The Stone of Scone, or the Stone of Destiny, is a 152kg block of red sandstone that would have been placed under the 700-year-old coronation chair yesterday. Historically it was used during the coronations of Scottish monarchs, and then the coronations of the monarchs of England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom.
My great uncle’s garage
The stone is well travelled — Westminster Abbey, Scone Abbey, Arbroath Abbey, and more recently, Edinburgh Castle. And in 1950, it travelled to my great uncle’s garage in Glasgow, having been stolen from Westminster Abbey by four Scottish students, who wanted to make a statement about Scottish nationalism. As my great uncle was a renown (and from memory, very vocal) member of the Scottish Covenant Association, who were campaigning for a Scottish Parliament, they passed the stone to him, which is how it ended up skulking in his garage.
As a child, I used to love visiting my relatives and their garages in Scotland in June, during the raspberry harvest. Raspberries were — and still are — one of my favourite fruits. Cranachan is the Scottish version of Eton mess, originally made to celebrate the harvest. The word cranachan means ‘churn’ in Gaelic. The almonds and chocolate are my addition, and not part of the original recipe. Apparently going rogue runs in the family!
Recipe for Cranachan (serves 4)
- 2 tablespoons oats
- 1 tablespoon almonds, chopped
- 300g raspberries, crushed
- 350ml double cream
- 2 tablespoons honey (heather honey if possible)
- 2 tablespoons whiskey
- 2 squares dark chocolate (minimum 70%), grated
Toast the oatmeal and almonds until rich and nutty and then leave to cool. Whisk the cream until just set, and then stir in the honey and whisky. Stir in the oatmeal and whisk lightly until the mixture is just firm. Alternate layers of the cream with the raspberries and purée in 4 serving dishes. Allow to chill slightly before eating.