Homemade pickled ginger for sushi

Hello dear reader, It is officially spring here in the Northern Hemisphere and, when I see the cherry blossoms appear, my thoughts often turn to Japan. Cherry trees are known as Sakura in Japan and their pretty blossoms are celebrated with many parties and feasts. Never having been to Japan, my sole knowledge of its cuisine…

Gaelic, or Irish, Coffee

Happy St Patrick’s Day, dear reader! I’m sure you know that St Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland. In the 5th Century he travelled from Britain to Ireland as a Christian missionary. He spread his message far and wide, becoming known as the Apostle of Ireland. I am making a trip home to Northern Ireland…

Hopetoun Farm Shop’s new Pie range

Hello dear reader, Last year celebrity chef Paul Hollywood visited my local estate and farm shop.  He liked the Hopetoun estate’s produce and ethos so much that he spent two days there filming, speaking to all the staff and cooking and tasting produce in the farm shop.  He took home some fabulous seasonal game to…

The Broons: Scotland’s First Family

Hello dear reader, Do you know The Broons?  I wasn’t aware of them at all until I met Mr Vohn. The Broons are a Scottish comic strip family published weekly in the Sunday Post newspaper since 1936!  They are a family of nine, ranging from Granpaw Broon to the Bairn (bairn is a small child…

Valentine’s Masterclass using fresh Scottish produce

Hello Dear Reader, Last week I was at another evening masterclass at my wonderful local farm shop, the multi-award-winning Hopetoun Farm Shop.  The previous masterclasses I have been to were with loquacious and poetic chef Neil Forbes. Masterclass in Cooking Seasonal Game Masterclass in Simple and Seasonal Scottish Cooking This latest one was bang-on with its…

Salted Chilli Crispy Beef to Celebrate Chinese New Year

Happy New Year!   The Chinese new year starts today and this year 2014 is the year of the horse. You probably know by now that I am originally from Northern Ireland.  What you may not know is that Northern Ireland has a large Chinese community, in fact this is its largest ethnic minority grouping….