Perfect Shortbread (and a pretty sunset)

I didn’t used to be good at making shortbread.  Sure, I could whip up a decent base for Strawberry Shortcake or Millionaire’s Shortbread but I had never produced a biscuit that I thought was good enough to eat unembellished with a strong cup of tea.  This had to change once I had accepted the invitation to teach a Scottish cookery course in the USA, of course.  Scotland = shortbread,

So I tried out some recipes.  A LOT of recipes.  Recipes from books, from blogs, from friends and from family and, though some of the latter ones were hugely successful in those individuals’ hands, they just didn’t work for me.  And then I tried The Three Chimney’s recipe.

For those of you who don’t know, The Three Chimney’s is a restaurant on the west coast of Skye (pics of Skye here and here).  I’ve only eaten there once and, having gone for the 9 course tasting menu plus matching wine flight, it almost bankrupt us.  Totally worth it though!  The food was amazing, the restaurant is beautiful, the service friendly and helpful,  and after 5 hours of wining and dining, I left feeling like the large amount of money we had spent had been a bargain.

Now I don’t remember if I had the shortbread when I ate at the restaurant but my lovely Aunt Anne gifted me the cookbook last year and it was here I found the Three Chimney’s recipe.  And it was perfect.  Delicate, melting, buttery and not too sweet.

I can’t, in all good conscience, reproduce the recipe here as I didn’t alter a single thing.  You can find it here, however.

Try it; you won’t regret it.

North Carolina & My Scottish Cooking Course

Last week I was lucky enough to fly to the United States and be an instructor at the John C Campbell Folk School in North Carolina.  Where do I start to tell you what an amazing experience this was?  The area is stunning & the locals simply lovely.  The school itself is so inspiring and welcoming and well run; can’t recommend it enough.   Runny marmalade aside, my course went well and the dishes were delicious.  Loved having a great big kitchen as my office for the week and my four students were delightful learners and company.

I’ll post some of the recipes we made in the coming weeks and months.  Until then, here are some photos of the week.



First stop on our honeymoon was Hanoi, Vietnam.  I wish I could have captured the buzz and movement and erratic energy of the city in my photos but any shot that tried was just a flat, silent, odourless, cool blur.   And that’s  just not representative of the beeps and clatter and chatter, the countless motorbikes stacked precariously high with eggs or piled with family members, the smoking coals and the sweating cold beers, the heat and the humidity that is Hanoi.

It’s a place that couldn’t be more different to our home in airy, orderly Inverness and that’s why, rather than visiting museums and temples and other sites of interest, we spent our time just wandering the streets, stopping for a beer or some street food and just watching a very different world go by.




Bia Ha Noi


Amazing meal

Hanoi Food


Hanoi at Night