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UK regional recipes continuation

For this part of our UK regional recipe exploration we’re going to venture into the north with a few Scottish recipes to tempt your taste buds.

In years gone by people had to make do with what they could forage or get on home ground, long before the big supermarkets came and promised everything one could wish for.  Some areas of Scotland are harsh barrren lands where living day to day would prove to be challenge enough for our northern friends and ancestors, and this is of course reflected in some of the recipes from the area. 

For example many Scottish regional recipes make use of oats which were hardier than many other cereal crops and could withstand the harsh conditions the harsh conditions, and some of these oatmeal recipes can be found in my new regional recipe ebook that I hope to complete by Christmas, look out for it.

Scotland is famous for it’s shortbread and whisky so in the meantime lets look at a couple of recipes that feature them and a couple more besides.

WHISKY TEA CAKE

Makes 1 small loaf

Ingredients:

175g currants

85g sultanas

90ml whisky

1 tablespoon lemon juice

350g plain flour

1 teaspoon mixed spice

175g dark brown raw cane sugar

1½ level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

175g butter

150ml milk

Method:

1. Soak the dried fruit in the whisky and lemon juice for a few hours, the longer the better.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a 900g loaf tin with baking paper.

3. Put the flour, spice, sugar and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter. Mix in the soaked fruit (do not over work the mix or the cake will be chewy). Gradually stir in the milk, to end up with a soft dropping consistency.

4. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for about 50 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted comes away from the cake without any traces of uncooked cake.

5. Leave to cool on a wire rack and then turn out. Slice and spread thickly with salted butter, or fruit compote and thick cream.

SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD

I use this one to make shortbread and it works a treat.

Ingredients:

175g (6oz) plain flour

50g (2oz) cornflour

50g (2oz) caster sugar (and a bit extra for sprinkling)

115g (4oz) butter, diced

Method:

Preheat oven 160 C / 325 F / Gas 3

Lightly flour shortbread mould and line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment

Sift together flour, cornflour & sugar in large mixing bowl

Rub in butter until you can knead mixture into a soft dough

Place half the dough into mould & press gently but firmly to fit neatly

Carefelly invert mould onto one of the baking sheets and tap firmly to release fough shape

Mould remaining dough the same way

Bake for about 35 – 40 minutes, until they are just a pale golden colour

Sprinkle a little caster sugar evenly over the top of shortbreads & leave to cool on baking sheets before serving

COCK-A-LEEKIE SOUP

This famous Scottish soup is so substantial, it could be served as a main course. Originally, it had beef as an ingredient along with the chicken, so you could add a bit of left-over roast beef near the end of cooking if you like. It is important to cook the chicken as a whole piece first and then dice it so that the broth remains beautifully clear and golden.

Ingredients:

15 Gram Butter ( 1/2 oz)
300 Gram Chicken portions (12 oz)
300 Gram Leeks, washed well (12 oz)
1.1 Litres Chicken stock (2 pints)
1 Bouquet garni
6 Prunes, stoned and halved
Parsley sprigs to garnish

Method:

Melt the butter; fry the chicken until browned on all sides. Cut the leeks into 4 lengthways, then chop these pieces into 2.5 cm (1 inch) lengths. Reserve the green parts and shred them finely. Add the white pieces to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until soft.

Add stock and the bouquet garni. Bring to the boil, simmer for 30 minutes. Add the green leek pieces and the prunes. Simmer for another 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken, get rid of the skin and bones and cut the meat into chunks. Add the meat to the serving dish, then pour over the rest of the soup. Garnish with parsley.

SCOTCH BROTH

Another of Scotland’s soup recipes, some refer to this dish as Scotland’s national soup. It is best made the day before it is needed so that the fat can be skimmed from the top. This is a hearty and filling dish to be served as a main course.

Ingredients:

700 Gram Shin of beef, diced (1 1/2 lb)
2.3 Litres Water (4 pints)
1 Medium Carrot, chopped
1 Medium Turnip, chopped
1 Medium Onion, chopped
2 Leeks, chopped and thoroughly washed
3 Tablespoon Pearl barley
Chopped parsley, to garnish

Method:

Put the meat and water in a large pan.

Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

There you have it, four Scottish recipes for your palette. Of course there are many more in my new UK regional recipe ebook out soon. In the meantime if you want a copy of the ones above to keep then as usual click here and download a FREE pdf with them in it.

Enjoy!

Any ideas for this blog or to ask me anything then please email me at britishbellybusters@yahoo.com and I will try and respond quickly.

Hedgerow recipe pdf

Here it is as promised, the fist hedgerow recipe pdf for free.

I’ve had my team of researchers (me) working tirelessly to bring you this first hedgerow recipe ebook.  In this little ebook you will find a host of hedgerow recipes to get you started making the most of widely available hedgerow produce you can gather for free, often only a short walk from home.

We are already getting towards the end of September so you need to get out there now and gather the abundant autumn harvest before it is too late.

My researchers are working on a second hedgerow recipe ebook as I type so look out for it here soon.

Enjoy!

Click here to download your FREE hedgerow recipe book.

Bountiful British Berries

Elderberries

September already, I can hardly believe that summer seems to have gone so quickly, but then again it usually does.  To be fair although I like summer it doesn’t really like me; sometimes I suffer with bad hay-fever and it can on occasion be too warm in summer to be comfortable.  I do like winter because of the transformation of the landscape which lends itself to some good winter scene shots with the camera.  However my favourite seasons are spring and autumn; not too warm, not too cold, and constantly changing scenes – birth in the spring and decay in the autumn.

So it’s September now and the start of one of my favourite seasons, but this is all about making the most of the bounty available during the autumn.  At this time of year our hedgerows are laden with the most bountiful harvest of ripe fresh fruit for the taking.  I remember how as a child and in my teens we would spend many a happy day out picking the fruits of the autumn.  My sister, brother and I would go off with Mum armed with empty containers, bags and baskets and return home at the end of the day with containers, bags and baskets full of our pickings.

Rose hips

For days after the kitchen would have the distinct aromas of fresh fruit being prepared in a multitude of ways.  Mum would make blackberry, raspberry, and damson jam, apple pies and crumbles and whatever else she could rustle up with all that fruit.  Meanwhile Dad and I would steal blackberries, elderberries, rose hips and begin the process of turning them into delicious wine to be enjoyed months or even years later.

My daughter and I still go out picking, spending hours gathering the hedgerow fruits freely available only minutes from our home.  I then turn these into much the same as Mum and Dad used to back then.  Do you know that by using common hedgerow fruits that you can gather for free you can make the most delightful jams, jellies, fruit pies and fruit crumbles, and delicious wines; all that can rival anything available commercially for a fraction of the price?  You just need to get off your back-side and have a pleasant day out in the countryside getting them.

Blackberries (this is not their real colour)

This leads me nicely to what will be my next post on here where I will be singing the praises of hedgerow fruits and giving you some great recipes to get you started.  I will also be giving away a free pdf of hedgerow fruit recipes that you can download and keep or print out to refer to in the kitchen.

Just promise me this:  If you go out fruit gathering in the autumn don’t take it all, leave some for our wonderful wildlife and some for other gatherers!  Enjoy yourself and show respect for nature!

Look out for my next post very soon!

A little regional something

Continuing with an outline of some of the recipes that are covered in my new UK regional recipe eBook that will be out in time for Christmas, hopefully; I am going to feature a few, but not all, of the recipes you will find there. These will be set out in areas as I did in an earlier post about Derbyshire (see here).

Just north of my home town of Chesterfield in Derbyshire we venture into Yorkshire, Britain’s biggest county; so big that it has been split up into 4 seperate areas, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, and Humberside (used to be known as East Yorkshire or Yorkshire East Riding).

Yorkshire not only has its fair share of beautiful unspoilt countryside but is also home to some of the largest and most influential cities in the UK; Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford and York of course are four that spring to mind immediately.

Yorkshire has a lot to offer visitors and is well worth a visit by anyone venturing into the UK, I’ll spare the details here because this blog site is about food but a Google search will bring up millions of pages about Yorkshire.

So back to the mission.

Below are a number of recipes originating in Yorkshire for you to try but I have purposely omitted the famous ‘Yorkshire Pudding’ from the list:

Yorkshire Parkin

Parkin is essentially the Northern English form of gingerbread. Different parkins are characterized by where they are made and Yorkshire Parkin, one the most famous, is made using oats. Yorkshire Parkin is eaten on Bonfire Night, November 5th, celebrating the famous failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses on Parliament in 1605. Guy Fawkes was a Yorkshireman.

This Parkin Recipe is easy to make and creates a moist sticky cake. However, you will need to store the cake for between 3 days to a week before eating. This allows the cake to soften and become moist and sticky. Delicious.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Ingredients:

4 oz/110g soft butter

4 oz/110g soft dark brown sugar

2oz / 55g black treacle/molasses

7oz / 200g golden syrup/ corn syrup

8 oz / 225g medium oatmeal

4 oz/ 110g all-purpose/plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground ginger

1 very large or 2 medium eggs, beaten

1 tbsp milk

Preparation:

Heat the oven to 275°/140°C/gas 1

Grease an 8″ x 8″/ 20cm x 20cm square cake tin.

In a large heavy-based saucepan over a gentle heat melt together the butter, sugar, treacle, golden syrup. Do not allow the mixture to get hot.

In a large spacious baking bowl stir together all the dry ingredients. Gradually add the melted butter mixture stirring to coat all the dry ingredients.

Add the beaten egg/s and mix thoroughly. Finally add the milk.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cook for 1 ½ hours until firm and set.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Once cool store the Parkin in an airtight tin for a minimum of 3 days up to a week before eating; this allows the flavors to develop and the mixture to soften and become moist and sticky. The Parkin will keep up to two weeks in an airtight container.

Yorkshire Curd Tartlets Recipe

Ingredients: Makes 10

175 g/6 oz/1.5 cups wholemeal flour

A pinch of salt
150 g/5 oz unsalted (sweet) butter, diced
50 g/2 oz/0.5 cup ground almonds

Cold water, to mix
50 g/2 oz/0.25 cup caster (superfine) sugar

1 egg, beaten
225 g/8 oz/1 cup curd (smooth cottage) cheese
Finely grated rind of lemon
45 ml/3 tbsp currants
Grated nutmeg, for dusting
Thick cream, to serve

Method:

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add 75 g/3 oz of the butter and rub in with the fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the almonds. Mix with enough cold water to form a firm dough. Knead gently on a lightly floured surface. Wrap in clingfilm (plastic wrap) and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry (paste) and use to line 10 sections of a tartlet tin (patty pan). Beat the remaining butter with the sugar. Beat in the egg, then the cheese, lemon rind and currants. Spoon into the pastry-lined tins and dust with nutmeg. Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 for about 20 minutes until golden and set. Serve warm or cold with thick cream.

Yorkshire Apple Pie Recipe

Ingredients: Serves 6

For the pastry (paste):

225 g plain (all-purpose) flour
A pinch of salt
50 g white vegetable fat (shortening), diced
50 g hard block margarine, diced
Cold water, to mix

For the filling:

3 large cooking (tart) apples, sliced
65g granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
A pinch of ground cloves
75g Wensleydale cheese, crumbled
15 ml/1 tbsp single (light) cream

Method:

To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the fats and rub in with the fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix with enough cold water to form a firm dough. Knead gently on a lightly floured surface. Cut in half. Roll out one half and use to line a pie plate. Prick the base with a fork.

To fill, put a layer of half the apple slices on top. Mix all but 15 ml/1 tbsp of the sugar with the cloves. Sprinkle half over the apples, and then sprinkle with half the cheese. Top with the remaining apple slices, then the sugar, then the cheese. Dampen the edges of the pastry with water.

Roll out the remaining pastry and lay over. Press the edges well together to seal. Trim, knock up the edge and flute with the back of a knife. Make a hole in the centre to allow steam to escape. Roll out the trimmings, cut into small leaves and use to decorate the top. Brush with the cream, then sprinkle with sugar. Place on a baking (cookie) sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7 for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve hot.

That’s it for now.  I’m feeling the urge to go and bake something!

If you’d like a PDF of the above recipes then click here to download one free.

Thanks again!

Party time once again

As a follow on from my previous blog post ‘Party Time’ the next birthday came at the end of July when my grandson Harrison would see his first birthday. His parents wanted a special occasion as it was Harrison’s first. My son and daughter-in-law of course asked me if I would bake ‘some stuff’ for his birthday, of course I would.

Almost every member of both families were invited; from our side and our daughter-in-law’s side. Their modest two bed semi was soon packed solid on the day, not leaving a great deal of room for the guests to move about. Fortunately however the weather was good so most of the celebration took place out in the garden. Everybody had a great time with no disagreements, and of course the home-made baking went down a treat.

I had a budget of just £15 to cover the cost of all the ingredients. As it was a party with lots of guests I decided to do individual cakes or buns so anyone could have their own rather than a slice, plus this also makes the cakes easier to serve; no slicing and handing out portions, our son and his good lady had enough to do.

For the limited budget I managed to bake: 100 mini fairy cakes (very small fairy cakes aimed at young children), 24 Bakewell tarts, 24 lemon Bakewells (like normal Bakewells but with lemon curd instead of jam and a lemon flavour sponge topping), 24 butterfly buns, 24 jam tarts, 24 lemon curd tarts, 24 coconut tarts (pastry base, thin layer of jam, topped with coconut/egg/sugar/butter mix – a firm family favourite), 24 chocolate cakes, loads of cheese straws, and 48 iced fairy cakes. Hasten to add there was plenty to go round.

Didn’t do bad for 15 quid did I? What’s more, I still had enough ingredients left over to do half as much again.

The point is if you are working to a limited budget then baking your own is much better value for money, plus home-baked goods always taste better than shop-bought if done right.

The next one would be our grand-daughter Tiffany’s birthday in August.

Click on this link or right click and ‘save target as’ to get a free PDF of the recipes.

Party Time

As mentioned in an earlier post I’ve been rather busy of late catering for a few birthday celebrations for the grandchildren.

The first one was for my youngest grand-daughter ‘Tizan’ for which I baked a variety of different snacks, both sweet and savoury.  I then received a phone call from one of the guests, “Those cheese scones you made were gorgeous! Will you make me some please?”  ‘Yes, no problem, of course I’ll make her some’ and proceeded to do so.

Why my daughter particularly wanted some cheese scones for a toddler’s birthday bash I’ll never know.  But I made what was requested, no questions asked.  Ours is not to question why, but merely to question how and why not!

Co-incidently the following day whilst I was exiting the local Co-op I was shouted over by a large lady sat in a car in the car park, “Pete, come here, I want a word with you!”  ‘Oh s**t!’, I thought, ‘What have I done now?”  I recognised the lady, my second cousin’s wife who was also at the birthday bash, “Them cheese scones you made were bloody lovely!” , was what she wanted a word with me about.  ‘Thank God for that, I’m not in trouble after all!’ I thought.  “Thanks for the compliment!” was about all the words I could muster.

The point is if you are careful and do your stuff to the best of your ability the compliments will come.  I love getting positive comments and rave reviews about my cooking, it give me a much greater sense of achievement; and although my feet were aching from being stood in my kitchen all day when I did the baking – I might have gumbled a little but the compliments made it worthwhile after all.

On a final note, the first person who commented about those damn scones has since placed a regular order for them and a few other home-baked things (coconut tarts and lemon bakewells) for which she pays me handsomely for my effort.  So it all makes it worthwhile and might be the start of a little earner of a sideline.

Wish me luck!

An explanation for my recent absence

Hello! I’m back!

Yes I know it’s been a while since I last posted anything on here. I’ve been rather a busy fella. You see I’m in the process of setting up a website of my own as a platform to sell my stuff on. This is still in construction but will be online soon; hopefully!

Other than that my main reason for my absence is purely down to my family commitments. ‘Family first’ is a policy I’ve always stood by my whole life. Recently a few of my grandchildren have had birthdays, have you noticed how with birthdays they all seem to happen at about the same time of year?

You see as I am such a great cook and baker, lol, I have been recently commisioned by family members to supply all the baked goods for my grand-kids birthday parties. First it was my youngest grand-daughter only a few weeks ago, next my grand-son last weekend, and still yet to come this weekend one of my other grand-daughters, so my baking commitment as I call it is still on-going. All this coupled with days out (after all it’s the six-week’s holiday at the moment), my internet ventures, and various other lifestyle pressures something occasionally has to take a back seat; and unfortunately my blog posts are it.

But I’m back with a vengeance now, or at least from this weekend, yes there’s still day trips and my other internet ventures but no more party baking until next month.

I’ll post you soon!

Pete.