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Scottish Cooking, Beef Stew

1 1/2 lbs stewing beef
1/2 cup beef stock
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 turnips diced
2 lbs new potatoes
3 carrots sliced
Salt Pepper
1 sprig rosemary chopped
1/2 teaspoon thyme

Cover the meat with water and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer, put in the sliced carrots and neeps, add herbs, salt and pepper to taste, simmer for 1 hour. Add the new potatoes and barley and cook for 1 more hour. Mix 2 tablespoons cornflour to 1/2 cup cold stock, add to the stew and cook until thickened.
Serves 4-6

Despite the paucity of meat in our ancestors' diet, it is evident that Scotland has always been a producer of beef. Thomas Pennant, for example, noted when touring the Highland in 1769. " The great produce of Lochaber is cattle that district alone sends out annually 3,000 head; but if a portion of Invernesshire is included, the number is 10,000."

A considerable part of our earlier history, indeed, seems to revolve around cattle, not so much their production, it has to be admitted, as their abduction, from one glen to another; from the Lowlands to the Highlands; from the North of England across the Border. It has often been claimed, no doubt with truth, that for many of our ancestors cattle-reiving held a well-nigh irresistible appeal, providing an outlet for their sense of adventure and seemingly unquenchable thirst for raids and forays.

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