Spanish Tortilla

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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Two More Chocolate Goodies

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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Chocolate Puddings: Not One but Two

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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How To Cook a Grouse

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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Tom Cooks With Tarragon

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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Cooking with Castle Game – Venison Steaks and Wild Boar Sausages

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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Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls with Nước Mắm

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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National Cheesecake Day 30 July

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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Get Stuffed!

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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Lesley Johnston’s Shortbread – 3 Ways

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 Takeaway Classics – Made at Home

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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Indian Takeaway Classics – Made at Home

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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Chinese Takeaway Classics – Made at Home

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 Gray’s Boodle’s Orange Fool and Chocolate Cake

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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Time to Celebrate? Reach for the Lobster

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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Home Made Pasta Part 2 – Ravioli and Tortellini

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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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Home Made Pasta Part 1

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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It’s May – Asparagus and other good things

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 – More Delights

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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Alison Doody’s Guinness Cake

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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Tom’s Moroccan Style Chicken Drumsticks with Potato Wedges

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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Meat Balls – The Sublime…

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

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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