Weekend Coffee Share – Post Denmark

The coffee is strong this morning, I wasn’t in charge of the number of scoops…..I’ve taken a few gulps and gone back for some more hot water…….that’s better.

Back into the swing of things now although the schools haven’t gone back. I’ve been trying to hold onto that holiday vibe whilst trying to jump back onto the project express at work…..and it is fast.

Writing up my notes from our Danish Adventure, has been happening and a nice way to review and reflect on the journey. I always think I’ll blog about the holiday. It never happens but this time with a little determination and the fact I took a few notes as I went has helped.

For those that popped by for coffee last weekend, apologies for repeating myself…updated links are here:

Before we got away for the holiday we’d managed to get the patio done and replaced. After 3 years of being here the garden is finally taking shape. I’d been worried that the new lawn wouldn’t have had any rain. I’d needn’t have worried I came back to a mini jungle. I’ve started to dream about pots, planting and sorting out all the other niggles. I’ve got a big re-pointing exercise around the wall. Having pulled out a few wall hugging plants.

Had to re-start my sourdough project, one of the casualties of the Fridge giving up the ghost whilst we were away. Thankfully the warmth and the fact I had some good organic wholemeal…it looks like I have a new starter in the wings. Had a disaster with a new recipe for Rye bread (taken from Copenhagen book) a ferocious mould within a few days. Might give it one more go…..if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

The Edinburgh Festival has kicked off and in full swing. I was fortunate to attend the opening classical concert with my favourites being the John Williams Star Wars, ET and Superman sections.

Edinburgh Internation Festival – LA Philharmonic

Hope you are doing well and thanks for sharing coffee, I know the weather front is crazy for some folk. Yo-yoing extremes, the sun is blazing at the moment at the same time I can hear the sky rumbling, I hope all is well.

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, 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

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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

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

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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.  

Tales from the Table #15

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!

Weekend Coffeeshare

The weekend coffee share hosted by Eclectic Alli, nice to see you,  I’m a wannabe cook, semi part time blogger!  Please subscribe at the top right.  

Tales from the Table #14

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.

Bohemian Rhapsody (The Original Soundtrack)

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 by Eclectic 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.  

Aviemore Tips and the Coffeeshare

Speyside Way SignCoffee 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.

Day 1
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.

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Great day walking for October #freshair #munro #hillwalking

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Day 3
A rest day, a mooch around town….the poor lunch experience albeit we were early by arriving at 11:40

Day 4
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.

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Fuel before a big circuit. #coffee

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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 by Eclectic 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!

Table #15 – Post Holiday Blues and the Coffee Share

Rain

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Alli

Saturday and it’s raining. Definitely a welcome relief the garden so desperately needs it and the air needs to feel fresher.

The coffee is poured and a chicken is on the hob gently poaching in order to both create a stock along with chicken for tonight’s pie.

I was asked to take care of the potatoes from the veg box as part of my weekend cook.  My mind automatically jumped to a hot pot, sliced potatoes on the top more like a winter comfort food though.  Then when I looked at the box, they were nice new scrapers rather than fluffy so they will be scrubbed, slightly boiled and then roasted with rosemary, olive oil and sea salt.

I’ve had a roller coaster week mentally.  Straight back into work Monday after our return on the Sunday.  An expected shock to the system, but never the less draining mentally to get back into projects and the vernacular of the working world.  Swapping shorts and t-shirt for a shirt and tie!

Couldn’t help question myself over many things to the point of procrastination and even to the point of something so radical as deleting the whole blog to either pack it in completely or to rip it up and start again. To do so to admit failure and wouldn’t create any more time or stop me coming back.

Life has a habit of creeping in and taking over, reality kicks in and takes over the dreams that formed whilst camping in the French mountains.

So this morning with a little head-space I caught up on my feedly feeds and had a word with myself.  A trip to the butchers the paint supply shop for a primer, a 2nd coffee and the kitchen table…. I’m back…. again!

Table #13 – Galloway Forest

2018-05-05 08.10.00

The coffee has been poured and I’m struggling.  I have a bit of stiff neck and a few aching muscles this morning.  The effects of a 36 mile big country loop on the mountain bikes and a solid 9 hours sleep in the camper van afterwards.

We camped at the Glentrool campsite which was just under a mile away from the Glentrool trails and all part of the plan to be in situe for the big loop.

Managed to get to the visitor centre for 10.10, to find it didn’t open until 10:30.  Plan was to have a coffee and hopefully sample some local produce.  Those precious minutes were going to be costly, it was too cold to hang around and we had a plan B in the pannier.

By 11, we were ready for our stonking chunks of choc banana loaf that I’d baked at Christmas.

2018-05-05 13.18.47

Lunch half way at the 18 mile mark, nice to see…Old Edinburgh Road.  I was certainly starting to feel broken.  The trouble with forestry routes like this, is that you start to feel like you in some large construction site.  Mile after mile trees have been felled for timber use, to make room for the new.  On reflection a tree graveyard.

Post lunch the boys miraculously switched personas, energy levels transposed, the youngest up front with zero moans starting to sing Disney songs and the eldest now at the back.

The 2nd half felt the best part of the loop in terms of scenery and lack of forestry work, a mixture of lochs and hills.  We also came across one of the seven stanes.

Can’t beat a campsite that plays radio in the shower block, but annoying to hear tales of blue skies and BBQs when we had dreich mist and fog for most the day.

In terms of a rewind (which sadly I’ve just found out will not be continuing, all good things come to an end!)….living off the wall was playing in the shower block and couldn’t help tapping my feet whilst waiting for my boys to free up the showers.

I’m grateful for the head-space that the countryside and fresh air gives you, even through the moans there are moments of tranquillity where you get to put your troubles into perspective.  The office is miles and away and the DIY is parked for those precious few moments.

On the table was a broken sausage and pasta dish….so easy to get on the table when your on two hobs.

Two pans….Pasta in one pan cooked to packet directions.  In the other, soften a diced onion, throw in  5 de-skinned herby sausages which you can break up into bits. Stirring until colour changes, add sliced mushrooms, a glass of white wine if the bottle is open! Add half tub of crème fraiche.  Stir through.  Drain the pasta and add the sausage mix

Back to the coffee at the weekendcoffeeshare, the aroma fills the camper van and a day of adventure awaits. The stirring of the boys up top and the promise of a real mountain bike trail. We move camp today as well….a visit to Port Patrick and the Mull of Galloway….most southerly part of Scotland apparently.