Cranberry Bannocks

January 24, 2017

img_5401I’mmmmmm back! Just like last year, and I think every year before that, I have great intentions of keeping up with this blog. Then…wham! The holidays run me right over and don’t post one word. You’d think I’d figure it out and just sign off to everyone right around Thanksgiving. I’m always back at it by January 25th, which is tomorrow, so I’m right on time. And what is the significance on January 25th? It is the birthday of Robert Burns. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. On January 25th folks throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, will be remembering him with a Burns Night Supper. And I’ve got a great traditional Scottish recipe to share with you, just perfect for the day…Cranberrry Bannocks!img_5389Bannocks, sometimes called griddle scones, are a quick bread which are cooked on top of the stove rather than baked in the oven. They are very similar to scones otherwise. Indeed in Scotland the words “bannock” and “scone” are often used interchangeably. Before the 19th Century bannocks were cooked on a “bannock stane” which was a slab of sandstone which was placed on top of a fire. Traditionally they were made with an oatmeal or barley flour and they could be either savory or sweet. One of the most famous types of bannocks is the Selkirk Bannock with is very similar to a fruitcake, chock full of raisins. They can be found in most supermarkets in the UK. Last year I shared a delicious recipe for Scottish Pancakes, or Drop Scones:IMG_3583

The year before was Steak Auld Reekie over Crispy Tatties & Neeps:

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The one prior to that was Dundee Cake with Hot Whiskey Marmalade:

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Then there was that fabulous Scotch Egg Pie:

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And I can’t forget that  Cock-a-leekie Soup:

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Which I always serve up with fresh toasted Struan:

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And I don’t want to forget those mouth-wateringly delicious Scotch Eggs:

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which I have also done Deviled.

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So there you have it! That is quite a few Scottish recipes which would be very welcome at any Burn’s Night festivities. This years darling little Cranberry Bannocks would perhaps be best suited for a Burn’s Breakfast. They are soft and tender and delicious warm off the griddle, especially slathered with butter!

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Now I will say, these Bannocks are not sweet on their own and derive all their sweetness from the cranberries or whatever jam you might spread on top. If you prefer a sweeter bread, you might want to add a Tablespoon or two of sugar to the mix. I thought they were just perfect as they were. And I’m sure The Bard himself would approve. He actually mentioned Bannocks in his Epistle to James Tennant of Glenconner.

An’ Lord, remember singing Sannock,

Wi’ hale breeks, saxpence, an’ a bannock!

So tomorrow you should get busy, griddle some bannocks and don’t forget to raise a glass and drink a wee dram or two to Rabbie Burns!

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Cranberry Bannocks

  • Servings: 8 bannocks
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Vagabond Baker

Ingredients:

  • 50 grams dried cranberries, chopped
  • 250 grams all-purpose flour, plus a bit more for rolling out
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons oil (vegetable or coconut oil)
  • 150 grams buttermilk

Directions:

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the chopped cranberries.

Add the oil to the buttermilk and stir.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture  and pour 2/3 of the buttermilk mixture into it. Gently begin to mix together with your hands, adding more buttermilk as needed until you have a soft dough.

Lightly flour a surface and turn the dough out onto it. Give it a couple more kneads, but take care not to overwork the dough or the bannocks will be tough.

Divide the dough in half and form each half into a ball. Flatten the balls and roll them out into a circle, about 1/2″ tall.

Cut each circle into quarters.

Place an ungreased frying pan over low to medium heat. Once it is hot add one of bannock circles (4 pieces) to the pan. Cook the bannocks for a 5 – 8 minutes on each side. They should rise to double their thickness while cooking.

Cool on a wire rack and serve with lashings of butter, jam and clotted cream if you wish!

Enjoy!

Cranberry Bannocks brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Scotch Egg Pie

January 24, 2014

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So I can’t believe it, but apparently it’s the New Year! And quite a few days into it I must admit. Hmmm….I seem to have been a very neglectful blogger. In my defense, I have had quite a bit going on around here recently, you know, the usual Thanksgiving/ Christmas hysteria, but I also had several vacations, a family health scare and a small house fire…I will tell you all about those things a bit later, I promise. But enough excuses. Let me start anew by saying “Happy New Year” to all you folks out there on the “interwebs”. I would go on to tell you some nonsense about how I had made a resolution to blog faithfully every Tuesday and Thursday, but I think we all know that would be quite optimistic, bordering on delusional. Life just has a way of making a mess of those types of declarations, so I think I won’t bother. I’ll just get back into the swing of things with this great recipe for Scotch Egg Pie,  just in time for the upcoming Robert Burns Night celebrations on January 25th!

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Throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, folks will be celebrating with a Burns Night Supper to mark the occasion. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. I’m quite a Burns fan myself and will certainly be raising my glass to The Bard this weekend. I have given you some great Scottish recipes in the past in case you might be planning a Burn’s Night Supper of you own. Last year it was Cock-a-leekie soup

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which I served with delicious, crusty Struan. Struan, also known as Celtic Harvest Bread, is thought to have taken its name from a town in Western Scotland called Struanmoor, on the Isle of Skye. It was originally enjoyed once a year as a harvest bread, using whatever grains were available from the previous day’s harvest. This is my absolute favourite bread, so it is almost always available in my house. It toasts up particularly brilliantly.

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The year before it was Deviled Scotch Eggs.

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And I had also previously given you the traditional Scotch Egg recipe. If you don’t know what Scotch Eggs are, believe me it is time that you find out! Basically it is  a hard-boiled egg encased in sausage and then deep-fried. Good Lord Have Mercy!

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Now, the Scotch Egg Pie we’re about to discuss was not deep-fried, it was baked. But I just knew from the get-go that it was going to be amazing! I mean how could it not be with the list of ingredients it was sporting…spicy sausage, hard-boiled eggs all wrapped up in a buttery flaky pie crust?!! My husband could hardly contain himself when I teased him with a description of the culinary creation which would soon be arriving on his dinner plate! I think I’ve mentioned before that he absolutely loves any sort of meat pie, pasty, empanadas, etc. He also seems to really have an egg thing. He never tires of them, any and every way you fix them. Now this Scotch Egg Pie checked all of the boxes for him. He knew it would be awesome. And I am happy to say it did meet, if not exceed his expectations. Just delicious!

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I found this recipe on BBC Good Food. The original version called for Lincolnshire sausages. Lincolnshire sausages are a type of pork sausage that is associated with the English county of Lincolnshire. These sausages have more sage spice than the usual peppery or thyme flavours you might find in sausages which hale from other locales. Furthermore, they are coarsely ground rather than minced which gives them a much more chunky texture. Well, I couldn’t find any authentic Lincolnshire sausages here in good old Virginia, but believe you me, there was no scarcity of coarsely ground pork sausage around here, so I just made do. And while I was at it, I bought some really hot spicy sausage, because we definitely like a bit of heat! Red pepper flakes, habañero sauce, jalapeños, or Sriracha…bring it on! I did customize the sausage mixture a bit further as well with the addition of some Worcestershire sauce and parmesan cheese. Oh and I used my favourite short crust pastry recipe which creates the most buttery flaky pie crust imaginable. I’m telling you it is the pie crust of your dreams, is really easy to make and has vodka in it! (Always a welcome addition in my opinion). I suppose just grabbing a box of premade pie crust of the supermarket shelf is easier, but if you do have the time, I highly recommend you try this particular recipe. If you are anything like me, this will be your go-to pie crust recipe from that point on!

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Although I served my Scotch Egg Pie with a lovely green salad and a pint or two… for a casual, simple dinner, I’ve been told that Scotch Egg Pie is normally seen as more of a picnic food than sit down dinner entrée. Indeed I can see how it would be fantastic for a picnic in that it is easy to eat with your fingers, though perhaps a bit messy and tastes equally good at room temperature or piping hot from the oven. It would be great for breakfast, brunch or in a packed lunch as well. And I think it would be a well received addition to any Burns Night Supper. I hope I’ve managed to inspire you with these lovely Scottish dishes. If so, whip some of them up and raise a wee dram and drink a toast to Scotland’s Favourite Son this Saturday.

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Scotch Egg Pie

recipe adapted from: BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • 8 medium hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 lbs. sausage
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme, leaves only
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 100 grams panko
  • 1 batch of short crust pastry (recipe below) or 500 grams of store-bought pie pastry
  • flour, for dusting
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions:

If you are planning to make your own short crust, remember that it will need to chill 1 hour in the fridge before you plan to roll it out into the pan. You can make the pastry the day before if you are a super-organized, type A planner or if you are pretty laid back and usually just wing-it, start production on this recipe at whatever time a bit earlier than usual would be for you. If you are using store-bought pastry, move on to the next step.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter an 8″ springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Or, if you don’t have a springform, just use a regular 8″ round cake tin. Criss-cross two long strips of baking parchment in the tin to aid you when you are ready to lift out the pie.

Place 6 of the eggs in a large saucepan of cold water. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Let the eggs stand in pan for 5 minutes, then run cold water into the pan to cool eggs. Peel when cool enough to handle.

Place the sausage in a large mixing bowl. Add the nutmeg, thyme, 75 grams of the panko ( a heaping cup), 1 egg, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan, pepper, salt and mix well. Set aside.

Roll out half of the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Line the baking tin. Scatter the remaining Panko over the base of the pastry.

Pat about one-quarter of the sausage mixture into the bottom of the tin. Arrange the peeled eggs on top, spacing them evenly. Gently pack the remaining sausage mixture around and over the eggs.

Roll out the remaining pastry dough and cover the pie, crimping the edges. Cut a steam hole in the top of the pastry. Beat the remaining egg lightly. Glaze the top of the pastry dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Place tin on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour or until the pork registers 160° F.

Remove pie from the oven and lift it from the tin, or remove the sides if using a springform pan. Place the pie back on the cookie sheet and return it to the oven for 10 minutes or so to brown the sides. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy!

Perfect Flaky Pie Crust

Originally adapted from: Inspired Taste

Ingredients:

(this recipe makes dough for two pie crusts)

  • 2 1/2 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
  • 6 tablespoons vodka (chilled)
  • 2 Tablespoons ice water

Directions:

This recipe will make enough dough for two pie crusts. You will need both for this Scotch Egg Pie.

Mix 6 tablespoons of vodka and 2 tablespoons of water. Put in fridge or freezer (don’t forget it) to chill.

Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.

Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).

Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).

Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water/vodka over mixture. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra water/vodka and continue to press until dough comes together.

Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).


Cock-a-leekie

January 24, 2013

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Some hae meat and canna eat,

And some wad eat that want it;

But we hae meat, and we can eat,

And sae let the Lord be thankit.

*The Selkirk Grace *

as delivered by Robert Burns

This Friday, January 25th, is Robert Burns’ birthday. Throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, folks will be celebrating with a Burns Night Supper to mark the occasion. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. I’m quite a Burns fan myself and will certainly be raising my glass to The Bard this weekend. I wanted to give you a nice Scottish recipe in case you were planning on holding such a celebration as well. My first inclination was to make Haggis, that great chieftain o’ the puddin-race, as Burns put it.  But I quickly realized that it would likely be difficult to come across the ingredients. Since I couldn’t even find lard around here, I think sourcing out a sheep’s heart, lungs and stomach would be quite the challenge! So, I decided on Cock-a-leekie soup, a standard starter at many a Burn’s Night Supper. And an easy choice for me because my husband is absolutely mad for anything with a leek in it. (Must be that Welsh blood in him.)

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This soup is very easy to make and delicious to boot! The first time that I made it, I was a bit nervous about adding in the prunes. I thought a fruit would taste quite odd in a chicken soup. But although you see bits of prunes in the mix, you don’t get a sweet, fruit taste when you eat them. They add to the overall flavour of the dish and I think they would definitely be missed if they were omitted. You’ll have to trust me on that. I served my Cock-a-leekie soup up with some toasted Struan bread.

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Struan, also known as Celtic Harvest Bread, is thought to have taken its name from a town in Western Scotland called Struanmoor, on the Isle of Skye. It was originally enjoyed once a year as a harvest bread, using whatever grains were available from the previous day’s harvest. This is my absolute favourite bread, so it is almost always available in my house. It toasts up particularly brilliantly. Click here for the Struan recipe that I use. If you are looking for some other dishes to serve at your Burns Supper, take a look at my Scotch Eggs, ( a hard boiled egg encased in sausage and then deep fried.)

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Deviled Scotch Eggs (the eggs as described above, but with the yolk part “deviled”.)

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and Chranachan for dessert. (My Chranachan recipe has a more Irish bent, but that is easy to change. Just use a good Scottish Malt Whiskey rather than the Jamesons and skip the Bailey’s drizzle. This dessert is typically served in a tall glass, though I served it in little chocolate cordial glasses topped with raspberries once, which was quite fun.)

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I hope I’ve managed to inspire you with these lovely Scottish dishes. If so, whip some of them up and raise a wee dram and drink a toast to Scotland’s Favourite Son this Friday.

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Cock-a-leekie

recipe from: Martha Stewart

yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless chicken thighs (on the bone; 4 pieces)
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless chicken breast halves (on the bone; 3 pieces)
  • Four 14 1/2-ounce cans low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
  • 2 cups white wine or water
  • 2 large celery ribs, halved crosswise
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 leeks, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 12 pitted prunes, quartered (2/3 cup packed)
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Heat a 6-quart Dutch oven on medium-high until hot. Add thighs; cook until browned, turning once, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with breasts.

Add broth, wine, celery, carrot, and garlic to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; scrape any browned bits from pot; return chicken to pot, reduce heat, and simmer, skimming as necessary, for 1 hour. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool. Transfer vegetables to another plate; reserve.

Add leeks, prunes, and barley to broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick, about 40 minutes more. Once chicken has cooled, shred meat. Finely dice carrot and celery. Stir chicken, carrot, celery, and parsley into soup, heat through, and serve.

Enjoy!

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