By Helen Cross

In the spotlight with...Adam Young

Born and bred in the Scottish Borders, Adam Young took over the reins of the Olive Branch, in Edinburgh in 2011, an opportunity to showcase his talents in the kitchen using some of Scotland’s best produce. This month we put Adam under the spotlight to find out a little more about this hardworking chef. You’ll definitely want to be on the invite list for his fantasy dinner party!

1. Position? Head chef and co-owner.

2. Which three words describe the ethos behind the Olive Branch? Relaxed, informal dining.

3. Who encouraged you into the kitchen and where did you work before the Olive Branch? I was always encouraged to cook from a young age – my first venture was when aged nine or ten when myself and my school friend James would bake cakes and sell them in the village shop!  Prior to taking over the Olive Branch in 2011, I had just returned from Sydney, Australia, where I worked as head chef at a restaurant in Darling Harbour.

4. The Olive Branch is a family affair, with your parents working behind the scenes. How did your childhood and your upbringing in the Scottish Borders shape your love for food and cooking?  Growing up in a village in the Borders, and spending time on my grandparents’ and uncles’ farms gave me a real understanding of where our food comes from, something that many young people aren’t lucky enough to have.  Although there aren’t any other chefs in the family, food and mealtimes were always important, which I think is where my interest began.

5. What Scottish products can we find on the menu at the Olive Branch and who are you favourite Scottish suppliers? We feature Scottish produce as much as possible from suppliers like Campbells Meats and Charles Stamper fruit and veg. We also use Ochil Foods, based in Fife, and occasionally feature meats from our Broughton Street neighbours, Crombies Butchers.  On the menu just now you’ll find seared Scottish scallops served with black pudding, pea puree, and crispy prosciutto, and you can always get a scoop or two of Luca’s ice cream for dessert.

6.What can we find in your own fridge? Like a lot of chefs, I don’t do a huge amount of cooking at home, but I always have some nice cheese, ham or salami, and usually a couple of beers!

7. Dead or alive which five people would be your dream dinner party guests and what would be on the menu?  I would have John Lennon, as I’ve always wanted to meet him. Comedian Kevin Bridges to add a bit of humour to the evening. David Bowie to add another musical genius and maybe the Gallagher brothers as I’m a 90s kid - they would spice the evening up a bit! I would probably make a nice tagliatelle puttanesca with some crusty bread and aioli and have plenty beers and wine available.

8. What five dishes should all children learn to cook from scratch before leaving home? I’d keep it simple. An omelette, spaghetti bolognese, chilli, a stir fry, and a good bacon sandwich.

9. How has the Scottish restaurant scene changed since you started at the Olive Branch and what is next for your Edinburgh restaurant? We took over the Olive Branch in November 2011 and since then we have seen a number of new restaurants open in and around Broughton Street and the city centre.

I am passionate about making the Olive Branch the best it can be, and much of our focus goes into creating interesting dishes that stay true to the relaxed feel of our bistro.  I’d love to expand the restaurant one day, but for now, I’m happy cooking great dishes for our regulars, foodies, and visitors to the city.

For more info:  @theolivebranch


This month we have not one but two recipes from Neil Forbes, the driving force behind Edinburgh’s award winning restaurant Cafe St Honoré.

Courgette, Basil And Mint Soup With Oven-dried Tomato and Anster Cheese


2 large courgettes, diced into rough 1-inch cubes

1banana shallot, peeled and diced

1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small handful of basil and mint leaves, roughly chopped

100g grated Anster cheese, or any other hard, crumbly cheese

2 tomatoes

100ml extra-virgin olive oil

Good salt and pepper

A few edible flowers like cornflower blue or calendula to garnish


Heat the oven to 150°C / Gas Mark 2

Remove the eyes from the tomatoes and give them a good wash. Cut them in half and lay them on an ovenproof tray. Sprinkle with good salt and pepper and trickle over some extra-virgin olive oil. Place in the oven for between 1 and 2 hours. Remove and keep in a tub in the fridge if you wish.

Heat 50ml of the oil in a pot and sweat the shallot and the garlic until soft, then add the courgette and season with good salt and pepper. Stir and add enough boiling water to cover and a bit more.

Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until soft - don’t let it dry out – then add the herbs and blitz with a hand-blender.

Add 3/4 of the cheese and blitz again - it doesn’t need to be super-smooth. Check the seasoning.

To serve, pour the soup into warmed bowls and add the tomatoes and the extra cheese. Garnish with some edible flowers and an extra trickle of olive oil. Serve with some good bread. (Serves 4)

Ecclefechan Tart with Crème Chantilly


1 10-inch sweet pastry tart shell, or 2 smaller

240g soft (almost-melted) butter

240g soft dark brown sugar

4 eggs beaten

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

960g California raisins

240g Californian walnuts, roughly chopped

200ml double cream
1 tablespoon of sifted icing sugar
Half a vanilla pod, seeds scraped and added to cream


Prepare a blind-baked sweet pastry 10'' tart shell, and leave it in the mould. I use bottomless tins. Then heat the oven to 160°C / Gas Mark 3.

Beat the soft butter and brown sugar together until well combined and creamed. Then trickle the eggs in slowly, a little at a time. Add the cinnamon, lemon juice and zest and mix well.

Next, fold in the raisins and walnuts and give it a good mix. It should smell amazing by now.

Scoop the mix into the prepared pastry case and smooth out with a wet palette knife. Bake at 160°C for roughly 45 minutes, checking all the time and spreading the mix flat as you go.

To make the crème Chantilly, whisk the cream and vanilla seeds to almost soft peak stage, then add the sifted icing sugar and give a final mix, being careful not to over whip. It should be quite loose in texture. Serve.


Kitchen cupboard essentials...

ALDI has partnered with McQueen Gin at the Trossachs Distillery in Callendar to launch a very special limited-edition Forest Fruits Colour Changing Gin. Exclusively available from Scottish ALDI stores from now until the end of September priced at just £19.99 (50cl), the two-tone gin changes from a pale sapphire to pink when tonic is added, or any other acidic mixer or garnish. The magic comes from distilling the gin with the blue petals of the Asian butterfly flower, which change from a pale sapphire to pink when its PH levels are altered. (

For omore than100 years Bon Accord found a place in the hearts of the nation before closing its operations in 2000. However, with a new generation at the helm the family soft drinks business is back with an exciting and fresh new range. Elevate your gin with a refreshing tonic water, with hints of citrus, apricot and vanilla or try a thirst quenching cloudy lemonade or for something a little different sample the salted pink grapefruit soda, which is great as a mixer with rum and gin or on its own. (

Shetland Cooking on the Edge of the World is not only a recipe book but an insight and a journey into the traditions, culture and communities of Shetland. Written by father and son duo, Tom Morton, writer, journalist and broadcaster and James Morton of Great British Bake Off fame, this spell binding cookbook provides a window into Shetland through food. (Published by Quadrille, £25, September 6, 2018)

Following on from the success of his debut cookbook, Gather, chef, food writer and teacher Gill Meller has published his second awe inspiring cookbook, time. Gill’s unique dishes move through the seasons in 120 recipes. Enjoy mushrooms baked on toast with herbs, butter and garlic and seek comfort in a stew of whole beef shin with red wine, carrots and little onions with a warm slice of date, olive oil and fennel cake. (Published by Quadrille, £25, 20 September 2018)