St. Andrew’s Day falls on the 30th November, and in 2007, the St Andrew’s Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act was given royal assent, making the 30th of November an official bank holiday in Scotland; there’s another great reason to celebrate Scotland’s National Day!
Although very little is known about St Andrew and many tales and legends abound, we do know that he was a fisherman from Galilee and one of the apostles. In the middle of the tenth century Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland and several legends state that the relics of Andrew were brought under supernatural guidance from Constantinople to the place where the modern town of St Andrews stands today.
As St Andrew’s day is on the last day of November, it is closely associated with Advent, as well as many other winter customs and superstitions. One such superstition was for unmarried girls to pray for a husband to St Andrew at Midnight on the 29th November, the eve of St Andrew’s Day. Other girls, who wished to marry, would peel an apple on St Andrew’s Eve and throw the peel over their shoulders ~ if they were to marry, the peel would take the shape of the initial of the man they would wed! Alternatively, the lovelorn lassies would throw their shoes at a door ~ if the shoe pointed towards the door, they would marry and leave their parent’s home within the coming year!
Scotland is justifiably famous for its teatime table, and to celebrate Scotland’s special day I have shared a traditional teatime treat for you to make and enjoy, a delicious fruited tea loaf with whisky ~ especially welcome as the days shorten and the cold weather gradually creeps in. I have a BIG treat in store for you tomorrow, so watch out and make sure you haven’t eaten anything before you view what I have to share with you! See you later,
St Andrew’s Spiced and Fruited Tea Loaf
A fat-free classic tea loaf packed full of dried fruit, spices with a wee dram of Scotch whisky added for good measure! This is an adapted version of my grandmother’s recipe and is great when sliced (like bread) and buttered for teatime. I sometimes add chopped apricots, prunes or other assorted dried fruits for an extra fruity flavour. Makes 1 loaf.
450g/1 lb mixed dried fruit including mixed peel
50g/2ozs glace cherries, rinsed, dried and quartered
Soak the dried fruit, peel and cherries with the sugar in the hot tea the night before you wish to bake this tea loaf.
Pre-heat oven to 170C/350F/Gas 3. Grease and line a 1 lb loaf tin with baking paper.
Add the whisky to the beaten egg and pour it in to the soaked fruits. Then add the mixed spice to the flour and sift the spiced flour into the fruit mixture gradually, mixing well each time. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little milk.
Pour the tea loaf mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1 to 1 ¼ hours, until the cake feels springy to the touch, has risen and is a rich golden brown.
Loosen the cake with a palette knife straight away and allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin and cooling on a wire rack. Store in an airtight tin for about a week. Can be frozen for up to 3 months.
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