Day in the Life - Coinneach MacLeod, aka TikTok star, The Hebridean Baker, cook and author
He tells us about catching lobsters, canoeing and shooting for his new cookbook
Seoras the Westie is our alarm clock. By 6.30am we have fired up the woodburning stove, put the kettle on to boil and gone for a wee walk up Beinn Mhòr.
I could live on porridge, so a hearty bowl with chia seeds, sultanas, grated apple and coconut milk sets me up for a busy day. I have a breakfast Zoom meeting with Brian Wilson from Harris Tweed Hebrides to plan what tweeds we will use in the photography for my Hebridean Baker cookbook, before putting on my wellies to help my partner, Peter, plant some wild garlic. It’s in season and will grow abundantly in a shaded spot behind our home.
We canoe down to Clachan Bridge to meet Euan Anderson, the photographer for the cookbook. He’s joining us today to shoot my lobster mac(Leod) ‘n’ cheese. But first, we need to go and catch some lobsters. Peter’s Dad, Graham, takes us out in his boat to check on his creels. Through the channel between the Isle of Seil and Mull, we pull up the creels as Euan snaps away with his camera, all the while I’m whispering, ‘Please let there be a lobster’. Prayers answered! And we head home with three lobsters, a bucket full of velvet crabs and a happy photographer.
I love using Hebridean produce in all my recipes, so I add delicious Isle of Mull traditional farmhouse cheese to my lobster recipe. We take our lunch down to the shoreline for the photoshoot. We’ve now shot 71 of the 75 recipes for the book – but the one I am looking forward to most is with my Aunt Bellac who at 92 still makes the best clootie dumpling in the Hebrides! I’m still hoping she shares her secret ingredient.
I use Tiktok to share my baking videos and today, I am doing a live session where some of my 135,000 followers can tune in to chat to me about recipes, Gaelic, the Hebrides and most importantly Seoras the Westie – he has become a global star!
Now the days are getting a wee bit longer, Peter and I jump in our wetsuits before the sun sets to go for a swim in Clachan Sound. We both raced in the Argyll Triathlon in 2019 and would love to try again this year.
Dinner is leftover lobster from lunch and a big slice of homemade marmalade bread and butter pudding. We tune in to BBC Alba to watch Miann na Maighdinn-mara, which follows a fellow islander Kate Macleod and her passion for swimming the seas around the Isle of Lewis. It is so beautifully shot, always nice to get a reminder of how beautiful our islands are.
Before bed, I write up a set of recipes for a project I am working on with Jura Whisky including uisge beatha ice cream, Jura truffles and Atholl brose. As I turn in for bed, I switch on Audible and let a chapter of Sidetracked by my favourite author Henning Mankell lull me to sleep.
The Hebridean Baker cookbook will be released in Sept' 21 - pre-orders available now at www.blackandwhitepublishing.com/collections/pre-orders