Coffee is ready and we’ve cracked open a Christmas cake from the Bourke Street Bakery cookery book….come on in it’s snowing again!
The streets here in Edinburgh have been in a bad way, sheet ice on the paths and the side roads fairing no better. The weeks exercise constrained to walking and the bus. To say we were going a little stir crazy is an exaggeration.
Fortunately the weekend saw a blue sky day and we were determined to get out. I love Braid hill, close to home at the same time a feeling of escaping and a way of looking at the world in a different light.
Inspired and in protest at the world I’ve signed my self up for a triathlon sprint in August. Apparently great for the beginner. 20km cycle, 5k run and 750m open water swimming. Cycle, not a problem and running I’ve finely got that distance in the bag without too much of an issue. The swimming….fills me with dread. I’ve not covered that distance since I swam for badges back in the 80’s. Then add them together in succession…..I’m starting to realise I’m going to have to get a training plan in place…..fortunately it’s 7 months away and that’s the point right.
Retro movie re-wind time and what did I torture my boys with today? The Last Starfighter!
Music playing on the kitchen stereo….a little bit of INXS.
I’m grateful for root vegetables and soup, just the ticket for these cold days and trying to be a bit more healthy.
Hearty Soups are a must for January and the veggie box came with a bag of parsnips this week. This is a warming earthy soup where the honey takes the sharp taste that you sometimes get with a boiled parsnip.
Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File
Prep: A heavy based soup pan to hold more than 1.5 litre.
3 tbsp Olive oil
1 medium sized onion diced
2 cloves garlic
450g root veg (3 parsnips and a carrot) chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
250g red split lentils
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp runny honey
1.5l Vegetable stock
Whilst your chopping the veg soak your lentils, I weigh the lentils and then add 250g water at same time. Not essential I just find they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Heat the oil and add the onions, celery, garlic and rosemary, gently sauté until the onions and celery soften
Add the spices and turn over
Add the honey and coat the onion mix
Add the root veg and stir through
Add the stock and the lentils
Simmer gently for 25-30 mins with the lid on, stirring every so often
If you like a smooth soup, blitz with a hand blender or mash and stir through
Come on in we have a chicken and bacon pie on the menu…(still to find the recipe/make it up) a fresh pot of coffee just made and a slice of flapjack.
Its been a long hard week, Tuesday saw a real back to routine kick in with the house coming back to life in the early morning. The once still house at 6:30, is now back to having familiar noises, the shower, the clunk of bedroom drawers. The bleary eyed pleasantries of two boys ready to catch up with there pals again. Still in shock of having to jump out of a cosy duvet.
The 2 days of ice that had built up on the car windscreens has gone, my signal to say that it might be safe to cycle. It may have been safe ice wise, however wind chill wise sharp to the bone on the fingers despite the thick gloves.
So we made it through a tough week in January, the back to reality week where the January blues kick in. I started reading the Human’s by Matt Haig as a way of relax before bed….I’m mightily impressed by the new year challenges that folk are doing to read 50+ books this year. I was hoping cookery books counted…..alas…..maybe I need to start my own challenge!!
Granny’s recipes are challenge enough, now roughly categorised into 150 sweet things (desserts and bakes) with 140 mains and savouries.
I’ve also been Indexing The Mountain Book Café cookbook for the Eat Your Books website that I often use.
Introduced the boys to Ferris Buellers day off, there were even chuckles from the eldest which was nice to share. So this week in amongst the toing and throwing of work I’m grateful for the laughter. Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend.
Come on in, coffee is ready and there is a chilli on the hob. First week of 2018 in the bag, with a mix of renewal, some of the same and a bit of the old. A short working week, unpredictably cold wet and windy, I’ve managed to get into work dry, but the home slog wet and cold.
It’s that time of year the annual re-org of my head in relation to the cook books that have entered my life, the recipes that I’ve cut out collecting dust in my in-tray. The screen grabs from my iPAD taking up valuable iCloud space and the un-touched recipes from Granny’s black box…….you get the picture….something needs to happen!
So despite my no more cookbooks ever and then the one in one out rule it never seems to happen!……what can I say, I can’t help myself.
The four that entered my life over the last couple of months:
Christmas Chronicles – Nigel Slater (A cook who writes)
In the end I couldn’t resist. From the man who really brought me on and inspired me into the world of cooking a homage to the winter season, a diary, a bunch of winter facts and seasonal recipes. This will be now be parked and put to bed for next winter. Not quite into the decorations box as it starts in November.
The Mountain Café – Kirsten Gilmour (A Kiwi in the Mountains)
An early Christmas present, due to the fact I drive the boss bonkers, I was about to take it out of the library (to be fair I’d had it on the reserve list since August). Getting it early was a welcome godsend meaning I could do some cooking in the lead up to the big day rather than being given a book that I don’t have the ingredients for or can’t get because the shops are closed. This has definitely got some miles in it. In the lead up to Christmas I did both chowders, the veggie burgers, the pancakes a couple of times. A chunky sweet potato salad. This is before I get anywhere near the cake section that the café produces.
The Art of the Larder – Claire Thomson (The 5 O’Clock Apron)
A self bought Christmas Present (any excuse). I’m hoping to get some tips on store cupboard recipes. Used the Cavalo Nero recipe for New Years eve which worked a treat with the Stroganoff recipe from One Knife, One Pot, One Dish.
One Knife, One Pot, One Dish – Stéphane Reynaud (Villa 9 Trois in Montreuil)
Great inspiration for some cooking that cooks itself whilst you get on with life, the jobs, the garden etc. This will be my slow cook side companion and I’m pretty sure will be used throughout the year.
Typically at this time I choose 5 books for the year….from experience this doesn’t work….I get distracted, the season, a new discovery, a twitter link, instagram feed, the paper and the best browsing in a bookshop … so this year I’m going to work monthly and not kid myself. The three above are in and then decisions, decisions…
Family Superfoods – Jamie Oliver
The cheeky chap from essex, who really grew on me when he started his philanthropy….cookery books for the masses the leading uk author. Can’t really avoid him or get away from his enthusiasm for food. I’d love his new book….but really did I do his last one justice….no. So this is the one!
Two Kitchens – Rachel Roddy
A resident in the food section of the guardian. An expat who spends her time in Italy and the UK. I just love her language with food. The memories she evokes in her writing. Not just recipes…discoveries and life stories.
I expect I’ll carry them through the year, my thoughts here though are just to focus and concentrate on these books, use them to stay focussed and learn.
I’m also going to get back to my pet project of organising granny’s recipes from the black box. I managed to scan them all off the index cards and I struggle to read some of them. Others have been passed on and some are in the teenage writing of my wife. There recipes of a time, some are recognised and some are just aspirational hand me-ons from a friends perhaps post a dinner invite. I hate the idea of them collecting dust and somehow I can bring them back into our time and our lives. They bring granny and grandparents into the conversation at the dinner table and that has got to mean something
Thanks for joining me for #weekendcoffeeshare and a #DSFWeeklyrewind, in the background I’ve been playing a little bit of Pete Tong and I’m grateful for the warmth in my home. The cold spell that’s being shown on the tv across the northern hemisphere makes my heart sink.
When is mince and tomatoes a Chilli or a Bolognese? Or when is a Bolognese a Chilli…….I think my definition would be when you add spice and kidney beans and in this recipe, a chilli and some peppers….no oregano or Mediterranean herbs.
This is a good chunky chilli, with no traditional aspect to it! It’s good for using up the spare chilli, onions and carrots in the fridge….makes use of the beans at the back of the cupboard and great for freezer prep.
Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File
Prep: This roughly covers 10-12 portions, Good sized casserole dish, heavy based pan. Don’t underestimate the chopping…..great thing to do on a cold wet January day with the stereo on.
3 tbsp Olive oil
3 Onions, finely chopped….I added a red one that needed using
4 Cloves garlic
4 carrots, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1kg beef mince
1 tblsp Worcester Sauce
1 tsp Chilli Flakes
1 fresh Chilli, finely diced
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 400g tins of Red Beans (I used a tin of Kidney and a tin of Aduki)
Salt and black pepper
200g of Mushrooms quartered
3 Peppers (mixed adds a nice colour to the dish), seeded and diced
Heat the oil, and add the onions, celery, garlic and fresh chilli and mince…..gently sauté, breaking the mince down with a wooden spoon until brown and the onions are soft.
Add the rest of the veg to this, the chilli flakes, the tomatoes and puree and turn over
Simmer on a low heat for 40 mins or so with the lid on, stirring occasionally
To thicken up the sauce simmer without the lid off
It’s with great reservation that I open my eyes this morning. It’s not that it’s any earlier than yesterday, it’s the fact I’ve to get back into the real world today. A world that has been rocked by storm Eileen, that hit the house with wind and torrential rain. When every time I woke convinced me I would be catching the bus in the morning so I had at least 10 more minutes in bed.