One of the questions I’m often asked as a chef is how to describe my style of cooking. A tough question to give a quick answer, but if I had to choose just three words, I’d say my dishes are honest, tasty and dynamic. This dessert I’d like to share with you today is no exception.

Even as a child, I was always very inquisitive when it came to food. This curiosity was my driving force when applying for catering college, and it’s stuck with me throughout my career. Classic dishes have held their popularity over the years for a reason, but why not shake things up a little? Traditional methods of cooking and tried-and-tested favourites have their place, but let’s experiment; swap an ingredient with something seasonal – even better, an ingredient that’s grown or produced locally – and now we’re cooking with gas. Don’t be afraid to try new ways of working with food. If it’s a success, you’ll have a new signature dish.

My Raspberry Floating Island is a modern interpretation of the classic dessert, oeufs a la neige, or ‘snow eggs’. It’s such a striking dish, with those clear, bright layers adding a bit of ‘wow’ factor. However, it’s surprisingly easy to recreate yourself at home, and sure to impress your dinner guests.

I first discovered this brilliant dessert while working at Le Gavroche in London, before I moved back home to Scotland and joined the team at Borthwick Castle.

At Le Gavroche, this sweet, light final course was served with different poached fruits, depending on the season. Here, I’ve used late summer Scottish raspberries, which add a lovely balance of freshness and acidity to the dish. However, you could always put your own spin on this recipe by substituting the raspberries for different fruits. Plums and blackberries are both brilliant options as we head into autumn.

Recently I was tasked with preparing this dish for the semi-final of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ National Chef of The Year competition in Sheffield. Combining raspberry compote, lemon verbena, pink pepper and almond nougatine, a contemporary mix of sweet and sharp flavours. For this recipe, I’ve chosen to replace the nougatine with caramel to add that extra autumnal twist.

To make four desserts

For the raspberry compote


150g raspberries

50g caster sugar

1x vanilla pod, split

50ml water


1. To make the raspberry compote, first wash the raspberries and put to one side.

2. Heat the sugar, vanilla and water together in a small pan, before adding the raspberries and allowing them to stew for just a few minutes.

3. Take off the heat, leave to cool, and set aside.

For the meringue


4 egg whites

115g caster sugar

115g icing sugar


1. Preheat your oven to 150C/130C fan assisted/Gas Mark 2.

2. Separate the yolk and the whites from your eggs, and place the yolks aside for later.

3. Place the egg whites into the clean bowl of a food mixer. Whisk until the whites form stiff peaks. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and whisk until all of the sugar has been added and the eggs whites are now thick and glossy.

4. Spoon the meringue mixture into a non-stick silicon four-dome mould.

5. Fill an oven tray with an inch of warm water and place the mould on top, making sure the water does not go over the mould.

6. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 10 minutes.

7. Allow to cool and turn out the meringues onto a non-stick tray.

For the lemon verbena custard


250ml full fat milk

5g lemon verbena

3 egg yolks

50g caster sugar


1. Heat the milk and lemon verbena in a pan and bring to the boil.

2. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl.

3. Pour the milk mixture onto the eggs and sugar, a little at a time, so the eggs do not start to cook, whisking continuously until smooth and creamy.

4. Place the mixture back in the pan and place over a medium heat. Stir continuously until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

5. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. The custard should be served at room temperature.

For the caramel


75g caster sugar


1. Pour the sugar into a clean pan. Melt the sugar slowly, continuously stirring over a low heat with a wooden spoon. The sugar will start to turn copper in colour. Remove immediately from the heat to ensure the caramel does not burn.

2. Drizzle the caramel over the meringues and leave to set.

To serve

1. Take four martini glasses and add a dessert spoon of raspberry compote to the bottom of each glass.

2. Pour the still warm lemon verbena custard into each glass until it is an inch from the top.

3. Lift the meringues with a pallet knife and place carefully on top of the lemon verbena custard, and serve.