Recipe: Whisky Balls

Hi, Friends!  Welcome back.

Last week I mentioned to you that I had a guest blogger lined up for this week, but due to unforeseen circumstances (tell you about it later), I had to mix things up a bit.  So…we are going to cook today instead!

If you stopped by last week, then you know that Mr. C and I recently took a trip to Lexington, Kentucky to celebrate our anniversary.  During our visit, we toured three different bourbon distilleries (Buffalo Trace, Maker’s Mark, and Woodford Reserve).  Each of the tours concluded with a tasting and we were offered a bourbon ball made with whiskey from that particular distillery.  All were delicious but Mr. C and I both agreed that the bourbon balls at Buffalo Trace were AH-MAZING.  I did a little poking around on the internet when we got back and found a recipe that is supposed to be very similar to the candies invented in 1938 by Ruth Booe, the founder of Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory in Frankfort, KY.  This is the candy company that today makes the bourbon balls for purchase at Buffalo Trace.  Perfect!

Because I write a blog about Scotland and not about Kentucky, I decided to give these a try using Scotch rather than bourbon (whisky with a “y” as opposed to whiskey with an “ey”).  Mr. C suggested that I use BenRiach 10 year old (a Speyside Scotch) which I discovered was an excellent choice given that it is aged in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, lending it the perfect sweet flavor.

Who’s ready to cook?  Let’s give it a go!

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Whisky Meets Tequila

Hey all!

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.  At present, I am sitting here in my den, windows open, sipping a wee dram, and enjoying the sound of a quiet, steady rain.  Bliss.

So this morning while Mr. C was at the liquor store buying tequila to make margaritas, he stumbled upon a newly stocked item – Don Julio Tequila-Reposado, Double Cask.

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Did you catch what the box says?  “Finished in casks used in the making of Buchanan’s blended Scotch whisky”.  Holy cow!  What’s that you ask?  Why yes, of course he bought a bottle, silly!

If any of you are familiar with the Don Julio brand, you know that their tequilas are top shelf. Definitely not the stuff of college drinking games.  No.  Don Julio tequilas are like a fine wine or a premium Scotch.  They are meant for sipping (emphasis on sipping-for the love of Pete, please don’t shoot it), savoring, and appreciating all of their fine qualities.  In fact, Don Julio tequilas are so exceptional that they are best enjoyed neat.  No mixer required.

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Recipe: Prince Charlie’s Coffee

The year was 1746 and a young man by the name of…wait for it…Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart was on the run.  We know him better as Bonnie Prince Charlie (and thank goodness because that was a mouthful).

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Photo:  Public Domain

Following a crushing defeat at the Battle of Culloden – the short, bloody battle in which Prince Charlie led his Jacobite supporters in an attempt to restore his family (the Stuarts) to the English and Scottish thrones – Charlie found himself fleeing for his life from an aggressive pursuit by the king’s men.  With assistance from loyal Scottish clansmen along the way, Charlie’s escape took him through the Highlands and into the western islands of Scotland, finally landing him on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides.

It was on Skye that John MacKinnon, the chief of Clan MacKinnon, helped Prince Charlie escape Scotland for France.  As a token of his gratitude, the Prince gave John the secret recipe to his personal liqueur that had been created for him when he was at the French court.

Many generations later, in 1873, that secret recipe passed into the hands of John Ross of the Broadford Hotel on Skye and John’s son James went on to register “an dram buidheach” (in Gaelic, “the drink that satisfies”) as a trademark.  In 1914, Malcolm MacKinnon obtained the recipe and trademark and established what we know today as the Drambuie Liqueur Company.

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Oh Yes I Did!

I  bought a haggis!

My Plaid Heart is so happy right now.

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Before you say ‘eww’, what I bought isn’t actually authentic haggis.  You can’t get it in the U.S. because the FDA has strict rules about consuming lungs (gross you say?). What I purchased is made with lamb breast and beef liver. And of course, the traditional oatmeal, onion, and spices that make haggis such a distinctive Scottish food.  In days of old, haggis was encased in the lining of a sheep’s stomach (also a little gross – I admit), but that has also been modernized, with most haggis today presented in either an artificial casing or a casing similar to sausage.  Regardless, I’m pretty excited.  (And just for the record, if given the opportunitiy, yes…I would eat haggis made the traditional way.)

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Recipe: Scottish Shortbread With Ginger

Hi everyone.  Glad you stopped by!

Anyone have a sweet tooth today?  Because if you do and are looking for something tasty to satisfy it, then you’re in the right place.

From Lorna Doone’s to the Girl Scout’s trefoils to the distinctive red, plaid boxes of Walker’s, there are many pre-packaged shortbread options from which to choose.  My personal favorite happens to be made by Shortbread House of Edinburgh – particularly the biscuits (cookies) with warming stem ginger.  Mmm mmm good.  Today I’m going to attempt to make my own version of their yummy treats.

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If you live in the U.S., these biscuits (cookies) can be purchased from Amazon and sometimes can be found in local shops.  Recently, I was thrilled to find a display of them for sale at World Market.

Once a luxury to the every day people of Scotland, shortbread began with medieval “biscuit bread” – that is, bread made with leftover biscuit dough.  Over time, the yeast in the bread was replaced by butter and eventually evolved into shortbread as we know it today.

Shortbread is traditionally made in three shapes:  a large circle divided into segments called shortbread petticoat tails, a rectangle cut into strips or bars called shortbread fingers, and round biscuits (cookies) called shortbread rounds.  I’m going to be making the rounds today.

Let’s begin!

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Recipe: Cullen Skink

Hello Friends,

Today’s recipe comes to you all the way from the great state of Florida!  No, not really.  It actually comes from the village of Cullen in Moray, Scotland.  I just had to go all the way to Florida to find the haddock.

I had been wanting to make Cullen skink soup for you for awhile and so I searched for the required fish at every single local grocery store here in Virginia.  None to be found, I was delighted when while on vacation, I spotted frozen haddock at the Publix in Panama City Beach, Florida.  I immediately bought two bags, packed them frozen and on ice, and took them back home with me in the car.  Using packaged frozen fish is probably not quite as good as fresh, but hey, be grateful for what you have.

So I’m guessing by now that you have realized that Cullen skink soup is not really made of skink.

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Off the Beaten Path: Redhouse Castle

Hello Friends.  Guess what?  It’s almost Friday!

Today I would like to take you to another ‘off-the-beaten-path’ place.  You probably know by now that those spots are my favorite.  There is something fun about seeing things that the typical tourist doesn’t know about.  Mr. C and I discovered this one completely by accident.  Today I’m going to take you to see Redhouse Castle.

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