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James McIntosh

It's All A Bit Manic

Posted by James McIntosh Thursday, 27th August 2015

I don’t have any children, my lifestyle would not cope.  I don’t find myself a selfish person or one that is adverse to children, I just enjoy travelling too much.  Facebook, that thing that overtakes one’s life with pictures of every social gathering and new pair of jeans that enters one's life, available on all devices, has left me screaming this past few weeks.  Friends buying school uniforms online, pictures of children sporting their uniforms pre-school and I’ve even seen a service where a photographer will come to your house on the morning of the first day at school.


It’s all a but too much. In my day (!) Mum and Dad told us to stand still with our hands straight by our sides and with a click of the Kodak, a wind of a wheel, some time later that year the photos would get developed and with the next summer holidays looming, the photos would arrive.  I’m seeing the stress of this weekend.  As my friends are running around buying pencils (do children still use them?). I’m flying home to Belfast to launch a book on a very well known food item that few have eaten in Northern Ireland.  The Lough Neagh Eel, it comes with protected status you know, the very same as Melton Mowbray Pork Pies.

Needless to say, I have been cooking eels over the past few weeks, and I must say, fabulous things.  On Sunday night I fly back to my home in London, and if the weather is dry (unlikely) it’s a BBQ in the park.  Just an end of summer soiree.  If it’s wet, so what, rug on living room floor, Rangemaster on, I’m sure we will cope.




Here is a great fish recipe, hot or cold.  Enjoy the last days of summer, together.

Salmon en Croute

Serves 6-8

1 bunch asparagus
1 whole salmon, about 2kg, skinned and filleted
175g tub cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 x 500g block ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten




  1. Blanch the asparagus in a pan of boiling water on the Rangemaster hob by boiling for about 5 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Dry the spears and leave to one side.

  2. Lay one piece of salmon on a board and spread cream cheese over the top and sprinkle the dill over, season, scatter asparagus on top and place the other piece of salmon on top of the asparagus.

  3. Cover the salmon all over in puff pastry sealing the edges well.  Score the pastry lightly and brush with egg.

  4. Preheat the Rangemaster to 180C / 160 Fan / Gas Mark 4 and bake for 35-40 minutes until the pastry is all puffed up and golden.
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