Monday, 28 November 2011

A Treat for St. Andrews Day - Tablet (and Ginger Tablet)

I must apologise profusely for my failure to blog for the last couple of weeks.  A combination of preparing for a day back at work hosting two colleagues from our Nigerian partner company; a house  move; two trips to casualty (accident and emergency) with the children (all is well), and my birthday, made finding any time to blog pretty much impossible!
I did manage to talk at length with my lovely new Nigerian colleagues about food, largely as they found what was on offer here in Aberdeen and at our Hereford HQ, very bland!  I have convinced them to send me some traditional Nigerian recipes that don’t involve the use of a goat head. Also on the work front, my friend and colleague John has also deployed out to Iraq where he is working with another friend Alan, who was my host in Lebanon a few years back – I have been pestering them for some authentic recipes and hoping they bring me back some wee gems!
I got a great haul of cook books and food-related goodies for my birthday.  Among my absolute favourite pressies were the Chocolate Workshop voucher from my wonderful husband, a fabulous vintage cookbook from 1933 from my mum, and two amazing cake stands from my best bud Bexy, which are just crying out for some cakes to be made – watch this space...

My fabulous birthday pressie from my mum

Despite all that has been going on, we are all getting very excited about Christmas.  You can imagine that my two and four year olds are more that mildly hyper about the forthcoming festivities.  I am hosting Christmas Dinner this year for both my family and my husband’s – we’ll certainly have a house full but I have always wanted to do this and am feeling decidedly grown up!  I have also been inspired by all the Thanksgiving recipes posted by Blogging friends in the US, some of which I will definitely be trying on the big day.
Before the delights of Christmas Dinner, my girls and I will be making a lot of our own Christmas pressies.  This is, in part, an economy drive (I am on maternity pay after all) and also an effort to keep the girls entertained and spending fun time with mummy before I go back to work at the end of January.
This week’s recipe is for one such gift (if you don’t eat it all before you get it wrapped) and a specific request from my good friend Karen, who by looking at her lovely figure, you’d never know she has a massive weakness for this amazingly delicious Scottish treat known as Tablet.  Please note that this is not one for making with the children as recipes with boiling sugar rarely are.  I can also advise that even a small amount, if for example, pinched by a slightly naughty two year old, is like providing said child with rocket fuel – a massive sugar high and not advised!
Tablet has a long history in Scotland, it’s neither a toffee nor fudge, but has a unique texture that is completely irresistible.   The recipe I give here is that of my husband’s Granny Forbes (the photo is from her wartime handwritten recipe book).  I did, however, make this with a twist for my dad this past weekend, adding some finely grated stem ginger in syrup and must admit to being delighted with the result.

Granny Forbes Recipe Book

2lbs (900g) Caster Sugar
2 oz (55g) Butter or Margarine
200ml Condensed Milk
200ml Milk
(If you are making Ginger Tablet, you will also need to grate 4-5 balls of stem ginger in syrup, and one teaspoon of the delicious syrup from the jar).
Grease a 20cm x 25cm rectangular tin. Put the Sugar, Milk and Butter in a large saucepan.  Bring very slowly to the boil ensuring and add the condensed milk. Allow to come to the boil once again, and watch carefully for around 20 minutes (or until the colour turns darker), you can stir it during this time.
Remove from the heat and beat vigorously in reverse (original instructions) until it thickens and the residue on the side of the pan looks grainy. 
Pour into the greased tin and allow to set before marking into bars or squares.
(If you’re making Ginger Tablet, add the ginger syrup with the condensed milk but don’t add the grated ginger until you have removed it from the heat, just before you beat it).


  1. So good to get caught up with you Claire! Most importantly, Happy Belated Birthday! You sound like you've been going 100 miles (or kilos) a minute. I'm impressed you had time for this post! Love the recipe and have never heard of ginger tablet. Seems easy enough; think I'll give it a go with you in mind! Love all the cookbooks and that you are seeking recipes from all your connections internationally. It's a wonderful way to get to know different parts of the world!

  2. Hi Toni, thanks so much for your comments. It's always great to hear from you. cx

  3. Hello

    "Bring very slowly to the boil ensuring and add the condensed milk."

    Is there anything important missing from this sentence?!
    Nicola (Don't know what my profile should be)

  4. Hi Nicola,
    Many apologies and thank you for picking me up on this.
    It should in fact read, "bring very slowly to the boil ensuring the sugar has melted and lost its grainy texture and then add the condensed milk.
    Kind regards, Claire


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner