The Secret Recipe Club visits Scotland & Seattle with Cullen Skink (Scottish Fish Soup)

Cullen Skink - Scottish Smoked Haddock and Potato Soup

Cullen Skink – Scottish Smoked Haddock and Potato Soup

The Secret Recipe Club visits Scotland & Seattle with

Cullen Skink (Scottish Fish Soup)


What a surprise it was for me this month when I discovered that my secret assignment for the Secret Recipe Club was a blog that was from BOTH sides of the pond and written by TWO bloggers, Lucy and Shannon! The blog is Double the Sugar and I have spent many a happy hour reading through the recipes over there since I was sent the link. Here’s a short “potted history” about them both…..

“Shannon decided to go abroad for her Master’s degree and decided on Edinburgh, Scotland. This is where she met Lucy, and after going on a hajj to Cadbury World, cemented a friendship based on chocolate (and other food). When Shannon went back to the states she discovered Cake Wrecks and sent Lucy a link. From there we found ourselves on Pioneer Woman, Smitten Kitchen and a host of other sites and the addiction to food blogs commenced until we thought we should start one of our own.

Shannon now lives in Seattle, Washington (not DC, the other one), USA, with her husband, Paul, and dog, Chewy (aka Stinkface, Boogerface, Pootron, and Pee Machine). In addition to baking and cooking, she enjoys playing RPGs, video games, reading, and avoiding cleaning up the messes she makes in the kitchen. She’s a video game user research engineer by day.

Lucy is still in Edinburgh living with her boyfriend Doug who is forced to eat even the recipes that go wrong and fund her kitchenware habit. She has an addiction to farm shops and high quality supermarkets even though she can’t afford to shop in either. She likes reading and watching DVD’s, preferably with a big plate of food in front of her.”

Cullen Skink - Scottish Smoked Haddock and Potato Soup

Cullen Skink – Scottish Smoked Haddock and Potato Soup

I was fascinated with their story and thought how nice it was that they share a blog together too…..but, back to my task in question – to choose a recipe and make it, from their blog. I looked through all of the recipes, and in the end I chose one that I know and love, and make myself, which seems a cheat, but why not if you love something as much as I love Cullen Skink!  The name of this rich, tasty soup comes from the fishing village of Cullen, in Morayshire in Northern Scotland. “Skink” is a soup made originally from a shin of beef – in fact the word “skink” means soup or stew – but in this case, the main ingredient is smoked haddock with potatoes and onions. Finnan haddock is often called Finnan haddie, and is the traditional ingredient in the famous Edwardian breakfast dish of Kedgeree. Whatever the origins of the name, I adore this Scottish classic, and as I had some delicious smoked haddock in the house, I decided to try Lucy’s recipe.

Cullen Skink - Scottish Smoked Haddock and Potato Soup.

Cullen Skink – Scottish Smoked Haddock and Potato Soup.

I am a little disappointed with the photos, but this was made one cold dark evening, and I had to rely on artificial lighting and my camera flash! However, the recipe was easy to follow and was simply delicious! Lucy has posted some great step by step photos on the blog here: Cullen Skink and I also have a recipe on Lavender and Lovage here: Scottish Seafood Chowder – Cullen Skink my way…….with Smoked Whiting although you can see by my title that mine was made with smoked whiting…..the photo is below:

Scottish Seafood Chowder – Cullen Skink my way…….with Smoked Whiting

Scottish Seafood Chowder – Cullen Skink my way…….with Smoked Whiting

Lucy’s lovely recipe is posted below, but do give her and Shannon a visit and leave a message to say you came from here, she may offer you a wee dram of whisky and some shortbread, or Shannon may offer you a cup of Seattle coffee! 

Cullen Skink Recipe:

(Images and recipe below courtesy of Double the Sugar blog)

  • Half an onion
  • 300g smoked haddock
  • 250ml water
  • 190ml milk
  • 1 small potato (you want about 60g mash)
  • 40ml double cream

Serves 4
Chop your onion and fry in butter or oil. Cut your haddock into large pieces if it contains bones or small pieces if it doesn’t  This is so it’s easier to take the bones out later on. Add the haddock and water to the pan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.

While the fish is bubbling away boil your potato and then mash. I’m going to be honest with you here, I forgot that I was cutting the recipe down at this point and added four times as much potato as I should have! However, the soup still tasted great with this thicker consistency so if you have (much) more potato than listed above then it’s fine to add it in.

Once the fish is done it’s time to remove the bones and flake the haddock into small pieces. Then put the flakes back into the pan along with the mashed potato and milk and stir to combine. Allow the soup to cook for a few minutes and take off the heat once the soup is warm through. Season with salt and pepper and just before serving stir the cream through and garnish with chives. It’s a lovely creamy soup which I love with lots of black pepper to spice it up. Enjoy!

I have loved discovering a new blog and TWO new on-line friends today, and that’s for Group D and another Secret Recipe Club assignment! See you later and have a great week! Karen



    • says

      I didn’t reliable you were in Scotland last month Heather, I love it up there, where did you visit? It’s one of my Favourite soups!

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