Weekend Coffee Share, Snowdrops

Sunday Afternoon, and I’ve managed to get away with my cup of coffee and an old School CD.  I don’t buy many now, and this one a Christmas present from my Mum….an easy gift for her…..but mental torture for me as I pleasure delay by not steaming the material pre-gift giving.   I still don’t think you can beat listening to new music from your favourite artist for the first time on a physical medium.

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January and they appear #snowdrops

A post shared by The Cook (@edinburghcook) on

I’ve been searching and these have got to be the bravest flowers as the pop their heads out not knowing what weather they are going to face, I have no idea if it’s the earth’s axis, the moon or a change in temperature that drives them to appear in January.  My favourite flower that I think stems back to my childhood, possibly something I had to illustrate at primary school.

They appear in clumps, and easy to split down, spread out and over the years the clumps grow and spread further.  The farm that I used to visit as a child had a blanket of them at the entrance. A sight to been seen as you entered the gates.

The weekend has been filled with a few chores, carpet measuring and ordering…surely a sign of this home build coming to an end.   The sockets that were fitted a couple of years finally getting the much need plaster repaired round the edges ready for  final coat of paint

Kitchen wise and tales from the table…. A mixed bag of activity

Bread

Started Fridaymorning kicked off a leaven so that when I came home would be in good fettle tokick off a sour dough for an overnight rise. Eventually got it in the oven Saturday afternoon…..  Really struggling with the whole shapingthing.  The one thing that has saved meis the dutch oven approach.   If anyoneis thinking of attempting sour dough then this technique is a no brainer.

Saturday Tea

Got the smoked Haddock out the freezer from pre-Christmas and intended to put it too good use in a Risotto, to be presented with the job of dealing with the veg box left over potatoes and kale…..Dauphinoise sprung to mind with the Haddock being given a short sharp pan fry.  One of my sons not happy with the potatoes, he has some kind of aversion to creamy things unless Mac and Cheese or…..it’s chocolate.

For after’s followedwith individual prune sponge puddings….the boy managed the cream as a caramelcustard amazingly!   The only issue withindividual pots….there’s no 2nd’s.   Probablya good thing given the unofficial diet that I’m trying to be on……I kid myself.

Soup

Whilst all that’sgoing on I throw together a soup for tomorrows Sunday lunch, we’ll have it withthe bread.   A mildly spiced SweetPotatoe and lentil concoction

Sunday Tea

Sunday tea going for a Moroccan style butterflied leg of lamb, it’s been marinating in what I always seem to remember as called the ra’s al ghul spice (too many hours watching Batman) when really it’s the ras el hanout, a mixture of the shops best spices on offer.   Taken this recipe from the Borough Market book I got for Christmas.   First trip out.  As ever happened to pick something that wasn’t your usual fair.  A butterflied leg of lamb and a small one at 800g.…..Butcher was a bit thrown….and I didn’t realise why.  It was the small size not the cut.  Helped me out by taking few steaks to put back in the window….fully committed it wasn’t cheap at half the price and although the butcher said it should serve 4 at that size….my thinking it will serve 4 over 2 meals.   We’ll see!

Having now done my research the butterfly method is popular with BBQ’s, A way of folding the meat out and getting an equal cook across the joint.

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).

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, welcome to 2019

Come on by and grab that coffee, welcome to 2019 from the EdinburghCook!

It’s been a funny week from a schedule point of view, both work and holiday intermingled.  The boys still off on holiday from school.  One revising for his first batch of what we’d call real exams

I’ve been in and out the office, which has been quiet with an element of thinking time.  I’d craved it so much that when I got it I was almost paralysed with too much choice, like a rabbit in head lights.  It didn’t last long and service was promptly returned to normal yesterday as folk started returning.  The nuance of the day changes, people need things, decisions need to be made and the time for thinking is reduced…even by the simple hello’s along the corridors or the stairs.

Cooking wise there has been a one pot with chicken and oranges (good seasonal produce) and a disaster spelt loaf that turned into an amazing Focaccia.  This evening we have our last Christmas invite…albeit overdue, catching up with friends who are cooking for us….which is a real treat and leaves me at a loose end cooking thoughts for a Saturday.

Means a trip into town guilt free without the rush of having to get back in time to start preps, it’s really nice to be cooked for at a personal level and not to be taken for granted.

The weekend otherwise is looking cold and damp, the decorations are down and we are very much starting to think about the warmer times ahead.  And this reminds me I want to look up a list of Munro’s (Scottish Mountains over 300ft)in Excel format.  I’m going to tackle or more correctly bag 50 before I’m 50 as a challenge.  I’ve revisited an older post on new years resolutions and what it means blogging wise….advice for myself more than anything else.

The bulbs are starting to come through and I’m looking forward to seeing Snowdrops, the temperature doesn’t know what it’s doing so maybe by the next time you come round for coffee….I’ll be able to report back sightings.

This is my post for the weekend coffee share, 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 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

2019 the Resolution post

At this time of year I like many others are trying to start a new habit, put right the things I didn’t get right and change the way we approach the world.

My most popular post by a good distance has to be the one I wrote about New Years resolutions some advice for food bloggers way way back in 2015! I thought I’d revisit and steal, re-purpose that content and jump in on the resolution band wagon. Mainly remind myself what it’s all about.

Your Only Human – Take Time

Forgive yourself for what you didn’t achieve last year and give yourself a pat on the back for the things you did. Also recognise or acknowledge that you most likely helped others to achieve through out the year.

I’m reminded that at the tail end of November my 8 year old son got a bronze in a local swimming gala. He’d won his heat, but got missed off the final race due to a mess up…so raced against himself, with everyone watching….. They’d retained the actual commonwealth podiums from the 2014 games and he stood there proud as punch. This was not only his achievement, his teachers but also his mums for taking the time to get him to class after school in amongst the errands. The smile on his face, this was one of life’s precious moments for me…..and it’s important to take these moments when you can.

Sharpen Your Saw

To do that relax and take time out. Remember to live and enjoy the things around you. Go to an art gallery, visit the cinema or simply take a walk. Even maybe taken a different route to work. The lost art of free time time struck a cord with me in that it’s important to plan free time.

Crisp walk into work today, allowed me to catch the sunrise, a bright orange opening up the day

Join in

Join a community and get involved. I was given a huge boost mentally by taking part in the blogging101 course ran by the daily post. The free course was great for creating momentum, a schedule around activity, genuine feedback and some good old fashioned advice. Looks like the format has slightly changed, the courses look available all the time and some great articles that I think I’ll go back and take a look at.

I take part in the weekend coffee share (hosted by EclecticAli), helps start my frame of mind in terms of just writing, a nice community of bloggers with a good mix of content from all manner of folk across the globe. Helped me create a good heart beat to posting.

Avoid Rabbit Holes

This is the process of following link after link. I find following rabbit trails too easy, going from site to site. I find lots of good stuff, and usually end up adding to my list of things I want to do and read. A bit like finding new recipes when I already have some to try! It’s easy to procrastinate and follow too many links. Set yourself a time limit and realise when your doing this.

Ohhh help me to follow my own advice!

Daydream

Not the same as procrastination…..this is about visualising your goal. Think about what it is you want to achieve and picture yourself succeeding. The telegraph wrote an article related to Sports Visualisation and explores this further.

Getting Things Done

Discipline is key here and what you do gets done!

Find yourself a process and stick to it. David Allen has defined the GTD process. If you haven’t heard of GTD then for me this guy is the most widely known author of Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity.

There are a few GTD videos on YouTube. This one is a TED talk as well…..be careful you might go down a few rabbit holes with this!

I’ve still not got to grips with GTD….what I have found that works is bullet journaling

Got a Tablet?

There are a myriad of apps out there that promise the world in terms of being organised and the new you. This is another one of those rabbit holes and the irony of procrastination comes to mind as I try to find another life saver app. My recommendations are to-do (Microsoft took over Wunderlist), Trello and OneNote. I’m still battling with to-do/Trello but OneNote seems to be the one constant in my life. Across all operating systems, I plan holidays with my wife through to simple lists such as my list of Jack Reacher Novels that I’ve read, still to read, got and not got. Its a god send when you’re at the school fair and can whip up the list on your phone!

There are quite a few productivity tools out there, my key advice is to choose and give it a good shot, stick with it and your process……saying that if it isn’t working at the same time don’t be afraid to swap and try something new (just to sit on the fence). The key thing is that it’s you who gets things done……not the app! The app is purely a mechanism to organise and group your thoughts along with your process. Discipline is key here! Same with the bullet journal. I think that the old fashioned list writing can’t be beaten.

Get Organised

Easier said than done, juggling is hard work. We all find time for the things that must be done. Treat your being organised as a priority. Book a regular slot and stick to it in your diary where you choose and stick to just organising yourself. That diary you’ve just bought isn’t going to organise itself. Make it work for you and put the things that are important to you into the regular slots. Can’t find a diary that works for you…..create or tweak your own. I use CalendarPedia a great free calendar resource. I take the excel version and tweak to suite my style of working. I download the school term calendars and fill those into the spreadsheet as well.

Bullet Journalling also allows you to bring your own creative streak to organising and I think that’s why I’ve taken to it. I’ve just created a 6 week block in my journal. 42 Days between now and term ends….a really short spell of time. I’m going to focus my head around what I want to achieve in those 42 days and stick to it.

The Blog

Sort it out! Only you can do this.

There is a great list of resources at the Blogging University. You could build a plan to achieving this list….they all take time so be realistic. I’ve definitely not mastered this! I find myself less proficient throughout the summer as I take to the outdoors at the weekend. The key message to myself in this space is to take a few moments to plan out the schedule…….take notice of the getting organised section and stick to it.

2019

Have a great new year! Remember for all the organising and planning that you do there will be curve balls, these can be both good and bad. It’s how you choose to deal with them that’s important. One thing is pretty certain, there are 24 hours in the day….and in the main you do choose how to spend them!

2019 New Year – New Day

For some in Scotland today is the big party day, with neighbours operating an open door policy…..the door staying open until the wee early hours of the next day.  We kicked the new year off early yesterday with a late afternoon meal out for 2 before the stramash of madness kicked in that is Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.

Walking against the flow of the inward bound city revellers, we could taste the excitement in the air.  Back home the dark had crept in whilst we emptied our messages, the boys still not home from the cinema….we cracked a bottle of fizz and got ourselves  setup in the kitchen.  The hourly count down started at 6pm lighting the skies with a flurry of colour.   We are lucky that in if you turn your head 88 degrees and stand on your tippy toes we are able to see some of the castle way way in the distance.

A smoked, haddock risotto was the plan followed by a crumble….it ended up being a sea wolf risotto.  Having had a doh moment when Iunwrapped the paper to find that I’d taken the wrong block out the freezer.  My excuse being that the paper had stained yellow!  The good news is that I now have some smoked haddock to look forward to in the freezer.

Our eldest sensing there were better things to be doing willed his phone to ring at our weakest point, we’d had dinner and a 2nd round of Cluedo was going to be too much for the boy.  Despite the promise of MarioKart for 4 on the switch, he disappeared for a couple of hours whilst we washed up, channel surfed and entertained the youngest whilst he put me in my place time and time again despite switching cars, wheels, characters and race tracks.

The minutes tick by and the boy returns closer to 12 rather than the agreed 10, he’s kept in touch which is the main thing.   The fireworks last for 8 minutes and by 12:10 give or take a minute we hit the hay.

8am came around fast and there is a calm about the place, I don’t hear any street noise, coffee in bed and the sun rising above the chimney tops hitting the crags with a majestic force that says this day is mine.  There isn’t a cloud to be seen.

I’d started the post with a view to giving some advice mainly to myself around the plan of attack for the year and ended up with a match report of the last 12 hours or so.    I am going to write that advice post…..but to start, remember the moments are passing by, enjoy today.  Work will be there first thing in the morning…..and it’s going to be a tough 6 months by all accounts.

Happy New Year Folks