Tunes still in my head – Week 4 begins

It’s Monday and I’m feeling high from the night before. Emeli Sandé concert at the usher hall, a night of spirit lifting music and light. Deep messages about being human, rising the soul, being who you are and not giving up on dreams.

The ground covered in a blanket of frost and I’ve been given the excuse of rolling over and not rushing out the door.  The fire place is being renovated today, a cracked chimney cowl and because of the height of the building a lining to add to the pain.  The smoke test had smoke coming out of two chimneys which is not a good sign on the inside of the chimneys.

My back exercises are done and I’ve completed 15 mins piano in amongst the mayhem of a family getting ready for the day.

The ladder set up for roof access, and I’m tempted to pop my head out to see what’s what.  The fear of slipping and the cold chill is overcome by the lure of a cold crisp day and the fact I’m here to see the sun on the chimney tops……time to pop my head out!

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Great night of music and light @emelisande

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By the light of the full moon

If we were having coffee we’d discuss how the days are really short now, like someone switches off the light at 4 and not back on until 9.  The days being bookended with great views of a full moon.  Thursday night I felt like if I could just get a set of step ladders long enough I could have reached out grabbed it.  Majestic as some clouds whisked by.

The Christmas food mags have started to appear in my digital feed and I’m not ready.  Still in a final 3 year house push before we get some new carpets.  What I’m finding under the old ones makes me shudder.  The skirting boards are getting that much needed lick of paint and I’m finally starting to feel like I’m winning even though  the back is still moaning under all this different movement.

In terms of exercise I’ve managed to walk home 4 times this week as part of the routine.  3 miles or so in the dark.  Taken some will power to leave that 10 minutes earlier and to not stand at the bus stop.  Getting up in the morning has been a different matter….it’s down right cosy under the duvet and 10 more mins always seems appropriate given the weather!

It’s a short coffee this weekend.  I don’t want to lose the natural light coming into the house as I tackle some more painting.

I’ll leave you with an Emeli Sande track which seems appropriate as she’s in town this evening.

 

This is my post for the weekend coffee share, thank you for popping by, if you like my ramblings and want to hear first hand how I’m getting on in the kitchen as a cook then please subscribe at the top right, to either my WordPress account or my picture diary (instagram feed).

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The weekend coffee share, is a great place, gives me something to aim for, thank you for popping by.  Hosted by Eclectic Alli

Week 2 – TopMan

If we were having coffee I’d tell you about my week,

4 days in a row using the bus, and the lack of exercise really starting to bite now with my head and well being.

Princes street and passing the Top Man store. I’m struck by the 4 mannequins dressed differently, 4 styles, I reflect on which one would be my son. Then my former self, easy to project my style onto him, maybe he’d choose something else which would be fine. Now I wouldn’t even shop there. 30 years ago, I would, a shop for young men…what happened, time slips by……I can tell I’m in a melancholy state of mind typically when I’m feeling low.

The miserable rainy weather, standing room on the bus only, the bad back, the root canal, the demands from work as I feel another restructure coming on is all weighing on my mind.

The 5th day, blue crisp sky, colours are vivid and time to pick up my bike from it’s annual service…..which means…no bus. Half a walk and half a cycle to get there on my own steam and a cycle home. No coughing and spluttering….but it’s too late I’ve been exposed and I feel myself coming down with something.

Saturday morning and I’ve a stonking head ache, can’t help thinking it’s related to the toothache from the root canal….mixed with some kind of lurgy from a bus passenger. I try to put a brave face on. There is painting to be done….the final push on the 3 year house project.

Cooking is taking a back burner whilst I face into the jobs……..I look forward to getting back.

This is my post for the weekend coffee share, and my reflections on a minor lifestyle reboot-as I countdown to 50, thank you for popping by, if you like my ramblings and want to hear first hand how I’m getting on in the kitchen as a cook or my latest adventure then please subscribe at the top right, to either my WordPress account or my picture diary (instagram feed).

The weekend coffee share, is a great place, gives me something to aim for, thank you for popping by. Hosted by Eclectic Alli

My Reboot Week 1 – Rock Bottom

Dance, Love, Sing
Dance, Love, Sing

If we were having coffee I’d tell you about how this was the week that I was supposed to be starting my reboot…..not the best time of year I know but there is something telling me not to wait until the new years resolutions kick in!

The weekend after we last met was taken up with organising, sorting shifting in prep for our autumnal house push.  A reorg of some key pieces, the boys bedrooms, some swing space to start the decorating…..and my back slowly went through the day…..I pressed go on that order for that new mattress!

The clocks changing seems to have brought the first frost that I’ve noticed a sky so crisp and bright that I ask myself what’s wrong with me….breathe it in it’s a beautiful day.

Monday and the changing colours of the new me is feeling a little broken, my back has definitely gone from the furniture shuffle.  So no gym this week which I was really going to bring into my new me new routine.   The extra imaginary hour was going to be my saviour as a I put it to good use.  It’s now light rather than dark when the alarm goes off which I know will be temporary.

I’m on the wrong side of the house to watch the sun rise as I have a tea in bed….my first rule broken avoid tea in bed.  My Achilles heal to procrastination in the morning……my back has gone from the weekend sorting,  what’s a guy to do.  I’m not even going to contemplate cycling in let alone the gym.

Used all my will power whilst drinking tea not to look at any star wars spoilers, theories and trash.  To say I’m excited about this film is an understatement!

 

Thursday and still on the bus into work,  managed to walk home twice this week and amazingly makes the back feel better.  it’s cold and bright today.  To give you an idea though.  The ground is covered in black ice, and my wife came off her bike yesterday as it gave way underneath her that’s how cold it is despite the clocks just changing.

I’ve started some minimal back exercises that a friend at work passed on.  I feel at rock bottom body wise.

Saturday morning and I’m sat in my new desk position in the study……I’m not sure yet.  The goal was to point me in the direction of the window so I could see outside.  In an effort to rekindle the feelings I had of home when I was boy, with my desk by the window, a house in a village, the village in a valley on the edges of the lake district where I’d look at the farm on the hill, the clouds and ever changing seasons.   A distraction from the homework I should have been doing!

The window is now an annoying source of light in my periphery vision….but…………if I look beyond the glass……..I see an amazing range of autumnal colours from reds, auburns and changing greens.  A huge Willow tree like grandfather time framing the whole scene as I gaze onto the back gardens of my neighbours.  A skyline of houses that have been there since 1890.

A distraction perhaps from doing my homework, from blogging or logging into work….but lets call it mindfulness which I’m in need of.

I’ve now been sat here an hour or so, a fresh coffee on the go.   I didn’t notice the hour fly by flitting between the notes and the ideas I have in onenote.   Maybe, just maybe the desk is right.  I posted the start of my reboot page.  Just realised I need to add it into the menu.  I know it needs work but going for the 80-20 rule and trying to get stuff done by not being a perfectionist.

Physically I just haven’t been able to start my reboot, although in one sense I’ve started by getting myself to a rock bottom position…..the only way is up right!

This is my post for the weekend coffee share, and my reflections on a minor lifestyle reboot as I countdown to 50, thank you for popping by, if you like my ramblings and want to hear first hand how I’m getting on in the kitchen as a cook or my latest adventure then please subscribe at the top right, to either my WordPress account or my picture diary (instagram feed).

The weekend coffee share, is a great place, gives me something to aim for, thank you for popping by. Hosted by Eclectic Alli

The Old Coffee Pot

The coffee pot is old and lost its sparkle, but makes amazingly good coffee like a wise old sage.

Is it just the novelty, the way gas heats water or just expensive coffee?  The storage jar give us no way of knowing.

The whistling kettle decided to work on our last day like a message of don’t go, its been nice having you and as I finish this post for the weekend coffee share I’m brought back to that moment of quiet in a foreign kitchen.

Going to bed early, we seemed to wake early allowing me to watch something magical.   Watching a different town come to life even before the bells start….which they did at 7:30 without fail.  Then the school kids a few mins after that like a swarm of bees as I looked down into the alley way below and then quiet again.

I’m sat at the kitchen table typing on my iPad reflecting, drinking coffee and dreaming about my blog, me and the inevitable trip home and the changes I wanted to make.  I breathe and try to soak in as much as I can.  We have the morning here before we need to head to the airport.

We’ve been back a week now, I’m dis-appointed with myself.  Foolish I know as I need to give myself a break…getting up at the crack of dawn in the cold and pitch black isn’t conducive to heading straight to the gym.   There are a bunch of organisation things going on at work that means the hours seem to be busier than ever which adds to the tiredness.

A highlight of the week is the announcement that Coldplay have made around a new album release.  I’m loving Arabesque which was released as a taster.

 

And my cooking, and even though the last thing I wanted to do on a Monday evening was go out again, I made it to  week 4 of a Persian cookery corse.  A really simple but tasty one pot dish….  Chicken, bulgur with pomegranate molasses

The plan for this weekend, is to revolutionise my study corner.  Turn into a little haven that I keep, tidy and organised.  I’ve carted things around from home to home….the stuff piles up and it’s time to just make it right.  I feel some mind tormenting games as I wrestle with the will I ever read that or use that games the mind plays!

This is my post for the weekend coffee share, thank you for popping by, if you like my ramblings and want to hear first hand how I’m getting on in the kitchen as a cook or my latest adventure then please subscribe at the top right, to either my WordPress account or my picture diary (instagram feed).

The weekend coffee share, is a great place, gives me something to aim for, thank you for popping by. Hosted by Eclectic Alli

Chicken, bulgur with pomegranate molasses

 

Credit: Persian Cookery Course, EdinburghCook

 

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 aubergine, diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200g Bulgar wheat
  • Grated zest of an orange
  • A large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 250ml hot chicken stock (from a cube is fine)
  • 8 Chicken thighs,  preferably skin-on and bone-in
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • Pomegranate seeds, optional to garnish 

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Put the onion and aubergine in a bowl with the olive oil and toss to coat.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the bulgur wheat, orange zest and half the chopped parsley.
  5. Tip into a roasting dish/large le creuset, which is big enough to hold the chicken pieces in a single layer.
  6. Pour over the hot stock, then lay the chicken pieces over the top, skin-side up.
  7. Drizzle the pomegranate molasses all over the top, use the back of a spoon to spread over the chicken skin
  8. Put the lid on or cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes
  9. take the foil off and cook for a further 30 minutes
  10. Chicken should have a nice colour after this point and the bulgur will be tender
  11. Garnish with pomegranate seeds if using and the remaining parsley
  12. Serve directly to the table and enjoy

 

Weekend Coffee Share – Como

If we were having coffee we’d be looking at the departure board, a tinge of excitement and a modicum of apprehension in case we miss the gate.

I really struggle with the airport scene.  I’ve done it enough to know the drill but not enough that it’s become 2nd nature.  The leaving enough time to get through security, the lure of duty free as your forced to walk through it to get to the lounge.  The spotting of an empty seat not too far away from the board, but close enough to keep a nervous eye and away from anyone who might invade the reading space.

Today we are straight through security, a minor blip as one of the boys pencil cases needs to be searched…..but aside from that I’d almost say it was pleasurable.  We headed straight for coffee, we’d brought some homemade Banana and Chocolate loaf to accompany (a great recipe from Nigel Slaters Kitchen Diaries II)

Destination Lake Como flying via Milan……

The flight came in a little early enabling us to catch an earlier train from T2.  Unfortunately the connection we needed in order to claim a score  at the change over station didn’t run on Saturday….so were we’d gained time, we lost waiting for our original connection.  Hitting Como at 6pm local time.

We are in an small apartment in the centre of the town and can’t believe our luck.  Bakery and ice cream shop on our doorstep.  The lake 5-10 mins away…this is going to be a lovely break from the norm.

This is my post for the weekend coffee share, thank you for popping by, if you like my ramblings and want to hear first hand how I’m getting on in the kitchen as a cook or my latest adventure then please subscribe at the top right, to either my WordPress account or my picture diary (instagram feed).

The weekend coffee share, is a great place, gives me something to aim for, thank you for popping by. Hosted by Eclectic Alli

Weekend Coffee Share – Printworks

If we were having coffee I’d tell you we were in the same place last weekend except this weekend the boy is here for a 13-18 year old print workshop rather than the Edinburgh Open doors weekend where we came to look at the repurposed North British Rubber Company building at Castle Mills

Now thanks to a bunch of funding initiatives (The Heritage Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and a number of trusts and foundations) the building has been re-purposed and a new lease of life given by the Edinburgh Printmakers. An organisation dedicated to the practice of fine art printmaking, high quality, low cost printmaking facilities for artists.

Last weekend we were early and the Lemon Polenta cake with an americano hit the spot and reminds me that I need to find a recipe.

Today, late afternoon not so lucky, I’ve opted for a date slice and a pot of tea. I‘ve carved out a couple of hours by being a chaperone, in case he needs me was the excuse. I know he’ll be fine and so to sit somewhere without interruption is a long overdue decadence.

I’m listening to the playlist that goes alongside the release of the new autobiography by Jean Michelle Jarre. An eclectic mix of music and genres.

Since my last post my Monday night Persian cookery course has kicked off. Forcing me to stick with recipes, think up front about the weekly shop. A simple chicken thigh dish with red opnions was a definite family hit for tea the night after.

Theres been no sign of the boy so far and we are 30 mins in, the clock is ticking and I’m torn by time….I’ve brought in several journals to pick up and move on. I like to keep the professional side of my life separate to the creative hobbyist side. As consequence the reflective side takes a back burner time and time again.

I’m going to leave you there an pick up one of those books. Thankyou for joining me on another of my sporadic coffee stops!

This is my post for the weekend coffee share, thank you for popping by, if you like my ramblings and want to hear first hand how I’m getting on in the kitchen as a cook or my latest adventure then please subscribe at the top right, to either my WordPress account or my picture diary (instagram feed).

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The weekend coffee share, is a great place, gives me something to aim for, thank you for popping by. Hosted by Eclectic Alli

Weekend Coffee Share – Use a bigger bowl!

If we were having I’d welcome you in with a kink in my back. I’ve been nursing it all week with Ibuprofen.  I can’t even attribute it to anything other than a vicious sneeze and perhaps too much time in the hot seat at work.

Since we last had coffee the weekend’s have either been taken up with work or the back garden.   Work, a major project delivery with a few overnights involved.  There’s light at the end of the tunnel for now until the next phase.  

Then the garden which is really taking shape, the stump was finally removed, allowing me to finally get some shrubs in that have been in posts for too long, crying out for space being in pots for a couple of years whilst we get ourselves sorted.

Spending so much time outside in the garden I’ve really noticed the change in temperature and the garden coming to the end of season, which is sad in one way, in another though it’s harvest time.  I’ve got some really nice apples ready to be picked and entering into my favourite month of the year in terms of fresh produce. 

A new shed arrived this week which I’ll be painting later on, and I’ve been given the steer to cook a meal for two given the nephews are over. So I’m now racking my brain now……thinking which cook book to go to.

So a week into September, what you going to cook?   I’m still on with my bread journey, working through the recipes from my Danish book.   Lesson from last night.  Use a bigger bowl! And using the same dough for two loaves you definitely get a better result using the dutch oven.

This is my post for the weekend coffee share, thank you for popping by, if you like my ramblings and want to hear first hand how I’m getting on in the kitchen as a cook or my latest adventure then please subscribe at the top right, to either my WordPress account or my picture diary (instagram feed).

Weekend Coffeeshare

The weekend coffee share, is a great place, gives me something to aim for, thank you for popping by.  Hosted by Eclectic Alli

Weekend Coffee Share – End of the Box

Good morning, we are up and at them this Sunday meeting for coffee…..nice and breakfast early.  Half the house is up an early football match with a 9.30 kick off.  

A fortnight of rainy days here in Edinburgh that’s seen a scary amount of water drop from the sky, the temperature has plummeted as a result and I’ve been choked full of cold since mid week with a bit of a crescendo head fug Friday, Saturday which is finally lifting.  It came out of nowhere and I can only put it down to the change in temperature that has coincided with the boys going back to school.

The sun in the garden yesterday was a welcome relief and despite my head I got out and pottered with some pointing.  I have some very old walls where the mortar has seen better days.   I’ve also come across further remains of an old pine tree stump.  I’m finally at the sorting out of a corner at the bottom of the garden, and disappointed to find out that a stump I’d paid to be ground down was only taken so far.  Just going to start digging it out myself.  Otherwise my plans aren’t going to work!

Kitchen wise we took a bold decision to kill the weekly veg box.  The boss had asked for the potatoes to be swapped out a few months ago (I missed them).  Then something just snapped in us, I think it was the arrival of some strange squash, a kholabi and pullet eggs.  Nothing against pullet eggs, but they don’t stretch far on egg night with two teenage boys appetites.  I’m sure the box guys would have put things right if we called but we are the not the sort of folk to complain.   So we are calling time on an end of an era.  

Strangely it’s given me a sense of excitement that has surprised me.  On one hand seeing what came each week was good fun and I loved the field to fork ethic….on the other I hadn’t realised that it was constraining my cooking and I’d got into the habit of having to clear the fridge of left overs and I was cooking them all the same way usually in a stew or soup because of time constraints.  So feeling both liberated and sad.   The plan though is to hit the farmers market every over week or when I do the butcher run.

Bread…my new sourdough starter is fighting fit and almost feeling stronger than the previous one. The Rye experiment from Denmark still not going to plan….another case of a mouldy result. It’s feeling like it’s not meant to be and I might resort to cross breading and performing some kind of experiment with my healthy starter.

This is my post for the weekend coffee share, thank you for popping by, if you like my ramblings and want to hear first hand how I’m getting on in the kitchen as a cook or my latest adventure then please subscribe at the top right, to either my WordPress account or my picture diary (instagram feed).

Weekend Coffeeshare

The weekend coffee share, is a great place, gives me something to aim for, thank you for popping by.  Hosted by Eclectic Alli