Snowdrops and Soup in Fife

Cambo Snowdrops | Vagabond BakingSpring decided it wasn’t quite ready this week and winter muscled itself back into our lives. We woke up to snow on Sunday morning and it’s been on and off ever since, and oh boy it’s cold. We decided to sit out this unfriendly weather and stay put up here near Dundee. A warm house, a big kitchen and friends is far more appealing than freezing our backsides off in the van somewhere.

The happy pigs

The happy pigs

The sun made an appearance on Wednesday morning so we took a trip down to the Cambo Estate, near Kingsbarns in Fife. Just a ten minute drive from St Andrews, the estate has some lovely gardens and woodland that are open to the public throughout the year. There is a tea room and gift shop, with plants for sale. By the time we arrived, so had the clouds but never mind, it was nice to be out in the fresh air.

Cambo is famed at this time of year for its snow drops. The woodland surrounding the estate is carpeted with these delicate white flowers, they have been cultivated within the grounds as well and you can see up to 300 different types.

The estate also has a big walled garden with wonderful old greenhouses leaning up against the north wall. Their prime is long gone but I love their aged appearance, it’s like you’ve wandered into a secret garden, lost to the world.

The trail through the gardens takes you round to the stable buildings where there are some happy pigs in the adjacent enclosures. You can feed them potatoes from a huge pile. The little piglets were very cute. We sat on a stone bench in the prairie garden and warmed ourselves with some homemade soup.

The path leads down to the sea

The path leads down to the sea

The Fife coast

The Fife coast

The path follows the burn which flows through the estate, and loops back, finally bringing you to the sea. A grassy picnic spot on a little bay. The North Sea looked cold and very uninviting as it was whipped up with the bitter wind. A little wander back through the snowdrops transported us to the car park.

It was a pleasant afternoon, I have never seen snowdrops in such quantity before. I’d love to see the gardens in full bloom, late spring or early summer but at least on days like this you feel like you have the place to yourselves. It cost £5 each.

soup, food, vegetarian, vegan, carrots, corianderHere’s my beloved recipe for carrot and coriander soup, I’ve had it for ages doodled in my file so I’m not too sure on its origins. It could be Jamie Oliver, either way it has evolved a little. It is perfect flask soup as it’s nice and smooth, therefore easy to sip and deliciously warming. Try adding a pinch of chilli powder along with the ground coriander for even more pep. It’s very low-calorie too, make up for it with lashings of butter on some crusty bread.

Homemade Carrot and Coriander Soup

  • 600 g {2 + 1/4 lb} carrots, peeled weight and chopped into even-sized pieces 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tbsp ground coriander seed
  • 1.3 ltr {2 + 3/4 pints} hot vegetable stock, I use Marigold Bouillon powder {6 tsp}
  • 30 g {1 ounce or a small bunch} fresh coriander
  • a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, to taste
  • salt and pepper

Soften the onion in the tsp of olive oil in a large pan for a couple of minutes. If the heat is low enough, one teaspoon is all you need. Stir in the carrots and cook over a low heat for around 5 minutes then add the garlic and cook for a minute or so more before mixing in the ground coriander seed.

Pour in the vegetable stock, bring up to a simmer then turn the heat down low, put a lid on the pan and gently cook for around half an hour until the carrot is soft.

Chop the fresh coriander and add to the pan. Turn off the heat then blitz the soup with a hand blender to a puree. Season to taste with lemon or lime juice and plenty of salt and pepper. I like to use A.Vogal’s Herbamare, a seasoned sea salt with herbs, as it seasons with plenty of additional flavour. It’s a great ingredient for those times when a recipe just needs ‘something’, I also love garlic salt for this reason too.

I personally think this soup tastes much better after a couple of hours, when the flavours have time to develop. And everything tastes better out of a flask, on a cold day, in the great outdoors!

Carrot and Coriander Soup | Vagabond Baking

Cambo Snowdrops | Vagabond Baking

No Responses

  1. kerrycooks says:

    Gorgeous gorgeous pictures as always! And that soup looks lovely 🙂

  2. lovely photos of Cambo estate! the field of snow drops look really beautiful!

    The carrot and coriander soup must taste lovely on a cold day.
    btw, I love your thermal flask! it’s pretty.

  3. Dave says:

    Now I know what snowdrops are! I love the photos of the piggies and also the path leading down to the sea. I really love your B&W photos too – what makes you decide to use B&W for some photos versus color? What photos lend themselves to B&W more?

    • Snowdrops are our first flower to appear in the year! I often switch to B&W for drama or texture. I loved shooting B&W film so I like to switch every now and again. It lends itself well to days when the sky is white and featureless, we have a lot of those days! I like it in winter when there can be little colour to brighten up a picture.

  4. NickkiT says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever been to Cambo. When I was little I travelled all over Scotland, but I don’t think I ever came here. It looks absolutely gorgeous. It really has got so cold again. This soup looks perfect! I’ve been looking for a good carrot & coriander soup so I’ll give it a try over the weekend 🙂

    • It’s a little hidden place but the AA put bright yellow signs directing to Cambo Snowdrops at this time of year. Yes, they’re that famous!
      Have a go at the soup, add more coriander if you think it needs it 🙂

  5. Cambo is a fabulous place – been going there since I was a child and it still feels special. The small valley opening out onto the sea is particularly magical!

  6. jmcvl says:

    Aside from the soup sounding amazing, where is your holder from? It’s so cute. Want one!