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  1. Cullen Skink – Scottish Fish Soup Recipe

    January 30, 2015 by Varga László

    Cullen Skink - Scottish Fish Soup 9

    Cullen Sink is a fish soup from North East coast of Scotland, from the fishing village of Cullen – hence its name, skink is a local word in Scots for soup.

    The recipe’s main ingredients are smoked fish (haddock) and potatoes, with addition of milk and butter for its creaminess.  Its somewhat similar to the American chowder and the French bisque.

    I came across Cullen Skink by watching Heston Blumenthal’s – In Search of Perfection – The Fish Pie Episode. He goes to Scotland in search for ingredients and tastes this wonderful creamy soup.

    Next day, on Sunday evening some friends came over and because of the cold weather from outside I wanted to cook something hearty – a soup or a stew. I had the Cullen Skink in my mind for a whole day and decided to cook it. It was a very good choice, all my friends liked it and one of them, Anca, almost literally licked the pot.

    Because she loves fish dishes and specially sops I promised her to cook soon some other fish dish, maybe Hungarian – Halászlé, maybe Italian – Acqua pazza or Brodetto, perhaps some Asian fish soup.

    Although the original recipe had smoked haddock, I had to replace it with smoked mackerel, not being to find haddock in time.

    So here is my recipe:

    Ingredients (6 servings):

    • 500 g of smoked haddock – I used smoked mackerelCullen Skink - Scottish Fish Soup 1
    • 500 g potatoes
    • butter
    • 3 small onions
    • 750 ml full fat (whole) milk
    • salt
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • 1-2 bay leaves
    • 1 green onion

    Preparation method:

    1. Peel and dice the potatoes into 1 cm cubes.Cullen Skink - Scottish Fish Soup 2
    2. Cook them until soft then mash them and set aside.
    3. Place the smoked fish in a pot, add the bay leaves and enough milk to cover the fish.Cullen Skink - Scottish Fish Soup 4
    4. Bring it to boil and poach the fish over low heat for about 8-10 minutes.
    5. Remove the fish from the milk. Carefully flake the fish removing all the bones and skins.
    6. Slice thinly the onions. Cullen Skink - Scottish Fish Soup 5
    7. Melt the butter in a pan and add the onions. Sweat the onions over medium low heat for about 10 minutes, without browning them.Cullen Skink - Scottish Fish Soup 6
    8. From time to time, add some cooking water from the potatoes to prevent the onions from caramelizing.
    9. Add the mashed potatoes and the milk from the fish pot.
    10. Bring to boil and add if needed some milk until the desired consistency/creaminess.
    11. Add the fish flakes, stir gently and season to taste with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
    12. Serve immediately while still hot, garnished with sliced green onions.Cullen Skink - Scottish Fish Soup 8 Cullen Skink - Scottish Fish Soup 7

  2. Acquacotta Maremmana – Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany

    December 26, 2014 by Varga László

    Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 25

    Ingredients (5 servings):

    Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 01

    • 5 eggs (one egg per serving)
    • 6-8 small onions or 3-4 medium onionsAcquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 09
    • 400 g of ripe red tomatoes, I used a huge one from the farmers market
    • slices of stale bread
    • basil
    • fresh pecorino cheese
    • olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • baby spinachAcquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 17
    • 4 medium carrots
    • 2 parsley rootsAcquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 02
    • 1 medium celery root with stalk and leaves

     Preparation method:

    1. Prepare the vegetable broth:
    2. Slice the roots: carrots, parsley and celery.Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 03
    3. Melt the butter in a soup pot, add the sliced roots and fry them for 5 minutes in the butter.Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 04
    4. Cover the pot with plenty of water (about 3 liters), add salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 40-60 minutes until the roots are done.Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 05
    5. Meanwhile, clean the onions and cut into thin slices. Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 10
    6. Chop the celery stalk Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 12
    7. Wash the celery leaves and chop them coarsely.Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 16
    8. Peel the tomatoes by placing them for a few minutes in boiling waterAcquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 06
    9. Cut them into quarters, remove the seeds and cut the flesh into cubes.Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 08
    10. In a pan, put a tablespoon of olive oil and virgin olive oil to soften the onions on low heat.Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 11
    11. Add a bit of chili flakes and cook for about 20-30 minutes until the onion is caramelized.Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 13
    12. Add the chopped celery stalk,Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 15 pour a liter of the hot vegetable stock and keep cooking for another half an hour until the broth slowly halves.
    13. Add the tomato pulp, celery leaves, (baby) spinach and coarsely chopped basil. Adjust salt and pepper.Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 19
    14. Once this time has elapsed (the result will be that of a kind of soup but still enough “soupy”) add the eggs, one at a time, directly into the pan making sure they do not break. Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 20
    15. Cook them for 3-4 minutes until they become poached eggs.Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 24
    16. Toast the stale bread slices, i used the oven for this.Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 22
    17. In each bowl put a slice of toast,Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 23 slices of cheese Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 21and pour over with a big spoon, acquacotta hot and one egg each.Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 26Acquacotta Maremmana - Italian Soup Recipe from Tuscany 28

  3. Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage Recipe

    December 19, 2014 by Varga László

    Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 16

    Ingredients (about 10 servings):

    • 750-1000 g porkPork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 01
    • 2 tablespoons pork fat
    • 750-1000 g pork fresh sausages
    • 2 large carrots
    • 1 small celery root
    • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
    • 4 bay leaves
    • 4 allspice berries
    • 10-15 black peppercorns
    • 1/2 head large Savoy cabbagePork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 13
    • 1 medium leek
    • 2 red onions
    • 1 head of garlic
    • 200 ml semi sweet white wine
    • 2 tablespoons mustard
    • 1 celery stalkPork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 11
    • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
    • salt to taste

    Preparation method:

    1. Cut the pork meat into 2 cm thick, 5-7 cm long strips.Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 02
    2. Chop the onion.  Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 03
    3. Melt the pork fat in a large pot, cast iron if available.
    4. Add the meat and fry over medium heat for 5 minutes, turning once.Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 04
    5. Add the chopped onion and continue frying for 2 minutes, stirring.Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 05
    6. Add the cleaned but still whole garlic cloves, chili flake and paprika and stir-fry for another minute.Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 07
    7. Slice the carrots and celery root and add to the pot.Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 09Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 08Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 10
    8. Add the whole black peppercorns, crushed allspice, bay leaves, mustard.
    9. Add the wine and enough water to cover the meat and the other ingredients.
    10. Slice roughly the celery stalks and leeks.Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 12
    11. After about 30-45 minutes of cooking add to the pot the whole sausages and the sliced celery and leeks. Add water enough to cover all the ingredients.
    12. Cook for another 20 minutes.
    13. Chop the Savoy Cabbage and add to the cooking pot.Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 14
    14. Cook until cabbage is done about 20-25 minutes.Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 15
    15. Serve while still hot.Pork Stew with Savoy Cabbage 17