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Butter Tablet

The news that a Scottish film 'Sweet Sixteen', set and made in Greenock, has won a top European award for its English director, Ken Loach, is a welcome boost for film-making in Scotland. The gritty production won Ken Loach the critics' prize at the European Film Awards held in Rome on Saturday 7 December 2002. His latest successful film set in Scotland follows in the footsteps of other Scottish based films which he has directed - 'My Name is Joe', starring Peter Mullen, and 'Carla's Song', starring Robert Carlyle. The highly acclaimed 'Sweet Sixteen' is about a young man, played by Martin Compton, who turns to heroin dealing to raise money to improve the life of his family. The film might have received critical acclaim but the subject matter, understandably, didn't go down too well with the good townspeople of Greenock.
Although 'Sweet Sixteen' is featured in a recent publication 'The Pocket Scottish Movie Book' by Brian Pendreigh (Mainstream Publishing 6.99), Saturday's award came too late for inclusion in a book which is a must for all movie buffs. A very handy Christmas or Hogmany stocking filler for all Scots, tourists coming to Scotland and, of course, film fans, 'The Pocket Scottish Movie Book' provides a concise A-Z guide to Scotland in film. Packed with intriguing information, little known facts, maps and photographs, it is an indispensable guide to Scotland's contribution to cinema (and television). The book proves that there is  far more to Scottish movies than just Mel Gibson and 'Braveheart'.
This week's recipe should prove very useful when you take your children or grandchildren to see the latest Harry Potter blockbuster (featuring Glenfinnan Viaduct). Butter Tablet should go down a treat. This superb tablet recipe is from 'The Baker's Tale' by cookery writer Catherine Brown (Angels' Share 12.95) and was the one used by James 'Mr Jimmy' Burgess when working at Glasgow's One Devonshire Gardens. He acknowledges getting the recipe from a Mrs Mathieson who had won a SWRI competition with it. It is indeed a champion recipe and all Scottish bairns from 3 to 93 love tablet.
Butter Tablet
Ingredients : 5 fl oz (150ml) milk; 6oz (175g) unsalted butter; 1lb 12oz (800 g) caster sugar; 8oz (225g) condensed milk
Yields : 32 pieces
Use a large 5-6 pt (3 L) thick-based aluminium pot to make tablet. Line tray 7 x 10 1/2 inch (18 x 27 cm) with layer of tinfoil covered with layer of cling film. Place prepared baking tray in the freezer overnight.
Put milk and butter cut into cubes into the pan and melt. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. When dissolved and beginning to simmer, add the condensed milk. Stirring all the time to prevent burning, simmer for about 9-10 minutes or until the mixture turns light amber in colour. To test for readiness : put a little in a cup of cold water and it should form a softball (116 deg C on sugar thermometer). Take off the heat, place on a wet cloth and beat until the mixture lightens a little in colour and begins to thicken and 'grain'. Do not allow it to become too thick or it will not pour well.
Pour into the chilled tray. Leave for 30 minutes to set. Cover with cling film and put in the freezer for one-and-a-half hours. Take out. Remove from tin and turn onto a cutting board. Leave for ten minutes. Score the tablet into four squares with the heel of a sharp knife. Break into four. Then score each square into three lengths. Break off each length. Score into cubes. Finally break into small cubes.

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