This exquisite small etching in the collection of Anthony J Sargeant is by the Scottish artist William Strang. It shows a view of Petworth in West Sussex. A long way from Strang’s Scottish birthplace.
William Strang was born in Dumbarton in 1859. His father was a builder and his mother was the daughter of a founding member of the Clydeside shipbuilding firm William Denny & Bros. Throughout his life Strang identified himself as one of the working class and maintained a concern for the ordinary working person. On leaving Dumbarton Academy, he worked for a year as an office clerk for the family firm before he was eventually permitted to move to London to commence an artistic training. Although he made periodic return visits to Scotland, from this time London became his permanent home.
He was elected as a Royal Academician in the year he died, 1921.
During his lifetime, Dumbarton-born William Strang (1859 – 1921) built up an international reputation as a highly skilled and imaginative printmaker, portraitist and painter. His diverse subjects ranged from the fantastic to the very real, including uncompromising depictions of contemporary life and the effects of poverty and social injustice, landscapes, subjects from the bible, bewildering allegories, and narrative illustrations. He was also a prolific and highly successful portraitist.
Very clean rope grown Scottish mussels make for a delicious meal. These were especially good mussels plump and tasty. Simply cooked by Anthony Sargeant in the classic Moules Mariniere fashion: first some finely chopped shallots sweated off in butter with just a little chopped hot chilli and garlic, then white wine added and brought to boil before adding the mussels for a few minutes in a covered pan until they open. Straining off the mussels leaves a delicious liquor behind which can have cream and parsley added before bringing to the boil and pouring over the dish of mussels.
Burn’s Night is the 25th January. This is the haggis seen in the previous post now sliced and served with onion gravy made by Anthony J Sargeant as an accompaniment along with the traditional mashed swede and potato. It tastes better than it looks says Tony – It is after all Peasant food.
This traditional haggis was bought by Anthony J Sargeant from Ludlow Food Centre in Shropshire and cooked for Burn’s Night on the 25th of January 2017. It is fair to say that it does not look that appetising here but sliced and served with onion gravy along with some mashed potatoes and swede does improve its appearance.
Arbroath Smokies are a superb Scottish delicacy says Anthony Sargeant. They are small haddock which have been hot smoked over hardwood chips thus they can be eaten without further cooking but here the meat is flaked from the bones and skin and incorporated in layers of potato dauphinois according to a recipe of Rick Stein’s and baked in a hot oven. A delicious warming meal for supper on a cold winter’s evening. Tony thinks the quantities in Rick Steins recipe are over generous, this dish cooked yesterday evening yielded four good portions using half the quantities suggested – but of course that depends on your appetite. Any not eaten keeps well in the fridge for a few days and can be reheated. For Rick Stein’s recipe see page 93 of his excellent book “Seafood lovers’ guide”.