Clootie Dumpling Recipe

I recently posted some photos of a Clootie Dumpling the Builder had been given. Someone asked me to post the recipe, so, instead of finding a recipe online (of which there are numerous) I decided I'd try and get one from someone who lived locally.

I mentioned this to my Mum the other day, and she remembered that my Granny's recipe had been printed in a little recipe booklet over thirty years ago.

Unlike me, my Mum knows where to find things.

Here's the booklet (printed in 1979 to raise funds for a school at which the typist's husband was Headteacher)

Here's her recipe.

2 lb plain flour (all purpose flour, I think, in the US)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb marg
2 lb dried fruit
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tblsp treacle
1 1/2 tblsp syrup
2 eggs
2 grated apples
a little milk

Rub margarine into flour and add dry ingredients.

Add treacle, syrup, beaten egg and sufficient milk to give a fairly stiff consistency.

Rinse cloth in boiling water. Sprinkle liberally with flour.

Pour mixture into cloth and tie it up securely.

Boil for 3-4 hours. Keep adding plenty boiling water. Halfway through, turn the dumpling over.

Note: Place a plate in the pan under the 'duff'.


At the top of the page, my mum has written, 'My mother's Clootie duff'.

At the bottom, the lady who gave Mum the booklet wrote, 'Nanag's recipe' (Nanag was what my granny was known as. Most people from Ness were known by some name, or nickname, that distinguished them from everyone else in the district with the same names...of which there would be quite a number!) After all, variety in names wasn't a strong point of Lewis families. 

Clearly, we felt the need to carry on with that tradition.  

I reckon I'll make a 'duff' some day soon. If I do, I'll let y'all know how it goes.

Unless it doesn't 'go'. And then I'll deny all knowledge of ever having attempted it. 



The Live Traffic Feed sits on the side of my blog.

Places interest me. I love to see towns, cities, states, countries named. If I don't know where a specific place is, I google it, and normally I call the kids and say, 'Oh, come and see where this place is'.

Being the enthusiastic learners they are, they always come rushing to where I am with a glint in their eye, desperate for their next geography lesson. 

Uh...did you believe that?!

Anyway, I'm rambling. I don't normally ramble, so I caught myself in the act immediately. Aren't you glad I'm not a rambler? The Builder is extremely glad he's not married to a woman who rambles on and on. And on. 

Eh, where was I? Oh yes, the Live Feed thingy. Today, it says on there. A visitor from .... are you ready for this... from (I nearly have to spell out this word - a bit like that animal - _ _ _ - you know the one) from...Europe.

There, I got it out. EUROPE. And there, right beside that piece of information was the flag. You know: THE FLAG.

So where on earth was my visitor from? Germany? France? Norway? Greece?

If the visitor was from the UK, their flag would look like this

Norwegian? Then this would be displayed.

Maybe Greek?

Or even French.
Why did I say 'even' French?
I don't know. It was subconscious. Who can tell how my mind works...

Could we have countries named, please? Would you mind NOT displaying THAT flag on my blog again. If I see such behaviour being repeated, I will remove you.

Live Feeder.... you got that? Cos I'm deadly serious.

Our Lord Jesus: the King of Glory

How little we will know our Saviour if our knowledge of Christ begins with the Gospel of Matthew and ends with the Gospel of John.

I've already linked to this sermon by Rev David Murray, which speaks of Christ the Creator. It really is worth hearing, and if you're able to at all, have a listen.

Then there's this sermon - I am Joseph, by Rev Joel Beeke. You looking for Christ in Genesis? Have a listen to this!

And here's one speaking of the appearance of the second Person of the Godhead in the Old Testament as a Theophany. It's called The Angel Did Wondrously, and it's taken from Judges 13:9.

This sermon takes us to the very end of Scripture. 'God's Final Invitation of Mercy, by Rev Gavin Beers, is preached on the words of Revelation 22:17 and is worth a listen.

My first minister, when I was newly converted, preached Christ constantly, and yet a look at the list of his sermon texts would have found him in the Old Testament just as regularly as in the New Testament. I 'grew up' spiritually listening to these sermons, and my memory of them is that they were full of Christ, Christ, Christ.

Christ in Genesis. Christ in the Passover. Christ through the wilderness in the rock and in the pillar of fire. Christ in the Levitical sacrifices. Christ in the Tabernacle. Christ in the prophets; in the well-known characters of our Bible 'stories'; in the Psalms.

We heard of Christ as the second Person of the Trinity, covenanting from all eternity to redeem those whom the Father gave Him.

We heard of Christ walking in the garden, communing with Adam. And then, coming to ask, 'Adam, where art thou?'.

We heard of how the Passover spoke of our Saviour: a lamb, without spot or blemish - the shed blood causing the Angel of death to pass by.... and we learned of so many aspects of the ceremonial law and how they spoke of Christ and His redemptive work.

I could go on and on, but for now, these memories are enough to make sure I am not tempted to think of my Saviour beginning in Matthew. He is so much more glorious and wonderful and mighty and awesome and majestic than that. 

"Behold I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee to the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him, and obey His voice, provoke Him not; for He will not pardon your transgressions: for My name is in Him" Exodus 23:20, 21. 

This doesn't sound like a 'Gentle Jesus, meek and mild', does it? If we do not want our view of our Lord Jesus Christ skewed, we must take the whole of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, and read all of what is written about our Lord.

I don't think Isaiah's impression was of a 'gentle' and 'mild' Jesus either, when, 

"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.... Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone: because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Isaiah 6:1, 2, 3, 5

And to one of my favourite passages of Scripture:

Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
and be lifted up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
even lift them up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts, 
He is the King of glory.
                                               Psalm 24:7-10


Chaps or Chops?

The Pioneer Woman has chaps. They make her drool. They make her heart sing. I know this because she's told us.

I, on the other hand, have chops. They make me drool. They make my heart sing. I know this because I spent a considerable portion of today drooling and singing.

It may not be the prettiest picture I've ever painted with words, but - despite that - have a look at this.

When I saw this today, I almost felt the need to go and apologise to all Big Brother's sheep for my many disparaging comments over the past year.

Have a look. Isn't this gorgeous.

Chops. And my chap chopping chops. Drool.
Of course, were I to have my chap in chaps, chopping chops... 


You all thought these arms were only good for lugging wood around...

The first box of meat.

The first dinner...

We love lamb chops in this house. Most of us love them simply grilled and served with creamed potatoes. But tonight, I have thirty-two chops slowly cooking with some carrots and leeks. This means we're limited to four or five each.
It may be that our cholesterol will be glad of that, but the members of my family may not be quite so pleased.


A Walk to Muirneag

The Boys walked to Muirneag today.

Muirneag is the highest point on the Isle of Lewis. At just over 800ft, it's not very high, and so that gives you some idea of just how flat Lewis is.

Walking towards Muirneag, looking south with the Harris hills in the background.

Lewis is flat. Very, very flat.

Big Brother, Baby Brother and the Builder.
DR is taking the photos.

Looking across Broadbay to Point, with the snow-covered mainland hills in the background.

The cairn on the top of Muirneag. 
Some others had come on their quads from the east side of the island.

Snowy mainland hills beyond the Minch

The Builder is not wearing sunglasses!
For the Baby Brother, it's but a stroll in the park.
As for the other two....well, let's just say that the Builder is glad he has someone to massage his aching legs tonight.

Anyone offering to take on the other two?

DR with his two uncles

And so to sunset.
At shortly after three o'clock in the afternoon!


New Footwear!

You know my lovely footwear....

Well, I'm not relegating them, but wait til you see what my Mum and Dad gave me for Christmas.

You ready for this.

You see, my Mum has much better style than I have.

My sister got her sense of style from her.

My mum has no idea where I came from. But I do love my new wellies. Don't you?!

(Yes, I'm aware it's still only Christmas Eve, but each year, we open one parcel each the night before Christmas. This is what I opened!)


Why Me, Lord?

Two days ago, I was at a funeral in our church. The wife of one of our elders was being buried. She was a Christian, having being saved many, many years ago. We had a service in our church, and I was privileged, for the first time in a long time, to hear my old minister praying. I wept when he began to pray. God used this man so much in my early Christian life to feed my soul. His voice, when he began to pray, was like music to my soul.

Sad music, that day. But blessed music. Hearing him swept me back nearly twenty-five years. It was bitter. And sweet.

Today, we had a very different funeral pass our home on its way to the cemetery.

A man whom I knew very well over twenty years ago was found dead in his home the other day. He and I were in the same 'crowd' before I was converted. At nineteen, God saved me.

In the years following this, he was often in our home. He was friendly with me, and with my brother. We spoke often of eternal matters. But still, he remained unsaved.

His life slipped into a life of alcoholism. I lived in Glasgow for thirteen years, and never saw him in all that time. I saw him on the island a few years ago, and I wasn't even able to go and speak to him. I wept. I saw him on the street in our town, and I couldn't even go and say Hello. I went back to my car and cried.

I knew that, 'there but for the grace of God go I'.

And now, it's too late. Since I learned of his death, all I could think was, Why me?

Why me - taken from a place where I was lost - given salvation? Saved. Covered by the righteousness of Christ. Safe - for Time and for Eternity. Why me? I was no better than this man. No better than any man. Yet, God, in His sovereignty, saved me. The wonder of it leaves me speechless.

These were some of my thoughts this morning as I drove over to Stornoway. I was on my own in the car, so I listened to this sermon.

Rev B. Elshout preached on Ruth's words to Boaz, "Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take notice of me, seeing I am a stranger?". My thoughts were perfectly summed up in some of what he had to say.

This Ruth....who was she? A Moabitess. From Moab! Surely she wasn't worthy of Boaz's love! And so I could say,
Anne...who was she? A sinner. From the City of Destruction! Surely she's not worthy of Christ's love!

And I answer, 'Definitely not. Most certainly, I was worthy only of being left in the spiritual City of Destruction. And yet, the greater Boaz - the Lord Jesus Christ Himself - has redeemed me with His precious blood'. I'm sure Ruth often 'pinched' herself, and said, 'Is this real? Really and truly? Boaz!....love ME?'. How much more do I 'pinch' myself and say, 'God love me? Me?!'

How amazing God's grace is. How unspeakably and utterly mind-blowing the grace of God is. No wonder John Newton wrote,

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.

Praise God that those of us who have been saved by our blessed Saviour will have the endless ages of eternity to worship Him for what He has done for us.

And for those still outside the blessed kingdom of God, we pray that they would come under the shelter of His wings. 

"... the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou are come to trust". What beautiful words Boaz spoke to Ruth, and this is what we desire for all whom we love in this world who are still outside of Christ. Our Saviour has promised that He will 'in no wise cast out any who come to him'

"Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Oh, blessed rest for a restless soul. There is nothing like it on this earth.


Lunar Eclipse - Eclipsed by Cloud

Yesterday morning, there was a lunar eclipse?

Did any of you manage to see it? We saw until about half way, and then cloud came rolling in. What a disappointment. 

This morning we have a clear view of the moon.

Why could the clouds not have obliged yesterday?


Emigrants from Lewis

In the post Emigrants from Lewis, I told you,

"My Mum's aunt, for whom she's named, left on the SS Marloch in 1923. She died of TB, in a hospital in British Columbia, not long after she arrived in Canada. In another post, I'll tell a wee story about her, a couple in our church and an amazing meeting in Stanley Park, Vancouver."

Well, bear with my whilst I tell a wee story.

In September 2001 (yes, that unforgettable month), my Mum and I were in Canada for two weeks. We spent the first week in the wonderful Ontario, and the second in Vancouver. In the middle of our week in Vancouver, my mum's cousin, with whom we were staying, suggested we go and take a wander through Stanley Park.

My Mum, her cousin - Muriel, Muriel's son - Don, and I spent a couple of hours strolling through this gorgeous park in Vancouver. Towards the end of our time there, we decided to visit a small Gift Shop, and took our time browsing the souvenirs there. We then visited the .... er, Ladies' / Restroom / Toilets / Taighean Beaga / Facilities (whatever they're called where you are!).

Now rewind two hours...

Unbeknown to us, as we entered the park, a man who was sitting on a bench close to the entrance heard us talking. This man was from Edinburgh and recognised our Lewis accents immediately. His wife and friends - a couple from Lewis - were in the Gift Shop while he sat enjoying the sunshine, and when they re-joined him he told them there were some Leodhasaich (people from Lewis) in the park. Asking how he could be sure, he smiled and said knowingly, 'I heard them talking'. If you've ever heard someone from Lewis speaking, you'll know that their accent is, ....well, it's, er, easily recognised, shall we say!

The couple from Lewis thought little of it, dismissing the information with, 'it'll be nobody we know anyway'.

(Not the most reasonable conclusion to reach if you're from Lewis, but there you go.)

A couple of hours later, he saw the Leodhasaich again and said to his wife and the other couple with them (from Lewis), 'Oh, these folks from Lewis....they're just away into the Ladies' / Restroom / blah blah..... 

The Lewis couple decided to hang around near the toilets...... eek - I need to re-word that.

Let's see: they thought they'd wander around admiring the flora and fauna whilst remaining close to the Facilities. 

You with me...?

They hear the door opening. They wait. Will they recognise the people? Or will they feel like total prats watching and waiting at Toilet doors?

Mum and I emerge. We see them. We are speechless. I mean totally gobsmacked. Standing in front of us is a couple who are not only from Lewis, but from Ness. Not only are they from Ness, but we know them really well. Really well. They're in our church. The man and the Builder were buddies for years. 

It was surreal. 

Did I mention we were speechless. This was Mum and I. Speechless is something we don't do too often, I can assure you.

When we did manage to speak and get over our combined shock and hysterics, we began introducing our cousins, telling how long we were in Vancouver for etc etc.

Our friends from Ness then told that they has been further North in B.C. looking for the grave of an uncle of his - the man after whom he was, in fact, named....John Smith.

"John Smith?" said Mum. "Was he in Vancouver around 1924?"

"Uuuh...yes he was," came the slightly stunned reply. "How do you know that?"

"Did he die of TB in a hospital here in B.C.?"

"Er, yes."

"Well," went on Mum, "my auntie - after whom I'm named - left Lewis on the SS Marloch . She found her way to Vancouver, but had developed TB and was in hospital. I have some letters that she sent home in 1924. In them, she speaks of a lovely young Christian man from Barvas - a John Smith - who is also in the hospital. She speaks highly of him, and says that they have wonderful fellowship together."

Both my Mum's aunt and this man's uncle died in the hospital and were buried in B.C. My mother never knew who this man of whom her auntie spoke was until she met our friend in Stanley Park that day.

My Mum and this man had spoken hundreds of times in Lewis, but they had to be in Vancouver, in Stanley Park that very day to share their stories.

This man had not known of the friendship between his late uncle and this fellow islander, Catherine. He was comforted to know that he'd had the comfort of a fellow islander and fellow believer in the weeks and months before he passed away.

How true that God orders our every step. In the tapestry that makes up every moment of our lives, each thread is perfectly woven by God. Not one moment is by chance.

I took this photo of the photo I had in my album!
Here we are in Stanley Park: Mum, myself and the two couples.

I had taken this photo as we came into the park. We were completely oblivious to the fact at the time, but the man in the foreground is the fellow who recognised our accents and so (humanly speaking, anyway!) the amazing events of the day began to unfold.


Calender Winners!

The Wee Guy picked the names out of the hat. Or bowl, as the case may be.

The first name out was...

I have seven names for wall calenders, and the other three will get a desk calender each.

For wall calenders, I have:
Mrs C
Sarah Dodson

And for desk calenders:

Could you all leave your e-mail addresses in the comments, and I'll get in touch as soon as I can. (I will delete the e-mail addresses once I take a note of them.)


Clootie Dumpling

The Builder was given this the other day by a friend.

It's not Christmas Pudding. It's a Duff. Home-made Clootie Dumpling.

Doesn't it look great...

...and just in case you were wondering... it tastes even greater! 

Anyone wanting some with a cuppa better get their skates on, cos there aint gonna be much left soon!

(The 'Clootie' in the name comes from the Scots for the cloth in which the dumpling is boiled.)
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