cooking for themselves more often rather than relying on "ping" meals. She proudly showed me photos on her phone of a dish she'd made. This was from someone who told me the first week that she came that she couldn't cook.

I'm actively seeking more cookery tutoring and demonstrating jobs in Aberdeen and surrounds so please do mention my name or drop me an email if your school, community group or organisation might be interested in using my services. Further information on what I can offer is available on my Educating & Demonstrating page


  1. I never knew that Silver Darling was the Scottish name for Herring, I thought you were calling yourselves that after the restaurant at the Harbour. You learn something new every day :)! Sounds like good fun for the ladies & you have encouraged somebody to cook from scratch too, you must be so pleased. It would be good to get the younger generations involved too as I know they rely on ping meals :)

  2. This sounds like a fantastic project, well done all concerned!

    If you need any recipe inspiration, don't forget to check out our site (225 recipes and counting...) :-)


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