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  Edinburgh Sandwich

As is inevitable over the centuries, in Scotland buildings have been built and rebuilt on the same site. The imposing City Chambers on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, which was constructed between 1753 and 1761, is just one example. But beneath the City Chambers lies Edinburgh's deepest secret - a warren of hidden streets where people lived, worked and died between the 17th and 19th centuries. From today (11 April 2003) a new attraction will allow visitors to step back in time and to walk through these underground closes and witness some of the dramatic episodes and extraordinary apparitions from this site's fascinating and historically rich past. The Official opening of The Real Mary King's Close, this new world-class heritage attraction, will be made today (11am) by Edinburgh's Lord Provost.
 
The substantial remains of Mary King's Close, a steep early-17th century alley in Edinburgh's High Street, still lie beneath the City Chambers and is likely to be have been named after the daughter of a former owner, advocate Alexander King. One of the last strongholds of the 1645 plague outbreak, the close acquired the reputation of being haunted, and was abandoned about the middle of the 17th century. Some property, however, was occupied prior to a fire in the south end in 1750, for Andrew Bell, the engraver who conceived the Encylopaedia Britannica, then moved from there to the nearby Advocate's Close. The north end was 'roofless and ruined' in 1845, prior to the construction of Cockburn Street.
 
From April 2003, guided parties of visitors will be able to visit The Real Mary King's Close and a range of other closes and spaces that lie hidden beneath the City Chambers - some of which have never before been open to the public. The new attraction will present a historically accurate interpretation of life in these narrow alleyways from the 16th to the 19th century. Extensive documentary research and on-site survey works has been undertaken to provide an accurate platform for the subtle and unobtrusive interpretation of these A-listed buildings.
 
The new attraction The Mary King.s Close is situated at 2 Warriston's Close, Writers' Court, (off The Royal Mile), Edinburgh and will be open all-year round. Opening hours for the period April to October will be 10am -10pm (last tour at 9pm); and for November to March 10am - 4pm (last tour at 3pm). Unfortaunately for Health and Safety reasons children under the age of 5 cannot be permitted to take the tour. For more details visit www.realmarykingsclose.com
 
This week we invite you to make an Edinburgh Sandwich to celebrate the opening of Edinburgh's latest visitor attraction.
 
Edinburgh Sandwich
 
Ingredients : 8 oz (225 g) flour; 2 oz (50 g ) lard; pinch of salt; 2 tablespoons syrup; 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda; 1 cup milk; 2 tablespoons cocoa; 1 tablespoon vinegar; 2 oz (50 g) caster sugar
 
Sift flour, salt, soda and cocoa, with the sugar. Heat lard and syrup gently until melted. Stir into dry ingredients, then gradually stir in the milk. Beat well, then stir in vinegar. Divide between two greased sandwich tins, 9 inches across. Bake in a moderately hot oven, 400 deg F, 200 deg C, Gas Mark 6, for about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, then pair with Cocoa Creme. Cover with Chocolate Frosting.
 
Cocoa Creme : Beat 2 oz (50 g) butter till softened. Mix 1 cup sifted icing sugar with 1 dessertspoon cocoa. Gradually beat this into the butter. When creamy, stir in 1 tablespoon hot water, and half-a-teaspoon vanilla essence.
 
Chocolate Frosting
Ingredients : 1 1/2 oz (35 g) chocolate; 1/4 pint ( 150 ml ) scalded cream; 1 egg yolk; 1/2 teaspoon melted butter; a few grains of salt; sifted icing sugar as required; 1/2 teaspoon vanilla icing
 
Melt the chocolate in a basin over hot water. Gradually stir in the cream, then the egg yolk, butter and salt. When blended, stir in enough icing sugar to make a spreadable frosting, then the vanilla essence. 

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