Flummery – not an adjective but a noun!
According to Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary of 1901 Flummery is an ‘acid jelly made from the husks of oats’ and water but it has since come to mean ‘an empty compliment or anything insipid’. A recipe for traditional Flummery seems to bear this out, with its description of a rather flaccid, glutinous dish, resembling porridge but with the oats carefully removed.
Flora MacDonald is said to have been halfway through a dish of Flummery when she was arrested, having just delivered Bonnie Prince Charlie to the Isle of Skye in 1747. Given the nature of Old Scottish Flummery she may have been a little relieved by the interruption of her meal. I know I would be if I was arrested halfway through a tepid dish of jellied porridge.
You may be relieved to hear that the following is an adaptation of the old Scots recipe. It uses less water, is enriched with much more cream and honey and is then elevated to almost ambrosial heights by the addition of a generous quantity of Scots whisky liqueur. For the final excitement – the oats are back!
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 level tablespoon oatmeal
- ½ pint cream
- 3 tablespoons clear honey
- 4 tablespoons liqueur whisky i.e. Drambuie or similar
- Juice of half a lemon
- Heat the dry oatmeal gently in a heavy based saucepan until it turns a golden brown then set aside.
- Beat the cream till smooth but not stiff.
- Melt honey over gentle heat till it runs. Do not boil.
- Fold the heated honey into the whipped cream.
- Stir in the liqueur whisky and the lemon juice.
- Serve the warm honey and cream mixture in tall glasses with browned oatmeal sprinkled on top.
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