Monday, 27 October 2014

All Day Scottish Breakfast Soup Recipe

Sausage, bacon, black pudding and more Scottish breakfast soup with poached egg

Sausage, bacon, egg, black pudding and mushrooms are integral parts of the full Scottish breakfast (or indeed any British fried breakfast) but it's probably not often that we find them collectively incorporated in a soup. It is for this reason that I should perhaps offer a bit of an explanation.

This idea came about one day last week when I had a conversation with a family friend about a delicious black pudding and mushroom soup he had tasted recently in a hotel in the Lake District. His wife had a go at making it when they returned home with what he assures me were delicious results. Me being me, however, I immediately started thinking about how I could adapt the concept further and (hopefully!) take it to new levels of deliciousness. What follows are the results of my experiment and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Simple vegetable stock ingredients


1 large carrot
1 medium white onion (1/2 for stock and 1/2 for soup)
4 ounces mixed sliced bell peppers
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
5 pints cold water

1 large baking potato, peeled and roughly chopped
8 medium closed cup mushrooms
4 slices black pudding
20 Wee Willie Winkie or other small cocktail sausages
4 slices Ayrshire middle bacon or 6 rashers of back bacon (do not use streaky bacon/standard American bacon - far too fatty and greasy)*
Vegetable oil for frying
1 egg per person
White wine vinegar
Freshly chopped parsley to garmish

*If American/streaky bacon is the only kind you have access to, instead of incorporating the bacon in the soup, try frying until ultra crisp, chop and use as an additional garnish.

Preparing simple vegetable stock


Wash, top and tail the carrot. Roughly chop and add to your soup pot with half the peeled onion, the bell pepper slices and the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper and pour in the cold water. Bring to a very gentle simmer for one hour. Turn off the heat and leave to cool slightly for a minimum half hour.

Straining vegetable stock

You could simply strain the stock through a sieve but I like to line the sieve with two or three sheets of kitchen paper. This catches the small grains of pepper and any other smaller items that may have broken off and gives you a much purer and clearer stock.

Vegetable stock

Rinse out the pot and return to it the sieved stock. Add the chopped potato and the sliced remaining half onion. Bring to a simmer for ten minutes.

Potato and onion added to vegetable stock

The mushrooms should be wiped clean and the heads and stalks separated (both are used in the soup). Be sure to remove any remaining plastic rind from the black pudding slices before breaking each in to four or five pieces.

Black pudding and mushrooms

Add the mushrooms and black pudding to the soup. Stir well and bring back to a simmer for ten further minutes.

Black pudding and mushrooms added to soup

I always like to let hot liquids cool considerably before blending. While this is happening, you can use some of the time to attend to the sausages and bacon.

Ayrshire middle bacon and Wee\Willie Winkie cocktail sausages

The sausages and bacon can be fried in batches, as they are to be left to cool anyway. This means you need use (and subsequently have to wash) only one frying pan.

Frying Wee\Willie Winkie sausages
Pour a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in to your pan and fry the Wee Willie Winkie sausages for about seven or eight minutes over a medium heat until done, turning frequently.

Wee\Willie\Winkie Sausages are drained on kitchen paper

Lift the cooked sausages to a plate covered with kitchen paper and add the first two slices of bacon to the pan to fry for a couple of minutes on each side.

Frying Ayrshire middle bacon

Set the first two slices of bacon on some kitchen paper to drain and get the remaining two on to fry.

Ayrshire middle bacon is drained on kitchen paper

You will need to blend your soup in two or three batches. Remember never to overfill the container. Blend until smooth.

All day Scottish breakfast soup base ready for blending

As you blend each batch of the soup, you can either have a bowl handy like this or simply pour it straight back in to the pot.

Blended black pudding and mushroom soup recipe

Cut all the fat off the bacon and discard. Moderately finely chop. I then cut each of the mini sausages in to three equal sized pieces.

Ayrshire middle bacon and Wee Willie Winkie sausages chopped for soup

Add the sausages and bacon to the soup in the pot and bring to a simmer. The soup is then ready to serve.

Ayrshire middle bacon and mini sausages added to soup

If you don't like the idea of an egg in your soup, you can serve it immediately, garnished with a little fresh parsley.

Basic Scottish all day breakfast soup

If - like me - however, you think no full breakfast can be complete without an egg, you may want to add a poached one to the bowl with your soup. While a fried egg would of course be more common on a traditional breakfast plate, I'm not too sure how well it would work in a soup (maybe I'll give it a try sometime and let you know).

Egg ready for poaching

Get a deep pot of water on to reach a strong simmer, adding a few tablespoons of white wine vinegar. Break the egg carefully in to a small bowl or ramekin.

Poaching egg

When the water reaches a simmer, turn off the heat. Use a large spoon to stir at first slowly and then more rapidly until a strong whirlpool is formed. Carefully and gently, tip the egg from the ramekin in to the vortex of the whirlpool. Allow to cook for three minutes.

Poached egg is laid in bowl of all day Scottish breakfast soup

Use a large slotted spoon to lift the egg from the poaching water. Allow it to drain briefly before carefully laying in to the centre of a plate of soup. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Chopped parsley garnishes all day Scottish breakfast soup with poached egg

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Scottish Rolls and Sausage with Cheese, Tomato and Onion

Traditional Scottish rolls and sausage incorporating cheese, tomato and onion

A roll and sliced sausage must be right up there among the most popular of all Scottish food creations widely enjoyed on a regular basis. A sliced sausage (also commonly called Lorne or square sausage) for those outside Scotland is a sausage sliced from a larger block of sausage meat, rather than one where the meat is stuffed in to a skin to form a conventional sausage shape. The sausages can be either grilled (broiled) or fried and even though grilling is generally the healthier option, I always fry them in vegetable oil as I find they can dry out so easily under the grill.

While the sausage is usually added to a plain bread roll (optionally buttered) and eaten as is with the addition only perhaps of some fried onions and/or sauce, I enjoy experimenting with different toppings for a plain roll and sausage. This simple combination of cheese, tomato and onion is one of my favourites.

Frying Scottish sliced sausages

Ingredients (Serves One)

2 sliced sausages
Vegetable oil for frying
4 slices from a medium tomato
2 slices from a medium onion, separated in to rings
6 slices of cheddar cheese (or as required)
2 Scottish morning rolls
Tomato ketchup (optional)

Tomato, onion and Scottish cheddar cheese


Pour a little oil in to a non-stick frying pan and gently fry the sausages for about four or five minutes each side until done.

Tomato, onion and cheese sliced and ready for topping sausages

You can use the time that the sausages are frying to slice the tomato, cheese and onion. You should also cut the rolls in half horizontally and lay the bottom halves on a grilling tray. Put your grill (broiler) on to preheat to maximum.

Scottish morning rolls

When the sausages are ready, use a spatula or cooking tongs to lift them on to the bottoms of the rolls on the grilling tray.

Sausages are laid on the base of the bread rolls

Arrange the onion rings and tomato slices alternately on top of the sausages. Lightly press down.

Tomato and onion slices are laid on top of sausages

Lay the cheese slices on top of the tomato and onion and once again, press down lightly. This helps prevent any of the toppings slipping off.

Cheese tops sausages, tomato and onion before grilling

Put the tray under the grill for a couple of minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Cheese has been melted over sausages, tomato and onion

If desired, add some tomato sauce to the top of the cheese before placing the tops on the rolls.

Tomato ketchup is an optional but delicious addition to a roll and sausage

Monday, 13 October 2014

Scottish Yellow Tomatoes and Butternut Squash Homemade Soup

Slightly sweet and spicy Scottish yellow tomato and butternut squash soup

This is the second batch of soup I made from my bumper delivery of fresh greenhouse tomatoes just over a week ago. This time I used yellow rather than red tomatoes and decided also to incorporate a butternut squash for an extra bit of texture and flavour. It was absolutely delicious and again, most of it is safely tucked away in my freezer for taking with me on Winter sea fishing trips in my flask.

Scottish greenhouse grown red and yellow tomatoes


1 large carrot, washed, topped and roughly chopped
1 medium white onion, peeled and quartered
4 ounces mixed sliced bell peppers
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
4 pints cold water
4 pounds yellow tomatoes, washed and halved
1 teaspoon dried basil
Olive oil
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds

Principal ingredients for basic vegetable stock


Add the carrot, onion and bell peppers to a large soup or stock pot along with the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the cold water, put on a high heat until the water just approaches the boil then reduce the heat to achieve a very gentle simmer.

Starting to prepare vegetable stock

Cover the simmering stock and leave for one hour.

Yellow tomatoes ready for roasting

When the stock is simmering, start your oven preheating to 150F/300C/Gas Mark 2 while you wash and half the tomatoes. Lay them on a couple of roasting trays, cut sides up. Season with the dried basil, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for two hours.

Vegetable stock is strained through a sieve

When the stock has simmered for an hour, turn off the heat and leave it for about an hour to cool (your tomatoes will only be half done, anyway). After this time, carefully strain it through a fine sieve suspended over a large bowl. Discard the solids and return the liquid to the (washed or at least wiped) pot.

Strained vegetable stock

When you take the tomatoes from the oven, you should see that they have shrivelled up and dried out while not completely, at least to some considerable extent.

Roasted yellow tomatoes

Use a slotted spoon to add the tomatoes to the stock.

Roasted yellow tomatoes are added to vegetable stock

I've used a butternut squash in this recipe but virtually any type of squash would work equally well.

Butternut squash

Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp with a teaspoon. Peel the skin off with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife.

Seeding and peeling butter nut squash

Chop the butternut squash in to approximately one inch pieces and add to the soup pot.

Peeled and chopped butternut squash

Put the cumin seeds in to a hot dry frying pan and toast for a couple of minutes or just until you can smell them roasting. Normally when I'm using toasted cumin seeds like this in a recipe I would crush them with a pestle and mortar after toasting but as this soup will ultimately be both blended and strained, there is no need on this occasion. Add them straight in to the soup and stir well.

Butternut squash and toasted cumin seeds are added to soup

Heat the soup until it reaches a simmer and continue to simmer gently - uncovered - until the squash is softened. This will take about fifteen to twenty minutes.

Soup is left to cool slightly before blending

It's never a good idea to blend extremely hot liquids, so for safety reasons, let the soup cool at this stage for at least half an hour.

Soup is blended in batches

You will need to blend the soup in batches. Remember never to overfill your food processor or blender.

Soup is strained through a fine sieve

Carefully strain the blended soup batches through a sieve over a bowl. You may need to assist it through the sieve with a wooden spoon but don't force it or you may end up with skin and/or seeds in your finished soup.

Strained soup is returned to the pot and heated for serving

Return the soup to the pot and heat to serve, or alternatively ladle in to appropriate dishes for cooling and freezing.

Cooled excess soup is divided between small plastic dishes for freezing