After the festive season (such as it was this year) things tend to get a bit flat. It could be argued, therefore that this is not a time to be getting saucy. In the old Tom Cooks! column I did feature a game pie two or three years ago. This is a different version which…

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Lamb Shoulder

  Tom’s Food! will be celebrating its first birthday in a few short weeks. Now if you feel you’ve been reading my reviews and recipes for a lot longer, worry not. You’re not in an early Alzheimer’s stage (just yet). The very first review was written in October 2014 and the first recipe just over…

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Star Baker Alison Read on before you write in to complain. I am aware that the traditionalists among you will have made your cake before the pandemic, and that you’ve been feeding it every week since. Well, best beloveds, the clue is in the title – Light. Sister in law Alison’s husband started to suffer from…

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The game season is now in full swing. Probably my first exposure to game was in the form of pheasant, because that was the main thing shot at the in-laws in Perthshire. I’ve probably written before that the principal reason folk are leery of game is that they’re not sure what to do with it.…

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Now if you posed the question, mashed what, it proves how little you know me. In this divided age in which we live, a less magnanimous columnist might tell you to sling your hook: I, on the other hand, invite you to enter the fold and learn. The answer is, of course, potato. Yesterday was…

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Children are cruel beasts. Many believe that William Golding called it right in Lord of the Flies. The ugly and the different are not well treated and are often misunderstood. So pity the poor monkfish. You may never have seen one: the average fishmonger simply stocks fillets on his shelves. As you will observe from…

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Well, after Wednesday’s D for Duck column I don’t have much choice, do I? Many food writers say that duck and fruit go well together. Accordingly, I begin with raspberry. A big loud one to all of you who wrote in to say that I had misspelled Pekin and that it should have been Peking. Well,…

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On Wednesday we talked about cooking with wine, so there was only one candidate for today’s Tom Cooks! Actually, there were two. It was a toss up between today’s dish and coq au vin. Done correctly, both are very similar. And what else they have in common is that both can be done very simply…

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After last week’s article on Spanish tortilla it occurred to me that in the five years or so of this column eggs have rarely featured, which seems odd. They are, after all, the ultimate fast food. Here at Casa Johnston, they also form the basis for many types of comfort food. Can you beat an…

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In Wednesday’s On The Side, I promised you a Spanish classic. It doesn’t get more typical than this. Go into any snack bar, or anywhere offering the most basic selection of tapas and you will find tortilla on the bill of fare. Confusingly, given the close links between Spain and Mexico, this has nothing whatever…

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Last week’s chocolate recipes turned out to be stunningly popular. Having made and sampled them both, I’m not surprised. Given the feedback, I thought you might like a couple more. Both of these come from the vast folder of recipes from the late lamented Let’s Cook Scotland cookery school, run by the wonderful Sarah Mellersh,…

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I couldn’t tantalise you with Wednesday’s On The Side column about the development of chocolate without bringing you something to get your teeth into. To make sure my own sweet shortcomings don’t get in the way, I bring you offerings from two maestros, Sarah Mellersh and Lesley Johnston. Sarah Mellersh’s Gooey Hot Chocolate Puddings This…

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I’ve been cooking a fair bit of game lately, and regular readers will know that my favourite food suppliers of the moment are Castle Game Scotland in West Lothian. For feathered game, this is the time of year. The pheasant season starts on 1 October, and we have been able to enjoy grouse since the…

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So what’s unusual about that, I hear you ask? Well, for one, L is not fond of anything with a strong aniseedy flavour. Nor am I – Pernod, Pastis and the like are a big no no, and I have never visited Greece for fear of being force fed ouzo – but when the flavour…

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This article is timed to coincide with Wednesday’s On The Side column celebrating the delights of Castle Game Scotland. It features two dishes. The first is made using their wild boar sausages with Italian herbs, the second a great way to serve their venison leg steaks. Wild Boar Sausages with Green Lentils The lentils are a…

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Just over six months ago (though it now seems like half a lifetime) I was in Vietnam. Our holiday was organised around food, including visits to markets, food producers and, of course, cookery classes. We travelled up river from the ancient town of Hoi An to the Red Bridge Cooking School, where today’s recipe comes…

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You could be forgiven for thinking that I keep a special note of these food days. No, I don’t, nor do they appear automatically on my Outlook Calendar unlike sundry random dates. Good Friday and Easter Monday – fair enough;  St Andrew’s Day and St George’s Day, hmm; but Trooping the Colour and the Battle…

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The title of today’s column really should be Get Stuffing! That exhortation is less likely to get you a punch on the nose, but equally it is less attention grabbing. Today’s recipe is inspired by a pork fillet  which I bought at the butchers for this weekend. It’s not the most exciting of meats, and can go…

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Shortbread Small

It is a little known fact that my wife is a top class baker. Little known, because here at Casa Johnston we try not to eat sweet things, we don’t do coffee mornings, and so far as I’m aware afternoon tea is not an event which has ever happened in this house in my time…

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Pizza Small

While we are hoping to see Scottish restaurants reopening soon, I predict that for many months to come the eating out experience will not be as we have known it. Having said that, this will be the last takeaway at home column for a while. Let’s get out there and help the beleaguered restaurant sector…

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Onion Bhajis Small

Last week I gave you a couple of Chinese dishes which I reckoned you could do just as quickly and just as well at home. Indian* food is a different beast. As any of you who have tried it will know, many good curries benefit from a long slow cook. Indeed, I have seen lots…

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Beef and Black Bean Sauce

As you may have gathered by now, I do not rush to embrace takeaway food, with or without a lockdown. In current times, there is no doubt that there is some fabulous food to be had out there, being produced by some of our top chefs; however, many are just sticking to their tried and…

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Annie Grey

In last week’s On The Side column I reviewed Victory in the Kitchen by Annie Gray. My thanks to Annie, who has very kindly allowed me to reproduce a couple of the recipes which appeared in the book. These in turn came from notes left by Georgina Landemare, the subject of the biography. They have been updated by…

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