Some Wad Eat That Want It

Some hae meat and canna eat And some wad eat that want it But we hae meat and we can eat Sae let the Lord be thankit Let me ‘fess up immediately. Despite the Selkirk Grace above, the first part of today’s column has precious little to do with food. It is, however, a follow…

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The Food Producers – Rachel Murray, Sheep Farmer

Farms are traditionally handed down through the generations, so what is unusual to learn that Branxholm Braes, just outside Hawick, is now being run by a third generation of the Murray family? Well, a couple of things. The first is the obvious one, farmers still being predominantly male. More on that later. But if, fifteen…

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Chef Watch – Stuart Smith, Fin & Grape, Edinburgh

CHEF WATCH Featuring Stuart Smith, Chef Owner of Fin & Grape, Edinburgh How long have you been a chef? I’ve been a chef for about 11 years now. Why did you become a chef? It really wasn’t planned at all. After spending some time at university initially studying law I eventually graduated with a degree…

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F is for Flambé

Flamber? It’s what pyromaniacs do. Except, in Glasgow High Court they call it arson. But to flamber is simply the French term for setting on fire. With insouciant French style the Larousse Gastronomique explains that this is done both to enhance flavour and to demonstrate culinary showmanship. Well forget the former. You can enhance flavour…

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Happy Birthday

​HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOM’S FOOD!   Sarah Mellersh Bill Kerr AP Stephen Jardine L Johnston, Edinburgh Nigel Eastmond Craig Millar Vikki Wood Willie McCurrach Fred Berkmiller It astonishes me to realise that a year has passed since the new Tom’s Food! website first saw the light of day. And depressing to think that it was launched…

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Scoff by Pen Vogler – Book Review

SCOFF A History of Food and Class in Britain Pen Vogler Atlantic Books                            pp 470                                             £20 When I first heard about…

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Chef Watch – Neil Forbes, Cafe St Honoré, Edinburgh

CHEF WATCH Featuring Neil Forbes, Chef Director of Cafe St Honoré, Edinburgh How long have you been a chef? I have been a chef for roughly 35 years but if you included time at my parents’ and grandmother’s side cooking then I guess I have always been a cook. I recall the soup pot early…

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E is for….?

Hmm, I wonder what the E might possibly stand for in a food alphabet? For those who follow me on Twitter, I often have a teaser quiz a day or two before. Not this week. I did think about being really sneaky and featuring eel or éclair or endive, but you would probably have taken…

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Improve Your Cooking in 2021

There are of course many ways in which you can improve your culinary skills. Six months at the Cordon Bleu Cookery School will help. Or follow the lead of that lady in Julie and Julia, who set out to make every single dish in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. But let’s assume you lack the…

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The Food Producers – Meet the Milnes, the Crafty Maltsters

Daniel, Norman and Alison Milne On a gloriously sunny November day I am on Demperston Farm, just outside Auchtermuchty in the Kingdom of Fife. The view is idyllic, looking south over the Lomond Hills. Alison Milne, however, is in reflective mode. As a society, we have never been more disconnected from our food and how…

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Hungry by Grace Dent – Book Review

I wish back for just one normal evening. I was loved and I was never hungry, and for a small girl from Currock, that was as good as things get. We all know now that the small girl from Currock went on to do many more things. But until I read this, her autobiography, all I…

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Chef Watch – Fred Berkmiller, L’escargot bleu

CHEF WATCH Featuring Fred Berkmiller, Chef Patron of L’escargot bleu, Broughton Street, Edinburgh How long have you been a chef? I started my apprenticeship at the age of 14, and took my first head chef job was when I was 23. Why did you become a chef? I didn’t really choose to, rather I was…

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D is for Duck

    Long Island Duck I started this article looking to escape from the misery of a dreich and wet Sunday. Some hours on, with the brain nipping, I’m really wishing I hadn’t. The source of my perplexity (at this stage I neither know nor care whether that is a real word) will become clear…

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Cooking With Wine

We’ve all seen that fridge magnet. It was quite amusing the first time. (No, I don’t have one. Mine is the equally classic Life’s too short to drink bad wine, of which more later.) But for the inexperienced cook, keeping wine out of the pan and pouring it into the gob can sometimes be the…

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Chef Watch – Bill Kerr, Superstar and Legend

CHEF WATCH Scottish Chef of the Year Featuring Bill Kerr, two time winner, Scottish Chef of the Year, producer of some of the best food I have ever eaten in my life. Why did you become a chef? At high school when I was 12, the Scottish Electricity Board advertised a cooking competition. I came…

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How To Create a Restaurant

Most of us will have eaten in a restaurant which has only just opened its doors. We will take in the decor, probably smile a little at the inexperience of the waiting staff, then get stuck in to the menu and wine list. How many of us give any thought at all to the process…

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Cookery Courses: Some Pros and Cons

Last month I spent a pleasant Sunday at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School. It occurred to me that although I have been on a fair few such courses over the past twenty odd years, and on several continents, I don’t recall reading many column inches on them. So here are some thoughts. Michelin Starred…

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C is for Cocoa and Chocolate

If you want to begin at the beginning, you will have to go back about 4000 years to what is now Mexico. Archaeologists have established – I know not how – that chocolate beverages were being consumed from that time. The word they use for those early consumers is Mesoamericans, whose area stretched from modern…

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Chef Watch – Craig Millar @16 West End, St Monans

CHEF WATCH Featuring Craig Millar, Chef proprietor of Craig Millar @16 West End, St Monans, Fife How long have you been a chef? I have been a chef (including college) for 33years Why did you become a chef? I always say I became a chef as a matter of survival as my Mum was never…

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Sudi Pigott – A Real Food Writer Comes to Town

Even as lockdown eases, life can still seem a little, well, humdrum. We may be able to eat out, but there is a definite lack of spontaneity. Even the simple pleasure of popping in somewhere for a drink is accompanied by someone (alarmingly) pointing what looks like a laser site at the middle of your…

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The Food Producers – Castle Game Scotland

Neil Gilmour and Andy Smith It’s the middle of August. Andy Smith and Neil Gilmour should be celebrating the second birthday of their fledgling business, Castle Game Scotland. The truth is, however, that they are far too busy. I was introduced to them and to their wonderful produce some time before lockdown. L and I…

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