Cockburnspath’s Heather features in new SWI cookery book

Heather Lithgow
Heather Lithgow

An award-winning shortbread recipe from a Berwickshire woman will be part of a new cook book to celebrate 100 years of the Scottish Women’s Institute (SWI).

Heather Lithgow’s tasty and traditional treat was crowned the best in Scotland after supermarket giant Aldi challenged SWI groups to bake up a storm for a chance to see the product on sale in store at the end of last year.

Her recipe was subsequently turned into a seasonal line with her shortbread for sale in 67 Scottish branches in time for Hogmanay.

Since then, Heather’s creation has only really been shared with SWI members.

However, the recipe will now be shared with the public for the first time in the new celebratory birthday book.

And the 80-year-old from Cockburnspath, who is a member of the Abbey St Bathans SWI, is in good company.

Some of Scotland’s best known chefs have joined forces with the nation’s best home cooks and bakers to contribute to the new book.

Nick Nairn, Tony Singh, Lady Claire Macdonald and Neil Forbes have all contributed mouth-watering menus for the book.

Many celebrity chefs were keen to get behind the SWI, an organisation that has been at the heart of advancing cookery skills and talents among women in Scotland.

Nick Nairn, who rose to fame after becoming the youngest Scottish chef to win a Michelin star, said: “I’m very pleased to be supporting the Scottish Women’s Institute and to help celebrate its centenary.

“It’s a great organisation and although I know it offers a lot more to women in Scotland than a source of home-cooking recipes, I have to say, that’s what I most associate with it.

“My great cause in life is to get more people cooking – starting with children.

“If you know what you’re putting into your body, you are in control and not reliant on big corporations who might not have your best interests at heart.

“I think organisations like the SWI help represent that spirit – a do-it-yourself attitude, and the idea that helping others is also a good use of your time.

“I wish the SWI many happy returns and plenty of good luck for the next 100 years!”

Packed with recipes and photos over 160 pages, the spiral bound cook book features starters and soups, fish, game, chicken, meat, pasta and vegetarian main courses, alongside desserts, pastries, baking and preserves.

For those looking to cater for famiy and friends, there are also delicious three-course meal inspirations for dinner parties from a host of SWI demonstrators and celebrity chefs.

Taking account of changing tastes, trends and dietary needs, the cook book also includes recipes that are dairy free, gluten free and suitable for vegetarians.

Christine Hutton, SWI national chairman said: “Each recipe has been tried, tested and found to be worth passing on.

“Just like earlier versions of our cook books, we’re sure this brand new edition will become something of a cookery bible, a go-to reference point for cooks and bakers seeking both guidance and inspiration.

“As well as classic baking recipes like empire biscuits, fruit loaf and scones, for which our members are renowned, global gourmet is well represented with dishes like Sri Lankan lamb curry, Moroccan chicken and Bombe Mexicaine, a great pudding that you can prepare ahead.

“We’ve included time saving tips like how to make raspberry jam in the microwave and recipes that are dairy and gluten free.

“We’ve even included some liqueurs and punches so we really think this cook book has something for everyone.”

The SWI Cook Book costs £10 and can be purchased from the SWI online shop at: