”Halloween. How can I work Outlander into Halloween?
I watched the first episode of the TV series (all I can get L) and had to read the book again. For three days, that’s all I’ve done—immerse myself in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, for maybe the fourth time.
So what to do for Halloween? Have a bloody, battered Sam Heughan answer the door? Would that scare you?
Possibly not the reaction I’d have in spite of the blood, so I’ll go to plan B.
Okay, it’s an idea.
First I had to look up bannocks.
Apparently they’re a sort of bread, similar to a thick pancake, American biscuit, or a thin scone, according to the first couple of recipes I found. Lo! Then I found a site devoted to the Outlander kitchen, but the bannock looks like the oatcake pictures. And the first thing it says is to grind the flours with a coffee grinder. Somehow that takes away from the authenticity, even though the cakes sound right otherwise. (I should have paid attention to this.)
Oatmeal to Americans is porridge, and we used rolled oats to make it.
So I thought maybe steel-cut oats, being smaller, would be better than rolled oats, which are more common here. NOT! There is no way this is going to turn into dough.
This version calls for flour and rolled oats. (Even though the recipe says to grind the oats, I didn’t.) It also said to use milk and yogurt. I used buttermilk. There are always exceptions when I cook, usually based on what’s in the kitchen at the time.
These ingredients looked much more promising.
(I used bread flour because it’s hard instead of the soft flour we use for biscuits. Hard flour is surely what’s grown in Scotland, right?)
Flour, 2 cups
Quick rolled oats, 1 cup
Baking powder, 1 tablespoon
Sugar, 1 teaspoon
Salt, ½ teaspoon
Butter, cold, ¼ cup (1/2 stick)
Buttermilk, 1 cup
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease baking sheet.
Combine dry ingredients in bowl. Grate cold butter into mixture and rub or cut in.
Add buttermilk and mix quickly to make dough. Mine was not sticky but rolled into a ball easily. Roll out on floured board to about ½-inch thick. Cut into rectangles (saves having those odd bits to form into another ball) and arrange, not touching, onto baking sheet. Bake about 12 to 15 minutes.
Woohoo! Edible bannocks, or at least something close. Eat warm with butter and jam or whatever you fancy.
This is the recipe I used with a few changes:
Here’s one that looked right, but I didn’t want to grind the oats. Should have.
This one, from Glasgow, is the one I wanted to use. http://www.glasgowguide.co.uk/scottish_recipes_Bannocks.htm
Several generations back, my MacFarlane ancestors lived by Loch Lomond, not too far from Glasgow.
So, says I, maybe I’ll have some inherent affinity for them. Sadly, this was not to be. The first two batches of yucky oat stuff came from this recipe. Incidentally, I have the clan badge my mother gave me.
It’s a bit different from the ones I see on the Internet, with arrows instead of a sword. I have no idea where it came from or anything about it.
4 oz (125g) medium oatmeal (1.4 cups) Additional oatmeal to be added when kneading 2 teaspoons melted fat (bacon fat is best, if available) Pinch of salt ¾ tablespoons hot water 2 pinches of bicarbonate of soda
NOTE: “Oatmeal” must be oat flour. Who knew?
I don’t think I’ll be offering bannocks for Halloween treats; mine are sort of like harder American biscuits. Good though. Do you all make bannocks? How?
After witnessing her husband’s murder, Madeleine Schier becomes a killer’s target. She flees her upscale New York life to become a name on a tombstone, relying on her wits and imagination to survive in a world where danger is everywhere. One wrong move could be her last. Should she trust the damaged recluse who’s always near? Before long, her new life turns into her old nightmare when crimes that were once distant horrors on the nightly news turn up on her doorstep.
Find Ellis Here.
Ellis writes the stories she likes to read–action, adventure, and heart. She falls in love with the characters, flawed but striving to do the right thing, and hates leaving them when the book is finished.
From early childhood she’s told stories (not quite how her mother put it) and collected strays. She imagined herself as everyone from Little Red Riding Hood to Robin Hood and shared their adventures through long hours of reading beneath the covers by flashlight. Her career began with illustrating, moved into editing, and then writing. She also taught fiction writing. Her website is ellisvidler.com. She loves to hear from readers.
Her novels are suspense stories with varying degrees of romance