The British Bulldog revolver, introduced by Philip Webley of Birmingham, England, in 1872, is a deceptively small handgun. It was designed to be carried in a coat pocket, with a barrel that’s only 2.5 inches long, but it has enough stopping power to knock someone off their feet. In 1881, a disgruntled lawyer assassinated President James Garfield with a Belgian-made British Bulldog revolver.
I based the MacRae distillery on Bruichladdich, a renowned distillery on Islay. After Greg and I watched a fascinating documentary titled Scotch: A Golden Dream (I think it’s still available on Amazon) I was instantly taken with the idea of creating a hero who made whisky. (Spelled “whiskey” in the US and Ireland, but “whisky” in Scotland and Canada.) There’s a romance and art to distilling whisky, and the flavor is influenced by the water that goes into making it, the kind of wood used for the cask, how long it’s been matured, and a thousand other factors.
Slàinte Mhath (slan-ge-var), my dears—that’s a toast to your health. I’ve relied on your friendship and support so much this past year, and I never take any of you for granted. Much love to all!
THIS IS A LOAF of sunshine, based on Victorian era loaf cake recipes. It’s perfect for breakfast, teatime, or dessert. (Lady Merritt suggests using actual marmalade instead of “fruit spread.”)
3/4 C butter, softened
3/4 C sugar
4 tablespoons marmalade
juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 C)
zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 C flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 tablespoons marmalade
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan—put a little rectangle of parchment paper on the bottom if your loaf pan isn’t nonstick.
Whisk softened butter and sugar together. (If it’s your cookmaid’s day off, use an electric mixer.) Add eggs, marmalade, orange juice, and zest; mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix! Also don’t worry if it looks lumpy.
Bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. If it starts to look too brown during the baking, lay a piece of foil over the top.
Cool for 15 minutes and ease the loaf out of the pan. Melt the other four tablespoons of marmalade with a tablespoon of butter and spread over the top of the warm cake, then let it cool completely before slicing. (If you have that much self-restraint, which, sadly, my family does not.)
A Word of Caution:
When serving this treat to a prospective suitor, remember to have a chaperone present.
We all know what scandal can lead to.
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