Describe your favourite plate
of food. My fave would be monkfish wrapped in Parma ham with scallops and a saffron and cream sauce. Why is it so special? I love the texture and flavours of the seafood and the creamy sauce. Heaven on a plate! Any kind of seafood is a winner with me.
More generally, what’s your most memorable meal and why?
My most memorable meal has to be The Three Chimneys on Skye in 2001. We had to book it three weeks in advance and I’ll tell you, it was worth the wait. I can still close my eyes and remember it like it was yesterday. The food was all locally sourced and the surroundings were just perfect. The Three Chimneys’ lobster bisque was exquisite! I met Shirley Spears, the owner and chef, that night and I got her to sign my book, Scotland on a Plate. The whole experience and holiday was unforgettable.
Have you ever had any
culinary disasters? Yes! Christmas turkey not cooked properly as I misjudged the timings. Luckily my wee granny was there to entertain everyone and regale all the family with her stories so waiting an extra hour or so wasn’t actually too bad.
Is there one ingredient in your kitchen that you couldn’t do without? Yes, butter.
Food Heaven/food hell? Food heaven is probably slow cooked beef with creamy mashed potatoes and Savoy cabbage. Food Hell is Heinz Ravioli. I remember my mum trying to force me to eat it when I was a wee girl and I still have nightmares about it.
What’s your guilty comfort
food? Crackers, cheeses and a good chutney. I particularly like pineapple and chilli chutney with any cheese.
Fantasy dinner party guests and what is on the menu? Dalai Lama, Billy Connolly, Michael Caine,
Judy Dench, George Michael, Hilary Clinton, Jim Morrison, Jennifer Aniston, David Bowie, Steve Coogan Rob Bryden. Sorry I know that’s a lot but it is a fantasy. Menu - langoustines in a garlic butter, châteaubriand, scallops, and a big cheese board with all the accoutrements.
What is your favourite thing on the parliament menu? Mac ‘n’
How would you describe
you approach to food? Oh my, I absolutely love food. I love cooking and trying new recipes. I actually make it my mission to get all the correct ingredients and where possible all sourced locally. I get annoyed that we don’t eat more seafood as a nation given that we are an island and we are surrounded by the best seafood/shellfish in the world. When you try langoustines abroad and they’re from Scotland yet we can very rarely source them here, that’s frustrating. I also love going somewhere special for a meal, especially if someone has recommended it. I recently tried Cail Bruich in Glasgow and that was very special. I highly recommend the chef’s taster menu. I grew up in poverty and there were times we had to get a food parcel from my granny until it came round to getting our benefits again so that stigma never really leaves you. I think I learned then a deep appreciation of food. I also remember the smells of my granny cooking and it was the best feeling, especially the jelly cooling on the window ledge.