If we were having coffee it would be small and European (annoyingly so), or you could have a Vin Chaud to warm you to your toes. It’s been a cold morning traversing the slopes, and a little warmth is required although for some crazy reason we are sat outside drinking it! The power of the sun is a welcome sight forthose of us emerging from a Scottish winter, pouring over the majestic Frenchand Swiss alps. The little mountainrestaurant has found the perfect spot away from the wind chill and I take adeep breath, it’s a Monday and it’s not a workday!
The last two days the resort has been on lock down due to wind and snow, so it’s with great relief that we are now able to enjoy ourselves, move away from the lower crowded tree lined slopes and up to the peaks with the fantastic views.
We are staying just off the French village of Avoriaz, part of the Porte de Soleil, a vast network of interconnected ski resorts and we’ve been in and out of Switzerland already today. Early birds catching the first of the fresh snow and the best day to do the Swiss Wall without concern of breaking something! At certain points it has a 90% incline, so it’s steep and daunting in equal measure.
The boys are happy with a hot chocolate and frothy cream topping. Another year older, and stronger we are covering more distance and the reluctance to go over the edge typically rests with me now. Although I’ve brought them to the wall with no knowledge of my plan, we go over and down like it’s the most natural thing to do in the world. Out the four of us it was me that was last down….age and the feelings of being the weaker skier start to creep in. Feels like only yesterday I had these boys between my legs when anything got too tricky, now it’s them who support me with yelps and the odd grunt from the eldest.
I’m writing this at Geneva airport a moment of pause after luggage drop off and boarding, an early start of 4am to get from the mountains to the airport….I’m sat having a coffee in an effort to bring some element of stability to my system and dreaming of being back at the start of the week again.
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).
The weekend coffee share, is a great place, gives me something to aim for, thank you for popping by. Hosted by Eclectic Alli
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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).
The weekend coffee share, is a great place, gives me something to aim for, thank you for popping by. Hosted by Eclectic Alli
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
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.
The weekend coffee share, is a great place, gives me something to aim for, thank you for popping by. Hosted by Eclectic Alli
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 of 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 forthe 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 byand the boy returns closer to 12 rather than the agreed 10, he’s kept in touchwhich 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 fastand there is a calm about the place, I don’t hear any street noise, coffee inbed 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 attackfor 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.
Just been out on my bike and it is cold and crisp, I’m wrapping my hands round my cup of coffee to warm up. My fingers throbbing.
I’ve come back from the butchers with an overwhelming, I love our butchers kind of feeling. I’d picked my recipe and new what I was going to go get to find I’ve come away with something completely different in terms of a cut. I’d asked for a shoulder steak, to find I was being given steaks of pork (obviously taken from the shoulder). I was bold though and exclaimed that I was looking for something with the bone in. To find I was then talking to man brandishing a cleaver as long as his arm. He promptly brought forward this huge hunk of a shoulder along with an education session on the bone, we moved onto other cuts and agreed on a loin of pork with the bone left in. I asked about fat and we talked about the top end of the loin. This was all done with the love and care of a man who wanted to help his customer and knew his trade. I came away very happy and now I’m thinking will this cook in the same way.
The worst time of year for a cookbook hoarder…..the Christmas releases are out in full force. The best roundup that I have come across is from eat your books website. How they manage to get all these books into one review is amazing…think tardis for cookbook reviews.
French cooking this week was really stressful, a mix of turning up harassed and head fried (post work, mad rush to have tea and get to the school). A caramel disaster for creme caramel and a pastry so short it was more like builders sand for a tarte au chocolate. On my third attempt at re constitution of the sugar crystals I managed to get something that could be poured into a ramekin. And a drop of water whilst the teacher wasn’t looking remedied the sand. My friend and I were last out as the the final school bell went, just in time to pick up my son who was having his Halloween disco.
Classes have been broken into 5 week chunks this term, so that’s it for the French cooking. All in all it’s been good, a couple of learning’s and some things I’ve never cooked before. Biggest disaster was my roux for the goats cheese soufflé. Cream goes in at the end, otherwise you get a disgusting ball of fatty goo.
Week 1, Coq au Vin demo…a little cheated
Week 2, Boeuf Bourguignon, Dauphinoise Potatoes
Week 3, Onion Soup, Goat Cheese Soufflé
Week 4, Fish Casserole, and definitely something return to. Sole Meuniere…no point as you need to eat immediately
Week 5, tarte au chocolate and crème caramel
Came across Never Panic Buy a House this week where my favourite quote of the week sticks the house owns you not the other way round….never more true when the shower blew mid way through washing out the black die my son used for his Halloween hair. It was messy.
Hope everyone had a good week and Halloween went well. It’s bonfire night here in the uk and we are well and truly heading into slow cook and comfort food eating territory. My goal has been set and I’ve to start decorating the front room…so my cooking exploits are likely to be curtailed!
The weekend coffee share hosted byEclectic Alli, nice to see you, I’m a wannabe cook, semi part time blogger! Please subscribe at the top right.
Coffee today is served with a huge slab of carrot cake and a dark roast, it’s more a memory from last week as I scan my photo’s.
This time last week we were packing up the van and leaving a week behind of full on fresh air and bike trails through ancient forests. This week though tails of waking up in the dark and barely seeing the day as I returned to work.
I did comeback enthused and determined to beat the office blues, and a minor agenda around some weight loss……the bullet journal as my guide, a habit tracker in tow. Despite the strong winds I managed three runs pre work in the dark. Email defeated me big time!
Food wise my highlight has to be the fish casserole I made at my french cookery class. Not authentic as there was no fish carcass in sight….two hours in an evening is just not long enough. Despite that though very tasty and a keeper.
And although I’m not longer buying cookbooks (honest!) I found the Borough Market Cookbook, Recipes and stories from a year at the market at a steal from Amazon for £7, at present it’s at £8.99. Written by Ed Kyber who has a great inspiration food blog Rocket and Squash. As I’m no longer buying cook books I gave it to my wife for my Christmas stocking, so potentially I’ve started my Christmas shopping!
I’ve been dabbling, with my own self hosted site, trying to tweak here, nip and tuck there. My greatest breakthrough getting the Instagram feed up within seconds. My undoing to find that as I marked the old house private my pictures are no longer visible on the archive……I’ve downloaded the history (call it the van) and I now feel a bit of unpacking and re-org required for the new house.
Music wise my top tip new release is the soundtrack from Bohemian Rhapsody, I’m more of an Eighties Queen fan so not every song floats my boat….the 20th century fox fanfare really put a smile on my face, that and Trent’s weekly smile returning.
So back to the coffee, a day of DIY awaits, and I’ve forgotten to soak the beans overnight that I had planned to slow cook during that time spent hammering and bashing, so I need to find something else. I do have a sourdough slowly proving in the fridge.
Thanks for joining me, I hope you have a great weekend.
The weekend coffee share hosted byEclectic Alli, nice to see you, I’m a wannabe cook, semi part time blogger and this is my new home with my own url as well! Please subscribe at the top right.
Monday morning, first day back after a week of fresh air and zero email contact….(ok I peeped a couple of times, but didn’t respond!). I’ve vowed that I need to come back and change some of my rituals/habits that I have got myself into. Almost like bringing the new year resolutions forward a couple of months.
The changes start today, the alarm went off at 6am….and rather than the usual cup of a tea in bed to ease myself into the week I weighed myself. Not a good idea post-holiday, it wasn’t pretty, however it gave the jolt that I needed to do something. I got my running gear on and stepped out into the dark. Preparing myself for a cold chill it wasn’t too bad, the sky was a picture. Not a cloud in site and the stars out in full force…and a clear Orion’s belt out in full force…..amazing I wouldn’t have seen that if I’d stayed in bed.
I’ve said before and no doubt will say again, I hate running and I don’t seem to get faster….although I do seem to be able to run further without stopping. What it does do though is give me a sharper more positive mind…it’s just hard to remember that when the alarm goes off!
The plan this week is to avoid being a slave to email. Whilst away I set out my bullet journal, created a few habit trackers and arranged this week into a diary format that allows me to set out my stall rather than allowing myself to be dragged with the flow. My start of workday ritual is usually to sit down with my cup of coffee and open outlook, greeted with the usual message of running out of space and slowly like a frog being boiled in water I’m back into the old habit…..not this week. This week I’m going to open the journal with my cup of coffee…..I’ll let you know how I get on!
Coffee and cake has been a big theme of the week, I’m so glad you can join me! I’ve also moved location…got myself a full on URL!
The Coffee Choices: Nethy House at Nethy Bridge: Fruit Scone, a dark carrot cake (which I mistook for chocolate) or pancakes with bacon and maple syrup The Druie Café an old school house in Rothiemurcus: Serves up all manner of tray bakes, fruit scones, hot chocolate with marshmallows or a Blueberry and Lemon drizzle cake.
Let’s just say as a family we may have sampled all these, across a couple of repeat visits.
We managed lunch at one of Aviemore’s leading institutions, The Mountain Café one day and although probably our favourite place to eat, it’s service this time was terrible, a buzzer system that’s been introduced adds nothing to the fact that the staff don’t seem to care anymore that people are tired and hungry…A 40 minute wait turned into 1hr 10, to find that lots of tables were empty when we were finally buzzed. The Glenmore forest café further down the road, twice as much foot fall turned round a baked potato, venison burger, panini and scampi in 10-15 mins with a hustle that was just amazing and much needed after the 40k cycle….the staff just seemed to care.
If you need something to take home for the sweet toothed folk in your life then I can really recommend the Kilted Fudge Company and whilst your passing the Cairngorm Brewery. within a couple minutes walking distance of each other.
We’ve been really lucky with the weather, managing to make use of the vast array of cycle paths and a Munro to bag.
Aviemore to Boat of Garten, The Osprey Centre, Nethy Bridge (see coffee shop above). Part of the Speyside Way. Just brilliant and exhilarating from the get go.
Day 2 Sgòr Gaoith…the weather forecast intimated the perfect autumn hill day and I’d have been annoyed not to take it. Got the house up for an early start and first in the car park for a 9.30 start. Like the book says the perfect short (4hr!) ramble in the Scottish mountains.
A rest day, a mooch around town….the poor lunch experience albeit we were early by arriving at 11:40
Aviemore Orbital, onto Rothiemurchus, Loch Eileen, Loch Morlich and back
Day 5 – my favourite, a jumble of a few routes
Day 1 and then some….Nethy Bridge, through the Abernethy Forest, around Tore Hill, onto the B970 and then over the Slugan Pass towards Loch Morlich and the Glenmore Forest Centre, back along the old logging route. An eagle, a heron and forests that time forgot.
Day 6 – the rain came
And still we went out, just a little fresh air we said, a slice of cake later and we did another lap of Rothiemurchus. We couldn’t help ourselves. The last day here, the air, the colours just food for the soul.
The summary…..a great self catering family holiday with plenty of exercise, cake and coffee! The power of cycling giving on trails that take away the worry, time to reflect and a sense of daily achievement for all. I think I’m ready for the tail end of the year!
Thanks for joining me at the weekend coffee share hosted byEclectic Alli, nice to see you, I’m a wannabe cook, semi part time blogger and this is my new home with my own url as well!, if you’ve been for coffee before you may have to click on follow again…..I’m working on a few self hosting issues!
Got to that time of the day where it’s a bit late for coffee, you’re welcome to one, although we have a Cairngorm Gold on offer from the local brewery. Stumbled across it yesterday as we walked to the grocery store for milk. We are away for the week a few hours north of Edinburgh and always like to taste something locally made.
The weather has been terrible in the UK the past few days so although the sky was grey when we woke, it was a welcome relief to see it wasn’t raining, a coffee and a pancake later, the bikes loaded off the van and pumped up we were good to hit the Speyside way.
Cycling the route from Aviemore to Boat of Garten is one of those dream cycle rides, the landscape, the air, the colours just make you feel alive. Both boys smiles on their faces as the first few minutes were down hill with twists and turns, bridges, tunnels and loops. We were out in the open in a matter of minutes helped by staying at one of the last houses in the village.
Cycle rides mark the passage of time, where previously we’d had to coax the boys along, they are now setting the pace and before we knew it we were at Boat of Garten looking to extend our route and perhaps find lunch. The next section, to Nethy Bridge very similar in terrain once your out of Boat of Garten. Head towards the RSPB Osprey centre but then keep to the Speyside way, red route.
Lunch at the Nethy House café, where the boys were rewarded with Cairngorm hotdogs kilted in bacon….I was nearly envious with my haggis, sausage and cranberry meatloaf salad plater.
The route back, the same way we came this time rewarded with the sun in our faces.
Back to the beer…..just what I needed as I type away, a product of Scotland, a golden coloured light bodied continental style ale.
Thanks for joining me at the weekend coffee share hosted byEclectic Alli, nice to see you if this is the first time you’ve read through, I’m a wannabe cook, semi part time blogger. And if you read the post before the last postiPad Troubles….the iPad was replaced, finally mr Apple agreed it was a hard ware issue.…I’m happy and what a difference.