Monday, 26 January 2015

Monday shocker - UPDATE


UPDATE - I've just realised it's Australia Day today! It must have been in my subconscious when I chose the cartoon...

Saturday, 24 January 2015

A post to disgust or delight

Tomorrow the Scots will celebrate Burns Night. The attire is very appealing, but the menu could be a problem...


On Burns Night this Sunday, people with Scottish ancestry – and some without – will be toasting the poet in the most appropriate way, with a whisky, and the rich and spicily splendid combination of offal and oats that is proper haggis. Everywhere, that is, except the US, where haggis has been banned since 1971, denying around 27.5 million Scottish-Americans access to Scotland’s most famous dish.

It is the sheep’s-lung component of the recipe that the US government takes issue with. A 1971 a federal regulation ruled that “livestock lungs shall not be saved for use as human food”. Traditional haggis contains around 15% of sheep lung – said to give it a nutty flavour and improved texture. The 1971 law effectively made it illegal to import or sell traditional haggis.

[http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jan/22/-sp-the-hunt-for-black-market-haggis-us-burns-night]


Actual Scottish Haggis - how to make it 

A champion Haggis should be firm and slightly sticky, with no tendency to dry out or crumble too much. Most traditional Scottish butchers sell their own home made Haggis and guard the recipe fiercely. Ours is from the Glasgow Cookery Book from around 1926.  

Be aware that this recipe includes lungs and windpipes and other things that don't tend to appear in cut out 'n' keep recipe cards. If you want to avoid these gruesome bits or aren't allowed to eat them (hello, America!), try the Haggis-lite recipe instead.  

(Ignore people who tell you to put a rock in with your simmering Haggis then throw out the beast and eat the rock - they are Phillistines with no sense for the finer things in life.)  

Ingredients.

1 sheep’s pluck. i.e. the animals heart, liver, and lights (lungs).
Cold water.
1 sheep’s stomach (empty).
1lb lightly toasted pinhead oatmeal (medium or coarse oatmeal).
1-2 tablespoons salt.
1 level tablespoon freshly ground black pepper.
1 tablespoon freshly ground allspice.
1 level tablespoon of mixed herbs.
8oz finely chopped suet.
4 large onions, finely chopped.
(lemon juice (or a good vinegar) is sometimes added as well as other flavourings such as cayenne pepper) 

Directions

Wash the stomach in cold water until it is thoroughly clean and then soak it in cold salted water for about 8-10 hours.

Place the pluck in a large pot and cover with cold water. The windpipe ought to be hung over the side of the pot with a container beneath it in order to collect any drips. Gently simmer the pluck for approximately 2 hours or until it is tender and then leave the pluck to cool.

Finely chop or mince the pluck meat and then mix it with the oatmeal. Add about half a pint of the liquor in which the pluck was cooked (or use a good stock). Add the seasonings, suet and onions, ensuring everything is well mixed.

Fill the stomach with the mixture, leaving enough room for the oatmeal to expand into. Press out the air and then sew up the haggis. Prick the haggis a few times with a fine needle. Place the haggis it in boiling water and simmer for approximately 3 hours.

[http://haggishunt.scotsman.com/recipe.cfm?recipe=6]

The guys like to dress up for the occasion: 







There will be drinking:



Music:






Dancing:




And a good time will be had by all!



Friday, 23 January 2015

Under the sea

Just imagine seeing incredibly colourful, exquisite creatures in our everyday lives! Perhaps they live under the sea so we don't go around feeling permanently overwhelmed...