Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hardiesmill Butcher revisited

Tried them again (despite the prices) and got three lovely sirloin steaks and some of the best minced meat I ever tasted all for about 20 pounds so much more reasobale than I thought. The steaks were really tasty and the mince was just the best I ever used. I made my famous curry pies (see my recipe blog) using it and they tasted better than ever before.
link to my recipe blog

Since then used the mince in Spaghetti and in pies again. The quality and taste are very good indeed, but the lack of fat is a problem with certain traditional mince dishes as its too dry. 96% lean is just too lean for say burgers which need 20% fat. But did try their beef sausages which are very good as well, as good as St Boswells who has the best sausages in the Borders.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jedburgh Brass Band Concert

We were invited by friends to go to a brass band concert in Jedburgh town hall last night. It was a blast. The main band is quite good, but they also showcased their juniors and that was very nice, children as young as 5 and 6. We had a great night out and enjoyed it immensely, carols singing and good tunes. The town Hall is right next to the famous old Abbey. These local social evenings are very nice and there was a good turnout to support the band all of whom are volunteers and work hard all year.

18th December Snow and ice

Well the original snow fall melted away but we had more snow two days ago and its sticking around this time due to the very cold weather. Last night was -2.5 and my boys have been out sledging in the neighborhood. Bitterly cold.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December 10th Big Snow Fall in Borders

This morning got up to 4 inches of snow and still falling. No hint on BBC weather or Met office that this was coming. Above pictures my back yard, not been out yet but wanted to get something in the blog. It is very cold here right now, hovering about -1. Last night had a roaring fire and was still feeling chilly. I am not seeing a lot of traffic on the road by us, a couple fo land rovers and a bus passed, but not the normal amount.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hurricanes in Scotland

I never thought I would see a hurricane in Scotland. But today we have apparently had winds as high as 165mph and certainly over 100 most places. Many trees down and roads closed and we are advised to stay indoors. I lived in Bermuda for many years and actually had a tree crash on the roof (they make good roofs in Bermuda) so I know how it feels, like a train running through you area shaking everything. The wind is howling around the house. Went out and got some more bags of coal and kindling in case we lose power.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oats and Scotland

Oats are part of Scottish life, from porridge to oatcakes to haggis. I have a theory that oats created the great Scottish character. From the 1700's onwards Scots became a race that travelled and worked all over the world and are reknowned for their hardiness in all climates.
My chiropractor was telling me to stop eating wheat products as the human body just doesn't work well with wheat, our digestive system cannot easily absorb it. This led me to think maybe thats why Scots have a reputaiton for being hardy, mostly they didn't eat wheat until the last 50 years or so. I know that oats are good for reducing cholesterol and are very healthy.
We eat old fashioned rolled oats and we love it the taste is just very good.

A Good Printer in the Borders

Yesterday I spent running around Galashiels trying to find "legal" paper for an insurance. No one had any and then one shop recommended Bordersprint  in Selkirk. They are just off the main sq and can be contacted at 01750 723200. What a nice little company that understands customer service and is willing to go the extra mile. What I wanted was not available but they used larger paper, printed my stuff and cut it to size all the same day as I had to have it ready for today for a meeting. I would recomend them wholeheartedly. This is just the type of small friendly business that a place like the Borders has and makes it a special place.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

plain breid

We went to Berwick yesterday to find a man selling a rabbit hutch. Long story really but we want to try raising quail as we like the eggs and the meat. Apparently they can be reared in rabbit hutches. We found the man who made it himself and his main interest is making authentic gypsy caravans which he has 3 in his yard. Memories of wind in the willows and toady, the open road and a life of freedom.

He does sell them so anyone interested mail me and I will put you in touch. He started making rabbit hutches for Christmas as a way to make a little money. The hutches are very nice and only 30 pounds very reasonable, but would not suit our purpose as you cannot lock the rabbit (or bird) in one side while you clean the other, an essential for quail as they fly.

Went to get bread from Fords and found a loaf style they pronouce "plenbraid". It is apparently a traditional Scottish loaf where the top and bottom are very dark and brown and crusty and the sides are soft with no crust at all. This is done by panning them so close together that they touch and then pulling them apart after baking. I must say the bread was delicious, it brough back memories of childhood with the thick crust so crunchy and tasty and the very soft white inside. Fords remains the premium bread maker in the Borders and maybe even the Northeast of England.

December 4th - First snow

Well I got up today to our first snow, not a lot but enough to make everywhere white. The met is predicting more today later on. Its amazing how that first fall changes the landscape and enhances many things so you see the world differently. Walls stand out with their white topping and trees look a lot starker against a while carpet. The grounbd becomes a carpet with small uneveness smoothing out into a unifrom whiteness. Nice to get the first snow but I am sure we will soon feel very differently when deep snow arrives and disrupts our lives.