In Conversation….. with Suzanne Mulholland

When Suzanne Mulholland uploaded her first cookery video to YouTube back in 2017, she could never have anticipated the career change that would soon follow. After years of working as a time management trainer, Suzanne realised that the skills she had learnt could also help streamline the everyday tasks of family life, and she used this approach when cooking for her family – batch cooking meals in advance and freezing them to then have quick, easy and nutritious meals all week long.  

Suzanne’s accessible and down-to-earth approach to cooking struck a chord with viewers and The Batch Lady was born as that first YouTube vlog led to another, and another, all filmed in the kitchen in Suzanne’s home in the Scottish Borders. Four years on, with legions of followers both on YouTube and across social channels, and having published three highly successful cookbooks, Paton & Co caught up with Suzanne to ask about her business and life in the Borders, and to glean some practical tips on stress-free cooking over the festive period.

Thanks for chatting to us Suzanne. Firstly, can you tell us a bit about you and what you do?

Hi, I’m Suzanne Mulholland, author of The Batch Lady cookbooks and owner of The Batch Lady Ltd. My business is all about modern batch cooking: showing busy people how to make food in advance and freeze it so they always have a home cooked meal ready to serve no matter how busy their day has been. Four years ago, I showed some friends how to make 10 meals in 1 hour, and someone said, “Wow, you should put that on YouTube!” I did, and within a year had my first book deal; four years later almost half a million follow The Batch Lady online and I currently have three books published with more in the pipeline.

Scottish Borders

Guessing you can do your job from anywhere, what led you to live in this area? 

Yes I’m very lucky – my job is mainly online so it’s easy to work from anywhere as long as there is good WiFi reception. My husband’s family had the family farm in the Scottish Borders for some years and we always came down from Edinburgh at weekends. Fifteen years ago we found that weekends weren’t enough; we wanted to live in the Borders so moved down on a permanent basis and love it!

What does a working day look like for you?

Well it’s busy! From 6-9:30am I’m dog walker, cleaner, and school-run mummy, so the mornings are busy. I like to be at my office desk (in my home office) no later than 10 when I kick off the working day. I usually start with a quick team meeting with the Batch team – we do this on Zoom as we’re based in different locations. Then it’s generally recipe writing, website work, recipe testing or filming, and, of course, in certain months of the year, full on book writing to make the publishing deadlines.

Each day I try to keep a bit different. Mondays I spend writing my weekly newspaper column that goes out in one of the nationals on a Tuesday; Tuesdays and Wednesdays are in the office; and Thursday and Fridays are usually in the farm or my Edinburgh Batch kitchen filming or testing. By 3:30 I evolve like many a working mum back into dog walker and school run mummy, and spend most evenings doing various things with the kids/home life/husband and farm. I don’t have much room for hobbies at the moment, although when I do get a minute I’m secretly working on trying to write a fictional novel!

Rosie Sugden


As it’s almost Christmas and often people get quite stressed out by preparing a big family meal, what are your top tips to keep things hassle-free?

Christmas doesn’t need to be stressful. Most of the time it’s the thought of all the different elements floating around your head that can make it seem more than it is. In terms of food, spilt December’s food into three sections:

1/ Evening meals: look at your diary and check which nights you are in/out etc. and which nights you need a meal on the table, and make these meals one pot or simple dishes as December can be full of extra events and activities.

2/ Entertaining nights or visitor meals: look at how many of these nights you have and plan in advance for them. So, for example, I’m having lots of people on New Year’s Eve, so I have already planned and made a beef bourguignon that’s sitting in the freezer just ready to create an easy meal for a lot of people.

3/ Christmas Day meal: this has lots of elements to it but each of these can be made in advance in under 10 minutes. Make sure you have room in your freezer and start just doing a few of the sides each week and filling your freezer. That way, you simply defrost everything on Christmas Eve, and then it just needs heated or cooked – you don’t have to worry about getting every ingredient out.

So, for example, my shredded brussel sprout and pancetta recipe would require you to get 8 ingredients out and spend 15 minutes cooking it from scratch. You don’t want to do this on Christmas Day so instead make it in advance and on Christmas Day it reheats in the microwave in 3 minutes!

Spending two hours on a random rainy day in late November or December is worth the Christmas Day prep as it means you get those two hours back on Christmas Day to relax and enjoy the day with your family.

What tips do you have for creating quick and easy meals for the days after Christmas?

1/ Use leftovers to make other meals so you’re not inundated with lots of food you end up wasting.

2/ Think one pot or easy meals for in between Christmas and New Year – and try to prepare these in advance.

3/ Buy in part-baked baguettes that have a long shelf life – these are great for making that last bit of pate or left-over cheese board be repurposed into a yummy help yourself lunch.

4/ Give family and visitors tasks, like “You’re on the lunch today” – so the main cook gets a break at times.


What’s Christmas like in the Mulholland household, and do you do all the cooking?

Yes, I do all the cooking, but, of course, it’s all made in advance so very stress-free. Even breakfast is my breakfast skillet from my first book, so it just heats up in the oven as we open presents.

In terms of the day, no matter how old my kids get it always seems to start at 6am, with stockings being opened in bed, then down to see what Father Christmas has left under the tree. There are usually a few duties to get done on the farm before we pop the champagne and have a nice breakfast. We always end up with a lot of family for Christmas with the day being full of visitors and people opening presents, before I serve Christmas dinner around 3pm. After that we play fun games, drink, chat, and sing our way through the day.


Do you have any special festive traditions?

We use shooting socks as stockings, and always have champagne at breakfast. And we still put mince pies, carrots, and beer out for Santa – no matter what age the kids are.


What does 2022 hold for The Batch Lady?

2022 looks busy. I’m currently working on a project that’s launching next year, although I’m contract bound not to mention it, but I promise it’s all going to make for an exciting 2022.

Any local businesses and/or professional services would you like to highlight in your area?

I cannot speak highly enough about Borderlink who have set us up with amazing fast WiFi. This has been the sole reason I’m able to work from home as previously our WiFi signal was terrible.

Mainstreet Trading in St Boswells have been a great support and have launched all of my books so far with amazing sold out crowds.

Viv Seeley of ViVID Design has been amazing at graphic design and has been a great local source.

The Borders Book Festival is a fantastic event and has been great at promoting local authors.


If you were to describe your dream home, what would it look like?

I love my home and don’t think I would want much more than I’ve got, but perhaps I would love a big castle with a swimming pool!


For more cookery inspiration, visit The Batch Lady and follow Suzanne on The Batch Lady’s YouTube channel. You can find Suzanne’s books here.

You can also follow The Batch Lady on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest .

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