Monday, February 26, 2007

The Fish Pie Competition

David dressed for his presentation.

Traditionally a fish pie is made with smoked salmon and smoked haddock, cooked in a cheese sauce and topped with mashed potatoes. There was quite a stir when Dennis claimed to have put crab and monk fish in his pie but the monk fish did suit his presentation as he dressed up in a homemade monk outfit and recited the biblical version of how the fish pie was was a really great presentation. Another ongoing debate is the use of hard boiled eggs in the fish pie, not really a traditional ingredient and one that David uses every year despite protests and jeers from the other competitors. In the end there was a huge upset as John Garden won the contest. He used a recipe from Jamie Oliver's cookbook (which is allowed), had a great presentation which was an Ode to Sandy Callander (David's father who had just passed away), and served the judges his pie in a waiter's uniform and served sorbet to cleanse their pallets. But, as all of Scotland knows, it's John Garden who has never been allowed to win even if he has the greatest pie on the planet simply because he's John Garden! But he won and will bask in the glory of the winner's circle until next time. David had a really great presentation as well, concocting a story about how the hard boiled egg was introduced to the fish pie via military presence in the Middle East.

David's Fish Pie (with stolen parsley)
(A startling and upseting 2nd place finish.)
John's Fish Pie
(This year's champion.)
Bruce's Fish Pie
(3rd place)
Dennis' Fish Pie
(Came in 1st at the last competition but came in 4th place this year.)

The Judges from left to right: Simon, Keith, and Alistair

The Competitors from left to right: Bruce, Dennis, David and John

I know you all have been waiting anxiously for the pictures from the Fish Pie competition so here they are!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's been a while...

Sorry it has been so long since my last post but there has been a lot going on here. David's father passed away on Friday the 9th. I had never met him because he had been too ill since my arrival here but I've heard great stories about him and I anticipate more to come. Sophie (David's daughter) arrived on Saturday the 10th in time for the Fish Pie competition, an event that happens every few years. David wanted to postone the contest but his family thought it would be best for him to be surrounded by his friends and so the comptetition went to be posted later!

Sophie spent the week here in which time we baked, went swimming, rode bikes and made s'mores over the bonfire in the backyard. We had a great time and I was sad to see her go back to Loondon.

The funeral was on Friday and so I got a chance to meet David's entire's like watching a Gap ad...all of the grandchildren (and their spouses)are gorgeous and really delightful to be around. And David's sister, Sheena, somehow managed to put together a roast lamb dinner for 18 with all the craziness that was going on.She really is the Martha Stewart of Scotland (without the jail record of course.)

Still not much luck on the job search but I haven't given up hope yet. Keep your fingers crossed for me! There will be more posting to come as I have to upload pictures from the Fish Pie contest...hope you are all well!

Monday, February 5, 2007

My stuff is coming, my stuff is coming!

Having seen the MSC Napoli beached off of the coast of Devon with its contents spilling out in to the sea, it is with a big sigh of relief I am happy to announce that my shipment from America is finally making its appearance on my doorstep tomorrow (barring any disasters on the road like bird flu road closures, snow and ice warnings, etc.) I can't tell you how excited I am and, yes, I know they are just things, but they are my things and having lived here for a month, in a house David has lived in for the last 14 years, being able to surround myself with the familiar is a welcoming thought, not to mention that my very warm (yet stylish) down jacket is somewhere in boxes 1 - 9. Hallelujah!!! It'll be interesting to see what condition my boxes are in and what made it without getting smashed to bits and so I'll post a follow-up report on my blog.
Here are a couple of tidbits I've been meaning to post:
I met a guy named Farquhar McClean - pronounced "Farker McClane" - and I almost started this funny or am I just strange?
Cock-a-Leekie soup is simply a soup with chicken and leeks (the Brits always seem to try and come with "cutsie" names for things which end up sounding ridiculous.)
Black beans don't exist in Stirling, Scotland and neither does sushi...quelle horreur!
Snow peas are called "mange tout."

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Pony for the Girls!

Hi Jugie and Kat Kat! I saw this pony and thought I'd take a little video of him because he was so cute and I know how you love ponies! I hope you had a lovely time at the mini golf party...I wish I could have been there! I miss you both so much.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Applying for works sucks...

It has been a very frustrating task applying for job posts thus far. Applying for posts has mostly required submitting an application rather than just sending along my CV and references and this has been extremely time consuming and dreary. Furthermore, the actual time frame from when you actually apply to when you might hear if you have an interview can be anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks! I was not anticipating this and have yet another appointment at a temporary placement agency tomorrow. I've been concentrating my searches for work in Stirling and the surrounding areas but now have to expand my search to Edinburgh and Glasgow which means a lengthy commute.
I received my first rejection letter today from the University of Stirling for the position of Postgraduate Secretary for the Department of English Studies, a job I am over-qualified for. The letter states "Thank you so much for coming for interview for the above post. Unfortunately..." What the hell? What interview? So I called the University to see what happened and, yes, a mistake has been made but "sorry, the post has been filled." Ridiculous.
So anyway, I'm trudging on and submitting another application today, this one to an organisation called Keep Scotland Beautiful. Keep your fingers crossed!