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Chicken and Whisky Cream Sauce

A query was recently made to Scots Independent International Editor David R Rollo regarding a custom at Scottish weddings. The inquirer, from the States, was horrified to learn that it used to be the custom for the bride's mother to break a bannock over the head of the bride - "Surely that would ruin her hair-style?" was her response. But, indeed, it was the case that after the formal meal, the bride's mother would break a bannock or bridescake (a type of shortbread) over the head of the bride. (Mind you that was in days langsyne). If the cake broke into wee pieces this was a sign that the marriage would be fruitful but if it remained in large lumps it boded ill and could indicate infertility. The cake often had trinkets such as thimbles hidden in it. Unmarried queans scrambled to get a piece of cake so they could put them under their pillow to dream on - presumably of their own wedding prospects. From the bannock or bridescake developed the present day wedding cake with fruit and decorated with marzipan and icing, which grew larger and had several tiers, the top tier traditionally being kept for the christening of the first child. Originally the cake was cut by the bride alone and not by the bride and groom as is the usual custom today. Pieces of the cake were handed round at the wedding and were given to everyone who had given the couple a present. Sometimes young girls crumbled a piece of cake through a wedding ring to ensure that they would marry. The bride's cog (bowl) was passed around from lip to lip filled with hot ale, whisky, cream, beaten eggs, sugar and spices and everyone drank to her health.

Whisky and cream play a part in this week's recipe - Chicken and Whisky Cream Sauce - which would be a treat for any bride and groom and their wedding guests.
Chicken and Whisky Cream Sauce
Ingredients : 4 chicken breast fillets; 1 teasp French mustard; 2 green shallots; 1/2 cup chicken stock; 2 tablespoon Whisky; 1 tablespoon chopped parsley; 30 gm butter; 15 gm butter (extra, if necessary); 1 tablespoon plain flour; 1/2 cup cream; 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Melt butter and mustard in pan. Brown chicken on both sides, reduce heat, cover and cook gently for five minutes or until tender. Keep warm. In pan, add extra butter, shallots and flour to pan juices. Cook one minute, stirring, and gradually stir in stock. Stir until sauce boils and thickens. Add cream, Whisky, lemon juice and parsley. Simmer for a few minutes and serve over chicken.

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