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Potato Cakes with Smoked Salmon Starter

Football has played a major role in Scottish sporting life and culture since Queen's Park were formed in 1867.  The amateur team dominated the early days of Scottish football, indeed at one stage supplying the full Scottish International team, but from the formation of the Scottish League it has been dominated by two other Glasgow-based teams - Celtic and Rangers.  Indeed the last team to break the monopoly of The Old Firm was Aberdeen back in season 1984-85.  This year Glasgow Rangers have been faltering in the Premier League and their manager Alex McLeish's job has been on a shouglie nail!  But in spite of this, on Tuesday night (6 December 2005) they became the first Scottish club to win through to the latter stages of the Champions League with a stirring 1-1 draw with Inter Milan.  The draw may not be enough to save McLeish's job but it does mean a Scottish interest in Europe beyond the New Year.  Just a pity that unlike the days when Alex McLeish was winning European honours with Aberdeen there are so few Scots playing in the top Scottish teams.  Indeed there are very few Scots, unlike past decades, playing at the very top in Europe.

One such player, who spent all his football career out-with his native land, was the legendary Denis Law.  Born in Aberdeen in 1940, he began his professional career as a 15-year-old at Huddersfield Town and went on to become the greatest Scottish player of all time.  He played in turn for Huddersfield Town, Manchester United, Torino and Manchester City.  He won the first of his 55 Scottish caps as the youngest ever Scottish Internationalist at 18 years 7 months against Wales in 1958 - Scotland won 3-0.  By the time he hung up his boots, Denis Law was Scotland's highest-ever scorer (30 goals), a European Cup winner and the first ever Scot to be voted European Player of the Year in 1964.  Denis Law has always been a credit to his sport and country and richly deserved to receive honorary degrees from his home-town University of Aberdeen in July 2005 and from St Andrews University on, appropriately, St Andrews Day 2005.

Denis Law was rightly regarded as The King in his playing days and this week's recipe is also King based as salmon is the King of Fish.  As a player and commentator Denis Law graced every occasion as will Potato Cakes with Smoked Salmon Starter.

Potato Cakes with Smoked Salmon Starter

Ingredients:  1 large potato, peeled;  1 shallot, chopped;  1 bunch of chives, finely chopped;  1 egg yolk; 2 tablespoons plain flour;  1 tablespoon butter;  1 teaspoon olive oil;  80g cream cheese;  150g smoked salmon;  1 lemon (quartered);  salt and pepper

Method:  Dice potato and boil with shallot for 15-20 minutes until tender.  Drain and return to pan with half the chives and the egg yolk, season and mix.  Sprinkle flour onto work surface and shape mixture into two potato cakes.  Melt butter and oil in frying pan and fry potato cakes for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.  Mix the remaining chives with cream cheese.  Place each potato cake on plate, top with a generous spoonful of cream cheese, lay salmon on top and serve with wedge of lemon. 

Serves two.

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