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  • Writer's pictureFiona Richmond

Seafood Journey: Tastes & Tales of Scotland; by Ghillie Basan, book review by Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food, Scotland Food & Drink

Published by Birlinn and available now

Anything that tells the story of Scotland’s seafood attracts my attention, with my ancestors hailing from the tight-knit fishing community of St Andrews. It’s in my blood, and it’s in that of the whole country, too, past and present.

This latest book by the ever-inspirational food and travel writer and workshop host, Ghillie Basan, is a beautifully photographed tribute to the people that make up today’s seafood communities across the country’s coastline, from Orkney and Shetland to the Outer Hebrides, Moray to East Lothian.

Ghillie is a natural storyteller, as anyone who has heard her speak, enjoyed one of her cookery workshops or whisky-tasting experiences, or read one of her many other 50-odd books will testify. And, in this book, she tells these stories of our seafood products and people as if we’re on an adventure with her, with creative, but accessible, recipes to help us cook and enjoy the products in them along the way.

Ghillie is a natural storyteller

There’s much to surprise and delight us, not just the traditional but the contemporary too.

Take ‘Champion Cullen Skink’ – a winning recipe from Lynne Watson’s café, Lily’s, in the town that bears the famous dishes’ name or Liz Ashworth’s ‘Hairy Tatties’ with hot roast smoked salmon and her legendary oatcakes (hairy tatties were a common staple throughout Scotland, so-called because of the fibres of dried fish, which resembled hairs, in the tattie mixture). And a recipe for Clapydoos, which are large mussels (who knew?) and much savoured in days gone by when poor people sustained themselves on mussels and oysters.

And who could resist the recipe from Tobermory Fish Company’s Sally MacColl, handed down by her granny, for baked smoked haddock and cheddar? Or how about Great British Menu’s Calum Montgomery, of the acclaimed Edinbane Lodge on Skye, with a New Orleans-inspired dish of baked oysters with pepper dulse? Or langoustines with whisky and sea urchin butter by chef Craig Grozier, of Fallachan Kitchen (which offers immersive food and drink experiences, including wild dining). Or Ruby’s Creole fish patties, from The Black Pearl Creole Kitchen in Gairloch, Wester Ross?

This is a book to curl up with, get stuck into in the kitchen, to go back to again and again.

And, by so doing, you’ll be helping to keep our seafood traditions alive and treasured for many more generations to come.

To order a copy of Seafood Journey, visit

To find out more about Ghillie visit and follow her on Instagram


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