Christmas Baking at Dun Eisdean

I took some Christmassy ingredients and recipes to Dun Eisdean today.
We produced some mini Christmas Puddings, mini Christmas cakes, mince pies and some chocolate chip cookies. We iced the cakes with a thick icing and a cherry. You can find the recipes on our recipes page.

We went for the mini versions of puddings and cakes to save on cooking time but we definitely packed in the flavour with ingredients such as orange zest, ginger wine, brandy, prunes, raisins and grated apple.

We talked about Christmas cooking smells, memories, recipes and what we remember our Mothers and Grandmothers cooking for us.

I laid the Christmas lights out along the table and we enjoyed Christmassy music on the radio as we worked. The hardest part was softening the butter…and waiting for the oven to cook it all!

Sensory Christmas

In local care homes, I’ve been focussing on the sensory side of Christmas, the smells, flavours, colours, textures and tastes plus of course the lights.

We’ve been making very highly fragrant decorations and foods. Cloves in Oranges, Stem Ginger Cake with orange icing, Mince Pies, Christmas Pudding and a gingerbread house.

I’ve been using the opportunity for exercise with rolling out a stiff dough, handling foods, stirring cake batter and pudding batter etc.

The texture of dough has been a nice memory for people unable to completely create a mince pie and the eating of it all has been a big hit, especially warm and fragrant from the oven.


Volunteers and Intergenerational Work

DSCN1167 DSCN1211 DSCN1207 DSCN1184 DSCN1162 margaret teaching caitlin expert hands

On Friday, Bellann from the Volunteer Service brought two young people working towards their Saltire Award and building their CVs into a local care home to enjoy masterclasses in making duff and splitting herring. Three residents gladly shared their skills and experience and the volunteers assisted with making and offering tea and cake to the residents.

The volunteers are going to support our project with Auditorium Sessions and Events at An Lanntair to see another side of care and community working.

Dun Eisdean session yesterday

I was treated to a chat with a panel of experts on traditional foods yesterday at Dun Eisdean Residential Home in Stornoway.

I have some lovely recordings of chats about carrageen (how to prepare it, bleach it, wash it and how to flavour and colour it after cooking) and crowdie (how to make it in summer and winter, that it was a case of watching and learning) and butter.

Another lady offered wonderful insight into the male/female politics of bowling, tennis and golfing in town and a description of ladies’ golfing fashion in the Highlands.

Some word collages sprang from these discussions and possibly some word portraits shortly.

Clear differences emerged in relationships with food between islanders in the country areas and those in the town.