Feather, Leather, Weather…..those words rhyme with my name. When I was in primary school these words followed me in the playground. The other kids thought it was funny. All the other girls were called Nancy, Susie, Sammie, Julie, and Betsy. They had the “cutesy” names I wanted. It wasn’t fair. Why had my parents given me such a weird name? A name no one else had.
I can count on my hand the other women I have met throughout my life with the same name as me. It has grown in popularity over the years but more in America than in the UK. Funny as it’s a Scottish flower. When I registered my son’s birth in London in 1998, the registrar said in the 25 years she had been doing the job she had never registered a Heather.
My mother chose our names because she didn’t want anyone to be able to “change” them. Her name was always shortened and she didn’t want the same for us. Of course I was desperate for a nickname because I didn’t have one. Typical, right? My name has been reduced to Heath (as in Heath-er not Heath) but not on a regular basis. When I first met my OH he called me Davis (he went to boarding school where everyone got called by their last name) and for some reason I quite liked that. I guess I really was desperate.
Now that I am older I am very happy with my name. Just Heather is fine. See here for a little bit more on that one.
We are a bit of a mish-mash when it comes to surnames in this family. I still go by Davis and my eldest daughter is Davis-Gregory after her father and me. My OH is Aspinwall and so are our three kids together. It’s makes for an interesting discussion at passport control.
As for nicknames, my daughter calls her step-dad Chazzie and he calls her “teenager”. G was always my “snuggle bunny” because we liked to take afternoon naps together when the elder two were at school. She could not pronounce her brother’s name when she was a toddler so she called him “Diggle”. Never got to the bottom of that one. We call our youngest Midge, with some controversy, but it seems to make her happy. I’m mostly Mum now. That’s cool with me.
This post is for the writing workshop this week over at Sleep is for the Weak. I have chosen Prompt 1: Write about a nickname you have been given in your life.
I’ve chosen Millionaire’s Shortbread to accompany this post because it’s Scottish and not only is my name of said origin, but we have also recently just come back from there. So perfect really. (This will end my love affair with all things Scottish, promise!) If you don’t know about this amazing confection it’s about time you did. It’s one part shortbread, one part caramel and one part chocolate and the whole thing together ends up being rather addictive. Each step takes time but actually very little effort. Don’t plan on making them in a hurry though, it’s important to allow for effective cooling down periods. Although by the end you may not care about cracked chocolate glaze!
Here’s the recipe (as adapted from Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito):
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cup plain flour
1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
28 ounces sweetened condensed milk (2 x 14 oz cans)
6 oz dark chocolate (at least 68% cocoa) chopped
1 tsp corn syrup or golden syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, in cubes
To make the shortbread:
Preheat oven to 350 f. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan. I also lined mine because I like things to come out easily.
Beat butter and sugar until blended. Add 2 cups of flour and beat until well combined. Add egg yolk and beat until just combined.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough and your hands to stop them from sticking. Work the dough using your hands into a 6×6 square. You will have to turn the dough and sprinkle with flour as you go. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup flour on the top of the dough. Fold dough over and knead until incorporated, then flatten the dough into a rectangle. Transfer the rectangle to the prepared pan and press it into the pan.
Prick the dough with a fork and bake in the centre of the oven for 20 mins until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely. This is very important as you don’t want the dough to get mixed up in the caramel when you layer it on top.
To make the caramel:
Put the can of sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan of boiling water over a low heat. Cook for 3 hrs. Remove from pan. Open the can and pour into a small bowl. Beat until smooth. (I also add a couple of pinches of sea salt because I quite like the whole salty caramel thing so add it here if you feel it too.)
Pour the caramel filling over the cooled shortbread and place the pan in the fridge for about two hours.
NB there are various methods to turn the condensed milk into caramel but the above is the way I have always done it. Try Google if you would prefer to do it a different way.
To make the chocolate glaze:
Melt the chocolate, corn/golden syrup, and butter together in a bowl over boiling water (or double boiler). Cook until mixture is completely smooth. Remove from pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour mixture over cooled caramel layer and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer.
Place in fridge for another hour, or until glaze is hard.
Remove from the fridge 30 mins before serving as not to crack the glaze. Cut into squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to 4 days. But I bet they won’t last that long…
Top image is taken from www.poshlittle.com/…/images/baby_names_fps.jpg