Archive for the ‘scotland’ Category

Family Friend on Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys

Family friend, Anne-Mary Paterson, author of Pioneers of the Highland Tracks, is going to be on Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys this Wednesday.  If she isn’t on in person, she will have contributed in the Dufftown to Aviemore segment.

Saint Andrew’s Day is on its way!

The radio is telling me that it is  Friday week until St. Andrew’s Day.  I’ve been planning for a while, but it looks as if the menu is going to be the same as last year:

Salad:Lanark Blue and Walnut Salad

Soup: Cullen Skink

Main Course:

* the Medley of Roasted Roots
* Venison Medallions in Cumberland Sauce,

* Orkney Fudge Cheesecake

Shock and Awe!

The SNP has announced that it would allow for sme sex unions to become legal in Scotland!

Ministers in the Scottish Parliament have confirmed they would bring forward a bill on the issue, indicating the earliest ceremonies could take place by the start of 2015.

I have to admit that this is pretty shocking news since Scotland has been fairly religious in the past with the National Covenant and not celebrating Christmas until fairly recently.  This is the same stock that the US religious right hail, although we could say the Northern Irish or Welsh try to be religious in the religiousity department.

I’d like to think this signifies that there may be hope for the US to get its shit together, but that may be too much to ask for.

Robbie Burns–The Slave’s Lament

This poem came up during last night’s celebration. There was discussion about Scotland’s part in the slave trade and that Burns almost worked in a plantation. Burns probably have supported the occupation movement since he was for the underdog and downtrodden. Doggone mentioned the the Selkirk grace in her comment to the previous post, which was our opening grace:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.

Anyway, this poem came up and I thought I would add it to my commonplace book and put it out there for others to appreciate:

The Slave’s Lament


It was in sweet Senegal that my foes did me enthral,
For the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O:
Torn from that lovely shore, and must never see it more;
And alas! I am weary, weary O:
Torn from that lovely shore, and must never see it more;
And alas! I am weary, weary O.

All on that charming coast is no bitter snow and frost,
Like the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O:
There streams for ever flow, and there flowers for ever blow,
And alas! I am weary, weary O:
There streams for ever flow, and there flowers for ever blow,
And alas! I am weary, weary O:

The burden I must bear, while the cruel scourge I fear,
In the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O;
And I think on friends most dear, with the bitter, bitter tear,
And alas! I am weary, weary O:
And I think on friends most dear, with the bitter, bitter tear,
And alas! I am weary, weary O:

Wild Dancer commented:

recommend christine Kydd’s version on youtube (on The Complete Songs of Robert Burns: Volume 1) and for the history see the scottish archives listing

Getting ready for guests

Whilst listening to Get it On With Bryan Burnett on BBC Radio Scotland.

He’s hosting a Burns’ Night celebration on the radio.  They are piping in the Haggis, and I have yet to finish the tatties ‘n neeps and boil the cabbage.

But they started at 18.10, and our guests have just arrived!

Gardners Sauce for Haggis

OK, what is a better way to commemorate Burns’ Night than mentioning haggis?

In this case, Gardeners Sauce for Haggis which was made by Edinburgh Preserves who decided to stop making the stuff for some odd reason. I’m not sure why since it was really good.

And Edinburgh Preserves is still in business, which I found out whilst walking in my local market.  I believe they still use the name Gardeners as well.

For all of those who want to buy this sauce and have been trying to buy this sauce, you may want to contact Edinburgh Preserves to say that it was a mistake to take this product off the market.

While you are at it, you may want to sample some of Edinburgh Preserves other products.

Scottish Drinking habits

It may sound odd that at one time the Scottish drink of choice was not whisky (considered crude and provincial) or beer, but claret (Bordeaux Wine). Plentiful supplies of Bordeaux wine were the legacy of Scotland’s medieval ties to France, “the auld alliance,” and every Scottish gentlemen was a connoisseur, with his own preferred vintages and his private cellar. After 1707, as the English taste for port or sherry began to seep northwards, continuing to drink claret became almost a patriotic act. John Home even composed a short verse about it:

Clear-eyed and proud the noble Caledonian stood,
His claret old and his mutton good.
“Let him drink port,” the Saxon cried,
He drank the poison, and the spirit died.

A gentleman or writer would be routinely identified as a “two-” or “three-bottle man,” depending on how much claret he consumed at a meal or single sitting.

Scottish distilling began during the 11th century in Christian monastaries.  The first written mention of Scotch whisky is in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 1495. A friar named John Cor was the distiller at Lindores Abbey in the Kingdom of Fife. The first taxes on whisky production were imposed in 1644, causing a rise in illicit whisky distilling in the country. Around 1780, there were about 8 legal distilleries and 400 illegal ones. In 1823, Parliament eased restrictions on licensed distilleries with the “Excise Act”, while at the same time making it harder for the illegal stills to operate, thereby ushering in the modern era of Scotch production. Two events helped the increase of whisky’s popularity: first, a new production process was introduced in 1831 called Coffey or Patent Still. The whisky produced with this process was less intense and smoother.

Second, Phylloxera destroyed wine (and cognac) production in France in 1880. Within a few years, wine and brandy had virtually disappeared from cellars everywhere. The Scots were quick to take advantage of the calamity, and by the time the French industry recovered, whisky had replaced wine as the preferred spirit of choice.

It was during the 19th Century that the tipple began to switch from wine to whisky! So, you don’t need to feel to tied to whisky for a “traditional” Scottish meal, unless it’s Burns Night when whisky is the natural tipple due to the connection to Burns, who said that “Freedom and Whisky Gang Thegither”.

There are indeed Scottish wines as well. I am not sure how good they are or their availability!