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.

That flying rowan we were talking about

The rain from last night and most of today has thankfully filled up our water tank. No more trips to the burn with the watering-can for us now. A little wander around the garden when the sun came out, because it does look so much more appealing after a bout of showers, lead to this find.

The shape of the leaves leads us to the conclusion that it is a rowan tree which we think is a good omen after our neighbour once dissuaded us about a fallen rowan tree which we had had our eyes on for the wood burner, saying that to burn it would bring us bad luck. It wasn’t until a year later that the importance of the rowan tree would crop up again. This time, we heard about a wedding ceremony taking place underneath a particular rowan tree that had grown on top of an oak, an epiphyte or ‘flying rowan’, that is especially potent in warding off evil spirits, that we started thinking about the relevance of the tree to Scottish mythology.

They are everywhere up here although it isn’t until the Autumn when their bright red berries appear, that you start to notice just how many. If you spot one in a graveyard, its presence is probably not a coincidence as they are planted by loved ones of the deceased to prevent any hauntings.

Rowan is still used in the craft of stick-making, that is still taught at our local village hall, even if the mythical properties behind its use in the past by druids might not always be known. We’ve yet to see our local farmer put a sprig of rowan above his barn door to protect his cattle from harm although we might suggest it only if we see him down the pub and have had a few drinks first.

If you’re in the Loch Lomond area and fancy a walk then you might be interested in this.

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