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Cabbage and Potato Soup with Caraway

This week’s column comes with a cold weather forecast – for more read on! In the days before Global Warning, the Scots, indeed people world-wide, could work out weather patterns eg. a piece of Candlemas (1 February) weather lore gave rise to the verse –

If Candlemas day be dry and fair,
The half o the winter’s to come and mair;
If Candlemas day be wet and foul,
The half o the winter’s gane at Yule.

In April you could expect The Gowk’s Storm around the 12th of the month which was associated with the arrival of the cuckoo and lasted about three days. A month later around the 1st of May, you were likely to have a cold spell of a few days which was called The Gab o Mey. By the time you read, we will know if the traditional Yowe’s Tremmle has occurred. Following sheep shearing The Yowe’s Tremmle is a cold spell of weather of about a week’s duration around the 29th of June. The great Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid, Border-bred in Langholm in the heart of sheep country wrote of The Yowe Tremmle –

Ae weet forenicht I’ the yow-trummle
I saw yon antrin thing,
A watergaw wi’ its chitterin’ licht
Ayont the onding;
An’ I thocht o’ the last wild look ye gied
Afore ye deed!

(The Watergaw)

So, if like the shorn sheep, The Yowe Tremmle leaves you feeling a bit parky, the answer lies in a hot plate of soup and Cabbage and Potato Soup with Caraway will certainly be just the ticket for everyone!

Cabbage and Potato Soup with Caraway

Ingredients:  30ml/2 tbsp olive oil;  2 small onions, sliced;  6 garlic cloves, halved;  350g/12oz/3 cups shredded green cabbage;  4 potatoes (floury), unpeeled;  5ml/1 tsp caraway seeds; 5ml/1 tsp sea salt;  1.2 litres/2 pints/5 cups water

Method:  Pour the olive oil into a large pan and soften the onion.  Add the garlic and the cabbage and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes, caraway seeds, sea salt and water.  Bring to the boil then simmer until all the vegetables are cooked through, about 20-30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before mashing into a purée or passing through a sieve.

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