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Fi Buchanan Pic

With Fi Buchanan (Seasonal Soups)

Fi Buchanan is a food writer and chef who owned Glasgow’s legendary Heart Buchanan café and deli. Winner of a Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland award, she presented the BBC series TeenCanteen, has worked behind the scenes on many tv food shows and has given a TedX talk on courage. She lives in Glasgow and we think she is wonderful.

We asked Fi if she would write the companion volume Seasonal Salads to the best-selling Seasonal Soups by Fraser Reid, which has sold over 10k copies, and Fi said yes!

Seasonal Salads Cover

‘Salads can be anything you want them to be’ says Fi and with Seasonal Salads she created a book that celebrates salads in all their seasonal glory.

What these recipes all have in common is Fi’s trademark inventive flair, her ability to combine flavours and textures in the cleverest of ways to make the most of what’s plentiful in each season.

Watermelon Salad

If you thought salads were something you served on the side, it’s time to turn over a new leaf.

We recently caught up with the lovely Fi and asked her a few questions to give us some insight into her background and her love of food and cooking.

Enjoy!

Q: Was there a cookbook that really inspired you? 

A: Yes definitely, there were three; Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater, The Silver Palate Cookbook by Sheila Lukens & Julie Rosso, and The Nantucket Open House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase.

Real Fast Food Book Cover

I poured over those books on my work breaks, on the bus, in the laundrette, and I truly loved them. The authors seemed as if they were speaking to me like a friend as I read and the recipes were irresistibly fresh and sparkling with flavour. I wanted in.

Open House Cookbook Cover
Silver Palate Cookbook Cover

It was 80’s Edinburgh, I was vegetarian and sick to death of boiled potatoes and brown food. I remember the first day I ever tried fresh basil, the first day I ever tried a kiwi fruit, the first day I tried the Italian mountain cheese Taleggio … literally … I can remember where I was and what I was wearing. It was like getting the key to a door into a technicolour world from a black and white world.

Fresh Basil

Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without? 

A: Well for practicalities sake I’d be an idiot if I didn’t say my knife. A very plain – non designer – wooden handled, easy to sharpen, 20cm cooks knife.

Pic of Fi's kitchen knife

After that I’d have to say the music and podcasts on my phone. They set the tempo for me – giving me energy, soothing my hot brain, educating me, talking me … or dancing me … through the solitary days and nights in the kitchen for the past few years.

Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to? 

A: My musical taste is eclectic, I make playlists all the time, and my son has caught the bug, and laughs at me for calling them tape-mixes. A good mix is a magical thing, very similar to a good dish, it has to match your mood and then find you and lift you a little. When you share what you’ve made it’s a deeply personal thing, and if someone you like appreciates it, it can generate deep joy in you.

Pic of Mixtape

I’ve made a tape mix for each of the 12 months of salads in the book. Here is the QR code for January’s playlist:

Fi Mixtape QR Code

When it comes to podcasts; Invisibilia, How To Fail, Shedunnit, Origin Story, and The Desert Island Discs archive are all wonderful.

Shedunnit Podcast logo

How To Fail Podcast Logo

Q: If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose? 

A: Hmm. Would I be cooking for my friends & family? If I could bring them with me there are some pretty nice beaches in the Virgin Islands I’d quite like to go back to.

I’ve always thought that a vineyard in Chile would be a great place to hang out and cook up a storm.

Chile vineyard

However, if the forces of magic were at work (oh please let them be), I’d conjure an amphitheatre of growing walls full of veggies and herbs, and wood fired ovens. I’d put it in every single school in the land and we’d make huge platters of salads, big vats of soup, and homemade bread everyday for lunch. I know it sounds a bit far out, but could you imagine?! It would be so good. That would be magic that’d make more magic.

Pic of growing walls

Pic of growing walls

5. If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be? 

My one single piece of advice to you would be to cook the food you like. You can’t get your mojo from food you don’t like. Motivation is the unstoppable force. Be motivated by what you love. Do yourself proud, then share it with people you love.

Massive thanks to Fi for a truly inspiring chat. Her Seasonal Salads cookbook is now available in all good book stores and of course direct from us right HERE

Kitchen Quiz 

With Fraser Reid (Seasonal Soups)

One of our favourite and most popular KP titles is Seasonal Soups by Fraser Reid. This beautiful wee book is now in its second edition and has brought joy to readers around the world with its straightforward, healthy approach to soups.

Author Fraser Reid is an absolutely lovely chap with a strong community ethic. Having experienced a sudden personal nirvana moment with vegetables, Fraser transformed both his career and the local community in the West End of Dundee by opening his wee green fruit and veg corner shop.

The focus has always been on quality, local and international produce all provided with a smiling face and cheery personality. A simple yet powerful and infectious approach. The shop has also become a supplier of other quality deli goods such as Spanish black pudding, fresh baked bread and craft beers.

Fraser’s trademark is his warm and affable style. He really is a business owner who’s personality and passion are at the heart of everything he does. No one just pops into Fraser’s Fruit And Veg without a nice chat or learning something new.

It’s quite interesting that one of our most successful cookbooks is not written by a chef at all, but by someone passionate about produce and who had the courage to try out lots of soup recipes. The purpose being to make the menu at home more interesting, varied and packed full of vegetables. This is a philosophy we are 100% behind here at KP. Cooking is for everyone.

So we caught up with Fraser recently (which is always a pleasure) to ask him a few questions for our Kitchen Quiz series.

We hope you enjoy!

Now over to you Fraser.

Q: Hey Fraser, hope you are good. So was there a cookbook that really inspired you?

A: The cookbook that really inspired me was Jamie at home. We started growing veg in the garden before opening the shop and using the recipes in this book after harvesting. The broad beans fritters in there are amazing.

Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

A: My favourite item in the kitchen would be the soup pot. We use it every week and its been the pot that’s tested all of the recipes in Seasonal Soups.

Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to?

A: Music is always on in the kitchen. Depending on who’s in, that dictates the tunes.

If it’s my 4 year old then it’s I Like To Move It by will.i.am.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLEQRIisP_Q

If it’s my 6 year old it’s Katy Perry. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CevxZvSJLk8

If it’s me it’ll be BBC Six Music.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/live:bbc_6music

Q: If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?

A: If I could cook anywhere in the world then it would be the simple beachside BBQ. The sound of the waves are mesmerising and feeling on the sun on your skin. I love cooking outdoors.

Q: If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be?

A: My advice on cooking would be not to stick to a recipe but use it as a guide that you can tailor for personal tastes. It also makes you a better cook, just being able to adjust things as you go. Also don’t be afraid of seasoning.

Great advice from a lovely man. Thank you Fraser!

You can order a copy of his wonderful soup book here.

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