April Fools Day, 1 April, Hunt-the-Gowk in
Scots, falls next week when bairns of all ages try all kinds of japes
in order to be able to shout "April Fool" at their victim !
In this more sophisticated ( ! ) age the practice seems to be dying
out but it does remind us that in the past Kings and Nobles all had
their Jester or Fool. One of the most famous in Scotland was
Aberdeenshire's Jamie Fleeman, the Laird of Udny's Fool. He lived in
the eighteenth century and was well known for his pithy wit. One of
his most quoted sayings was "A'm the Laird o Udny's Feel. Faw's
feel ar ye ?"
Now Jamie Fleeman might have been a
Fool but he wasn't daft and would well know that you can sup fish with
a spoon ! For Haddock is the basis of the winter soup Cullen Skink -
we might be into Spring but a plate of Cullen Skink is a treat in the
continuing cold weather.
Ingredients: 1 smoked haddock, 6 oz chappit tatties, 1 onion, sliced, 1 oz butter, 1 pint milk, chopped parsley, salt and pepper
Method: Place haddock and onion in pan with
sufficient water to boil ( no more ). Bring to the boil and
simmer for 10 minutes. Lift out the cooked fish and remove skin and
bones. Flake the haddock and return skin and bones to pan and simmer
stock with onions for 30 minutes. Strain the stock and return to
rinsed pan and again bring to the boil. Boil milk in separate pan and
add to fish stock with the
flaked fish and salt to taste. Boil for a few minutes. Add enough
mashed potatoes to give a smooth consistency, with the pepper and a
little more salt if necessary. Sprinkle over chopped parsley and serve
very hot with triangles of dry toast. Delicious !