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Oatmeal Posset

One aspect of Scottish life known the world over must be the playing of bagpipes. Now, bagpipes are not unique to Scotland, eg they were played  by the early Persians, indeed, the first mention of bagpipes in Scotland is reputed to come from the reign of James IV ( 1473 - 1513 ) and the pipers were neither Highlanders nor Lowlanders - but Englishmen! But we can extol the uniqueness of the Great Highland War Pipes, as the tradition arose in Scotland of the use of bagpipes to act not only as a Gathering Call to the Clans, but as an encouragement to Highlanders in battle. Little wonder that the Great Highland War pipe was banned as an  'instrument of war' following the 1745 Jacobite Rising.
 
The classical music of the Highland Bagpipe is called Piobaireachd ( pibroch ) and the piping and compositional skills involved were traditionally passed down in families. Chief amongst the piping families were the Mckays of Raasay and Gairloch, the MacDonalds, the MacArthurs, the MacDougalls, the MacIntyres and, perhaps, the the most famous family of them all - the MacCrimmons of Skye.
 
The MacCrimmons, hereditary pipers to MacLeod of Dunvegan, were leading pipers and piping teachers throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. It is known that Donald Mor MacCrimmon, born about 1570, was hereditary piper to MacLeod, and on his death in 1640 he was succeeded by his son Padruig Mor, and then by his grandson Padruig Og who died after 1730. Padruig Og seems to have been responsible for the founding of the famous MacCrimmon piping school at Boreraig, which finally closed around 1770. For the story of Duncan Ban MacCrimmon's and the Battle of Inverurie in 1745 see item under Mincemeat Crumble Squares.
 
Scottish stye Pipe bands are now to be found all over the world and the standard of playing for both bands and solo pipers is now recognised as being higher than ever. Long may that continue.
 
Now pipers are well known to be fond of a Dram so this weeks recipe - Oatmeal Posset - combines three famous food-stuffs from Scotland - oatmeal, heather honey and Whisky!
 
Oatmeal Posset
 
Ingredients : 1 pt/ 600 ml milk; 1/2 oz/ 15 g medium oatmeal; 1/4 tsp salt; 2 tsp/ 10 ml  clear Scottish heather honey; 1 tbsp/ 15 ml Whisky; grated nutmeg, to taste. Serves 2
 
Put the milk in a saucepan and add the oatmeal and salt. Bring to the boil, stirring, then remove from the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid through a sieve into a clean saucepan, pressing the oatmeal firmly to extract as much liquid as possible. Stir in the honey, Whisky and nutmeg to taste. Reheat until almost boiling, stirring all the time. Pour into mugs and serve.

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