Fuine/Cooking – Starting Wednesday 3 May, 8.30 – 9.00pm for eight weeks

BBC ALBA’s popular home cooking series returns for a fifth series as presenter and keen cook Mairi MacRitchie travels the Highlands and Islands, from the Hebrides to the Black Isle, meeting the nation’s most skilled home bakers.

Throughout the eight-part series of ‘Fuine/Cooking’, the bakers share with Mairi their most treasured recipes. From sponges and breads to pies and puddings, there is something on the menu for everyone .  

The cooks offer advice and tips on how to perfect each recipe as they guide Mairi through a selection of tasty offerings.

In Callanish she tastes Gregor MacLeod’s decadent chocolate mousse filled profiteroles with a white chocolate ganâche, and Point resident Alasdair MacLeod’s Italian Stromboli bread filled with artichokes, olives and cheese.

Mairi also meets bakers who are experimenting in the kitchen with unusual flavour combinations or a modern take on a traditional classic, including in Stornoway, Donna MacIver’s delicate little cupcakes (above) with a gin and tonic twist.

Mairi sees that preparation and presentation is key to success and Donna shows Mairi her recipe for cappuccino panna cotta served in dainty china teacups with a rich chocolate sauce. Made beforehand and served elegantly, this is the perfect way to round off a classy dinner party. 

The bakers demonstrate, too, that the old classics never go out of fashion and if a recipe works well it’s worth using time after time.
Cornish pasties have been around for centuries but the key is the perfect crispy pastry and delicious tender meat and vegetables, and Mairi visits Calina MacDonald in Eynort on the Isle of Skye who shows her how it’s achieved. 

Still in Skye, Mairi also samples homemade Bourbon biscuits which are so simple to make with the help of a handy biscuit cutter. Shona MacDonald in Bernisdale’s recipe has twice the snap and crunch as shop bought biscuits as well as a much more generous layer of chocolate buttercream. 

From her kitchen in Uist, Mairi uses her own recipes that will impress any guest including a striking walnut cake with a white American frosting and a meringue roulade with a crunchy almond crust filled with fresh raspberries.

Mairi experiments with flavours too, turning a normally sweet tarte tatin into a savoury dish using red onions and adding thyme to a moist lemon bundt cake for added punch.

Produced by Caledonia TV for BBC ALBA, ‘Fuine’ is an eight-part weekly series starting on Wednesday 3rd May at 8.30pm.


Mairi MacRitchie with Ruaraidh and his Lemon Surprise Pudding