After winning fame on the BBC’s MasterChef in 1991, Sue Lawrence has forged a career as one of the UK’s leading cookery writers. She writes a regular column for Scotland on Sunday, wrote for the Sunday Times for six years and regularly contributes to Sainsbury’s Magazine, Woman & Home, Country Living and BBC Good Food Magazine. A regular face on British and Australian television, until 2011 she was one of the food experts on STV’s The Hour. Raised in Dundee, she now lives in Edinburgh.
Sue’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/suehlawrence
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Sue Lawrence has been on a personal odyssey – a trip round some of Scotland’s many islands speaking to producers and cooks, gleaning recipes along the way. From islands such as Mull, Raasay, Out Skerries and Luing she has amassed over 100 recipes, mainly created from ingredients and produce she came across in her travels. Some of the recipes are traditional, for example using seaweed or reestit mutton in a soup; others are more contemporary, like Shetland Salt Fish Cakes with Romesco Sauce or Venison Chilli.
This celebration of the landscape and history of the Scottish islands is illustrated with photos of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and with mouth-watering pictures of the islands’ best cooking. Keen home cooks will find here a whole new world of delicious but easy to prepare dishes, presented with Sue’s trademark warmth and clarity of method.
Down To The Sea
Saraband, March 2019
A young couple buy a large Victorian house in Edinburgh and plan to renovate and set it up as a luxury care home. But something is not quite right: disturbing sounds can be heard when the sea mists swirl; their unpredictable neighbour makes it clear that the house was not always a happy family home. And their characterful’ historic pile has a gloomy cellar harbouring relics from days gone by. Back in the 1890s, superstitious fishwives blame young Jessie for the deaths of their menfolk in a terrible storm, and she’s forced into the Poorhouse. In those less enlightened times, life was often severe, cruel even, and Jessie is entirely at the mercy of a tyrant matron. But one inmate is not all she seems. Jessie begins to pick at the truth, uncovering the secrets and lies that pervade the poorhouse and which will have profound and dangerous consequences in the future.
The Night He Left
Freight Books, April 2016
At 7pm on 28th December 1879 a violent storm batters the newly-built iron rail bridge across the River Tay, close to the city of Dundee. Ann Craig, a wealthy woman, is waiting for her husband, a mill owner, to return home. From her window she sees the bridge collapse, the train he is travelling on ploughing into the sea, killing all those on board. As Ann investigates the events leading up to the crash, doubt is cast on whether Robert was on the train after all. If not, where is he, and who is the mysterious woman who is first to be washed ashore? In the present day, Fiona Craig’s new partner Pete, an Australian restaurateur, clears the couple’s bank account before abandoning his car at Dundee Airport and disappearing. When the police discover his car is stolen, Fiona conducts her own investigation into Pete’s background, slowly uncovering dark secrets and strange parallels with the events of 1879. Following on from her acclaimed debut, Fields of Blue Flax, Sue Lawrence serves up another brilliant historical mystery, meticulously researched and densely plotted, with plenty of twists and turns and a gripping climax.
Praise for The Night He Left
I found this book enthralling. It’s a cracking story beautifully told
Lawrence’s parallel plotlines advance in lock-step with each other over alternate chapters, with spooky similarities but also crucial differences, until they’re entwined to great effect towards the end
Sunday Herald Life
A gripping tale
The Night He Left is a deft mix of vivid storytelling, intriguing mystery and building momentum, skilfully interwoven with the history of the Tay Bridge disaster
Fields of Blue Flax
Freight Books, May 2015
Dark Victorian secrets mirror the pattern of betrayal and deception in the present.
Set in Edinburgh and Dundee, Fields of Blue Flax is the parallel story of, in the past, dark Victorian secrets uncovered and, in the present, how an innocent interest in genealogy brings a family to the brink of destruction. Cousins Mags and Christine are complete opposites, one conventional the other bohemian. As family life with husbands and children intertwine, their joint research into the family history uncovers a forgotten relative, Elizabeth Barrie, born in the late nineteenth century in the north east village of Tannadice. Elizabeth’s origins aren’t what they appear to be, hiding a shocking scandal at the very heart of a prominent, ‘respectable’ family. Unprepared for what they will find about their relative, the truth at the heart of Elizabeth’s story mirrors the cousins’ own equally dysfunctional family lives. Both Mags and Christine find out in different ways that uncovering a family’s past can have unexpected and revocable consequences for those living in the present.
Praise for Fields of Blue Flax
Researching your family tree has never been easier and the secrets that previous generations thought they had taken to the grave are now ripe for discovery by an internet savvy generation keen to uncover their past. Such family secrets and lies are the ingredients for food writer Sue Lawrence’s debut novel Fields of Blue Flax… As the protagonists chop, stir and simmer their way through breakfasts, lunches and dinners of family life, there is comfort food and cold comfort food, a killer broth and some to-die-for brownies, all served up in what is a satisfying tale of revenge served both hot and cold
Scotland on Sunday
Birlinn, July 2014
In recent times Britain as a whole can’t get enough of programmes like The Great British Bake-off and The Fabulous Baker Boys, but Scotland has always had a wonderful tradition of baking in both sweet and savoury recipes. Leading cookery writer Sue Lawrence has now combined her two passions, for baking and Scottish cooking, into one definitive book. A compendium of 70 easy-to-follow recipes, it brings together the traditional breads, scones and cakes that have shaped Scotland’s great baking heritage and new contemporary bakes like Sticky Toffee Apple Cake and Coconut Cherry Chocolate Traybake. Cooks everywhere will want to try these delicious recipes from Scotland. This is a book that will reach out to anyone who loves to dabble with flour, sugar, butter – and a griddle!
Praise for Scottish Baking
Sue Lawrence is a rock star
Breathtakingly clear photography, paired with minimalist layout, help contemporise the humble scone, oatcake and bannock, reflecting their renewed appreciation by a younger generation of bakers . . . Beats the GBBO’s fussy showstoppers hands-down