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A braw feast

by
22 November 2013

By Simon Walsh

iStock

THE feast of St Andrew is on the horizon. I always mark it, having grown up at St Andrew's, Taunton. Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter. Both men refused to be martyred by the same crucifixion as our Lord; and so, as legend has it, Andrew met his end on an X- shaped cross.

It was the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath which asserted his part in the conversion of Scotland to Christianity. Arbroath smokies are delicious examples of smoked haddock, and usually come in pairs. The first recipe here uses fish; the second calls for Scotland's other great exports: porridge oats and whisky.

I have tinkered with this classic supper soup to give Cullen skink risotto. Smokies could be used, but any smoked fish works well, and haddock is best.

500g (1 lb) smoked haddock,  skin on

1 peeled shallot, studded with

two cloves

6 new potatoes, halved

60g (2 oz) unsalted butter

500ml (10 fl. oz) milk

2 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced

250g (9 oz) short-grain rice

small glass of white wine

half a bunch of chives

Place the haddock in a pan with the studded shallot, potatoes, milk, and half the butter. Bring almost to the boil, then turn to the lowest heat and simmer gently for five minutes. Take off the heat, and let it cool.

In a large pan, melt the remaining butter with a splash of oil, and cook the leeks gently for a few minutes until soft. Add the rice, stir to combine, then the wine, and stir until absorbed. Add the poaching milk a ladle at a time, and stir to absorb, doing this until all used up: about 20-25 minutes.

Remove the skin from the fish and chunk it, discarding the shallot. Break up the potatoes into rough cubes, and fold everything into the rice. Snip the chives over just before serving, along with a twist of black pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

Porridge oats grace this Cranberry cranachan. Scottish raspberries, if frozen, are the obvious fruit here, but cranberries are in season and nod towards Christmas.

150g (5 oz) porridge oats

50g (2 oz) chopped almonds

500g (10 fl. oz) natural yoghurt

2 tablespoons clear runny honey

200g (7 oz) cranberries

2 tablespoons whisky

white chocolate

Toast the oats lightly in a frying pan, until they just start to colour, and then tip them into a bowl and add the chopped almonds. Stir in the yogurt and the honey, and pack into ramekins or tumblers, leaving room for the fruit on top.

In a saucepan, gently heat the cranberries with a little water and a light sprinkling of sugar, until they start to break down and are soft; remove from the heat, stir in the whisky, and leave to cool.

Spoon the fruit compote over the yogurt mixture, grate some white chocolate on top, then place in the fridge to chill until needed.

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