Simply Special


Here are some of the recipes which I use as the chef and patron of The Sisters Restaurants in Glasgow to make simply special dishes. From a very early age I remember being sent out to my granny's garden to pull rhubarb or turn the soil for tatties or pick up any apples. My reward for this hard earned labour was a stick of  crisp tart rhubarb with a wee pokey of sugar made from newspaper. I am sure this is where my love of great home cooking using local produce all began. Still rising to the challenges that the wonderful Scottish larder throws at me, I never seem to tire of cooking fantastic produce from a country that so expertly grows, rears or cultivates it. I style my cooking on simple and Scottish and mostly allow the produce to speak, or rather shout, for itself. Believe me it’s not too difficult!

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  • This super simple supper tastes amazing and, whether the weather is sunshine or rain, it’s perfect for cooking on the barbecue or the griddle pan.

    Ideally you would want to prepare this the night before, however, if you don’t have time, 15 mins will do.

    Now the pear cider is a brilliant twist, however, if you can only find normal cider then just use that.

    Sticky pear & ginger pork chops

    Ask your butcher for 4 good quality specially selected pork chops

    4 tbsp of soy sauce

  • I fully intend to eventually grow these in the garden. However I just know there is no chance, given my history as a weegirl getting into a neighbours garden and pinching them off the climbing canes, that they will ever make it until ripe.

    Just like me, my children thrive on not getting out of the greenhouse with any fruits for their labour! Goodness knows how it will be when we pop over to Craigies Farm next week for a fruit picking day!

    Broad bean, pea and ham hock salad

    200g of Broad beans , podded

  • In light of this meat feast, I've opted for a fast fish dish that will keep the whole family happy and healthy.

    Despite being  surrounded by the finest fish and shellfish in the world, we Scots don't eat enough of it. Goverment statistics tell us we eat only 1.2 portions a week when we should be eating at least two portions. So go on, get some healthy fish in you!

  • We will be lucky enough to have some British asparagus for maybe another few weeks as they tend to be able to have it slightly longer further south.

    This is a simple, special lunch/brunch snack that keeps everyone happy.

  • However, I think it’s right up there with my best sellers in both restaurants and it has been on the menu for 15 years.

    The recipe has never changed. It’s old fashioned and reminds us all of our Grannies kitchen. It came about as we changed our eating habits and we wanted old flavours like sausage and mash, which have now become trendy.

    My Granny never used the butter or sugar that I use in this recipe and it didn’t look quite as tidy but it tasted great to me as a wee one.

  • There is a slightly wintery feel to this but it is a great sitting outside for a late night supper dish that everyone can tuck in to. It’s something that keeps happening thanks to these beautiful sunset nights!

    It’s not quick or simple but after researching family cooking and meals over the last week, it seems to fit the bill as a perfect summer evening dish. So if you have time to get all things organised and pop this in the oven, then it’s sure to have everyone round the table and tucking in for more.

  • Most of us save strawberries for pudding but I say why wait when there is such a short window to get them in season? I approve of eating Scottish and British strawberries, ( only when the Scottish ones are done!). In a nutshell, if they are grown here and not flown here then I approve.

  • I do love it in June when we get nice Ayrshire potatoes, however, I must confess that I can’t resist a cheeky wee Jersey tattie (not that the Jersey Royal society will like me calling them tatties!)

    These perfect little potato jewels are the crown of Jersey’s finest. Grown on the steep sandy slopes of Jersey, they are the biggest production of farming on the whole island.

    I have used them in so many ways but I cannot resist just a light boil, a suggestion of butter and a wee sprinkling of seasalt.

  • So why not impress your guests with by making some yourself?

    I will say it as I usually do! Use excellent quality ingredients as it will make the end result far tastier. As the saying goes great cooking is 90% great shopping, so pick up some great Scottish cheddar.

    This versatile pastry can even be used as a pie topping. Pop some pale smoked haddock in a shallow pie dish with a splash of double cream, broccoli and shredded leeks. Cover with pastry and bake for 25-30 minutes to make a fantastic smoked haddock pie with a cheese crust.

  • The irony is that most of our tomatoes come from Europe - unless they are from the greenhouse. Obviously I proclaim these to be the fruits of my homegrown labour.  But actually they are the work of my wonderful green-fingered father-in-law who brought them on from seed. When robust enough they were transported from Moffat to Glasgow to be planted in my greenhouse, where May and Jim would water them weekly.

  • However, I took it up a notch at the weekend by having the culinary pleasure that is free range Duck eggs. Boy are they the crème de la crème for a Sunday breakfast.

    So let’s move from a brilliant breakfast to a luscious lunch or delectable dinner. Woo your guest with this as a starter and you will reach the top of the class!

    As this column suggests it’s simple. This could be a supper, with Scottish and seasonal thrown in the pot.

  • If there is such a thing, then it has to be done properly. With this in mind we are sporting a few lunch specials in the restaurant, including Ramsay's ham, leek and chicken pie served in an old fashioned Ashet pie dish.

    The other dish is a burger. Now if you choose to have a burger then make it properly at home and get the kids involved. They love getting their hands messy, well my 2 do anyway!

  • As a rule I remember always saying no to fruit and protein together. My first memories of eating out and trying lemon chicken still fill me with dread. However, these days I always pair game with fruit on my menu - I've my tune!

    I'm currently waiting eagerly for the first Scotch raspberries to toss in with Venison loin in a balsamic salad. It's a recipe worth waiting for and takes just four minutes to prepare. We'll cover that when the first crop is harvested, I promise.

  • I made this recipe about three or four years ago on tv and, of all the things I’ve made, it must have been one of the most talked about. Did you just crack the eggs right into the pastry? Yes. Did you not cook the pie pastry first? No.

    It is a real winner for taste and just as we like it, a simple supper through and through.

    Bacon and egg pie

    1 tbsp of summer harvest rapeseed oil

    8–10 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

    9 free-range eggs

  • I am just not a fan of using mashed potato to bulk them out and if the balance is wrong then you get too much tattie and not enough fish.

    I prefer just breadcrumbs. However, in this recipe these are not just ordinary breadcrumbs, they are very light.

    If you cannot bear to buy in breadcrumbs then please just your own homemade ones. A word of warning though, the red fish dressing ones will not be very bonnie in this recipe!

    And if you prefer , you can make these fish cakes into fingers if you want!


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Simply Special

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Jacqueline O'Donnell

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