Sleepless nights and jars of chutney from a neighbour inspired Marie Johnstone to create her own book of recipes.
Marie is now using her recipe book to raise funds for the MS Trust, to ensure others can get the help she did when she was diagnosed with MS.
Hi, I am Marie Johnstone and I am a 37 year old mother. My aspiration was to be a chef, so on leaving school I went straight into the catering industry. I decided to serve in the Royal Navy where I qualified as a professional chef. I then became a mother and upon leaving the service I developed my patisserie skills at home whilst bringing up my children. Over the years, through night classes, I learned sugarcraft skills to be able to specialize in creating decorative cakes.
I was diagnosed with MS nearly 5 years ago now. I had never heard of MS until then so I turned to the internet for information. This is when I found the MS Trust and they came to my aid. After a lot of factsheet reading, and very informative booklets on the best way to teach my children that I was still the same Mam, we were reassured that we could live with MS and not let it take over our family.
Creating my own recipes
The inspiration for my cookbook came from endless sleepless nights sitting in the kitchen and some sample jars of preserves from my neighbour Margaret Vaughan (proprietor of BY HECK PRESERVES). I told Margaret, who produces jams, jellies, chutneys and marmalades to sell at farmers markets, that I would make a recipe involving every jar she brought me. This book is not about making preserves but about using up that half a jar of chutney that is lurking at the back of the fridge!
The book includes Bombay Lamb, Nut Roast, Apple and Spice Cookies, Rhubarb and Ginger Bread, and much more, so there is a bit of something for everyone. The first recipe that I took over for Margaret was Spicy Cheese Scones. I incorporated her Spicy Plum Chutney into the eggs before using them to make the dough and they went down a treat. From there on, my mind was awash with ideas that I couldn’t get down on paper quickly enough. My midnight baking and daytime cooking has kept me in good stead with my neighbours as well as the girls at the hospital when I go for my Tysabri infusion.
My cook book
I am now very proud to say that my dream of writing a cook book has come to fruition. Not only have I got it printed by a local company (Linn Print of Lockerbie), I am selling my book and the profits are being donated to the MS Trust. I will never be able to repay the MS Trust for all their help but I can raise some much needed funds for them. So far I’ve only been selling at local farmers markets and at my local Tesco, but during the weekend of 22 & 23 October I will be doing food demonstrations at the Kirkcudbright Food Festival, this not only raises funds but also raises awareness of MS which is a very complex and sometimes invisible disease.
If you wish to purchase a cook book (£4.50) please email me your details and I will get a cook book to you via post. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheese Scones (Spicy Plum Chutney)
6 oz/170g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt & pepper
2 oz/50g butter or margarine (cold)
3 oz/75g strong cheese (grated)
3 tsp BY HECK SPICY PLUM CHUTNEY
2 tbsp milk
1. Pre-heat oven to 220c / 425f / gas 7. Grease baking tray.
2. Mix flour and seasonings, rub in butter. Stir in cheese, reserving a little for the top.
3. In a jug crack your eggs then add in spicy plum chutney and mix together, add wet mix to dry mix.
4. Mix together until it forms a soft dough add the milk if required.
5. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes (I use a 3” round cutter).
6. Place on tray and brush top with milk and sprinkle with cheese.
7. Bake for 10-15 mins until golden brown.
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