Alexander McCall Smith is a professor of medical ethics at Edinburgh university and the author of more than 50 books. He is best known for his series about a female Botswanan detective, The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency.
A Ceilidh (pronounced "Kay-lay", emphasis on 1st syllable) derives from the Gaelic word meaning a visit and originally meant just that (and still does in Gaelic). It can also mean a house party, a concert or more usually an evening of informal Scottish traditional dancing to informal music.
When I visited Ayr two years ago, one of my fellow travelers was a former resident and very willing guide for a walking tour of the town one pleasant evening. One of the most interesting places we visited was the church graveyard where she shared her interest in deciphering headstones. I later found the following on the internet information on the internet...
St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and the official St Andrew's Day is on November 30th. Andrew, the Apostle, was added to the communion of saints of the Pictish Church in the 8th century. The legend was that St Rule, a Greek monk, was told by an angel to take the relics of St Andrew to Scotland.
In Scotland - as in the rest of Western Europe - there were four main ways of acquiring a surname: Patronymic, Occupation, Locality, and Nickname.
People of all countries tend to use forenames which run in the family. In Scotland families not only use such names but they tend to follow naming patterns - the most common of which is: ...
The Scotsman, in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland, has launched a public vote to find the SEVEN WONDERS OF SCOTLAND. It is a search to find the heartbeat of the nation, to discover those wonders - natural, artificial and cultural - which make Scotland what it is today.
Mix to a smooth dough. Pat into a jelly roll pan. Prick in rows with a fork. Sprinkle the top with granulated sugar. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes. It should be bubbling on top. ENJOY!
First make the pastry, making a stiff dough. Divide into four and roll into large ovals. Set the oven at moderately hot: 400 degrees. Beat out the steak and cut it into 1/2 inch squares. Mix with the suet and onion, then season. Divide between the ovals, putting the filling to one side and leaving a border. Brush the edges with water, fold over the uncovered pastry and crimp the edges to seal them. Make a hole at the top. Bake in the preheated over for 45 minutes.
Marion notes: Forfar bridies are a form of Cornish pastry made from beef rump or topside rather than skirt, and much eaten in Aberdeen Angus country in the vale of Strathmore. Forfar is the main town and Bridie was the surname of the lady who first made them. The Aberdeen Angus scores because it is a heavy animal, and the meat is most concentrated above an imaginary line going from the shoulder diagonally across the animal. Moreover, the meat is flecked through with fat, which makes it tender and well-flavoured, qualities that are emphasized by proper hanging.
Melt butter and sauté onions until soft but not brown. Push aside and add steaks to the pan, browning quickly on both sides. Add pepper. Spread onions around and on top of the meat, add whiskey, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes. Salt to taste before serving.
Judy notes: chopped meat called Scottish collops was served with crispy leeks, steamed kale and clapshot cakes in oatmeal.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put all ingredients in a bowl. Mix with one hand by stirring and squeezing until all ingredients are incorporated. Mixture will be crumbly. Turn out onto clean countertop. Continue to squeeze clumps to incorporate any stray, dry ingredients. Once entire mixture is of consistent texture, shape and press into circle 1/4" thick. No rolling pin needed. Pierce the entire thickness of the dough with fork tines. Cut cookies with a biscuit cutter or knife. Transfer cookies to clean cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Gently heat the butter and milk together and as soon as the butter has melted, stir the liquid into the flour to make a soft but not sticky dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it lightly. Divide the dough in half, then roll the halves out directly onto a baking tray into 9-inch rounds using a large plate as a guide. Flute the edges. Cut out a 2-inch circle from the centre but leave it in place. Divide the outer ring into eight, keeping the inner circle whole. Sprinkle with caster sugar and bake at gas 4/350 degrees F/180 degrees C. for about 40 minutes or until golden to light brown, and crisp.
History says according to the book "A Feast of Scotland" that "there are various theories as to the origin of these curiously-named shortbread biscuits. Some say the name was derived from the French Petites Gatelles, meaning little cakes; others that its origin lies in the shape of the biscuits, which is a replica of the Elizabethan full gored skirt; while a third possibility is that it was the clever invention of a cook after years of broken tips to triangular-shaped biscuits." My brother-in-law is in the Scottish McGregor clan. My sister purchased the cookbook when they were visiting relatives in Scotland.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Toast oats in the oven for 20 minutes until golden.
Combine oats with buttermilk, let sit for 20 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, sugar, salt and dried fruit.
Reset the oven to 400 F. Grease baking sheet with butter.
Cut the butter into the flour mix until the texture is coarsely crumbled.
Stir in the buttermilk/oat mixture.
Flour your hands and scoop the dough, forming a ball. Do not over mix.
Press the ball of dough directly onto the baking sheet and press into a ¾“ thick circle.
With a sharp knife, score the surface almost to the bottom into 8 wedges.
Brush top with milk and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon-sugar.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
Cut into wedges. Makes 8.
Hints and variations:
Substitute white flour for either or both whole grain flours.
Increase the sugar to 1/4 cup.
Use a cheese grater to cut the butter while it is frozen or very cold.