Given that this is the closest Friday Five to Burns Night, today’s cookbooks all have a Scottish slant to them, which has certainly had its own food renaissance. These books will therefore take you way beyond neeps and tatties, haggis and deep-fryed Mars bars.
1. Nick Nairn Cook School – Nick is someone I can watch time and time again, and a few days at his Cook School would be a great present for any foodie. If that is a bit out of reach at the moment (prices seem to start about £150 plus your accommodation) then maybe the book of the school would be a good alternative. Perfect for serious or not so serious foodie, there are sections on technique as well as recipes, so you can brush up on your knifework or if you need to know how to prep a lobster then this is perfect. And it’s not all about fish, although there are great fish recipes. I’d be quite keen to try the Cook School steak with Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar.
2. Maw Broon’s Cookbook: The Broon’s Cookbook for Every Day and Special Days – these characters will be very familiar to the readers of the “Sunday Post” in Scotland, and this is an entertaining read with some good recipes. This would make a good gift for expat Scottish foodies with a nostalgia for home, and tastes of home.
3. Taste Ye Back: Great Scots and the Food That Made Them – part interviews with famous Scots, and part recipes, this will reveal what dishes they loved. We can enjoy foodie reminisces from Sharleen Spiteri, Ewan McGregor and Andy Murray, and then perfect the dishes that they love.
4. The Caledonian Kitchen– I’ve featured this one before when I looked at charity cookbooks, but it’s worth a mention again. With recipes from around Scotland, the sale of this book goes to support Action Duchenne, the UK charity working towards finding a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The recipes come from a mix of celebrities and award winning Scottish chefs, as well as from ordinary people across the country who support the charity.
5. The Three Chimneys: Recipes and Reflections– The Three Chimneys is somewhere I’d love to go. Talk about combining spectacular cooking with amazing scenery! The photography is beautiful, and the recipes cover traditional Scottish fayre, as well as more modern updates. I like the idea of Autumn pudding as a seasonal alternative, and cranachan is always worth making.
So, whether you’re doing a full on Burn’s Night dinner, or just perhaps pouring a wee dram, it’s a great excuse to have a look at just how much great cooking has been coming out of Scotland.