Alex Grahame, owner of Hornblower’s seafood restaurant and takeaway, Gourdon, gives us his award-winning recipe for Cullen Skink with a twist - 'The Bon Accord'

  • 45
  • 4
  • Medium
Cullen Skink has been a regular on our Gourdon menu for a number of years and is a firm favourite with customers, both from the region and those further afield. My own recipe has been refined over the years, but the same core ingredients are used with many of them sourced within walking distance from the restaurant itself. Cullen Skink is a speciality within Scotland and it is important to do the dish justice every time it is served. It is a mainstay of Scottish cuisine and has been much-loved for generations; it’s important to never lose sight of this. I hope that this level of care and attention is showcased throughout the following recipe and method and I would be thrilled to get the chance to cook my version for you all at the event in November. I’ve also attached a few photographs that hopefully highlight the thought and passion that is behind my take on Cullen Skink as well as some of the locally-sourced ingredients that I believe help make this dish special.


  • Gourdon Fish Stock
  • 1KG Haddock heads & bodies
  • 1Stick of rough chopped celery
  • 1 Rough chopped carrot
  • 1 Rough chopped medium onion
  • 1 Sliced leek
  • 1 Bouquet Garni (leek leaf, clove garlic, sprig thyme, six black peppercorns)
  • 1 Tbs Black peppercorns
  • 2 litres Cold water
  • Skink
  • 300gm Gourdon’s finest pale smoked haddock
  • 300ml Fresh semi-skimmed milk
  • 100ml Fresh cream
  • 1 Slice of Scottish smoked back bacon
  • 1 Bayleaf
  • 1 Stick of celery
  • 2 Medium shallots
  • 300mg Diced Scottish Agria potato
  • ½ teaspoon
  • French Mustard powder
  • ½ tablespoon
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Healthy splash
  • Noilly Prat or other vermouth
  • 3 capfuls
  • Pernod
  • 20gm
  • Plain flour
  • 50gm
  • Unsalted butter
  • ½ tablespoon
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons
  • Freshly picked and chopped mixed parsley, chive and chervil
  • 500ml Gourdon fish stock


First job: prepare the Gourdon fish stock

1.Fry off the haddock heads and bodies with no oil for 3-4 mins until they start to brown.

2.Add vegetables and the prepared bouquet garni and cook for 2-3 mins.

3.Add the cold water and peppercorns.

4.Bring the stock to the boil, skimming regularly, and simmer for 20 mins.

5.Once simmered, pass through chinois without pressing.

Second job: prepare the skink

1.Mix the fresh cream & semi skimmed milk in a pan and bring to a simmer. Add the bayleaf.

2.Add Gourdon’s finest pale smoked haddock and poach until it just flakes apart. Remove from the fresh cream & milk and set both aside.

3.Fry off the slice of Scottish smoked back bacon, celery, shallots and 25g of the butter until they soften, and then remove the slice of bacon (it’s the tasty fat you want)

4.Turn the heat up and add a good splash of Noilly Prat (another vermouth can be used.)

5.Once the alcohol has been burnt off, add the plain flour and mix well. Cook the flour out for a minute or so.

6.Add the rest of the butter and make a roux.

7.Add the mustard powder, mustard and Worcestershire Sauce and then add the stock and the reserved poaching milk and cream.

8.Add the diced Agria potato and leave to simmer until they soften.

9.Finally, at the end add in the smoked haddock, chopped herbs, Pernod, stir and enjoy.

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