We might not have a Superstore on Seil but we do have a super store. We go there most days, for our newspaper, eggs, jam and other essentials. For the past few months we’ve been trying to make the journey on foot which though admittedly challenging on our more humid days is a much more sociable way to travel.
Bramble waiting outside the shop
The weather has been lovely for the past few days and it’s brought out a wonderful display of flowers, in gardens and growing wild. I can’t name them all, but here are just a few from this morning’s walk.
the first bluebell
and the last of the
and in gardens
And then there are also these cute youngsters
Which did give me qualms about some of the contents of my shopping bag, but it’s all part of the cycle of life, here on Seil.
I tried making an old Scottish staple today. Oatcakes. I didn’t have any family recipes, though I’m sure there must be some, so I used this one from BBC GoodFood. And as I was using up some ingredients, I tweaked it slightly. My gluten free oats were coming to the end of their shelf life so in they went and then I thought it would be nice to make them entirely gluten free so used gluten free buckwheat flour. I used salted butter, again using up stocks, so didn’t add all the salt.
work in progress
The finished products suited my taste but I think in future I’ll add the recipe quantity.
This recipe and all the others I found asked me to bake the cakes but I set aside some to cook stove top on the griddle , this is how they would have been cooked in the past. The stove top version worked but the oven baked ones were crisper.
ready to bake
All in all I was pretty pleased with the result and they weren’t at all difficult. So now I have an addition to my repertoire and one I can offer to guests on a gluten free diet.
My baking repertoire expanded this week.
I was given this recipe for butteries by a neighbour recently. They are a speciality of the North East of Scotland, particularly Aberdeen, a flaky buttery confection, perhaps the Scottish version of croissants; but unlike their French cousins these pastries are salty.
My first memory of them is one in which they were elusive. I’d gone to the North East for the wedding of a college friend and my travel companion who knew the area better insisted I try them. Unfortunately our search took place as we drove back South the morning after the wedding and fell foul of Sunday closing. Not a buttery could be found.
Later they began to be available in Edinburgh but I was never that keen. Now I think I just didn’t try the right ones. They were a bit fiddly to make being a puff pastry, and very far from “healthy” as they are full of fat and quite salty. But the end result. Mmm. Even if I do say it myself. Flaky, buttery scrumptiousness.
A picture you ask? Too late. Sorry Reader, I ate them**
*Clachan sound which runs past Sheiling is technically the Atlantic, our neighbour lives on the mainland .
** I didn’t eat them all, MrS had some too and we froze a batch before baking.
I’ve had a move away from family recipes to explore gluten free baking. My initial attempts substituting gluten free flour in regular recipes had varying success, shortbread ok, bara brith (a Welsh tea bread) less so. I decided to look for recipes which were designed flour free. A quick search took me to Nigella Lawson’s website nigella.com which has lots of delicious flour free choices.
So far I’ve tried her chocolate olive oil cake (also dairy free), flour free brownies and clementine cake. All turned out well, I’m blaming my ancient oven for the burnt top of the clementine cake!
I cut off the “overcooked”bits and added lime buttercream
All three of these use ground almonds as their main “filler” so beware if you have a nut allergy. They are pretty rich and calorific too, enjoy in moderation….
Nigella advises that they are best enjoyed fresh and perhaps even warm but you’d need quite a large party to polish them off. The brownies at least freeze well.
chocolate brownie – I had to “test” after freezing
I have cooked a version of the clementine cake using polenta rather than almonds but can’t find that recipe at the moment, if I remember correctly it produces a denser cake.
After all that “testing” thank goodness for sunshine and some lovely walks.
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!
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