maandag 25 november 2013

Scots Cooking (1)

Scots Smokies

To make Arbroath smokies [gerookte schelvis uit Arbroath], the haddock are gutted, beheaded, lightly brined and then hot-smoked in pairs, tied together by their tails, untill just cooked. The smoking used to be done in barrels, sunk into the ground. The haddock were hung from wooden poles, over beech or oak chips, then damp hessian bags were placed over the top. Depending the size of the fish, they would need only 30-45 minutes' smoking before emerging a gorgeous brown tarry color with soft, succulent, delicately flavoured flesh. These days the smoking is done in more or less the same way but by commercial companies, on a larger scale.
     My parents remember the Arbroath and Auchmithie fishwives, in their distinctive navy blue flanel skirts ('coats') and plaid shawls, coming to Dundee to sell fish from willow creels - mainly smokies but also Finnan haddie [koud gerookt]. My brother-in-law's grandmother, Isabella (Ise) Smith, was one of Arbroath's last fishwives to do this. Once a week, she travelled all the way from Arbroath to Pertshire to sell fish to the 'big houses' there. She was away for the entire day, most of which was spent travelling, by train to Perth, then bus. Amazingly she continued untill she was nearly 70 years old, which was in the late 1960s.