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May 2016

Growing up one of the things I looked forward to the most was visiting with my Grannie and Grandpa.  My Grannie was English, born and raised.  My Grandpa was Scot!  Over the years Grannie Guinnes (McInnes) adapted her way of cooking to accommodate my stubborn, but joyful Grandpa.  She made what always seemed to me to be traditional Scottish recipes.  One that I loved the most was her scones.  She would show me how and eventually I convinced her to write down the recipe for me.

The funny (and probably very common) thing about her recipe was that these were not standard measurements.  Her “cup” was an old tea cup with a broken handle.  She measured it according to where the ingredient came on the pattern.  Her teaspoon was an actual spoon used for tea.  When she said dessert spoon, well that was a little bigger.  But not as big as the soup spoons.

 

Now, when I make this recipe it makes me smile because it is never ever as good as hers.  Here I am ready with all the ingredients ready to go.  I will end up having to add more buttermilk or more flour at some point.  My cup isn’t the same as hers

 

Handling the dough as little as possible, I mixed it together, pat it flat, and shaped it somewhat into a rectangle.  That was then cut into smaller rectangles and finally triangles.  And now they are ready to be cooked.

As a child,  and well into adulthood, THIS is all that I knew scones to be.  I had never bought a scone, never had any idea that flaky triangles sold at Starbucks even existed.  My Grannie’s scones were cooked on a dry griddle.   Don’t they look amazing?

 

Here is the best part.  When you are done cooking them, you get to sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labour (ok, it really is a very simply and quick recipe, but no one needs to know that).  Grannie and I always sat down to have them with butter and homemade jam.  She would pour me a little tea with A LOT of milk and sugar.  Today I am having it with coffee.  But honestly, I miss the tea.  A LOT.  I miss my Grannie too.  Here’s to you Ethel McInnes.  Thank you for sharing your joy with me.

 

 

 

Scones

2 cups of flour

1/4 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 dessert spoon (table spoon maybe) butter

1 dessert spoon lard (or shortening)

enough buttermilk to make a soft dough (probably around 1/2 – 3/4 cup)

Cut butter and lard into dry ingredients and then add the buttermilk, stirring as little as possible.

Turn onto floured surface.  Pat into a rectangle approximately 1.2 inch think.  Cut into shapes.

Cook on a dry griddle set to 300-350 until dark brown, flip and repeat.

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Outlander has some of the most arresting title cards I have ever seen on tv.  Each episode’s title card tells a story.  Their job is to immediately engage the viewer, and boy! do they ever!

Take a look at all the title cards from Season One.  My favourite is probably The Search.  I love that the marionette show was Claire’s story (the Highland version).

Pop into the comments and let us know what your favourite title card from Season One was.

 

While on her honeymoon, WWII combat nurse Claire Randall is mysteriously transported back to 1743 Scotland, where she is kidnapped by a group of Highlanders – and meets an injured young man named Jamie.

 

Claire is taken to meet the Laird. As suspicions about her grow, Claire befriends the mysterious Geillis Duncan. When the clan discover her medical skills, Claire goes from guest to prisoner.

 

Claire decides to use her medical skills to aid her escape from Castle Leoch – with Jamie’s help, she tends to an ill child. During an evening’s entertainment, a story gives Claire hope for her freedom.

 

As the Castle prepares for The Gathering, Claire plots her escape. But after a dangerous encounter with a drunken Dougal and an unexpected run-in with Jamie, her plans are dashed.

 

Claire joins the MacKenzie rent-collecting trip. To her horror, Dougal uses Jamie’s scars to gain sympathy for the Jacobite cause. Claire recalls that a defining moment in Scottish history is fast approaching.

 

Claire’s unexpected meeting with a British general turns tense when Captain Jack Randall arrives. Claire finds herself alone with Randall – a dangerous man determined to uncover her secrets.

 

Claire and Jamie are thrown together in marriage, but as their emotional and physical relationship unfolds, deeper feelings arise. Claire is ultimately torn between two men in two very different times.

 

Frank desperately searches for his missing wife, while Claire tries to come to terms with her new marriage. Claire is faced with an emotional quandry as a life-altering opportunity presents itself.

 

Jamie and the Highlanders rescue Claire from Black Jack Randall. Back at the castle, politics threaten to tear Clan MacKenzie apart and Jamie’s scorned lover, Laoghaire, attempts to win him back.

 

Jamie hopes the newly arrived Duke of Sandringham will help lift the price from his head, while Claire attempts to save an abandoned child.

 

Claire and Geillis are on trial for witchcraft. Jamie manages to rescue Claire, but not before she discovers a secret about Geillis’s past.

 

Reunited, Claire and Jamie make their way to Lallybroch – Jamie’s family home. Reality quickly sets in, and old wounds are reopened between Jamie and his sister, Jenny.

 

Jamie finds himself between a rock and a hard place when a redcoat deserter from his past resurfaces. Claire tends to a laboring Jenny while Jamie and Ian join The Watch, resulting in devastating consequences.

 

Claire and Jenny set out to rescue Jamie from his redcoat captors. When Murtagh joins up, they turn to unorthodox tactics to send word to Jamie. When word finally arrives, the news isn’t what anyone had hoped.

 

Jamie awaits his death sentence at Wentworth Prison, while Claire and the Highlanders search for a rescue plan. When Jamie is visited by Black Jack, he realizes there is a fate worse than death.

 

A desperate plan manages to free Jamie, but his wounds are more than just physical. At a nearby monastery, Claire attempts to save both Jamie’s heart and soul, as his mind lingers on the torture.

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“Sue Morrison in the Set Decoration department is in charge of finding animals for the show. She showed us a picture of Scamp and we thought he looked perfect. We brought him in for a mini-audition, mainly just as a formality. We wanted to make sure he would walk on a stranger’s body, since it’s an important part of his role. We had an extra lie down on a gurney and Scamp’s trainer gave him commands from off camera.  He did great!”

–Maril Davis, Executive Producer

 

For some reason, this was not how I imagined Bouton, but, like every other aspect of the show,  now I cannot imagine him any other way.

Bouton a.k.a. Scamp’s Story

“Scamp was brought into Dumfries and Galloway Canine Rescue Centre in beautiful south-west Scotland as a stray in April 2009. We were able to estimate his age reasonably accurately as 16 weeks, because he only had adult incisor teeth. My daughter Pippa, then aged 10, had been pestering me for a rescue dog to call her own, since we had lived in at the Centre since its inception in 2003. I have always had a large “family” of Golden Retrievers (usually around 8) and had resisted her pleas until Scamp arrived—one look at his wee face and I was hooked! Not only is he utterly adorable and cheeky, but he is incredibly smart and quick to learn. He actually knew so much already at a tender age, we believe he had an “old soul” in a young body, that he had been here before!

The rescue center had previously assisted animal agent David Stewart of Creature Features with finding suitable dogs for part in various film and TV work as well as modelling, and when he asked us to find a very trainable terrier for a particular challenge in early 2013, Scamp seemed to be the ideal candidate. It was for a TV advert for a well-known Scottish soft drink, whose series of humorous adverts were renowned. The dog needed to be able to bark on command by a visual cue, but in addition he would be held by a strange actor in a white coat, and he would be wearing an Elizabethan post-operative collar! No mean feat but after a few weeks training (which involved lots of chicken!) Scamp performed perfectly on the day.

We were all terribly disappointed when the executives from the soft drinks company decided not to use the finished advert. However, David felt that Scamp was still destined for stardom, and in the summer of 2015 Scamp joined the cast of Outlander Season 2 as Bouton. On this occasion David did all the training, and Scamp had lots of trips away from home, but we knew he was in safe hands. David’s biggest challenge was getting Scamp to tone things down a bit—in the somber hospital scenes, the Mother Superior’s dog had to be suitably dignified and Scamp’s natural joie de vivre had to be reined in a bit! He had to learn to do a SLOW recall.

My family and I are so thrilled to see Scamp on what is our very favorite series on TV. My husband Alastair is a fiercely patriotic Scot, with tartan blood in his veins! We were already huge fans but now we are even more so. Scamp has become quite the local celebrity!  In his day to day life, Scamp is the official mascot for our charity. He attends events and visits to schools and retirement homes where he is always very popular! At home he reigns supreme over his eight Golden girlfriends! Everyone is his friend. He is such a character. He also helped Pippa through her recovery after her major spinal surgery for scoliosis in 2011—she was determined to get back to doing agility for fun with him.”

–Fiona Clarkson R.V.N., Centre Manger, Dumfries and Galloway Canine Rescue Centre

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http://www.vulture.com/2016/05/outlander-recap-season-2-episode-8.html?mid=twitter-share-vulture

Outlander Recap: The Old Fox

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As Outlander tells us again and again, so much depends on democracy. Any system of rule by which a king passes power to his firstborn son is inherently broken and ill-fated. People must earn the right to lead, not inherit it.

Since the audience already buys into that notion — it’s the premise of Western-style government, after all — any grandstanding on the issue could seem to be moot. But Diana Gabaldon’s stories manage to underline it without being didactic. She reminds us why it’s so important to let people determine their own destinies. The Bonnie Prince Charlie is a fool, but he’s the heir of King James, so scores of men will soon go to their deaths fighting for him. Young Simon may also be a fool, but he’s the heir of Jamie’s wily grandfather, Lord Simon Lovat, so dozens of men may also go to their deaths fighting under him.

Meanwhile Jamie feels compelled to confess to Claire the shameful fact that his father was illegitimate, born of a dalliance between the Old Fox and a servant. He makes the strategic choice to disclose this while getting undressed, as though anyone could think straight while Sam Heughan takes off his shirt. Even if they had been talking at a conference table, though, Claire wouldn’t care that Jamie’s father was a bastard; she doesn’t believe that the circumstances of a person’s birth determine that person’s worthiness any more than their gender should. In that latter opinion, at least, she is joined by Jamie, but not many others.
We may not be explicitly reminded of it often, but Outlander secures us to the past, when women were roughly valued on par with cattle. We take it for granted that Jamie respects his wife’s opinions — that Jamie respects his wife — but his behavior is remarkable in context. Lord Lovat exhibits the norm: casual misogyny, and a belief that ladies are okay as decoration as long as they stay silent. That’s why Claire has to inform Laoghaire that any woman has more to offer a man than her body. The girl might never have another chance to learn.

How does Laoghaire end up crossing paths with our heroes again? How, in other words, does this episode turn into one big family reunion? The Frasers have returned from Paris, grateful for a reprieve from trying to scheme against the Jacobites, but they soon discover that Scotland is no picnic, either. An idyllic rural existence with Janet and her loving family is not in the cards. Prince Charles has declared his intention of leading a rebellion against the British, and he has taken the liberty of adding Jamie’s name to the list of Scottish clans supporting his cause. In essence, Jamie has been drafted. Since he can’t avoid the fight, he reasons to Claire, he may as well try to win it. So off Jamie goes to woo his crafty grandsire, a man he’s only met once, for the Old Fox’s wealth and men.

However, his uncle Colum MacKenzie is on hand to thwart him. Colum doesn’t need Claire’s knowledge of history to conclude that this third Jacobite uprising, still lacking in real support from France or other allies, won’t end well, so he urges Lord Lovat to join the MacKenzies in pledging to remain neutral. Lord Lovat is willing to do whatever’s in his best interest; he’s the type of win-at-all-costs man who would, on a reality show, snarl that he’s not there to make friends. He’s also the type to casually suggest he might rape (or have his men rape) his own grandson’s wife, which would even raise eyebrows on Survivor. Jamie must protect Claire, once again, by turning her into La Dame Blanche. Apparently, fear of White Ladies extends to both sides of the sea.

Like many power-hungry men, the superstitious Lord Lovat fears what he cannot control. He demands to hear how his own seer believes the Jacobite uprising will end, though considering his temper, it’s no wonder she is reluctant to share her answer (the chopping block) with him. He also seems to believe Claire when she pretends to have a vision of an executioner, which she concocts to keep Jamie from signing over Lallybroch to his grandpa in exchange for Lord Lovat’s troops.

Of course, Claire is convincing. Maybe all these years of life as a time-traveler have, in a way, turned her into the White Lady. When Laoghaire gets down on her knees and begs forgiveness, Claire certainly has no trouble assuming the same role of judge and jury she played last week for King Louis. An abject Laoghaire insists that she has changed and Claire doesn’t give even half a damn. Later, she relents, but only to use Laoghaire for her own ends: The girl looks like a Vermeer, and Simple Simon is smitten with her. Prompted by Claire, Laoghaire encourages the boy to join the fight.

In the end, that’s what does the trick. Although Lord Lovat signs the MacKenzie’s statement of neutrality, he sends his men with his son. He seems to think if he plays both sides, he can avoid the axe. But we can still see the executioner waiting behind him, as surely as we can see the executioner waiting behind the Scottish clans who saddle up for this brave, foolhardy endeavor. There’s no way that Prince Charlie can defeat the British, and deep down, Claire and Jamie both know it. But they want to go down fighting. They’re little-d democrats: They have faith in free will, not in fate; in bravery, not birth order. They believe in the ability of individuals to make a difference. Even though you know they’re doomed, you can’t help but root for them as the ride off to the battlefield.

https://www.accesshollywood.com/articles/outlander-clive-russell-playing-lord-lovat/

 

“There’s a very good book about the character. [He was a] very, very extraordinary, but not very likable man, which was interesting. But I’m a bit wary of research in that sense. I remember when I worked for the BBC and did ‘Middlemarch,’ and I played a character in that, and I was very, very faithful to the way in which George Eliott described him. And one of the things she described was the fact that he had long pauses between words, and so I took that with me on to set, and after a bit, the director said to me, ‘Clive, you’re going to have to speak quicker than that…’ So, it can be interesting and it can be very misleading. In the end, your bible is the script — the adaptation in the case of ‘Middlemarch,’ and the script, which is a mixture/compilation of history and not history and that’s what you have to pay attention to, really,” he said. “Obviously there are hints from the way in which the character is described not in the dialogue, and how people talk about him, as well as the history of the character, but it’s really about the script.”

Asked about the costume process for “Outlander,” Clive said his Lord Lovat look was “done very beautifully,” and aged to fit the character’s lifestyle.

“They broke it down quite a lot because he didn’t look after himself properly,” the actor said. “And I had a pair of spectacularly wonderful decayed teeth, which in his day would’ve been made of wood. He had no teeth, but he had wooden false teeth, so rather than having to do that, I went and had a fitting for some ghastly brown teeth, which must have made him extremely unattractive.”

Filmed on the show’s set in Scotland, “The Fox’s Lair” episode reunited Clive with actors he’d worked with before, including Gary Lewis, who returned in the episode as Colum MacKenzie, and Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie. Clive and Sam were both in UK docuseries “The Wild West” in the mid 2000s.

In Saturday night’s “Outlander” episode, the two actors had several interesting scenes opposite each other, including a private exchange where Lord Lovat asked for Jamie’s family home — Lallybroch — in exchange for his men joining the Jacobite cause, a request Jamie answered by calling into question whether the two were actually blood relatives.

“That particular scene was done quite late in the day and just flowed very easily,” Clive said.

“I’d worked with him very briefly,” he continued of his previous project with Sam. “We did a documentary about an American cowboy gangster — Jesse James, and I was [Sheriff Brady], a very famous cowboy sheriff character, and there was a group of us [who] did it over a week in Almeria, in Spain, up in the mountains where they shot one of the Clint Eastwood cowboy movies. So I briefly knew him about 8, 9 years before when he was very young. So we had a certain ease between us. It was good. Very much a kind of older man/younger man vibe and it was very easy working with him because it – not quickly, but it fell into place, the director gave us some notes, but it played itself very well. Beautifully written scene.”

Another scene Clive enjoyed filming was the moment when, just as it seems Jamie is going to sign away Lallybroch, Claire (Caitriona Balfe), pretends she has a vision.

“It was actually quite electrifying, the moment when palpably, everybody in the room believed what she was doing and what she was saying,” he said. “It was a pretty good moment.”

Claire’s “vision,” though, didn’t get Jamie’s grandsire to agree to join the rebellion. Instead, he signed a declaration to stay neutral. It was only later, after his heir Simon was on his way with Jamie and Claire to begin fighting preparations that Lovat showed his cards. He rode up and confirmed he was secretly taking part in helping them, giving them men, but via the document he signed, giving the appearance he was remaining neutral.

“The horse riding was great fun. I cantered down hill for the first time in my life, arriving, which was great fun,” he said of the memorable scene. “We cantered off afterwards quite quickly.”

Asked if he has an interested in coming back to the show, if the opportunity were to come up, Clive said he would welcome it.

“I had a terrific time. I’d be delighted to go back. I rather think it would be a one off, although I am one of the central character’s grandfather, so depends how it goes down, I guess,” he said. “I think in the book he only appears the once. Whether they’ve done all the things that he does in the book, I’m not sure, but we’ll find out.”

“Outlander” continues Saturdays at 9 PM ET/PT on Starz.

Jolie Lash

Read more at https://www.accesshollywood.com/articles/outlander-clive-russell-playing-lord-lovat/#bKJ1KjtWCPbEOb7Q.99

 

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