Food, Uncategorized

Work in progress…..

We’ve been away doing our own bit of ancestral tourism and exploring a little of the Western Isles.

uig teapot

..and maybe enjoying the odd cup of tea

Now we’re home it’s all systems go for the summer so I’m back to the baking. Yesterday was Welshcakes and oatcakes, today I’m trying something new.  Croissants.  So far the technique is similar to the one for Aberdeen butteries but more, well, buttery. I don’t have a family or neighbourly recipe for them, I’ve gone back to my trusty Good Housekeeping cookbook.

 

They need to rest in the fridge for half an hour, and that time’s nearly up.

 

 

To be continued……

Food, Uncategorized

Spring

We might not have a Superstore on Seil but we do have a super store. We go there most days, for our newspaper, eggsjam and other essentials. For the past few months we’ve been trying to make the journey on foot which though admittedly challenging on our more humid days is a much more sociable way to travel.

B at the shops

Bramble waiting outside the shop 

 

The weather has been lovely for the past few days  and it’s brought out a wonderful display of flowers, in gardens and growing wild. I can’t name them all, but here are just a few from this morning’s walk.

And then there are also these cute youngsters

ropped cute lamb

Which did give me qualms about some of the contents of my shopping bag, but it’s all part of the cycle of life, here on Seil.

History, Uncategorized

And the Academy Award goes to …*!

I love finding old pictures of Sheiling, so I was really excited to find it had featured in a movie . I came across this site – Reelstreets which not only lists film locations, but has a clever now and then feature so that you  can view a still from the movie and then an up to date photo. The “now” picture of Sheiling was taken a little while ago too. The tree has been felled and the bushes cut back since it was taken, but the gate and posts are still in place.

The film is The Bridal Path a 1959 movie starring Bill Travers and with a cast including  George Cole, Gordon Jackson and Annette Crosbie. Other scenes were filmed at Ellenabeich, Oban and Castle Stalker. I haven’t seen the movie yet but it is still available, so will be joining the dvd library here.

* The Bridal Path rates a respectable 6.9 on IMDb but it didn’t win Best Picture for 1959. That honour went to a slightly better known and bigger budgeted film,  Ben Hur

Food, Uncategorized

Oatcakes

I tried making an old Scottish staple today. Oatcakes. I didn’t have any family recipes, though I’m sure there must be some, so I used this one from BBC GoodFood. And as I was using up some ingredients,  I tweaked it slightly. My gluten free oats were coming to the end of their shelf life so in they went and then I thought it would be nice to make them entirely gluten free so used gluten free buckwheat flour. I used salted butter, again using up stocks, so didn’t add all the salt.

oaty dough

work in progress

The finished products suited my taste but I think in future I’ll add the recipe quantity.

This  recipe and all the others I found asked me to bake the cakes but I set aside some to cook stove top on the griddle , this is how they would have been cooked in the past. The stove top version worked but the oven baked ones were crisper.

baking tray

ready to bake

All in all I was pretty pleased with the result and they weren’t at all difficult. So now I have an addition to my repertoire and one I can offer to guests on a gluten free diet.

finished oatcakes

finished product

History, Tourism, Uncategorized

A gap in the clouds

We’ve been lucky to escape the worst of the winter storms so far but Gertrude and Henry gave us a bit of a buffeting. So it was lovely when the sun peeked out yesterday afternoon and we were able to enjoy a walk more or less upright and without one layer of waterproofs.

sunbeam

oops! need to clean the windows 

 

We climbed up the hill behind the house looked down on the Sound bathed in sunshine.

sound

that’s Sheiling peeking out on on the left hand side

 

Although on our return we crunched through this…

hail on path

hailstones on the path

 

Today dawned brightly and as we needed to make a trip into the town we took Bramble to her favourite beach for a run and then walked over the hill (following the cycle path ) to Dunstaffnage Castle.

castle feb 16

inside Dunstaffnage Castle

I spotted some signs of Spring in the ditches,

frogspawn

it’s frogspawn

 

but Winter will be with us a while yet, there was sleet after lunch. Still it’s beautiful here , whatever the weather.

rainbow

if we didn’t have rain there wouldn’t be rainbows

 

 

Food, Uncategorized

A recipe from across the Atlantic*

My baking repertoire expanded this week.

I was given this recipe for butteries by a neighbour recently. They are a speciality of the North East of Scotland, particularly Aberdeen, a flaky buttery confection, perhaps the Scottish version of croissants; but unlike their French cousins these pastries are salty.

 

My first memory of them is one in which they were elusive. I’d gone  to the North East for the wedding of a college friend and my travel companion who knew the area better insisted I try them. Unfortunately our search took place  as we drove back South the morning after the wedding and fell foul of Sunday closing. Not a buttery could be found.

 

Later they began to be available in Edinburgh but I was never that keen. Now I think I just didn’t try the right ones. They were a bit fiddly to make being a puff pastry, and very far from “healthy” as they are full of fat and quite salty. But the end result. Mmm. Even if I do say it myself. Flaky, buttery scrumptiousness.

A picture you ask? Too late. Sorry Reader, I ate them**

emptyplate

 

*Clachan sound which runs past Sheiling is technically the Atlantic, our neighbour lives on the mainland .

** I didn’t eat them all, MrS had some too and we froze a batch before baking.

 

 

 

Uncategorized

A little circular story

 

We spent Christmas away from home,  luckily Santa was able to find  us down in Abergavenny and filled up our stockings. This collection of stories appeared in George’s.

xmasbook

Imagine his surprise when he found this inside

words

And so he set off in search of the house. Luckily it was still standing, slightly less so George had forgotten his phone so had no way of taking a photo.

Today this arrived, by post this time,  not Santa.

ladyvanishesback cover

Completing the circle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History, Uncategorized

Exploring the past

We were away down south for the holidays, visiting my family in Wales. While there,  I took the opportunity to visit the town where one of my maternal great grandfathers was born. I’d found out about this branch of the family largely thanks to the great local history site Thornbury Roots. I was amazed to find my great, great grandmother was named Caroline!  This was purely coincidental, my parents  just liked the name which was very popular in the early 60s.

My  great grandfather lived in this house

pullensgreen

with his parents and eight siblings. The family lived at other addresses in Thornbury and one of my great grandfather’s brothers ran a decorating business from this house

castlestreet

on Castle street.

 

My great-grandfather left the town and moved to Wales where he married my great grandmother. She was also a migrant from England;  her family came from Dorset. But that’s a story for another day.

History, Uncategorized

A lucky find

We visited George’s Aunt last week, and as so often happens the conversation turned to the past. We talked about George’s grandfather (who he never met) and in particular the two puffers he sailed around the West Coast of Scotland from the ’30s to the ’50s. They were called the StarFinch and the Narwhal.  Later we were helping to sort some old papers at her house and I came upon an envelope addressed to  George’s cousin once removed (his grandfather’s nephew) Inside we found a letter, and these.

 

 

Back home we did a little research and found a story here  about the Starfinch delivering coal along Loch Feochan.

Loch Feochan is close to Sheiling, we drive along it on our trips to Oban. So now when we do I have a little think about George’s grandfather delivering coal and other goods to the communities along our coast. And about my grandfather who mined coal in Wales.