The Scottish Problem

Is it me or is anyone else, who thinks themselves British-English, a little hurt by the apparent hatred many Scots seem to feel for us? I’ve always thought of myself as racially tolerant, and actually, perhaps this is the problem, I never thought of the Scots as a race. I thought they were one of us. Not English, but British.

What surprises me most is that they seem to think they are the only people frustrated by our government. Every person in the country must, by now, feel disenfanchised by some action or other. Lucky old Scotland has the luxury of opting out. Not so the rest of us.

One thing I haven’t heard mentioned in all the debate and rhetoric, is whether their proposed Scottish government will be any better? Will they have only one party to choose from i.e. The State? If they go for the multi-party system as we currently have, how will they prevent short term thinking? If PR then how will it work?

I am saddened that so many want to leave, but if they do go then as far as I’m concerned, they’re on their own. No sterling, no help, a foreign country. When the oil runs out, Scotland, please don’t come running back, and don’t blame your poverty on having to pay your share of our joint debt.

 

Tuna and Pasta Bake

Serves 6, allegedly

This was so good that I made the recipe for 6 and three of us ate three quarters of it i.e. 50% more than we should have done.

I cooked it in a large, straight-sided frying pan of about 14″ diameter that could also be put in the oven. If you don’t have one then a roasting tin or lasagne dish will do. I’m lazy about washing up so happy to skip a pan if possible.

The remains of tuna and pasta bake
Probably should have taken the picture before we devoured it.

Ingredients

Base

2 Tins of tuna in brine, drained

250g pasta, boiled for 10 – 12 minutes until al dente

Corn or rape seed oil for frying

1 large tin chopped toms

1 stick celery, chopped

1 onion chopped

1 pepper, any colour, chopped

4 large mushrooms chopped

Half a chilli including seeds

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 Tbsp fish sauce

Black pepper

Cheese sauce

2oz (50g) butter

2.5oz (60g) plain flour

2 (1 litre) pints milk

Salt and white pepper

6oz (150g) grated mature cheddar

Half a teaspoon English made mustard

Topping

2 Slices of wholemeal bread whizzed into crumbs mixed with 2 – 4 oz (50 – 100g) grated mature cheddar

Method

Pre-heat oven to gas 5 / 375f /190c

Base

Fry all the veg, apart from the tomatoes, in the frying pan until the onion is soft.

Add the tin of tomatoes, the garlic and the fish sauce and pepper, then stir in the cooked pasta and the tuna. Leave to cool while you make the sauce.

Cheese sauce

Melt the butter gently until liquid and stir in the flour to form a smooth paste (take it off the heat at first to blend) cook slowly for a minute, stirring all the time.

Increase the heat under the pan and pour in a a dosh of the milk, whisking constantly until blended, then start using a wooden spoon to make sure to bring in the thickening sauce from the corners of the pan. As soon as the sauce starts to thicken, reduce the heat a little to prevent burning. If lumps start to form, remove from heat and get rid of them with the whisk.

When the sauce is thickened, stir in the cheese and mustard, taste and season if necessary.

The sauce needs to be quite thick. It should move, but slowly in the tilted pan. Use the remaining milk to adjust the consistency.

Putting it together.

Pour the sauce to cover the base, then top with the breadcrumbs/cheese.

You can leave it now until you need it. Chill it if necessary.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, possible a little longer from chilled.

Serve with salad.