Buttery Scottish Tablet

So who knows what Scottish tablet is then? I hope most of you, because it’s not the easiest thing to try to describe. It’s like fudge. But it’s most definitely not fudge (never call it fudge to a Scot, hrmph). It’s a similar taste – creamy, buttery, caramel with vanilla. But it’s a different texture – more sugary, and firmer. But it’s too die for!

Buttery Scottish Tablet - Delicious buttery fudge-like confectionary, one square will never be enough! | thehecticcook.com

I’ve grown up with tablet. My mum is a master at making the stuff. Truly. The woman should be selling it. We all could have retired on the profits. Tablet can be found at all sorts of events – cake sales; coffee mornings; weddings. My wedding featured plates of this goodness after the meal (made by Ma HC, obviously) instead of mints, and there was none left when we came to leave. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, this stuff will be like sugary gold!

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Ingredients

1kg granulated sugar
120g unsalted butter
1 can of condensed milk
200ml full milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract

1. Add all of the ingredients, except the vanilla, into a large heavy bottomed pan and melt over a low heat, stirring occasionally.

Buttery Scottish Tablet - Delicious buttery fudge-like confectionary, one square will never be enough! | thehecticcook.com
Buttery Scottish Tablet - Delicious buttery fudge-like confectionary, one square will never be enough! | thehecticcook.com

2. Bring this gently to a rolling boil. As a guide, my cooker was only on ‘3’ (it has 9 settings), so pretty low. Once it starts to boil, time it for 30 minutes, and just let it do its thing, no need to interfere. You’ll see it gradually change from pale to beautifully golden – this is the key to tablet, it should be a gorgeous caramel colour.

Buttery Scottish Tablet - Delicious buttery fudge-like confectionary, one square will never be enough! | thehecticcook.com

Buttery Scottish Tablet - Delicious buttery fudge-like confectionary, one square will never be enough! | thehecticcook.com

Buttery Scottish Tablet - Delicious buttery fudge-like confectionary, one square will never be enough! | thehecticcook.com

3. Before the 30 minutes is up, fill your sink with about 2 inches of cold water. After the 30 minutes take your pan and place it in the sink, and give it a good stir for about a minute.

Buttery Scottish Tablet - Delicious buttery fudge-like confectionary, one square will never be enough! | thehecticcook.com

4. Now take the pan out of the sink – it’s a good idea to have a towel ready on the side – add the vanilla, and give the tablet a good beat for another minute. It should start to thicken. Just stir, stir, stir (trying not to burn yourself on the hot tablet).

Buttery Scottish Tablet - Delicious buttery fudge-like confectionary, one square will never be enough! | thehecticcook.com

5. Pour the tablet into a buttered/oiled tray – I used a silicon square tray, lightly oiled with groundnut oil (which has no taste, so is perfect for oiling cake tins with) which worked perfectly, but a well buttered tray is great.

Buttery Scottish Tablet - Delicious buttery fudge-like confectionary, one square will never be enough! | thehecticcook.com

Note: As you pour the tablet into your tray, don’t be tempted to thoroughly scrape down the sides. The tablet will cool quickly around the edges, and turn hard and sugary. If you scrape the pan, you’ll end up with hard lumps of tablet on top. Just pour out the tablet quickly, then scrape the pan afterwards into a separate dish. These scrapings are possibly the best bit anyway!

Buttery Scottish Tablet - Delicious buttery fudge-like confectionary, one square will never be enough! | thehecticcook.com

6. Let the tablet cool completely before turning it out and cutting it up into little squares of loveliness.

Buttery Scottish Tablet - Delicious buttery fudge-like confectionary, one square will never be enough! | thehecticcook.com

Troubleshooting:

If your tablet doesn’t set, you haven’t boiled it for long enough. Get it back in the pan and back on the boil for 5-10 minutes. Then give it a bloody good beating – a hand mixer can be useful here.

And if, once it has set, the tablet won’t come out of the tin, this probably means you didn’t butter it well enough. You can cut it up in the tin, and try wedging it out. Or get a spoon.

Buttery Scottish Tablet - Delicious buttery fudge-like confectionary, one square will never be enough! | thehecticcook.com

I was always a bit scared of tablet. It was a bit of an enigma. So I’m always pleasantly surprised when it works out! It’s a bit of work, but it’s most definitely worth it. So give it a go – just don’t blame me when your arteries start to protest.

Happy cooking!

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Traditional Scottish Stovies

So this could be a highly contentious post. I once read that if you asked one hundred Scots folk how to make stovies, you’d get one hundred different recipes. This is so very true. Stovies are a dish that probably every Scottish person recognises. It’s a national dish, but one that gets less international attention than the likes of haggis or battered mars bars. You get stovies served at parties; at weddings; basically any Scottish social gathering. They’re that awesome.

Traditional Scottish Stovies - The ultimate comfort food, Scottish Stovies are loved by a nation for good reason. So simple to make and really delicious | thehecticcook.com

I always think of stovies as the perfect comfort food. It’s a potato based dish, to which you can add pretty much any type of meat, although mince or corned beef are most popular. My recipe is not traditional. But it uses what I tend to have to hand in the cupboard, and is pretty bloody tasty (if I do say so myself). The kids lap it up and it always results in empty plates. So it’s a staple meal in the HC house. Just please don’t lynch me because its not ‘how mummy used to make it’ (it’s not even how my mum makes stovies, it’s just how I’ve come to make them).

Traditional Scottish Stovies - The ultimate comfort food, Scottish Stovies are loved by a nation for good reason. So simple to make and really delicious | thehecticcook.com
 Ingredients

potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp oil
1 beef stock cube / stock pot
1 beef oxo cube
1 tin of corned beef, cubed
salt & pepper

I’ve not given a quantity for the potatoes as I tend to go by how many I’m cooking for. I’ll assign a small potato each to the kids, then a couple for every adult, plus an extra couple to be safe. If I’m just cooking for the kids I’ll only need half an onion and half a tin of corned beef. You can freeze corned beef. If there’s leftovers (not including what I eat whilst I’m dishing out) then that’s a billy-bonus.

1. Heat your oil in a large pan then add the onion, and cook it really well so that it gets nicely browned. It’s important you add lots of flavour to your onion so don’t be afraid to overcook it.

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2. Add the sliced potato, the stock cube, the oxo cube and about 300ml of water. Give a good stir.

Note: Traditional stovies are made using beef dripping. This isn’t something I normally have to hand, so I’ve had to add the meaty taste from elsewhere. I find the stock pots really good for this (either the normal beef one or the rich beef – both are good), but a regular beef stock cube would also work. The oxo cube adds colour and extra flavour – I add beef oxo cubes to pretty much everything meaty, it’s kind of my secret ingredient (just not that secret). I love them and think they add a lovely rich flavour to any kind of meat dish (bolognese; stew; I even add them to chicken gravy!). They always feature in my cupboard supplies.

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3. Put the lid of the pan on and let it simmer. Every so often give it a good stir. The potatoes will start to stick to the bottom, so with every stir, scrape the bottom of the pan. This is good, it all adds flavour. As you stir, the potatoes will begin to break up which is what you want.

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4. Once the potatoes have softened and absorbed most of the stock, add your meat. Give it a good stir so everything is combined and check your seasoning. The corned beef can be quite salty, so it’s best to check the seasoning once it’s been added. Season as required.

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This is not a pretty dish. Indeed, I’m sure some out there could be quite inventive in describing just what it looks like. But it’s tasty. It truly is. And its simple. If you like potatoes and corned beef, do give this a go. And let me know how you get on – I love hearing when folk have made anything from the blog! 😀

Traditional Scottish Stovies - The ultimate comfort food, Scottish Stovies are loved by a nation for good reason. So simple to make and really delicious | thehecticcook.com

 

Oh and serve it with a good splodge of ketchup.

Happy cooking!

Traditional Scottish Stovies - The ultimate comfort food, Scottish Stovies are loved by a nation for good reason. So simple to make and really delicious | thehecticcook.com