AA Gill assassinates us Scots again. Gggrrrrr.

If he squats in a bush like this in Scotland someone will shoot him - me?

About to slide into a Sunday night slumber, reclining in the bath I had been dreaming of since getting up this morning I turned to AA Gills food review in the Style Section of The Sunday Times.

The House of Bruar on the A9 was his destination and it seems he liked what he ate.I have no issue with that. What I do have issue with is the ignorant and blatant assassination of the Scots as a nation in terms of what we eat and how we eat it. This man left Scotland a long long time ago and that is where his reality lies. In the past.

I haven’t heard so many generalisations since I read the reviews for AA Gills first  book  ‘Sap Rising’ – in a nutshell ‘a load of shite’.

Insisting in swapping any real facts of the food us Scots buy, prepare and eat these days he makes the old cliched pops at the food.

No. 1 in the hit parade the last time AA Gill spent any time here.

‘Why Caledonian catering is not merely as bad as it is, but as bad as it can willfully manage, is a mystery. But still Scots eat more pitifully, poorly and suicidally than anybody else in the world who has a choice.’

AA Gill claims to be a Scot which presumably is why he speaks his own culinary Gaelic. Namely a language that died long ago, an extinct, if not endangered vocabulary of pies, and pasties, deep fried Mars Bars and fried eggs, and ‘those shrunken menopausal pies with their withered gum of pale pasty and the nameless, scatological gore of their dank fillings’. When was the last time he wrapped his Harley Street straightened and whitened teeth and overpink gums into a Scotch Pie? 1978? It is harder to find a pie packed with rubbery nodules these days than one that is moist, meaty, unctious whether it’s made of beef, lamb or venison. But that wouldn’t make such pithy copy.

AA Gill is a brilliant wordsmith but to dip into our culture and country so seldom and yet feel he is qualified to spew forth with any authority whatsoever is typical of his ego, the size of Peru.

John Cleese demonstrating Upper Class Twit of The Year not that I'm saying anything.

So he deigned to pop into House Of Bruar no doubt on his way to some roaring open fired mansion in the country to congregate with Tweed wearing, marble mouthed, Southern dwellers catered by a professional chef to kill animals and cock a snook at the locals and Scotland in general. Out of your Ivory Tower Gill, away from your rarified life and into the real world I challenge you to lay down your prejudice and see Scotland the way it is not the way you remember it.

Whatever abuse Mr Gills gut suffered as a child has prevented him from opening his hooded eyes to the fact that Scotland, the Scotland of his nightmares and distant past is long dead, along with our record of having the highest rate of heart disease in the world.

Give me 48 hours I’ll change your mind.

Day 4 Easter hols in Scotland- The knives are out.

Day 4 in the Big Brother House, School hols, Scotland. 4 adults, 3 kids, and 4 dogs. All losing it.

Next Stop Betty Ford

All these humans and dogs are obsessed foodies and 3 double up as obsessed cookies too.  So as we unpacked our endless bags of clothes, thermals, wellies, fishing rods, dog beds, children, toys, DVD’s and other gubbins it became apparent the majority of the trockle on board was food, edible bits, sauces, marinades, snacks, butchers bags, pots, herbs and secrets.  There was a frisson of excitment as a wadge of Stinking Bishop was slammed onto the counter closely followed, and some

may suggest  trumped, by a box of homemade Turkish Delight. The frenzy was on.
Watch it.

I’m not sure whether it was due to the weather, the wine , a surfeit of competitive DNA or all 3 but as the stacks of boxes, bags and cool boxes were emptied a casual food challenge was issued We’re here for 3 nights we should see who produces the best dinner. How we laughed.  What  a ludicrous idea! we snorted as  the colllective brow furrowing and furtive fridge opening confirmed that we were all well up for it.

The very fish.

Night one friend Tracy started the batting with smoked salmon, not just any smoked salmon, no no , this was the one she caught on the River Lyon last summer.  She took it home, smoked it and has been biding her time to bring it back for us to scoff on Sunday night. Oh God Yes. Fabulous. Light, delicate, melt in the mouth. A top start.  As her main she produced  a lamb tagine (lamb from Sinclair the butchers at Torphins, Aberdeenshire ) , excellent, sweet, sticky, tender as the night and we wolfed the lot.

Night 2 was my night. Banishing Dave from the kitchen, as a chef he can’t help but poke his great hammy finger into my food, so throwing the odd olive through the door to keep them at bay  I served  some hot smoked salmon I’d taken up from Armstrongs fishmongers in Edinburgh followed by chicken   from the  Gullane butcher in East Lothian which had been marinading in hoisin, garlic, root ginger, soy sauce & runny honey for 3 days. Roasted til sticky, sweet & caramalised we wolfed that down with mashed tatties and buttery carrot batons. Rhubarb and pear crumble with vanilla custard finished the meal and then we slumped in the hot, toasty lounge to drink wine and play  Articulate. It was the food your

Gary Tank Commander - the real McCoy

honour I promise but we were far from Articulate at this point – teenwolf won hands down doing all his turns in the persona of Gary Tank Commander which had us all challenging the strength of the pelvic floor with laughter.

After a day of torrential rain and all suffering from cabin fever. The dogs bouncing off the walls, the kids threatening to strangle one another and the adults fighting the urge from lunchtime just to  open a beer and run wild. Dave took refuge at  the hot plate – or to be more accurate the small electric hob and ancient oven. The swatty horror produced baby trout fishcakes – caught yesterday morning in the swollen river Lyon. Melt in the mouth 10/10 Next up a venison casserole a great hefty beast he had a hand in shooting last year which has been taking up most of our freezer ever since. Delighted to have a shelf back in my freezer for ice cream and frozen peas I gave it a round of applause even before I tasted it but it was rich and delicious and his profesional qualifications were in evidence though it pains me to say it.

His piece de resistance was a fruit tart. I claim some responibiltiy for this triumph because if I hadn’t over egged it on the drink last night that pastry would have made some bacon and egg pies for lunch, as it was I  failed on the lunch challenge and took them to the Bridge of Balgie Post Office for their splendid  homemade scones with cream and jam. So I couldn’t refuse Dave when he asked if he could use the puff pastry. My puff pastry. Bitter moi?

Chimp or man - half close yer eyes ye can't tell.

So as a result of that Dave won the culinary challenge. That and he’s a professional, that and naturally teenage boys have a natural affinity with the hairiest chimp in the pack oh that and it was to be honest it was a lot better than mine.

The final verdict was: Daves trout cake starter. Tracys lamb tagine. & Dave’s puff pastry tart. My crumble didn’t even get a mention in dispatches but I don’t care .

I’ve got The Stinking Bishop and I know how to use it.

Tips on how to use cheese as a lethal weapon.

Day 3 in the Big Brother House – Easter Holidays in Scotland

A Highland cottage - not our one, it's too dark & wet to see our one.

Day 3 in the Big Brother House. Trapped in a cottage in the Highlands of  Scotland. Its pouring with rain, it’s been pouring with rain for 3 days now. The road is like a river, the fields are like lochs, the lochs are like whirlpools and the river has burst it’s banks on both sides.

We have seen red squirrels, deer, wild pigs, a baby pig electrocuting itself on a fence (it’s fine), goats, a cow giving birth, 100’s of wooly boulders or sheep as they are most commonly known, wee hairy horses, kestrels, buzzards, curlews and an Osprey. That’s outside.

Inside the cottage we have 4 adults, 3 kids & 4 dogs with cabin fever.

Let me out!

Flora – half dog, half womble  has concussion. As the storm roared last night she made a valiant attempt to jump onto our bed. It is incredibly high so on attempt 1 she bounced back onto the floor. Attempt 2 she didn’t gain as much height and so cannoned off the hard, solid wood of the base of the bed. I  heard the dead drop of a mass of flesh and bones and honestly thought she had copped her whack. She lay there like a stone still until I picked her up and placed her on a rummled up pile of clothes where she lay still but breathing  until this morning.

So it’s mid-day, the big dogs are sitting staring at us, willing us to take them out for a walk. The 2 small ones can’t be bothered. Flora is sitting staring into space with a glazed expression, Plum the pup has curled onto my lap hoping to  sit completely still for the rest of the day. The wood burning stove is roaring and the Wii was  taken out  half an hour ago.  Tracy the other grown woman here has  just smashed the over head light with her over enthusiastic arm swing whilst trying to play Wii tennis. I am currently being hoovered as the shards of the light seem to have spread through the entire house including my hair.

Our Easter bulbs - thanks Tracy

I am gutted as were just ramping up to get stuck into the Marcus Wareing Chocolate brownies I made in anticipation of this very moment and had hidden for 3 days until they were at optimum stickiness. Lips licked I had just reached forward to get one to stuff into my face when Tracy walloped the light. After they finished me, they  hoovered the brownies but despite this, some health and safety type individuals in our midst think that eating light bulb shards would really put a dampner on things and they should be binned As if things weren’t damp enough. Lily livered, namby pamby nonsense if you ask me.Shards or not, this beauty is going down my gullet.

When no-one is looking I intend to get at least 2 out of the bin and eat them. I am a rider at the gates of dawn and I am taking no prisoners.

At least one of these little beauties is going down my throat shards or not.

We are re-enacting Iron Chef in here every night. 3 competitive cooks and 7 obsessed consumers.  The results of which I will post tomorrow if one of us hasn’t come a cropper with a sharp knife or a sliver of light bulb glass. Tempers are  frayed. So I’m off to marinate my venison ironically as the field outside is full of wet deer looking hungry, sad, cold and wet.  Let’s hope they don’t get a whiff of what’s in the pot for tonight or they may turn nasty. Dear dear deer.

BBC Children In Need

  Monday

Just found out us jailbirds raised £71,000 in two hours for BBC’s Children In Need on November 20th. Locked in jail with (pictured left to right) John Quigley, Shaf Azul, Fiona Best, Janis Sue Smith, and Neil Butler. We bashed the phones like lunatics calling everyone we had ever met and even some we hadn’t. The lovely Shaf had a selection of billionaires on speed dial which helped. But every pound that was raised whether it was from John Quigleys Aunt, my sons pocket money of a fiver or Will Whitehorn from Virgin Galactic who donated £4k every penny went towards a brilliant cause! As we climbed onto the stage to announce our total to Nicky Campbell & Jackie Bird the morning cell mates were there looking very pleased, they had raised £31k which was great too just not as great as us!

 Tuesday

Tracys daughter Prue isn’t speaking to her. Apparently her Pudsey costume looked less like a bear with an eye patch and more like a squirrel with conjunctivitis. She soon cheered up when she heard our friend Gina’s daughter isn’t speaking to her either. Why? She had overdone the wine at a girls night, come home, felt awful and was on her knees in with her head in the pan when the seat came down and walloped her on the nozzle. I then roll up the leg of my jeans and show her my black and blue knee which I got falling off my 6” heels on Friday night – thankfully not on live telly but I would like to say thank you to the gent who hoisted me back up onto my 6 inchers and made sure I was steady again before letting me go. Even with no booze at all I fall about like Rab C. is it an age thing?

Wednesday

Radio Forth Awards. The ceremony is held to raise money for the Radio Forth charity, Cash for Kids. Live acts were amazing including Sugababes all new line-up of Heidi, Amelle and Jade. I presented the award for best performance to The Noisettes who illustrated why the won it with their brilliant set. Comedian Adam Hills and Dionne Bromfield, the 13 year old god daughter of Amy Winehouse performed too and Tollcross Fire Station picked up the Local Hero Award (in memory of their colleague Euan Williamson).

Contribution to Music Award went to Spandau Ballet. When they burst onto stage there was a near riot as everyone jumped to their feet. Spot the fan. Tony Hadley’s voice was fabulous though clearly he has as much luck with weight loss as I do. Martin Kemp looked a little afraid as the girls stared blatantly. Great do. Great day. Well done organised Richie Jeffrey – Harvey Goldsmith watch your back!

Thursday

BBC Radio doing a loose women format every morning this week. I joined in today testing out my new home studio which was a joy. Instead of sitting on the M8 for hours I shuffled upstairs to the sound proof cupboard -sorry studio – and broadcast live from there in my dressing gown for an hour and a half. Christopher Biggins was on talking about Rocky Horror Show but of course we got on to Jordan aka Katie Price aka The publicity seeking missile or should I say missiles. The consensus was her plan to ingratiate herself with the British public has gone sadly awry and she should have battened down the hatches and looked after her kids in the glare of all her negative publicity not flown to Oz, dropped her drawers and showed off her silicone enhancements whilst eating a selection of bugs. Colin and Justin to win – I think one of them will. They are a credit to us in there mediating, smiling and being very funny. Come on boys!

Friday

Meet pal John Hamilton, Age 80,just back from a few days break in a Amsterdam. He enjoys the occasional fag so got a packet and went off into a bar for drink where he was told it’s the same as here now no smoking. Meandering around he spotted a coffee shop full of people smoking spliffs and eating hash cake. In he went, ordered a coffee and lit up a fag. Within seconds the women behind the bar grabbed him, you can’t smoke that in here she squawked horrified. What ? He said pointing at the dozen or so stone heads all puffing away on their joints. “But they’re all smoking!’. Ah yes but you are not allowed to smoke tobacco she admonished it’s illegal He laughed thinking she was joking but realised she wasn’t as he was led out out onto the street , fag free and confused. Who’d have thunk it?

Saturday

Up at the crack to make coffees at the school rugby. To be honest it’s an excuse not to watch the match these days. The kids have suddenly grown into hairy men. One of the opposition at the age of 14/15 had a full beard! Really! When I clocked him I thought he was a parent. Unable to watch clash of The Titans I preferred to pour coffee, tea and eat biscuits. The second we get back afterwards Campbell and Dave head out for lunch. Remember Fiona’s coming round later I shout as the door closes behind them. Cut to 7pm David overly loud and pretending he hasn’t had a bevy at lunchtime is whizzing round the kitchen cooking. He makes a lovely meal but dirties every dish in the house during the process. We eat hot smoked salmon then double cream potato dauphinoise, venison, roasted parsnips, and a vat of ice cream. Either he should go out drinking at lunchtime more often or he should get back into the restaurant business.

Monday

Just found out us jailbirds raised £71,000 in two hours for BBC’s Children In Need on November 20th. Locked in jail with (pictured left to right) John Quigley, Shaf Azul, Fiona Best, Janis Sue Smith, and Neil Butler. We bashed the phones like lunatics calling everyone we had ever met and even some we hadn’t. The lovely Shaf had a selection of billionaires on speed dial which helped. But every pound that was raised whether it was from John Quigleys Aunt, my sons pocket money of a fiver or Will Whitehorn from Virgin Galactic who donated £4k every penny went towards a brilliant cause! As we climbed onto the stage to announce our total to Nicky Campbell & Jackie Bird the morning cell mates were there looking very pleased, they had raised £31k which was great too just not as great as us!

Tuesday

Tracys daughter Pru isn’t speaking to her. Apparently her Pudsey costume looked less like a bear with an eye patch and more like a squirrel with conjunctivitis. She soon cheered up when she heard our friend Gina’s daughter isn’t speaking to her either. Why? She had overdone the wine at a girls night, come home, felt awful and was on her knees in with her head in the pan when the seat came down and walloped her on the nozzle. I then roll up the leg of my jeans and show her my black and blue knee which I got falling off my 6” heels on Friday night – thankfully not on live telly but I would like to say thank you to the gent who hoisted me back up onto my 6 inchers and made sure I was steady again before letting me go. Even with no booze at all I fall about like Rab C. is it an age thing?

Wednesday

Radio Forth Awards. The ceremony is held to raise money for the Radio Forth charity, Cash for Kids. Live acts were amazing including Sugababes all new line-up of Heidi, Amelle and Jade. I presented the award for best performance to The Noisettes who illustrated why the won it with their brilliant set. Comedian Adam Hills and Dionne Bromfield, the 13 year old god daughter of Amy Winehouse performed too and Tollcross Fire Station picked up the Local Hero Award (in memory of their colleague Euan Williamson).

Contribution to Music Award went to Spandau Ballet. When they burst onto stage there was a near riot as everyone jumped to their feet. Spot the fan. Tony Hadley’s voice was fabulous though clearly he has as much luck with weight loss as I do. Martin Kemp looked a little afraid as the girls stared blatantly. Great do. Great day. Well done organised Richie Jeffrey – Harvey Goldsmith watch your back!

Thursday

BBC Radio doing a loose women format every morning this week. I joined in today testing out my new home studio which was a joy. Instead of sitting on the M8 for hours I shuffled upstairs to the sound proof cupboard -sorry studio – and broadcast live from there in my dressing gown for an hour and a half. Christopher Biggins was on talking about Rocky Horror Show but of course we got on to Jordan aka Katie Price aka The publicity seeking missile or should I say missiles. The consensus was her plan to ingratiate herself with the British public has gone sadly awry and she should have battened down the hatches and looked after her kids in the glare of all her negative publicity not flown to Oz, dropped her drawers and showed off her silicone enhancements whilst eating a selection of bugs. Colin and Justin to win – I think one of them will. They are a credit to us in there mediating, smiling and being very funny. Come on boys!

Friday

Meet pal John Hamilton, Age 80,just back from a few days break in a Amsterdam. He enjoys the occasional fag so got a packet and went off into a bar for drink where he was told it’s the same as here now no smoking. Meandering around he spotted a coffee shop full of people smoking spliffs and eating hash cake. In he went, ordered a coffee and lit up a fag. Within seconds the women behind the bar grabbed him, you can’t smoke that in here she squawked horrified. What ? He said pointing at the dozen or so stone heads all puffing away on their joints. “But they’re all smoking!’. Ah yes but you are not allowed to smoke tobacco she admonished it’s illegal He laughed thinking she was joking but realised she wasn’t as he was led out out onto the street , fag free and confused. Who’d have thunk it?

Saturday

Up at the crack to make coffees at the school rugby. To be honest it’s an excuse not to watch the match these days. The kids have suddenly grown into hairy men. One of the opposition at the age of 14/15 had a full beard! Really! When I clocked him I thought he was a parent. Unable to watch clash of The Titans I preferred to pour coffee, tea and eat biscuits. The second we get back afterwards Campbell and Dave head out for lunch. Remember Fiona’s coming round later I shout as the door closes behind them. Cut to 7pm David overly loud and pretending he hasn’t had a bevy at lunchtime is whizzing round the kitchen cooking. He makes a lovely meal but dirties every dish in the house during the process. We eat hot smoked salmon then double cream potato dauphinoise, venison, roasted parsnips, and a vat of ice cream. Either he should go out drinking at lunchtime more often or he should get back into the restaurant business.