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Through the ages the humble bannock has been the staple diet of the hardy crofter. But, as the new Millennium dawns, the need for ever bigger and better bannocks increases.
This fundamental nutritional need was first recognized as early as 1998 by young Robert Graham Tulloch (Bobby o' da Heights) whilst in the throws of a McEwans induced trance.
The first attempt at creating a Super Bannock was slightly flawed due to contamination of the dough by 15w40 multigrade motor oil, leeching from the seams of the 45 gallon drum cooking vessel. Other contaminants included Blue Circle grade one cement, sand sourced from da Blade o' Heylor and carbon particles and combustion gasses from the vintage 1.8 horse Briggs & Stratton powered mixer (said to be old enough to have mixed the mortar for the Mousa Broch).
The thermal control of the cooking process was also very rough. The mossey peat to blue clod ratio being incorrectly gauged by Master Tulloch, who was further hampered by his ill fitting evening attire.
Despite all these short comings two local Bannock connoisseurs (Ivor “Hank” Hughson and Ewan o' da Heights) declared the effort Nyimmy!!
This concluded the 1998 Super Bannock season.
The 1999 season began with a much more professional approach being adopted. One of the first improvements made was the commissioning and construction of the Mk 1 Sideburn Royale, a cooking appliance of great versatility, hampered only by the fact that it was 50 years after its time.
Hygiene factors were greatly improved with the acquisition of a fish factory grade chute and square mouthed spatula for mixing purposes, thereby pre-empting any public outcry against GM (Godless Messy) foods.
Top BP chef Bert Ratter BoB ( Bachelor of Bannocks ) and The Little Chef (need we say more?) were drafted in for their stirring abilities, to mix, bind and fold the secret ingredients of the world's biggest bannock.
Mr Bert(ole)'s preference for Italian food came to the fore however, when he forgot he was making a bannock and resorted to Italian dough tossing. Matters were swiftly put back on track by The Little Chef threatening to throw his not so little weight around.
Split second timing was essential to ensure that the dough was of just the right consistency and texture, just as the oven was reaching optimum temperature. As this was such a momentous occasion guest appearances were made by those other well known chefs, The Williamson Brothers (Seafood Specialists) and Monsieur Jake le Cromarte (Pomme de Terre Specialist).
When Chief Stoker Toad declared that the Dilithium Crystals couldn't take any more, the Mother of all Bannocks was placed inside the oven and baked at Warp Factor 7 to perfection.
To add the finishing touch, Gas Specialist Stuart o' da Heights was called in to light the after burners to produce that perfect crusty exterior.
Throughout the proceedings refreshments and smoorikans were served to an eager public by Ivor “Hank” Hughson, Owner/Manager of Shetland's answer to Stringfellows - HUGGIE'S BAR, the only place to be if your stuck in a 70s time warp!!
The baking now complete, the bannock was removed and allowed to cool amid the euphoria and rapturous applause from the awestruck assembly. The carving of such an important piece of culinary history could not be left to just anyone. With this in mind the world renowned skill and experience of Auntie Greta was called upon, ably assisted by those good old, tully totin', butter spreadin' kitchen women.
The finished delicacy was now offered to the slavering throng. Those who dared to try it declared it “no too bad ava!”
Little Chef & the originator of the Big Bannock Robert Graham Tulloch sample the 1999 Record Breaker.
The Millennium Season promises to put all others in the shade and preparations are well under way at time of going to press. Word has it that the Bannock will be bigger and the Lerwick Harbour Trust 100 ton crane is standing by, just in case. Also, rumour has it that Bernie Ecclestone is vying for the television rights to the Merry Tiller World Championship so as to minimize his losses when Merry Tiller racing eclipses the Formula One scene. Furthermore speculation is rife that Professor Williamson's new invention is “oot o hand” all together. We shall have to wait and see!!