Monday, February 23, 2009

Bannocky Day

Scottish Cockfight 1785

In parts of Scotland, Shrove Tuesday is called Fasten's E'en, or Bannocky Day, but these days is not celebrated much, though cockfighting used to be common.

A crowdie, or dinner was traditionally held on this day. A ring was put in the basin or porringer of the unmarried people, and whoever found it had an omen of marriage. Then the Bannich Junit, or ‘sauty bannocks’ were brought out. They were made of eggs and meal mixed with salt to make them ‘sauty’, then baked on a gridiron. Some article was mixed with the dough, and whoever got it in his bannock would be married within a year. Bannich brauders were dreaming bannocks and contained a little soot; the baker had to bake these in silence. Each person would take one, slip off silently to bed, lay his or her head on the bannock, and be assured of dreaming about his or her sweetheart.

Bannocks Recipe

Before we start perhaps I should give you an idea what a traditional Scottish Bannock is. Quite simply it is a cross between a chewy oatmeal cookie and a biscuit. Best served fresh from the oven (clearly allowing to cool slightly) on its own, or split and toasted . Excellent for breakfast or with a cup of tea. Bannocks are best the day they are baked.

Highland Hearth by Edwin Douglas

Pinch of salt
3/4 tablespoons hot water
4 oz (125g) medium oatmeal
Additional oatmeal to be added when kneading
2 teaspoons melted fat (bacon fat is best, if available)
2 pinches of bicarbonate of soda

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