Orkney Broonie, Orkneys

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Just about every region of Britain has a traditional ginger-cake or –bread, the best known perhaps being Grasmere Gingerbread , with Market Drayton Gingerbread not too far behind. Orkney can offer the broonie, whose very name speaks volumes about the area’s past – it is of Norse origin, bruni in that language denoting a thick oatcake.
This is substantial fare, using the oats beloved of Scots cooks, buttermilk (though yoghurt replaces it in some versions), flour, brown sugar and treacle, ideally black but golden syrup is smuggled into some. And naturally it has plenty of ground ginger.
The proportions of flour and oatmeal used vary writer by writer, but for authenticity the oats should not be relegated to a mere supporting role. One constant in all recipes is the instruction to leave the cake to mature in a sealed container for at the very least a day, and up to a week, to let the flavours develop and the whole thing moisten.
Warmed by the spice, with plenty of calories to fight cold nights, this is a dish suited to the winter months, though tasty enough to be found when the sun hardly leaves the island skies.

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