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Chicken in Beer

Since the success of Mel Gibson's Ocar-winning film 'Braveheart', loosely based on the exploits of Sir William Wallace, the visitor numbers to The National Wallace Monument on the Abbey Craig, Stirling, have rocketed. The Monument, with extended car parking, is open all year round.
Erected in honour of Scotland's greatest warrior hero, Sir William Wallace, the Monument is among the most famous in Scotland. It is also the most conspicuous. In favourable light, it is visible with the naked eye from points over twenty miles distant, and the view from its top extends east to the Forth Bridges, Arthur's Seat, and the Pentlands, and west to mountains beyond Loch Long.
The erection of the 220 ft Monument was a follow-on from a patriotic movement begun years before by James Grant, the novelist. Some 80,000 people were present at the laying of the foundation stone on the Bannockburn anniversary in 1861, when precious Scottish relics were carried in the procession from Stirling, headed by Lieut.-General Sir James Maxwell Wallace, representing the family of the hero.
A crisis came in 1863 as funds were coming in too slowly and there were difficulties about construction costs. The Monument might have become one of Scotland's 'follies', but for the determination of the scheme's promoters. They took a firm grasp of the project, raised the necessary money, and on 11th August 1869 the completed building was handed over by the promoters of the Monument to the Custodiers, on behalf of whom it was accepted by Provost Rankin of Stirling. A short and simple ceremony was followed by the illumination of the Monument in the evening. The total cost of the building was 15,000.
The Abbey Craig is, of course, the most appropriate site for The National Wallace Monument, as it was from there that Sir William Wallace commanded the Scottish army in the splendid victory over the larger English force at the Battle of Stirling Bridge on 11th September 1297.
This month sees a plethora of meetings commemorating the life and deeds of Sir William Wallace - for fuller details see Flag's Events page Starting this Saturday (2nd August 2003), the Society of William Wallace will be holding a commemorative meeting at the Robroyston Monument marking the betrayal of Wallace by the 'Fause' Menteith on 3rd August 1305. The Robroyston Monument stands in Wallacetown Road, Robroyston, behind the Asda Supermarket adjacent to the M80 Glasgow-Stirling motorway. The Robroyston 2003 Wallace Commemoration commences at 2pm.
On the anniversary of the judicial murder of William Wallace (23rd August 1305), the Society of William Wallace will hold their annual march and speeches in Elderslie, birth-place of the hero. Those attending on Saturday 23 August 2003 are requested to assemble in Ludovic Square, Johnstone at 2pm for the 2.30pm march off to the Wallace Monument, Elderslie. Ted Cowan, Professor of History Glasgow University, will be the main speaker.
The next day (Sunday 24th August 2003), Wallace 700 hold their annual commemoration ceremony at the Wallace Statue, Schoolhill, Aberdeen at 2.30pm. The Wallace address will be given by leading Scottish historian Dr Louise Yeoman. The Grampion Police Pipe Band will be in attendance and a pageant presented by Primary school pupils. 
Aberdeen will also be the venue for the first event in the annual North East Wallace Weekend - on Friday 29th August 2003 , a wreath-laying ceremony and speeches will take place at the Wallace Statue at 7.45pm, followed by the Stonehaven Wallace Day on Saturday 30th August 2003 at 2pm. There will be a march from the leisure centre in Stonehaven to Dunnottar Castle for the speeches. Leading Scottish folk duo Gaberlunzie will perform a Wallace Day Concert in the St Leonard's Hotel, Stonehaven, in the evening (doors open 7.30pm).
In any guerilla war, such as fought by Wallace and his men, food would be a problem, and the opportunity to add a hen or chicken to the pot would not be missed. Cooking would be done under constant vigilence and no time would be available to enjoy a meal. You can relax and enjoy not only cooking but eating this week's recipe for Chicken in Beer which serves 4-6.
Chicken in Beer
Ingredients : 4/6 chicken portions; 3 oz (85 g) plain flour, sieved; 1 onion, peeled and sliced; 1/2 pint (300 ml) light ale ( for Scottish readers we suggest Caledonian Deuchars IPA or Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted); 2 bay leaves; dash of ground nutmeg; salt & pepper to taste; 6 oz (170 g) lean bacon, chopped; juice of half lemon; 6/8 button onions; 1 chicken stock cube; 4 oz (100 g) mushrooms, chopped; 3 oz (85 g) margarine; 3 tablespoons double cream.
Put the chicken portions into a large saucepan together with bay leaves, onions and lemon juice. Cover with water and add salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then cover and allow to simmer for about an hour until tender. Take out the chicken and discard the bay leaves. Put the onions to the side for later. Dissolve a stock cube in remaining liquid. Melt the margarine in a suacepan, stir in the flour and gradually add the beer and then the stock, stirring all the time. Add nutmeg and let simmer for 5 minutes. Take a frying pan and fry bacon in its own fat, add the chopped onions and fry until golden. Remove bacon and onion from fat and add to your sauce. Fry the mushrooms in the remaining fat and then add them to the sauce. Bone the chicken pieces and add the meat to the sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes, add more salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Stir in the cream over a lowered heat and serve with potatoes or rice.

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