I'll not be needing a map for this one...
Occasionally on this blog, if I have included a photo looking west from Tense Towers, a gable end of a large house can be seen. These photos tend to be skyscapes or sunsets, but the most recent image of the 'large house' to be included here was this one of a Skylark on a fence post.
The house is the Free Kirk Manse in Holm, and I will go into more detail about the property and its ecclesiastical history in a later post. This post concerns one of its illustrious inhabitants from times past, Florence Marian MacNeill. She was a daughter of the Free Kirk minister, the Reverend Doctor Daniel MacNeill and his wife Jessie Dewar. Born in the manse in Spring 1885, Florence went on to become a suffragist, an author, a founder member of the Scottish National Party and a social historian.
One of her famous books is a collection of traditional Scots recipes, The Scots Kitchen' (1929). It has been described as the definitive book on Scots cookery. As luck would have it, we have a copy of a later reprint of the book, so I thought the least I could do was try out a recipe for this post.
I decided against Sheep's Head Broth, and opted for the topical recipe for Manse Biscuits (sadly not the manse). Due to lockdown, we didn't have a lemon in the fruit bowl (they're all in the freezer, chopped into segments... for G&Ts), so I substituted some vanilla essence instead. I used the last of our plain flour, and spent ages trying to figure out what 'moderate oven' meant, before I discovered a conversion chart at the front of the book. Then I just had to adjust the time for a fan oven to complete my segue from 1929 to 2020.
And I didn't bother with the dredging.
Target: Holm Free Church Manse
Distance from Tense Towers (as the dragon flies): 400m
Hazards: Hot oven, conversion of cooking temperature and time from 1929 to 2020
Mission accomplished?: Oh yes
Ah, more baking going on. The recipe looks very like the one I have for rock cakes which I had been planning to revisit anyway. Like you however all our lemons are sliced and in the freezer to pep up the other half’s tonic water (he’s not a fan of sugary drinks).
It was all a bit more artisanal than I had initially intended. I couldn't be bothered with a rolling pin, so just palmed the mixture into shape. Still, the result was much the same, I suspect.
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