Weekend Coffee Share – Last One of the Year

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about my lower back pain which started just as I finished up from work for the Christmas break.   I’ve managed to use it as an excuse to not do any of the exercise I’d planed in order to keep the excess away from my body.  I think I overdid it in the lead up at the gym and cursing myself.

Christmas has been and gone in the blink of an eye and I’m starting to think about the New Year.  The resolutions are there looming and I’m pondering how did I get to here without accomplishing the things I’d wanted to and then I’m reminded of the things I have done this year….a family trip to Orlando and a life dream of visiting NASA (which has to be a highlight).  Importantly I’ve kept my job despite a number of turbulent moments.   The house that owns us is starting to feel and respond to our ebb and flow rather than the other way round.

The boys are growing so fast now and an independent 15 year old in the house is both opening up free time and challenging the family of 4 dynamic.   Exams are looming and the need to create study time a constant reality as he hit the books on boxing day.

My food aspirations are ever present and I did manage to tackle a few things from the supplements I’d collected over the last few weeks in the run up.   My highlight has to be the Donna Hay Chocolate Meringue and the Cranberry and Pear Compote from the Waitrose magazine.  Roast Shoulder of lamb (Cumin and Szechuan pepper lamb with steamed aubergine) from Ottolenghi in the Guardian provided us with a few meals, not sure the rub was worth the agro and perhaps just slow roasting au naturale would have wielded just a wonderful result.  The aubergines, steamed and dressed in the juice were pretty tasty though.  The masterclass yule tide log, although simple in it’s constitute parts…assembly under time pressure proved a challenge…..the boys didn’t seem to mind though.

I’ve set myself a challenge of tidying my desk today, filling those things that have built up over the year in order to be ready to hit the new year running.

I hope that you had a peaceful Christmas and wish you a great start to the new year.

I’m a wannabe cook, semi part time blogger!  Please subscribe at the top right. 

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 – The One Before Christmas

Saturday, It’s 11am already, the morning has just run away with itself.   This is despite me waking at 6, the normal work day time.  I dosed till 7 and then was keen to get the day on the road.  The plan to hit my favourite fish and butchers shop before the chaos starts.

Nowhere nearorganised enough to think ahead and place an order this year, the dates forlast orders long since gone. We are also being cooked for on Christmas day sothe pressure was off.   Despite thatthough I’m whipped up into a frenzy of trying to fit in a years’ worth ofcooking over the space of a few days. I’m a rabbit in headlights though, so many days, so little time tothink, all my books staring at me….the food magazines pushing all these thingsthat oooze Christmas.  The ramp up hasnowhere been subtle and then there’s the TV chefs with their Christmas specialsfilmed way back in autumn….the leaves on the trees giving away theinauthenticity of the whole thing…..harmless though.

So breathe…..we drewup a plan last night a simple grid….days across the top and breakfast, lunch,dinner/tea by the side…..a simple plan to fill in as things firm up.

The butchers……they’dbeen open since 7.30 I arrived at 8, and a fine display of everything, full onstaff and a couple of runners for orders. I’d clocked a couple of recipes for slow cooked lamb shoulder recently,an Ottolenghi and a Nigel, not sure which off the top of my head.  Boxing day taken care of.  Some stewing venison….if anything can go inthe freezer for the week of January once stewed.  Chipolatas and streaky for the pigs inblankets….we are in charge of the nibbles for Christmas lunch…..they need to besubstantial….who knows when we will eat.

The fish monger……Ipassed them first but I don’t think they were ready for me, so 20 mins later ahealthy turnaround of folk….but not too bad that I would be looked at as anidiot as I ask for a side of salmon (not in the window) for home curing.  Christmas tea/boxing day lunch taken careof.  A few other pieces, couple filletsof haddock for a risotto or kedgeree. Couple of fillets of trout.  Atsome point a light salad is required and then two pieces of wolf fish for thefreezer.  The fish shop shuts for 2 weeksfrom Christmas eve….so I’m thinking ahead.

Puddings anddesserts are spinning round my head…..apparently an egg mountain has grown inthe fridge and I’m in trouble with the boss. It was my fault, I was going to bake for work.  The school Christmas concert and a Ceilidh atthe local church hall for some pals who returned from New Zealand for 4 weeksgot in the way.

I have plans for ayuletide log, and a chocolate méringue, again from magazine cuttings and thepaper…..the idea of getting more than 5 mins to sit down and read a luxury……Ineed to carve some time out. 

In the odd momentwere I got to read some of the paper food section last Sunday, the articleinterviewed some well know chefs who talked about the favourite thing they atelast year.  I was racking my brain tothink what was my favourite thing and where. Then it came to me and I’m making it this weekend.  Cured Salmon, grated beetroot, salt, vodkaand time in the fridge.

So one thing I’mgoing to do from now on in is get better at keeping a food diary, so it’s easyto reflect and use this year as a forward plan for next (promises,promises!).  

Thanks for popping by for Coffee,  as the days go by I hope you find peace and tranquillity, you enjoy the holiday season and I wish you a Merry Christmas.

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

Weekend Coffeeshare

I’m a wannabe cook, semi part time blogger!  Please subscribe at the top right. 

Weekend Coffee Share – Tales from London

The night was a bad one, our room next door to a main entry door that shook the room every time it was used. If that didn’t wake you then the hourly chime of the cathedral would remind you that you should be a sleep. Then there was the mirth below, the windows no match for the merriment of closing time. Old school single pains of glass overlooking several pubs on the back streets of London.

The coffee is needed, with 3 boys in tow, we have a full on day planned for the London.

 

A visit to the design museum is a regular feature on my annual calendar and usually it coincides with the Beazley design awards. An amazing collection of ideas under 6 themes Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Graphics, Product and Transport. Have to admit, I’m not really interested in the fashion but the ski jacket made from spider silk was amazing. As was the 3D printed pots from algae. Im always struck by the architecture pieces. I think my winner would be the joint venture piece between Elon musk and Richard Branson on with the Hyperloop project. I can’t argue with the people’s choice winner of the SurgiBox, an operating theatre that fitted into a backpack.

The posts have been few and far between, I’m struggling to keep up with the blogging agenda I set for myself. This an amalgamation of thoughts across a couple of trips to London over the last few weeks, for work and for leisure purely coincidental.

Yesterday I saw both ends of the day in darkness and in light. A streak of orange so pure that drew a line across the sky after the plane took of from Edinburgh. I was on the wrong side to take a picture and then arrived to see glorious views of the city….as a consequence bitterly cold on landing. Felt warmer in Scotland.

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Amazing views of the city this morning

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Socialising with colleagues after work, we frequented a local house straight from a Dickensian scene, hidden away from the modern day shops. I’d never have gone without local knowledge.

London at Christmas is a marvellous place, the old and the new architecture with the lights is just so special. There’s a hustle and bustle that I’m sure just walks by and doesn’t notice. For the infrequent visitor though, you have to pause and take a breath, absorb it in.

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

Weekend Coffeeshare

I’m a wannabe cook, semi part time blogger!  Please subscribe at the top right.