Authors Eat… Features Author Jenny Harper

Max ExWhen I started the Authors Eat… feature I didn’t realize the pleasure I would derive from promoting the work of other writers. There are so many wonderful books written and published every day, books to suit the pickiest of readers. I am temporarily not in a book club, and this feature has encouraged me to research and read books I might never have known about.

Our featured author this week hails from Scotland. Jenny writes charming books brimming with local custom and history. Her characters seem to embody the Scottish landscape, borrowing their quirks and tendencies from the drama of the terrain. So it is fitting that she has shared a recipe typically served at the yearly Burns Supper.  And now in the authors own words…

Cullen Skink

As a pescivore (a vegetarian who eats fish), I am always on the lookout for tasty recipes. Cullen Skink is my all time favourite. It’s a traditional Scottish soup – the nearest US equivalent is chowder – and is incredibly tasty. It is frequently served at the beginning of a Burns Supper (the dinner traditionally held at the end of January every year to commemorate Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns).

Cullen is a small town on the Moray coast, in north east Scotland. It’s a fishing town, and probably best known as the birthplace of this now traditional soup. ‘Skink’ is a Scot word meaning shin or knuckle of beef. From this it migrated to meaning soup, and thence, rather circuitously, just to meaning soup!

This soup can be a meal in itself. Leave it chunky, though you can mash down some of the potato so that it thickens nicely. You can also add cream to make it richer. It uses undyed smoked haddock – if you can’t get this, try using another undyed smoked fish. And serve with some warm and delicious crusty bread.



30g butter

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes

300ml water

250g smoked haddock

250ml milk

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley or chives


1. Melt butter in a saucepan over a low heat, then add the chopped onion and fry gently until soft and transparent.

2. Add potatoes pieces and water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

3. In another pan, cover the haddock with the milk and cook gently for about five minutes until just cooked. Remove from the milk and flake into large pieces. Try to remove all the bones!

4. Add the milk and fish to the saucepan containing the potatoes and the rest of the ingredients and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serve with crusty, warm bread and butter.

For more information about Jenny and her books please click on the following links.

Twitter @harperjenn






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3 Responses to “Authors Eat… Features Author Jenny Harper”

  1. Jenny Harper says:

    Thanks so much for hosting me, Lois! I hope your readers enjoy my recipe. 🙂

  2. Jackie Weger says:

    Oooo. I love fish chowder. The recipe for cullen skink is just right for me. Haddock is good, but we have so many boneless fish available in the USA stores, I would chose a smoked white fish. Many folks do not eat catfish, but I love succulent, boneless meat. Thank you for sharing, Jenny Harper! I have you books. I am enjoying them immensely.
    Best, Jackie Weger

  3. Dale Furse says:

    This recipe sound yummy. I was a little concerned about the use of a skink however. I have only heard lizards called skinks. But I’m glad to read that it can be a shin or knuckle of beef. I’m guessing beef in this context is cow, lol.

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