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Cheesy Carrot Soup

Tourism has become a very important part of the Scottish economy and means of attracting additional visitors are regularly suggested. But political loyalties apart, a recent proposal by Scottish national Party Leader Alex Salmond MP should be welcomed by all Scots. In a bid to boost tourism, Alex Salmond has called for a Scottish Winter Festival to be set up. He suggested that the event could run from St Andrew’s day on November 30 through to Robert Burns’ birthday on January 25. The SNP Leader proposed that the Winter Festival could celebrate Scottish history, culture, arts and sports and would be a ‘high point’ of the year. He argued that it was time to think big and consider how we could dramatically extend the winter visitor season in Scotland. Burns Night he pointed out is already an international asset, but one that is not promoted as effectively as it should be by the Scottish Executive. Combining Scotland’s key assets, Burns Night, St Andrew’s Day and Hogmanay, which are already significant Scottish festivals, with a wide range of linking events would be to the benefit of the Scottish economy and society. Alex Salmond concluded that by focussing on Scotland’s unique selling points at home and abroad could only benefit the tourist industry.

Alex Salmond is of course quite right, it is time that Scotland starts to think big and gets over the dreaded Scottish ‘cringe’. It would be a tremendous way to show our history, culture, sport, art, theatre, poetry and song, not only overseas visitors but all Scots. Many events are already in place, eg Celtic Connections , but need greater publicity – an all-Scotland Winter Festival could do just that, And one great drawing point about Scotland in winter is that it is midge free!

This week has not been so cold but a plate of soup is welcome at any time. Cheesy Carrot Soup was supplied by the Mouswald Institute to ‘The Anniversary Cook-Book of the Dumfriesshire Federation SWRI (1922-1992) and is definitely a winter warmer.

Cheesy Carrot Soup

Ingredients:  large onion, chopped; 2 large carrots, grated; 40g/ 1 ½ oz butter; 40g/ 1 ½ oz plain flour; 420ml/ ¾ pint milk; 420ml/ ¾ pint chicken stock; seasoning; 75g/ 3oz cheddar cheese, grated

Method:  Melt butter in a saucepan, add chopped onions and cook without colouring. Stir in the flour, and cook the roux for a few minutes. Add the milk and chicken stock gradually, then stir in the grated carrots and seasoning. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve sprinkled with grated cheese.

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