For a year now several friends have been telling me how much I need to see the Starz series Outlander. I love the 1940's era, Scotland, time travel, homeopathy, wine, fashion, castles, dogs and I'll admit it...
I love men in kilts. So finally I sat down to watch.
What I didn't like about Outlander was the brutal, gory, gratuitous violence. At least I thought it was gratuitous until, curious about my own Scotch-Irish roots, began to do research.
I learned one ancestor was not only hanged, but also burned at the stake. As if hanging wouldn't make him dead enough. Another ancestor Matilda suspected her husband of having an affair and ordered the mistress to be dragged by her hair from a running horse until death. Yikes!
What I didn't expect to find fascinating in Outlander was the food and beverages. What is Rhenish? Bannocks? Skirlie? With a little more research, this is what I found:
Rhenish - any of several white wines from the Rhine River valley in Germany, like Liebfraumilch or Riesling or Gewerztraminer.
Bannock - a round, flat, quick bread made of oat or barley flour and prepared over heat in a skillet or griddle, not an oven. Cut into wedges, it is similar to a scone.
4 oz steel-cut oats
2 teaspoons melted bacon
2 pinches of baking soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 tablespoons hot water
Additional oatmeal for kneading
Mix the oatmeal, salt and baking soda.Pour the melted bacon fat into the middle of the dry ingredients. Stir well. Add enough water to make into a stiff paste. Cover a surface in oatmeal and turn the mixture onto oats. Work quickly dividing the dough in two and roll one half into a ball and knead with hands covered in oatmeal to stop it sticking. Roll out to a quarter inch thick. Place in a heated iron skillet which has been lightly greased. Cook for about 3 minutes until the edges curl slightly, turn, and cook the other side. Get ready with another oatcake while the first is being cooked.
Skirlie - the base of several recipes that starts with softening diced onion in bacon fat and adding steel-cut oats. It can be spread on toast, eaten as a side dish with meat or eggs, made into a dressing or stuffing for poultry, moistened with broth and served with gravy on creamed potatoes.
- Melt 4 oz bacon fat in a large frying pan.
- Add 2 diced onions and cook until soft and golden.
- Add 8 oz old-fashioned oatmeal and mix in well.
- Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- If needed, add chicken stock and allow it to be absorbed by the oatmeal.
- Season with salt and pepper.
If you would like to see Outlander, it is available on Starz, through Amazon Prime or on DVD. Season Two DVD is expected to be released in September.
And if you are completely intrigued by the series, you may be interested in listening to Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore's podcast, or viewing the blog of author Diana Gabaldon or that of costume designer and wife to Ronald D. Moore, Terry Dresbach.
Guess you could call me an OutFANder.
Photo credit courtesy Starz