So tomorrow happens to be my 2 year blogging anniversary. Hooray me!!
To celebrate, I am trying a new whisky cocktail called a Full Scottish. Seems rather appropriate, actually, given the focus of my blog.
I found this recipe on The Glenlivet’s web site, however, I imagine it would be good with any other Speyside (or perhaps Highland) single malt of your choice. The Glenlivet recommends using their 15 year old Scotch for this recipe. Mr. C says that’s an awfully good Scotch to use in a cocktail recipe, but I told him we’re going to do it anyway! It’s a sacrifice I must make. 🙂
50 ml The Glenlivet 15 year old
20 ml/4 tsp lemon juice
15 ml/3 tsp white/ruby port ( I used Sandeman Founder’s Reserve Ruby Port)
As I begin to write this post, I have Eileen Barton’s cute 1950 hit song stuck in my head – “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake”. Go ahead. YouTube it. I dare you. 😀
Today I want to share a recipe for Honey and Whisky Cake. I got the recipe from a little book I purchased a few weeks ago in Scotland. This cake is quick and easy to make and really delicious. It’s moist, not overly sweet, and the grated orange rind is a wonderful addition.
I was poking around on the internet recently in search of recipe ideas for this blog and I happened to come across one that really grabbed my attention. It is a recipe for Scottish Teatime Cupcakes, published by a food blogger named Katie on her web site Butterlust. It looks like a great site. Check it out. This particular cake recipe combines two of my favorite Scottish foods – tea and shortbread – into one delectable treat. What’s better than that?! These were a big hit with Mr. C who said they taste like expensive boutique cupcakes. I’d say that’s a win! So without further ado, here’s the recipe.
Hi guys! I hope you have had a great weekend. I have been nursing a crappy ear infection myself. But alas, it’s been a good excuse to catch some extra z’s, lay around the house in my bathrobe, binge some television, and sip a little whisk(e)y. Always look on the sunny side of life, my friends!
In keeping with said whisk(e)y, today we are going to make a Rob Roy. Mr. C and I happen to LOVE a Manhattan cocktail, as we have been on quite the bourbon kick lately (thus the reason I included the ‘e’ in the spelling of whiskey). Our newfound appreciation for bourbon began last fall when we visited Lexington, Kentucky and toured three different distilleries.
Named after the 17th century Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor, a Rob Roy cocktail is essentially a Manhattan. But instead of bourbon – or if you’re a purist, rye whiskey – it is made with a blended Scotch (whisky without the ‘e’). We initially wanted to make today’s recipe with Dimple Pinch, a smooth, non-peaty blend that is suited perfectly for mixed drinks. Unfortunately, Mr. C couldn’t find any and the liquor store he went to was thin on blends. So instead, he decided to try one we have never had. It’s called Monkey Shoulder. Great name, right? It describes itself as “blended in small batches of three fine Speyside single malts, then married to achieve a smoother, richer taste”.
Robert Roy MacGregor (1671-1734) was a marauder in the Highlands of Scotland. After falling out with the Duke of Montrose, Roy ran a racket, whereby he earned a living stealing cattle and then extorting money from farmers to ‘protect’ them from thieves. His name was made even more famous by writer Walter Scott when he published his novel Rob Roy in 1817.
Based on its description, I think Monkey Shoulder sounds promising. Let’s see if the taste is as inventive as that fun name!
I have missed you! I’ve been on a little blogging break and now I feel refreshed and ready to get back into the groove. I think it’s really important to do that every once in awhile. Do you feel that way too?
Reader, today I would like to take you to Dalhousie, a 13th/15th century castle that sits about eight miles to the southeast of Edinburgh, Scotland, near the town of Bonnyrigg.
Mr. C and I had the pleasure of visiting Dalhousie in the spring of 2014. While we did not spend the night in this beautiful castle hotel/spa, we did dine in The Dungeon Restaurant. What a marvelous experience!
Every year on January 25, Scots (and those who have plaid hearts), come together to celebrate the life and literary works of Scotland’s beloved poet, Robert Burns. Burns Night as it is called, is a night for making merry. Though celebrations vary among its participants, generally it’s a night to gather with family and friends to eat traditional Scottish fare, to be entertained by all things Burns, and of course, to drink whisky! At more formal occasions, the evening commences with the joining of hands as everyone sings ‘Auld Lang Syne’. Mr. C and I celebrate our own version of Burns Night, but to celebrate this event IN Scotland is definitely one of my bucket list dreams.
*You may click on the links embedded above if you are interested in reading my previous posts about Robert Burns.*
The traditional fare on Burns Night is usually some sort of soup (such as cock-a-leekie), haggis, neeps, tatties, and something sweet (like cranachan or clootie dumpling). Today, I would like to share with you my recipe for cock-a-leekie soup. I know it’s a funny sounding name, but really it’s just chicken soup with leeks. 🙂 The addition of allspice really takes the taste up a notch. Enjoy it on Burns Night or on any other occasion. It’s utterly delicious!
Hello again, Friends. Guess what…it’s recipe day! Since I haven’t done any holiday baking thus far (cause my thighs are big enough already), today I’m going to do just that. I’ll be trying my hand at Sticky Toffee Pudding, a recipe by my blogging friend and fellow lover of Scotland, Cristine Eastin.
To we Americans, Sticky Toffee Pudding is not a pudding as we know it. It is actually a date cake topped with a delicious toffee sauce.
Cristine is a sweet and talented author who has published two works of fiction as well as a book of Scottish recipes – A Wee Scottish Cookbook (all available on Amazon). It was in her cookbook that I found the recipe for Sticky ToffeePudding. As Cristine points out, this dessert is a relatively new concoction. And although its origination may have been in England, the Scots have embraced it as a holiday tradition as well.
Click on any of the links above and you’ll be redirected to Cristine’s beautiful blog. I hope you’ll check it out!
Last week I mentioned that this week I would be making Scotch eggs. I am still going to make them today BUT…I made a discovery about them this past week. Bummer, they’re not actually Scottish! Well crap, who knew?
In fact, according to Encyclopedia Britannica,“Scotch egg[s], [are] a traditional British dish consisting of a shelled hard-boiled egg that is wrapped in sausage, covered in breadcrumbs, and then deep-fried or baked until crispy. It is a popular pub and picnic dish and is commonly served cold in Britain. The Scotch egg has competing origin stories. Fortnum & Mason, a London department store known for its food products, maintains that it created Scotch eggs in 1738 for wealthy travelers on carriage rides. Another theory asserts that the dish evolved from northern India’s nargisi kofta (an egg covered in minced meat and served with curry), which returning soldiers and others introduced to England. A third story claims that it was invented by Scottish farmers as an inexpensive dish.”
If that’s not confusing enough, I then read somewhere else that they may have been a North African invention, brought to England by way of France. And still another site stated that their origin is rooted in the coastal Yorkshire town of Whitby. So your guess is as good as mine, dear reader!
For this endeavor, I chose to use Jamie Oliver’s recipe as my guide. His recipe is for eight servings, however, I chose to half this since that is a little much for just me and Mr. C. I made a few modifications to the wording of the recipe, but otherwise it is essentially the same as Mr. Oliver’s. Oh, and here’s a shoutout to my sweet Mr. C who helped a great deal with these last night. And who persevered even whent the first balls nearly burned and I got mad at him. He’s a keeper.
Ready? Alright, then let’s start cooking our British-but-not-Scottish dish!
To piggy-back on my recent post about Elie, Scotland, today I want to make mention of a splendid farm shop located about a mile outside of the village, right off of A917. It was so splendid, in fact, that we made the hour and ten minute journey from Edinburgh two additional times!
When Mr. C and I travel, our basic routine is to eat the majority of lunches out, as we often spend our days driving and exploring. We prefer to cook breakfasts and dinners in (one of many reasons we always rent a home rather than stay in a hotel). Truthfully, it’s Mr. C who does most (okay, all) of the cooking, although I’m pretty good at drinking wine and cheering him along. We enjoy dining at home when we travel for a few reasons.
I had the most delightful experience last week. My dad and his lovely wife were in town for a visit so I took them to afternoon tea at the O’Henry Hotel in Greensboro, NC.
I first fell in love with the ritual of afternoon tea in Scotland. Just to clarify, when I say ‘tea’ I’m not just talking about the beverage and a cookie. Oh no no no. A proper full/afternoon tea should include a bottomless pot of hot tea, finger sandwiches and other small savory bites, a variety of little sweet treats, and of course, savory and/or plain scones with clotted cream and jam or curd. In the U.K., afternoon tea is often enjoyed post-lunch but pre-dinner. Personally, I prefer to just make it my lunch.
Ever since that first Scottish tea, I have tried to find places here at home that offer the experience I’m looking for. To be honest, I haven’t really found it. Until the O’Henry. Wow! Everything about it hit the mark, from the beautiful and sophisticated setting to the gorgeous mix-and-match china, to the delicious and thoughtfully prepared tiered tray of food. I felt as if I were at Greywalls Hotel or Prestonfield House or any other fine establishment in Scotland.
I’m giddy you stopped by! I hope everyone is enjoying a nice weekend.
As promised a couple of weeks ago, I have a special guest blogger here today. Technically this was supposed to happen last weekend, but unfortunately, my guest was in a car accident that totaled his beautiful convertible. Ugh! No worries, though, because aside from a few cuts and a little soreness, he’s feeling A-OK. And that’s a very good thing because I happen to be in love with this guy!
Readers, today I’m turning things over to my sweet husband, Mr. C, who is going to share with you a little bit about the whisk(e)y education we received on our recent anniversary getaway. Enjoy.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.)