From a village at the foot of the Ochil Hills in Scotland, the skyscrapers of Hong Kong were a shock to the system for Mhairi Campbell.
The designer, who currently manages the Asia division of a British based design agency, spent most of her life growing up in a beautiful village called Dollar in Scotland, where her parents still live.
"Scotland has absolutely stunning scenery. I remember the family holidays that we went on every year to the Highlands. We would normally rent a cottage for a week every summer and would go hill walking, visit beautiful beaches, and just enjoy time together as a family. I definitely took for granted the amount of open space and clear air!"
After finishing university in Aberdeen she moved to London with her then boyfriend, now husband, Ross, but after four years the couple had itchy feet.
"I will never forget the first time that we talked about Hong Kong. Ross came home from having some drinks with friends and woke me up to ask if I would consider moving to Hong Kong. I think I told him he was crazy and went back to sleep!"
Over the next few weeks, and months the idea began to grow. Ross had a contact in Hong Kong who was able to set up some job interviews and when Ross was offered a position they decided to take the plunge.
"As much as we had talked about moving overseas for a long time it was clear that we needed something to give us a push and this seemed like a sign that the timing was right."
"I remember very clearly sitting in a taxi from the airport, driving along the edge of Victoria Harbour and being shocked by just how vertical everything was. We drove into Wanchai, which is one of the most bustling areas on Hong Kong Island, and is where we had a serviced apartment for our first month. I just remember it being hot, noisy, busy, and full of so many different food aromas."
"In some ways it was the complete opposite of everything we were used to, the language was foreign, the fact that so many things were not to be found at street level but far up in high rise buildings was strange, we were totally unprepared for the humidity. In other ways it was like any other big city that I have visited, very multicultural and everything was very accessible."
Cooking has always been an important part of family life for as long as I can remember. My mum is a fantastic cook and it was she that taught me to cook and instilled in me the passion for home cooking that I have today.
Some of my earliest memories, however, are of my grandmother's cooking. She used to make us pancakes, although she called them drop scones, and she cooked them on an old-fashioned cast iron griddle. They were such a treat!
The dish I have chosen is my favourite childhood treat, a crumbly Scottish candy called Tablet. It is similar to fudge but with a different texture. It is very unhealthy so it was great to have an excuse to make a batch!
Scottish food is homely comfort food. The weather in Scotland is often not great so warming stews and pies are often on the menu. Haggis, our national dish, is for me the epitome of a comforting dinner.
I am not sure of the origins of Tablet but if you are from Scotland then it is something that you will have grown up with. It is the type of treat that many will have fond memories of their grandmothers making. It is very sweet so you only need a small square, it goes perfectly with coffee, and is often served in Scottish restaurants as a petit four at the end of a meal.
Most tablet recipes are simple and include only 4 ingredients, this version is from a cookbook that my village church published about 20 years ago and has always been the Table recipe that I have used.
1 x 400g Tin of condensed milk 120g Salted butter 900g Golden granulated sugar (regular granulated is also OK) The empty condensed milk tin filled with whole milk 1/2 Tsp sea salt 1 Tsp vanilla extract
Melt the butter slowly in a large pan or stockpot. Add the condensed milk, sugar and milk. Slowly bring to the boil stirring constantly. All the sugar should have melted before it starts to boil. Boil slowly and stir frequently for 15 - 20 minutes. The mixture will go darker and thicker as it boils. If you have a candy thermometer then when it reaches 115 degrees centigrade it is done. Alternatively, chill a saucer in the freezer and after about 15 minutes test to see if it is ready by putting a small amount onto the chilled saucer.
Once it has cooled, if it has set and crystalised then it is ready. The texture should be crumbly and grainy, if it still looks like chewy toffee then it is not ready. Remove from the heat, add the salt and vanilla extract, and either beat by hand with a wooden spoon or with an electric hand whisk until the mixture has thickened more but is still pourable.
Pour into a shallow rectangular baking tray, 25 x 35cm, that is lined with baking paper and then use a sharp knife to score squares. Leave to cool completely, overnight if possible, and then cut into squares.