Book Week Scotland 2017 is taking place from Monday 27 November – Sunday 3 December. This year’s theme is Nourish and to celebrate our book week I’ve asked some of my favourite Scottish authors to provide me with a recipe that they feel is the perfect accompaniment to either their own book or a book of their choice.
Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November.
During Book Week, people of all ages and walks of life will come together in libraries, schools, community venues and workplaces to share and enjoy books and reading. They will be joined in this celebration by Scotland’s authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators to bring a packed programme of events and projects to life.
Book Week Scotland is brought to you by The Scottish Book Trust
Today I’m joined by Alison Baillie and Mason Cross
ALISON BAILLIE was brought up in Ilkley, Yorkshire by Scottish parents. She studied English at the University of St Andrews, before teaching English in Edinburgh secondary schools and EFL in Finland and Switzerland. Now she spends her time reading, writing, travelling, playing with her granddaughter and attending crime writing festivals. I was lucky enough to host a panel at this year’s Bloody Scotland event including Alison talking about her journey as a self-published author.
Alison wrote “Sewing the Shadows Together” a fantastic murder mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. You can read my review of the book here
“Sewing the Shadows Together” can be purchased from:
Alison has provided us with a mouthwatering recipe for an auld Scottish staple, the humble bridie!
A bridie is basically mince and tatties (and carrots) baked in pastry, but for our family it’s so much more. When we moved from Edinburgh to Switzerland my sons were nine and seven, and they still loved the food they’d grown up with, like a big barry Scottish breakfast, fish and chips – and bridie. It’s still one of their favourite meals when they come home to eat at Mum’s, and the smell of it cooking in the oven brings back nostalgia for childhood and Scotland – the ultimate comfort food.
In my next book A Fractured Winter (out next year) one of the characters, Olivia, is a young Scottish mother living in Switzerland. The character is not at all like me, and the story is completely fictional, but when Olivia feels her world crumbling around her she makes bridie for her children. For her as well, bridie symbolises security and continuity in difficult times.
There are lots of variations in the recipe but the way we make it is very simple:
- Fry a large onion in oil until transparent.
- Add minced beef and fry until brown.
- Add gravy browning or a stock cube with water and bring to the boil.
- Add sliced carrots and simmer until they are soft.
- Let the mixture cool slightly and then spread on bought pastry (short crust or flaky are both great) and fold over.
- Brush on egg or milk to make a beautiful colour.
- Bake in a medium oven (about 180) until it looks brown and shiny and smells delicious.
- Serve warm – or cold is still delicious if there are any leftovers (unlikely).
Mason Cross’ debut novel The Killing Season was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Book of the Year 2015. His second novel, The Samaritan, also featuring his inimitable lead character Carter Blake, was selected as a Richard & Judy Book Club pick.
I reviewed “The Time to Kill” last year and you can find my review here
In The Time to Kill, Carter Blake, after escaping from a bunch of trained killers and almost freezing to death, gets hold of a car and stops for breakfast at a roadside diner for some French toast, bacon, herb potatoes and black coffee. Mason, in the interests of research, of course, has sampled this dish and testifies that it is extremely tasty! Perfect dish to set you up after a long morning of escaping death!
- Grill the bacon until crisp and keep warm. Lightly whisk three eggs, season and put in a shallow dish.
- Dip bread slices in the egg and press gently to help it absorb. …
- Cut each slice of bread into two triangles and top each with two slices of bacon and a good drizzle of maple syrup.
Serve with herby buttered potatoes and a cup of black coffee to set you up for the day!
Mason’s books are available for purchase from
Find out more on his website
Thank you both for joining me with some tasty ideas! This week is making me super hungry that’s for sure!