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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We were fortunate that the beginning of the end of lockdown coincided both with some cracking weather and the 70th birthday of a good friend. As a result we were able to fulfill a promise to cook and serve a celebratory meal while sticking to the rules. Nothing shouts swank! more loudly than lobster, so off…

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Ravioli Small

So, how did your first effort go? Well enough, obviously, since you’re back for more. The only reason I got a pasta maker in the first place was to make ravioli. For a long long time I believed deep down that when it came to spaghetti or tagliatelle I preferred the dried stuff. I’m in…

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Tagliatelle al ragu

The ever readable Tony Turnbull is Food Editor of The Times. Unlike his idiosyncratic food critic Mr Coren (whose job I secretly envy) he is always worth the reading, informative and entertaining at the same time. He also appears to be no mean cook. It was therefore with some surprise that I read that he really…

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Asparagus bunches

This column has long preached seasonality. Hardly original, and to country folk it’s as natural as, well, the seasons. But when you’re on the hamster wheel of business, especially in Scotland where our dull climate means we barely need to change our wardrobe from month to month, it’s easy to let the subtle changes in…

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Smoked Haddock Risotto small

We don’t have a decent chip shop anywhere near us. Probably just as well. For me, not much beats a good fish supper: conversely, few things are more disgusting than a bad one. And in Scotland, the fish has to be haddock. I’ve never been a great fan of cod, favoured south of the border.…

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Guinness Cake Small

As many of you will know, making sweet things is not my forte. In an attempt to broaden my repertoire, I have tried to develop this part of my game; however, bread making apart, baking is not my thing. I therefore suggested to my sister in law, cook and baker extraordinaire, that she might contribute…

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Spicy Chicken Drumsticks

As I mentioned in the recent article on TV chefs, I’m not a fan of Ready, Steady Cook. Of watching it, that is. Being presented with unexpected ingredients and having to rustle something up is quite fun. And occasionally there are external factors which impact upon one’s options. It started when herself went out to…

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meatballs and Pasta Small

I’m pretty certain that meatballs will have been with us for as long as we have had meat, and certainly for as long as we have had butchers. My late Ma alerted me to a long established trick practised by unscrupulous members of that profession, sticking a half ounce of mince on the bottom of…

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Spatchcock Chicken Cooked

Spatchcocked and ready to cook I received a very generous Christmas present from my sister in law, a voucher for Nisbets, kitchen equipment suppliers. Never, ever, buy stuff again from chi chi little “kitchen shops”. Nisbets will sell you professional quality stuff at keen prices. (But if you are perusing their price list, remember that…

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Chicken and leek pie

First day of spring approaching? Well not if you shove your nose out of my door, it ain’t. After some good feed back from last week’s recipes featuring leeks, I thought I’d dig this one out. Take this pie, break the crust and you get colours of summer, succulent white chicken, pale green leeks and…

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Leeks Small

This week’s column was inspired by finding a puddle of creamed leeks hiding below some slices of beef at The Peat Inn, the subject of next week’s Tom Eats! column. I am very fond of leeks, but it occurred to me that my use of them tends to be in leek and potato soup, for…

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Beef Hough

Just outside St Andrews in the Cupar direction, you will find Balgove Larder. Farm shops are pretty common these days: this one, pun intended, is a cut above. There is a deli, there are books, of course there is a cafe/restaurant. The latter was choc a bloc, with a long queue for tables. But, best…

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Sweet Potato

Some types of guilt are easier to shake off than others. I blame myself, I really do. Not only did I allow her to go out alone, unchaperoned, I even encouraged it. It was a Friday. We had just come back after a couple of days away. The house was short on provisions and I…

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Spaghetti Puttanesca

I’ve been making this for years, generally none too well. Today, by accident, I made one of the best ever. While all pasta sauce has to be big enough to flavour a lot of carbohydrate, puttanesca is huge. Why so? Ah, how to explain without offending the sensibilities of your maiden aunts, should they chance upon…

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Grand Marnier Souffle

This blog is posted for Valentine’s Day. Making a romantic dinner? A light last course is always to be recommended, You also want something that shows you’ve made an effort. Soufflés aren’t as frightening as you might think, once you’ve made one or two. With a larger unruly dinner party,  the timing can be an…

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Slow Roasted Lamb

Sometimes I think that in a previous life I must have been a French housewife. Or have I just spent too long reading and watching Nigel Slater? When food shopping there are times, especially if you have planned a dinner or other event, when you know exactly what you want to buy, and precisely what…

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