Choosing a Christmas cookbook can be tricky.
It’s tempting to give someone the latest Nigella or Nigel, and be done with it. However, the last couple of months have seen a particularly good crop of cookbooks from authors and food business owners who are based in Scotland. Here are our suggestions.
This book came out last month and is full of bakes and cakes from the woman behind the four-year-old Bad Girl Bakery Cafe in the Black Isle village of Muir of Ord. Although there are plenty of savoury options, this is the perfect read for the sweet-toothed, with cookies, muffins, five types of millionaire’s shortbread, raspberry doughnut brioche buns, cardamom and white chocolate sticky buns and dark chocolate, cranberry and coconut flapjack. For the proper bad girls, there’s even a chapter called Cake for Breakfast.
Award-winning food and travel writer, Ghillie Basan, has written over 40 books, but she still has endless enthusiasm for her subject. This lovely new hardback features 100 recipes, including Redshank’s cullen skink and nettle and ramson soup, as well as tales of Highland producers, crofters and fisherman, who Basan meets on her travels from her home in the Cairngorms National Park to the Moray Firth, Black Isle and Argyll.
The Hebridean Baker: Recipes and Wee Stories from the Scottish Islands by Coinneach MacLeod, £20, Black & White Publishing
The bakes are great in this book, and so are the lovely pics of Isle of Lewis based Coinneach, who has 233k followers on TikTok, and his wee Westie, Seoras. Recipes include Aunt Bellag’s Duff, which contains a spoonful of marmalade, as well as traditional recipes including Granny Annag’s Christmas cake, shortbread, cranachan and Jura whisky truffles. Lots of rib-sticking stuff to help you survive winter.
If you’ve ever been to Elliott Dennison’s Edinburgh cafe, Elliott’s Kitchen, you might want to recreate a few of her popular bakes at home. We’re mainly talking about the sea salt chocolate cookies and the flourless chocolate cake, both of which are rather spectacular, addictive and surprisingly easy to bake. This lovely book, with recipes that require a minimum of ingredients and hassle, also includes one-cup pancakes, flatbreads, grapefruit drizzle loaf, crispbread, Marmite brownies and many other goodies. It’s also worth checking out this author’s previous books, Tin Can Magic and Salad Feasts, which also feature simple but effective dishes.
The Tobermory Seafood Bible by Sally MacColl, £4.99, Birlinn
Here’s a dinky paperback stocking filler for any seafood fans. It’s written by the co-owner of The Tobermory Fish Company, and features illustrations by Bob Dewar alongside 50 recipes inspired by her hometown of Mull. They’re all pretty easy, and include winter warmers like Smokie trout rasher soda bread, cod and Mull cheddar gratin, Mull-en skink, Mull mariniere and Tobermory Fisherman’s Pie.