A friend of all of us who engage in genealogy, Bessie Flanders, encouraged us to continue with our web site, and has provided us with Scottish Recipes and Stories.
Bessie and I are related to the same people so I guess that makes us cousins.
Bessie lives "down the Valley" but her heart is still in Cape Breton and Pictou County.
Here is Bessie's contribution to our web site -----Thanks Bessie
The story of the violin and the fairies
"Scot people were very superstitious and believed in fairies. I remember my mother and Aunt Margaret talking about the old people believing in fairies that lived in the woods."
"I was interviewing Willie MacMillan who was residing at Alderwood Rest Home in Baddeck. He was my mother's first cousin from Wreck Cove. He was the son of Dan McMillan of Westville who was killedin the Drummond Mine boiler explosion and Mary Ross of Wreck Cove, Cape Breton. After Dan L. died she took Willie and went back to her home area. Lew, my husband, was with me during the interview which I recorded. He told us a story of a fiddle that had a beautiful sound when played. He said "yes, the fairies made that fiddle".
"Throughout Scottish history many people believed in fairies.They were part of everyday life, as real to people as the sunrise."
"While fairy belief was only a fragment of a much larger complex, the implications of studying this belief tradition are potentially vast, revealing some understanding of the worldview of the people of past centuries."
"A book on the Fairies tradition Scottish Fairy Belief: A History: A History from the Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Century, can be found and bought at:-"- ------Bessie
"It was always important to my mother that a dark haired man had to enter the house first on New Years Day. Maybe shortly after the firing of the guns at 12 midnuight, by the neighbors, to celebrate the New Year, but most often in the morning and he usually had a lump of coal with him and a piece of shortbread. I think signified good luck, a warm home and lots to eat in the coming year. She made arrrangements with her nephew, Bill Muir, who lived next door to come on New Years day morning and I am sure she would not let another in until Bill's visit was over especially, a light haired gemtleman. My uncle Roddie Muir lived in an appartment in our house but he was not allowed to enter for breakfast as he was fair haired." Bessie
Scottish New Year
Hogmanay (hog- mah-NAY)
"The Origins of the name are obscure, this is a rousing Scottish New Year Celebration and the serving of shortbread to those visiting from house to house has long been a custom for the Scots First footing"
(that is, the "first foot" in the house after midnight) is still common in Scotland and Nova Scotia. To ensure good luck for the house, the first foot should be male, dark (believed to be a throwback to the Vuiking days when blond strangers arriving on your doorstep meant trouble) and should bring symbolic coal, shortbread, salt,black bun, and whiskey. These days,however,whiskey and perhaps shortbread are the only items still prevalent (and available). No whiskey in our house however. In Scotland all night street parties are held and Jan 2 is a holiday to get over all the celebrations of the previous week." Bessie
Recipe - Scottish Short Bread Cakes
3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour or 3 cups pastry flour
1/2 cup fruit sugar
1 cup cold butter - NO SUBSTITUTE
Sift together flour and sugar and rub butter into the mixture with your hands until very fine. After about 15 minutes it can be made into a ball.
Knead for about 6 minutes until a smooth dough. Shape into 2 flat cakes about 1 inch thick. Place on 9 inch pie plates - pinch edges and prick with a fork all over and all the way through. Lucky you if you have scottish molds with a heather design to use.
Bake at 250F-275F for about an hour or until very lightly brown. Leave until very well cooled and then store in an airtight tin. Today we use an electric mixer to cream the butter until it is white and then gradually add flour and sugar mix. Small amounts at a time.
Recipe - Cape Breton Pork Pies
Actually they are tarts
This is also a Pictou Co. Recipe
The crust is like a short bread dough.
1 cup butter --(Don't Substitute)
1/2 cup of icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups of flour
2 tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy - beat in egg yolk and vanilla.
Stir together flour,cornstarch, salt, and gradually stir in creamed mixture.
Gently knead until smooth working in batches gently form dough into 3/4 in balls.
Place on 11/2 inch tart cups and form tart (They are small tarts) Bake at 325F for 18 minutes ar until crisp and pale golden. Let cool on rack.Loosen shells with tip of knife.
When cool fill tarts.
Cook over medium heat to boil and then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often for 4 minutes or until thickened and smooth. Let cool , stir in Vanilla.
21/4 cups of chopped dates
3/4 cup of boiling water
3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup of chopped nuts ----if desired
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tbsp butter - No substitute
1 tsp Carnation milk to soft ball stage by testing some in cold water,it should form into a soft ball. Remove and put a dab on top of filling in the center of the tart.
Or this topping can be used:--
2/3 cup icing sugar sifted
2 tbsp maple syrup
Can be stored up to 4 days or freeze for 2 weeks or so.
"When Mom, a friend and I went on a trip to see the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton about 1956 we stayed at the cottages in Sydney River and our rooms were in the main house. The lady and owner of the family business invited us in, in the morning, down to the summer kitchen in the basement and served us hot scones right out of the oven, fresh strawberry preserves, coffee and we enjoyed delightful conversation. What a treat and so typical of the wonderful hospitality of Cape Breton people." Bessie
"What is the difference between a Bannock and a Scone, you ask?
Technically, the difference, which the Scots rhyme with "on" and not "bone" is that Bannock is a rather round, large cake, and the scone is a triangle or "farl" cut from the round of dough before baking. Bannock is like a very large tea biscuit and is still a favorite in Scottish ancestry homes regularly. "
"I put dried cranberries, currants or chcoolate mini chips in them sometimes now adays."
"Mom was famous for her biscuits, bannock or scones, strawberry jam and tea whenever someone dropped in to visit."
"When I was a girl guide leader and CGIT leader I made this batter and my girls would wrap it around a stick, cook it over the bonfire and then when cooked stuff the ceneter with jam. HMMMMM so good." Bessie
The following recipe was preparedand served at Government House at the time of the visit of their Majesties King George V and Queen Elizabeth on June 15 th 1939. Queen Elizabeth was from Scotland and she knew a good scone.
3 cups of flour
3 tbsp of shortening
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup of milk
Roll into quite thin rounds. Fold over like a perker house roll. Bake 20 minures in a moderate oven.
"I never tried this or seen scones rolled over like this, but if it is good enough for Royalty, it should be good enough for us." Besie
" I used to be General Manager of The Easy Living Shops Ltd. for the Atlantic Provinces which suppliesspecialized clothing to Nursing Homes etc.
For the year of the elderly in 1982 I undertook to obtain my drivers licence at an age over 40 and go on the road to all the Atlantic Provinces ans introduce the clothing."
"My cousin inlaw I hired for N.B. and two for NL. I shared PEI and I did NS. My husband loved to come with me and so I did fashion shows in the homes (70) the first fall. He would sometimes come along ans play guitar and harmonica and I would do the shows using the residents/guests and staff f he homes as models. In the course of doing this he had scottish ostcake cookies at the nursing home in Baddeck and as he often would do, asked for the recipe. This one is much like it..." Bessie
Cape Breton Oatcakes
3 cups of white flour
3 cups of rolled oats, dry
1 cup of white sugar
11/2 cup lard
1 tsp salt
2 tsps soda
3/4 cup cold water
Mix the dry ingredients. Add lard and cut with a pastry blender or mix with your hands. Add cold water and blend together. Sprinkle oatmeal on the board and roll out the dough - not too thin-- ,sprinkle oatmeat on top after cutting out. Cut in squares or rounds . .Bake 350F for 15 minutes.
"I usually put dough in the fridge for a while it makes it easier to handle --makes 5 - 6 doz.Freezes well." Bessie
"In the Whycocomagh area, these or cookies like them, were known as Dougall Archie's. It seems that a Dougall Archie made the best molasses cookies around and his cookies became known, yes, as Dougall Archie's - Dougall Archie was never told about the name, but one day when he was visisting a neighbors the kids came in screeming for "Dougall Archie's" The lady of the house was highly embarrased., but it seems Dougall Archie never caught on or pretended not to." Nelson
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
Cream well until light, then blend in..
1 cup molasses and 1 egg, beaten
add baking soda to water and add to mixture then add vanilla
3 tsps baking soda
3/4 cup boiling water
1 tbsp vanilla
sift dry ingredients together and add gradually to make a soft dough.
3/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger and cloves
Cool - roll 1/4 thick. You may have to add a little more flour so you can handle the dough.
"Cape Breton Long John's - (Old fashioned soft Molasses cookies)
Before cookie cutters were available dough was rolled out, scored with a fork one way and then the other to make a plaid pattern.
They used glasses or a teacup as cookie cutters. Miners took these in their lunch boxes and children to school. Many still do.-"--Bessie
Recipe ---The Smith's Scottish Ginger Cookies
100 year old recipe
"Every time we went to Aunt Grace's, who was my father's sister (Smith/Mattie) for supper she would have these cookies even if it was just a visit in the afternoon or evening. I asked her after I married how she always had fresh cookiesand tthis is her secret - She always had a rollof the dough in the freezer or one in the fridge. So she very thinly sliced it up and baked them and WOW !!! Fresh ginger snaps ...."......Bessie
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup shortening
3 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsps soda
2 tsps ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves.
Mix well together----I use my hands ---Form two thick "logs".
Wrap in wax paper or saran wrap and then foil and keep in fridge until cold. Will freeze well too.
When ready cut very thinly. Bake in 375F oven for 8-10 minutes.
Watch closely. Should be crisp and snappy when cool.
"This recipe is about 100 years old. The "old" folks likely used lard or bacon fat instead of shortening." ----- Bessie
Recipe --McMillan's Steamed Graham Christmas Pudding
" I call this East Lake Ainslie Graham Pudding because my
greatgrandparents came from there and St Ann's, Cape Breton Island."
"My mother made this each year.It is very plain but the Butterscotch Sauce makes it delicious"
" I believe the recipe came from Scotland with the pioneers.It is very inexpensive and plain"
11/2 cups of graham flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup of sour milk with 1 tsp soda added
1 egg - beaten
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup shortening to molasses
add spices to flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Put in a bowl that can stand heat, greased and pour in batter.
Cover with two layers of greased brown paper and tie with a string , very tight--leave a little room at the top for expansion.
Place in a steamer with water boiling in it ready for the bowl or turn a scucer upside down and place bowl on that in a roaster. Cover and cook 11/2 -3 hrs.
Add boiling water to pot as needed.
Test and remove from bowl to cool on a rack.
Carmel Butterscotch Sauce.
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
Brown and dissolve sugar in a heavy bottomed pot on the stove - -stir constantly --5 minutes or so----careful it does not burn - then add 1 cup boiling water stirring constantly.
Have mixed 1/4 cup of flour, 1/2 tsp salt and a little water to make a paste. Add at this point cook approximately 5 minutes and add 1 tsp of Valilla after you remove from the stove. You could add a bit of fruit to the batter.
"I used apricots one year---finely chopped and mixed dried fruit, but Mom alwaysserved it plain with the sauce. Warm slices of the pudding and serve with warm sauce" Bessie
A very special "Thank You" to Bessie for these recipes and comments.
Tell Bessie you appreciate her input by sending her an email at:
Bessie says--" Enjoy! I use for weddings, banquets, parties, etc. as well as a refreshing glass during the summer heat."
8 Cups of chopped rhubarb (abt 1 in)
2 cups of water
Stew over medium heat until all pieces are well cooked to mush. Strain thru cheesecloth or jellybag and discard pulp, if you want a very clear liquid or put in the processor until it is well processed therefore using the pulp. ADD and mix in well---
2 cups of white sugar --( I put 1 cup or so.)
1 can pink lemonade
4 cans of water - using the cans above.
Makes 4 litres with pulp included
You can freeze this and serve later
You can freeze some concentrate in small containers to use instead of ice.
TO SERVE :
Mix in punch bowl with equal amounts of ginger ale, 7 up or sprite, add garnish with a frozen fruit ring or sliced oranges. Add frozen concentrate instead of ice.
1 litre = 4 cups or 32 oz.
1 batch yields 4 litres of concemtrate add 4 litres pop = 256 oz.
1 batch with pop = 32 -- 8 oz. glasses or 42 - 6 oz. glasses
2 batchs with pop = 64 - 8 oz. glasses or 84 - 6 oz. glasses
3 batchs with pop = 96 - 8 oz. glasses or 126 6 oz. glasses
4 bathch with pop =120 - 8 oz. glasses or 168 6 oz. glasses
Spring has brought us lushious red stocks of rhubarb peaking out of the ground. Time to think of this delicious punch.