Artists Town by Emma Baird

Book Covers, Fish and Chips and More…

This week in pictures…

Three runners cross the start line at the Paisley 10k

Put your hands in the air just like you just don’t care… (I’m on the right).

Completed the Paisley 10k. With a slower time than I did for the 10k I ran at the start of June (1.03 as opposed to 1 hour 58 seconds), HOW, HOW, HOW? (#Emails organisers to double check they measured the route right#) Weirdly, I felt much more comfortable than I did back in June as the day was a lot cooler and the course flatter. Hey ho!

And still a feeling at the end of it akin to “Feck! For the half-marathon next month, I’ll have to do all this again and then some…”

fish and chips McMAte fish and chips to celebrate. Well, battered fish and mushy peas, anyway. My Fitbit told me the run used up 590 calories. Usually, I’m a low-carb gal, but my glycogen-starved muscles shrieked carbs loudly by the end of my run. And battered fish expertly cooked and doused in salt and malt vinegar is a glorious thing. McMonagles claims to be the world’s first sail-thru fish and chip restaurant.

AT VERSIONSSorted out the cover for Artists Town, my forthcoming book. It’s beautiful, hmm? Jennifer Underwood did the cover for me. Now, to decide on a release date and hope it recoups its costs. And persuades people to buy some of my other books.

fruit and nutBought some fruit and nut. Not that I’m going to eat it…* This week marked the eighth anniversary of my dad’s death and one of his favourite things to eat was Cadbury’s fruit and nut.

As food is often one of the things that brings us together – as family, as couples, as friends, as neighbours – it has always seemed appropriate for my family and I to mark the occasion this way. My sister and her kids did it with sausages, beans and mash.

a ginger and white cat sitting on a window sill Welcomed a new part-time resident. Meet Mr Biggles, whose ‘home’ if you can ever call one place a cat’s home, is two doors up from us. Of late, he’s taken to spending increasing amounts of time Chez Baird-Birnie.

His official residence contains two adults, one other cat, three kids and a dog, so perhaps he likes the peace and quiet of our house?

How’s your week been? And where the best place for fish and chips near you?


*Well, a weak moment might happen at some point later next week…


Honeymoon Heaven: Food Glorious Food

Petals, I am about to embark on a delayed honeymoon. It’s going to involve a motorbike, a visit to the Culloden battlefield, a spa treatment or two and loads and loads of lovely food.

Nights one and two feature a six-course taster menu. Day three will include a stop over at the Hungry Highlander in Braemar, a fish and chip shop popular with bikers possibly due to the ginormous portions it serves up. Day five will take in the Michelin-starred delights of Sangster’s in Elie – I’ve drooled over the menu; seared scallops with lentil and coriander dhal to start? Or twice-baked cheese souffle? Seared monkfish tail for the next course and what about course number three – cheese with truffle honey, grapes and apples or a warm chocolate fondant? Mmm, mmm.

Our culinary tour ends with a stop-off at the world-famous Anstruther Fish Bar.

The cat attempts to join the motorbike tour honeymoon...

The cat attempts to join the motorbike tour honeymoon…

We’ve taken an annual trip to the Anstruther Fish Bar for the last three years and we’ve always been lucky enough to land there in good weather, which means you get sit on the harbour walls eating your fish and chips. I’ll revert to cliches, but vinegar-doused batter and chips tastes so much better when eaten in fresh sea air, so here’s hoping for a fourth year of sunshine…

Call Myself a Gourmand?

Let’s talk wedding menus.

A bride (oh, and groom of course) should surely eat exactly what she wants on the day of her nuptials, would you agree? Given that the typical bride has probably spent several weeks, if not months beforehand in the land of culinary denial (the tyrannical kingdom which bans the deep-fried and interesting, exiles the cocoa and sugar gorgeous goodies and absolutely forbids what the French so prettily call le fromage), the wedding breakfast* should surely be absolute indulgence?**

For all my pretensions to gourmet sophistication, possibly my idea of heaven would be this:

  • Starter – salt and vinegar Kettle Chips with home-made cheese and chive dip
  • Main course – Beer-battered fish and chips with mushy peas and bread & butter
  • Pudding – Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut and/or Morrison’s butterscotch chocolate.

Yum! As most diets these days hold back on the carbs, naturally let loose from the strict reins of wedding weight watch, the bride guzzles potatoes, bread and chocolate by the pound load, accompanied by a goodly serving of saturated fat.

Do I redeem my gourmand credentials by serving this refined selection with the finest Prosecco and a good brandy to match the choccie?

But seriously… Seriously, we’re not yet at the stage of dictating our wedding menu choice to the hotel so the serious wedding breakfast menu is a blog for another day…



*Why oh why is it called ‘wedding breakfast’? Given that there aren’t many weddings I’ve ever been to where you eat this meal before 1pm?

**My proposed photographer tells me you’d be surprised how many about-to-be brides he snaps on the morning of their wedding getting stuck into a Gregg’s sausage roll…