Scotland.  Although they compete as part of the Great Britain team, there are quite a few Scots participating in the 2018 Olympic Games.  You can read about all of them in this article from the Scotsman.

Today's story is all about how difficult it is to get certain ingredients for these multicultural recipes here in the US.  I determined fairly early on that we were going to make Cullen Skink.  I didn't think  it was going to be a problem to find everything.  Boy was I wrong!  It was next to impossible to find smoked haddock.  I called about 8 groceries within a 20 mile radius who have specialty seafood departments.  I called the seafood store in the town next to us.  I looked online.  Well, the only place i could order Finnan Haddie (brand name for most smoked haddock) would have cost me $21 in shipping fees above the $20-40 cost.  So as much as I try to make these recipes as authentic as I can, I also don't have $40-60 to drop on each country.  Thus smoked haddock was out.  After some further research and discovering that Cullen is the name of the fishing town on the Moray Firth where the recipe originated and skink means beef soup (right?!) I decided to attempt the skink with smoked whitefish instead of smoked haddock.  I know the flavor won't be exactly the same, but hopefully we get a taste of Scottish cuisine.

I purchased the only smoked whitefish I could find and it came fully scaled with an eye.  This is not really my thing, so I passed the duty of scaling and filleting to my husband.  One funny side note though - isn't this an interesting case of truth in packaging...

Our menu for today:  Cullen Skink, bannock, spinach, and cranachan for dessert.

Overall, the Cullen skink was pretty good.  It was a good combination of flavors, without being overwhelmingly fishy.  I would make it again, but it won't make it into our regular rotation.  The bannock was good in small chunks with some butter.  My biggest disappointment was the cranachan.  The adult version was just too dry/bitter for my taste.  The kids version was sweeter and more palatable, in my opinion.

The recipes below reflect the changes I made and translated from metric to standard measurements.  For the original recipes, please click on the recipe link in the title of each recipe or on the individual links to the blogs listed below.

In the Cullen skink recipe, which originally come from the BBC Good Food blog, I substituted the smoked whitefish for smoked haddock and increased the amounts of potatoes, milk, water and fish used.  For the bannock, the main recipe from the Curious Cuisiniere I used has a detailed history of Scottish bannock and details on how to make it over the campfire.  I found a few other recipes that explained how to make it with oats and milk, rather than wheat flour and powdered milk so I altered that to what you will read below. Again, follow the link for the original recipe.  And lastly, the Cranachan was made following the very detailed directions with pictures from Christina's Cucina.  I read somewhere to change out the Scotch whiskey for orange juice to make a more child-friendly version, so I halved everything to create an adult and child version.

Cullen Skink (with smoked whitefish)


1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut small cubes
3 cups water
12 oz smoked whitefish
2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 TBSP finely chopped chives

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add onion and fry gently until transparent. Cook for about 5 minutes but do not allow to brown.  Add potatoes and water and bring to boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile in another pan, cover the haddock with the milk and cook gently for about five minutes until just tender. Remove from the milk and, when cool enough to touch, flake gently into large pieces, removing bones. 

Add milk and flaked fish to saucepan containing potatoes and other ingredients and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped chives.

Scottish Bannock


1 ½ c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ c ground old fashioned oatmeal or oatmeal flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
1 - 1 ½ c milk

In a medium bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and cut into the dry ingredients until well mixed.

Add the milk gradually, mixing until the batter has a thick dough consistency.  You may not need to use the full amount of milk.
Grease a 9-inch skillet and warm over medium heat. Place the batter into the warm skillet and press it to roughly 1 inch thick. 

Cook the bread for 10-15 min. Once the bottom is a dark golden and the top of the batter is starting to dry out, flip the loaf. Our bread split into smaller chunks when I tried to flip it, so we flipped all the little pieces.  Bake the loaf on the second side for about 10 minutes. 

Let the bread cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. 

Since I followed the Cranachan recipe almost exactly (remember I split everything in half and substituted orange juice for the Scotch whiskey for this half), I will just put the link to Christine's very detailed directions below.


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