Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Scots Manna

I had breakfast last week in one of those little vans that make gorgeous flavoured porridge to take-away at Edinburgh Farmers Market. They sell porridge oats with apples, sultanas and spices or with berries and white chocolate,with cream, sugar and even plain and simple with just salt.

Where I grew up, porridge came with salt and milk... very traditional and very frugal, even sprinkling it with demerara sugar feels like sacrilege, so enriching it with cream, fruit and shrapnel of crumbly sweets seemed like a step too far....until I tried it.  So I wanted to try recreating their tablet, raspberry and fresh cream flavour at home - it might even make a new christmas morning breakfast.

The tricky part here is the tablet, a sort of firm, crumbly Scottish version of fudge. It will melt your teeth; you will not be able to stop eating it; you will make new friends if you give it away; you will melt their teeth and they will love you for it. You may be able to track this down - bizarrely it is often found in Butchers shops - but I've included a recipe just in case you've lost your grannys!

Scots Manna or Tablet and Raspberry Oatmeal
100g porridge oats
500ml milk
1 punnet of raspberries (or blackberries - whatever is in season)
50ml single cream
Tablet to crumble over the top (recipe below)

Put the oats and milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 4-6 minutes until thick and creamy. Stir half the cream into the oatmeal and pour the mixture into two bowls. Toss a generous handful of raspberries over the top, drizzle with a little more cream and crumble a couple of squares of tablet over the top. Heart-stoppingly wonderful.

120g butter plus a little to grease the tin 
900g sugar
120ml milk
1 small tin (397g) condensed milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grease a swiss roll tin with butter.
Heat the sugar, butter and milk slowly in a heavy based saucepan till all the sugar dissolves.
Add the condensed milk and bring to the boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring constantly to stop it sticking. 
Allow it to become thick and gloopy and a caramel colour.
Test a little teaspoonful in a saucer of cold water, when it rolls into a soft ball, the tablet can be taken off the heat (a sugar thermometer should read 115C). 
Add the vanilla extract and stir well. 
Allow to cool a little then beat for 5 minutes with a wooden spoon till a little grainy. 
Pour into the greased tin. Cut into small squares before the tablet is fully set.


  1. aha melted tablet rather than crumbly tablet - perhaps even better?

  2. It holds a little of its bite but starts to melt into the hot porridge! It really is lovely.

  3. This sounds wonderful.My boy's are looking forward to trying it at the weekend and now that Mum has a recipe for tablet we can make special gifts for our English guests at christmas. Thank you!