Author Archives: Theresa Schilling

Samuel Beckett Trilogy: Exclusive Opportunity for ASF Members

ASF Members and Friends can enjoy special ticket pricing for the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts’ upcoming production of “Samuel Beckett Trilogy: Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby” on April 13-17. 

In Walter Asmus’ critically-acclaimed staging of three one-woman plays by Samuel Beckett, Irish actor Lisa Dwan masterfully triangulates the existential void.

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Image via nyuskirball.org

In Not I, a woman—reduced to a mere mouth, suspended in total darkness—seeks solace in a blisteringly paced stream of her own broken speech. In Footfalls, a tattered soul, drained of life, paces relentlessly outside her dying mother’s bedroom. And in Rockaby, a woman slowly withdraws from the world, rocked to eternal sleep in her mother’s chair.

This production drew ecstatic reviews at BAM in 2014, Royal Court Theatre and in the West End.

The astonishing actress Lisa Dwan doesn’t just uncover layers; she digs all the way to the void beneath them. – Ben Brantley, The New York Times 

Friends and members of the American-Scottish Foundation have an exclusive offer for discounted tickets of all levels. There are only six performances on April 13-17, so don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity.

Wednesday April 13 and Thursday, April 14 at 8PM | Saturday, April 16 at 2PM | Sunday, April 17 at 3PM:

  • Level 1 – $44 (Reg. $55)
  • Level 2 – $36 (Reg. $45)
  • Level 3 – $28 (Reg. $35)
  • Level 4 – $20 (Reg. $25)

Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16 at 8PM:

  • Level 1 – $52 (Reg. $65)
  • Level 2 – $44 (Reg. $55)
  • Level 3 – $36 (Reg. $45)
  • Level 4 – $28 (Reg. $35)

To purchase discounted tickets use the official code:  Beckett3

Order tickets by going online and entering the code, or by calling 888.611.8183 and mentioning the code. You can also bring a printout of this offer to the NYU Skirball Center Shagan Box Office – 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square.

For more information, visit the NYU Skirball Center website.

Service fees apply to online/phone orders. Schedule is subject to change. All sales are final. Offer subject to availability. Offer may be revoked at any time. 

Strathberry: The Luxury Scottish Brand to Watch

It is not often that one comes across exceptional craftsmanship together with contemporary yet classic design – but earlier this year the American-Scottish Foundation was introduced to Strathberry of Scotland. The brand is taking the fashion industry by a storm, and with such beautiful craftsmanship and high-quality design, it is no wonder why.

Image via twitter.com

Image via twitter.com

Strathberry of Scotland is a leading, modern Scottish brand which prides itself on making luxurious, high-end bags that match other designer bags in quality, but with more reasonable price tags. 

Besides their collection of handmade bags, Strathberry also designs accessories with iconic Scottish textiles like tweed, lace, and cashmere from the Hawick Cashmere mill in the Scottish Borders. Non-endangered salmon skin is also used in the production of some bags and accessories, adding even more Scottish flair to the sustainable fashion brand.

Strathberry boasts the highest standards of quality and design. Not only does the brand support local producers, but every item in the collection is handmade in Europe. Taking inspiration from traditional means of artistry, Strathberry craftsmen take anywhere from 15 to 20 hours to create a single bag.

Image via thesun.co.uk

Image via thesun.co.uk

Strathberry founders, Guy and Leeanne Hundleby, officially launched their collection in 2013. Just three years later, the brand is really taking off. Celebrities like Emma Watson, Lily Allen and Paloma Faith are Strathberry wearers, and Strathberry bags appear in countless fashion-blogs and magazines.

Visit the Strathberry website to learn more about the luxury Scottish brand that is winning over the fashion world.

Top Five Scottish Island Destinations

Scotland is well known for its beautiful glens and sparkling lochs, but did you know that Scotland has over 790 gorgeous off-shore islands? Most of these islands are to be found in four main groups: Shetland, Orkney, and the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

It is hard to find another place in the world that can match the beauty of the isles of Scotland. If you are vacationing in Scotland, you should consider island hopping, so as to enjoy the phenomenal hills and moors, and the sweeping sea views from the isles.

The American-Scottish Foundation has chosen five Scottish island destinations you should put on your bucket list:

Isle of Islay

Image via islaypictures.com

Image via islaypictures.com

The Isle of Islay, known as the “Queen of the Hebrides” is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. On top of the gorgeous scenery and wildlife, the isle has eight working whisky distilleries to visit.

If you’re not too busy sampling the whiskies, Islay also has golf courses, trails for cycling, horse-riding and hillwalking, and spots to fish. There are also several annual festivals on the island, such as the Islay Festival of Malt and Music, the Islay Jazz Festival, the Rugby Festival and the Cantilena festival. With gorgeous views and plenty of activities, the Isle of Islay is a 5-star vacation destination. www.islayinfo.com

Isle of Jura

Image via isleofjura.scot

Image via isleofjura.scot

The Isle of Jura, part of the Southern Hebrides, is one of Scotland’s last wildernesses. A little over 200 islanders are outnumbered by 3,500 deer. On Jura there are many historical sites to see, from Iron Age Forts to ancient burial grounds and standing stones.

The village of Craighouse is the main settlement on the island. The charming town has a shop and tearoom to peruse, and a cozy hotel if you want to spend the night. Jura’s only distillery can be found in Craighouse as well, and offers personal appointments for tours and tastings. Jura’s west coast offers visitors authentic, untouched wildlife and absolutely stunning views. Spend some time exploring the amazing Isle of Jura. http://isleofjura.scot

Isle of Arran

Image via lochsandglens.com

Image via lochsandglens.com

The Isle of Arran is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. The isle is often referred to as ‘Scotland in miniature’, for it possesses many of the great qualities of Scotland in a single island. Arran has gorgeous mountains, woodlands, beaches, and outlying islands to see and explore.

The capital of Arran is Brodick, where Brodick Castle, the ancient seat of the Dukes of Hamilton, houses an incredible furniture collection. The castle is surrounded by the Duchess of Montrose’s garden, which has been recently restored. Arran is a perfect destination for you if you want to explore historical sites, hike, golf, or simply take in the local geology and wildlife. Escape to the Isle of Arran to experience Scotland’s history and beauty.

Fair Isle

Image via fairislebirdobs.co.uk

Image via fairislebirdobs.co.uk

Fair Isle is a tiny island that sits half-way between Orkney and Shetland. The 70 or so islanders tend to live at the southern end, where the land is more fertile, while the northern end is made up of sloping hills and moorland.

The internationally renowned Fair Isle Bird Observatory has done scientific research on seabird breeding colonies for over 50 years, so Fair Isle is one of the best places to bird-watch in the world. You might also see seals, porpoises, whales and dolphins cruising around the island. Fair Isle is known for its unique style of knitting, for many years ago local knitters discovered that fine yarns stranded into a double layer produce warmer garments. Journey to Fair Isle to experience the incredible wild-life, and don’t forget to shop for cozy wool sweaters.

Isle of Skye

Image via isleofskye.com

Image via isleofskye.com

The Isle of Skye is one of Scotland’s most popular vacation spots. It is famous for its breath-taking scenery, such as the beautifully crystal clear Fairy Pools on the River Brittle. The Isle of Skye is 50 miles long and the largest of the Inner Hebrides. The Island has a rich history, having played host to Clan Warfare, Highland Clearances and ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ and the Jacobite Rebellion. Both Clan MacDonald and Clan MacLeod have their Clan Castles on Skye, just waiting for you to explore.

The Isle of Skye is also a great destination for wildlife watching. See if you can spot White Tailed Sea Eagles, otters, seals, whales, dolphins, or red deer. Skye is also a great destination for walkers and climbers with famous trails like ‘The Cuillin Range’ and ‘The Trotternish Ridge.’ Have a walk around the Isle of Skye and you may never want to leave.

 

Eight Must-See Movies Filmed in Scotland

Outlander, the hit time-travel television series, has been a huge success in both the States and the UK. Part of this success is due to the beautiful Scottish scenery that features in the show. Besides Outlander, Scotland has played host for many other television productions, and even more films.

Scotland has produced some of the top Hollywood stars, but the beautiful country itself is has been the star of many films. Scotland’s phenomenal scenery serves as a wonderful backdrop for movies. The country’s sprawling and mysterious landscape is other-worldly, so it is no wonder that filmmakers often flock to Scotland to create movie magic.

The American-Scottish Foundation has compiled a list of eight must-see movies filmed in Scotland. How many have you seen?

1. Braveheart

Image via moviefone.com

Image via moviefone.com

No list of films shot in Scotland would be complete without Braveheart, the iconic historical epic. The 1995 film directed was directed by Mel Gibson, who also stars as William Wallace, the13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England.

The film crew spent six weeks shooting on location throughout Scotland, in areas such as Glen Coe, Aonach Eagach, Glen Nevis, and Loch Leven. Although the majority of the film was shot in Scotland, some of the battle scenes were shot in Ireland as well.

Braveheart was a huge success. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won five. If you haven’t seen the iconic movie yet, it is well worth the watch!

2. Trainspotting

Image via smh.com.au

Image via smh.com.au

Trainspotting is a 1996 British black comedy directed by Danny Boyle. The film stars Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle and Kelly Macdonald.

The movie follows a group of heroin addicts living in 1980s Edinburgh and their struggles with poverty, crime and addiction. Although the film is set in Edinburgh, the majority of the scenes were shot in Glasgow.

Trainspotting has become a classic in its own right. The film is ranked 10th by the British Film Institute in its list of Top 100 British films. It was also voted the best Scottish film of all time in a general public poll in 2004. Although the movie deals with dark themes, it is a cinematic masterpiece and is not to be missed.

3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Image via aperturecinema.ticketmob.com

Image via aperturecinema.ticketmob.com

In 1975, the British comedy troupe “Monty Python” released the feature film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Starring the Monty Python comedians Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, the film is wildly funny.

The film is an outrageous parody of the legend of King Arthur and his quest to find the Holy Grail.  Most of the film was shot in Scotland, particularly in the areas of Doune Castle, Glen Coe, and the Castle Stalker.

Now a hilarious cult-classic, Monty Python and the Holy Grail grossed the most out of any British film released in the U.S. If you are in the mood for something witty, ridiculous, and positively bursting with fun, give Holy Grail a watch.

4. Skyfall

Image via lebleudumiroir.fr

Image via lebleudumiroir.fr

Skyfall, which was released in 2012, is the twenty-third “James Bond” film produced by Eon Productions. The story follows Bond, played by Daniel Craig, who is investigating an attack on MI6; the attack is part of a plot by former MI6 agent Raoul Silva to humiliate and kill M, the Head of the Secret Intelligence Service, played by Dame Judi Dench.

Many of the most important scenes of Skyfall take place at Bond’s family home in Scotland, “Skyfall Lodge.” These scenes were shot in the dramatic landscape of Glen Coe.

The film’s 2012 release coincided with the 50th anniversary of the James Bond series, and won several awards, including two Academy Awards and two Grammys. This thrilling film should be on your must-see list, even if just for the gorgeous Glen Coe scenes.

5. Dear Frankie

Image via channelawesome.com

Image via channelawesome.com

Dear Frankie is a 2004 British drama directed by Shona Auerbach. The film stars Emily Mortimer, Gerard Butler, and Jack McElhone. The film focuses on a young single mother and her relationship with her young, deaf son.

Dear Frankie is a heartwarming film that explores the lengths at which a mother will go for her child. The film is set in the small Scottish village of Greenock. Filming took place in Greenock and throughout Glasgow.

This movie was first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival for independent films in 2004. It was also screened at the Cannes Film Festival, where it received a fifteen-minute standing ovation. Movingly acted and beautifully filmed, Dear Frankie is a must see.

6. Restless Natives

Image via zcint.co.uk

Image via zcint.co.uk

Restless Natives is a 1985 comedy directed by Michael Hoffman and starring Vincent Friell, Joe Mullaney, and Ned Beatty. The film is about two modern-day “Robin Hoods” from Edinburgh who wear masks and rob passengers on tourist coaches to the Highlands.

The whimsical comedy follows the two young robbers as they become local folk heroes. The film is shot in locations throughout Scotland such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glen Coe, and Glen Nevis.

Restless Natives is distinctly Scottish in its folk-story charm, its gorgeous backdrops and its soundtrack, which is composed and performed by Scottish rock band Big Country. A gentle 80s comedy, Restless Natives is an underrated treasure of a film.

7.  Cloud Atlas

Image via impulsegamer.com

Image via impulsegamer.com

Cloud Atlas, a 2012 independent German-American science fiction film, features a star-studded cast of actors such as Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Jim Broadbent. The film is based on the 2004 novel Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.

The film follows several plots set across six different eras, exploring the “ripple-effect” of time. Much of Cloud Atlas was filmed in Scotland, in locations such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Falkirk, and Dumbarton.

Cloud Atlas premiered in 2012 at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival. Although the film has received mixed reviews, it was up for multiple awards including a Golden Globe for best original score. The movie is worth the watch for the beautiful cinematography and Scottish sites alone.

8. Macbeth (2015)

Image via homemcr.org

Image via homemcr.org

The most recent film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth was the brain-child of director Justin Kurzel. The famous story of the murderous Scottish king has inspired many past film productions. However, the 2015 adaptation is especially notable for the way it utilizes the Scottish landscape.

Starring Michael Fassbender as Macbeth and Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth, the dark film follows the couple’s descent into madness. Filmed throughout England and Scotland, Macbeth shows off the spooky side of Scotland in locations throughout the Isle of Skye.

Although this film is dark and violent, it is well worth the watch. Ancient Scottish customs, songs, and accents give the rugged film an air of authenticity. In the 2015 Macbeth, the classic tale of murder and madness is given new life.

Billy Connolly Announces NYC Performance

Legendary Scots comedian Billy Connolly has announced a New York City performance for his critically-acclaimed ‘High Horse Tour’ at The Beacon Theatre on April 27th.

Connolly will also perform his acclaimed stand-up routine at Warner Theatre in Washington DC and The Wilbur in Boston this May.

89ccfcbd-416f-47b3-b352-91331c3642cd“Mischief, as ever, is the order of the day! Connolly’s a master storyteller long primed to find amusement in the ridiculousness of the human body’s failings, and his stand-up is in fine fettle, as effortlessly funny, playful and anti-conventional as ever.” Chortle, January 2016

“In case you’re wondering where hot young comics get their inspiration, they look to legends like Connolly. Don’t miss him!” – Time Out

Tickets are on pre-sale now! Friends and members of the American-Scottish Foundation are invited to use the pre-sale code: BCHHT.

Find out more information and buy tickets here.

Join the Jacobite Journey at Culloden Battlefield

The National Trust for Scotland invites you to join in the Jacobite Journey at Culloden Battlefield, where the course of British, European and world history was changed forever.

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The atmospheric five-star Culloden Battlefield, scene of the final defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army, invites groups to immerse themselves in the historic events of 1746 with an exciting new selection of ‘Jacobite’ experiences.

Explore life as a Jacobite solider in A Soldier’s Life workshop, handle 18th-century replica weapons, shields and tools, play period games and dress in period costume (including tartan plaid) for the ultimate Jacobite ‘selfie’. Available by pre-booking only.

Geared towards the needs of International and UK visitors, Culloden also offers:

  • multilingual interpretation in 11 languages
  • 360 degree total immersion battle theatre
  • GPS-enabled audio battlefield guides
  • Fast-track entry for pre-booked coach parties
  • Free coach parking and exclusive driver/guide benefits
  • 6 specially designed Taste our Best award-winning group menus
  • Exclusive Culloden branded products in the newly refurbished gift shop

Visit the National Trust for Scotland website for more information. You can also email traveltrade@nts.org.uk or telephone +44 (0)131 458 0204 for bookings and enquiries.

Image via nts.org.uk.

Enjoy Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh

Afternoon Tea is a traditional custom in Scotland, and throughout the United Kingdom. The afternoon ritual became popular in the UK at the end of the 17th century.  In 1840 afternoon tea was first introduced by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford.

Image via lastminute.com

Image via lastminute.com

The Duchess found that she was hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon, but dinner was served late, at eight o’clock, which was the fashion at the time. So the Duchess asked that a tea, bread, butter and cake be served to her every day in the late afternoon.

She eventually invited friends to join her for this ritual, and afternoon tea breaks suddenly became fashionable social events.

The tradition of enjoying an afternoon cuppa with sandwiches, breads, and cakes is still strong in Scotland today. In the city of Edinburgh there are many teahouses, cafes, and hotels where you can spend your afternoon sipping tea and sampling sweets. The American-Scottish Society has picked three top spots for Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh: a palace, a library, and a hotel.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Image via royalcollection.org.uk

Image via royalcollection.org.uk

If you are craving a spot of tea, why not head to a palace and enjoy Afternoon Tea fit for a queen?

Try Afternoon Tea at The Cafe at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the 16th-century palace of the Stuarts, located at the bottom of the Royal Mile. You can attend a tour of the royal reception rooms, antiques, and relics before heading to the elegant cafe. You can attend a tour of the royal reception rooms, antiques, and relics, or just go straight to the Courtyard Cafe. The former stable block has been converted into the cafe and the outdoor cafe is a tranquil surprise with shady trees. 

Enjoy your tea over the beautiful views from Arthur’s Seat. Afternoon Tea is served every day, between 12.00 and 3.00pm. Choose from a delectable selection of of freshly baked cakes, pastries and sandwiches, served with steaming cups of loose-leaf tea. If the magnificent surroundings have you feeling extra luxurious, champagne is on offer to sip with your Victoria Sponge Cake. If you attend Afternoon Tea at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, you can expect to have the royal treatment.

Colonnades at the Signet Library

Image via afternoontea.co.uk

Image via afternoontea.co.uk

If you are exploring Edinburgh’s Old Town, head to Colonnades at the Signet Library. The grand old Library is an exquisite and interesting venue for an elegant Tea Salon.

Traditional Afternoon Tea is served Afternoon Tea is served Monday- Friday from 1pm to 7pm and 11am to 7pm on Sundays.

The building is filled with history. Corinthian columns line the salon, which is surrounded by ornate balustrades. Even some of the fine silverware is original to the Georgian building. While you take in the grand setting, treat yourself to one of the decadent cakes created by the resident pastry chef. Fresh sandwiches, a selection of teas and cocktails, and many other goodies are on offer to enjoy. You’ll never visit another library quite like this.

No. 11 

Image via 11brunswickst.co.uk

Image via 11brunswickst.co.uk

No. 11 is a sleek and modern hotel set within a charming Georgian townhouse. The hotel is just a short walk from the Playhouse Theatre Edinburgh and Edinburgh Waverley Station. Even if you are not enjoying a stay at No. 11, the Brasserie is open to the public.

The dining area is lush, furnished with velvet and elegant artwork, serving as a perfect setting for a Traditional Afternoon Tea.

The luxurious Afternoon Tea at No. 11 offers a menu of sweet and savory treats, including fresh finger sandwiches, hand made fruit scones, and a selection of pastries including decadent chocolate eclairs and mini cupcakes. Help yourself to wine or coffee, or even a bottle of sparkling wine. You can book a table from 12:30 – 5:00, from Wednesday to Sunday, each week. Enjoy the elegance of modernity, fused with the traditional charm of a quintessential Afternoon Tea.

The 2016 Glasgow Film Festival Comes to a Close

During the cold month of February, movie buffs can find plenty to enjoy in Glasgow. The annual Glasgow Film Festival​ is wrapping up this weekend with the closing Gala on Sunday.

The Glasgow Film Festival was created to present the best of international and Scottish cinema to film lovers in Scotland.

Image via list.co.uk

Image via list.co.uk

The festival includes movie screenings, discussions and lectures, festivals within the festival, workshops and even the chance to meet filmmakers from around the world. This weekend marks the end of this year’s festival fun.

The 2016 festival began on the 17th of February and finishes tomorrow on the 28th. For the past ten days there have been venues all across the city hosting special screenings of films, both new and old, and talks and workshops with directors and filmmakers.

The festival began with an opening gala in which Hail, Caesar!, the acclaimed Coen Brothers film starring George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton, was premiered, just days after its World Premiere at Berlin Film Festival.

Image via scotsman.com

Image via scotsman.com

The final day of the festival will include film exhibitions such as the unique “This Is Now: Film and Video After Punk (1978-1985) Exhibition” being shown at the venue Tramway Glasgow.

There will also be screenings of the films such as Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, I Am Belfast, and Peace Officer in other venues throughout the city. A special family screening of Beauty and the Beast will be held at Trades Hall, including costumes, children’s workshops, and Beauty and the Beast themed teas and cakes.

The Glasgow Film Festival’s closing gala will include the UK premiere of Anomalisa, a unique film using stop-motion animation, which was directed by Charlie Kaufman, writer of films such as Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This film won the Grand Special Jury Prize 2015 at the Venice Film Festival.

Visit the Glasgow Film Festival’s website to find out more about booking last minute tickets, and information on purchasing season tickets for next year.

And if you are disappointed to have missed this year’s Film Festival fun, you still have time to purchase tickets for the Glasgow Short Film Festival, the biggest competitive short film festival in Scotland. The GSFF, now in its ninth year, aims to expose new international and local film talent and celebrate the different forms of cinematic expression.

Image via janetopping.co.uk

Image via janetopping.co.uk

The five-day festival will include film competitions, pitching workshops, masterclasses, movie screenings, discussions and more. Discover the short film’s potential to push at the boundaries of cultural expression.

The Glasgow Short Film Festival will run from Wednesday the 16th to Sunday the 20th of March. Find out “what’s on” and purchase tickets here.

Making Scottish Fare In America: A Delicious Dinner

For ex-pats missing traditional Scottish fare, or for Americans wishing to give the cuisine a try, it can be difficult to recreate Scottish recipes with only American ingredients. But hae nae fear! The American-Scottish Foundation has written up a three- part guide to cooking up Scottish eats- even here in the USA.

Dinner Is Served!

Image via balfourcastle.co.uk

Image via balfourcastle.co.uk

Dinner in Scotland is a hearty affair, where plentiful meat and potatoes are usually present to ensure that diners leave feeling satisfied.

Traditionally, Scottish meals feature ingredients including meats, fish, dairy, and produce all native to Scottish soil. Traditional dishes are typically delicious yet simple, as, historically, exotic spices were rare and expensive to come by. 

The American-Scottish Foundation has collected a set of recipes for you to try at home to help you serve up a decadent four-course meal with traditional Scottish flair. 

First Course: Cullen Skink 

Image via cooklowfodmap.com

Image via cooklowfodmap.com

Start your dinner off with a traditional Scottish soup.

Cullen skink is a hearty soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. A local specialty, the soup hails from the town of Cullen in Moray.

Try your hand at this simple recipe from bbcgoodfood.com:

Ingredients:

One tablespoon of butter

One medium onion

Two medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

300ml of water

250g of smoked haddock

250ml of milk

Salt and Pepper 

2 tablespoons of chopped parsley or chives

Recipe:

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and fry gently until transparent. Cook for about 5 minutes, before the onion browns.

2. Add potatoes and water, bringing to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

3. In another pan, cover the haddock with milk and cook gently for about five minutes until tender. Remove from the milk and flake gently into large pieces while removing bones.

4. Add the milk and flaked fish to the saucepan containing potatoes and onion and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and parsley/chives.

This soup is traditionally served with a side of crusty bread and butter.

Second Course: Salad with Whisky Dressing

Image via telegraph.co.uk

Image via telegraph.co.uk

For a delightfully Scottish salad, top a bed of fresh greens with a dressing flavoured with whisky.

Whisk up this aromatic recipe from whiskyboys.com:

Ingredients:

1/3 cup Whisky of your choice

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil 

4-6 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

1/2-1 tsp of brown sugar

1/2 tsp of salt

1-2 tbsp of chopped fresh thyme

1/2 tsp of fresh cracked pepper

A dash of cayenne

1/2 clove of garlic chopped extremely fine

Mix all of the ingredients together in a jar and shake well. Chill and pour over salad when ready to serve. This dressing goes exceptionally well with a wee dram on the side.

 

Main Course: Individual Scottish Pies

Image via goodfoodrevolution.com

Image via goodfoodrevolution.com

For a filling main course, meat pies are a classic and delicious dish.

They come in many different assortments and flavors, including vegetarian options.

Try out this recipe for individual minced mutton pies from telegraph.co.uk:

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp of nutmeg 

2 tsp of black pepper

1/4 tsp of salt

1/2-1 tsp of brown sugar

One onion, finely diced

125ml of pre-made gravy

500g of minced mutton (preferably leg)

For the hot water pastry:

175g of lard

225ml of water

500g of plain flour

Recipe:

1. Sauté the onion in a saucepan. After five minutes, add the nutmeg, black pepper and salt. Remove when the onions are caramelised and put in a bowl. Add the gravy. Mix. When cool add the minced mutton.

3. Heat the lard with water. Once combined, put flour in a bowl. Make a hole and add the liquid. Mix with a spoon, gently breaking down the lumps of flour and bringing together.

4. When cool, knead and smooth dough. Roll out the pastry until slightly thicker than a pound coin and set aside.

5. Lightly oil the outside of 4 ramekins. Wrap pastry around the outside of the ramekins. Refrigerate for 20-30 mins then peel off, keeping the shape. Snip around each pastry case to neaten the edges.

6. Add the meat filling two thirds high. Roll out the rest of the pastry and cut out tops for the pastry cases and push on top, leaving a small space. Glaze the pastry with milk or egg wash. Bake at 300°F for 45 minutes.

Serve the warm meat pies with a heaping side of green peas and mashed potatoes.

Dessert Course: Dundee Cake

Image via realfood.tesco.com

Image via realfood.tesco.com

For your final course you’re sure to want something sweet.

A traditional Dundee Cake will hit the spot. The famous Scottish fruitcake, which originated in 19th century Scotland, is made with cherries, sultanas, almonds, and a sweet glaze.

Try out this recipe from bbcgoodfood.com:

Ingredients:

100g of blanched almonds

180g of unsalted butter

180g of light muscovado sugar

Zest of 1 large orange

3 tbsp of apricot jam or marmalade

225g of plain flour

1 tsp of  baking powder

3 large eggs, beaten

100g of ground almond

2 tbsp of milk

500g of mixed dried fruit

100g of whole glacé cherry

For the Glaze:

1 tbsp of milk

2 tsp of caster sugar

Recipe:

1. Place almonds into a small bowl and pour over boiling water. Leave for 5 mins then drain in a sieve and leave to dry. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.

2. Put butter in a large bowl and beat well until soft. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the orange zest and apricot jam.

3. Sieve together the flour and baking powder. Add eggs to the creamed butter and sugar, a little at a time, beating well. If mixture starts to curdle, stir in a little flour.

4. Add the remaining flour and ground almonds and mix well. Mix in milk and then add fruit and cherries and mix gently together.

5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread level using the back of a spoon. Arrange the whole almonds close together in neat circles on the top of the cake. Bake in the oven for 45 mins.

6. Lower the oven temperature and cook for a further 60–80 minutes. Check the cake after 50 minutes by inserting a wooden or metal skewer into the cake. When it’s done it should have just a few crumbs attached.

7. When cooked, remove the cake briefly from the oven, put the milk and sugar into a small pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Brush over the top of the cake and return the cake to the oven for 2-3 mins.

8. Remove and allow the cake to cool in the tin. When cold remove from the tin, wrap in foil and keep for at least 2 days before cutting.

There you have it: a delicious and decadent four-course meal bursting with flavor and Scottish tradition. You’re now ready to host your very own Scottish dinner party. As Robert Burns once wrote, “We hae meat and we can eat, And sae the Lord be thankit.”

NBC’s ‘Open House’ Explores Sir Walter Scott’s Estate

NBC New York’s ‘Open House’ visited one of Scotland’s most fascinating places, the home of Sir Walter Scott.

Image via www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk

Image via www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk

Sir Walter Scott, the famous Scottish novelist, playwright and poet, created many timeless works. One of his many lasting contributions to Scotland was his own home, Abbotsford House.

Abbotsford is located in the Scottish Borders, on the south bank of the River Tweed. This historic building is where Scott penned some of his most famous novels, spent time with other authors such as Lord Byron and Jane Austen, and kept his most prized possessions.

When Scott originally purchased the Abbotsford estate, it was a simple farm of 100 acres called Cartleyhole. On this land he built a small villa, naming it Abbotsford. Scott then began building additions to the house, which eventually became a mansion built up with sculptured stones from ruined castles and abbeys of Scotland.

Abbotsford was opened to the public in 1833, but continued to be occupied by Scott’s descendants until 2004. Today you can visit Abbotsford, which is complete with a dining area and gift shop.

NBC New York took their program ‘Open House’ across the pond to visit Abbotsford in person. The video is a fantastic personal tour of Sir Walter Scott’s home. Come experience the history of Scott’s “Conundrum Castle” and enjoy a look at the life and times of Sir Walter Scott.

Watch the video tour of Sir Walter Scott’s Home in Scotland below: