In my second week of resurrecting old recipes from The Glasgow Cookery Book, I decide to make what I think will be the perfect accompaniment to a cuppa...
You’re onto me. Just two weeks into Glasgow’s Forgotten recipes and my penchant for eating things that aren’t as they seem has already been rumbled.
Last week’s Scotch woodcock was, as I found out, more egg- than bird- based, but no less tasty for it. If breakfast for dinner’s your thing, then it was great (it is for me, actually – be mine, big bowl of Shreddies for a late-night supper).
So it seemed obvious to me when flicking through The Glasgow Cookery Book at the beginning of the week, that I should attempt another recipe that masqueraded as something else, if only to see whether I had just been lucky the first time.
In the last couple of months I’ve developed a real sweet tooth, which is most out of character (I’m normally the one making a beeline for the pork pie and sausage roll end of the buffet table, pushing small, crying children out of my way to hoover up the savouries).
The baking section of my 100-year-old book is expansive – there are things I recognise, like Swiss rolls and butterfly cakes, but also some slightly more unfamiliar items, such as Maserines and Parkins.
And Lancashire nuts. Lancashire nuts are about as far removed from actual nuts as it’s possible to be, and contain absolutely nothing to trigger the allergies of anyone who has issues with the real thing.
They are, from what I can gather from the recipe, small sweet biscuits. They look ideal to have with a cup of tea in front of the telly on a wet Monday night. I get to work in the kitchen…
After I cream my butter and sugar, I sieve the dry ingredients, which constitute flour, cornflour and baking power– but there seems to be no sign of any other liquid apart from a cursory egg.
I’d like to think I was a good cook and take the hit for my baking, as my cakes do tend to make even human dustbins gag. But my inner baking klaxon is on high alert as I follow the next step – beating the egg, and adding it slowly to the creamed mixture, because it seems that the American Dust Bowl might very well be replicated right here in a tiny galley kitchen in Scotstoun.
My feelings are compounded when I stir in the ingredients, and I’m forced to actually use my hands by the end just to try to get the dry, dough-like mix to bind.
In the oven, things start to look up – they smell biscuity and baked, as they should.
But the proof of the pudding is in the eating: they are dry and floury, with a weirdly silky consistency thanks to the cornflour that makes them both stick to and slip from the roof of the mouth.
I soldier on as best I can (needs must) and make mini biscuits with them, sandwiching homemade jam and yoghurt between two nuts, which works quite well washed down with lots of tea.
Here’s how I did it:
4 oz butter
4 oz castor sugar
4 oz flour
4 oz cornflour
1 level teaspoonful baking powder
1 Cream butter and sugar, sieve dry ingredients
2 Beat egg, add slowly to creamed mixture
3 Stir in dry ingredients
4 Put in teaspoonfuls of greased tin, bake for 20 minutes at 200c.