Life at the end of the road

December 3, 2008

The story so far

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:34 pm

I apologize if my ramblings are a bit out of sync but I’ll just fill you in on the missing Monday and Tuesday while it’s still fresh(ish) in my mind. You may recall the epic sausage session of Sunday, whilst lots of red wine was consumed in the interest of Anglo French relations on my behalf and of cementing the ‘Auld alliance’ by other family members I did move onto the black coffee around 4:00pm so I could be fit for the trip to Dingwall on Monday with the 3 girls.

The last 3 girls

The last 3 girls

Having got them used to the trailer on Sunday my main worry was having to reverse the precious cargo onto the relief ferry, Loch Linnhe whose aft ramp had failed on Saturday. However all was well I awoke with a clear head on Monday, coaxed the wee darlings into the trailer with a handful of feed and off we went on our 110 mile journey to the ‘local’ abattoir and of course the most important Christmas shopping. The day being one of spectacular snow covered scenery  and little drama,

 Glen Morriston wind turbines

Glen Morriston wind turbines

culminating in a night out at Creeler’s restaurant

http://www.skye-seafood-restaurant.co.uk/ in Broadford on the Isle of Skye with staff from the fostering network. I’m not a fan of eating out being 1, stingy 2, miserable and 3 having access to the best of food at home but this was first class cuisine at a very reasonable price, I had a flame grilled goats cheese starter followed by guinea fowl and it was awesome. Others had smoked venison, prawn and squat lobster dishes all of which looked equally good. The falling snow and early start the following morning meant we retired early. Tuesday was a bit of a driving epic for me as I’d to take the Land rover and trailer back home then jump in the wifes car to drive down to the Isle of Bute to join the Loch Striven on Wednesday. Niether of us was happy about this as I prefer the Land Rover and the wife can barely see over the bonnet of it! but it’s the only vehilce with a tow bar and it was needed whilst I was away 😦  Before setting off though I’d just got time to muck out Brambles ark, despite her 12 piglets being over a month old they’d hardly stepped out of it with the weather being so cold and wet so it was needing regular cleaning. I left the gate open on her field knowing that she’d not be able to resist going for a wander around the croft and once she was out of earshot I chased the wee squeelers out whilst I mucked out the ark and put in fresh bedding. They were not impressed and promptly ran round the back of the ark and huddled together in a heap, Bramble however was well pleased when she got back and promptly went about making a nest. With that done I headed south

SD Tormentor

SD Tormentor

Passing the Serco Denholm Tormentor moored in Loch Alsh, formally the RMAS Tormentor this torpedo recovery vessel has been in the area for quite a while.

The rest of the journey being a combination of magnificent views and treacherous roads, I arrived shattered at Rothethsay around 7:30 having an early night ready for joining the Loch Striven today.

MV Loch Striven and MV Loch Alainn

MV Loch Striven and MV Loch Alainn

And there she was almost right inside the huge shed at http://www.ardmaleishboatbuilding.co.uk/ with the much larger Loch Alainn in the shed next door. Despite having only gone up the slip on Sunday the work was already well underway with an army of engineers, painters, welders and electricians busying about their various tasks.

A long way from home

Filed under: daily doings, food — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:22 am
Rothesay at night

Rothesay at night

It’s been an epic 3 days since the ‘Big day out’ and I’ve just not been near ‘Lister’ the laptop since then, alot has happened and I’m now 200 miles from home 😦 The view from my room in the Victoria Hotel in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute http://www.victoriahotelbute.com/ may be lovely, the food may be spectacular and the bath water gin clear but I’d rather be at home 😦 OK the bath water may look like whisky and if you look out of any window in the house the only light you’ll see is the moon or stars unless it’s cloudy in which case you’ll not even see your hand in front of your face! But the most excellent food I had for dinner was poor compensation for what is lying in my fridge at home.

A marathon sausage session

It seems like weeks ago but it was only Sunday when we embarked on a 14 hour sausage, pate, bread and rillette making fest. Louis and ‘Buffalo Bill’ ( I’ll not use his real name for fear of reprisals) came up around 8:30.

The 'Rabbit hunter'

The 'Rabbit hunter'

Louis and I headed for the kitchen and ‘Bill’ headed for the hills in search of rabbit for the pate. First job being the  4 loaves that would accompany our feast. The dough being made and left for the first of it’s three risings in a large box near the oven.

bread-making

Louis then got on with removing all the useful meat off the head which went into a large pan for the rillette along with all the bones, tail and less savoury bits. This spent most of the day boiling away on the cooker to get all of the flavours, fat and marrow out of the bones and bits. I cant remember what else went in there apart from a little olive oil and lots of freshly cracked black pepper but it smelt lovely.

With that boiling away it was time to blanch and peel all the fresh chestnuts that would be going in the sausages, cook the shallots for the pate, crush walnuts for the sausages and of course start the  epic mincing session.

Mince marathon

Mince marathon

I don’t know how much we minced in our ‘Porkert no 10’ mincer but it was lots

Loadsamince!

Loadsamince!

This would be about a third of it.

Filling the dough

Filling the dough

After the the second rise the 4 loaves were filled with their chestnuts, olives, and sun dried tomatoes and then it was onto the mince.

Mixing sausage meat

Mixing sausage meat

We did three lots, apple and smokey bacon, walnut and chesnut, pure and simple just a little oregano and freshly cracked black pepper in each, no bread crumbs no fancy spices, as Louis says just keep it simple, with pork like this you need nothing else.

Loading the sausage skins

Loading the sausage skins

I used pre made cologen skins because it was my first time, these just need soaking for a few minuets before you slide them onto the sausage making attachment.

It's easier than it looks!

It's easier than it looks!

Then ‘Buffalo Bill’ who’d returned empty handed from his rabbit hunting expedition got busy winding and I got busy making the sausages. After very little time I soon got the hang of gripping the skins whilst ‘Bill’ turned the handle, just feeding them off the spout with the right amount of tension then twisting them at the right length.

The first bag

The first bag

It took around three glasses of red wine to make 70 sausages! what that equates to in time I’ve no Idea but it was about 5:30 when we finished on the bangers. Meanwhile Louis had been busy with the rabbitless pate and bread. We feasted like kings on a selection of the sausage mixes fried up with the breads and pate and I went to my bed at 10:30 stuffed and wrecked in preparation for taking three pigs to the abattoir on Monday 😦 and now it’s Wednesday morning and I must go and join the Loch Striven on the slip at

http://www.ardmaleishboatbuilding.co.uk/winterstorage.htm

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