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
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.
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 http://authorbjscott.wordpress.com/
Be sure to visit the other participating blogs: