Happy St Andrew’s day everyone. I thought in honour of the day of the Scottish patron saint (who is also the patron saint of loads of other places), I’d have a go at something a bit special, something from history… am I setting the scene? Are you excited? Parlies or Parliament Cake. I have to thank my study buddy Rachelle for giving me this idea, she was researching shortbread (as you do) and came across a mention of these and got in touch to ask if I knew how to make them. Of course, I leapt into action, got the research head on and found out so I could share with you guys as a special St Andrew’s day treat. So what are they exactly? Well, a biscuit, with ginger and treacle, sounds lovely and wintery right? Well, you are right. They are lovely and dark and have a slight toffee edge, but that’s not even the best bit. The best bit is the cracking story of how they were born / where they came from. So here it is just for you. Parlies or parliament cakes (to give them their Sunday name) were the creation of Mrs Flockhart (locally known as Luckie Fykie) of Potterrow here in Edinburgh. She had a little general grocer shop and tavern (which incidentally is no longer there because the student union is now there) which was allegedly visited by esteemed gentlemen of the Scottish Parliament, including the father of Sir Walter Scott, allegedly. The story says that these gentlemen would visit the shop but head through the shop into the back rooms (or ben the hoose as we would say), where they would drink whisky and eat parliament cake. Mrs Flockhart’s parlies are described as crisp square cakes and she apparently offered round “snaps”. So my version is not exactly accurate to hers, as mine are round, but they are tasty treats all the same. If you wanted to make yours square, you could roll the dough and cut it into squares. If you want to read more about Mrs Flockhart and her “goings on”, there is a nice account in “Traditions of Edinburgh, Vol 2”. So for the recipe.