Lovely Lauriston (the sequel)

Hi Friends!  A warm welcome to you today.

Earlier this year, I took you guys on a photo tour of the spectacularly beautiful grounds at Lauriston Castle.  Well I would like to revisit Lauriston with you today.  Only this time, I invite you to join me as we explore the beautiful Edwardian interior, decorated and designed by the castle’s final owners, Mr. William Robert Reid, his wife Mrs. Margaret Johnstone Reid, and Mrs. Reid’s brother, Mr. William Barton.

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Mr. C and I visited Lauriston Castle for the second time in March 2017.  It is one of our favorites, so no trip to Edinburgh will now ever be complete without paying a visit to this lovely place.  We were thrilled to be able to take a guided tour of several of the castle’s main rooms.  Our docent was excellent and was a wealth of knowledge of the castle’s history, from the first construction in the sixteenth century until the passing of Mrs. Reid in 1926.  I think that if I lived in Edinburgh, I would want that job!

To recap a little of Lauriston’s history…

Lauriston’s tower house was built by Sir Archibald Napier sometime around 1593 and the pretty Jacobean-style extension was added in 1827.  Over the centuries, the castle passed through numerous hands until it came into the possession of its final owners – William and Margaret Reid. The Reids acquired the property in 1902 and lived there until Mrs. Reid’s death in 1926.  Because the couple had no children, they left the castle to the city of Edinburgh under the condition that it be preserved unchanged.  And so the promise was kept.  The remarkable Edwardian interior, filled to the brim with their fine furniture and artwork, is now a museum maintained by the city.  For a nominal fee, you can take a guided tour of this home (uh, castle) which remains exactly as it was at the time of the Reids.  The manicured grounds, which boast a view of the sea and a stunning Japanese garden are a real bargain – free!  Lauriston truly is a gem in Edinburgh. -from my previous post, “Lovely Lauriston“.

Well, are you ready to step inside and see what a 425-year-old castle clothed in 100-year-old decor looks like?  Great.  Follow me, friends.

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Recipe: Scotch Eggs

Hey guys.  Welcome back.

Last week I mentioned that this week I would be making Scotch eggs.  I am still going to make them today BUT…I made a discovery about them this past week.  Bummer, they’re not actually Scottish!  Well crap, who knew?

In fact, according to Encyclopedia Britannica,“Scotch egg[s], [are] a traditional British dish consisting of a shelled hard-boiled egg that is wrapped in sausage, covered in breadcrumbs, and then deep-fried or baked until crispy. It is a popular pub and picnic dish and is commonly served cold in Britain. The Scotch egg has competing origin stories. Fortnum & Mason, a London department store known for its food products, maintains that it created Scotch eggs in 1738 for wealthy travelers on carriage rides. Another theory asserts that the dish evolved from northern India’s nargisi kofta (an egg covered in minced meat and served with curry), which returning soldiers and others introduced to England. A third story claims that it was invented by Scottish farmers as an inexpensive dish.”

If that’s not confusing enough, I then read somewhere else that they may have been a North African invention, brought to England by way of France. And still another site stated that their origin is rooted in the coastal Yorkshire town of Whitby.  So your guess is as good as mine, dear reader!

For this endeavor, I chose to use Jamie Oliver’s recipe as my guide.  His recipe is for eight servings, however, I chose to half this since that is a little much for just me and Mr. C.  I made a few modifications to the wording of the recipe, but otherwise it is essentially the same as Mr. Oliver’s. Oh, and here’s a shoutout to my sweet Mr. C who helped a great deal with these last night. And who persevered even whent the first balls nearly burned and I got mad at him.  He’s a keeper.

Ready? Alright, then let’s start cooking our British-but-not-Scottish dish!

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Croft Moraig Stone Circle

Greetings to you on this fine Tuesday.  I hope your week got off to a great start.  I am currently outside on my deck, bundled up in the November chill – a fleece to warm my body and a cup of tea to warm my soul.  The autumn trees are lovely and I am happy.

Today I would like to take you up into the beautiful Scottish Highlands to a site located about four miles southwest of Aberfeldy, right off of A827.  Our destination occupies a portion of a farmer’s field, actually, so you may want to grab your wellies in case it’s muddy.  Ready?  Great, then let’s be off!

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Don’t fret that the site sits on private property.  Scotland’s laws allow individuals “freedom to roam”.  Just be respectful and be sure to close the gate so the farmer’s wee sheep don’t escape!

If I were to ask you about stone circles (those mysterious, prehistoric, man-made rock formations commonly found across Northern Europe and Great Britain), I’d wager that the image that would come to your mind would be Stonehenge.  It is one of Britain’s most iconic sites – and of course, the location of one of the Griswold Family’s hilarious misadventures.

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Who can forget the moment the affable Clark W. Griswold toppled one of the world’s most famous sites in the 1985 classic movie “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”.

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Halloween Turnip Carving Fun

Boo!  

Hey Friends!  Happy Halloween!

In the spirit of the old Irish/Scottish tradition of carving turnip lanterns to ward off evil spirits, today I thought it would be fun to tackle this twist on the pumpkin Jack O’ Lanterns that I grew up with as a child.  And since my sweet sister is here on holiday, what better way for two sisters to have a little Halloween giggle!

Here’s what you do.

Step 1:  Decide how you want your turnip to be oriented.  Which end would make the best top and bottom? Which sides do you want to make the front and back?  Are there any scars, warty, or hairy spots that could give character to your Jack O’ Lantern’s face?

Step 2:  With a sharp knife, cut a small amount off of the bottom of the turnip so that it creates a flat base.

Step 3:  Slice off the top of the turnip, leaving plenty of room to carve the face.  Save the lid.

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Don’t forget the festive snacks!

Step 4:  Use your knife to score around the inside edge to loosen up the meat of the turnip.

Step 5:  Use a spoon, melon baller, ice cream scooper, or any other implement to scoop out the inside of the turnip. You will find that this step requires a bit of effort, but the end result will be so worth it.

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Step 6:  Draw a face on your turnip with a pencil.

Step 7:  Use a small kitchen or crafter’s knife to carve out the face.

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Step 8:  Light a tea light and enjoy your special Halloween creation!

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Cheers!

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