Happy Saint Andrews day!!!
In honor of the patron saint of Scotland and Scotland’s national day, I thought I’d start this post off with a little Scottish flair. I love Scotland! What isn’t there to like? It is the birthplace of Gerard Butler for Heaven’s sake! If you ever have the opportunity to go to Scotland, take it. There is nothing quite like seeing the highlands with your own eyes.
If you can’t make it to Scotland just yet, but you’re in the Colorado area in September, check out the Long’s Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival. It is an event to behold and one of the largest Scottish Festivals in North America. The festival takes place in Estes Park, Colorado which nestles up next to Rocky Mountain National Park. The setting is so incredible and it makes you feel almost as though you are actually in the Scottish highlands. My family tries to make it as often as possible and we managed to convince my Hungarian in-laws to tag along this year. The festival hosts a wide range of activities and presentations from strong man competition, dogs of the British Isles (I really want an Irish Wolfhound… or a Scottie… or a Yorkie), Highland and Irish dance competitions, pipe bands, a parade of the Scottish clans and much more. One of the huge draws is the jousting tournament that features heavy weight jousting. I had no idea how exciting jousting is until I experienced it in person. It is insanely cool. I felt like I was in that Heath Ledger movie A Knight’s Tale (I would totally be Shannyn Sossamon’s character). It is especially exciting because some of the Knight’s featured on the National Geographic Channel’s new show Knights of Mayhem compete at the festival. One of the knights, Patrick Lambke, aka “The Black Knight,” won over our entire family when he paid special attention to my son. He noticed that the bigger kids were pushing him out of the way to get his autograph, so he plucked my little guy up out of the crowd and talked to him for a few minutes. Absolutely melted my heart! The festival also brings in some great bands from all over the world ranging from traditional Scottish folk music to rock and roll. This year the Rock and Roll tent featured Albannach, who bring “outlaw tunes on outlaw pipes” from Scotland; Brother, who brought their didgeridoos all the way from Australia; and Canada’s Tartan Terrors, “North America’s premiere Celtic event.”
And did I mention that they have a Scotch tasting? I took part this year and it was extremely educational. I always thought that Scotch was Scotch, but there is a wide range of flavors. According to the experts, I am a very good Scotch taster. I still don’t know if that is a good or a bad thing. With Scotch in mind, I bring you today’s recipe:
Gluten-Free Persimmon Bread
Makes two 9-inch loaves
This recipe was adapted from David Leibovitz.
- 3 ½ cups Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 2/3 cup good Scotch
- 2 cups persimmon puree (I used super soft Hachiya persimmons)
- 2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes and then chopped
- 2 cups raisins
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter 2 loaf pans and set aside.
- Sift the pancake mix, salt, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice and a large mixing bowl.
- In another bowl, mix together the sugar, oil, eggs, scotch and persimmon purée.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in batches until fully incorporated.
- Fold in nuts and raisins.
- Divide batter evenly into two loaf pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Now, in honor of Scotland, I think I’ll leave you with these pictures from the Long’s Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival while I go off to listen to Scotland the Brave on bagpipes. Cheers!