Tag Archives: Scotland

Granny’s Shortbread Recipe

image

 

This is my Granny Rose’s recipe, it’s basic, in fact so much so I’m pretty sure it is the same one almost everyone’s Scottish gran knows. Homebaking doesn’t get much simpler than this traditional biscuit, and it’s a great first recipe for baking with wee ones! ūüôā

It goes by ratio. 6:4:2

6 of flour(plain/all purpose)

4 of fat(I use unsalted butter but you can use margarine)

2 of sugar(caster/superfine)

I also use a pinch of salt in my shortbread

 

Whatever your measurement is (grams or ounces) follow this formula for traditional Scottish shortbread.

Beat the butter with a wooden spoon until creamy then beat in the sugar until light & fluffy.

Add in the flour(and salt) little by little until you have a dough.

Work the dough on the work surface to bring together then, either roll out and cut shapes or press into your tin(or mould like me).

Place on a baking sheet if making biscuits, prick all over with a fork and bake at 180(gas 3) for 35-40 mins or until golden.

If your shortbread starts to look too dark, cover with a piece of foil!

Remove from the oven and whilst still hot dredge with more sugar. Mark the pieces, if you have baked in a tin and leave to cool completely.

 

You can of course do all this in a machine, but Granny Rose always gives me a stern look when I mention such things, like that one time I suggested SEMOLINA(makes a grainy, crunchy, rather pleasant non-trad[in her eyes] biscuit) in the shortbread recipe! ūüėČ

 

By the by….Saturday (17th May) was World Whisky Day so in light of that fact I made “shortie” in my thistle mould to go with a wee dram at night, suitably patriotic don’t you think? … Slainte!

image

 

Advertisements

Stout Marshmallows

 

image

Marshmallows are something I have wanted to try for ages, I just never seemed to get around to it. In truth it was a lot to do with the idea of faffing around with a candy thermometer and the idea of the mess too.

I can however now say that having made them that the faffing(which in reality is not much) and mess(easy to clean with hot water) is absolutely worth it! PLUS if you do gift these to your father on Fathers Day you’ll heaps of brownie points-bonus! ūüôā

As with most things I do it’s never enough to just make plain, simple ¬†ones and leave it at that. These stout(STOUT? heck yes! delicious, sweet, cloud-like with a rich stout taste that comes second, they really do work!) The stout flavour take the kiddie confectionery to another, more adult level.

image

This recipe uses stout from my local brewery Williams Bros here in central Scotland. March of the Penguins to be precise, but any dark, rich, malty stout would work, try Guinness if you can’t get my delicious local brew.

image

Everyone here loves them and they would be the perfect thing for Fathers Day. So I urge you to get the pots out and get your mallow on!

 

What you need:

A sugar/candy thermometer is essential here!

A med/large pot, I use one with high sides. This recipe has a tendency to foam a lot so get yourself something kinda big, but¬†not too big that your thermometer doesn’t reach the sugar syrup.

A pan, I used a regular loaf pan. That is about perfect size for this amount. Oil the pan and dust with a mix of half icing sugar and half cornflour.

 

The sugar syrup:

3/4 (6oz)cup sugar

1/2 cup & 2 tbsp(5oz) golden syrup

1/4 cup stout(flat)

Pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract, I used 1/4 tsp vanilla paste

 

For the gelatine bloom:

1/3 cup stout(flat)

1.5 tbsp powdered gelatine

 

For the icing sugar/cornflour dusting:

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/2 cup cornflour

Mix together in small bowl and use to dust pan and top of mallows.

 

What to do:

First off let your stout go flat, I mean proper flat. If you’re rushed(aren’t we all?) pout it into a jug and stir it around with a fork until flat

Then take the stout pour into the bowl of your mixer and sprinkle the gelatine over the top in a even layer. Mix to make sure there are no big lumps. Fit the whisk attachment to the mixer.

Put the sugar, stout and golden syrup and salt into your pan, clip the thermometer to the side, if yours is swanky like that, and bring fairly quickly to a rolling boil. You want this stout, sugar syrup to reach 240 on¬†the thermometer, once it’s been boiling for a few ins keep checking, towards the end the temp seems to rise rapidly!

Once you’ve reached the 240 take the pan from the heat and start your mixer running, slowly(ish) at this part! Boiling sugar is¬†not something you want splattering over yourself, please be careful.

Gently pour the sugar into the gelatine until combined, now you may increase the speed.

Let the mixer do it’s thing. The mixture will grow and change to a paler colour. At this stage add the vanilla. You know the mallows is ready when you can trail mallow on the surface and it retains it’s shape. This can take about 10-12 mins to do. You can feel the side of the bowl for this too, you want it to feel only barely warm to the touch.

Once at the setting stage, work quickly with a silicone spatula and pour the mallow into your pan. Don’t worry too much about getting everything or it will start to set!

Smooth as much as you can, but again do it quickly and don’t “faff”.

Sprinkle a little more icing sugar/cornflour mix over the top and leave to set for at least an hour.

Gently pull the mallow away from the edge of the tin to release and using a knife cut into pieces. Dip your knife into any remaining icing sugar/cornflour between cuts. If it is proving hard to come off the sides, ease a knife down the edge and push a little of the sugar/corn flour mix down the gap. Work your way along the sides of the pan like this and it *should plop out no bother!

 

ūüôā

Ps. Just had a thought, how AMAZING would these be as s’mores?! Yum, I’m off to buy half covered chocolate digestive biscuits and try!

 

image

 

 

 

 

My Favourite Cake(ever)!

image

This really is my¬†all time favourite cake recipes. It’s lovely, even my Granny Rose likes it, high praise indeed! It’s not too sweet, it’s just right. Be sure to add the cinnamon sugar to the top it really does add a lovely wee crunch! ūüôā

I was given this recipe while on holiday in the beautiful Perthshire Highlands. The lovely lady who gave me it told me it was given to her by Scot Herbs. I was curious about the use of the herb rosemary in it(if I’m being frank, I thought it was a bit weird sounding). ¬†Worry not though Dear Reader, it’s fabulous!

Here is the recipe, tweaked slightly(and added measurements in US cups[SO much easier than grams, right?] to my taste but click here for a link to the original Scot Herbs recipe!

image

 

Blueberry and Rosemary Madeira Cake

 

What I used:

250g(1 cup/2 sticks) Soft Butter

200g(1 cup)  Sugar/white super fine

3 Large Eggs

300g(2  1/2 cups)Plain Flour/all purpose

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract Paste

2 tsp Fresh Rosemary Needles, chopped finely(I use a pair of scissors for this)

4 tsp Milk

Two handfuls of frozen Blueberries

 
Cinnamon Sugar(for top)
2 tbsp Demerara Sugar
A  big pinch of cinnamon 

 

image

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 170oC/Gas Mark 3.
Grease and line a loaf pan, or if you’re like me cheat and use a liner(life’s too short to always grease pans)
Cream the butter adding the sugar until it is pale and fluffy
Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour after each egg.
Add the vanilla.
Fold in the rest of the flour and chopped rosemary needles
Thin out with the milk
Fold in half of the frozen blueberries
Pour into  loaf pan
Add a few more berries on the top(helps so that not all of them are at the bottom of the cake)
 Sprinkle the spiced sugar over the top
Bake for 1 ‚Äď 1 ¬ľ hour or until a toothpick comes out clean

image

 

 

It’s got good staying power this cake if, like the Scot Herbs site says, it lasts that long! Freezes well too.¬†

ūüôā

 

Maw’s sauce? it’s gid!

photo-97 photo-98

OK so I took my time about it, but in my efforts to put Maw Broon’s(click the name for a link to the website!) sauce through it’s paces I had to take my time and give it a proper “road test” so to speak. I’d love to show you a better photo of ¬†the Tomato sauce bottle alas it arrived with the bottom sheered off, there was some I managed to save (fear¬†not, I did sieve before I offered it to hubby to make doubly sure glass shards were not present)!

The Broons family hold a special place in most Scottish folk’s hearts, It’s a tradition, a wee piece of history and dear to us. Along with Oor Wullie and The Beano it was the first thing me and¬†my class mates really were obsessed over in Primary school. Remember when Gnasher went missing? Traumatic, doesn’t even cut it!

However that said, since I am¬†no longer a bairn my tastes have changed somewhat, and if truth be told I am¬†normally quite wary of something with a celeb¬†name attached etc(want my bloke to smell like Peter Andre?¬†um…no thanks). About as close as I come is the occasional tin of Peppa Pig spaghetti shapes lurking in the shadowy bit in the pantry. I like to pretend I don’t buy them. And also like to pretend when someone does spot them that they are for the children, and¬†not me. I’m shameless I know.

My attention was still drawn to Maw Broon’s Sauces, not only for the¬†nostalgic trip down memory lane, but I was hoping for something more. If the sauce doesn’t stand up on it’s own merits¬†then it’s just cashing in on a name. It may appear to tourists or be a great gift for a ex pat friend, if it’s rubbish though I won’t buy it again.

Luckily having read through Maw’s cook books I realised this was¬†no ordinary stick-a-cartoon-character-on-the-bottle-to-flog-to-the-kids affair. ¬†The books have real recipes in them! I am coming to realise there is something “genuine” about seeing her famous form on a product and¬†the sauces are a reflection of just that. Made in small batches, and with the best tasty ingredients¬†these are the REAL deal.

The Tomato sauce is tomatoey with a¬†tang and is reassuringly¬†thick, nothing unlike the over processed, super smooth stuff I¬†normally stick on my fish finger butty(the true test of a ketchup in my view. Hubby disagrees and had it on his fry up for the “ultimate” test)! In short we both thought it delicious!

photo-94

We have since tried the Broon sauce, it was fabulously spiced and fruity on the haggis, black pudding and crispy onion panini we had for lunch(and the vol au vents I faffed about making too)!

photo-93photo-92

If you have a friend who loves The Broons, who happens to be a foodie type too, you could do worse than get them a bottle of this. It’s¬†no gimmick, just honest and¬†tasty, just as you expect from Maw.

ūüôā

Mellow Yellow Lady(or How to Make Lemon Curd)

lemon 1

 I LOVE lemons!

Lemon drinks, lemon cookies and cakes, the colour of lemons is just so appealing to me also. That reminds me, you know I once(when a good bit younger) saw a lady dressed head to toe in yellow in the street! She had yellow hair accessories and yellow skirt and cardigan and jacket and nylons on, and even a lemon coloured handbag! Considering the small rural village I grew up in, this was quite and unusual sight I can tell you.  It was a sight, kind of  amazing and bewildering at the same time. Did I mention that she was an elderly lady? which kind of makes all the more cool/weird in my book! I want to be that lady when I grow old ad weird(er).

Soooo getting back to the recipe! It was after a trip to the local Waitrose, when I found unwaxed lemons with leaves(love that a few green leaves makes the fruit bowl look SO much nicer) had found their way into the trolley(how DO they do that?) that I decided to make some jars of lemon loveliness. Seeing as hubby had been craving it and had in desperation bought a lurid, almost fluorescent, jar of lemon preserve. I took pity on him and now I am the best thing ever, well, second I expect to a slice of toast and curd!

These are proper jars of sharp, citrusy, tangy, creamy loveliness, not something that is not dissimilar to the base of those horrid sweet, lemony-ish but somehow never quite “real” enough tasting lemon meringue pies you get from the frozen aisle of the supermarket. The colour is also just as pleasing as the taste, you can thank Mother Nature for that!

Here’s what you need:

Makes 2 jars(ish. Mine made about one and a half jars, they are quite big jars though!)

3 unwaxed lemons(or give them a good old scrub!) Zest, finely grated, and juiced

2 Eggs whole

2 Egg yolks

75g/3oz Butter

350g/12ozCaster sugar

Here’s how to do it:

First you want to zest and juice the lemons, don’t you love the smell of lemon?

lemon 2

Place sugar zest and juice in a heavy based pan or double boiler, if you’re swanky like that, and slowly heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Whisk the eggs together in a separate bowl.

When the sugar is dissolved, add a little of your hot lemon mixture into the eggs. Mix this together until combined and then return the whole lot to the lemon sugar mix that is still in your pan(double boiler).

lemon3

Heat over a low/med heat until thickened stirring continuously! You can tell when “done” by checking that it coats the back of the spoon, and you can leave a line in the curd when you drag your finger across it.

When ready, pour into sterilized jars, seal, and leave to cool.

These jars should keep for 3-4 weeks in the pantry. Though probably not if you are like my family. I can see a lemon Pavlova featuring in our future very soon!

lemon 4

Go forward, cook and enjoy!

Ps. After describing the Lemon Yellow Lady to someone, I heard that she used to pick other colours to wear too! How cool is that?

New Year-New Stuff!

2014 means lots of things to me. This is the year we will move home & relocate to a new part of Scotland, Fife! Having done the whole “flitting”(Scottish term for house move) many many times, let’s see…nine times(gosh even more times than I remembered!) I am dreading the actual shifting of possessions from one location to another. The fact however that this will be the last ¬†time is something both reassuring and joyous too! It’s all a bit of a confusing one.

 

So, coupled with a house move, decorating the WHOLE place and serious toddler/teenager taming I shall also be ¬†“cooking some books” which is to say I will be taking recipes from cook books and seeing how they work out. There ¬†will, I assure you be much tweaking, fiddling and jiggery pokery, I rarely leave anything alone(sometimes a recipe just doesn’t “sound” right to me, y’know how it is? No? Just me then? My hubby might just be right, I AM a weirdo?) but the end result is usually always good.