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Last year many outdoor summer events in Scotland were badly affected or cancelled due to the foot-and-mouth outbreak. Thankfully that is now past and a full programme of events for 2002 is going ahead. The only drawback has been the weather - it has been 'owre blashie' as we would say ie too wet and windy. A Dundee Courier editorial summed it up well this week with the headline 'Dreich Days' and went on to say ' It takes a certain stoicism to enjoy a gala day under an umbrella. Almost as much phlegmatic acceptance is required to organise outdoor events in the first place. Not many fortunes are being made in the ice cream business. Yet supporters do turn out; demonstrations of loyalty without which many summer events would be lost.' When you consider that in June rain fell in Glasgow every day except one ( Friday 28 ); in Edinburgh every day but two; and in Aberdeen every day except four, you can see what inspired the Courier's comments. Rainfall in all three cities was double the average for June. It does take a certain stoicism to enjoy a Scottish 'summer'. But enjoy it we do - whether it is the local Gala Day, Highland Games or Agricultural Show, local events are well supported in spite of the weather, but a little more dry days and sunshine would help. Hopefully the many events over the coming months will enjoy better weather than those held in June. All those who voluntarily give of their time and labour organising events deserve at least that.
Fortunately it doesn't rain in the kitchen and we can always make a tasty titbit to cheer up the dreichest of days. This week's recipe for Doughnuts will certainly do just that.
Ingredients : 1/2 lb ( 500 g ) plain white flour; 2 oz ( 50 g ) butter; 1 egg: a pinch of salt; 1 teaspoonful baking powder, neither heaped nor level; 1 tablespoonful castor sugar; 1 tablespoon milk; 3 drops vanilla essence
Beat the egg well, add the milk and the essence to it. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder and add the sugar. Rub in the butter until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs and mix to a firm dough with the egg and milk mixture. (It may take a little more milk but this is unlikely). Roll out the dough, fairly thick, on a floured board. Cut into rounds with a cutter and with a smaller one cut out the centre.
Have a deep frying pan almost half full of cooking fat just at the faint blue smoke stage and with a frying basket for preference. Place as many doughnuts as the basket will hold without crowding and lower it into the fat. Turn them from time to time until they are a golden brown all round. Turn the doughnuts out on a piece of greaseproof paper on an ashet then toss them quickly in castor sugar or cinnamon. Yum.

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