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Port of Ness Cod

The proposed twinning between a Fife community and a Pacific island is a reminder that Scots get everywhere and the fact that English writer Daniel Defoe based his famous book 'Robinson Crusoe' on the exploits of Largo-born seaman Alexander Selkirk. Largo Area Community Council has decided to explore the possibility of twinning Largo with Robinson Crusoe Island in the Juan Fernandez group, which lie several hundred miles off the coast of Chile. This follows the visit to Largo of Swiss-born photographer Daniel Bruhin who is now resident on Robinson Crusoe Island. During his visit to Fife he gave talks and slide shows to the local primary schools and suggested a permanent twinning arrangement between Largo and his adopted island home because of the unique link with Alexander Selkirk.
Born in Lower Largo in 1676, the son of a cobbler, by all accounts Alexander Selkirk was a rather hot-tempered chiel who after several close calls with the authorities fled to sea at the age of 27. He joined the hydrographer, navigator and explorer-turned-buccaneer William Dampier and became sailing master of the Cinque Ports. In 1704, having quarrelled with his captain, Selkirk requested to be put ashore on an uninhabited island in the Juan Fernandez group, where he lived alone for four years and four months, before being rescued by another privateer under the command of Woodes Rogers. He returned to Largo in 1712 and an account of his experiences published the following year inspired Daniel Defoe to write 'Robinson Crusoe'. Defoe, of course, was no stranger to Scotland and the Scots, having been an English spy in Edinburgh in the run-up to the incorporating Union of 1707between England and Scotland. Selkirk, unable to resettle on his native heath, returned to sea and at his death in 1721 was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy. A suitable statue of Alexander Selkirk, dressed as 'Robinson Crusoe' stands on the site of the cottage where he was born and is a popular tourist attraction. The local hotel is also suitably named 'The Crusoe'.
This week's recipe , Port of Ness Cod, comes from an island, but one rather nearer home than Robinson Crusoe Island, the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. It is a simple way of cooking and serving cod.
Port of Ness Cod
Ingredients : 1 1/2 lb ( 750 g ) cod, on the bone; salt and peper; 2 oz ( 50 g ) butter; 2-3 tbsp milk; 2 lb ( 1 kg ) potatoes, boiled and mashed; garnish - parsley
Put the cod into a pan and just cover with water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cod. Remove cod from the pan, skin and bone. Put flakes into a large heated ashet and put pats of butter on top. Moisten with a little of the cooking liquor and sprinkle liberally with chopped parsley. Add the milk and a little of the butter to the potatoes and cream them. Serve round the fish on the ashet.

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