A New Day Dawns (Finally)

So, the day had finally arrived…my children were in school full-time! This is THE point in time where (ideally) years of creative preparation were to emerge from development to magically transmute into reality.  As per the fickle finger of fate, the starting gun was waylaid by a horrendous multi-week cold.  However, don’t feel too sorry for me as the cooties were most likely the direct result of the shenanigans I have been up to for the past months (more on that in a bit).

So, let’s start with a recap of recent doings in Jeantopia.  Following up on the creation of this blog about two and half years ago, this past  year saw the official launch of my artisan food business of Alba Flavour!

snapshot AF 2012

I began with a line of hand-made chicken sausages, full of flavour of free from all the nasties that are often found in mass-produced meats.  Thanks to the support of a few stalwart fans, word began to spread and before I knew it I was filling weekly orders up to my limits of time and space – happy days!

A few additional products  joined the party with my Balsamic Bacon Chutney, Pickled Fennel, Italian Olive Salad and  Salmon Jerky, and I had officially maxed out my utility room and spare fridge. So Alba Flavour is expanding to its own purpose-built structure in my back garden to hold dedicated prep & ready-to-eat fridges, a freezer, smoker, dehydrators and lot of storage!!!

Here is a sneak preview of what will soon be on offer either direct from me or (hopefully soon) from a local fine food cafe, deli or farm shop.  The goal is basically to be a poultry & seafood-based artisan charcuterie, highlighting many of the ridiculously fantastic resources that Scotland has to offer.

snapshot AF 2013

So far so good.  We have the blog – which is due for a revamp, the business – which is growing and now let me introduce you…


This next project has been simmering away in my head for at least a decade and probably since my very first visit to Scotland in 1998. For reasons I simply can not fathom, within the UK Scots have a reputation as being quite grumpy and dour.  I think it has something to do with over-emphasis on the weather & chagrin over producing John Knox, but I can assure the experience of living here is ANYTHING but sullen!  In addition, Scotland is home to some of the most unusual, bizarre and outrageous celebrations on God’s green earth – so there.

Working Cover_Brighter blue_edited-1

So, after waiting a  full 10 years for someone imminently for worthy than I to do this, I set out to travel the country to try to capture the history, customs, food & spectacle of some of Scotland’s unique events. (See, nine months of travel & party are surely to blame for my recent malaise.)  Let me tell you this stuff is UNBELIEVABLE  and I can not wait to share it with you.

The book begins at one minute past midnight on New Year’s with the tradition of ‘First Footing’ and follows the calendar through a whole variety of events that culminates back on the 31st of December with Scotland’s signature New Year’s celebration of  ‘Hogmany’.   Along the way I have been doing some serious feasting and will provide my own recipes highlighting seasonal and local ingredients to best capture the essence of the events, so you too can enjoy the spirit of some these too-fabulous-for-prime-time parties.

The good news for readers of this blog is, that I have decided to use this space to share the all singing/all dancing tales of each of my adventures, which will then be trimmed down to a bit more polished and condensed version for the book. I will hold back on the recipes that will be in the book, but will continue posting other tasty treats from my day-to-day culinary adventures.

So there you have it – the blog/business/book extravaganza that will all hopefully blossom magnificently over the course of this next year.  Ideally, (this is Jeantopia after all) the book will be available in time for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games & the Ryder Cup next summer so fingers crossed.

So that is the starting gun fired, and as we all get settled into our new school routines don’t forget to take your vitamins and watch out for some wild & woolly tales of  hurricanes, Vikings, reggae tents and a shocking variety of things set afire.

Happy Back to School!

Comments (3)

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  1. Peg says:

    You are Wonderwoman in disguise! Can’t wait to buy the book, and can’t wait to read more about your adventures. If they’re as wild as our days on Shetland the stories alone will be fantastic, and I already know that your recipes will be to die for.
    Sending all good thoughts for a speedy publication! And sending any and all help I can offer. 🙂

  2. Gigi Murphy says:

    I want the book!!! So hurry up – I’ll get a bunch for Christmas if the timing is right. 🙂

    Love Geeg

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