I’ve been busy baking today, another batch of Welsh cakes (though they aren’t strictly baking) and then a new departure: Islay fruit loaf, recipe provided by my clever sister in law. She also does a lovely line in ginger biscuits too but I didn’t have all the right ingredients for those, so that one’s been saved for another day.
After that that I was on a roll and decided to see what else I could do. This pretty book, a present from my lovely sister has masses of tempting treats inside, but I thought it best to keep things simple and tried my hand at soda bread.
It turned out not too badly, so then I needed some quality assurance.
Time for tea!
But we’re learning about its past. We’ve both got an interest in history – though in contrast to George my formal study stopped before O’ levels (the GCSEs of olden days). Now we’re searching out old pictures of the house and stories about island life in the days when the slate was being mined. There’s an excellent little museum on the island slate isands heritage trust to help us.
I’ve always had an interest in family history too and have managed to trace my roots back several generations, although for this I’m indebted to some very good local history groups particularly this one Thornbury roots. I wrote a little story about us, you can read it here. And I’ve recently started following Twile, which is reaching out to a new younger audience, encouraging them to record their family stories.
Perhaps you have roots on Seil, Argyll or anywhere in Scotland? You can make the research for your family history part of your holiday. In his other life George headed National Records of Scotland so he has the expertise to help you on your way.
Stories, of people, of places, we all love them; come and find yours here with us.
George and I had a busy time in the kitchen today. He was making strawberry jam while I prepared another batch of Welsh cakes. So why the title of this post? Because as well as making scrumptious tea time treats we were keeping family traditions alive. Both our mums were great cooks with their own specialities, Flora, George’s mum was renowned for her scones and preserves whilst my mum Nancy could whip up batches of Welsh cakes at short notice to feed hungry children and grandchildren. They died within months of each other a few years ago and left a big gap in our lives. And now we use their recipes and utensils and try to become as skilled.
George uses Flora’s “jeely pan” to brew up marmalade and jams.
The “jeely pan” and Welsh cakes
The finished product
And I have Mum’s Welsh cake recipe and gran’s griddle pan to cook them on.
The recipe can give me a jolt as it’s handwritten and I forget for an instant and think of phoning her for tips. I can’t do that of course, but what I can do is parcel up a batch to send to my son, a reminder of the boxes he used to get from his Nana to take back to Scotland with him.
And maybe one day he’ll make his own