“Kale” is here!
It’s very exciting having another book coming out and it has made me think back to when I wrote my first book in 1998!
I was running Scotland’s Larder then, my project to teach Scotland about its own food! We had a restaurant where the menu changed seasonally, we had a shop which celebrated the seasons selling fresh produce, and then an exhibition and demonstration space where we told the story of Scottish food why it’s so good and how we can cook with it. We celebrated the season by having events for the first asparagus and strawberries with such great luminaries as Lady Claire Macdonald and Mr Asparagus himself Sandy Pattullo of Eassie near Glamis. Even Clarissa Dixon Wright came a couple of times.
It was while I was running the Larder that I was approached to write a book on Scottish cooking for Lomond Books, this was to be the first of many. I have a copy in front of me now and am still proud of it. There is a mixture of the traditional such as “Cullen Skink” and “Trout cooked in oatmeal”, but I also created some new ideas using Scottish materials; “Mackerel with rhubarb relish” and “lambs liver with lemon and honey” a recipe I got from my mum.
Over the years since I have written a book for the National Trust For Scotland and then one I did with Carol Wilson called “Scottish Heritage Food and Cooking”. It was lovely doing all the research for these books – choosing ingredients, testing recipes and I still get positive feedback today. In fact I have just had an e mail from a Swede who enjoyed my Gravadlax very much, along with letters and e-mails from America, New Zealand and even Africa with lovely comments. It’s a privilege to give these people pleasure, and connect them with Scottish food.
My most recent books have been on whole animal eating and my belief that if an animal is going to give up its life for us to eat it then we owe it a duty to eat as much as we can! The Whole Hog **for instance has recipes for everything but the squeak! In all my books I am always keen to stress the importance of quality; buy really good meat, organic if possible but otherwise grass fed beef or free range chickens or pigs. If we ate less but better quality then we would all be healthier.
My latest foray into books began in Waterstones book shop a couple of years ago standing in a queue at Christmas and seeing all the “stocking filler” books such as “101 things to do with a dead cat” So I thought I am going to write a book that people will find really useful. So with much encouragement from Waterstones I wrote “Beetroot.” Published in 2013 with around 30 recipes using beetroot each with a superb photograph taken by my wife Caroline, a lovely collaboration. Beetroot was a great success and was reprinted in 2014. This led to the next installment from the vegetable garden; “Courgette” which came out later the same year.
And now this October my next book in the series is called “Kale”. Kale is really an iconic Scottish vegetable and is of course very good for you! I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this one as much as the others. And again the photos are as fresh as the ingredients I used to test the recipes as Caroline was always around ready to capture final offerings. The book will shortly be available from me and of course good bookshops!
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