Traditional recipes

Celebrate New York Tartan Week with Scottish Chef Cook-Off

Celebrate New York Tartan Week with Scottish Chef Cook-Off

Watch chef Jeff Bland duke it out against The Highlands' Matt Hardner

The pride and cuisine of Scotland comes to New York this week during New York Tartan Week, which celebrates Scottish culture with events all week from Visit Scotland. One of the highlights of Tartan Week is the Scottish cook-off on April 8th between two esteemed chefs — one Scottish, executive chef Jeff Bland of the Balmoral in Edinburgh and Scotland’s Chef of the Year in 2012 — and the other, New Zealander by birth but Scotsman at heart, chef Matt Hardner of The Highlands, an authentic and contemporary Scottish gastro pub in the West Village that was recently named by Thrillist as one of the best whiskey bars in America.

Much like Food Network’s culinary competitions, Hardner and Bland will have just 30 minutes to create a dish from mystery ingredients (rumor has it, fish will be involved) at the OpenHouse Gallery on Mulberry Street. The winner will be crowned by a panel of judges, including The Daily Meal’s very own Arthur Bovino. The competition will also be followed by a Scottish whisky tasting.

But this week’s events are not just about fun and food (although that’s certainly part of it). 2014 is the year of Homecoming, a year of over 800 events that welcome people all over the world home to Scotland, especially those with Scottish heritage to enjoy. The cook-off is also the soft opening event for the 2015 Scotland Year of Food and Drink.

“This is a celebration of Scotland’s wonderful larder, and fish and meat from coast to coast,” said Michael McCuish of Visit Scotland. “It’s about highlighting modern and classic Scottish cuisine. We are known for sustainable and fresh food since the fish or meat never travels too far. Scotland is a fantastic food destination.”

Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi

Celebrate New York Tartan Week with Scottish Chef Cook-Off - Recipes

Christmas is tomorrow so I thought I’d look at what makes the holiday so special to so many of us—in fact what makes so many holidays special to us: the food that is so significant a part of our cultural identity. Our traditional foods are how we express our family history and reverence for where we come from all over the world. It’s what brought us together each day with our knees under the family table interacting, sharing, teaching, sometimes torturing, and always celebrating one another as a family.

Food is especially significant at holiday time when many families who have become spread out geographically come together to celebrate their faith and cultural ritual. Preservation of and presentation of family recipes enhances the experience of who we are, where we come from and how we celebrate life within our cultures.

I grew up in a large Eastern European family. Meals were prepared from food we had raised, harvested, or slaughtered, preserved and prepared. When we were not cooking or eating as a family, we were planning upcoming meals and talking about food and family. Most holiday dinners involved a clear soup, two entrees, polenta or home-made pasta, two salads, vegetable sides, and fresh fruit. This meal would be prepared and served for sometimes more than 40 family members and took days to prepare.

It was wonderful to hear your traditions. Kathy Dederich of Chef Please in Arkansas, told us of her childhood travels to her grandparents’ home in Wisconsin for Thanksgiving or Christmas where she loved a dish called suelze. “Grandma would get about four or five pounds of fresh pork hocks and cook them in a pot of water, vinegar, onions, and bay leaves until the meat came off the bone,” she recalls. Clearly, that recipe was lovingly handed down to her. She describes making the rest of the dish by straining the remaining liquid, then grinding the meat and skin, dissolving gelatin into liquid, adding the meat, mixing, and then putting it into molds or bread pans where it sits in the refrigerator to set, resulting in a dish that has a little aspic on top.

Kathy Dederich’s Suelze with capers and tomatoes

This dish resonated with Amber Guthrie of Salt of the Hearth in Colombia, Mo., who recalls her in-laws’ family traditions from Guyana. “You cannot have Christmas without curry (chicken or beef or goat), pepper pot, garlic pork, and black cake. Amber’s garlic pork recipe is included here.

Jim Huff of Traveling Culinary Artist in New York remembers his mother’s descriptions of Pennsylvania Dutch dishes of her childhood, including a fascination with hog maw (sometimes called Pig’s Stomach, Susquehanna Turkey, or Pennsylvania Dutch Goose). “It’s made from a cleaned pig’s stomach traditionally stuffed with cubed potatoes and loose pork sausage, as well as cabbage, onions, and spices.” According to Jim, it was boiled in a large pot of water, like Scottish haggis, but it can also be baked, broiled, or split, then drizzled with butter and served hot on a platter cut into slices or cold as a sandwich. “I remember enjoying this dish at a Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant with my grandmother in Lancaster on my first Christmas away from home 44 years ago!,” he recalls.

April Lee of Tastefully Yours in Baltimore was married to a Jamaican and tells us of Christmas breakfasts in her house when her kids were young. “There was ackee and saltfish, fried plantains, bammy, bread fruit, and boiled mashed green bananas,” she says. “Dinner might be curried goat, oxtail stew, rice and peas, sorrel punch, and, of course, Jamaican Christmas Cake, a dark, dense, moist, and very boozy fruitcake.”

And, Judy Harvey of The Dinner Lady in New Jersey, goes back to her southern roots to celebrate New Year’s Day with collard greens and black-eyed peas, along with roast pork shoulder, southern cornbread, and, of course, sweet tea.

On our Facebook page, Lizzy Brown shared childhood memories of waking early and making banana nut muffins, the smell filling the house. “But I made sure to write that recipe in my recipe book and told the kids they would always have it to make for their children.” Joan Angelis remembers her parents making home-made ravioli with ground beef and spinach filling covered in tomato sauce. Croeins Kitchen still makes her grandfather’s stuffing of ground meat, mushrooms, chestnuts, herbs, onion, and sweet potato, while Gladys Valiente has Sopa Azteca or Mexican Tortilla Soup in her heart. Anne-Lise Lindquist-Slocum dreams of Danish roast goose and red cabbage with cognac in the gravy. And, Moira Douglas lives for her chestnut stuffing and Nana’s shortbread.

Each year at Christmas my grandmother would prepare an Eastern European walnut strudel-like creation to everyone’s delight. Povitica. The children would line up out the kitchen door into the dining room to await the removal of these 4-pound delights from the hot oven, just to breathe in the heady scent of walnuts, and spices emanating from the ovens.

Whatever your family recipe is, whether it is a soup, pasta, empanada, tamale, 7-fish dinner, turkey, prime rib, or the culturally questionable green bean casserole, celebrate it and share it with loved ones who look forward to coming together to share memories, stories and food made by loved ones that reflect the family history and identity.

As Grandmother Marta Vinovich always told us, “Respect the harvest, keep it simple, and eat with people you love.”

Happy Holidays to everyone! Cook and eat with your family every chance you get!

Walnut Povitica

From Candy Wallace
Yield: 1, 4-pound loaf

1/2 cup sugar
2 packages active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
¼ cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 cup hot milk
4 1/2 cups flour

1 cup milk
4 cups walnuts, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Stir sugar, salt and butter into hot milk cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast over warm water in large bowl stir to dissolve. Stir in lukewarm milk mixture. Add 2 eggs and 2 1/2 cups flour beat at high speed with electric mixer. With a wooden spoon gradually beat in remaining 2 cups flour. Knead by hand until dough is stiff enough to leave side of bowl. Place dough in lightly greased large bowl. Turn the dough over to bring up greased side. Cover with a towel let rise in warm place, free from drafts, until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

To make filling, brown nuts. In a pot over heat, mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and milk until milk is absorbed. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Stir filling to blend well.

Shape dough punch down dough. On lightly floured surface turn out dough cover with bowl and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Roll out to a rectangle 30 inches long by 20 inches wide. Spread with filling, to 1 inch from the edge. Starting from wide side, roll up tightly, as for a jelly roll. With palms of hands, roll back and forth so that roll is even all over. On large greased cookie sheet form roll into a large coil, seam side down. Let rise in warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and brush the roll with the melted butter. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until golden. Cool on wire rack. Slice crosswise ¼-inch thick.

Povitica Bread (photo reprinted with permission from Krissy’s Creations)

Garlic Pork
From Amber Guthrie

This recipe is from my mother in law. The measurements are estimates since she doesn’t measure.

8-pound pork roast (lean pork not recommended)
5 heads of garlic
30 or so hot peppers
1 cup dried thyme
1 to 2 tablespoons salt

In food processor or blender pulse garlic, peppers, thyme, salt and about ½ to ¾ cup vinegar, just enough vinegar to get it going. Taste. Although the vinegar will overpower, you should taste the flavors of each ingredient. Adjust seasonings. Then add another 1 to 1 ½ cups vinegar and blend some more.

Cut up pork into big chunks. Add marinade and mix thoroughly. Place into a big glass mason jar with lid. Add additional vinegar to cover if need be. Let it sit for three days on the counter, stirring each day.

Amber Guthrie’s Garlic Pork at marinating stage

On Christmas morning, spoon out some pork with a slotted spoon leaving marinade behind and pan fry (non-stick pan works best) on med-high heat (be sure to run your vent on high…those spicy vinegar vapors are no joke). Once it’s nice and browned and some of the fat has rendered, lower the heat slightly, cover and allow to simmer until the meat is tender. Add just a smidgen of water and/or tiny drizzle of oil if moisture needed. Once tender, remove lid and allow liquid to cook off. Eat with fried eggs and flata (roti) and drink tea or cocoa. And listen to reggae music! And be Merry!

Ready for a Christmas breakfast!

Note: After 3 days, the pork doesn’t need to marinate any longer. Either cook all the pork or transfer to a glass storage container, store in the fridge at this point, and discard marinade. If you’re using a lean cut of pork, you may want to reduce the marinade time in half (or maybe less, I don’t know, we always use a pork butt….MIL uses an even fattier cut). If you don’t reduce marinade time on a lean cut, I’m not certain, but am afraid you might end up with vinegar cooked pork by Christmas morning (yuk).

What’s your favorite traditional holiday dish? Please leave a comment and let us know. Next week we’re going to showcase, what else, New Year’s resolutions. Please check our Private Discussion Forum – General for Caron’s request for suggestions and tell us what your personal chef resolutions are and why so you can appear here.

This spring’s offerings go global, from Vietnam to Palestine, Mexico City to Istanbul, then circle back to the beloved work of Maida Heatter and Edna Lewis.

  • Zaitoun by Yasmin Khan
  • Black Sea by Caroline Eden
  • My Mexico City Kitchen by Gabriela Cámara
  • Indian(-ish) by Priya Krishna
  • Vietnamese Food Any Day by Andrea Nguyen
  • The Modern Cook's Year by Anna Jones
  • Love & Lemons Every Day by Jeanine Donofrio
  • Franklin Steak by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay
  • Simple Cake by Odette Williams
  • Dappled by Nicole Rucker
  • Happiness is Baking by Maida Heatter
  • In Pursuit of Flavor by Edna Lewis with Mary Goodbody


Spring and summer cookbooks are different from their fall and winter siblings, the big-name ones who get all the airtime. The authors’ names might be new, but their voices are strong and independent. They remind me of how the legendary cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey, speaking at the recent women’s food conference Cherry Bombe Jubilee, described her childhood: Because she was a girl, and since her sister was prettier, her parents let her run wild to satisfy her creative curiosity, thereby allowing her to become the significant person she is today. And so, as I read and cooked through this season’s assortment of outliers, I was thrilled to get to know so many bright minds and brilliant palates, to be introduced to cultures and techniques that hadn’t been front-burnered in my kitchen.

Israeli food has been celebrated since Yotam Ottolenghi came on the scene over a decade ago. The culinary traditions of Palestine? Not so much. While working on a human rights campaign in Israel’s West Bank in 2009, Yasmin Khan found that the difficulty of the days spent in refugee camps relented at night when she was welcomed to local tables to sample bowls of thick hummus and smoky eggplant spiked with peppery olive oil, vibrant herb salads and fresh, sharply flavorful dishes — so flavorful that they lured Khan from her home in London back to Israel and the West Bank to learn more about the recipes and realities of life for the millions of Palestinians living there, not to mention the millions who make up the world’s largest refugee population. ZAITOUN: Recipes From the Palestinian Kitchen (Norton, $29.95) is valuable not just for the dishes Khan learned from local women and translated from restaurant meals — be they a warm salad of maftoul (a plump kind of couscous) with za𠆚tar chicken, Gazan lentils with Swiss chard and tahini, or turnovers made from a very forgiving yogurt-enriched dough and stuffed with spinach, feta, pine nuts and sumac — but for the heartfelt portrait she so deftly paints of this shattered but resilient region.

Party Food and Sparkling Wine for the New Year

Another year has come and gone, and it's time to gather with family and friends to ring in 2014. No matter how you celebrate New Year's Eve—an enormous house party, an intimate dinner, or something in-between—food-friendly sparkling wine is a must.

Chef Edward Lee, whose cooking at his Louisville, Kentucky restaurants 610 Magnolia and MilkWood reflects his Korean heritage, New York training and adopted Southern sensibilities, has shared two recipes from his new cookbook, Smoke & Pickles, that pair well with sparkling wine and will please a party crowd. The spice in Lee's Curry Pork Pies will be tamed by sparkling wine's acidity and residual sugar, and the bubbles and acidity will cut through the richness of the Kabocha Squash Mac 'n' Cheese, with the wine's light sweetness playing off the sweetness of the squash.

These are home recipes, tested in Lee's own kitchen and drawn from the arsenal of dishes he prepares for his own friends and family—although, like many chefs, Lee, whom TV fans may recall as a late-season contender on season 9 of Top Chef, will have his hands full with restaurant duty on December 31.

"New Year's Eve is always a late service at my restaurants," says Lee. "I will often shuttle between restaurants, making sure all is smooth and saying hello to my favorite customers. Somewhere in between all that, just before midnight, I'll sneak away and get a burger at a local greasy spoon and just sit in my car and have a quiet five minutes to myself to reflect on things. Then it's back to the festivities. We work hard on New Year's Eve, and if we have a good service, we pop open a bottle of Champagne for the kitchen."

For those feeding guests and keeping their glasses full on New Year's Eve, Lee has some suggestions to round out the table. "Oysters are a must this time of year. Raw, poached or fried, they make the mood more festive. And duck: I love serving a platter of sliced duck breasts with an assortment of condiments and Chinese pancakes and let people help themselves. In addition to sparkling wine, this is a time for rare spirits like vintage Bourbons, Armagnac, Calvados and good Jamaican rum. Also, I'm a fan of vintage colheita Ports, which is a great way to finish off the evening."

See below for a list of recently rated sparkling wines that would do well on the New Year's Eve table. Happy New Year!

Curry Pork Pies

Recipes and text excerpted from Smoke & Pickles by Edward Lee (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Grant Cornett.

Edward Lee's Curry Pork Pies make festive, satisfying finger foods for your holiday guests.

"When I was a kid, there was a shop on Bayard Street in Chinatown where they used to sell tiny crescent-shaped pork pies for something like 60 cents. The bakery was in an amazing storefront that had been built in the 1960s and never changed. I would sit there with a 50-cent cup of tea and eat their buns and pies until I was stuffed, and it cost me maybe $3. I missed that place so much I created my own version of their pork pie, except I use a Southern piecrust and bake the pies in muffin tins. I make a dozen at a time, and while that may seem like a lot, believe me, these pies don't last very long. Times change the place on Bayard Street got a makeover, and I think the pies now sell for a dollar."

For the filling:
• 1/2 cup chopped bacon
• 3/4 pound ground pork
• 3/4 cup chopped onions
• 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
• 1/4 cup diced carrots
• 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
• 1 garlic clove, chopped
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup chicken stock
• 2 teaspoons curry powder
• 2 teaspoons soy sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. To make the filling: Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the bacon and cook for 3 minutes, or until the bacon is lightly crisped and some of the fat has rendered out. Add the ground pork, onions, bell pepper, carrots, ginger, and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables have started to soften and the pork is cooked through.

2. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and pork and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, curry powder, soy sauce, salt, and pepper, stir well, and cook for about 2 minutes. Has the liquid cooked off but the filling still looks moist? Good. Transfer it to a bowl and let cool in the refrigerator while you make the crust.

For the piecrust:
• 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled, plus softened butter for the muffin tin
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 2/3 cup cold vegetable shortening
• 8 to 10 tablespoons ice water
• 1 large egg
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 2 tablespoons whole milk

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with a little soft butter. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use.

2. To make the piecrust: Measure the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the shortening and butter and, using a fork or your fingers, work them into the flour until you have a granular texture (like cornmeal). If the butter starts to soften, stop and chill the mixture in the refrigerator. Add the water gradually and work it in just until the mixture clumps together to form a wet dough don't overwork the dough. Dust with a little extra flour and divide the dough in half. Shape into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes before rolling out.

3. Remove one disk of dough from the fridge and put it on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a 15-by-20-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass jar, punch out twelve 5-inch rounds of dough, rerolling scraps if necessary. Line the prepared muffin tin with the dough rounds. Make an egg wash by whisking the egg with the oil and milk in a small bowl. Brush the inside of each crust with some of the egg wash to seal it, reserving the remaining egg wash for the top crusts.

4. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the chilled filling into each piecrust.

5. Roll out the second disk of dough on the floured surface about 1/2-inch thick. Using a slightly smaller biscuit cutter or a 3-inch ring mold, cut out 12 rounds. Drape a round over each pie and use your fingers to crimp the edges together. Brush the tops with the reserved egg wash. Use a fork to poke holes, or a sharp paring knife to cut an X, in the top of each pie.

6. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the pies are puffed and golden you should see a little bit of the juices bubbling up through the holes. This will make you hungry, so take them out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tins to prevent them from crumbling. Serve immediately. Makes 12 individual pies.

Make-ahead tip: If you're making these ahead of time, Lee suggests popping the pies out of the tins, letting them cool to room temperature, and transferring them to an airtight container with a lid. Chill in the fridge and, when ready to serve, heat the oven to 375° F, transfer the pies to a sheet pan, and heat in the oven until the filling is just hot, about 10 minutes.

Kabocha Squash Mac 'n' Cheese with Pork Rind Crust

Rich cheese, sweet squash and nutty sesame seeds create pleasant contrast against the fruit and bubbles in sparkling wine.

"Who doesn't love mac 'n' cheese? My version is satisfyingly familiar but elegant enough that you won't have to share it with your kids. If you don't like pork rinds, you can substitute bread crumbs for the topping. But if you have any sense of what is good in this world, you'll never reach for bread crumbs to make a crunchy topping again."

• 1 small kabocha squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 12 ounces elbow macaroni
• 1 1/2 cups whole milk
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
• 3 ounces Colby cheese, grated
• 3 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
• 5 tablespoons crushed pork rinds (see note)
• 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 4-inch-deep 9-by-12-inch baking dish or casserole.

2. Peel and halve the squash. Scrape out the seeds and membranes and cut into rough 1-inch cubes. Place them on a baking sheet, toss with the olive oil, and season with a little salt and pepper. Spread them out on the baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the elbow macaroni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked but still with a slight resistance to it. Drain the macaroni in a colander and cool under cold running water. Set aside.

4. Transfer the cooked squash to a blender, add the milk, chicken stock, three cheeses, and the butter, and blend on high to a smooth puree. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and the nutmeg and pulse to mix. Transfer the squash puree to a bowl, add the elbow macaroni, and mix thoroughly.

5. Transfer the mixture to the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle the pork rinds and sesame seeds over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

6. Remove the foil, and continue baking until the mac 'n' cheese is lightly browned and crisp on top, another 25 to 30 minutes. Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish.

Make-ahead tip: Let the mac 'n' cheese cool to room temperature. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill. When ready to serve, heat the oven to 375° F, take out of fridge, remove the plastic and heat until hot and bubbly.


Note: The following list is a selection of outstanding and very good wines from recently rated releases. More wines can be found in our Wine Ratings Search.


Grandfather Mountain Song and Language Week

By Rachell Blessing.
Grandfather Mountain Song and Language Week

As I drag my suitcase from one terminal to another wondering why planes can never be on time and why I am always running from one flight to another, I tell myself “hey, just one more flight and a three hour drive and I will be there!”
My name is Rachell Blessing. I am from Salt Lake City, Utah. This year was my first visit to Grandfather Mountain. I was lucky enough to win the scholarship to the event.

I have to say that my experience at Grandfather Mountain was one of the most positive experiences I have ever had. Just being able to sit in a classroom and learn from such wonderful Gaelic teachers and be involved in Gaelic conversation with some of the most inspiring Gaelic learners gave me the incentive to keep learning, keep teaching and keep hoping that someday I can help others experience the joy of these events.

I find my room, unpack my bags and wonder how on earth am I going to survive this humid heat. I walk out into the hallway and take in the beauty of the area. So very beautiful and welcoming. I make my way to the common area and hear a voice I know. It is Mike MacKay. I attend conversation lessons taught by Mike and have been looking forward to meeting my Gaelic teacher/tutor. I feel so at home. All around me are fellow learners and people who share a love for the Gaelic language and culture.

The first class I attend is taught by Sorley MacDonald. I sit down, grab my Gaelic/English dictionary and wait excitedly. I just can’t WAIT to meet the other students and teachers. A handsome young man walks in and I realize that it is Sorley. Class begins and we all have a wonderful time learning how to talk to each other, ask each other questions, then relate what we learned about our fellow classmates all in Gaelic. As I walk out of the classroom I realize that I am not alone in my learning anymore. There is a feeling of community here, we are all a community learning and sharing. What a wonderful feeling.

As we make our way to lunch I remember Mike telling me about the [Gaelic Only] table. “You have to stay in Gaelic when you sit at this table” Mike tells me. I say quietly to myself, “Oh well, let’s give it a try”. I sit beside my fellow learner and best friend Brooke Montgomery. We try and listen as the conversations fly all around us. I hear more Gaelic at this table than I have in two years!! I see Mike talking to Nick and Sorley as Catriona Parsons helps us newer learners find the right words. We all try and tell each other about our first day at Grandfather Mountain.
That night at the cèilidh we all sit and listen to the wonderful stories being presented to us and even though I can’t catch all the words I can feel what is happening in the story. We all enjoy music being played on the harp and the bagpipes. Soon, we are all singing along as Jamie MacDonald teaches us a song. Mike encourages the audience to join in and share a song, a poem, a story. I am very tired and work my way back to my room. I fall asleep to the beautiful sound of a Gaelic song being sung by Fiona MacKenzie. I hear the voices and laughter of people who have come from all over to share a week of learning Gaelic.

Each day was a new experience. I was able to attend classes taught by Catriona Parsons, Sorley MacDonald and Jamie MacDonald.

I just didn’t want the week to end!
I sat at the Gaelic table each day and enjoyed the ongoing Gaelic conversation [as best I could]. I was only caught once speaking in English as Mike MacKay walked up to me and told me that he was going to charge me $5.00 for every word of English he heard me speak. I quickly changed my words back to Gaelic.

As the week comes to an end and we all say beannachd leibh, I feel a renewed hope. I no longer feel alone in my learning, alone in my passion for Gaelic. I have a family now, I am part of a community. I say “beannachd leibh” [good-bye] and in the same breath “chì mi sibh an ath bhliadhna” [I will see you next year]I go home with a new sense of belonging. I am recharged and ready to study!

I am lucky enough to have been able to start my own study groups here in Utah. I am able to have these fellow learners come together for conversation work and translation practice. We share our learning experience together. Yet I know many people do not have that opportunity. We often feel very alone in our efforts to learn Gaelic and speak Gaelic. Well, let me just say “we are not alone” we are all part of a community. We can come together from all over North America and we can share our learning and love for Gaelic. I am going to try and attend as many ACGA events as I can. I am going to encourage my fellow learners to attend too. It is so important that we keep learning and keep growing and keep sharing. What a better way to do it than at these events.

Christmas Wish List

Another Christmas, another Doctor Who special. I can hear you groaning already: Not another Doctor Who rant. Don’t worry, the only thing worth mentioning is that a FEMALE Doctor has finally arrived at the scene. Let’s all wish the great Jodie Whittaker the best of luck on her amazing journey on the show.

On to other things…How about politics? Oh, I think that’s another groan I hear from you readers. Haven’t you noticed, though, that I’ve largely managed to refrain from mentioning what an awful president Donald Trump is? I’ve decided that giving him a single second of my time is a waste. Plus there are just too many things in his “presidency” to rant about. I’ll leave that to the late-night talkshow hosts. My personal favorite is still Seth Meyers’s A Closer Look. I’ve also subscribed to the New York Times digital edition, just to get on top of all the madness. It’s safe to say that one of my Christmas wishes this year is for a certain someone to stop “running” (if you can call it that) the United States government.

What about local politics? Oh, God, I can’t. Indonesia is nowhere near mature enough for an honest government. The voters are not educated or wise enough to tell the difference between obvious propaganda and the truth. Then again, what is the truth when it comes to politics? There’s another Christmas wish: For Indonesian people to be wiser and smarter when it comes to their choices. Oh, and to be more tolerant.

On the personal front, work has been a mixed bag. We’ve been fortunate enough to have a wealth of new facilities, slow they might be in coming. The prospect of a senior high school is daunting but at the same time incredibly exciting. Still, our small team of staff has been scrambling to comply with the many many unreasonable and inefficient regulations that the government has heaped upon us. I can’t even begin to imagine what next year is going to be like, with the accreditation (kill me now), the additional two classes (and a whole set of demanding parents) and Cambridge exams. First I wanted to wish for more time, but let’s face it, Time Lords are not real, so maybe a more realistic wish is in order: for me to manage my time more wisely.

And what about on the entertainment front? Wonder Woman surpassed all my expectations, unlike Justice League. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is brilliantly thrilling. As for the rest of the films? Either I haven’t seen them or they haven’t impressed me enough to be remembered. My wish is the same as always: Warner Bros, please get your s**t together and make better movie versions of DC superheroes. Look at Wonder Woman. You can do better.

Television, though, has been amazing this year. Game of Thrones has had the most wonderful season to date, better than all the shows I’ve briefly mentioned in the last post. There are two more I’d like to write about: One is The Crown, Netflix’s award-winning show about Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Written by Peter Morgan, the first season was magnificent. It stars breakthrough actress Claire Foy who sounds remarkably like the real Queen despite the lack of physical resemblance and as Prince Phillip is Matt Smith, my very favorite Doctor. Both the writing and acting by the ensemble cast in this show more than lived up to the hype and budget of the show. The second season premiered about a month ago and it gave the viewers quite an insight into the lives of the royal family. The other show that blew me away was The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, written and created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, she of Gilmore Girls and Bunheads fame. The setting for this new show is late 1950s New York stand-up comedy scene but it still shares the hallmarks of Amy Sherman-Palladino, namely long dialogues filled with quick wit and pop culture references and colorful characters. If the subject material seems questionable to you, fret not. Amy’s father was a stand-up comedian and she grew up surrounded by funny people.

My Christmas wish in television: that I would discover other shows I could relate with. There are already too many things to watch now and choosing which ones to watch has been a challenge. I’ve decided to narrow my selections to things I could get lost in and/or be entertained by without being depressed or thinking too hard. Well, without being too depressed. Here’s another wish: for Game of Thrones to premiere soon.

My main wish, though is for my students to pass the national exam. And here, ladies and gentleman, comes the rant. Let me start by saying that I think it’s brilliant that the Indonesian government has included English as one of the mandatory subjects and that the test is mainly text-based which means no studying for grammar. Then again, there are all these try-outs, which are done locally and in my overreaching and overambitious city, are purely online. These try-outs, my friends, are incredibly trying (forgive the pun) on everyone’s patience. Technical problems aside (such as missing b and c options in the fully multiple-choice-questions exam or texts that don’t match the question whatsoever), the QUALITY of the questions itself is, at best, inconsistent. I once went to a teachers’ meeting where they discussed how to make these questions. It was the longest four hours of my life. The most shocking advice: “Please don’t translate the text or the questions from Indonesian”. Guess why the exam questions in the so-called try-outs are so awful and make very little sense? Hmm…maybe Google Translate has a hand in them. Now, I know that public school teachers who made these questions are busy and probably underpaid (I wouldn’t know, honestly) but please, please, pay someone to edit these questions because they are a NIGHTMARE. My students’ scores have suffered due to a general lack of understanding of what the questions mean. Then there is the general inconsistency in the level of difficulty. Once in a while, there would be a vocabulary question. Fair enough, except that the word chosen is always so archaic that it is hardly ever seen in real-life texts. How am I supposed to prepare them for these try-outs when even the syllabus is impenetrable? Why is education in this country so bats**t insane??

Sigh. I appreciate the effort that some people in the Ministry of Education and its local branches are doing to improve the quality of education, but dear God, things have got to change. Aim for something achievable and practical, then make sure everyone has the tools to reach them. Then again, education is the most corrupt government department in this country. Maybe I am asking too much. I won’t waste a Christmas wish on this.

And how did I spend Christmas? Binging on Hallmark movies, of course! They are so cheesy and lightweight, perfect for the holidays. And I’ve also discovered that no matter how many times I’ve seen it, Love Actually still gives me the feels. The mini-sequel was a joy.

Green Goddess Crab Salad With Endive

8 oz lump crab meat
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 T mayonnaise
2 T chives, chopped
2 T parsley, chopped
2 T basil, chopped or chiffonade
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 endives (can use radicchio, if preferred)

  1. Combine crab meat, yogurt, mayonnaise, herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix until well combined.
  2. Cut off end of endive. Take individual leaves from endive and place on a board. Fill each leaf with 1 T of crab mixture. Garnish with additional herbs if desired. Place on a platter and serve.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 100 Total fat: 4 g Sat fat: 1 g Sodium: 260 mg Total carbohydrate: 7 g Dietary fiber: 5 g Sugars: 1 g Protein: 11 g

The best 5 Christmas date nights in London

The weather outside may be frightful, but London will always be delightful – especially when it’s aglow with Christmas cheer. Make the most of it this year with these 5 festive date nights in the capital.

See in the new year at a pop-up ceildh

Celebrate New Year’s Eve the Scottish way…with a ceildh! With locations across London, Fiddle Paradiddle’s Pop-Up London Ceildh is the perfect excuse to show off those dance moves this festive season– all while working off that extra mince pie.

Indulge in a festive feast at the Christmas Cookhouse

Dinners don’t get much more intimate than those hosted by the Christmas Cookhouse. In this series of pop-up feasts, diners get to enjoy an exclusive chef’s table experience with some of London’s best talent. With chefs including Petersham Nurseries’ Arthur Potts Dawson and Masterchef’s Tim Anderson, it’s guaranteed to be the most memorable meal of the season.

Skate under the stars at Somerset House

It may be a first date cliche, but ice skating truly is the best way to, well, break the ice. While London has no end of ice rinks to choose from, Somerset House has to be the most romantic. With a gorgeous backdrop (and Fortnum’s Lodge just next door), it’s just the place to shake off those first date nerves.

15th Nov – 14th Jan 2018

Heat things up at the Finnish Rooftop Sauna

For a date night with a difference, head to the pop-up Finnish sauna at the Queen Elizabeth Roof Gardens. Each session lasts 70 minutes, and is run by a sauna expert who will be on-hand with advice and icy water buckets. Afterwards, wrap up in blankets, sip at a warming winter drink, and enjoy the gorgeous views of the Thames from the Rooftop Bar.

22nd Nov – 30th Dec 2017

Feel festive at Clapham Common’s Winterville

Winterville encapsulates everything that is wonderful about this time of year. Mulled wine, twinkling lights, old-fashioned fairground rides and incredible street food stalls come together to create a festive playground of music, food and old fashioned fun. Feeling energetic? You and your date can even bond over a Yoga on Ice class. Brrrr.

No Food Network for You, New Yorkers!

Food Network fans are an odd lot. They're addicted to the network but, apparently, many of them don't actually cook. That might be the reason they have so much time to spend watching the Food Network unless, of course, they live in the New York City area. Now they're not watching it at all.

Last week, more than 3 million residents of New York and New Jersey lost access to the popular network because local cable provider Cablevision Systems Corp. and Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. which owns the Food Network &ndash and HGTV, as well &ndash have been sparring over Scripps' efforts to increase its fees. Scrip

"We were really, really undervalued," Brooke Johnson, the president of the Food Network, told New York Times over the weekend.

Of course, it isn't just media execs who are feeling the pain. Food Network satellites, such as the cheeky, were suddenly left without access to their very raison d'être. Jillian Madison, who writes and runs the popular satirical web site which attracts more than a million fans and detractors of FN each month, was suddenly cut off from the very source of her material. Instead of relaxing on New Year's Eve, Madison found herself scrambling to have satellite service installed at her home and she pins the blame squarely on the greed of both companies. She feels particular ire for Scripps, however.

"What's most infuriating to me is that Scripps strategically waited until the last minute to alert Cablevision customers about the probable service outage," she said in an email.

Using the gloss of a grass roots effort, Scripps has encouraged thousands of FN fans through its web site to write or call Cablevision to complain about the axing of their favorite cable network, although it was Scripps' decision to pull the programming.

"And then, in the eleventh hour &ndash on New Year's Eve &ndash after they failed to convince Cablevision to pay their rate increase (which is said to be 200 to 300 percent over the 2009 rates) they asked us to wage a telephone war against Cablevision," said Madison, "even though they knew they were closed for the holiday. Even now, the people at Scripps are using their loyal viewers as a pawn to help them leverage more money for themselves, and that is not an easy pill to swallow."

Perhaps not, but a little less Rachael Ray every day might be a good thing.

6 Quarantine New Year's Eve Ideas To Ring In 2021 Brookfield

BROOKFIELD, WI — The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed how we celebrate special occasions in Brookfield. From birthdays to holidays, we’ve all had to adapt to a “new normal.” As 2020 comes to close, ringing in the new year will be no different.

Unfortunately, as we get ready to celebrate 2021, the spread of the coronavirus is surging in the United States. As a National Public Radio database shows, thousands of new cases continue to be reported daily across America.

In Wisconsin, there have been 4,818 deaths and 477,292 infections associated with COVID-19 as of Wednesday.

While the Food and Drug Administration recently approved two COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate people against the virus, we’re not in the clear yet, health officials warn. This means that until we start to see cases dramatically go down, following safety guidelines to minimize the spread of the coronavirus remains critical.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to urge people to celebrate the holidays at home with others who live with them.

“Travel may increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. CDC continues to recommend postponing travel and staying home, as this is the best way to protect yourself and others this year,” CDC officials said.

So although you won't be on a packed dance floor at some club in Brookfield when the ball drops, ringing in the new year doesn’t have to be boring or unforgettable. Here are six ways to safely ring in 2021 with a bang.

1. Host a Virtual Celebration

If you can’t celebrate New Year’s Eve in person, do the next best thing — host a virtual get-together. Consider scheduling a time to meet online to watch the ball drop in Times Square. NYE 2021 in the Big Apple will NOT be open to the public this year, but the fabulous show will still go on and can be seen from the comfort of your television. While you’re at it, don’t forget to dress up for the occasion, eat some grub and just enjoy some good 'ol quality bonding time and chit chat with loved ones.

Turn up the jams and let loose with family and friends online as you all count down to midnight. If you want to make it competitive, have a dance-off. Or, better yet, turn the party into a lip sync battle if you want to up the stakes and don’t mind exposing the silly side that’s in all of us.

Whether it’s a game of Bingo, Family Feud or what have you, nothing says togetherness like a fun game. Want to make it competitive? Purchase online gift cards for the winner if you’re the host. If you're hosting the event via Zoom, the platform also has lots of games to play such as Outburst, Battleship, Quiplash and more.

4. Make Predictions For 2021

These can be silly, serious or sweet — but let’s be honest: Silly is funnier. Have each person who lives with you or anyone participating virtually make a prediction about one or more guests for 2021. Write down the predictions — and next Near Year’s Eve, when you’re ringing in 2022, revisit the list to see if any predictions came true.

5. Watch Movies All Night Long

For anyone who prefers to bring in 2021 on a much quieter level and with fewer people involved, watching an entertaining flick might be up your alley. Movies you might enjoy that center on the special occasion include “New Year's Eve,” “The Holiday” and “Bridget Jones's Diary.” Ultimately, feel free to watch whatever you want no matter what the genre/theme might be.

Instead of ordering out or picking up some tasty grub from your favorite restaurant in Brookfield, whip up something delicious at home. You can never go wrong with macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, green beans, ham, roasted chicken, etc. Oh, and don’t forget the dessert!

How do you plan to celebrate New Year’s Eve during the pandemic in Brookfield? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Right now I have a splinter on my finger from building a duck fence, cuts on my hands and arms from duck and chicken claws and bruises on my hands from duck bites. Taking care of birds is hard work, but I like it. I have been going to school online since the coronavirus pandemic […]

They gave birth and love their children. And they want to remind you 'not all pregnant people are women.'

Transgender and nonbinary people nationwide have given birth for decades, and many want to see more gender-neutral language in law and medicine.

Lauren Boebert stated there hadn't been a single COVID-19 death in Texas since mask restrictions ended in March. Data shows thousands had, in fact, died.

3,600 Texans have died from COVID-19 since March 2, which was the day restrictions were lifted, said the Texas Department of State Health Services.

North Korea bans mullet haircuts, nose piercings, and skinny jeans in Kim Jong Un's latest crackdown on ɺnti-socialist behavior'

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Man killed while walking home to his apartment, SC police say

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Ryanair flight carrying exiled Belarusian journalist forced to land in Minsk

European governments accused Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko of "state terrorism" and "hijacking" after he sent a fighter jet to force an Ryanair flight to make an emergency landing apparently so he could arrest an exiled opposition journalist. The European Union and the US condemned an "utterly unacceptable" attack on civil aviation and Lithuania demanded a Nato response after the flight from Athens to Vilnius was forced to land in Minsk on Sunday afternoon. Minsk airport said the flight was forced to land because of a bomb threat. No bomb was found when the plane was searched, but Belarusian officials took the opportunity to arrest Roman Protasevich, a founder and editor of Nexta, a social media channel that reported on mass protests that broke out last summer against Mr Lukashenko. Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, said the UK was "alarmed" by Mr Protasevich's detention and the flight diversion. "We are coordinating with our allies. "This outlandish action by Lukashenko will have serious implications," he said on Twitter. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawieck said the aircraft had been "hijacked" in a "reprehensible act of state terrorism" and called for fresh sanctions against Belarus in response.

Former Trump adviser Jason Miller ordered to pay $42,000 legal fees for failed defamation suit

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Former Trump advisor Michael Flynn claims the COVID-19 pandemic was fabricated to distract from the 2020 election

The former Trump advisor falsely stated Friday that the coronavirus pandemic was invented before November 3 "to gain control" of society.

‘Hung out to dry’: Young journalist fired by AP speaks out against her dismissal

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Mickelson magic! Lefty secures PGA Championship to become oldest to win golf major

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Former Rep. Justin Amash says Liz Cheney could have spoken out against Trump sooner, rejects her being 'some sort of hero'

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Rays rally with 5 walks in 9th, top Jays for 10th win in row

Austin Meadows, Manuel Margot and Mike Brosseau drew consecutive bases-loaded walks with two outs in the ninth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied for their 10th straight win, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 on Sunday. The comeback win lifted Tampa Bay into a first-place tie with Boston in the AL East. The Rays trailed 4-2 going into the ninth, but took advantage of five walks by relievers Tyler Chatwood (0-1) and Travis Bergen to send Toronto to its fifth straight loss.

Aiden Leos: 6-year-old boy shot dead in California road rage attack

Grieving family ask for people to come forward with information about people who shot six year old boy dead in an ‘isolated road rage incident’

TikTokers wished a 97-year-old Auschwitz survivor a 'happy Holocaust' as some ɿree Palestine' supporters target Jewish social media users with antisemitic abuse

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Litman: Why Biden's DOJ may disappoint the president and his voters

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Ady would like to join a loving, caring family that will spend lots of time with her

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Watch the video: TSOS X TARTAN WEEK (December 2021).