What’s For Tea?

Cockaleekie and the Antarctic Vortex


How to think like a warm person.

Cockaleekie is a thing and so is the Antarctic Vortex.

I was in the butcher the other day and commented on the-fellow-behind-the-counter’s short sleeves. I imagined his cockles all toasty and warm from his frantic to-ing and fro-ing attending to customers’ requests. He wasn’t quite a whirling dervish blur but he certainly wasn’t idle. He replied that he was cold. Being a butcher meant short sleeves. At. All. Times. OH&S you see. Imagine this: your long sleeved butcher has reached across the chicken fillets to grab your dozen chipolatas and chicken juice was smeared on his (or her) sleeve. Then you requested some of those award winning pork and black pepper snags (locals will know which butcher shop I’m talking about) and said butcher’s chicken juice had previously smeared sleeve touched the tray of award winning pork and black pepper snags. Oh-oh. Salmonella-ecoli-staph-whatever-ebola alert. No not quite. You see every single tray in that butcher is covered in the tightest, most gleaming cling film I have ever seen. Cross contaimination? You just try and get under that Glad Wrap (TM) seal. Still those WorkCover sticklers could walk through the door at any moment.

But there’s another reason for the short sleeves. It’s out the back. The Band Saw. Mwoaaaah-ha-ha-ha. Cue hushed, reverential tones and visions of a sinister-mind-of-its-own-widowmaker. That thing’ll kill ya mate. It’s 2015 but still the engineers at Medieval University still haven’t designed a meat cutting device that won’t suck your sleeves in and render you armless. The Antarctic Vortex ain’t got nothing on the pull of the band saw.

Butcher bloke then proceeded to tell me that on his break he puts on all his jumpers and thinks like a warm person.

And of course that brings us to winter. It’s a bit cold at the moment and the air is chock full of the new buzz-term: the Antarctic Vortex. Antarctic wind vortex is strongest for 1000 years” – Thank you New Scientist

So, make like a warm person and whip up some Cockaleekie, a traditional Scottish soup

chicken, jointed into pieces
smoked bacon lardons
two carrots, chopped
two celery sticks, chopped
two leeks, cut into thick rounds (reserve green tops)
two bay leaves
white wine
thyme sprigs
15 stoned prunes

Heat the oil and fry the chicken until brown, then remove. Splash in the wine and boil rapidly, deglazing the pan. Add bacon, carrots, celery and leek tops and fry for 5 minutes until it all starts to brown. Return the chicken, add the herbs and add enough cold water to cover. Slowly bring to the boil then simmer for 40 mins until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken to a plate, covering with foil.

Strain the soup into a clean saucepan and discard all the other ingredients. Leave to stand for a few mins and skim off any fat that rises to the top. Pull the meat from the chicken bones and tear into large chunks.

Simmer the soup with the chicken, leeks and prunes for another 20-30 mins. Season to taste and serve.

PS – Of course this is all just a gratuitous excuse for showing you the options for the Geddes tartan. I like the ancient colours. Anyone who has read this far can email me and I’ll send you a kilt in the Geddes tartan ancient colourway: if you can tell me the proper way to pronounce Geddes

PPS – Sorry Gav, back in the day there weren’t many Scottish Jews or Jewish Scots that got their own tartan.

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