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!
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.