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Cod Chowder

Scotland is almost an island and the sea has long played an important part in Scotland's life; providing food and trading access, first to Europe and in the fullness of time worldwide.  Fish and sea-food was probably an important item in the diet from the days of the first settlers in what is now Scotland.  It certainly was for the Picts who inhabited places such as the Wemyss Caves in Fife several thousand years ago. 

Last June we reported that an important archaeological dig had been carried out by Channel Four's Time Team in and around the Wemyss Caves.  The result is a fascinating programme which will be shown on Channel Four on Sunday 20 February 2005 at 5pm.  The Time Team programme 'Picts and Hermits: Cave Dwellers of Fife' is one not to be missed.  As a result of the programme there should be a vat increase in visitors to the caves at East Wemyss.  Time Team scanned the caves with 3-D laser technology in the biggest project of its kind in Scotland and the results will be available for use by local museums and other agencies.  This is very important because the future of the caves is under threat by coastal erosion.  In the 1900s, there were 12 Wemyss caves, yet now only 7 remain and some of them are in a precarious state.

Our recipe for this week is sea-based and is just the ticket for combating the cold weather and comes from the city of Aberdeen whose association with the sea has been long standing.  Ena Ritchie's Cod Chowder comes from 'So Let The Lord Be Thanket' published by St Andrew's Church of Scotland Women's Guild, Newcastle in 1992.  Her daughter Jennifer was fed this soup during cold Aberdeen winters and, with maturity, was convinced of the superiority of her mother's chowder over tinned soup.

Cod Chowder

Ingredients:  1lb cod fillets;  8-10 medium potatoes;  1 onion;  1 pt milk;  1 oz butter

Method:  Chop onion finely and boil with cod in salted water until flaking.  Drain, but retain stock.  Flake fish when cool.  Boil potatoes, mash them and mix with fish, onion and half the stock.  Add milk, butter and season.  Stir while bringing gently to the boil, and serve.

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