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Golden Syrup Sponge

One Hogmanay custom which sadly seems to have vanished completely disappeared is the making of New Year Resolutions. It used to be a question which sprang readily to everyone’s lips “Have you made your New Year resolutions yet?” Equally common, given human nature, was the question a day or so after The Bells of “Have you broken them yet?” Usually the well-meaning resolutions to be well-behaved, stop smoking, stop drinking etc had already disappeared like snaw aff a dyke in June. It was not a custom with a long tradition, indeed it would appear to have been introduced during the Victorian era as no earlier evidence of this practise is to be found. The English writer Philip Howard in The times (1983) might well be right when he wrote –

‘The practise of making resolutions on New Year’s Eve was a Victorian invention, introduced by maudlin Scots and sentimental dissenters.’

Maudlin we might well be, but it does no harm at Hogmanay to reflect on the Year that is at awa, to toast Absent Friends and to look forward to the fresh start which the New Year brings. It is an appropriate time to look forward and to hope that the New Year brings hope for the future. A few resolutions at this time of year is a harmless practise which might do you a bit of good, however quickly they are broken!

One tradition which remains strong at Hogmanay is having Clootie Dumpling on New Year’s Day. As we already have a recipe for Clootie Dumpling in this feature, we will break with tradition and suggest a dessert which is a bittie lighter but equally delicious for your first dinner of the New Year – Golden Syrup Sponge. Your dentist might not approve but it will certainly appeal to the sweet-tooth which lies in every Scot.

Golden Syrup Sponge

Ingredients:  4 oz (120 g) butter; 4 oz (120 g) caster sugar; 4 oz (120 g) self raising flour; 2 eggs, beaten; 2 tbsp golden syrup

For sauce:  1 dessertspoon cornflour; 2 tbsp golden syrup; juice of ˝ lemon

Method:  Cream butter and sugar until fluffy; Sift flour and add to butter mix with eggs, a little at a time, beating well. Pour syrup into base of buttered 2 pint (1.1 ltr) pudding basin then top with sponge mix. Cover securely and steam for 1 ˝ to 2 hours, Meanwhile, pour 150 ml water into a pan. Mix cornflour with a little water and add to pan with syrup and lemon juice and heat until thickened. Serve sauce with pudding.

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