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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[Fred:] Just wait until she get a load of my dancing
When I hear the words hot toddy I am always reminded of these lines from the song “I’ll Capture Your Heart”, sung by Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire in the 1942 classic movie “Holiday Inn” (and consequently, I can’t get the tune out of my head). In the movie, Bing’s character Jim and Fred’s character Ted are both in love with Lila. In the song, Jim sings of his plans to win Lila over with his singing and Ted is confident that his dancing will win her heart. As the movie unfolds, Lila ends up declaring her love for Ted and a broken-hearted Jim leaves town. Jim soon meets Linda, however, after he books her to perform at his holidays-only live entertainment venue at the inn. They fall in love and, of course, a newly dumped Ted shows up and also sets his sights on the lovely Linda. It’s a funny, sweet film, one that I enjoy watching year after year. I adore those old musicals, don’t you?
Several days ago I came across a recipe in Scotsman Food & Drink for a Scottish hot toddy. It is one version of this widely varied drink. There is no standard recipe, but it is consistently made with some type of liquor (generally Scotch or bourbon), a sweetener (such as sugar or honey), a warm base (like water, tea, or apple cider), and lemon.
Since we’re having our first snow of the season today, it seems like the perfect time to give this festive, Scottish version a try.
I feel like I can genuinely say that now. I have connected with some of the nicest folks on here. I’m so enjoying getting to know you through our shared interests and through our writing.
So, feel like cooking today? After a hearty Thanksgiving dinner followed by a hearty post-Thanksgiving dinner of leftovers, I’m surprised that I do. But all you have to do is say the word scone and I’ll start digging for my sieve.
The recipe that I’m using today is from a wonderful site I discovered a couple of years ago, Eating For England.
Even though technically I eat for Scotland, you will find that scones are an important component of tea time no matter which side of the border you find yourself.
Pronounced to either rhyme with ‘tone’ or ‘gone’, depending on one’s country and region, British scones are a completely different affair than what we commonly find in coffee shops and bakeries here in the United States. Whereas our scones are triangular and tend to be very sweet and somewhat cake-like, British scones more closely resemble in appearance what Americans call biscuits. However, even those two things are quite different. Our biscuits are rich and buttery and are often enjoyed with breakfast. British scones are lighter, flaky, and have a touch of sweetness. Sometimes they include fruit such as raisins or currants. And sometimes they are savory, such as those made with cheese. Scones are a basic staple of afternoon tea in England and Scotland. They are truly delicious and I promise that if you give this recipe a try, you will not be disappointed.
Umm, the cake. I’m talking about the cake. Why? What did you think I was talking about? (chuckle chuckle)
I have long wanted to try my hand at a Victoria Sponge. First, because I brake for cake. Second, it is just so quintessentially English (although it is common to find this cake at eateries in Scotland as well). It’s strange, but in all the times I have dined in Scotland, I never once ordered a slice of Victoria Sponge. We’re going to remedy that today.
I researched several different recipes and it seems that each are pretty consistent, with just some minor variations among them. Equal parts butter, sugar, and flour seems to be the common thread. For my cake today, I decided to try a recipe by BBC Good Food (I chose a different mixing method and also chose a different filling).