Archives

Outlander: Rent and cheese!

OUT_105-20140403-EM_0449.jpg

Achhhhh It’s time to pay the rent in the highlands of  Scotland and ye best have your payment ready when Dougal arrives to collect it this week! He has a war to fund and will not be lookin kindly upon ye if ye can not pay your share! Dinna fash though, because he does understand how difficult cold hard coin is to come by in these days so he will accept other things in payment? Do ye have a spare goat around? He’ll take the goat, or perhaps some chickens, some eggs… if ye have a pig, you’d best be slaughtering it ahead of time though and offering him the meat instead because he’ll not be taking any live pigs! Now, do not be thinking you can play on his emotions and makin him feel sorry for your poor circumstances either. Rent is rent and it needs to be paid in some form or another. If your baby is in need of the goat’s milk, ye best not be trading the goat because a deal is a deal and he’ll not be giving it back even if the Sassenach, Claire does her share of pleading for you!

 

 

Hmmmm… You could probably pay your rent with some wool that you’ve made as well? But, it’s a verra hard and sort of nasty process, that wool making, it is… and if ye haven’t made it yet, ye will na have time to get it done before Dougal arrives tomorrow for the rent money?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wool

OUT_105-20140401-EM_0649.jpg Outlander 2014

 

Now, since ye don’t have time for the wool making, and ye’re thinking twice about trading the goat what with the baby crying for milk and all… I have a solution?  It’s a well known fact that Dougal will accept cheese as part of the rent payment! What, cheese, ye say- We don’t have time to tryin that, that must surely be takin much longer to do than even the wool?  Achhhh, that’s where you’re wrong! We can whip up some fine Crowdie Cheese in less time than it takes to catch and slaughter the pig… and a bit less mess to it all as well!

Crowdie is a Scottish  cheese, or the term less often refers to a type of brose (an uncooked porridge).

The cheese is often eaten with oatcakes and recommended before a ceilidh as it is said to alleviate the effects of whisky drinking. The texture is soft and crumbly, the taste slightly sour. Like cottage cheese it is very low in fat, being made from skimmed milk.

A version of crowdie known as “Black Crowdie” or “Gruth Dhu” is made by rolling crowdie in a mixture of pinhead oatmeal and crushed black peppercorns.

                              A céilidh or ceilidh /ˈkli/ is a traditional Gaelic social gathering, which usually involves playing Gaelic folk music and dancing. It originated from Ireland and Scotland, but is now common throughout the Scottish and Irish diasporas. In Scottish Gaelic it is spelt cèilidh (Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [ˈkʲʰeːli]), and in Irish it is spelt céilí (Irish pronunciation: [ˈkeːlʲiː]).

 

Well, then, that is we’ll do… we’ll make some fine Crowdie Cheese for the rent payment! We’ll toss in some Scotch eggs as well as long as we’re cooking and maybe we’ll be offering him and his traveling group some nice warm scones as well? We’ll most likely have to give up a few chickens and possibly some of the pig that we butchered to cover the rest of the rent payment, but at least this way, we’ll manage to hold on to our prized and precious goat!

Crowdie-Cheese-Copy

 

crowdie cheese cheese cake

Crowdie Cheese Cheesecake!

crowdie cheese

Pre-packaged Crowdie Cheese

We’ll be using the recipe that Theresa has provided for us at Outlanderkitchen.com: http://outlanderkitchen.com/2014/09/03/homemade-crowdie-cheese-outlander-starz-episode-105/  Ahhhh Bless her soul, isn’t she the life saver for us as usual! She also has recipes for the Scotch eggs: http://outlanderkitchen.com/2012/09/24/scotch-eggs-from-an-echo-in-the-bone/, and a recipe for the scones as well! http://outlanderkitchen.com/2014/03/03/mrs-grahams-oatmeal-scones-with-clotted-cream/.  An added note here, I really wanted to try the clotted cream recipe but can not find the right cream for it. It must be the not ultra-pasteurized type and I was not able to find this on my shopping trip!  I am a bit disappointed because I did so want to try it!
caboc_grande

Now, we being the poorer folk who have to  scrape together our meager resources for that rent payment, we canna afford the luxury taste of a somewhat better quality of cheese offering? Crowdie Cheese is considered the poor folk’s cheese. There is a far better one that the much finer folk might consume? That would be Caboc Cheese.

Caboc is a Scottish cream cheese, made with double cream or cream-enriched milk. This rennet-free cheese is formed into a log shape and rolled in toasted pinhead, to be served with oatcakes or dry ttoast.

The texture is smooth, slightly thicker and grainier than clotted cream, while the colour is a pale primrose yellow. The fat content is typically 67-69%, which is comparable with rich continental cream cheeses such as mascarpone. Historically, it was a cheese for the wealthy, unlike the similarly-aged Crowdie, which is made from the by-products of skimming cream from milk and thus is considered a poor man’s cheese.

Caboc is Scotland’s oldest cheese, dating from the 15th century in the Scottish Highlands. The cheese was first made by Mariota de Ile, the daughter of the chieftain of the Clan MacDonald of the Isles. At 12 years old, Mariota was in danger of being abducted by the Clan Cambell, who planned to marry her to one of their own and seize her lands. Mariota escaped to Ireland, where she learned how to make cheese. On her return, she passed the recipe to her daughter, who in turn passed it onto her daughter. The recipe is still a secret and has been handed down from mother to daughter ever since. The  present maker is Mrs Suzannah Stone of Tain, who works with a team of eight local women and her cheese is sold under the seal of Highland Fine Cheeses Ltd.

According to legend, the tradition of coating Caboc in oatmeal started as an accident. A cattle herder stored the day’s cheese in a box which he had used to carry his oatcakes earlier that day. Apparently, the oatmeal-coated cheese was enjoyed so much that from that day, Caboc has been made with an oaten coating.

 

Scotch Eggs:

A Scotch egg consists of a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage  meat, coated in bread crumbs and baked or deep-fried The London department store, Fortnum & Mason  claims to have invented Scotch eggs in 1738,  but they may have been inspired by the Moghul dish nargisi kofta (“Narcissus meatballs”).  The earliest printed recipe appears in the 1809 edition of Mrs. Rundell’s A New System of Domestic Cookery. Mrs. Rundell—and later 19th-century authors—served them hot, with gravy.

Scotch Eggs

 

 

I surely do hope that Dougal is satisfied with our rent payments… I would hate for to be on the bad side of him!

OUT_105-20140405-EM_0051.jpg

Previous Outlander post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/outlander-mystery-man-at-the-gathering/

 

Ahhhh So excited! Crowdie Cheese is a success! Thanks so much to Theresa at Outlanderkitchen.com! http://outlanderkitchen.com/2014/09/03/homemade-crowdie-cheese-outlander-starz-episode-105/

I followed her recipe exactly right down to the time increments and had no problems with any of it. It even yielded a bit more than I expected it would,  but  probably not nearly enough to pay all of the rent payment? Hmmm ummm perhaps Dougal and I could come to some sort of personal and private agreement on making up the difference?  While that young lad, Jamie is a sight to behold, he’s bit young for me… and besides, he is obviously smitten with that white witch Sassenach woman. I think I would be tryin my luck with Dougal?  I’ve heard rumors though about that other witch, Geillis Duncan havin her eyes on him, and that woman be putting a mighty fear in me?

Outlander 2014

 

Ohhhh ummm yes, so sorry for that bit of frightful dreaming! Now, where was I? Ahhh yes, back to the Crowdie Cheese and comin up with the rent payment?

 

As I said, I followed the recipe and instructions exactly, but did use some of her added suggestions and tips. I used fresh lemon juice rather than vinegar. There was a comment on Theresa’s site where someone had a bit of difficulty with the amount of curd. This poster mentioned that she returned drained whey to heat and added a touch more of the vinegar. So, using that information, I made sure to heat the milk to called for temperature. I used thermometer for the process even though Theresa mentioned it was not absolutely necessary.  It worked perfect!

This is the consistency when I turned off heat at specified heating time.

 

Curds and whey

Curds and whey

Straining into the cheese cloth

 

Straining mixture into cheese cloth

Straining mixture into cheese cloth

 

 

Strained cheese

Strained cheese

Hanging cheese for 30 minutes

wpid-20140906_125652.jpg

Removing the cheese from cheese cloth

wpid-20140906_134859.jpg

 

Adding salt and cream, finished product! Just a note here- I used the 1/2 tsp of salt as called for but it was just bit too much? I added more cream at this point, and will probably add just a touch more cream before adding some additional herb seasonings for serving later tonight with some Cheddar Scones!

wpid-20140906_135538.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Outlander: Mystery Man at the Gathering

Previous Outlander post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/outlander-after-the-gathering/

 

If you read my After the Gathering post, you will recall my suspicions and ponderings on this mysterious Sassenach type hanging out with Dougal…

OUT_104-20140205-JH_8934.jpg

I thought perhaps it might be the Duke of Sandringham as he was lurking about the Castle around that time? But, then I was made aware of the fact that the Duke of Sandringham will be played by Simon Callow!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Callow

Simon Cowell Duke of Sandringham outlander Simon Callow Simon Callow2

 

 

In looking at the mystery man in our photo as compared to these photos of Simon Callow, I would have to agree that it seems doubtful or highly improbable that the suspicious looking Sassenach type is the Duke of Sandringham… unless of course the makeup department is doing an incredible job of  performing magical transformations into characters? And, they are doing just that if you take a few moments to consider the transformations of some other characters?

 

Take for instance, Duncan LaCroix… and his alter ego, Murtagh Fitzgibbons?

Duncan Lacroix as Murtagh Fitzgibbons Murtagh-Fitzgibbons-Duncan-Lacroix Murtagh Fitzgibbons

Or Grant ORourke as Rupert MacKenzie… Grant O'rourke as Rupert MacKenzie

Rupert MacKenzie2 Rupert MacKenzie

 

And, then there is Stephen Walters and his other personality of Angus Mhor?!

Stephen Walters2 Stephen Walters as Angus Mohr Angus Mhor

 

Stephen Walters and Grant O’Rourke… or as we now know them better as? Angus and Rupert, the comic relief team of Outlander!

Angus and Rupert2

 

So, Yes the makeup department is capable of amazing transformations! That being said and somewhat proven, I do have my doubts though now as to whether the mystery man could actually be Simon Callow playing the Duke of Sandringham? But, if it is not him, that still leaves us with the nagging question of who is this slightly sleazy looking Odd Man out Sassenach character lurking and wandering about Castle Leoch… Who ever he might be, I am certain that he is not a MacKenzie or a Clan member!

 

 

 

 

Outlander: After the Gathering

Just a quick post to recap tonight’s episode! I need to make it rather brief because the Atholl Brose and the Rhenish wine have taken their toll on me! I am feeling a bit like Angus right now…

wpid-20140830_085643.jpg

Atholl Brose with Cranachan!

Atholl Brose with Cranachan!

Angus

 

Before we go on with the update, I just want to say that our dinner feast was a success! The only minor glitch was the Clapshot Rosti… it tasted great but turned out more like hashbrowns than potato pancakes?!

For the recipes you can see the previous post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/outlander-the-gathering-and-some-shinty/

Pork tenderloins with Clapshot Rosti and parsnips crisps

Pork tenderloins with Clapshot Rosti and parsnips crisps

 

Dessert was Cranachan. I did make some slight alteration on the recipe, used mixed berry sauce rather than fresh raspberries because that’s what I had in the fridge! Rather than individual servings, I put it all together in large serving dish. My one mistake with it was making the whipped cream too early ahead of time- reminder to self and others, this is not really a do ahead dish! It still tasted wonderful though!

 

Cranachan

Cranachan

 

Ok, now that Dinner is out of the way, Let’s move on to the more important matters… Not that the feasting isn’t important, but we all know that the most important part of this gathering is The Gathering, and all of those who attended!

First let’s see a few of the out of town guests… Herself, Diana Gabaldon made an appearance as Iona. Sadly, Iona was snubbed and insulted by Mrs. Fitz? It must have been some personal argument or disagreement between them that lasted for years. Iona’s family must be experiencing some monetary hardships as Mrs. Fitz quite rudely pointed out how nice her dress was again, wasn’t it the same she wore to the last gathering? The last Gathering of the Clan MacKenzie took place 20 years ago so Mrs. Fitz must have an excellent memory and hold a long grudge!

Diana at Castle Leoch

 

Our esteemed creator of the show also put in an appearance! I didn’t catch a name for him though! You look marvelous, Ron Moore!

Ron Moore cameo

 

There was one other out of town guest wandering about and I am curious as to he was? Certainly not one of the Clan members, dressed the way he was and resembling much more of a Sassenach… I have my suspicions about him and his identity. His name was not mentioned and he was not introduced, but I am thinking perhaps he is the Duke of Sandringham? If I remember correctly from the book, he was visiting the Castle at the time of the Gathering?

OUT_104-20140205-JH_8934.jpg

 

Colum MacKenzie made his grand entrance to the Gathering and showed the importance and seriousness of the event by shaving for it! Wow.. what a difference a shave makes?!

Outlander_Cast_Gary Lewis and Colum MacKenzie Colum Mackenzie at the gathering Outlander 2014

 

There was a long line of men waiting to swear their oaths of allegiance to Colum and the MacKenzie Clan. Dougal, of course was first in line as proper and appropriate for him as we know that he is the other half of  Colum!

Outlander 2014

Did I mention how long the line was? Angus had plenty of time to drink Claire’s stash while he was waiting around.

Angus

 

Claire had a plan in mind to escape but as quite often the case with her plans, it went quite awry and caused some difficulties… such as almost being knifed by Jamie!

 

Jamie with a knife

Due to Claire’s failed attempt at escaping, she caused even more problems for Jamie! Ahhhh Claire, he gets into enough trouble on his own, he doesn’t need your help to find it!  Luckily, Jamie is quick witted and a charmer with that boyish smile of his… also, lucky that Colum likes him and doesn’t really enjoy the thought of having to kill him. No, that would be Dougal’s idea more so than Colum’s! Anyway, Jamie managed to salvage the situation of the oath taking by making his play on words… “I promise to obey you as long as I am on your lands…”

Jamie-the-gathering-outlander-episode-4-season-1

 

Once the Oath taking was finished, it was time for the fun to start? If you could consider a Boar hunt as fun… Claire just did not seem to understand or take seriously the danger of  wild boars.  After all, what harm could a pig cause? Ummmm Claire, Really- what did you think a boar was? She of course realized her mistake rather quickly once she encountered the animal chasing her down! 

Claire in the Boar hunt

Yes, of course it’s all fun and games until you make a boar mad and he attacks! There was much seriousness when one of the hunters was mortally wounded and even Claire could not save him. Dougal showed his emotions and later gave his thanks to Claire for her help with the dying man. A rather unsteady truce was set between them after that.

 

On returning from the unfortunate Boar hunt, the men threw themselves into a different sort of battle, but not much less dangerous than a Boar hunt. It was time for a no holds barred, no rules, last man standing wins game of Shinty! I have to admit, this is one of my favorite scenes of the episode!

 

Once again, Claire showed a slight lack of understanding with her comment of “That’s not really fair, is it?” Rubert could not even come with an answer for her on that one other than to shake his head at her ridiculous question!

Rubert and Claire watching shinty

Ohhhh, by the way, Jamie appeared to be the last man standing as he knocked Dougal to the ground, smiled and said, “I learned from you!”

 

 

 

 

Outlander: The Gathering and some Shinty!

 

 

Preparing for tomorrow’s episode of Outlander: The Gathering!

 

The men of Castle Leoch enjoy a game of Shinty! I love this video, waited all afternoon to find a link to it for you! It kind of reminds me of  my youth watching friends play their own battle field version of Rugby! But, then I was raised on Hockey, so I do enjoy a good bit of bloodsport every now and then!  I wonder if they played the Shinty before or after the Boar hunting?! What a day, I hope Mrs. Fitz is well prepared with food and drink for everyone!

 

Shinty (Scottish Gaelic: camanachd, iomain) is a team game  played with sticks and a ball. Shinty is now played mainly in the Scottish Highlands, and amongst Highland migrants to the big cities of Scotland, but it was formerly more widespread, being once competitively played on a widespread basis in England  and other areas in the world where Scottish Highlanders migrated.

While comparisons are often made with field hockey,, the two games have several important differences. In shinty, a player is allowed to play the ball in the air and is allowed to use both sides of the stick, called a caman, which is wooden and slanted on both sides. The stick may also be used to block and to tackle, although a player may not come down on an opponent’s stick, a practice called hacking. Players may also tackle using the body as long as it is shoulder-to-shoulder.

 

Shinty is older than the recorded history of Scotland. It is thought to predate Christianity, having come to Scotland with the Gaels from Ireland.   Hurling, which is a similar game to shinty, is derived from the historic game common to both peoples which has been a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2,000 years.   Shinty/Hurling appears prominently in the legend of Cúchulainn, the Celtic mythology hero.   A similar game was played on the Isle of Man known as cammag, a name cognate with camanachd. The old form of hurling played in the northern half of Ireland, called “commons”, resembled shinty more closely than the standardised form of hurling of today. Like shinty, it was commonly known as camánacht and was traditionally played in winter.

The origins of the name shinty are uncertain. There is a theory that the name was derived from the cries used in the game; shin ye, shin you and shin t’ye, other dialect names were shinnins, shinnack and shinnup,[8] or as Hugh Dan MacLennan proposes from the Scottish Gaelic sìnteag.   However, there was never one all encompassing name for the game, as it held different names from glen to glen, including cluich-bhall (play-ball in English) and in the Scottish Lowlands, where it was formerly referred to as Hailes, common/cammon (caman), cammock (from Scottish Gaelic  camag), knotty and various other names, as well as the terms still used to refer to it in modern Gaelic, camanachd or iomain.

The game was traditionally played through the winter months, with New Year’s Day being the day when whole villages would gather together to play games featuring teams of up to several hundred a side, players often using any piece of wood with a hook as a caman. In Uist, stalks of seaweed were put to use due to a lack of trees. Modern camans are made from several laminates of ash or hickory, which are glued and cut into shape, although one-piece camans were still commonplace until the early 1980s. The ball was traditionally a round piece of wood or bone, sometimes called a cnapag, but soon developed into the worsted leather balls used today.

 

Besides the Shinty and the Boar hunting, one should not forget just how important the Clan Gathering was in other respects. This was the time for all of the Clan’s members to meet, discuss and make decisions for the entire Clan.  I previously did some research on the Scottish Clan system for my own story and I will share it again here as it might help you to understand a bit better just how their Clan system worked.  The following link will take you to my post on the history of Scottish Clans. Some of the information is general, and the other part of it is an explanation of the clan history relating to my work on Dunvegan Castle and Clan MacCleod.

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/from-the-creator-some-history-of-clans-in-Scotland/

 

The upcoming Clan gathering for the MacKenzie is a crucial turning point for Jamie because he will be forced to make a decision regarding his membership and allegiance to the Clan MacKenzie. I am not going to say anything else on this point out of consideration to  those who have not read the books! There are a number of viewers who have not read the books and I don’t want to add too many spoilers here for them!

 

Now, as to my own preparations for the upcoming Gathering, I am taking it all quite seriously… as well we should!  I spent much of last night and today working on the Feasting menu. Much thanks of course, to Theresa and her Outlanderkitchen.com!  Her menu suggestion for this week’s episode can be found here: http://outlanderkitchen.com/2014/08/27/roasted-pork-tenderloin-cider-pan-gravy-neeps-tatties/ .  I have made a few slight adjustments to it in regards to my own menu. She suggested roast pork tenderloin, but I will be substituting some of our favorite pork bellies from Trader Joe’s!  I do still plan to glaze them with the Cider sauce though.

 

Haaaaa, For some one who seldom drinks anymore, this cooking adventure is causing me to once again stock my shelves with Alcohol… Today’s purchases in preparation for Tomorrow’s feasting! The Cider is for the Cider sauce, the Whisky is for the Atholl Brose- which can also be found at Outlanderkitchen.com  http://outlanderkitchen.com/2014/08/20/atholl-brose-outlander-starz-episode-103/  and the wine is the Rhenish Red that I plan to taste test!

wpid-20140829_162657.jpg

 

Along with the porkbellies and Cider sauce, we will be trying some Clapshot Rosti  (clapshot is what you get when you mix potatoes and turnips together! Our family is not so fond of the neeps alone) and some Parsnip Crisps.  I could not resist the parsnip crisps as they reminded me of my childhood.  Those recipes can be found here at BBC Food Recipes:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/loinofvenisonwithabl_87331

 

As I mentioned, I will also be attempting the Atholl Brose recipe even though I am not a fan of Whisky… I know, I know, I should probably be banished from the Castle for that!  I did find the Dewar’s Highlander Honey and am hoping that this will improve upon the whisky taste?  One other thing I am going to try is, a version Cranachan, a Scottish dessert.

You can find information and a recipe for it here:  http://www.scottishrecipes.co.uk/cranachanrecipe.htm

 

Now, after a busy day of shopping and researching, I am ready to go taste test the Rhenish Red Wine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outlander and other things Scottish

This is for the fans of Outlander and all other things Scottish! If you canna get yourself to Scotland and the highlands and you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, then perhaps you might be able to get to this event?  Yes, I know it’s not quite the same as a full fledge trip to the Highlands via plane, or some other transport such as dubious quality time or space travel portals… But, still it looks to be a much safer, more convenient trip which is as close as many of us will ever get to an actual visit to the Highlands!

 

http://thescottishgames.com/

149th Scottish Highland Gathering and Games presented by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco

 

Previous Outlander post:  https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/outlander/