Tag Archives: scotland

Recipe: Crumbly Cranachan Shortbread with Whisky

Cranachan is a traditional Scottish pudding, usually made with whipped cream, whisky, honey and fresh raspberries, with toasted oatmeal soaked overnight in a little bit of whisky. Whilst my Cranachan Shortbread recipe isn’t faithful to the original, it is considerably inspired by this Caledonian classic.

This Cranachan Shortbread recipe is a beautifully short and crumbly whisky shortbread, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with dried, crushed raspberries. It’s a biscuit and a half and a real Scottish inspired treat.

Recipe: Crumbly Cranachan Shortbread with Whisky

Dried raspberries are available, but hard to find. Unsuccessful, I ended up drying my own in a very low oven for many, many hours. I then crushed them in a pestle and mortar. I was pleasantly surprised with how they turned out, they didn’t smell especially powerful, but they certainly packed a flavour punch. They’d be great sprinkled on all kinds of cakes and desserts.

Cranachan Shortbread with whisky

Ingredients:
225g butter
130g caster sugar
350g plain flour
3 tablespoons of whisky
Caster sugar for sprinkling
100g milk chocolate
1 punnet of raspberries, dried

Recipe: Crumbly Cranachan Shortbread with Whisky

Method:
Pre-heat your oven to 180. You’ll need to have a couple of baking trays covered with greaseproof paper ready.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly beat the butter and sugar together. Once fluffy, add the whisky and little by little add the plain flour. Mix with a wooden spoon as best you can. Try not to overwork it too much or the dough will go gluey.

I find the following method tidier and it stops you manhandling the dough too much. Once the shortbread dough is almost mixed, tip it out onto a large sheet of greaseproof paper; bring the dough together with your hands and then fold the paper in half with the mixture sandwiched in between.

With a rolling-pin, roll it out so it’s about 5mm thick and cut into rounds. I used a glass for this and carefully lifted each shortbread biscuit onto the baking tray. You should get around 18 shortbread biscuits out of the dough. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar over each round.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the shortbread, they still need to be pale and not brown. Once they’re baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack.

Whilst the shortbread biscuits are cooling, melt the chocolate over a bain marie. Once melted, dip each shortbread into the chocolate and half coat it, put your biscuit back on the greaseproof paper and sprinkle the dried raspberries. Try to resist eating your shortbread until the chocolate has set.

Enjoy with a cup of tea or a wee dram if you’re so inclined! Sláinte!

Recipe: Crumbly Cranachan Shortbread with Whisky

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, you might also like this Haggis, potato cake & poached egg stack.

Casa Costello

Crafts: Make your own Scottish Thistle Brooch

Celebrate your Scottish heritage (or admiration for the highlands) with this lovely Scottish Thistle brooch. It’s pretty simple to make and it took me around an hour to sew together and finish off. The thistle is one of the most enduring emblems of Scotland and this brooch is the perfect thing to wear on Burns Night, Hogmanay or St Andrew’s Day.

Crafts: Make your own Scottish Thistle Brooch

I confess that the idea for this craft came when I was scrolling through Pinterest and I came across something similar. The version I spotted looked quite basic and something for children to make, you can see that version here. I took the original idea and turned it into a brooch an adult would want to wear on a jacket or coat. I’m really pleased with how my Scottish Thistle brooch has turned out and it is now on my winter coat ready for showing off later.

Make your own Scottish Thistle Brooch

You will need:
Green felt
Large green button
Green and purple embroidery thread
Brooch back or a safety pin

Instructions:
With a pen or pencil, sketch a thistle shape on your felt (take a look at the sketch below as a guide) making sure there’s enough space for the button with some room around it. Carefully cut out the thistle shape. Pin the thistle to the felt and use it as a stencil to cut out a second thistle shape. Pin them together.Crafts: Make your own Scottish Thistle Brooch

Crafts: Make your own Scottish Thistle Brooch

Using the green embroidery thread, stitch the two felt thistles together. I’ve sewn them so the stitching is a little feature around the edges of the felt. Once you’ve sewn the thistles together, take your purple embroidery thread and in long stitches sew the purple prickles on the top.

Crafts: Make your own Scottish Thistle Brooch

Crafts: Make your own Scottish Thistle Brooch

Take your green button and sew it in place with the purple embroidery thread. Finish off the detail on the thistle with some green stitches across the thistle leaves. To complete your brooch, sew on the brooch back or safety pin on the back of your thistle. I stitched my safety pin behind the button.

Your Scottish Thistle brooch is now complete and ready to wear with pride!

Crafts: Make your own Scottish Thistle Brooch

Recipe: Haggis, potato cake & poached egg stack

The most famous foodstuff in Scotland is haggis, (followed by much more appealing sounding things like shortbread and whisky). It’s traditional to serve haggis with neeps and tatties, but I wanted to try something a little different and perhaps make haggis a bit more appealing, a little bit sexy even. That’s a tough gig. Even tougher given that I’m vegetarian and I’ve never tried haggis.

I tried to think of it like black pudding. Being a Lancashire lass this put me firmly in my comfort zone. It’s sort of like black pudding in that’s it’s made from fairly unappealing bits of animal in a sausage shape; although haggis holds together less well than black pudding.

I decided to try to turn it into a brunch or lunch meal, served with homemade potato cakes and a poached egg it’s a fairly well-balanced, interesting meal that’ll satisfy anyone with a hearty appetite. I’ve made my own potato cakes as they’re much nicer than shop bought, but if you want to buy them I recommend you get them from a good bakery.

Recipe: Haggis, potato cake & poached egg stack

Haggis, potato cake & poached egg stack

Ingredients:
One haggis
One egg per person
Chives
Oil for frying

For potato cakes (makes 6 large cakes) –
2 mugs of mashed potato
Half a mug of plain flour
Salt & pepper
Chives
Oil for frying

Method:

Start by putting your cold (leftover) mashed potato in a bowl with the plain flour, season and snip in some chives. Mix thoroughly by hand and shape into 6 equal sized potato cakes. Fry them off gently until they’re golden brown on both sides. Set aside somewhere warm until you’re ready to serve them. They can be kept warm in a low oven for a little while.

Take your haggis (unsteamed) and cut into 1.5cm thick slices. Fry gently in oil until brown and crispy on both sides, make sure it’s cooked all the way through. Set aside and keep warm with the potato cakes.

Poach an egg per person.

To plate up, stack your haggis on top of your potato cake and place your poached egg on top. I snipped chives all over mine because I like chives, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want.

Recipe: Haggis, potato cake & poached egg stack

It’s really simple, it took me hardly any time at all and it was quite delicious. The boys once again returned clean plates to the kitchen. Winner winner haggis dinner?

Recipe: Haggis, potato cake & poached egg stack

If you enjoyed this recipe you might also like this recipe for Crumbly Cranachan Shortbread with Whisky.

Recipe: Cinnamon & Raisin Shortbread

If you’re a novice baker, biscuits and shortbread are a great place. Biscuits are fairly easy. They don’t need to be light and fluffy and they don’t need to rise. The one thing I can successfully bake,which usually gets stacks of compliments is shortbread. I usually bake plain or lavender shortbread but I’ve decided to mix things up and bake a cinnamon and raisin shortbread instead.

I inherited the basic shortbread recipe from my Grandma who was a cook and a pastry chef. She used to make fantastic puddings. I’ve taken her shortbread recipe and added a few other ingredients. I’m really pleased with the results, they’re a buttery, short, crumbly shortbread with a lively cinnamon and raisin twist!

Recipe: Cinnamon & Raisin Shortbread

Cinnamon and Raisin Shortbread

Ingredients:
225g butter
130g caster sugar
350g plain flour
3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
50g raisins
Caster sugar for sprinkling

Method:
Pre-heat your oven to 180. You’ll need to have a couple of baking trays covered with greaseproof paper ready.

Rub the butter and sugar together with your fingers or using a food mixer. Then lightly rub in the flour and the cinnamon with a wooden spoon (I do this in stages to avoid a flour cloud in the kitchen). Add the raisins and mix through the dough.

I find the following method tidier and it stops you manhandling the dough too much. Once the cinnamon and raisin shortbread dough is almost together; tip it out onto a large sheet of greaseproof paper. Bring the dough together with your hands and then fold the paper in half with the mixture sandwiched in between.

With a rolling-pin, roll it out between the sheets of paper, so it’s about 5mm thick and cut into rounds. I used a glass for this and carefully lifted each cinnamon and raisin shortbread biscuit onto the baking tray. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar over each round.

I managed to get 18 large shortbread rounds out of the dough and I got another 18 mini round shortbreads too. Bake the mini rounds for just 10 minutes, they’re lovely with a cup of tea and their mini size makes them seem much fancier.

Bake the large shortbread rounds in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the shortbread, they don’t really want to brown. Once they’re baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack.

Recipe: Cinnamon & Raisin Shortbread

Shortbread can be a tricky beast, you don’t want your shortbread to brown, it needs to be pale in not over-baked. It’s tricky to see these shortbreads brown as the cinnamon makes them darker to begin with. Different ovens cook differently and I’ve found different butters behave differently too. So it’s best to keep having a peek. You want it to still be pale, but cooked through. You don’t want to dry it out and over-bake either.

Try if you can (I failed) not to gobble one down while they’re still hotter than the surface of the sun. Once cool, enjoy with a streaming mug of tea. They can happily be stored in an airtight tin for a few days, if they last that long.

Recipe: Cinnamon & Raisin Shortbread

These shortbreads were a massive hit, they were loved by all. I was cautious with the cinnamon as not everyone likes it. I think next time I’d put more cinnamon, but it depends how much of a fan of this spice you are. If you’re not sure how much you want to add, you can always taste the raw dough and add more if you think it needs it.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like my recipe for Crumbly Cranachan Shortbread with Whisky.

Recipe: Cinnamon & Raisin Shortbread