The latest recipe to make its way into The Empire Cafe Zine will be McCune Smith‘s take on the empire biscuit.  They’ve added their own seasonal Scottish twist to a recipe for ‘imperial biscuits’ from the Glasgow Cookery School Book.  Harrie’s edition of the book was published in the 1930’s (exact date unknown) but a centenary edition has been printed and is widely sold again.

“Once the bible of Scottish cuisine, the recipe book was the set text for the Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science, affectionately known as the Dough School by locals.”

These delightful biscuits and Open Jar’s recipe Zine will be on sale at The Empire Cafe all week from Sat 26 Jul – Fri 1 Aug.  And The Empire Cafe’s full programme of events, talks and workshops is now live!


Enjoyed a lovely day cooking with the Grow Green team in preparation for The Empire Cafe. We heard the story behind Ian’s curried carrot and lentil soup, tested out the oatcakes, created a deliciously simple beetroot and orange salad, and shared warm banana cake in the sweltering Playbusters kitchen.

We also got a tour of the Parkhead Community Garden – an edible oasis in the heart of the East End.  They’re hoping to supply some of the produce for their menu at The Empire Cafe on Wednesday 30th July.

We’re saving Ian’s secret recipe for our Zine, but you can try out the yummy beetroot salad at home.  It couldn’t be simpler.

Beetroot and Orange Salad

Serves about 6 people

  • 2 large beetroot
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • splash of olive or rapeseed oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Peel and coarsely grate the beetroot into a bowl
  2. Peel 1 orange and cut into segments then add to bowl
  3. Squeeze the juice of half the other orange into the bowl
  4. Finely grate or crush the clove of garlic and mix into salad
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste

You could try adding raisins or fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Photographs by Clementine Sandison

Today we had a serious production line going for the Thai Curry Puffs, which incidentally do not have curry inside them (although they can be served as a savoury pastry). June taught everyone how to make the sweet version that are traditionally served with tea of coffee and have a bean paste filling.

We also sampled Jyemee’s incredible Malaysian carrot and cucumber salad with cubes of sticky rice and satay sauce, Angie’s Papas Arrugadas from the Canary Islands, and Laritza’s Cuban black bean soup and green bean salad.

Soul Food Sisters are about to launch an 8 week pop-up cafe in the Queens Park Arena, with the grand opening on Saturday 21st June as part of the Southside Shindig.  These women really know how to cook!  Don’t miss it.

Photographs by Clementine Sandison

Cooking with Taste of Africa

Emily Chappell and Clementine Sandison from Open Jar Collective are working on a zine to document some of the incredible recipes and stories behind the food that will be served at The Empire Cafe.

The Empire Café is an exploration of Scotland’s relationship with the North Atlantic slave trade through coffee, sugar, tea, cotton, music, visual art, academic lectures, poetry, debate, workshops, historical walks, film and literature. The café will be based in the Briggait (home of the Merchant’s Steeple) in Glasgow’s Merchant City from 24th July – 1st August 2014.

Clem has developed the food outreach programme and is working with Cafe Operator McCune Smith and five social enterprises from across the city to develop a unique menu for the cafe which will change on a daily basis.  The menu will reflect the diverse cultural heritages of people living in Glasgow, explore Scotland’s trade history, and showcase the best local produce as well as fairly traded goods from around the World.

On Monday Taste of Africa did a test run of dishes from Algeria, Gambia and Nigeria for their menu which will be served at The Empire Cafe on Friday 1st August.  This included a Gambian ‘Scotch egg’ made with minced lamb.

Gambia was a British colony from 1888 – 1965.  Interestingly, The Colonial Development Corporation (established in 1948) set up the Gambia Poultry Scheme which was intended to produce 20 million eggs for the British market.  This export scheme was a spectacular failure.

It has left us wondering if there is any connection between this traditional Gambian egg dish and the British equivalent.  Does the ‘Scotch egg’ originate in Scotland or is it more closely related to the Indian kofta?  If anyone knows the story behind it, then please let us know!

Photographs by Clementine Sandison