Photo of
November 22, 2017
The Willow Tea Rooms Recipe Book
Anne Mulhern signing copies of The Willow Tea Rooms Recipe Book. All pics by [Martin Shields][1]

The Willow Tea Rooms Recipe Book has just been published.

Both the Glasgow tea rooms and the design legacy of Charles Rennie Mackintosh are celebrated across 40 afternoon tea recipes which have been collected, collated and created by Anne Mulhern, owner of The Willow Tea Rooms.

As well as recipes from the tea room chefs and bakers, there are dishes from well known friends of the business.

Andrew Fairlie, chef patron at his eponymous two star restaurant, has provided a recipe for stem ginger cake.

Ryan James, chair of Glasgow Restaurateurs Association and owner of the Two Fat Ladies, has a recipe for sticky toffee pudding.

The Willow Tea Rooms Recipe Book: keeping it simple

Other notable contributors from Glasgow’s food scene include Seumas MacInnes of the Gandolfi restaurants and Giovanna Eusebi of Eusebi’s Deli.

From Empire biscuits to Cullen skink and clootie dumplings, there are plenty of traditional recipes in there.

The Willow Tea Rooms Recipe Book
Afternoon tea at The Willow Tea Rooms is always popular.

The old faves are joined by dishes from other parts of the world such as the apple tart Tatin from Gary Maclean, winner of MasterChef The Professionals in 2016.

Contemporary concerns about free-from diets are also acknowledged.

In general, the recipes are simple, easy to follow and use commonly found ingredients.

You won’t have to scour specialist shops for exotic flours and none of the recipes are likely to feature in a Great British Bake Off technical challenge.

And, for most of us, that is a good thing.

The Mackintosh Cranston legacy

While the title  of The Willow Tea Rooms Recipe Book indicates the main purpose of the 156 page book, there is more to it than the recipes.

As well as a section on Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his work with Edwardian tea room owner Kate Cranston, there is also a potted biography of Anne Mulhern.

Anne opened her Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street in 1983 when she was 27. Her business was on the same premises as one of Kate Cranston’s original tea rooms.

In the early Eighties, the reputation of Charles Rennie Mackintosh perhaps glowed less brightly than it does now. Since then, the Mackintosh legacy is much better known and Anne’s tea rooms have played a part in that.

In addition to Anne’s story, The Willow Tea Rooms Recipe Book has a section called a Brief History of Tea.

This details how the UK changed from a nation of coffee drinkers to a nation of tea-lovers. It also recalls the part played by the Clyde shipbuilders in designing and developing the Clipper ships which facilitated the 19th century tea trade.

Stocking-filler idea

The Willow Tea Rooms Recipe Book is published by Wild Harbour and costs £9.99.

It is available from all the usual retailers – online and bricks and mortar. It can also be ordered direct from The Willow Tea Rooms.

The 5pm Dining blog imagines it might feature in many a Christmas stocking.

And if you fancy afternoon tea, you can browse and book lots of options here.