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The Kilted Chef: April springs a surprise

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Craig Wilson, aka The Kilted Chef, gathers together some seasonal produce for a flavour-packed meal.

This month I’m celebrating the best of the season.

April has an abundance of great produce coming into its own, from cauliflower, spinach and peas to spring greens, spring onions and asparagus.

My spicy cauliflower soup is like a hug in a bowl, and I’ve teamed it with one of my favourite foods from Easter – hot cross buns, with a twist!

The spicy, fruity softness of the hot cross bun with the savoury cheese and hit of Worcester sauce is a great contrast and perfect accompaniment to this delicious soup.

Monkfish is not the best looking fish in the sea, but what is lacks in looks it certainly makes up for in taste.

It’s a meaty fish with a sweet and mild flavour and here, I’ve paired it with beautiful spring vegetables and smoky, crisp pancetta. If you can’t get pancetta you can use bacon, but make sure it’s good quality and dry cured – Piggery-Smokery’s award-winning bacon from Alford is amazing!

Spicy cauliflower soup with hot cross bun Scottish rarebit

(Serves 4) 


For the soup:

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 200g white onion
  • 2 level tbsp medium curry powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp rock salt
  • 500g full fat milk
  • 200g Red Rooster potatoes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1l water

For the topping:

  • 100g slices of bread or roll
  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • ½ tsp rock salt
  • ½ tsp chilli powder

For the Scottish rarebit:

  • 2 hot cross buns
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp Lea & Perrins Worcester Sauce
  • 100g Isle of Mull cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp chilli powder


  1. For the soup: Peel off the cauliflower leaves and set to one side.
  2. Roughly chop the potatoes, onion and cauliflower.
    Put in a pan with the stock cube, water, milk, turmeric, curry powder, chilli powder and salt.
  3. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Take the pan off the heat.
  4. Pour the liquid into a food processor or using a hand blender, blend until silky smooth.
  5. For the topping: Take around half the cauliflower leaves (around 130g) and wash them.
    Slice length ways then chop into chunks.
  6. Cut the bread/rolls into small cubes.
  7. Put 3 tbsp rapeseed oil in a non-stick frying pan and heat for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the chopped cauliflower leaves – the pan will sizzle. Add the bread cubes, salt and chilli powder.
  9. Stir round in the pan with a wooden spoon until the bread is golden.
  10. Take off the heat, and at the last minute add another tbsp of oil.
  11. Then put the contents of the pan into a hot oven at 170C/180C Fan/375F/Gas Mark 5 for five minutes, to crisp up. Once crisped, set aside and leave to cool.
  12. For the rarebit: In a bowl beat the egg.
  13. Grate the cheese and add to the bowl along with the Worcester Sauce. Mix together.
  14. Preheat oven 170C/180C Fan/375F/Gas Mark 5. Slice each hot cross bun in half and place on to a baking tray.
  15. Top each slice with approximately a heaped teaspoon of the cheesy mix. Place the tray into the oven for 10 minutes.
  16. To serve: Serve the soup into warm bowls; sprinkle the bread/cauliflower leaf croutons over the soup.
  17. Serve the rarebit alongside on a side plate.

Monkfish, asparagus, peas with turmeric mash

(Serves 2)


  • 250g monkfish tail
  • 8 asparagus spears
  • 100g frozen petit pois
  • 2 spring onions
  • ½ lemon
  • 4 rashers pancetta or bacon, sliced
  • 1 sprig of basil
  • 10ml rapeseed oil
  • 25g salted butter plus a few extra knobs of butter
  • 500g Red Rooster potatoes
  • 25ml double cream
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 5g sea salt


  1. For the monkfish: Trim the ends of the monkfish and cut the fish into two pieces. Place on to a large piece of tinfoil so you can create a foil cooking parcel.
  2. Trim the ends on the asparagus and place on top of monkfish. Add the frozen peas. Place a few knobs of butter into the foil. Zest the lemon and pour over the fish.
  3. Place the basil on top; sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle the fish with rapeseed oil. Loosely pinch the sides of the foil to create a steam parcel.
  4. Put on to a baking tray and place in a pre-heated oven at a little over 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, wash the spring onions and trim the ends. Put the spring onions on to a baking tray and place the pancetta/bacon on top.
  6. Add this to the oven for 10 minutes until the pancetta/bacon is crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  7. For the mash: Peel and cut potatoes into cubes, then place into a pan with water. Add the sea salt and turmeric and boil for 15 mins.
  8. Drain, then put them back on to the heat to fluff up. Take off the heat and mash while still really hot.
  9. Add the butter into pan, mash further then add the cream and stir through. Season with salt to taste.
  10. Time to plate up… Warm your plates prior to serving, then take the monkfish out of the parcel and place a piece of fish on each plate.
  11. Divide the asparagus and peas and sprinkle around the fish along with the cooking juices.
  12. Put the spring onion and crispy bacon/pancetta on top of the fish, then a large spoonful of creamy mash on the side.