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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Today its all about the Quiche. Without blood.

Smoked Salmon Quiche

Whenever I cook I always think about my mother and today is no exception. Fair to say she wasn't a great cook but she did do certain things very, very well. Quiche being one of her stronger points. She used to do a mushroom and cream one which I think is the best I have ever tasted, but sadly the recipe went with her to the grave. Today, its actually an ingredient that brings her to mind. Smoked Salmon.

I dont eat a lot of it but whenever I do she comes to mind. Actually even if I see it on a menu the memory comes flooding back and its not that nice a memory to boot, yet every time there it is.

I wouldn't want you to think that we dined on such a treat that often, we didn't. For some reason, long forgotten, we had a side of smoked salmon. So armed with the ham blade to slice the salmon she started to do that very thing, slice. All was going well and Pa was served his first as was the custom. I think mainly so he finished long before anyone else and was first in the queue for seconds. Anyway, another couple of plates were dispatched down the table.Then, something happened. None of us, my sisters were the only others there, actually saw what happened but the next plate proffered for dispatch had quite a lot of blood as a garnish. 

Ma had knicked herself with the very very sharp blade and was totally unaware what happened until we told her. not wanting to waste the salmon she calmly took it over to the sink and rinsed it off before sorting out her wound. She then came back to the table and carried on as if nothing had happened. 

My sisters and I, I think it fair to say have never been able to have smoked salmon without the image coming back to us. We might have even embellised it by adding the fact that there was cigarette ash on the plate as well. Whilst I dont think that was true on this occasion it certainly did happen with something else.

So I am sure you will understand why, on this particular day she is in my thoughts.

The reason I am making it however is another thing altogether. Jean Louis, my husband, is changing jobs in his company and when this happens, the person leaving has to throw a leaving party, so this quiche and another as yet to be decided (Probably a Lorraine) have to be ready for tomorrow morning. I offered to do them, but earlier he rang me and said during the conversation that would I mind if he said he had made them. Mind? Err yes, but I am sure he will anyway. And then this advert popped into my mind. 

If you are of an age I am sure you will remember the June Whitfield adverts for Birds-Eye and if your not have a butchers at this. It will be JL tomorrow at his leaving party, minus the tiara and hopefully the dress!

Smoked Salmon Quiche

Cooking method.

Buy the shortcrust pastry, blind bake for ten mins with baking beans then ten without them at 180°c

Place the trimmings on to the cooled pastry, add the liquid and bake for 30-35 mins or until the center is firm to the touch.


250 g smoked salmon trimmings
2 large eggs with the yolk of a third
200ml of creme fraiche
pinch cayenne pepper
black pepper

Monday, 15 September 2014

Scotland seems to be on everyones mind.

Thats me in the kilt.

With just a few days to go before the referendum in Scotland I thought I would write my thoughts on the subject so they are not clouded by the result. Firstly, I think I should give you a potted history as to my connection with the country.

I was born in Plymouth, England to a Scottish mother and an Irish father. I have two older sisters, the eldest being the only one actually born in Scotland, a fact she has never let us forget. I lived in England for the first two years of my life before the family moved back to Scotland. We lived just outside Moffat, Dumfriesshire.

I was educated in Scotland. Firstly at the very quaint Miss MaCallams kindergarten then to Moffat Academy for a couple of years before my parents enrolled me as a weekly border at Rickerby House in Ecclefechan or EccyFeccy as its known locally. After this I somehow managed to pass the common entrance into Glen Almond. Later I went to university in Newcastle upon Tyne and after that went to live in London. So as you can see the formative years of my life were spent in Scotland and we VERY rarely left its borders.

Over the years since I left Scotland I have always said Scotland if anyone asks me where I come from. I do this because that is where I feel I come from. Scotland has shaped me. Scotland has influenced me. 

And yet on the eve of the referendum I don't feel I know it at all. To see such a divided country in their outlook saddens me. Which ever side wins they will do so knowing that a huge amount of their countrymen don't feel the same way. 

Historically the connection has always been strained but James VI and Ist managed to bring the two countries together and ever since both countries have rubbed along together quite nicely, in my opinion anyway. 

I do however believe that the cry for independence if won should be just that, total independence. I don't see why they would want to be connected in anyway shape or form to England. And good luck to them if they get it.

But I don't want them to get it. I don't want Scotland to be independent. To me, they are the same. Going to Scotland to see my parents was going home, not going to Scotland. I feel I should be able to vote yet cannot. this infuriates me as there are so many Scottish people around the world who have no voice, either way.

As you can see in the photograph, on my wedding day I chose to wear a kilt for no other reason that I couldn't imagine wearing anything else for such a significant day in my life. Not as some political statement, just because I feel Scottish.

I still feel Scottish but if the YES vote win I might not be as quick to say Scotland when asked where I come from and that saddens me. Greatly.