Every year on the 30th November, Scotland, and Scots around the world, celebrate St. Andrew’s Day. It is a day dedicated to the honouring of Andrew the Apostle, patron saint of Scotland. Andrew was a fisherman from Galilee and one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. St Andrew was never actually in Scotland so, how did he become its patron saint?
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St. Andrew’s Day – Who is St. Andrew?
Back in 60AD,the Romans ordered that Andrew the apostle be crucified in the Greek city of Patras. Andrew did not consider that he was fit to die in the same way as Jesus. As such he was crucified on a diagonal cross on the 30th November 60AD. This X-shaped cross became known as Andrew’s symbol and is now represented by the Saltire on the Scottish flag.
There are various stories or legends about how Andrew ended up being Scotland’s patron saint.
One legend says that Andrew built a Church in Fife during his extensive travels. This town is now called St. Andrews. However, it is not clear whether Andrew ever did travel to Scotland.
Another legend says that whilst Andrew never went to Scotland his bones did. It is said that a monk in Patras was told by an angel to hide Andrew’s bones. Taking them from their resting place in Constantinople the monk was to place them at the ends of the earth. However, the monk became shipwrecked off the coast of Fife at a place called Cennigmonaid (now St. Andrews). It is said that the Celtic months who were already settled there erected a chapel to house a sarcophagus possibly containing Andrew’s bones and relics.
Another story says that when King Angus in Scotland was preparing for a battle against the English in the 9th Century, St Andrew appeared to him in a dream. Having promised the King victory in his dream and seeing an X symbol (Andrews symbol) appearing in the sky on the day of the battle the King vowed that if they won, St Andrew would be made the patron saint of Scotland.
Scotland did win the battle and it is said that the King, true to his word, proclaimed St. Andrew as Scotland’s patron saint.
The Declaration of Arbroath
Scots have been honouring St. Andrew since around 1000 AD. However, it was not until the signing of The Declaration of Arbroath in 1320 that he officially became Scotland’s patron saint. The Declaration is a letter written by the barons and the community of the kingdom of Scotland to the Pope. In it they ask the Pope to recognise Scotland’s independence and acknowledge Robert the Bruce as the country’s lawful king.
St. Andrew’s Day Celebrations
Whilst Scots have honoured St. Andrew for thousands of years it wasn’t until the 18th Century that a specific day was dedicated to this practice. And, it might surprise you to learn that the date for this celebration, the 30th November, was established in Charleston, South Carolina and not in Scotland itself.
In Scotland itself St. Andrew’s day only became a public holiday in 2007. On this day Scots celebrate Scottish culture in general. Celebrations include dancing, music, food and drink but are still less prevalent than Hogmanay and Burns Night celebrations.
St. Andrew’s Day Food
Any St. Andrew’s Day party must have traditional Scottish food and drink. Popular choices include Haggis – a type of pudding made with sheep liver, heart and lungs, mixed with beef or mutton suet, oatmeal and seasoning. The mixture is packed into a sheep’s stomach and boiled. I have to say that this is not a dish I have ever had. And, to be honest I am feeling somewhat sick just thinking about it as I type! That said, it is a hugely popular and traditional dish at Scottish celebrations and is typically served with Neeps and Tatties. Neeps (swede) and Tatties (potatoes) are baked and smothered in butter – now this dish I could get behind!
Another traditional Scottish dish enjoyed during St. Andrew’s Day (and other Scottish celebrations) is Cullen Skink. This is a soup made from smoked haddock and milk.
Deep Fried Mars Bars
Strangely, this is another really popular Scottish treat. One day I will visit Scotland during St. Andrew’s Day and will be sure to try some of the delicacies listed above. For now, I am giving in to Dani’s demands for deep fried Mars bars!
Again, much as I love all things sweet, a deep fried Mars bar is not something I have ever found myself craving. But, for the purposes of the blog, I am giving it a chance. That said, a simple fried Mars bar will not cut the mustard (eww mustard!) So, I’m trying this Sundae with air fried candied bacon, salted caramel ice cream and whiskey toffee sauce instead. I mean, now this sounds D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! Right?
We gave in to buying an air fryer this summer. It is simply one of the best purchases we have ever made! We are a family of four so we chose this 9.5l Air Fryer and have been using it constantly. The oven hardly ever gets used now as it is so quick and easy to use the Air Fryer. If you haven’t yet invested in one I highly recommend that you do – you will not regret it. These accessories are also a great investment when buying an Air Fryer. The baskets help minimise the grease on the Air Fryer itself and the racks allow you to have an extra cooking layer.
Whilst Air Frying is generally healthier, a “deep fried Mars bar” requires precisely that…deep frying! So, for this recipe, I will leave the air frying for the bacon. This form of cooking will give you a perfectly crunchy result.
So don’t panic if you are out shopping and cannot find candied bacon. Candied bacon is nothing more than bacon which has been rubbed with brown or granulated sugar. You can also add some extra seasonings depending on the dish you are making. Popular choices are black pepper, chilli flakes, maple syrup and honey.
For this sundae recipe, I am adding a little brown sugar onto the bacon rasher and air frying.
Start by preheating the Air Fryer to 200℃. and cook the bacon for 3-4 minutes on the air fry setting. If you like crispy bacon simply cook for longer – simple 🙂 Turn the bacon over and add a little more brown sugar and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
I am using the recipe I found in Consomme Mag but tweaking it slightly. The original recipe calls for Haig Club Whisky but since we are not big Whisky drinkers I am using what we have at home. My recipe as adjusted makes enough for 1 person so feel free to modify it as required.
Deep-Fried Mars Bar Sundae
2 treat size Mars bars (38g each)
1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup milk
oil for deep frying
- Whisky Toffee Sauce
25g dark brown sugar
25ml double cream
- Beat the egg and then add the plain flour, baking powder and milk, mixing well.
- Heat a pot of oil or a deep fryer to 200 °C (350 °F).
- Dip the Mars bars into the batter and fry for about 30 seconds to a minute until it is golden brown.
- Drain on a paper towel and then dredge in a little cinnamon sugar.
- Melt the butter, sugar and salt together until they emulsify.
- Using a silicone spatula, gradually stir in the cream.
- Add in the whisky
- Place 2 scoops of salted caramel ice cream into a dessert glass.
- Pour the whisky sauce over the top of the sundae and enjoy!
For an extra dose of Scottish celebrations, pair with a whisky cocktail such as this Rob Roy (a Scottish Manhattan) and Slàinte Mhath!
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