Classic Recipes from the British Isles: Rumbledethumps, Colcannon, and Bubble-and-Squeak; Yorkshire Pudding, Toad-in-the-Hole, and Onion Gravy

Scottish Rumbledethumps

Traditional Scottish Rumbledethumps

Image result for robert burns
Robert “Rabbie” Burns, the Bard of Scotland

With tonight being Burns Night, I thought I’d start with the wonderfully-named Rumbledethumps: a traditional dish of the Scots Borders, from whence he hailed – and from which a good chunk of my father’s family likewise hailed! Indeed, we shared a town – Selkirk – with the Ploughman Poet, and had our own subtly distinct version of the well-known “Selkirk Grace”:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some have nae that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit!

Now for two close cousins of Rumbledethumps: Irish Colcannon, and English Bubble-and-Squeak:

Colcannon recipe

Traditional Irish Colcannon

“Colcannon is a favorite Irish recipe, especially on St Patrick‘s Day. Seriously, what is not to like? Creamy mashed potatoes, fresh, crunchy curly kale, a bit of spring onions, and pats of butter.”

Delicious, and not just for St. Padraig’s! The spring onions and kale give it both a fresh flavor and a health boost. I don’t pulse or chop them mechanically, just give the kale a thin chiffonade, and slice the green onion into 1/8 to 1/4″ rounds. Be sure to include the green tops!

Bubble and Squeak

Traditional Bubble and Squeak

The first specifically British dish I ever made, many years ago (many, many years, now…), Bubble and Squeak is the lovely, quirky, evocative name for what is mostly fried leftover vegetables, usually from Sunday’s roast dinner (sometimes leftover meat, or bacon, is incorporated). The name comes from the sound it makes as it’s frying! It can be breakfast, brunch, lunch, or supper, as circumstances may dictate.

Yorkshire Pudding

Traditional Yorkshire Pudding

In Yorkshire itself, these puffy pastries, baked in oil (yes, you heard that right…), are often served as a starter; in rest of Britain, they’re the classic accompaniment to a Sunday roast (see here for more on the Sunday roast or “Sunday lunch”). In either case, plenty of gravy is an essential accompaniment – see below!

Toad in the Hole

Family-sized Toad in the Hole

Another evocatively-named dish, Toad-in-the-Hole combines “bangers” (sausages) with a Yorkshire-pudding-like pastry batter (in fact, the Yorkshire pudding recipe could be used for this dish, although the one given here is a wee bit different). A classic supper dish, but could also be the centerpiece for a (slightly less traditional) Sunday lunch. The bangers are rather jumbled in the illustration; I like mine arranged a bit more neatly!

Onion Gravy

Rich Onion Gravy

Several – arguably all! – of the above could deliciously benefit from being served with onion gravy, and Yorkshire pudding and Toad-in-the-Hole practically demand it. As the linked recipe notes,

“The ultimate in comfort food must be any meat dish, or meat and creamy mashed potatoes, smothered in a rich onion gravy. The bringing together of sweet onions and a dark rich sauce—which is both sweet and savory—is a classic of both the British and Irish kitchens.”

And darned tasty on this side of “the Pond,” I must say.

Enjoy!

 

Now Residing in the Blessed Realm: Chris Tolkien (1924-2020) | The American Conservative

Rivaled only by his father, he was an exemplar of piety and scholarship who understood myth like few men in history.

Source: Now Residing in the Blessed Realm: Chris Tolkien (1924-2020) | The American Conservative

A splendid tribute! I have come to the conclusion that I have, heretofore, sadly underestimated the importance – and abilities – of Christopher Tolkien. Perhaps, if God so wills it that I make it to the Blessed Realms myself, we may meet, and I can apologize!

 

President Trump’s historic 2020 March for Life speech | News | LifeSite

“All of us here understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God. Together, we must protect, cherish, and defend the dignity and the sanctity of every human life.” – President Donald J. Trump

Source: FULL TEXT: President Trump’s historic 2020 March for Life speech | News | LifeSite

President Trump is the first sitting President of the United States to ever attend and address, in person, the March for Life. Many sources have commented that he is, in fact, the most vigorously pro-life President ever to sit in the Oval Office. Among his comments on this historic occasion, in addition to the one quoted above:

“When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation. When we hold a newborn in our arms, we know the endless love that each child brings to a family. When we watch a child grow, we see the splendor that radiates from each human soul.”

“Sadly, the far left is working to erase our God-given rights, shut down faith-based charities, ban religious leaders from the public square, and silence Americans who believe in the sanctity of life.”

“And to all the moms here today, we celebrate you and we declare that mothers are heroes. [applause] Your strength, devotion, and drive is what powers our nation. Because of you, our country has been blessed with amazing souls who have changed the course of human history.”

“We cannot know what our citizens yet unborn will achieve. The dreams they will imagine. The masterpieces they will create. The discoveries they will make. But we know this: every life brings love into this world. Every child brings joy to a family. Every person is worth protecting.

“And above all, we know that every human soul is divine and every human life, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of Almighty God.

“Together, we will defend this truth all across our magnificent land. We will set free the dreams of our people. And with determined hope, we look forward to all of the blessings that will come from the beauty, talent, purpose, nobility, and grace of every American child.”

One might quibble, theologically, with the statement that “every human soul is divine.” But every human soul does partake of the divine nature, in the sense of having been created by the living God; and every human soul is – at least potentially, if they own it and respond to such a great gift (or if our sovereign God, for reasons of His own, so chooses) – redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, with the promise of becoming by grace what He is by nature. So one can hardly fault the sentiment expressed!

As commented elsewhere, I was long on the fence about abortion. While thinking of myself as “pro-choice,” I always believed that it should be a last resort, never a first option: the oft-repeated (although less often and more softly, these days) mantra of “abortion on demand without apology” has always struck me as absolutely morally repugnant.

To snuff out a human life for one’s own convenience – for that is precisely what that slogan is calling for – is the very definition of murder. But I have tended to accept the traditional exceptions: rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother. I still do, to a large extent. But what I did not fully realize until recently is how vanishingly rare a truly medically-necessary abortion (the so-called “therapeutic abortion”) actually is, particularly later in pregnancy.

As Dr. Omar Hamada, OB/GYN, has stated, “I want to clear something up so that there is absolutely no doubt. I’m a Board Certified OB/GYN who has delivered over 2,500 babies. There’s not a single fetal or maternal condition that requires third trimester abortion. Not one. Delivery, yes. Abortion, no.”

And on a personal note, my sister-in-law underwent, many years ago now, what was referred to as a “therapeutic abortion.” It is that experience which did much to keep me on the “choice” side of the aisle. But in fact the child was already, sadly, dead in her womb by that time. His mortal remains are buried in a tiny coffin in the family plot, and my nephew carries his name as his middle one. Whatever that procedure was, it was not an “abortion,” as we generally think of the term!

And while I do not think that the victim of rape – or incest, which is nearly always also rape – should be required to carry the child of that rape in her body, I salute with great respect those who choose to do so. Why? Because, of course, it is not the child who committed the vile assault; yet if an abortion occurs, that child becomes still another victim of it.

So, yes, I am pro-life! And I salute President Trump for this heart-felt and encouraging speech in support of that right to life, which is enshrined in our very Declaration of Independence, the founding document of our Nation. God bless him, and God bless America – and may we grow, once again, into a people and nation that is worthy of God’s blessings!


Nota Bene: The video of the speech is embedded above; for the full written text thereof, follow the link. Thank you!