I was born and raised with my two sisters on a farm just outside Ullapool. We were completely off grid with our own water source and the house was run by a hydro generator. We grew up playing in hay bales, fishing in the river and generally just running wild. We would always have to help with jobs on the farm and each Saturday was the dreaded changeover when we had to clean two holiday cottages and the big guest house. Our house was always full of people: we had workaways from New Zealand and Australia who would look after us while my parents ran the farm, so there was always lots going on. Dad was a keen deer stalker and would spend hours on the hill, and we grew up with venison as our staple diet; I think we’ve already eaten our lifetime’s recommendation of red meat from Mum’s meals. Seafood wasn’t a big thing for us, apart from eating tiddly little brown trout from the loch below our house or, for a treat, a foul-hooked salmon from the river. It was such a busy house, and my mum had so much to do on the farm that she soon got tired of cooking for everyone, so from a young age my sisters and I were all put to work mucking around in the kitchen. I’ve not stopped since.
When I was 19 I met my partner, Josh, who was and still is a mad keen fisherman and that’s when I started learning lots more about seafood. Through my late teens and early 20s my jobs were always based around cooking
– from working in a restaurant in Ullapool to cooking in a ski chalet in France. My main job though was as a lodge cook when I would be hired for a week to cook meals for parties of 14 all over Scotland. My love and passion
for Scottish seafood really thrived through these summer seasons – I used to serve up huge platters of fresh langoustines, caught by Josh hours earlier, along with big bowls of buttery baby potatoes, a green salad and some homemade mayonnaise. So simple and just the way people wanted them.
The Seafood Shack: Food & Tales from Ullapool by Kirsty Scobie and Fenella Renwick was published on November 3rd. The book, including all 91 recipes, is now available in full via ckbk. Find our more in our Q&A with the authors.