In my re-reading, I’ve just come upon the scene in A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Ch. 54) where the North Carolina Highlanders all gather for a ginormous barbecue at Jocasta’s plantation, River Run, in celebration of the emigration of the heroine Flora MacDonald to the colonies. Flora MacDonald, for those who don’t know, was the lady who helped Prince Charlie escape after the disaster of Culloden. (Frankly, I think I’d have mixed feelings about both the Prince and Flora, if I lost everything but my life in a war in Charlie’s name… but hey, it’s not my place to say.)
Anyway, Jamie recounts a story of a previous occasion upon which he met the famous lady:
“Oh, I suppose I might say that I’m glad the weather has kept fine for her. It was raining the last time we met.”
Rachel’s jaw dropped, and so did her fan, bouncing on the lawn. Her husband bent to pick it up for her, groaning audibly, but she had no attention to spare for him.
“You’ve met her?” she cried, eyes wide with excitement. “When? Where? With the prin—with him?”
“Ah, no,” Jamie said, smiling. “On Skye. I’d gone wi’ my father—a matter of sheep, it was. We chanced to meet Hugh MacDonald of Armadale in Portree—Miss Flora’s stepfather, aye?—and he’d brought the lass into the town with him, for a treat.”
“Oh!” Rachel was enchanted. “And was she beautiful and gracious as they say?”
Jamie frowned, considering.
“Well, no,” he said. “But she’d a terrible grippe at the time, and no doubt would have looked much improved without the red nose. Gracious? Well, I wouldna say so, really. She snatched a bridie right out of my hand and ate it.”
“And how old were you both at the time?” I asked, seeing Rachel’s mouth sag in horror.
“Oh, six, maybe,” he said cheerfully. “Or seven. I doubt I should remember, save I kicked her in the shin when she stole my bridie, and she pulled my hair.”
~ JAMMF, ABoSaA, Ch. 54
These are said to have been made by a travelling food seller, Maggie Bridie of Glamis (in the days when the county of Angus was called Forfarshire). They were mentioned by J M Barrie (author of Peter Pan) who was born in Kirriemuir in that county. The original recipe used suet but since that is not always to everyone’s taste, you can use butter or margarine.
Ingredients (for six bridies):
1½ lbs (700g) boneless, lean rump steak. Lean minced beef can also be used.
2 oz (2 rounded tablespoons) suet or butter or margarine
1 (or 2) onion, chopped finely
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
Quarter cup rich beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ lbs flaky pastry (home made or from a pastry mix packet)
Remove any fat or gristle from the meat and beat with a meat bat or rolling pin. Cut into half-inch (1cm) pieces and place in a medium bowl. Add the salt/pepper, mustard, chopped onion, suet (or butter/margarine) and stock and mix well.
Prepare the pastry and divide the pastry and meat mixture into six equal portions. Roll each pastry portion into a circle about six inches in diameter and about quarter of an inch thick and place a portion of the mixture in the centre. Leave an edge of pastry showing all round. Brush the outer edge of half the pastry circle with water and fold over. Crimp the edges together well. The crimped edges should be at the top of each bridie. Make a small slit in the top (to let out any steam). Brush a 12 inch square (or equivalent area) baking tray with oil and place the bridies in this, ensuring that they are not touching. Place in a pre-heated oven at 450F/230C/gas mark 8 for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 350F/180C/gas mark 4 and cook for another 45/55 minutes. They should be golden brown and if they are getting too dark, cover with greaseproof paper (vegetable parchment).
Not really my thing, I confess — I’m not much of a meat eater. But hey, JAMMF liked it enough to kick Flora MacD for it…
Claire hasn’t been sober since she was left splatted flat on her breast upon Black Jack’s desk. Wow, that sounds like really bizarre, kinky poetry, doesn’t it?
Anyway… I was thinking about Fraser Ridge Whiskey, and wishing there was a real one. And then I found this — it’s not currently brewed for the public, but the clan is considering crafting it in the future:
That’s right, the 11th Lord Lovat, Jamie’s grandfather, the infamous “Old Fox.” The clan has a private reserve meant for their chief, “Legend has it that the infamous 11th Lord Lovat brewed a whisky so potent that it gave his clansmen extra strength and courage before charging the English in the first wave at the Battle of Culloden, 1746. Each Lord Lovat since has relied on a private reserve to bring strength in times of need.”
SO COOL! And speaking of cool, guess what? You can answer the current Chief of Lovat’s Fiery Cross and join the virtual clan. Whether you are a Fraser, or just a friend of the clan (there are two kinds, check them out), if you don’t have Scottish (or Irish) blood, and an ancestral clan of your own (I have several, but I still joined as a friend) you can be part of Jamie’s clan. Check it out!
Remind me some day to talk about my own ancestral clans — Elliot and Ferguson. Especially the former. We were cursed by the 16th century church and everything!
Well, I need to get back to work now. What’s up with ya’ll?