Today, we are having our most expensive meal of the year.
The girls have also left home. You may find it odd, but there is a connection between these two statement.
You want to know what it is?
Well, first I want to show you our kitchen.
And now, I want you to breathe in deeply through your nostrils.
You done? Did you smell the aroma?
NO?! Well, it's there. And it's strong. And this is the reason ...
...You ready for this?
Okay, you asked for it. Here's our delicacy.
....uuhhh. Hold on.
This is his good side.
oooor, maybe not.
Anyway. This is the Guga.
And this is the story of the Guga.
Every year, around ten Ness men sail out to Sulasgeir.
This is Sulasgeir.
It's a rock situated about forty miles north of us here, at the north of the Isle of Lewis.
The men go there for the guga, the young gannets which inhabit this outpost. It's a tradition in Ness, and has been, possibly, for centuries. The annual event even has special dispensation from the European Union (I'm glad you can't see my face as I type these two words. Mmmm) to harvest 2000 birds every year.
And so they arrive back with our delicacies, and we get to cooking it.
Here's the guga this morning.
I wash each piece with hot running water and Fairy Liquid. It's the only way to get rid of the grease. I'm no kidding.
Then into the pan the pieces go. They go into cold water, and are placed on the cooker.
....when the water boils, it's drained off
and the pan is refilled with cold water.
I did this twice.... to lessen the grease and to lessen the salt.
And finally it's ready.
The taste is very difficult to describe. It really is like nothing you've ever had before.
Unless you've had the guga!
I've heard it described as a cross between kipper and steak.
I think it's simply incomparable. But it's definitely an acquired taste.
Almost nobody outside of Ness can bear the sight of it, the smell of it, and certainly not the taste.
But my friend, at No Place Like Home, loves it.
She's a Niseach at heart, that girl.
No doubt about it
I'm afraid I spoil things by using a knife and fork. Apparently the proper way to eat it is with your hands.
The Builder and the Big Brother just looked at me and rolled their eyes when they saw the cutlery coming onto the table.
But I've just got to draw the line somewhere. Knife and fork it is.
There are some photos of the men of Ness on Sulasgeir here.
And this book has some fabulous photos of, and information on, the annual trip.
... and this was today
Yes, the Fairy Liquid was necessary again...
Cover the guga in the pan with cold water...
When it comes to the boil, pour off the water, and refill the pan with cold water. Then bring to the boil and cook.
And there you have it: guga and new potatoes.
Worth every penny...