An 18th Century Easter Meal

With Easter not too far away it is the perfect time to prepare a lovely meal for the family. If you’re feeling brave why not try some of these 18th Century recipes to tempt your loved ones.

Firstly, hare soup:

Cut your hare in quarters, and the rest in small pieces, put it in a stew pot with a crag or knuckle of veal; put in a gallon of water, a bunch of sweet herbs, let it stew till the gravy is very good, fry a little of the veal and put in it to make it brown, put in bread to thicken the soup, or you may put in rice, but boil it first a little, or fine barley, a quarter of a pound of either will do; season it with pepper, salt, and mace, with an onion stuffed with cloves; take out the herbs, veal and onion, before you dish it.

A nice simple recipe for soup that sounds lovely and hearty for a cool evening in Scotland.

For a centrepiece of a main course it has to be a roast ham or gammon:

Take off the skin, and lay it to steep in luke warm water; then lay it in a pan, pour on it a mutchkin of canary, and let it steep in it twelve hours; then spit it and paper it over the fat side; pour the canary it was soaked in, into the driping-pan, and baste it with it all the while it is roasting; when it is roasted enough, pull off the paper and drudge it well with crumbs of bread, and parsley shred fine, brown it well and let it to cool. Serve it with green parsley.

Whilst the soup was fairly easy to follow we needed a bit of help with this one. The mutchkin of canary stumped us for a moment. However, a mutchkin is an old Scottish unit of measurement that is equal to about 0.43 litres, or quarter of an old Scottish pint. Canary is a type of wine from the Canary Islands which made the recipe instantly more exciting. Not sure how many people have a spit they can roast their ham on so it will probably have to go in the boring modern oven.

And finally for desert how about a carrot pudding:

Boil as many carots as will be half a pound; cut them and pound them fine with half a pound of fine sugar; then beat ten eggs and three whites, and mix them with the carots; grate an orange in it, and just as you are going to put it in the oven, put into it half a pound of clarified butter. All the butter that is put in baked puddings must be clarified, and the skim and bottom taken from it.

It couldn’t be Easter without a carrot recipe and this one sounds simple which could either be a good thing or a bad thing.

All of these recipes come from the wonderful book ‘A New and Easy Method of Cookery’ by Elizabeth Cleland and was apparently designed for all the young women who attended her school.

Hopefully we’ve given you an idea of what to cook for Easter, or maybe what to avoid! As always please like, share, comment and tweet.

All the best, The Culloden Team

An Age-Old Conundrum

I’ve been wondering for a few days now just how old is too old? People will tell you, should you feel compelled like I did to ask, that “age is only a number”, and “you’re only as old as you feel”; but surely there comes an age in life when it is no longer the social norm to be taking part in an Easter Egg Hunt, unless, of course, you have some little ones to justify your participation?

The reason I have been pondering such a monumental question is that, with the Easter Weekend now upon us, the NTS will be running their annual Cadbury Easter Egg Trail across 50 properties, so naturally I wondered whether it would seem unusual if a slightly–older–than–normal participant turned up.  According to C.S.Lewis “some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again”, maybe the same can be true of hunting for hidden Easter eggs?

Inhabitants of Scotland in the 1700s would have been mercifully free from such a dilemma.  In his book ‘The Social Life of Scotland in the Eighteenth Century’, Henry Grey Graham states that “the old Presbyterians despised keeping ‘Yule’ as a miserable superstition, approved highly of schoolmistresses who gave parties to the pupils on Good Friday”. I’m almost certain the pupils would have approved too, quite far removed from our custom of searching – at times frantically – for hidden chocolate eggs!

According to Henry Grey Graham, “many old Episcopalians, especially if they were Jacobites, observed religious fasts”. Like many people in today’s society, I have given up chocolate for lent (so far, so good!). I’m sure many of you will appreciate the struggle in denying oneself chocolate; however, it is worth remembering that in the 18thC, the act of fasting for lent would have been more severe, with the winter store of food running very low and still a few weeks before the spring bounty began. (Even if Graham does follow on to say that for some this would mean “refraining at least from snuff”!)

But, with only days left to go, the lure of chocolate is becoming slightly unbearable ….maybe the Duck Race at Barry Mill would provide an Easter Weekend void of temptation!


For more information on Easter events at NTS properties visit  And remember here at Culloden you can make your own sword and targe on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April (which you could then use at our neighbouring properties to defend your haul of Easter egg treasure!)

As always, please spread the egg-cellent news (well I did wait until the very end!) of our Easter events and let us know what fun you had hunting chocolate eggs by sharing your stories and pics with us on Twitter (@CullodenNTS) or FaceBook (Culloden Battlefield & Visitor Centre) we’d love to see them. Have fun! K & D

A Little Bit of Swordplay

Since Easter is fast approaching, some places may suggest some beautiful, topical crafts for the family to enjoy. Maybe painting eggs or making cupcakes, but here at Culloden we tend to do things a little differently!

So if you’re bored of making the same old things for Easter why not mix it up and make the kids their very own basket-hilted broadsword and targe!


We have devised a brilliant way to occupy the childrens time, keep them playing for hours and all without making too much mess.

So, just how do you make a sword?

First, equipment, you will need:

Milk bottle, cardboard, scissors,masking tape, duct tape, glue (optional) and colouring pens/pencils.

1. Cut the handle off a milk bottle. We recommend at least a four pint bottle so there’s enough room for the blade but it can be done with two pints and a bit of strength.


2. Cut out a sword shape from the cardboard with a narrow strip at the bottom to fit into the hole of the milk bottle handle. Also cut out two smaller strips of cardboard for support.


3. Attach the two strips of cardboard along the thin strip as support using masking or duct tape. They should extend into the main sword piece to give stability and add some character to the sword.


4. Not bad, but still looks like cardboard. So, cover the sword with duct tape to give it a beautiful shiny silver finish. Or you can use different coloured tape to create your own unique interpretation of a sword.

5. Insert the sword into the handle ensuring a tight fit. Muscles may be required. (Glue can be used to secure more fully into position)


6. Last but not least, brandish your sword with pride! (We gave our to Bonnie Prince Charlie, not sure how happy he looks about it!)


You can also make an accompanying targe (shield) with cardboard and colouring pens/pencils, finished off with a handle on the back made from either cardboard or rope.

Alternatively, if you fancy letting other people do all the work join us at Culloden for crafts on Sunday 5th April!

Enjoy your Easter and please share your homemade sword and targe pictures with us on Twitter (@CullodenNTS) or FaceBook (Culloden Battlefield & Visitor Centre) we’d love to see them. Have fun! K & D