Seafarer’s Stew

Recipe from Alex Nye
Submitted by Fledgling Press


Kippers, or other smoked fish
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots
1 litre water
250 ml cream


Simmer the fish (but not the prawns) in water in a heavy pan for 5 mins. Reserve the stock from it. Put the fish on a plate and flake it with a fork.

Heat a little oil in a pan, scissor-cut some bacon into it and fry with onions and garlic. Add the reserved fish broth, bring to the boil, and grate the carrots over it. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in a cup of cream, the flaked fish and the prawns. Heat gently without boiling.

Serve in big flat bowls with crusty bread and garnish with fresh parsley.

This is a soup inspired by a visit to the Isle of Coll, and is a variation on Cullen Skink. It has a sophisticated twist which is actually very cheap but tastes dead expensive! I’m not known for my culinary skills in our household (to say the least), but I cooked this for some friends who enjoy good food and they assured me it tasted like something you could serve in a classy fish restaurant. The secret is the grated carrot which gives the thin creamy broth an amazing saffron-coloured glow. It brings back memories of cycling for miles across the island, and camping on the beach surrounded by the machair. The look of the soup even brings to mind rock pools, especially if you add mussels as well, then the shells gleam through like blue-black rocks.

Alex Nye is an award-winning children’s author whose most recent book is Darker Ends. Inspired by the landscape and history of Scotland, it takes Glencoe as its setting, where the ghosts of the recent past mingle with the darker events centuries earlier, and two children confront Glencoe’s ancient tales.

Alex Nye is published by Fledgling Press.