TikTok Stars come from all walks of life, but when Kenneth MacLeod Started posting the traditional Hebridean Recipes And lifestyle videos of a small village on the Isle of Louis, no one can imagine that they will soon have a million foot followers. Not to mention the 14 million views of his videos.
His marmalade pastries, Highland cow cupcakes and haggis bon bones – as well as his bold accent and adorable terrier seras – have proven such a hit that, in fact, he has just announced Cookbook Your own home is filled with the best bits of their channel that you can enjoy.
Before its launch, we sent some questions to a busy baker about life Outer Hebrides, The Gaelic phrases that prompted him to join the kitchen and join the ticktalk.
How and why did you decide to start Ticktock?
My love for baking is equal to my love for the island where I was born – the Isle of Lewis Outer Hebrides. So I want to share the recipes, stories and landscapes of our Hebridean islands with people all over the world, and Ticktack is the perfect place to do it!
From your first video to the latest: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Whatever your passion, no matter how important it is – you can find your tribe in Tiktak! I never expected the bearded Baker folk from the tiny Hebridean island would be interested, but after 14 million video views (and counting), I definitely found my place. Be honest and share the love you make. Oh, and having a cute wee dog definitely helps. Ceras is our West Highland Terrier star!
Where does your passion for baking and cooking come from?
My Aunt Bellag is 93 and still the best baker on the island. I grew up in a village called Cromore on the Isle of Louis, you can’t pop in the street to buy a biscuit – the nearest shop is 30 miles away! So from an early age I learned that it is best to prepare at home.
Tell us about the life of the outside Hebrides: What is your favorite part and why should people visit (if and when possible)?
Maybe I’m biased, but for me, it’s the most beautiful place on earth! Not just our rough landscapes, but our own unique culture, language, traditions and legends.
For all of you who travel to the islands, you’ll be home with a memory you’ll never forget. Stand in the middle of the 5,000-year-old Kalanish Stones, listen to the Gaelic language for the first time, find the perfect courtyard of Harris Tweed, take your dog for a walk on the white sands of Luscountyre Beach (even on a windy day!) Or your first Sealid dance revolving around a burly man in a kilt.
Has island life prepared you for the epidemic in any way?
On a visit to Donald Dewar Lewis, the late First Minister of Scotland, he met an elderly woman who was working on her craft in Uygh, on the island’s west coast. When he heard her say that she was away, she raised her head and said to him: “From where?” Yes, we may be far away, but we are not far away – we are part of the community. While parts of our lives have not changed through the epidemic, there is a great loss to the feeling of the island community and I know that we are looking forward to returning.
What can we expect from the cookbook?
Hebridean Baker The cookbook is full of warm, comforting traditional recipes – I like using Scottish flavors in classic recipes, so look for hot Toddy Choux buns, Heather Biscotti, Isle of Harris Gin and Raspberry Pavlova and the Hebridean Hogmanoy cocktail. The recipes intertwine with the beautiful imagery of the islands and lots of stories, even about the day my father gave the queen to the queen!
What is the ranking impression of Mary Berry and Nadia Hussein on Amazon?
Do you remember the Ready Break ad when a toddler gets a warm glow after eating his porridge? Seeing my book with my heroes Mary and Nadia made me feel like that. I feel like jam on their most amazing Victoria sandwich.
What is the greatest Hebridean recipe you recommend?
My Aunt Bellagh’s dough recipe has always been my favorite. This is the Hebridean version of the Scottish cluti-dumpling – and I finally managed to persuade her to give it a secret.
Teach me some Gaelic!
I was once asked: Is there a Gaelic translation for the Danish word? Fun, A feeling of warmth and contentment. Well, maybe it’s not a direct translation, but a word I use in Gaelic Warm. This means warmth, kindness and comfort. There is a saying in the Gaelic language: “Beerid bluths air luths”. This means “there is a time for everything”. I hope this is a good life lesson for all of us!
I always ask people this, though it sounds a little stupid since you live on the island! BUT: If you’re stuck on a desolate island (for the sake of the question, a fully-equipped kitchen and pantry), what cookbook are you taking with you?
I’m guessing the island is farther north than the Hebrides, so I’d choose The Nordic Baking Book By Magnus Nilsson. It’s a 500 page amazing Scandinavian recipes like Pharaoh’s Chocolate Cake Moccasins and scufu, A Swedish Christmas confectionery Knock And Finnish rye pudding Mummy.
‘Hebridean Baker: Recipes and Vee Stories from the Scottish Isles’ by Coinenich MacLeod