The Hebridean Baker at Home

The Scottish Banner speaks to Coinneach MacLeod

The bestselling author of Recipes & Wee Stories from the Scottish Islands and My Scottish Island Kitchen is back with his third, highly anticipated cookbook. The Hebridean Baker at Home shares stories and adventures alongside his best selection of recipes yet. Coinneach MacLeod took the time to speak to the Scottish Banner on his new book, celebrating Hebridean culture and his love of the Gaelic language.

Your new book brings Hebridean tradition to the table with everything from bake goods, to comfort food, to having a dram. What is one dish you would recommend to a visitor to the Hebrides to try?

CM: When you arrive off the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry onto the Isle of Lewis, make your first stop the iconic Charles MacLeod Butchers, their award-winning Stornoway Black Pudding is worth travelling across the world for. I have it with breakfast, lunch and dinner! (my Black Pudding Meatballs feature in my new cookbook).

Food often tells the story of people, and you very much tell a Hebridean story with yours. What is it about Hebridean cuisine do you love the most?

CM: Our island recipes have been shared by generations, they are comforting, nostalgic and hearty. You will never leave hungry from a Hebridean kitchen table, be it in mind, spirit or belly!

Your new book is not just great traditional recipes but also includes Hebridean folklore, history and the how to find the best secret beauty spots across the islands. Why did you want to share these aspects of the Hebrides in your cookbook?

CM: As Hebridean folk, we are proudly Scottish, but we are a wee bit different! I want to share the stories of these amazing islands that make us unique. Showcasing our history, legends & tales and hope it inspires people to want to learn more and come visit.

You have been recently named Scotland’s Food & Drink Influencer of the Year. How does it make you feel to be such an international ambassador of not only the Hebrides but Scotland itself?

CM: I am so humbled and unbelievably proud. I pinch myself every day that I can represent Scotland in everything I do. Scotland, for me, has the most wonderful homegrown produce, from our land, sea and distilleries! I love sharing them with folk around the world.

You are also passionate about the Gaelic language and recently swapped the kitchen for the recording studio and teamed up with your partner Peter MacQueen to record a Gaelic rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Can you tell us more about the project and might any future releases be on the cards?

CM: Peter and I won the Royal National Mòd as a duet in 2019 and since then have performed at cèilidhs and events around the world. We are both passionate about the traditions of the Scottish New Year, so we spent time researching traditional tunes and poems on Tobar an Dualchais (, and got the wonderful musician Sileas Sinclair to make new arrangements of these songs. Along with that, we found a Gaelic translation of Auld Lang Syne by the Rev. Roderick MacDonald and went into the studio as the Hogmanay Boys with producer Brian McAlpine to record it. The feedback has been phenomenal from folk around the world, and we were stunned to hear it played on BBC Radio 2 (in between Paloma Faith and James Blunt) on Hogmanay! We will definitely be back in the studio again this year to record another track!

This month will see you on a book tour taking in cities across Canada and the USA, including a special event with Outlander author Diana Gabaldon. Can you tell us more and just how excited you are to again connect with the North American Scottish diaspora?

CM: I am so excited to be returning to North America for my fourth tour. To be visiting new cities that I haven’t been to before including Vancouver, Calgary, Asheville, Houston, Scottsdale, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh along with returning to Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago and Toronto. These events are like nothing else! I tell Scottish stories, sing Gaelic songs, share recipes and there are lots of laughs (and a few drams)! Please join us, all the tour info is at and I will be returning in July and September for more dates.

The Hebrides an incredible history with its own unique language, traditions and legends. You seem to have really got a great ‘recipe’ of sharing both Hebridean food and culture with readers, how important is it for you to bring both elements into your books and videos?

CM: The Hebridean Baker began as a way for me to tell myths and legends of the Hebrides while baking cakes – and things haven’t changed much over the past four years! If you follow my Instagram account @hebrideanbaker, yes, there will be recipes – but they are mixed in with hikes in the Scottish mountains, Gaelic song, trips to our off-grid cabin on the west coast and meeting lots of islanders along the way!

And finally, Coinneach if you were having a special guest to your home and could prepare just one dish for them what would it be?

CM: Well, when she hosts my event in Scottsdale, Arizona, I will be inviting Diana Galbaldon to visit my kitchen in the Hebrides – and there is no doubt we will be sharing stories over a cuppa and a thick slice of Clootie Dumpling!

The Hebridean Baker at Home is out now. For information on the book or the North American book tour see:


The Hebridean Baker shares one of his delicious recipes with Scottish Banner readers

Atholl Brose Cheesecake

Serves 4-6

Imagine Atholl Brose as a 15th century Scottish drink reminiscent of a Bailey’s Irish Cream! Now you’ll realise why this is the perfect flavouring for this creamy, no-bake cheesecake. Remember you’ll need to start your prep at least a day before you’d like to make the cheesecake. I have made enough for you to share a dram of the Brose while you devour this delicious dessert. Slàinte!


For the Atholl Brose

250ml whisky

70g oats

3 tsp honey

40ml double cream

For the cheesecake

100g butter

250g digestive biscuits, crushed

600g cream cheese

35ml Atholl Brose

100g icing sugar

300ml double cream

100g grated chocolate



To make the Brose, pour the whisky over the oats in a bowl and rest under a clean dishtowel for 24 hours.

The next day, use a muslin (or cotton dishtowel) to squeeze out the whisky into a fresh bowl. Be sure to get every last drop! You can discard the oats.

Warm up your honey for 10 seconds in the microwave and whisk into the Brose mix.

Add your cream and whisk again. Now let it rest in the fridge for at least four hours

To make the cheesecake, melt the butter in a pan, remove from the heat and add the crushed digestive biscuits. Mix well until the biscuits have absorbed all the butter.

Press into the bottom of a lined 18cm springform tin. Place in the refrigerator and allow to set for one hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Lightly whip the cream cheese then beat in the Atholl Brose and icing sugar. Whip the cream and fold in along with the grated chocolate. When smooth, spoon evenly onto the biscuit base.

Refrigerate and allow to set for a further two hours, then serve with a dram of Atholl Brose.


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