Thyme is for Courage

Welcome to the Burns Night Blog Hop!
Burns Night

What was in your wedding bouquet? Roses? Orange blossoms? Calla lilies? If you had been married in medieval Scotland the answer would sound more like the chorus of Scarborough Fair–parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Medieval women generally carried a bouquet of herbs, each herb was intended to be a symbol for a virtue or some other positive attribute. Here are a few examples:

Burnet: a merry heart
Calendula: health, joy
Dill: good spirits
Lavender: devotion, undying love, luck
Lemon Verbena: unity
Marjoram: blushes, joy
Mint: warmth of feeling
Oregano: joy, happiness
Parsley: festivity
Rosemary: remembrance, fidelity, luck
Sage: domestic virtue, long life
Thyme: courage, strength
Verbena: faithfulness, marriage
Yarrow: everlasting love

In Highland Solution, Katherine was forced to marry quickly so she carried no bouquet. However in my upcoming release, Highland Courage, the joining of clans Matheson and MacKenzie warrant a huge celebration. Because the heroine, Mairead, has been shy and fearful for many years, her mother and sisters make sure there is plenty of Thyme, for courage, in her bouquet. I suspect if her mother had this recipe, she might have slipped Mairead a few bites of shortbread too.

Herbed Shortbread

¾ Cup salted butter (room temperature)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
¾ Cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ Cup flour

Cream butter, thyme and rosemary well. Add sugar and beat until smooth and a little fluffy. Add vanilla and mix well. Add flour gradually, mixing well between additions. This mixture may be a little crumbly. If you have a shortbread mold, spray with non-stick coating and press the mixture into the mold. If you don’t have a shortbread mold, grease the bottom of a 9 x 9 inch pan (I also line the pan with baking parchment, turning the parchment so both sides are lightly greased) and press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes until just golden brown. Remove from mold or pan while still warm. If using a mold, cut along mold lines while still warm, otherwise cut into squares while still slightly warm. For a 9×9 pan I generally cut either 16 squares or 12 rectangles.

I don’t know about you, but a wee bite of something sweet, with a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon, sometimes gives me what it takes to finish the day!

You can read more about both Highland Solution and Highland Courage by clicking on the appropriate tabs on my website.
Highland Solution is available now as an ebook or paperback from Amazon and other online retailers.

Highland Courage is due for release on March 3, 2014!

Remember that there are several great prizes, including a $50 Amazon giftcard and five $10 Amazon giftcards. Sign up at Rafflecopter
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I forgot to mention, I will be giving away an e-copy of Highland Solution to two randomly selected people who leave a comment on my blog today. If you have already read Highland Solution, the prize will be a copy of High Courage on its release day, March 3, 2014.

And of course, I posted the participant list that didn’t include the talented B.J. Scott, so please stop by her site as well

Be sure to visit the other participating blogs:

1. Love, Lust and Lipstick Stains 9. Inner Goddess 17. Nina Mason
2. Samantha Holt 10. Hunter S. Jones 18. Kate Robbins
3. A Dirty Book Affair 11. Christina Phillips 19. Scenes from a Chaotic Mind
4. Anne Conley 12. Andrea Bellmont 20. Sarah Bella
5. Em Taylor 13. Isobelle Cate 21. Joanne Wadsworth
6. Kirsten S. Blacketer 14. Storm Chase 22. Anne Stenhouse
7. Willa Blair 15. Ceci Giltenan
8. Nicole Hurley- Moore 16. Tarah Scott

About cecigiltenan

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27 Responses to Thyme is for Courage

  1. kml7559 says:

    I love lavender. Thanks for the recipe.

    • cecigiltenan says:

      Kathy, lavender can make a lovely flavoring too. You could try the recipe using lavender instead of rosemary. I would only use 1/2 tablespoon though because it can be strong. Basil is another good option, but again use less of it and chop it very finely.

  2. Mary Morgan says:

    I love my herb garden, Ceci. It’s filled with rosemary, lavender, thyme, sage, peppermint, yarrow,and during the warmer months, basil. Can’t wait for your second book and thanks for the recipe. A delicious treat to break up a writing day. Thanks. 🙂

  3. cecigiltenan says:

    Thanks ladies. I apologize for the multiple updates. I am trying to get this blog hop thing right and am new to it.

  4. Thanks for taking part in the hop, Ceci!

  5. Ronda Tutt says:

    I love herbs, this year I plan to really get into growing them, I got this new book called The Spice and Herb bible by Ian Hemphill – I don’t have a cellar to dry them out but I hope to harvest something. If any thing my back porch will be smelling all kind of good

    • cecigiltenan says:

      I love herbs too. Rosemary is my favorite. It is rather hardy but it won’t survive serious cold. When we lived in NJ I had a big pot of it that I brought in the house. The oils are very volatile so you only need to brush past the plant to release the aroma. It grows like a bush outside in Florida!

      • Ronda Tutt says:

        I was just reading up on Rosemary and I thought I recognized it. It grows upto a 5ft hedge. I need to plant some along my fence line. It should survive here in South Texas. Will be trying it forsure.

  6. Jordan says:

    Loved Highland Solution!! Can’t wait for Highland Courage! And I’m soooo hoping to see more of Fingal too!

  7. Leslie D. Wheelock says:

    Can’t wait for your next book! Thanks for the recipe – I love shortbread and will have to try Herbed Shortbread!

  8. cecigiltenan says:

    After posting it today, I had to go make some. It is a nice blend of sweet and savory.

  9. Donna Newman says:

    The shortbread sounds delicious, definitely will have to try and make it.


  10. Cathy says:

    I like lemon verbena and lavender. I never thought of carrying herbs in a bridal bouquet! What a great idea. capefearlibn at gmail dot com

  11. The recipe sounds yummy!!

  12. cecigiltenan says:

    With that much butter, how can you go wrong? I firmly believe butter is the key to happiness.

  13. Storm Chase says:

    Herbed shortbread: now that’s a nice idea!

  14. Tammy Turner says:

    I absolutely cannot wait to try out that recipe!

  15. bn100 says:

    Sounds tasty

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  16. pearls says:

    awesome blog!!! I love the symbolism behind wedding traditions!

  17. Sue-Ellen Welfonder says:

    Just saw this, Ceci! Lovely post. The recipe looks scrumptious, thanks so much. Saw your comment above about trying it with lavender. I’d love that. So looking forward to HIGHLAND COURAGE! 🙂

  18. jdh2690 says:

    Thank you for your participation in this tour and for your post, Ceci. I was intrigued by the list of herbs that went into medieval bride’s’ bouquets and am so glad you offered this information. Our modern generations have lost a lot of that lore and home remedy information and I want to read even more about it. Fascinating really. I visited Scotland in 1986 for a week and loved every single second. I really loved the “teas” in the afternoons and found them refreshing (and fattening). 🙂 BTW, I bought Highland Solution last September when I first heard about your writing, but have not read it yet. I intend to do so, however, ASAP!

  19. dholcomb1 says:

    my bouquet had osiana roses, stephanotis, and a few other flowers–no herbs 🙂

  20. Stargazer Lilies were in mine.

    Love the list with the meanings. 🙂

  21. cecigiltenan says:

    I know I had white roses, stephanotis and ivy but I can’t remember what else. I like the idea of herbs in it. I may have to suggest that to my daughter someday.

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