Cottonrake: English Custard Tart

I’ve just had a taste sensation that will stay with me for a very, very long time. These last couple of days, I’ve had a flavour of what life might have been like if I had made the choices many urged me to make – my lovely wife went to work put people to sleep

7-day NHS a huge pay cut for Trainee Doctors

– I have spent most of my clinical years in medical school hanging around the wards and listening to doctors moan. They moan most about the NHS. Some common nuggets include: “Why are you here?” and “Get out whilst you can” and “Be a baker. You’ll be much happier.” Cutting doctors’ pay would probably drown any remaining morale. Already,

Summer Lager Taste Test

As Britain is drowned in mediocre craft beer and crusty real ale, it’s easy to overlook the lager. Understated, humble lager. Given a bad name by the macrobreweries that ruin them, some examples deserve some serious respect. No, they aren’t swamped with hops, barrel-aged or 15% abv, but give them a little sunshine and they cannot

First Leaders’ Debate Drinking Game

– 1 finger every time: Natalie Bennet mentions ‘Climate Change’ Nick Clegg looks straight at the camera to make him appear more human Nigel Farage mentions ‘immigration’ ‘migrants’ or ‘Britishness’ Ed Miliband repeats an exact phrase twice or more Leanne Wood says something that definitely doesn’t sound like it is spelled Nicola Sturgeon uses the


The oil? Who cares. It does not matter. In a mere 100 years, Scotland would still be independent and the oil would be long-gone. I’ve stayed out of the debate as much as I could bear. To potentially polarise my already diminishing demographic? My publishers would be appalled. My single foray into the promotion of the

A letter to the #GBBO haters

The Bake-Off comes to a close for another year with more innuendo, innovation and twitter abuse than ever before. And I’m sad that it is this last point that has come to define this series as far as the press is concerned – reading certain fascist publications, it seems some contestants can cause differences of

The Power of Pots

The Power of Pots If you’ve read my book (did you know I’ve got a book out?), you might have noticed I’m a fan of baking bread in cast-iron pots. It’s simple: all you’ve got to do is preheat your pot, lid and all, to as hot as your oven goes. Then, slide your risen

Behind Brilliant Bread

This article was originally published in Shetland Life magazine and was written upon receiving my first copy of “Brilliant Bread” Writing a book not long after finding yourself churned from a reality television show, you come to expect a standard set of questions from tabloid journalists: “Has your life changed? How long did it take

Bread Beckons

Last night’s GBBO4 debut brought back some memories. The initial exhilaration at meeting Mel and Sue. Memories of the massive marquee and the hundreds of insects that would congregate in the peaks of its rolling ceiling. And memories of the intense nausea brought on by faltering self-control in the face of unlimited cake and its

BakeryBits Bread Baking Kit Giveaway

Yet another corporate sell out having to resort to free giveaways to generate traffic for his blog? No, actually. This is something I’ve been working personally to organise for a while. The unadulterated truth is that for getting professional bread baking results at home, there is only one place I get my bread stuff: BakeryBits.

Raise some Dough for Children in Knead

This is just an idea. Bake sales are popular. You can’t turn a corner without the local sexual health charity peddling rude cupcakes or student communists shouting after you to try their patisserie. Bake sales are popular because they represent all things brilliant in society. They not only raise mind-boggling cash for charity, but they’re

BrewDog #MixDog Cocktail Competition

There are a few areas in which the BrewDog lads from Fraserburgh cannot be faulted. The first is their unrelenting drive to introduce US-style craft beer (and so pimped up tasted buds) to the whole of the country. The other area in which they excel is their marketing. And it is into one of these

The UPDATED #GBBO Drinking Game!

After far too many complaints and even several hospital admissions from the original iteration of the ‘just too hardcore” Great British Bake-Off drinking game, I was forced to make it a little more liver friendly in the form of the “Semi-Skimmed” version. For your diet coke, or Fortnum’s chai. But for the magnificent Series 4

Why bread can be easy

Bread has this reputation as being a difficult part of baking. This is a stigma I want to put an end to.   Yes, to make a decent 8-plaited loaf in 2 hours in a tent is not far off impossible. It’s made more difficult when you’ve got Mr Hollywood’s blue stare burned into your

Great British Bake-Off Drinking Game

The Only OFFICIAL(ish) Great British Bake-Off Drinking Game: Full Rules Do feel free to add your own/edit… UPDATE: Lightweight version can be found here. SPECIAL GBBO FINAL RULES: Drink 1 finger for each statement of political provocation Drink 1 finger for every proud relative present Drink 2 fingers for every use of the word ‘gloopy’

Bread day!

Today is bread day on the Great British Bake Off. In celebration, therefore, bread must be baked! I am going for three varieties:   100% Wholemeal Sourdough, take three. – One of the most annoying breads I’ve ever baked and something I’ve been putting off for a while. Attempt 1 was a little stodgy in

How to make Homemade… Proving Baskets

I write this from Shetland, my family home and where I grew up. Down sooth, in Glasgae, I live during term time. And when coming home for the summer, there’s a few things you absolutely cannot forget: dough scraper, digital scales, an array of cookbooks and, most importantly of all, proving baskets. Unfortunately, I left my


Hullo!   This, I suppose, is my first blog post. This should be a momentous occasion (I’ve never had a blog before), but I’m ill and tired and have work tomorrow so will keep it brief. The whole big idea is to blog the progress of the Great British Bake-Off Series 3 as it airs,