I am foolishly excited. This is because we are going away for a few days this weekend. Guess where we are going?
that’s right! Islay and Jura! As wild camping is a bit beyond me at the moment, Tom has hired a camper van in which we shall zoom about the islands in comparative luxury. What fun! He will be running the Jura Fell Race and I, of course, will be having a much more sedentary time. I’m sure, though, that I can manage some low-level walking and know I will really enjoy just being in these much beloved places.
I am also pleased because the mini-manu pattern is nearly ready to go and will be released as soon as I get back from our trip. I realised that I had 175g of the lovely spring green “St Magnus” Orkney Angora yarn left over – more than enough to make a toddler-sized cardigan – so I thought I would give the yarn away with a copy of the pattern when it is released. If you are interested in this “prize” from my stash, just leave a comment here between now and next Tuesday, and I will enter you into the draw.
Finally, my sister brought me some home-baked Fat Rascals a couple of weeks ago. They were very good, and I immediately nabbed her recipe and made some myself. For those who don’t know, Fat Rascals are a sort of cross between a rock bun and a scone, with the luxurious addition of dried fruit, spices, and peel. They are decorated with a wonky ‘face’ formed out of cherry eyes and blanched almond teeth, and are familiarly purveyed by Betty’s Yorkshire Tea Rooms. I particularly enjoyed the smell of grated citrus peel and nutmeg while I was making these (is there anything more mysterious-looking than the interior of a nutmeg?) and the finished result was very tasty indeed. Please to note: if this recipe is followed, your rascals will have a pleasing dome-like appearance, rather than the unusual mushrooms that you see here. Their odd shape is because I baked them in the type of tray that is meant to hold buns in bun-cases. And this, in turn, is explained by the fact that I got up at the crack of dawn on Sunday on a baking whim, and found myself unable to get into the cupboard that houses the flat baking trays due to wonky arm and leg. It was 6am, and Tom was sleeping, so it had to be the bun tray. Ah, the vicissitudes of post-stroke cooking.
still tasted good, though.
4oz plain flour
4oz self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 oz caster sugar
1 small orange
small nutmeg, ground
half teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 oz currants
3.5 oz glace cherries
packet blanched almonds
Preheat oven to gas mark 5 / 375f / 190c
use a non-stick baking tray, or use some butter to grease a normal one.
grate the rinds of the citrus peel. Grate nutmeg and chop your cherries, (leaving 12 whole cherries for decorating later)
Rub butter into the flours, baking powder and salt.
stir in sugar, spices, rinds, currants, chopped cherries.
Beat the eggs. Add 2/3 of the beaten egg to the mixture (keeping last 1/3 to brush surface later)
mix to form soft dough. If mixture is too dry, add a little milk. If it is too sticky, add a little flour.
divide mixture roughly into twelve rascals and place well-spaced on baking tray.
cut your remaining cherries in half, and place on top to form ‘eyes’.
Add blanched almond ‘teeth’.
Brush with remaining egg.
Bake in oven for about 20 minutes (but check the oven, as they catch easily).
Eat warm, with butter.
Don’t forget to leave a comment if you want the yarn and pattern and also, do let me know what you think about the blog’s new appearance (I am overhauling things). You may recognise the header from the card made for me by Kowajy, which I love (I will get back to updating the correspondence archive next week) – but is the sashiko stitching round the edges too much / too twee? Do you prefer a cleaner look?
Edited to add: I got rid of the stitching. . .
See you after the weekend!