Last weekend involved an interesting trail around Dundee and Angus. I'd like to pretend that it was all cultural, but a lot of it was searching for a fudge doughnut from Fisher & Donaldson, the local bakers.

To cut a long story short, we quickly learned that Fisher & Donaldson, which has bakeries in Dundee and St Andrews, is closed on a Sunday. Happily, as we drove home dejected and fudge doughnutless we passed their new cafe/chocolate factory in Cupar which is open on Sundays. Yay! I recommend the Dr Floyd loaves, oatcakes and their great line of Halloween cakes.

Scotland's Secret Bunker

We were in the vicinity to visit Scotland's Secret Bunker which closes for the season on 2 November. It was very good. Can't tell you anything else because it was secret...


Folksy is running a fab competition with Sue Ryder Care. The aim of Upcycle Christmas is to take second hand / charity stuff and make it into something ‘new’ and desirable. All items will be auctioned with the proceeds going to the Sue Ryder charity.

There are five different categories and entries will be judged by Wayne Hemingway, Louise Roe and India Knight, who all know what they're talking about when it comes to this sort of thing.

Winners get to showcase their portfolio in the Sue Ryder Care Camden store for one month from the middle of Jan to the middle of Feb in a specially constructed Folksy set. There has been a great response to the competition already and it would be great to get as many entries as possible. If you're interested, full details are on the Folksy blog, so get your making caps on.

The Adamant

It has been a busy week haring round different places before they close up for the winter. On Thursday the destination was Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, to visit its fantastic Victorian toilets. Lucinda Lambton, Britain's foremost toilet enthusiast described the urinals as "the world's finest". Full story on Nothing To See Here.

Kelburn Castle

Yesterday we went to the Clyde Coast again to visit Kelburn Country Park. In 2007 part of Kelburn Castle was transformed by four Brazilian graffiti artists including Os Gêmeos.

The idea was suggested by Lord Glasgow's son and daughter, as the render on the castle needs to be removed sometime soon. The murals were only supposed to stay up for a couple of years but have been extended (for another 18 months I think?) due to popularity.

It has been controversial (the owner hates it apparently) but I thought it looked great and the kids loved it. It's a pretty brave thing to do, especially going for someone (1) international and (2) graffiti-based. There are some interesting comments on David Airey's blog about the pros and cons. If you want to judge for yourself the grounds are open all year round.

Mull of Galloway lighthouse

Been away in the south-west doing lots of things. Went up a lighthouse, the second this year. This one is at Mull of Galloway, Scotland's most southerly point. It has great views over to Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Pigeon fancier's prize

Visited some small museums. Dalbeattie Museum, which contains everything everyone in Dalbeattie has ever owned, was very good.

Other finds: Britain's oldest camera obscura in Dumfries and an 87 year old cafe with a 90 year old owner.

I am out of time at the moment. Hope to get back to blogging at some point.

The Glasgow Cookery Book

The Glasgow Cookery Book has just been reissued, hooray. With over 1,000 recipes, it has fed families in Glasgow and beyond for almost 100 years, becoming a traditional present for newlyweds and those leaving home.

There are 25 chapters going from Appetisers and Soups, through Meat and Offal, Poultry and Game to Hot Puddings, Ices, Baking and Confectionery plus other useful things like Sauces, Preserves and even Winemaking. Alongside the main recipes there are reference guides like a cookery glossary, a chart showing different cuts of meat, and handy measures. It really is invaluable.

It was originally produced as a cookery textbook by The Glasgow & West of Scotland College of Domestic Science which became Queen's College, Glasgow, now part of Glasgow Caledonian University. So legions of Scottish homemakers have learnt from it. Most Scots would have been raised on this sort of fare, but cookery has changed so much that the recipes are now quite hard to find. There's nothing fancy in it at all, but it's all good food.

First published in 1910, the last edition was in 1975 and has been out of print ever since. I worked at Glasgow Caledonian University from 1994-2003 and spent part of that time working with colleagues to try and get it back into print. It was a great job as I got to sit with the cookery lecturers and work through revisions to the book. I learnt so much about food and loved listening to them talk.

Even 10 years ago there was a real demand for it, as people wanted to eat the food their granny used to make - steak pie, Scotch broth, pancakes - that sort of thing. For various reasons it didn't get published at that time and it's great to see it in the flesh at last. The new edition, by Waverley Books, who also publish Maw Broon's Cook Book, is a real triumph. It has been a labour of love for GCU staff (especially my old boss John Powles and the Research Collections team) and former students of 'The Dough School' who made sure that the recipes still suit modern tastes and modern kitchens.

I'm going to christen mine by making a chocolate cake just like the one my gran used to make. One lick of chocolate butter icing can send me back 30 years. Yum. On sale at Amazon and other good bookshops.

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