Monday, 30 November 2015

St. Andrew's Day Menu: Cullen Skink, Beef in Claret and Caledonian Cream

We put this menu together to celebrate St. Andrew's Day, the feast day of Saint Andrew. Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, Greece, Romania, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and Saint Andrew, Barbados, so choosing traditional Scottish recipes is by no means the only option, although it's the one we've chosen for this year. 

We've adjusted all of these recipes to make them more slimming.  

Cullen Skink

There is a recipe for this soup in the Slimming World Food Glorious Food cookbook and it's not a million miles away from the one we use, was from Andrew Fairlie, chef at the world-famous Gleneagles Hotel, the only chef in Scotland to hold two Michelin stars. 


1 leek, well-rinsed, chopped and cut into rough 2cm cubes
1 litre fish stock
200g waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into roughly 2cm cubes
300g undyed smoked Scottish haddock fillet
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground pepper
Chives, roughly chopped


Cook the chopped leek gently for a few minutes until soft. Add the stock, bay leaf, potato and haddock. Season lightly with black pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the haddock from the pan with a slotted spoon. Remove the bay leaf. Blend the soup until smooth. When the fish is cool enough to handle, remove any skin and bones, then flake the haddock back into the pan. Sprinkle with the chopped chives and serve. 

Beef in Claret

For our main course, we chose to base our dish on this recipe for Beef in Claret, because, as they say, "Historically, there has been a long "French Connection" between Scotland and France."

Serves 4


    5 oz (150g) lean bacon, all visible fat removed
    6 to 8 small, young onions
    7oz (200g or two cups) chopped button mushrooms (optional)
    1lb (450g) stewing steak
    3 cloves of garlic, crushed
    250ml fruity young claret (Burgundy or Beaujolais) *
    Salt and freshly milled black pepper
    Bunch of fresh herbs


Preheat the oven to 300F/150C/Gas Mark 2. 

Cut the stewing steak into cubes roughly 1½" (4cm) square. Brown the cubes of meat in a frying pan. Place the meat in a casserole, add the garlic. Place in the oven uncovered for 15 minutes to continue the browning process. Stir from time to time.

Add wine (topping up with water or stock as necessary), seasoning and herbs. Cover and simmer for 3 hours or until the meat is tender. (Alternatively, this works really well cooked in a slow cooker.)

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a frying pan until it is lightly brown. Add the onions and cook uncovered for roughly ten minutes. Then add the mushrooms (if desired), stir, cover and cook gently for a further ten minutes. Add the bacon, onion and mushroom mix to the casserole. 

Serve with your favourite vegetables. 

* 250ml of red wine is 8½ syns, just a whisker over 2 syns per portion between 4 people. Always double-check the syn values I give as these can change from time to time.

Caledonian Cream

Based on this recipe, which uses marmalade, a popular ingredient in Scottish cooking since its invention in Dundee in 1797, we adjusted this to make it more "Slimming World friendly".

Serves 2


250g Quark Fat Free Soft Cheese
165g Muller Light Vanilla And Chocolate Yoghurt
1 tablespoon marmalade *
2 tablespoons brandy or rum (we used Armagnac) *
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Sweetener to taste, if desired.
1 large orange, segmented and pith removed


Blend all the ingredients for the cream in a blender or with a mixer, until smooth. Place the orange segements in sundae glasses. Add the cream mixture. Garnish with orange zest. Serve chilled. 

* By my calculations, 1 level tbsp of standard marmalade is 2 syns and 2 tablespoons (just under 18ml each) of brandy are around 4.3 syns, making 6.3 syns in total or 3.15 syns per portion. Always double-check the syn values I give, however, as these do change from time to time.

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