I have always liked the feeling of being well dressed myself. The special feel of an expensive silk shirt with a finely woven jaiket and a dapper long coat about me always gave me extra confidence whatever the occasion. Okay, maybe not during my 'collection years'. I had a lead pipe, a hard stare and a pair of meaty fists to give me confidence back in the day. Calvin Klein would have been just another overdue Jewish bookmaker to me. One more name to visit weekly in my little mnemonic notebook, scrawled in pencil and most probably badly misspelled. Things haven't changed that much!
No, perhaps a throw-back to my infant years when I spent the first 10 years of my life wearing Salvation Army seconds and my brothers brown shoes, polished in vinegar, to mass with the mammy on the Sabbath. It was hard to praise the lord when all I could smell was pickled onions and my belly rumbling louder than the priests wrath. I recall one particular Sunday when I was handed two left shoes in the rush to get out of the door and appease the black crows of the pulpits. I spent the entire morning turning left and walking in circles due to the pain across my toes.
However, disturbingly enough yesterday, I found myself lingering inside a rather well known designer men's outfitters in Glasgow with Siobhan, discussing which shoes would blend best with the leather finish of my belt and the hide finish of my wallet. It was half-way through such pretentious ponderings that I actually remembered that my feet are always most comfortable when they are squarely rooted upon the ground. I can't do pretentious. It doesn't suit me. I am at my happiest with a sausage roll and a mug of tea to hand, my trews tucked in my boots and a set of van keys in my pocket.
I will always be proud of my Irish parentage, my home city of Glasgow although it is far fae Monte Carlo with its designer couples, shiny Porsche's and sparkly lifestyle. I still have acquaintances who you definitely would not want to meet in well lit alleys, let alone dark ones. Needless to say I also have life-long friends who are law abiding and are always beyond reproach. I am what I am, and I enjoy a simple, but very happy existence in my own skin. So, what better way to endorse the simple most humble Scottish dessert dish of cranachan. You'll find nae luxury here, apart fae the taste. Enjoy...
125g porridge oats
250ml double or whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 punnet of fresh raspberries
4 tablespoon single malt whisky
4 fresh mint leaves for garnish
Heat a large heavy based skillet/frying pan on the stove until hot. Add the oats and stirring constantly, toast the oats until they have a light, nutty smell and is just beginning to change colour. Do not leave unattended, the oatmeal can quickly burn. Remove the oats from the pan.
Keep a handful of the raspberries to one side, place the remaining raspberries into a food processor and whizz once or twice to create a thick purée, do not over blend it's fine if there are a few wee lumps of whole raspberry.
In a large bowl whisk the cream, vanilla extract and whisky to form firm peaks.
In either a glass trifle bowl, or individual serving glasses layer the dessert starting with cream, followed by raspberries, followed by oatmeal. You can either make small layers repeating several times or layer 1/3 of each to fill the bowl or glass. Always finish with a layer of cream and a light sprinkling of oatmeal.
Cover the bowl or glasses with plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of one hour or several if possible. To serve, drizzle over a little extra honey and add the mint leaves to the top.