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     As soon as the Christmas decorations are down it's time to start thinking about Marmalade!  In January Seville oranges come to Ir...


Scotch Pancakes

Yesterday Scotland went to the polls and voted on independence from the United Kingdom. 85% of electorate voted and 54% of them voted "No". Scotland remains in the UK.

I don't know how I would have voted, but I thought I'd like some drop scones today. In some households these are called "Scotch Pancakes". They are delicious warm with butter and jam or lemon curd.
For a savoury twist serve with grilled smoked rashers and honey or maple syrup.
If I can't find fine oatmeal I put rolled porridge oats into the food processor and process until it's a fine meal.

175g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
4tsp sugar
75g fine oatmeal
1 large egg

Sift the flour and baking into a bowl and stir in the salt, sugar and oatmeal.
Make a well in the centre and add the egg, start mixing in the egg with a whisk and as it gets thicker add splashes of milk and keep mixing, until you have a batter the consistency of double cream.

Heat a frying or a griddle and grease with butter.
When hot spoon large spoonfuls of the batter onto the pan and let them cook for a minute until brown underneath and then flip them over and let them cook for a moment.

Remove them from the pan and keep warm in a low oven until they are all cooked.




         Someone on Twitter requested this recipe after my husband Tom mentioned we had had some. It is a wonderful old fashioned dish easily made of  frozen fish and store cupboard ingredients. If you don't have the spices a couple of teaspoons of  'curry powder' will do.
     Tom so enjoyed it he finished the remains for lunch, leaving me with nothing to photograph!
The sea.

250g smoked white fish
100g small prawns or shrimp
250g rice
2 eggs
1 small onion
knob of fresh ginger
25g butter
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground coriander
a pinch of chilli powder
2 tbs chopped fresh coriander to serve

Put a serving dish into the oven to warm up at 180˚C, GM 4.
Place the smoked fish into a pan and cover with cold water, put the pan on the heat and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and let the fish cook in the heat of the water for 10 minutes.
Cook or defrost the prawns/ shrimp. Peel if necessary.
Cook the rice and drain well and keep hot.
Hard-boil the eggs for 10 minutes cool and peel.
Peel the onion and slice very thinly. Peel and very finely chop the ginger.
In a frying pan melt the butter over a medium heat and add the onion, ginger and spices. Cook gently until the onion is soft. Do not let it burn.
Drain the fish and gently break it up into flakes.
Peel the egg and cut it into 6 slices lengthways.
Stir the hot, drained rice into the onion and spices and mix well.
Add the flaked fish and prawns/ shrimp and mix gently through the rice.
Pile the rice mixture onto the warm serving dish and cover with foil and heat through in the oven for 15 minutes.
Decorate with the egg slices and chopped coriander.

Red Sweet, grown by Tom.


Eating Your Garden

      Ballymaloe is a special place and the festivals it holds draw a very lovely and special group of people. The Literary Festival of Food & Wine (litfest) in May is wonderfully broad in its scope with  discussions, talks, wine tastings and cookery demonstrations, involving the great and the good of the food and wine world.
      The Big Shed fills up with lots of stands for everything from seeds and crafts to craft cider & beer and food. There is even a children's corner.

      At the end of August Ballymaloe holds a smaller Garden Festival with talks, tastings and discussions. The Big Shed is also well stocked with stalls of food, seeds, crafts and drinks. There are plant stalls outside too.
     Having given a talk last year we were asked back again this year and our topic was "Eating Your Garden" with particular reference to flowers. Here are the recipes for the lavender biscuits, lavender vodka and the rose creams.
I'll write up the remainder of the talk in the next blog post.

Lavender Biscuits 

 These biscuits are crisp and buttery, don't be tempted to use anything other than butter. If the dough is very soft divide it in 3, wrap it and leave it in the fridge to firm up and then roll it out.

175g soft butter
115g caster sugar
1tsp lavender flowers picked from the stalk
1tsp chopped lavender leaves
125g plain flour
100g semolina

      Set the oven to GM 4, 180˚C and grease 2 large baking trays with butter.
      Cream the butter and sugar with the lavender flowers and chopped leaves until light and fluffy.
Sift in the flour and add the semolina and beat again until it comes together in a ball.

      Flour your work surface and take out a third of the mixture and roll it out with a floured rolling pin until it is about 5 to 8mm thick.
Cut out small rounds or shapes and put them onto the trays.
Repeat with the rest of the dough and then the scraps.
Bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes until just golden.
       Leave the biscuits on the trays for 5 minutes to firm up and then transfer to racks to finish cooling.
Sprinkle extra lavender flowers onto the warm biscuits while they are cooling. Store in an airtight container, when cold, if they last that long.

Lavender Vodka        
Tom has a passion for trying out different flavours in Martinis and made this to bring along. He only discovered that he should have added some vinegar to preserve the colour of the lavender after he'd made the 'vodka' and the flowers had faded.

375ml good quality vodka
2tsp cider vinegar
8 lavender flower heads with long stalks
48 hours

      Pour the Vodka and cider vinegar into a 700ml bottle. Put the lavender flower heads into the bottle with the stalks sticking out and tie the stalks together.
Leave for 48 hours and strain off the vodka and bottle.

Rose Creams

If you find the Lavender biscuits fragile then these are even more so.

75g plain flour
60g corn flour
40g icing sugar
125g soft butter
2tbs caster sugar

      Set the oven to GM 4, 180˚C and grease 2 Swiss roll tins with butter.
      Sift the flours and icing sugar into a bowl and add the butter.
Beat together until a smooth paste has formed.
Put the caster sugar into a shallow bowl.
      Take a teaspoonful of dough on to the tip of a spatula and dip it in the sugar, then place it onto the Swiss roll tin sugar side up.

Repeat with the rest of the dough. It should make about 24 blobs.
      Bake in the hot oven for about 15 minutes until just starting to colour. Remove the tray from the oven and leave the biscuits to cool on the trays.

Rose Cream

 Petals from 3 fragrant roses
2tbs caster sugar
1tbs lemon juice
175ml cream

       Make sure there is no wildlife lurking in the rose petals and put them into a mini processor with the sugar and lemon juice, process to a purée.
Whip the cream until thick and fold in the rose purée

      Take two biscuits of the same size and sandwich them together with a spoonful of the rose cream.