Monday, 16 July 2012

ginger and whisky parkin - a tribute to Olive McDonald

... The Vikings' mum was an amazing woman... I only met her a few times but this I know... not only did she bless the world with The Viking... and almost an entire's town's worth of generations of offspring but most importantly she gave us her ginger parkin...

... The Viking has been talking about how incredible it was for years, it's a family legend, the recipe lost for ever... that is until we found it! We've been doing a major clear-up at Belleau Cottage, from the rafters down and The Viking is a real horder... there are so many boxes of stuff I cannot begin to tell you... it's  wonder the loft ceiling hasn't collapsed with the weight of all his boxes... however, after days of sifting through the swathes of paper I heard a cry from above... 'look what i've found'... and there it is, on a dog-eared, tatty piece of paper, in her own hand-writing, the recipe for ginger parkin... there's also a recipe for her white bread, which i'm told was like ciabatta-type clouds of heaven, but that's for another post...

Olive's Ginger Parkin
it's a typical mums recipe this and i'm re-producing it exactly word for word how it is on the paper so you can decide which way to go with it...

14oz self-raising flour
8oz syrup
4oz margarine
2oz lard
1/2 pint milk
2 eggs and less milk
2 level teaspoons ground ginger
4oz sugar
2 tablespoons glenmorangie whisky

- put flour, sugar and ginger in a basin

- beat eggs and milk in second basin

- heat syrup and fat in pan and whilst warm mix alternately dry and wet ingredients until smooth

- pour into dripping tin and put in oven on a medium heat

thats it for instructions... I used Golden Syrup and went for the 1 egg/ half a pint of milk option.  I substituted butter for lard and I also drizzled with a little more golden syrup once it came out of the oven... and used a baking tray to bake it in... it went into an oven on 160C for 40 mins... The Viking says it tastes lovely but insists his mum's version was darker and gooier... it could be because she used treacle instead of golden syrup so I may give this a go next time...

... I also added a thimble-full of whisky into the batter mix... for two reasons... firstly because I need a W to enter into this months AlphaBakes hosted by Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline from Caroline Makes and secondly because, well, heck... whisky and ginger are a perfect partnership and who needs an excuse...

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. It's fabulous and I love that the Viking found his mum's recipe. Definitely treacle, even when I looked at the picture I thought it didn't look right, although I bet it was tasty with syrup. I would go for a smaller deeper tin too but hey I never saw the original, so the Viking will have to be the judge!

    1. yeah it was all a bit odd... but I followed the recipe exactly as written... who knew what she used, it must have been treacle but it did taste very lovely x

  2. What a GREAT post and I am so pleased that The Viking found his mum's recipe.....I have seen recipes that use TREACLE and SYRUP! We sometimes add oatmeal to our Parkin too....but, that's the beauty of sharing recipes, they are allowed to a little bit different! Karen xx WELCOME back BTW!

  3. No oats? - thought Parkin needed oats. Liking the whiskey though.

  4. Welcome Back Dom!

    What a lovely story - and that parkin looks fantastic. I do love hand me down recipes - for me they really do represent some really happy family memories. Must dig out my nan's rock cake recipe at some point ... :)

  5. This must be another one of those amazing English cake recipes. It appears to be almost like a gingerbread. A dollop of whipped cream and I would gobble up a piece for certain. I love family recipes.

  6. Its always really brilliant to find old, much loved recipes! This sounds delicious Dom... and do you have the old recipe now framed and stuck up in the downstairs loo?!

  7. That's a great find - hoarding does have its uses. It may not be traditional but I like the addition of the whisky.

  8. I love the sound of this Parkin. No idea how authentic it is but the fact you have copied it word for word from The Viking's mother makes it pretty authentic sounding to me! Lovely x

  9. What is the definition of parkin? For me it's what I do when I get home, I look for parkin. Sounds lovely anyhow. As per usual, I will only see your reply if you write me at (if you can spare the time and trouble).

  10. Aaw, that's lovely! Lovely memories, lovely that the recipe was rediscovered.

    We've also been doing major decluttering over the last few weeks, with boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes full going to charity, filling the recycling bins and the regular bins.

  11. I shall be attempting this recipe - and I also think that Gingerbread per se (parkin or otherwise) should be a "Class" in the next Village Show. I am extremely happy that the recipe was found and have renewed my search for Greatnan's Billionare Shortbread! Pip Pip.

  12. Oh how wonderful that you found the recipe! I love those recipes that have been in the family for years and years. It looks lovely!

  13. Not quite sue what a parkin is? But whiskey and ginger that can't be bad!

  14. That is good enough reason to start cleaning up your house! I'm glad for you (and my own) sake that you foudn the recipe. Never tried a parkin before, but it sounds like a particularly delish blondie with whiskey and ginger, not going to say no to it for sure! AND it uses good old fashioned lard instead of those modern horrible vegetable oils, an issue which I've just writen a heartfelt blogpost about. x

  15. I am so glad the recipe is not lost forever. It is so important to ask for the recipes when our loved ones are still with us, if they will give up the recipe that is:D

  16. What a lovely blog you have, glad to find you - thanks to Phil in the kitchen - I love seeing the recipes passing on, such a treasure. Love ginger - look forward to trying the recipe, thank you :)

  17. What a treasure! I would consider framing it and hanging it in the kitchen! The cake looks amazing, a real family cake!

  18. SO SO SO weird! I swear ON MY LIFE I just posted a parkin recipe (first I've ever made) and then two seconds after I saw this recipe link on my Blog Roll!!! Spooky. Love the idea of whisky in it. How odd that we both just made parkin, it must be all this rain that makes us subconsciously crave a sticky cake..!!! Anyhoo - here's my parkin:

  19. Lard! In a cake! What a woman. I can just imagine how thrilled the Viking (err, should he not be called 'The Scot' if he's a McDonald?) must be, there's nothing like something your mum used to make x

  20. Interesting that her recipe specifies the brand of whisky - but then whiskies can be very different. Imagine putting Laphroaig in instead of Glenmorangie! The difference could be as great as that made by using Golden Syrup instead of Treacle.

  21. Yay for the Viking's mum. Though I suspect she used treacle too as parkin is meant to be dark. Love these great finds. I'm all for hording, but keep having to have clear outs as we just don't have much space. The wee dram has got to be a good thing too.

  22. I've never had parkin, this sounds lovely. So nice to have recipes that are handed down through families as well - thanks for entering it in alphabakes!

  23. Mum's handwritten recipes are the best!Love the addition of whisky to make it AlphaBake worthy - thanks for thinking of us :) I'm sure the whisky didn't hurt!

  24. Oh I missed a few posts this week, this one is a keeper! Looks like you've got a family heirloom on your hands...


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