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Meat Ball Casserole

This week sees the anniversary of the deaths of two Scots who did much to enrich our treasure of traditional music and song. The Tarland-born fiddler Peter Milne, known as ‘The Tarland Fiddler’, died 100 years ago and although only some thirty of his compositions for the fiddle survive, they are of an extremely high standard and an important part of Scotland’s rich fiddle heritage. The Blairgowrie-born folklorist Dr Hamish Henderson died six years ago and was the man mainly responsible for the Scottish Folk Revival of the 1950s and 60s. He did invaluable work for the School of Scottish Studies, including the discovery of great traditional singers from the Travelling People such as Jeannie Robertson and Belle Stewart. In the 1960s, throughout Scotland, you could just about visit a different folk club every night and the expansion of folk clubs and the interest in our rich heritage of music and song marched hand in hand with the emergence of the modern Scottish National Party.

Tonight (Friday 7 March 2008) sees a reminder of those days as the 18th Milnathort Crackin’ Ceilidh Weekend gets underway. Milnathort is fortunate on being able to call on local folk artistes who all played a major part on the folk revival – Gaberlunzie, John Watt, Tich Frier, Wildfire, Colin Ramage and Neil Paterson, as well as calling upon the very best of visiting talent.  Milnathort is a crackin do in every sense and includes The Orwell Gird championship and Bairn’s street games on Saturday in the Milnathort Primary School playground at 12 noon. The Saturday night concert in the Thistle Hotel at 9pm featuring top Scottish folk duo Gaberlunzie (Gordon Menzies and Robin Watson) will in particular recall many happy memories for old folkies of a certain generation! Youth is also well catered for at Milnathort, and the Youth Concert on Sunday (2pm) in the Thistle Hotel showcases the up-and-coming talent on whose shoulders the carrying on of the tradition depends.

Folk Nights and a wee refreshment go hand in hand and this week’s recipe – Meat Ball Casseroles – contains a drappie yill and is guaranteed to warm you up during these cold March days.

Meat Ball Casserole

Ingredients:  1 lb/450 g beef, minced; ½ lb/225 g sausage meat; 1 egg; 1 teaspoon salt; ½ teaspoon pepper; 1 medium onion, finely chopped; 3 tablespoons oil; 1 oz/15 g flour; 1 pint/600 ml brown ale (Newcastle Brown or Scotch Ale); 4 tablespoons tomato paste; small tin tomatoes; 1 dozen sliced stuff green olives

Method:  In a bowl mix together the beef, sausage meat, egg, salt, pepper and onion. Shape into small balls. Heat the oil in saucepan and brown the meat balls. Remove and put in a warm oven. Leave a little oil in the saucepan and stir in the flour into it over a low heat. Add the beer gradually, stirring the whole time. When it boils stir in the tomato paste and the tomatoes. Then add the meat balls. Cook for about 15 minutes. Season to taste and add the olives. Serve with rice or noodles.

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