Category Archives: Recipes

Tipsy Laird, a Trifle

Love Inherited, the first in the series A Highland Romance, is full of delicious Scottish cuisine from oatcakes to steak and ale pie to Atholl brose. Readers have clamored for recipes, so here’s the start of the wee cookbook I’ll be putting together: Tipsy Laird.

Tipsy Laird (Scottish Trifle)

Tipsy *Laird is often served as the dessert (pudding) course at a Burn’s Night Supper (as it is in Love Inherited) or on Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve). This Scottish version of the English Trifle is both a visual treat and easy to make.


  • 10oz (300g) pound/sponge cake, halved and cut into thick slices
  • 10oz (300g) fresh raspberries
  • 6 tablespoons (90ml or 0.75gi) Scotch (whisky) or Drambuie (orange juice for a nonalcoholic version)
  • 2 cups (500ml) thick custard sauce (I recommend Bird’s Custard Powder. Use heaping tablespoons)
  • 2 cups (500ml) heavy whipping cream (double cream), softly whipped
  • Handful toasted slivered (flaked) almonds
  • Grated chocolate over the top (optional)


Tipsy Laird can be made in one large glass bowl to show off the pretty layers or divided into individual glass compote dishes. Don’t make the trifle too far ahead.

  • Arrange cake slices in bottom of the dish
  • Layer raspberries, reserving a few to decorate the top
  • Drizzle liquor or juice over raspberries, making sure it soaks through to the cake
  • Spoon custard over in thick layer
  • Spoon whipped cream over
  • Decorate the top with a few raspberries and toasted slivered almonds

*What’s a laird? A laird is the owner of a large and long-established estate in Scotland. Laird is a description, not a title, dating to the fifteenth century, though many holders of the designation may have hereditary and conferred titles as well. In Love Inherited, the reader meets Sir Duncan Eideard Armstrong Sinclair, 10th Baronet, Laird of Fionnloch, owner of Glengorm House and a 65,000-acre estate on the west coast of the Highlands of Scotland.

Haggis—and Other Scottish Yummies


The Highlands of Scotland near Gairloch
The Highlands of Scotland near Gairloch

This photo has nothing to do with this post. But if I put up a picture of haggis, would you be reading this? If you don’t know what haggis is, read on. Or if you don’t know what clootie dumpling is, read on. Or chapshot—you’ll never guess that one.

On a recent trip to the Scottish Highlands, I wanted to sample as many of the uniquely Scottish dishes as I could. Here’s what I ate. Continue reading Haggis—and Other Scottish Yummies

The Best Bread Recipe

Whole Wheat Bread
Whole Wheat Bread

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 NKJV

I think homemade bread is one of those special things we can hang on to that keeps us connected to the past and makes the present a little less stressful.

I suggest this bread as a tasty accompaniment to the Word of God.


  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 cups wheat flour
  • 5 cups white flour
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 6 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2/3 cup dry milk

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and proof. Add ginger and sugar. Mix together 4 cups warm water, molasses, brown sugar, butter, salt and dry milk. Add yeast mixture to this. Then add flours alternately one cup at a time until stiff dough is formed. Knead 15 minutes. Let rise until doubled.

Put into 4 loaf pans and let rise again until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Reproduced by permission. A Taste of the Taber: Classic Maine Coastal Cooking by Ellen Barnes, copyright 1990.

Ellen Barnes was kind enough to give me permission to reprint her recipe. Click on this link to see Capt. Ellen in action cooking.

And on this link to see Capts. Ken and Ellen Barnes on their historic sailing vessel, the Stephen Taber. We sailed with them twice, an unforgettable experience.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve made this bread. I cut the recipe in half since eleven cups of flour would cause my mixer to go crazy. And I play with the spice. I’ve doubled the ginger, substituted cardamon, and I might try anise and allspice. If you do cut the recipe down, remember to cut ALL the ingredients. The first time, I forgot to cut the water in half. I couldn’t figure out why it was taking so much flour to stiffen up.

Baking bread is therapeutic for me. I use my mixer with a dough hook to mix and knead it. But I’ve got to get my hands on the dough, so I finish kneading by hand. I don’t know if the bread likes it, but I do. Kneading bread dough just feels good. Maybe it touches those genetic wires of my Finnish grandmother and great-grandmother, baking bread for the family.

Baking bread is creative. Once you get a little experience, knowing what the various flours and ingredients will do, you can experiment—creating bread that’s uniquely yours. My brother-in-law coached me. I made “Gary’s Bread” many times with “herbs of choice.”

I have a friend who said she’s never made a yeast bread. I suppose it’s possible to never have that experience in life—seems a shame. Maybe bread making is intimidating, maybe it’s too time-comsuming, maybe you don’t like the thought of bothering when you can buy artisan bread.

But, for me, there’s nothing like the smell of bread baking in my own kitchen—except the taste of fresh baked bread slathered in butter.

Cristine Eastin © 2013