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Today, the apple rite of dooking for apples is linked to the Ordeal by Water. To get to the land of the Silver Bough you had to pass first through water and then fire. Obsolete in its original form, but still enduring in suspended treacly scones, the ordeal by fire entailed fixing an apple and a lighted candle to either end of a rod.

A Year In A Scots Kitchen

The rod was then hung from a height and twirled, while participants attempted to grab a bite of the fruit without being burnt by the candle. On the magic front, many customs and superstitions have been handed on from one generation to the next.

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Magic continues to fascinate. In Scotland, a variety of eating traditions developed in connection with lucky charms at Halloween. In some parts the lucky charms were buried in a large pot of champit tatties mashed potatoes while in others they were put into a clootie dumpling a spicy fruit pudding boiled in a cloth. In the Highlands, the hiding-mixture was whipped cream with oatmeal known in Gaelic as fuarag Scots crowdie.

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The young people sometimes blindfolded sat in a circle round the pot, each with a spoon, supping until it was empty. Part of the fun was the supping, but there was even greater hilarity when everyone disclosed what their fortunes were to be. Today, children are the most enthusiastic revellers at Halloween as they continue — despite the attractions of more sophisticated entertainment — to catch the spirit of its spooky merriment.

Helped by enthusiastic adults the tradition is still handed on from one generation to the next, though there are subtle changes. For a few years, while they were still young teenagers, they liked to celebrate with a whole night of Halloween partying. Guising still continued on the 31st, but the thing was to have a weekend special Halloween fancy-dress party, when they could stay up late into the night. The house would be arranged so that it was almost totally dark except for a few turnip lanterns. Then they would play wild games like Hunt the Witch, when one of the mob was sent off to hide.

Scottish Sausage Stovie - Budget Meals

Then they would end up, exhausted, in the kitchen for calming drinks and a basin of swirling water and apples as they took their turn at dooking their heads into the water to catch an apple. Those with painted faces were allowed to hang over the back of a chair with a fork in their mouths, dropping the fork into basin in the hope of catching an apple. The next bout of hilarity involved putting hands behind their backs, and trying to bite into be-treacled scones and pancakes which hung from a string tied to the kitchen pulley.

We never did lucky-charm tatties, or Highland fuarag, but the charms went into clootie dumplings or a fancy Halloween cake.

Lying in a heap on the floor dead beat was the best place to be after their wild night of scary fun. While the cream was being stirred round and round oatmeal was gradually added till the whole got as thick as porridge. Then all the members of the household gathered round, each armed with a spoon, and partook of the stapag.


Into this stapag a ring, a thimble and a button along with some silver coins used to be added. Each had to dip his or her spoon to the very bottom of the dish but no scraping was allowed. Heavy with fresh autumnal fruits, its mellow flavour and moist texture contrasts with a crust of burnished nuts and fruit. Wrap charms button, thimble, coins, horseshoe, wishbone tightly in greaseproof paper. To aerate the flour and sugar, sift both into a bowl and whisk with an electric beater for about 30 seconds.

Soften the butter slightly, but do not melt seconds in the microwave. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Put the butter and three-quarters of the egg and milk mixture into the flour. Beat for about 60 seconds, to aerate and build up the structure of the cake.

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Add the rest of the egg mixture and beat for another 20 seconds. Dust fruit with flour to prevent it sinking. Add the fruit and charms and mix through. Pour into the cake tin. Fifteen minutes before the end of the baking time, mix the butter, yolks and honey to a runny paste, remove the cake from the oven, and spread over the cake. Return to the oven to set the crust. It should be lightly browned.

ISBN 13: 9781897784518

Best served warm from the oven. Matched against the visual charms of green olives and deeply red sun-dried tomatoes, stodgy grey porridge and creamy brown stovies might signal a gastronomic bore. Unless, of course, the less visually attractive foods also have flavour punch. Then colour matters not. Restoring warmth and curing ills is the thing. And northern people who practice the healing art when winter bites are the ones to be celebrated.

People like our Mary, a perky little woman in her fifties with a slight figure which belied her capacity for hard work. She cleaned, tirelessly, in the college in Elgin where I worked and lived alone in a flat just a few doors from my bedsit. She had made potfuls all her life, and when her large family left home, she had continued making enough to feed herself, and many more besides. The leftovers were put into a large bowl and taken to whoever needed restoring.

She had an inventive way with broths, making them with anything which was available, though her method varied little. The meat or poultry went in first — for a long slow simmer along with barley, lentils, dried peas and robust vegetables — then the more delicate greens and herbs were added nearer the end of the cooking. Ordering Information You can order this e-book online from the following websites the links below will take you directly to the product page on each.

Reviews Absolutely brilliant and comprehensive collection of recipes and anecdotes for bad times, good times, festivals and holidays in Scottish social history. Illustrates very well how the Scots enjoyed themselves in good times, and at least keep themselves alive in some very bad times, and some of the latter items show that if times are hard now, they're not as bad as they could be then!

Many of the recipes are very suitable for nowadays for those on a tight budget, but some 'Pizza and chips' aficionados may need to suspend any preconceived ideas before trying them.

A Year in a Scots Kitchen : Catherine Brown :

Vegetarians will fall upon them with glee. As for the celebratory ones, remember that people lived a different lifestyle then, and worked off the calories better. If the recipes don't appeal, this book is worth it for the descriptions of festivities long forgotten, and the associated stories. She begins on 31 October, the traditional Celtic New Year, now better known as the popular children's festival of Hallowe'en.

She is guided by the guardians of Scotland's culinary treasures -- the farmers, fishermen, artisans and craftspeople in the food industry who follow the natural rhythm of the seasons as they grow, harvest, smoke, cure, preserve and cook food. The 20th century has witnessed many startling changes in food production and retailing. The most telling of these is the fact that while today's ready-cooked, pre-packed produce may be sophisticated and diverse, it is often difficult to assess for true quality. A Year In A Scots Kitchen suggests a return to tracking down quality seasonal ingredients, if possible from local suppliers, as they ripen or mature naturally.

It also provides a fascinating glimpse into traditional eating habits and seasonal festivities. This new digital edition is sure to become an essential item for all lovers of food and cooking. Help Centre.