Scottish Lentil Soup

Cheap, nutritious and easily vegan. My camera isn’t working at the moment so no pictures this time. This should make about three portions but mess with the proportions all you like as I measured by eye.

  • One onion
  • Two carrots
  • One rib of celery or celery leaves
  • Red lentils
  • Veg stock or ham hock
  • Frozen peas (optional but added because more veg is good)
  • Mixed herbs or thyme and parsley to taste

If you want to make it more delicious then fry the aromatics after you’ve chopped them before boiling it all up. If you’re looking for healthier just dump them all in the pot, it’ll still taste good. Make sure you boil the lentils for ten minutes to denature the enzymes. It also freezes well and if you don’t have celery to hand it’s still good without it.

 

Winter Prep

Before it gets really cold I like to stock pile a series of ginger based cold and flu cures.

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This is literally just chopped ginger put in honey. I let it soak in like this in the fridge and use a teaspoon full in hot water to make a really throat soothing, sinus clearing tea. The juice flows out of the ginger, thinning the honey and making a sort of syrup.

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This is my Ginger Soup, loosely based on Hot and Sour soup and something I’ve been inflicting on sick friends since undergrad. Of course as its my secret remedy there’s no one to make it for me when I’m the one whose sick so I like to keep two tubs of it in my freezer (that’s all I have room for).

You will need;

  • One large thumb of ginger
  • Four spring onions or one white onion
  • Six cloves of garlic
  • Two chilis (less if you like spice less)
  • Oil of your choice
  • Rice vinegar (I’m using Chianking)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Stock of your choice

This is really easy to make and I like to use it as the base for a lot of soups. All you have to do is dice the vegetables and brown then in the oil, then add everything else and cook until the flavours are dispersed.

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Migraine Curry Soup

Today I have a migraine and, because I am a mature and functional adult, all the pain killers in my house went out of date in 2013. I also, because I am a stubborn unmentionable as my grandmother might put it, spent the day working instead of laying in the dark, even though this involved staring at a brightly lit screen and trying to string words together.

So I need curry. I make no pretence that this is in any way authentic but its an excellent cure all when taken with your bloody migraine medication that you have discovered under the half folded laundry.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (frozen and pre diced because dicing raw chicken with a piston shoving through my skull? You’re having a laugh)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cumin
  • Methi Seed
  • Chili (red dried in this case, I put five of them in but for those who don’t have a chili problem I advise less)
  • Oil (I used sesame)
  • Two stock cubes of your choice
  • Rice

This should, if I was an actual Real Adult, also contain actual vegetables. The frozen peas, frozen spinach and dried lentils I have around and even some finely diced carrots would make a pretty good decision. But cooking when you have a migraine is like cooking drunk. You will only make what you crave. So dice the onions, garlic and ginger, fry it up with the spices and then add the chicken. Once browned or when your patience runs out cover with water and stock. Ten minutes before you’re ready to serve add rice and let it cook in the juice.

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Here’s the Real Adult Version

The Village of Crammond

About half an hour away from Edinburgh is the lovely little village of Crammond and Crammond Island.

 

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You can walk out to the island over a causeway but we decided to head in the other direction instead, where there are Roman and Mesolithic forts, the Crammond falls and also lunch!

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We ate in the Gallery Cafe Bistro where they served absolutely fantastic Cullen Skink and hot cheese scones, as well as some of the best lemon drizzle cake I’ve had. Plus its really interesting looking inside with the incredibly thick walls of period building coupled with murals and fairy lights.

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Only a little past the cafe you’ll find the mesolithic fort set into the trees, and when you cross over it you’ll find the Roman fort by the kirk yard.

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The kirk itself has a really interesting graveyard. I’m particularly interested in learning what the carvings on this stone mean, so if anyone knows please let me know!

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Then finally there’s the falls, which eventually lead out into the bay. Crammond is beautiful, and really popular for dog walking too (so if you’re looking to pet other people’s dogs definitely go there – I got to play with someone else’s pug!).

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Haggis Ravioli

If you’ve ever visited Scotland you’ll know that we tend to combine Haggis with other food up here in all sorts of unholy ways in an attempt to sell more things to tourists. Occasionally however you find a haggis hybrid that’s actually really good, like haggis pakora, and tonight I decided to try the haggis ravioli in tomato sauce offered by Ciao Roma. I thought it would be the sort of dish you’d find interesting but not bother with again but I was completely wrong! Something about the sweetness and texture of the haggis combines perfectly with the firm pasta and the spicy tomato sauce and I think its my new favorite dish to have at this restaurant.

They also make an ice cream out of Sea Buckthorn which is bright orange and tastes a lot like citrus but with aftertastes of iodine and salt that I recommend at least trying. Their ice cream is amazing, and has won the category at the Royal Highland Show several years running.