Category Archives: Scottish baking

(Scotch) Pancake Day!

It’s Pancake Day tomorrow all across the UK (also known as Shrove Tuesday) and I for one am looking forward to the excuse to cook an old favourite.  As a child, I used to be thrilled at the thought of returning home from school to the warm farmhouse kitchen where my mother would be making Scotch pancakes on the Aga.  Also known as Drop Scones, my mother would cook the pancakes directly on the simmering plate of the Aga, but in the rather less traditional kitchen of my hilltop cottage, I now use a normal frying pan to produce just as scrumptious results.

Scotch Pancakes in comparison to normal pancakes are smaller, thicker and (in my humble opinion) much more tasty and satisfying!  If you fancy a change from normal pancakes this year I strongly recommend the following recipe, which only requires four easy to source ingredients, to bring a bit of traditional Scottish cooking to your home.

To make approximately 20 yummy Scotch Pancakes you will need:

100g/4oz Self-Raising Flour

25g/1oz Caster Sugar

1 (medium size) Egg

150ml/1/4 pint Milk

1)      Mix the sugar and flour together in a bowl and then make a well in the centre.

2)      Beat the egg and pour it into the well, along with half the milk.

3)      Mix to form a thick batter, then add the remainder of the milk and mix again (you should now have a runny batter and be ready to cook the first batch!)

4)      Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and once hot spread with a little lard or oil (I use a piece of kitchen towel to do this, as it avoids putting too much on).

5)      When the fat is hazy (but not smoking), spoon the mixture into the pan using a tablespoon (one spoonful for each pancake) making sure they are spaced well apart.

6)      Bubbles should rise to the surface of the half-cooked pancakes and at this point turn them over.

7)      Cook for a further 30 seconds (or until golden brown) then remove and place between a clean tea towel to keep warm and moist and until you are ready to eat them.

8)      You may need to re-grease the pan between batches to avoid the pancakes sticking.

You can enjoy Scotch Pancakes on their own, buttered, with jam or even chocolate spread (very popular with the kids)!  You don’t have to eat the pancakes straight away, indeed, once cooled you can put them in an air tight container and store them for up to 3 days – heat them up or eat them cold, whatever your preference.

If you fancy trying this, or any other traditional recipe, Aga or Rayburn cooker then you’ll be please to hear that a number of our unique cottages do have them (in a lot of cases as well as a standard cooker ) so why not get in touch and let us help you find your ideal cottage?

From all of us here at Unique Cottages have a delicious and enjoyable (Scotch) Pancake Day!

Who wants to be a MILLIONAIRE?

I don’t know why I do it!  Every week I buy a lotto ticket for the Saturday draw with the vague hope that I might win enough to ensure a luxurious lifestyle, at least for a little while.  Yes, I know that the chances are slim, 14 million to one apparently, but knowing this doesn’t stop a little bit of me thinking “it could be you”!  But each week I check my numbers and, as you may have guessed, it’s never me who bags the jackpot.  In fact I can’t remember the last time I even won a tenner!

And I hate to think how much I’ve spent on tickets over the years, assuming I’ve remembered to buy one every Saturday for the last 10 years, it works out at £520!  Not bad if you’re guaranteed a million pound return, but this is gambling – so no guarantees!  Suffice to say that my bank balance hasn’t increased dramatically as a result of purchasing this week’s ticket, but there is one thing that does makes me feel a little more like one of life’s winners – the aptly named ‘Millionaires Shortbread”.

As with many Scottish sweet recipes, it is sugary, moreish and rich to the extreme (perhaps that’s why it got its name), so just the thing you need to remind you that not all decadent rewards are so unobtainable!  Here’s the recipe my Dundonian grandmother (whose sweet tooth was notorious) used to use, if you too haven’t hit the jackpot this week why not give it a go?  If you have, then have your butler do it!

Millionaires Shortbread

For the base:

250g plain flour

75g  caster sugar

175g softened butter

For the centre:

100g butter

100g brown sugar

2 cans (397g) of condensed milk

                                                                       For the top:

                                                                          300g milk chocolate

1)To make the shortbread base mix the flour and sugar in a bowl and rub in the softened butter until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs, bring it together to form a dough and press into a grease baking tray (one with sides) .  Prick gently with a fork and then bake in a preheated oven at 180°c (or gas mark 4) for approximately 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

2) Now make the caramel centre by putting the butter, sugar and condensed milk into a pan on the hob and heating slowly until the sugar dissolves.  Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, stirring continuously for about 5 minutes until the it has thickened a little.  Pour this over the base and again let it all cool.

3) Finally melt the chocolate and spread over the cooled caramel mixture, then pop it all into the fridge for a bit.

Once cooled, cut yourself a slice, sit back (maybe with a wee dram) and experience life as a millionaire!

The marmalade cake

With rain pelting against the window, there seems little else to do but bake a cake. Especially when there’s nothing else sweet in the house to eat. And if you’re looking for sweet, then the marmalade cake really hits the spot with its drizzle frosting.

According to it was first made in 1797 in Dundee after a Spanish ship sort refuge from a storm and then had to sell its cargo cheap to the locals. Always up for a bargain, never have we wanted to be a resident of Dundee 200 years ago more than now.

Ingredients for the cake

6 oz butter or margarine

6 oz caster sugar

6 oz self raising flour

3 eggs

3 oz marmalade

Zest of one orange

Ingredients for the icing

Juice of one orange

4 oz icing sugar

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the marmalade and zest and then the flour. Bake in a lined round 6 inch tin at gas mark 4 for about an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Beat the icing sugar and orange juice together and drizzle on top of the cake while still warm. Yes, it will make a mess.

Someone pass Mr Murray a slice of this – there’s always next year, Andy.