Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

following the recipe


Plans are a foot for a Robbie Burns dinner this week.. I am looking forward to it… My Grandmother was from Glasgow and she lived with us while I was growing up. She was just as sweet as the Dickens, I never heard her say an angry word.. Her pies and scones were heaven-sent. Nothing was a better treat than her suet (carrot) pudding with hot caramel sauce.. But her dinners left much to be desired.

I love the bagpipes and in fact was piped in and out of my wedding.Piper for my Grandma

I don’t think there is anyone on the island who can play the bagpipes but the next best thing will be to hear the traditional addressing of the Haggis… It will remind me of my Grandmother’s voice just to hear the poem….

I was looking in her recipe books this morning to see how they actually make Haggis. Here is what it says..

Minced suet, 1/2 lb, 10 Tbsp oatmeal, pepper and salt mixed well together. Fill (not too full) a few small bags of the sheep (stomach) acquired at the butchers (well cleaned). Sew up with needle and thread prick over to prevent bursting and boil in potato soup. (Makes a capital dinner for the bairns)

Grandma and Grandpa in 1941..  (She was 50 and he was 56)

Grandma (50) and Grandpa (56) in 1941..

I also stumbled upon the instructions for cooking vegetables as they appeared in Grandma’s 1941 Ladies Guild Cookbook from Fort William.

Time Table for cooking vegetables in Rapidly Boiling Water

Asparagus                     10 – 25 min

Beets                                  2 –  4 hrs

Carrots                         30 – 45 min

Peas                               25 – 30 min

Turnips  (1 inch cubes)      30 min

No wonder the food was inedible!!!

jan 20 002

Sunset Jan 19, 2015

The weather is beautiful this week. Sunshine and calm waters. Perfect for working outside. Our friends had some trees taken down yesterday so we helped them with their burn pile today… E loves to get his chain saw going.. It isn’t work..   It is fun.

The most important lesson learned in the kitchen from my Gran was that the kitchen is kept clean while you work. Dishes are to be washed as you cook or bake. When you sit down to dinner the kitchen should be clean… no mess left behind… It is a habit I have held on to.

Neither E or I  feel like cooking dinner tonight so it will be simple fare. It always is.  I am very much like by Grandma in the kitchen. I like to bake but don’t really like to cook. My cooking is a little better than hers but after reading her cookbooks, I have to say in her defence she was only

following the recipe




Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

6 thoughts on “following the recipe

  1. Being from the UK, I can attest to the veg (in fact everything) being “well-cooked” and also well-salted!!! Although they never mentioned it, I’m sure when my parents visited they found my unsalted meals very bland! I remember going back to visit them and finding it so salty it caused pucker-power! Maybe that’s why they enjoy beer so much!
    Re the piper, too bad E & H are away, E could probably come up with something! Enjoy your Rabbie Burns dinner, I was never that fond of haggis anyway, so won’t miss that part.

    • I have never had Haggis, but am game to try anything. After all if its good for the Bairns… 🙂 It’s no wonder my Grandfather died young of a heart attack.. All that salt in the cooking and the butter in the scones and the pies……But he died a happy man!!!!!

  2. We’ll be thinking of you. Who knew a Norski could love Robbie Burns day?! Even played music a few years. Be sure to ask ARW about the time she made haggis the traditional (as in sheep’s stomach) way. Let’s just say you’ll be having one from a Nan shop these days. I know AB’s and TK’s wee moosie and haggis salutes will be SO memorable. Enjoy!

  3. As a pure blood Scot (nothing wrong of course with half or quarter blood) I can’t help but commenting on your grandma’s haggis recipe. I LOVE haggis and I don’t mean to insult her memory (or recipe) but big time missing are the other key ingredients: SHEEP liver, heart and tongue. Absolutely essential. That’s probably why no-one makes it at home any more, especially in Canada where these key ingredients are difficult if not impossible to get. So when we celebrate Burn’s day, we just buy a McSween’s haggis, to be found in most butchers – maybe even Nesvog in Nanaimo and the most available in Scotland. Now I don’t know whether McSween’s includes the heart and tongue, but definitely the liver. Interesting to see what AW would say. The other traditional Burn’s supper is cockaleekie soup (don’t leave out the prunes) – recipe by email and then with the haggic, neeps and tatties. The neeps are mashed rutabaga and tatties, mashed potatoes. The Scots weren’t known for their gourmet food, but made up for that with their warm hearts and salt-of-the-earth views on life. Your grandma sounds like one of them. Have a happy Burn’s Day!

    • Luckily those that are wiser than me are in charge of the menu.. We are doing the mashed potatoes….. (I think we can handle it 🙂 )
      Grandma never made Haggis for us.. The recipe I found was in her cookbook.. It was printed in 1941 so maybe with the war on, the key ingredients weren’t available so this was an option??? That or they figured you should know the key ingredients 🙂 The recipes Grandma used for her baking are written in the back in pen… They read…. some flour… as much butter as you need… a little salt…. sigh….

      Hope all is well in your neck of the woods…….

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