We're heading to SCOTLAND!!! Jasmine picked the place for today, she's been enjoying my "Greatest Places on Earth" and wanted to be the one to decide where we're heading this morning, so while she's at school we're heading across the ocean to a beautiful land.
Come on, grab your coffee and coat, let's head out.
From the stone circles of Orkney to the new parliament building being erected in Edinburgh, Scotland's dramatic history spans 8,000 years, years marked by invasions and independence, wars and religious upheavals, intrigues and subjugation.
Yet it also saw the flowering of an imagination and inventiveness across many different fields of human endeavour and resulted in Scotland occupying a pivotal position, not only in a British context but in a European and worldwide one also - 19th-century Glasgow's title as Second City of the British Empire was no idle boast!
Such a history has left its mark on the nation's psyche - as well as the landscape - and has contributed in no small way to the fierce pride with which the Scots view themselves and their country today.
A nation's artistic and cultural life says much about its people and the vibrancy and creativity we display across a wide range of artforms quickly dispels the myth of the dour, downbeat Scot. In successive generations, Scotland has produced writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, composers and dancers whose talents have received both national and international acclaim.
Some of these artforms - such as our traditional dance and music - are uniquely Scottish both in style and inspiration and are appreciated chiefly at home. Others - such as theatre, opera and painting - draw on and incorporate influences from elsewhere in the world and consequently receive wider recognition. All, however, have the power to enthrall, challenge, provoke and inspire.So, wherever you are in Scotland and whenever you visit, there is always something to enjoy amongst the rich diversity of our artistic and cultural heritage.
Beautiful city of Dumfries:
Live Edinburgh Castle
Eilean Donan Castle on the road to Skye, Scotland
Scotland has a distinctive cuisine, often based on very traditional foods.
There are many different varieties of scone - this one uses finely chopped apple to supply its flavour.
One medium cooking apple
8 oz (250g or two cups) self raising flour (all-purpose flour with baking powder)
½ teaspoon salt
Level teaspoon baking powder
2 oz (60g or ½ stick) butter
2 oz (60g or ¼ cup) castor (fine granulated) sugar
Up to ¼ pint (150ml or half cup) milk
Ingredients for glaze:
A little milk
1oz demerara (light brown) sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 200C (400F or Gas Mark 6). Peel and core the apple and then finely chop. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Then rub in the butter followed by the sugar and chopped apple and mix.
Add milk until you have a soft but not sticky dough. Roll out on a floured surface to about ¼" thick and 8" round and mark into 8 wedges. Place on a greased baking sheet, brush the top with milk and sprinkle with the demerara (light brown) sugar.
Bake in the pre-heated oven at 200C (400F or Gas Mark 6) for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with butter.
This traditional soup, with prunes included in the ingredients, is mentioned as early as the 16th century. It is often served at Burns Suppers or St Andrew's Night Dinner (30 November) as well as an every-day soup in winter. Some people omit the prunes though!
1 boiling chicken, about 4lb, including legs and wings
1lb leeks (about 12) cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 pints stock or water
1oz long grained rice
4oz cooked, stoned prunes
One teaspoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper
Garnish of bay leaf, parsley, thyme
Some recipes also have 3 chopped rashers of streaky bacon
Put the chicken and bacon in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and remove any scum. Add three-quarters of the leeks, (green as well as white sections), herbs (tied together in a bundle), salt and pepper and return to the boil. Simmer gently for 2-3 hours, adding more water if necessary.
Remove the bird. Some thrifty chefs use the bird as another course, others cut the meat into small pieces and add them back to the soup (certainly it should have some pieces of chicken in it when served). Add the rice and drained prunes and the remaining leeks and simmer for another 30 minutes. Check for flavour and serve with a little chopped parsley.
Serves 6/8 people.
There's nowhere in Scotland more than 50 miles from the sea and even inland there are many rivers, so fresh fish has been an important element of the Scottish diet and recipes incorporating fish abound. Here's a simple recipe which combines fish with that other Scottish staple ingredient - potato. The quantities below are sufficient for four people.
One to One-and-a-half (450-575g) cooked fish. It can be either smoked fish (such as haddock) or most white fish. White fish and shelled fish such as prawns make good companions too.
Three quarters of a pint/15 fluid ounces (450 ml or two cups (scant) or one US pint which is different from a UK pint!) of white sauce.
One pound (450g or about four cups) mashed/creamed potato
Two medium onions, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté the onions until soft. Flake the fish and mix with the onions and white sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place in an oven-proof dish.
Cover with the mashed potato, dot with butter and sprinkle with cheese (quantity depends on personal preference).
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400F (200C or Gas Mark 7) until brown. Serve with green vegetables.
And that is it my friends, we're out of time and I made sure to deliver you all back home safe and sound. I truly hope you enjoyed the visit to Scotland, it's just another amazing country to add to our "Greatest Places on Earth".