Tuesday, January 26, 2021

For A' That

Last night was Robbie, sometimes pronounced Rabbie, Burns Night, so I decided to have a Burns Night dinner. I've never actually been to one, I don't care for haggis or for scotch either so I doubt I'd ever go to an actual dinner. I do like some of Robbie Burns' poems though.  I'm sure most of us in North America and much of Europe, I would think, know Auld Lang Syne but the first poem of Robbie Burns that I can recall that I really liked was My Heart's in the Highlands.

I found a blog post that had a recipe that stacked mashed potatoes and mashed turnip (rutabaga to some of you) on a slice of canned haggis and I thought I could do that but without the haggis. I had some pork sausage and some hamburger that I mixed together with some dry onion soup, cinnamon and nutmeg.  The blog post used the haggis can to build the stack and then pushing the stack through. I couldn't get the bottom of a can cut off so I decided to use the silicone rings I have for cooking eggs. It worked rather well. I only had mini potatoes so had to do a rustic mash for the top. 

This haggis, neeps and tatties stack is served with a whiskey sauce. I wasn't sure I had Scotch but it turned out I did have a couple small bottles. Neeps and tatties are Scottish slang for turnip and potatoes. The sauce was more like a gravy and consisted of sauteed onions, beef broth, whiskey and cream. It was very good. 

I decided to make this a fancy dinner night so I set my table and got myself dressed for the occasion. I had no tartan to wear so I fashioned a sash to wear with my dress shirt with some pins I got in Scotland set off with a brooch that belonged to my mother. The sash is actually a pashmina that Amawaterways presented to each of the ladies at the end of our river cruise.

Formal but casual

The wine was from Chile, I'm not even sure they make wine in Scotland. I know there are lots of distilleries.  Anyway I thought the name of the wine sounded somewhat Scottish.

I also made a Scotch Egg that I had for lunch today. It wasn't bad, I overcooked it as I wasn't sure how you would tell if the meat was cooked all the way through. It was pretty good; someday I'll have to try a real one. They are supposed to be deep fried but the recipe I used was for a baked Scotch Egg.  Mine split at the bottom, perhaps I could have turned it while it cooked. 

Burns has a poem that is somewhat fitting for these pandemic days called A Man's a Man for A' That. The last verse is especially appropriate. 

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Fire and Ice

Well, not too much to blog about while we're under a Stay-At-Home order especially now that we've gotten more snow and temperatures have dropped.

I've been trying to eat better and not have processed food so I've been finding simple recipes but ones that are still tasty and sometimes even somewhat elegant.  One recipe that I had intended to make while camping last summer was Sambucca Shrimp, but I forgot the shrimp.  I made it again just this month and this time I was ready to video when I flambeed the shrimp.

You can have this as an appetizer with crusty bread or as a meal served over rice or pasta. I'm trying to do low carb meals so I had it over steamed cauliflower.

I'm not a crafty person and other than agility I don't really have any hobbies so keeping busy has been a bit hard and I have to say I've been lacking motivation too. Yesterday, however I came across a blog about ice suncatchers and I thought that's something I could easily do. So I did. I cut a couple tips from the pine swag at the front steps, some berries from the Burning bush out front and gathered some cedar tips that had broken off when we got the heavy snow last week. I went through the plastic bin I have of Christmas decoration from various wreaths and swags and got some fake berries and a piece of ribbon.  All I had to do was put them in a pie plate with a little bit of arrangement, then poured boiling water into the pie plate. A friend had suggested boiling the water so it would be clear; I don't know if it helped or not but it sure made things smell nice. I added bird seed (the black and white bits) at the end, I'm hoping the birds will find them and enjoy it.

The shot glass was an idea to make a hole that I got from a blog about making ice suncatchers. The blog said to use a plastic glass and to weight it down, I thought the shot glass would be heavy enough that I didn't have to weight it down. It wasn't; so when I took it out, I had to chip out the ice underneath to make a hole for the ribbon. I put the whole thing outside overnight to freeze. 

You don't need to grease the pie plate or use plastic wrap, the ice sun catcher will come out of the pie plate. You just need to bring it in where it's warm and let it melt a bit. I had to wait about half an hour before it would come out.

I threaded through the ribbon and then hung it outside so it wouldn't melt while I got dressed this morning.  Then I went out and hung it in a tree where I can see it from my family room. It's so cold today that I couldn't get it as high as I would like it. My fingers were freezing just in the time it took to tie the bow.

This would be quite a fun craft to do with kids, just gather leaves, small evergreen bows, berries, nuts and other things. One blogger used grapes and orange pieces for colour. 

Anyway it was something fun to do, didn't take long, wasn't hard at all and it's pretty to look at.

Stay safe, stay home!