Not a member?
Register and login now.

Issue 79 - A recipe for marriage

Scotland Magazine Issue 79
February 2015


This article is 3 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

Copyright Scotland Magazine © 1999-2018. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.

A recipe for marriage

The author organises a Scottish wedding

All over the world, weddings are hugely important events that require months of planning and such precision on the day that bridal parties wonder what on earth was done before spreadsheets were invented. In Scotland, weddings have some traditional idiosyncrasies to make them stand out. And it’s not just about the kilts and tartan trews !

Once the bride and groom leave the church, there is a ‘Poor-oot’ (called a scramble in some regions of Scotland). As the bride steps into the car, her father throws a bag of coins onto the pavement for local children to collect. This can also be done from the car by the best man. At my parents’ wedding my uncle, the best man, threw the bag of coins from inside the car with gusto… then realised he had forgotten to wind down the window!

Then there are the Favours. These are tiny gifts, traditionally placed in baskets and handed round by flower girls or bridesmaids. These might be sugared almonds or tiny trinkets. Nowadays little bottles of home made liqueur are popular, but the most popular is tablet. I made this Scottish fudge for all 180 of the guests at my daughter’s wedding, then put them into little Favour ‘pouches’ which were labelled ‘Eat Me.’

Another nice tradition we had at Faith’s wedding was a quaich on each table. My son and cousin – be-kilted! – went round each table pouring from bottles of single malt whisky and then the quaich was passed round each guest, a gesture of a Scottish welcome.

Both at the entrance to the church and after the champagne reception, another tradition is for a piper to pipe in the guests.

Our piper Brian piped the bride and groom into hall which was beautifully decorated with drapes and fairy lights by Best Intent. There, the many guests stood to greet the bridal pair with the tune Marie’s Wedding.

The superb food was cooked by the Edinburgh School of Food and Wine. We started by sharing antipasti platters and home-baked bread. Followed by Scottish beef, each table having their own roast and one guest allocated to carve. After the speeches, instead of dessert served at the table, guests went to the dessert table, which was laden with goodies baked by members of the family. We had shortbread, chocolate truffles, ginger slice, cupcakes – and, of course, the wedding cake.

I had baked a different flavour for each layer: chocolate orange, carrot, lemon then caramel. Liggys Cakes decorated it for me, and we also had a fabulous cake of cheese from Valvona and Crolla, served with my own recipe oatcakes.

A true Scottish wedding full of local produce, lots of fun and laughter, wild Scottish dancing and a dram or two to celebrate! An unforgettable day.

Carrot Cake
Cover and fill with orange zest
­flecked buttercream

250 g / 9 oz carrots
150 g /5½ oz light muscovado sugar
150 ml /5 fl oz vegetable oil
3 large free-range eggs, beaten
150 g / 5½ oz self-raising flour
1 rounded tsp ground cinnamon
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
100 g / 3½ oz raisins/walnuts

For the cake, first peel and finely grate
the carrots. (It is important they are not coarsely grated).
Using a balloon whisk, whisk together the sugar and oil, then gradually whisk in the eggs.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda and fold these into the mixture, using a wooden spoon.
Stir in the carrots and raisins and
combine thoroughly.
Tip the mixture into a square 18cm / 7 in base-lined, buttered tin. Bake in a preheated oven (180C / 350F / Gas 4) for about 40 minutes or until well-risen and firm to the touch; a skewer inserted to the middle should come out clean. Cover lightly with foil if you need to bake further. Remove the tin to a wire rack.
Cool in the tin for about 30 minutes
then carefully invert onto the wire rack to
cool completely.

Salsa Verde
This is the Edinburgh School of Food and Wine’s recipe, to go with the delicious roast rib of beef

Large bunch flat parsley
Juice 1 lemon
Half lemon, zest
4 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
Handful of capers
4 sprigs of mint
Rapeseed oil

Place the first six ingredients in a food processor and whiz until chopped then add enough oil to combine to a thick paste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wrap in paper or place in little pouches
as Favours

1 kg / 2¼ lb golden granulated sugar
300 ml / 10 fl oz full-fat milk
200g / 7 oz tin of condensed milk
1 tsp pure vanilla essence

Place the butter in large heavy-based saucepan (only a reliable pan should be used, otherwise it will stick). Melt over a low heat.
Add the sugar, milk and a pinch of salt and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Once it has dissolved, bring to the boil and simmer over a fairly high heat for eight – ten minutes, stirring often (and making sure you get into all the corners with your wooden spoon).
Add the condensed milk, stir well then simmer for a further eight -– ten minutes (it should bubble), stirring constantly.
After eight minutes, test if it is ready. What you want is the ‘soft ball’ stage, which means that when you drop a little of the mixture into a cup of very cold water, it will form a soft ball which you can pick up between your fingers. On a sugar thermometer, it should read
240°F / 115°C.
Remove from the heat at once and add the vanilla (or other flavourings). Using an electric beater, beat on medium for four – five minutes just until you feel it begin to stiffen a little and become ever so slightly grainy. (You can of course do this by hand but it will take at least ten minutes and it is hard work!) Pour immediately into a buttered Swiss roll tin (23 x 33 cm / 9 x 13 inches) and allow to cool.
Then mark into squares or oblongs when it is almost cold. When completely cold, remove and store in an air-tight tin or wrap individually in waxed paper.

Useful websites
Photographer: Ashley Coombs,
Decorators: Best Intent,
Cake: iced by LIggys,
Cheese Cake: by V&C,