Photo of
August 17, 2017
Macdonald Forest Hills
Classic tarte au citron, raspberry gel, meringue and compote

Macdonald Forest Hills will be familiar with many 5pmers not least because of its stunning location looking out across Loch Ard. The hotel has now given you another reason to visit with its hiring of new executive head chef, James McCulloch Thomson.

With over 30 years’ experience as a chef, Glasgow-born James has honed his culinary skills across the globe including in Melbourne, Australia.

Since returning to Scotland, James has continued to climb the gastronomic ladder and has held executive chef positions in several establishments, including Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel and Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club in Edinburgh.

Treacle roast loin of venison, pommel anna, haunch croquette and pumpkin veloute
Treacle roast loin of venison, pommel anna, haunch croquette and pumpkin veloute

James describes his style of food as offering a simple and lighter way to eat, yet with multi-layered flavour, texture combinations and the odd bit of quirkiness.

His menus for Macdonald Forest Hills are of course based around Scotland’s larder, focusing on seasonality and using the best suppliers and producers, from the fishermen and farmers to gamekeepers.

Haggis pomme dauphine with whisky jus

James sees this point of time for Macdonald Forest Hills as a key moment in the hotel’s history. The property just completed a major transformation with a multi-million pound refurbishment and redesign and to join the hotel at his point, was just too good an opportunity for James to miss.

Get one of James’ recipes below, a perfect dish to showcases his skill and style.

Recipe for warm citrus pudding with yoghurt & blueberries


50g unsalted butter

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange

115g caster sugar

2 eggs, separated

40g plain flour, sifted

300ml full fat milk

Tblspn lemon juice

Tblspn orange juice

To serve:

Plain greek yoghurt

250g blueberries

Icing sugar (dusting)

Serves 4


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place the butter, lemon and orange zest and sugar in a bowl and beat until pale and creamy.
  3. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each.
  4. Fold through the flour then gradually add the milk in a steady stream, whisking lightly to combine. Add the lemon juice and mix to combine. The mixture will look slightly curdled.
  5. Place the egg whites in a clean, dry stainless steel bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form.
  6. Using a large metal spoon, fold lightly through the pudding batter.
  7. Pour the batter into four 250ml buttered oven proof ramekins and place on a baking tray.
  8. Bake for 15mins, or until lightly browned.
  9. Place a spoonful of Greek yoghurt and blueberries on top of the warm puddings and then dust with icing sugar.

Warm Citrus Puddings with Yoghurt and Blueberries B