It was half an hour into the performance when fourteen year old Lewis whispered to me: “Miss, is this seriously two and a half hours of singing and dancing cats?” When I nodded an affirmative his eyes widened then momentarily flicked towards the lit green exit sign to my right.
“Don’t even think about it,” I hissed threateningly. “If I have to sit through this, so do you.”
Cats, it turned out, really wasn’t my cup of tea at all. Cracking songs, great dancing and a jaw-droppingly beautiful set, but my imagination simply wasn’t captured. Luckily, myself and bored Lewis were in the minority; the vast majority of the kids adored the performance and were high as kites afterwards. Even caught a few of them today walking down corridors humming Magical Mr Mistoffelees. Love it! :)
Despite my misgivings about Cats, I felt like a feline themed dinner this evening. What do cats like, I wondered. Fish and milk, of course. And fish and milk can mean only one thing to a Scot: Cullen Skink.
Cullen Skink is a hearty, Scottish fish soup. It’s namesake, Cullen, is an adorable maritime village on the north-east coast, not too far from here. What “skink” means, I’m not sure. Some books claim it is from the Gaelic meaning “essence” but when I asked a Gaelic speaker about this today she claimed that was rubbish and that perhaps it was from a Norse language. Chatted to a Swedish friend but all to no avail: I am still none the wiser. Anyone out there know?
(serves 2 as a main, 6 as a starter)
Knob of butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 undyed, naturally smoked haddock fillets
1 pint of milk
1 bay leaf
1 very large potato, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
Double cream (25 – 50ml)
- Melt the butter in a heavy based pan. Add the onion and celery and cook gently until softened.
- Add the haddock fillets to the pan and just cover with milk. Bring up to simmering point and cook for 4 minutes.
- Remove the fish from the pan and reserve.
- Add the potatoes to the pan and the remaining milk. Bring up to simmering point and cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.
- Meanwhile, flake the haddock fillets using your hands.
- When potatoes are cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove some potato/onion/celery chunks from the soup.
- Add most of haddock to the soup, reserving a little with the vegetable chunks.
- Liquidise the soup until silky smooth. Season very carefully and add cream to taste. Heat gently then pour into bowls.
- Add some of the vegetable chunks and haddock to the soup and sprinkle with chives.