Thursday, January 30, 2014

Scottish recipes - Scottish toffee

Scottish Hard Toffee

This is a recipe for Scottish Toffee

Sometimes in Scotland, especially in the west, toffee gets called tablet but this isn't the recipe for tablet - the sweet crumbly fudge like sweet treat

No, this is a recipe for the oh so chewy and buttery, sweet toffee like McGowan's toffee. Remember those? Oh yes! Or penny dainties? The tooth breaking, delicious treats

Image Source

If you are looking for a tablet recipe you will find it here and here

Also, if you are looking for Treacle toffee, you will find it here

So lets get on with this amazing toffee, as with a lot of my sweet and delicious treats I want to give a big shout out to my Mum for this recipe,  thanks Mum

You will need

1lb/450g fine granulated sugar
1 tin/jar of Lyle's Golden Syrup (you will find this at many expat stores online, here in Texas I found it in my local grocery store in the International section)
6oz/170g Butter

Syrup, butter, sugar

Tate & Lyle's Golden Syrup

  • Start by greasing a 9" round cake tin

  • In a large, heavy based pot, add together the butter, syrup and sugar 
Tate & Lyle's Golden Syrup

  • Simmer and stir on a rolling medium/high heat until the sugar is dissolved and everything is blended
Toffee mixture

  • Keep stirring and simmering on a medium/high heat for 9 minutes while the mixture swells and bubbles, or if you have a sugar thermometer let it reach 240F/115C  (if you don't have a thermometer, scoop out a small sample of toffee into a cold cup of water, if it "hard balls" then it is ready)
toffee mixture

  • Once ready, pour into the tin and leave to cool completely
toffee mixture
scottish toffee

  • pop out the hardened toffee onto a surface and using a toffee hammer or rolling pin, hit into manageable pieces
scottish toffee

  • Enjoy

Store in a dry air tight container, another good idea is to wrap the individual pieces with parchment/ grease proof paper to stop it sticking together) 

If you want a harder, more brittle toffee, boil for longer until it reaches 270F/130C - for this toffee I prefer it at 240F/115C as it gives the toffee its brittleness on the surface and as you eat it it becomes chewy, yum!

Scottish toffee

Scottish hard Toffee

linking to simpleliving&eating ; serenitynowblog ; homestoriesatoz

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Project 365 A photo a day - Weekly update (wk4)

Welcome to another installment of "From where I Stand"

This week has been a great week of accomplishments as I got back into cooking for my blog in a big way and back into painting furniture which I also love 

We had a first this week, my boy had his first "snow day" closure from school. He was so excited to see snow in Texas, yeah well it never really happened, it was more of an ice storm with a sprinkle or a dusting of snowy rain turned to ice, not exactly snowman weather, poor little guy, none the less he was happy to be off school on a Friday

Our weather has been crazy, one minute its 75F with sunshine, the next its 25F with ice storms, it has been a weather yo-yo for sure

So sit back and enjoy the view from my feet this week

Day 19/365 - Enjoying a cup of tea in my PJ's as Hubby and I catch up with our favourite shows on TV on this perfect Sunday evening

Day 20/365 - Cleaning our pool this morning, the sun was so warm on my feet, it felt like Spring was definitely here (oh boy I was wrong - wintry conditions were headed our way)

Day 21/365 - getting back into my furniture painting groove, its my happy place, I love recreating old unloved furniture so they can be loved again and have new life and purpose

Day 22/365 - Out walking with friends and little friends on this glorious sunny morning, we saw 2 horses, 2 goats, 4 herring, and countless turtles along the bayou by our homes, it was a great start to a Wednesday

Day 23/365 - The cold and rain came in fast today, boots and socks back on, winter coat looked out again - Oh Texas you have such roller coaster weather

Day 24/365 - A rare sight in Texas, even in winter. Frost on the ground. I loved the sound it made, the crunch crunch reminded me of Scotland

Day 25/365 - Off to a 7th birthday party with my boy today

Now pop on over and check out some other great blogs that are taking part in the 365 Project this year - just click on the "365" logo below

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, January 24, 2014

Burns Night

Well another January 25th has crept up on us and for those who don't know, in Scotland on this very day we celebrate the life and works of Robert Burns, a great Scottish poet of his time, who's work is still popular today

Many of you sing one of his most famous songs every year on New Years Eve, yes I am referring to Auld Lang Syne

Children in schools recite his work through poetry readings, songs and music

Whereas, adults get together for a traditional Burns Supper, a great feast of fine Scottish food and drinks with banter and blethering and more poetry readings

So if you are pondering what to make today to celebrate, you have come to the right place, feast your eyes on the wonderful ideas below for a truly Scottish Burns Supper fit for anyone


Haggis Soup

Main Dishes

Sweet Treats

I hope you all have a wonderful Burns Night

and I will leave you with a favourite poem of mine from my childhood

"To a Mouse"

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie, 
O, what a panic's in thy breastie! 
Thou need na start awa sae hasty, 
Wi' bickering brattle! 
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee, 
Wi' murd'ring pattle! 

I'm truly sorry man's dominion, 
Has broken nature's social union, 
An' justifies that ill opinion, 
Which makes thee startle 
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion, 
An' fellow-mortal! 

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve; 
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live! 
A daimen icker in a thrave 
'S a sma' request; 
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave, 
An' never miss't! 

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin! 
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin! 
An' naething, now, to big a new ane, 
O' foggage green! 
An' bleak December's winds ensuin, 
Baith snell an' keen! 

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste, 
An' weary winter comin fast, 
An' cozie here, beneath the blast, 
Thou thought to dwell- 
Till crash! the cruel coulter past 
Out thro' thy cell. 

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble, 
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble! 
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble, 
But house or hald, 
To thole the winter's sleety dribble, 
An' cranreuch cauld! 

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane, 
In proving foresight may be vain; 
The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men 
Gang aft agley, 
An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, 
For promis'd joy! 

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me 
The present only toucheth thee: 
But, Och! I backward cast my e'e. 
On prospects drear! 
An' forward, tho' I canna see, 
I guess an' fear!

Thank goodness they only made us recite the first verse in school, phew !!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Project 365 A photo a day - Weekly update (wk3)

Hey, week 3 and I am still taking pictures of my feet, yay, go me!

This week has been a mix of cooking, working out, and blogging. I have had fun getting outdoors this week with the family as this Texas weather right now is glorious. Sunshine and no humidity is always a great combo, especially for my hair, and doesn't last long around here so we are making the most of it

So lets get to it, here are my "week of feet" photos

Day 12 /365 - Out riding our bikes as a family was fun on this glorious Sunday in Texas - the weather was perfect

Day 13 /365 - Watching my boy at his Monday night swimming lesson - he has come a long way, and with the weather warming up its nice to get cute shoes on again

Day 14 /365 - I had an idea for my blog, to make a dish with haggis. But here in Texas it was impossible to find in January, it's all sold out for the pending Burns Night celebrations. But I begged on Facebook like only a girl can, and my friend came to my rescue with her last can - Thanks Sylvia :)

Day 15 /365 - I enjoyed preparing and baking Balmoral Chicken for my blog today with that can of haggis. Mr Tartan Tastes and I enjoyed eating it

Day 16 /365 - The pretty floor in the foyer of my Doctors office today

Day 17 /365 - Shopping in my favourite place - Sprouts Farmers Market

Day 18 /365 - Walkies with Buster our beloved Boston Terrier. He is a fair weather dog, he loves this weather, all fresh and crisp and sunny, he is slimmer in the winter and snuggles more with us at night - at this time of year we call him Winter Buster. But Summer Buster, is miserable and lazy and sleeps and hides and hates the outdoors - its just too darn hot in Texas for him

Now pop on over and check out some other great blogs that are taking part in the 365 Project this year - just click on the "365" logo below

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Scottish recipes - Balmoral Chicken with creamy whisky sauce

Balmoral Chicken

Balmoral Chicken with whisky sauce

Today I am making Balmoral Chicken

This dish uses the beloved Scottish favourite, haggis

Balmoral Chicken is simply chicken breasts stuffed with haggis and wrapped in bacon, with a wonderful creamy whisky sauce to go over the top

So with Burns night coming up in the month of January, I was at a loss to find canned haggis or any haggis for that matter without paying over the odds here in Texas, so I did what any girl would do, I begged on Facebook. A wonderful friend saved the day and gave up her last tin of Haggis to me so I could make this dish this week! Sylvia and Steve I owe you guys big time

So in honour of Robert Burns I am making a great haggis dish, you can make it too on Burns night on January 25th and celebrate Burn's life and recite a few Burns poems, like many a Scot will be doing

You will need

4 Chicken breasts
Tin of haggis
10-12 rashers of streaky bacon (or British back bacon is even better)

For the whisky sauce
2 tbsp whisky
250ml/8floz chicken stock
100ml/3floz Whipping cream
20g/2 tbsp Butter
Fresh ground pepper

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F

  • Using a sharp knife, cut a slit on the top of each chicken breast, and then slice on the inside to widen the space, be careful not to cut all the way through

  • If using canned haggis,  remove from can and warm slightly in microwave so it is easier to work with 

  • Stuff a few spoonfuls of haggis into the chicken breast

  • Wrap the chicken with 2 or 3 slices of bacon, closing the stuffed gap as you go

  • Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked

  • While the chicken is baking make the whisky sauce

  • Mix chicken stock and whisky in a pan, bringing to the boil and reduce the volume by half

  • Add the cream and continue to stir

  • Add butter and grind in the pepper corns to taste (don't be shy with the pepper) 

  • Once butter has melted the sauce is ready to pour

  • Once chicken is ready, serve with vegetables of choice and pour the sauce over the chicken


This dish can also be made stuffed with black pudding instead of haggis, or both !

The sauce would also be good with steak

Balmoral Chicken

Balmoral Chicken with whisky sauce

Address tae a Haggis by Robert Burns

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
'Bethankit' hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis

linking to fivelittlechefs ; sweetbellaroos ; thelifeofjenniferdawn ; serenitynowblog ; craft-o-maniac
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