Pitcaithly  Biscuits

This biscuit recipe is based on an old bannock recipe that I have.  There’s a lot of nonsense out there written about bannock on food blogs and we all know how I love to set things straight.  First off, bannock describes the shape of the bake.  It is a round, flat loaf.  So it can be savory or sweet. It can be baked in a skillet, or in the oven.   The only requirement is that it is baked into a flat circle and cut into wedges when served.  So it’s really just a word the Scots use for scone or shortbreads.

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Cranberry Jelly

I promised I would post this today.  I honestly just started making this a couple of years ago, because my daughter added a new appetizer to Thanksgiving Day and I really try to make sure that’s the one day of year I am making everything from scratch.I know seems over the top, but its my party and I can make it more work if I want to. This is ridiculously easy though even if you don’t have an Instant Pot. 

Ingredients

  • 2 bags (12 oz each) fresh cranberries, about 6 cups
  •  1 cup apple juice
  •  2 cups sugar
  •  3 tablespoons powdered pectin

Directions

  1. Cook the cranberries in the cider until they are soft.  If you have an Instant Pot you can make your  life very simple by putting them in there for 5 minutes at high pressure and then doing a quick release.
  2. Now do whatever you are going to do to strain the juice. Put  the mixture through a food mill, squeeze it through a jelly bag ,or just put them in a strainer and press all the juice out. It’s okay if some of the pulp from the berries gets in there.  In fact, it’s preferable.
  3. Put this juice in a pot.   Mix the pectin and the sugar together, stir them into the juice and bring this all to a boil.  Let it boil for a few minutes until the bubbles start to foam a little and the pour it into whatever jars you are using.  It’s not a huge recipe, it will only make five or six jelly jars full.
  4. I think right now some of my Americans readers are going to  raise an eyebrow because they learned how to make jam from some USDA home economist who makes everything too difficult. You really can just mix the pectin into the sugar and just dump it in there.  In the UK, you can buy jam sugar that has pectin and citric acid added.  That’s what they use to make jam in the Great British Bake-off show.

Also I have had so many people arguing with me that “of course Gerard did not write about serving cranberry sauce  with meat” that I am just preemptively  posting this picture from my book right here.  The entry for ” Marish whorts or fenne-berries”  starts on page 1419.   Jeez, people like I would say something without a citation. 

Old World Gourds & Their Uses

As you  might know,  I don’t write about indigenous North Americans’ use of  plants on this blog.  That is not because there is not a rich and varied history of indigenous plant use, it is because it is not my history to tell.   When I do write about the history of a new world plant, I first look at what was going on in the old world with alternate species and reason out how the new plant worked its way into that system.  Because that’s the system I know.

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