Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hogmanay - New Years Eve in Scotland

Hogmanay - New Years Eve in Scotland
By Elaine Lemm, About.com Guide

What is Hogmanay?
Hogmanay is a Scottish celebration, it is the celebration of New Years Eve and can last for days. No-one celebrates the eve quite like the Scots. It is believed the Scots inherited the celebration of Hogmanay from the Vikings and their celebration of the shortest day but many believe that as Christmas was virtually banned and not celebrated in Scotland from the end of the 17th century until the 1950’s, New Years Eve was a good excuse for some revelry and the excuse to drink whisky and eat good food. Hogmanay involves parties and festivals across Scotland with the largest and most famous public party in Edinburgh.

Hogmanay Customs:
As midnight strikes the strains of Auld Lang Syne, Robert Burn's version of this traditional Scottish air, can be heard everywhere, followed by a toast to health, wealth and happiness for the coming year and the custom of First Footing.

First Footing:
First-Footing – the visiting of friends and family immediately after midnight sees the Scots rushing from house to house to welcome in the New Year. The First-Foot in the house traditionally is a dark, handsome male carrying a piece of coal, whisky, Scottish shortbread and black bun - a rich dark fruitcake encased in pastry. The visitor in return is given a small glass of whisky.

Customs in the Rest of the UK:
Many of the Scottish customs have infiltrated into the rest of Britain. Though First Footing is less common south of the Scottish border, the singing and toasting - sometimes followed by fireworks - can be heard throughout the British Isles.

The Foods of Hogmanay and New Years Eve:
Food at Hogmanay must include the traditional foods of Scotland.

Shortbread is always eaten at Hogmanay and sometimes served with cheese.

All the First Footing on a cold night means food must be warm and comforting a casserole or a hearty Venison Pie with a side dish of Rumbledethumps and of course Haggis will most certainly make an appearance.

And to Drink....?:
It has to be Whisky in Scotland. Scotch Whisky is world renowned and what better time to drink it than Hogmanay. Nobody knows exactly when the art of distilling was first practised in Scotland but it is believed it was the Ancient Celts who first practiced the art. Uisge Beatha - the water of life - as the Celts call it evolved into Scotch, a drink made only in Scotland, but enjoyed around the world.

The Words to Auld Lang Syne:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!
For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

The Translation
Should old acquaintances be forgotten
And never be remembered?
Should old acquaintances be forgotten
and days long ago.
For days long ago, my dear,
For days long ago
We'll drink a cup of kindness yet
For days long ago!

A hearty casserole is ideal for the main course - lamb stew topped with a crust of best Scottish black pudding is perfect food to warm diners up. To line the stomachs further, a dish of Rumbledethumps, made from wholesome potatoes, turnips (called 'swede' south of the Scottish border) and kale is delicious and comforting.

Pudding must be over-the-top as we Scots have such a sweet tooth, so a steamed pudding served with hot butterscotch sauce will end your Hogmanay dinner with panache.


Lamb Stew with Stornoway Black Pudding crust

By Sue Lawrence

Stornoway is my favourite black pudding, with its rich yet non-greasy flavour and good crumbly texture.

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
25g/1oz butter
800g/1lb 12oz lamb shoulder, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 heaped tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bushy sprigs fresh rosemary
150ml/5fl oz red wine
150ml/5fl oz lamb stock
200g/7oz Stornoway black pudding, skin removed, thinly sliced (chill well before slicing)

1. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.
2. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil with the butter in an ovenproof casserole until hot.
3. Place the lamb into a large bowl, sprinkle over the seasoned flour and mix well. Tip half of the lamb pieces into the casserole and cook, stirring frequently, until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and repeat with the remaining meat, then remove the second batch of meat to a plate.
4. Add another tablespoon of oil to the casserole and gently fry the onion, leeks and garlic until softened.
5. Return the meat to the casserole along with the rosemary, wine and stock. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for about an hour, stirring once halfway through the cooking time.
6. Remove the casserole from the oven and discard the rosemary sprigs. Increase the oven temperature to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
7. Place the black pudding slices on top of the stew, overlapping slightly. Brush the slices with a little olive oil, then return to the oven and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until the stew is bubbling and the topping is crisp.
8. Serve at once with Rumbledethumps and a green vegetable.


Seven-cup Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

Serves 6
Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time over 2 hours

By Sue Lawrence

Non-Scots might eat this with some custard or cream, but I would inundate it with custard, cream - and (don't forget that sweet tooth of ours!) a scoop of best-quality ice-cream.

For the pudding (use a regular 300ml/10fl oz coffee mug for the measurements)
1 mug raisins
1 mug sultanas
1 mug self-raising flour
1 mug shredded suet
1 mug fresh breadcrumbs
1 mug light muscovado sugar
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
1 heaped tsp ground mixed spice
1 mug whole milk
1 medium free-range egg, beaten
butter, for greasing
For the butterscotch sauce
75g/2¾oz light muscovado sugar
50g/2oz butter
150ml/5fl oz double cream
few drops vanilla extract
crème fraîche, to serve

1. For the pudding, place the first six mugfuls of ingredients into a bowl with the spices and mix well.
2. Add the milk and beaten egg and mix well.
3. Grease a 1 litre/1¾ pint pudding basin with butter, then pour the pudding mixture into the basin.
4. Cover with baking paper or foil, then place into a steamer set over a pan of simmering water and cook for about 2½ hours, or until cooked through.
5. For the butterscotch sauce, place all the sauce ingredients (not the crème fraîche) into a pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil for three minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened and smooth.
6. To serve, turn the pudding out onto a serving plate and serve with the butterscotch sauce and crème fraîche.


So there you have a different custom. My Mom would be proud! I'll tip a glass for you, Pop! Cheers! (There's a hot link for some information at the title.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

27 Dec 2009 Our Open House

It was really great to have so many people over to our house recently for an Open House. So, what did we have?

Deviled Eggs

Veggie Tray with Green Garlic Dip

Meat Balls in Sweet and Sour Sauce

Idaho Deviled Blue Crab

“Flying Grandma” Punch

Skewered Tomato and Basil and Mozzarella

Fresh Made Lox with Cream Cheese

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

Artichokes Hearts Stuffed with Brie and Spinach

Sage Bread Sticks

Olive Tray

Homemade Chicken Liver Pâté

White Bean Dip

Fresh Baked Cookies

And the wines?

1979 Robin's Best Red Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley

1979 Robin's Best Red Petit Syrah

1978 Chalone Vineyard Estate Bottled Pinot Blanc

1978 Chalone Vineyard Estate Bottled Chardonnay

1971 Chateau Trotanoy Pomerol

1970 Chateau Clerc Milon Grand Cru Baron Philippe de Rothschild

None of this would have been possible without the help of Our Wine Cellar, Susan, to help straighten the house up, Marnie and Mac for their countless hours of helping to prep the food and run errands, Chris for making the punch (Did he try any?) and Mattie for keeping Chris “in line”. Many thanks to all of you. And Thanks too, to everyone who came. We certainly did enjoy your company! Be sure to look at the photos! Some photos are new .... some photos are old! Cheers! And Happy 2010! And yes, some of the recipes are available if you would like a copy. Just email me.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Try A "Flying Grandma" Punch This New Years!

At our Open House tonight, close to 30 people were there, we had a Flying Grandma Punch among other things. This is really, really good!

Flying Grandma

Recipe from Mr. Boston Holiday Cocktails

Makes 10 to 12 drinks

• 18 ounces citrus vodka [ or 8 oz Idaho Huckleberry vodka and 10 oz Bombay Gin - Queen Victoria]

• 6 ounces Grand Marnier

• 9 ounces fresh grapefruit juice

• 60 mint leaves (about 10 sprigs)

• Ice mold or large block of ice (made decorative with grapefruit rind and mint leaves -in sparkling water)

• One 750 ml bottle Moscato d’Asti, chilled

• Grapefruit twists, for garnish

Combine the vodka, Grand Marnier, grapefruit juice and mint in a large pitcher. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a punch bowl. Add the ice and Moscato D’Asti and stir thoroughly.

Ladle into chilled Champagne coupes, garnish each drink with a grapefruit twist and serve.

This is one awesome punch! Try it. Cheers!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas In Boise, 2009

"The Day" has come and essentially gone. Long day. Awesome time. Good dinner. What else can I say. Oh yes, Thank-You to all who made this day so great: Robin, Marnie, Mac, Chris, Mattie and Buddy and Gus. Here are your photos!

Merry Christmas!

Mattie and Chris 24 Dec 2009
Mattie and Chris
24 Dec 2009

Oh, my! Now what do we have here? Have you ever seen such a "twinkle" in Chris' eye?
Cute. Very cute!

Mac's Onion Soup
24 Dec 2009

Mac made his awesome French Onion Soup for dinner along with a Roast of Beef. He can make that any time he wishes. It's a "pretty" soup - but not as pretty as the above photo! Cheers! And Merry Christmas!!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas 2009 Dinner Recipes

From our house to yours:

We Wish You A Very Merry Holiday Season!

And with that said, here are the recipes for two of the dishes we are having for Christmas Dinner. First is a Wine Marinated Stuffed Leg of Lamb and the second is an awesome Bob's Peppermint Pie that refers to the brand of peppermint candy, not me! Those two links are for a version of the recipe that we have on our web site. If you want to print them out, that is probably the best way. The photograph was taken this afternoon from 19th Street in Boise, looking 15 miles NNE to the ski area and 3500 feet higher. The snows were just outstanding.


Wine Marinated Stuffed Leg of Lamb

Author: Bob and Robin Young
Web Page: http://www.rockinrs.com
Degree of Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Oven Temperature: 375°F

750 ml Dry Red Wine
¾ t Allspice, ground
¾ t Nutmeg, ground
4½ lbs Leg of Lamb, boned
1 Bay Leaf
1/3 c Pine Nuts
½ lbs Mushrooms, rinsed
2 T Butter
½ c Onions, finely chopped
½ c Sweet Red Pepper, finely diced
1/3 c Pitted Dates, finely Chopped
2 T Chives, minced
2 T Parsley, minced
1½ c Beef stock
1 T Sugar
Salt and Fresh Pepper to taste

1). In an 11x17" roasting pan, combine the wine, allspice, nutmeg and bay leaf.
2). Trim excess fat from lamb. Rinse meat and lay flat, boned side up. Make cuts about halfway through all the thickest parts of the meat. Push cuts open to make meat as evenly thick as possible. Lay lamb flat in the pan. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours, turning meat as needed.
3). In a 10 - 12 inch frying pan over med-high heat, stir in pine nuts until golden brown, 3 - 4 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
4). Trim mushrooms and finely chop. Add the mushrooms, butter, onion and red pepper to the frying pan. Stir often over high heat until vegetables are well browned, 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pine nuts, dates, chives and parsley.
5). Lift lamb from roasting pan and lay flat; boned side up. Reserve 1½ cups marinade; discard the rest of the marinade and the bay leaf. Spread the mushroom mixture over the lamb to within 1" of the edges. Starting at the narrow edge, roll the lamb into a tight roll, about 5 x 11". Tie at 2" intervals with bakers string. Set in roasting pan.
6). Bake lamb in a 375°F oven until a thermometer inserted in the center of the thickest part reaches 145°F, 1¼ to 1½ hours.
7). Transfer lamb to a rimmed platter and keeping warm, let rest for 10 minutes. Add the reserved marinade, beef stock and sugar to the pan. Stir over high heat, scraping the browned bits (grameels) until reduced to 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Add the accumulated lamb juices and pour into a bowl.
8). Cut lamb crosswise into 1" thick slices. Serve with the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 10 hours


Bob's Peppermint Pie

Author: Bob and Robin Young
Web Page: http://boisefoodieguild.blogspot.com
Author Notes: This pie has nothing to do with me. It derives its name from the brand of peppermint candy, "Bob's".
Degree of Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Servings: 12

1 env Plain Gelatin
¼ c Cold Water
½ c Whipping cream, plus 1½ cups whipping cream whipped
8 oz Peppermint candy, soft type (Bob's)
1 Pie Crust, chocolate cookie crust

1). Soften gelatin in water and set aside.
2). Place ½ cup whipping cream in a small saucepan with candy and cook over low heat until candy melts.
3). Add gelatin and mix well. Let cool and fold in the whipped cream. Pour into the pie shell and let cool.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes


Find some good wine to go with dinner. We're having a NV Virginia Thibaut Janisson Sparkling Wine, the White House Wine ($25.00) and a 1969 Clos de Hermitage E. Guigal, a French Rhone wine ($140.00). Then for the dessert wine a 1979 Chateau Suduiraut ($65.00). So there you have the recipes for two of our dishes for Christmas Day. The rest of the menu has been posted earlier on this blog or on the Boise Foodie Blog. Cheers and have a Great Christmas Dinner!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our Christmas Dinner

Season's Greetings To All!

So, I guess, whenever the Holiday Season rolls around, there must also be a special dinner. At our house, we do have a good time with these special affairs. All the way from the planning to the preparation, the serving and eating and, of course, the clean-up! So here is our menu. Do enjoy it! We will!

Robin and Bob Young’s
Christmas Dinner Menu
December 25, 2009
3:00 PM

Fresh Spinach Salad

Wine Marinated Stuffed Leg of Lamb

Puréed Root Vegetables

Dried Corn

Fresh Baked Challah
This is really a great Jewish bread. A little sweet, a lot good!

Flan with Raspberry and Grand Marnier

Complete Wine Selection To Accompany the Menu

So there you have it or, at least, the menu for the dinner. Cheers!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Winter Games In Boise

We may be in what's called The Banana Belt - it is usually a warm winter down here - but we have been known to have Winter Games here in town. We are very fortunate here in Boise. The City Fathers were futuristic enough to plan for many, many parks in town. Some big. Some small. Some flat. Some very steep and high. Camels Back Park is one of the steep and high ones. It's a great sledding hill for young and old. Check these photos out! Cheers!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies

I just made some. They are really very, very good! But, you have to like peanut butter! Looks like these are just in time for the Holidays!

Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe created by Carolyn Gurtz, winner of the 2008 Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest

It's a twist on the classic peanut butter cookie! Crunchy outside, creamy inside, with just a hint of cinnamon. A real winner.

Yield: 24 cookies
1/4 cup Fisher dry-roasted peanuts , finely chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup JIF creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 roll (16.5 ounces) Pillsbury refrigerated peanut butter cookies , well chilled
Crisco original no-stick cooking spray

Heat oven to 375°.
In small bowl, mix chopped peanuts, granulated sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

In another small bowl, stir peanut butter and powdered sugar until completely blended. Shape mixture into 24 balls, about 1 inch each.

Cut roll of cookie dough into 12 slices. Cut each slice in half crosswise to make 24 pieces; flatten slightly. Shape 1 cookie dough piece around 1 peanut butter ball, covering completely. Repeat with remaining dough and balls.

Roll each covered ball in peanut mixture; gently pat mixture completely onto balls. On ungreased large cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart. Spray bottom of drinking glass with Crisco original no-stick cooking spray; press into remaining peanut mixture. Flatten each ball to 1/2-inch thickness with bottom of glass. Sprinkle any remaining peanut mixture evenly on tops of cookies; gently press into dough.

Bake 7 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Store tightly covered.


When I made these, I also added 1 roasted almond to the top. A chocolate chip would be good also. (Chocolate is great in almost anything!) Do enjoy these. Cheers!