It doesn’t seem to matter what you did before you got to Orkney – for the community here it is more about what you bring to the party and how you will fit in. That said, and if you want to know why I have recipes to share, this is my story.

I wanted to be a trumpet player but wasn’t good enough so ended up going to college to study home economics. I loved it! First jobs in the domestic appliance industry included taking the Kenwood Chef mixer around the world and working on the development of early microwave ovens. My first three cookery books were about microwaves, then sixteen other titles followed covering ingredients and culinary styles as diverse as pumpkins, Marmite, modern Aga cookery, high fibre cooking and, my best-seller, an ice cream book. I also edited a very successful series of international titles for Colour Library Books which people still rave about!

I’ve always given a lot of cookery demonstrations including a twenty year residency at the Chilli Fiesta at West Dean Gardens near Chichester which grew into the UK’s largest celebration of the hot and not so hot. Mary Berry and I were cooking at West Dean in the top picture – I think the laugh was at my expense!! I’ve done TV, principally cooking live from Pebble Mill as BBC1’s Dish of the Day and lots of radio, including a whisky tasting on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. Then there was the time I cooked pumpkins with Matt Baker for BBC1’s Countryfile….

Major clients included Waitrose for whom I wrote recipes, trained staff, hosted marquees at agricultural shows and other events and edited a magazine. I am a long term supporter and advocate of aquaculture which is what brought me to Orkney in the first place.

Now I write the food and drink blogs for – I think I’m the first food writer to live on the islands. Whatever else I am doing now is just for fun…

And now….

The Coronavirus, CoVID-19 just happened. As I post this long overdue intro to my blog, we are getting used to being at home. A lot. I’m going to use the time to sort through my huge number of recipes and, while doing that, I shall resurrect Dish of the Day with recipes that fulfil the original brief – simple, seasonal family cooking. We are all going to have the opportunity to cook more from scratch. If no-one ‘out there’ finds the recipes I will at least have made a collection of my favourite dishes.

Cook well and, please, live fairly so that we can all stay well.