Brighten up your Burns night supper with some Scottish 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. Continue reading Burns Night Special→
Here is a recipe for lip balm – it won’t help much with the beeswax mountain but if your lips are in tatters this is the stuff for you. If not, well it does have tatter-prevention properties if you smear some on before you go out in the elements. At the very least it will give you a nice glossy pout. Continue reading Lip Balm Recipe→
This is a really simple and nourishing handcream recipe – in fact you could probably eat it.
If you’re not planning to eat it you could add fragrance but it’s lovely as it is. Just apply sparingly as possible and try and keep it off your palms because it doesn’t contain those chemicals that make it vanish into your skin.
If you do get greasy palms – rub it on your head. Your hair will be glossy as a colt’s back and even on a very windy day – it’ll hold it all down nicely.
Weigh everything including the water.
50g spotlessly clean beeswax
200g jojoba oil
200g almond oil
200g soft water
10 g borax
This will make 9 x 50ml pots so get them ready first;
Measure oils into a pyrex bowl;
Break up beeswax and add to oils;
Set pyrex bowl in pan of hot water and set on low heat to melt wax;
When beeswax is melted put water and borax into a jar, mix then warm this mixture so it is the same temperature as the oil etc;
Pour oil/beeswax mixture and boraxed water both together at the same time into a bowl and stir;
A creamy mixture will form and you need to get it into pots before it sets and it will set quite quickly.
Honey cakes tend to be dry old things – this one isn’t – it’s a really special cake. Especially if you can find some heather honey to make it with then it is sublime.
Devonshire Honey Cake borrowed (and tested) from here
250g clear honey , plus about 2 tbsp extra to glaze
225g unsalted butter
100g dark muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
300g self-raising flour
Butter and line a 20cm round loose bottomed cake tin. Cut the butter into pieces and drop into a medium pan with the honey and sugar. Melt slowly over a low heat. When the mixture looks quite liquid, increase the heat under the pan and boil for about one minute. Leave to cool for 15-20 minutes, to prevent the eggs cooking when they are mixed in.
Preheat the oven to fan 140C/ conventional 160C/gas 3. Beat the eggs into the melted honey mixture using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour into a large bowl and pour in the egg and honey mixture, beating until you have a smooth, quite runny batter.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour until the cake is well-risen, golden brown and springs back when pressed. A skewer pushed into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Sixty minutes at 140 degrees fan oven was perfect – no skewer or foil required.
Turn the cake out on a wire rack. Warm 2 tbsp honey in a small pan and brush over the top of the cake to give a sticky glaze, then leave to cool. Keeps for 4-5 days wrapped, in an airtight tin.
Mid-winter is the time to be thinking of marmalade.
If nothing else it’ll take your mind off that other old rubbish that happens towards the end of December.
Seville oranges are in season from December to February so you’ve plenty of time to be thinking about it. If you have some indifferent honey you’d like to use up, here’s a good target – oranges and honey together develop a superb depth of flavour.
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. Continue reading Scottish Flummery Recipe→
Honey has been a sought-after commodity since ancient times. Although there were always medicinal applications, its primary use was as a sweetener for other foods, and of course for its own sweet sake. As such, it enjoyed luxury status for aeons and the hazards and pain primitive man was prepared to risk, shinning up trees and breaking into wild hives, especially before he discovered the efficacy of smoke is extraordinary. However it is easier to understand when we realise that the only real alternative sweeteners, certainly in this part of the world, were wild carrots, parsnips and get this… crab apples!