A long time ago, in fact what feels like approximately five million years ago, I left home to complete my degree in Edinburgh, Scotland. Like every girl going to Scotland, I day dreamed
all the time from time to time about finding the Scottish man that would someday wait at the altar for me wearing a kilt ready to say ‘I do’ in that Sean Connery type of accent. Yes a man in a skirt, made all the more manly by the dagger pushed into the knee high socks. Little did I know that after finishing University and just six weeks into starting my new job, I met that man. About a year after that we packed our little car full to bursting point and we moved across the Irish sea back to my home. A few years after that, he brought me back to Edinburgh to ask me to marry him. That night, he brought me back to the little bar we first met in before going for dinner in the type of place we didn’t frequent when we lived in Edinburgh.
Over and back across the sea we go so often now, thankfully not in the little car anymore. My excitement of seeing Edinburgh Castle has never waned, it is the symbol of the city that gave me freedom, friendship, an education, anonymity when I was consumed with grief and it brought me love.
The 25th of January is Burns Night, a celebration of the life and poetry of Robert Burns. A night where Scots all over the world will gather together, the men smartly dressed in their tartan and clutching a wee dram of whisky, the women in their finery. The party host will address the haggis and then everyone will tuck into it alongside neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes to all those outside Scotland!) Then the Laddies will address the Ladies and then the Ladies will respond back to the Laddies and then a whole lot of ceilidh dancing will commence. Ceilidh dancing is so much fun, I still haven’t grasped the steps to go with the different songs even after numerous attempts, normally I have to kick my shoes off while Chub shouts and waves his arms around frantically at me before hurling me off to my next dance partner at high speed. It’s a very intense cardio workout.
This is my mother-in-laws recipe for shortbread. Of course you should say the traditional Scottish Grace (infact the very same one that we had before our wedding dinner) before enjoying the shortbread with tea. Happy Burns Day!
The Selkirk Grace
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit
- This recipe makes a very melt in the mouth shortbread, which is delicious.
- The shortbread should be pale golden colour, I found I had to take it out of the oven earlier than my mother in law told me I should at the second bake. The first time I made it I left it in the oven too long and it was a dark colour and it was far too dry. I’ve put it in the freezer to use for something else as I couldn’t throw it out.
- 4 oz / 114g plain flour
- 4 oz / 114g self raising flour
- 4 oz / 114g corn flour
- 4 oz / 114g icing sugar
- 8 oz / 228g butter
- Caster sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees or 170 degrees fan.
- Line a square 9 inch tin with baking paper.
- If using a freestanding mixer, place all the ingredients into the mixer and process until the mixture comes together in a dough.
- If making by hand, place all the ingredients into a large bowl and rub the butter in to the dry ingredients until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Knead the mixture until it comes together into a smooth dough.
- Place the dough into the cake tin and keep working it out until it is uniform in depth and smooth on top. Prick the dough all over with a fork and place in the oven for 28-30 minutes until it is a pale golden colour. Remove from the oven and slice into 3 inch x 1.5 inch pieces. Place these slices into the oven on a baking tray for a further 10-15 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with caster sugar. Store in an airtight tin.