P&J Column 9.3.17

Red or white? It’s a recipe for disaster.

 Tanya Soutar, local lifestyle guru

I dinna ken about yous, but I love experimenting in the kitchen. That’s fit wye I wisnae shocked fan Mary Berry’s Spag Bol recipe cried fer white wine instead o the mair traditional reed. I made it last nicht and as per the instructions I added 150mls of Blue Nun. (In fairness, the recipe‘s fae the BBC website, so they canna specify the name, but Mary is a classy lady, so it gings wi oot saying, ken?) And let me reassure ony pouting Thomases oot there, it wis yummers. The spaghetti wis OK too, but if I’m honest, I couldna really taste it efter the fourth gless o’ wine.

Some o’ my best recipes, the eens fit I use fer entertaining evening guests, hiv a’ come about by experimenting in a similar wye. For starters there’s my deconstructed prawn cocktail, which I serve wi nae prawns – just a cocktail. Then for main course there’s my take on a beef stroganoff – “beer Smirnoff” – Or spice up yer fajitas by making them mojitas instead, (rum sooked up through a tortilla wrap), and for dessert ye canna go wrang wi crème de menthe brûlée. So dinna be feart tae experiment – the sky is the limit, and I’m fleeing!

Cosmo Ludovic Fawkes Hunte, 13th Earl of Kinmuck

It is a rare occasion when I, highborn scion of the Scottish landed classes that I am, feel ashamed to be a peer of the realm.  I can think of only two occasions when it has happened before: once, when the Earl of Boyndie attended the Braemar Gathering in incorrect kilt hose, and on another occasion, when, while grouse shooting with the Duke of Udny, I learned that he had once voted for the Liberals.  Happily, a “misunderstanding” as to whether a cartridge remained within one of my Purdeys meant that the Duke’s error would never be repeated.

But starch my britches if I haven’t been ashamed to be an aristocrat twice already this week.  First, there was the news that the House of Lords is putting obstacles in the way of Brexit.  (Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the vote myself, having been detained by a delightful young lady in the Kings Cross area.)  Then there came the news that Rhodri Colwyn-Phillips, the 4th Viscount St Davids, has been charged with sending malicious emails to Gina Miller, the woman who led the legal case against Brexit.  The shame he has brought upon his family will not easily be expunged.  As all true blue bloods know, poison pen letters are totally unacceptable, unless written in longhand using a Montblanc on Basildon Bond.

Archie Fraser, gentleman of the road

One of the many advantages of using broadsheet newspaper as an ersatz duvet, is that one’s bedtime reading habitually results in one being kept suitably abreast of all the important news of the day. This gives me something to both discuss in depth with my fellows at night, and to shout about incomprehensibly whilst sitting on a bench during working hours.

It was whilst settling down to sleep the other night that I read that Scotland’s streets are ‘getting dirtier’. Spending reductions across the country have lead to a corresponding drop in cleanliness, with the biggest drop cited being Aberdeen itself. Well, no doubt the ordinary citizen may feel many things upon learning this fact, and bemoan the city’s unsightly, muck-encrusted and chuddy-ridden pavements, or complain about the one scaffie left, ineffectively pushing the stoor from one side of the pavement to the other, or blowing it around a bit with his clean green machine.

I, however, with perhaps a little more expertise than most in the field, would beg to differ. The squalor of our streets is nothing to be ashamed of! When I’m careering towards the paving stones, face first, thanks to the efficacy of my tipple of choice, (a bottle of croft original followed by another of White Lightning); it is only the 2 inch layer of MacDonald’s wrappers and old pizza boxes that cushions my fall. And whilst I’m down there, I invariably take the time to count my blessings. 200 years ago the same streets would have been awash with fetid effluvia of all kinds, so really, we can consider ourselves lucky that we enjoy levels of filth which are merely Victorian. Our far-sighted local Authority Council has managed to cultivate, without fuss or fanfare, the kind of pavement feculence that our forefathers enjoyed. What with all of the smells, ordure, and uneven cobbled streets one could be in Dickensian London. So well done, Aberdeen City Council, you have truly brought history alive!