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 – 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

Lentil and Aubergine Ratatouille

My head is fried, one of the boys is bashing out tunes on the piano, jumping from ditty to ditty. The other is battling against a shrinking storm with all manner of explosions on the xBox. I’ve been painting doors and skirtings for most the day and despite it being water based I think the smell has got to me. Add to that and I expect no sympathy on this point, day 2 of a possible hangover from the annual Whisky Fringe that takes place here in Edinburgh.

I’ve been given the Sunday tea slot and asked to take care of the Courgette and the Aubergine, whilst I wasn’t the looking the potatoes as well. I was thinking a slow cooked ragu/ratatouille to serve with Pasta and Basil from the plant slowly wilting in the corner and then the potatoes arrived so just decided to go for a one pot….which I think was a little too small in hindsight.

Lentil and Aubergine ratatouille

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A simple one pot dish that’s great for using up the veg box left overs when all you want to do is chill.

Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe file

Prep: A hob and oven proof lidded casserole dish. Oven at 180°

Ingredients

  • 200g mixed lentils (100g puy, 100g Brown)
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 2 Cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 Courgette chopped to bite size pieces
  • 1 Aubergine, quartered length wise and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 500g potatoes chopped into bite sized pieces (These were newish, so I scrubbed and kept the skins on)
  • Tablespoon dry herbs of your choice
  • Heaped teaspoon of bouillon
  • Teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • Glug of olive oil

Directions

  1. In an oven proof dish, slowly soften the onion in the oil
  2. Add the garlic and stir through
  3. Add the Aubergine and turn over as they start to soak up the oil
  4. Add the courgette, stir through, the herbs and the salt
  5. The tomatoes, and then fill the can up with water and pour that in as well
  6. Add the potatoes and lentils and stir through (if you can….I couldn’t’)
  7. Use your judgement and add more water (only a drop) to cover the lentils
  8. Bring to simmer and then cover and place in the oven,
  9. Check at 30 mins and stir over, top up with water if needed (again only a drop)
  10. Check at the 1hr and the do the….should be cooked at this point, but repeat the last step, I like the extra 30 mins as I feel something magical happens to the aubergine as it softens, sweetens and adds to the pot of warming magic

Honeyed parsnip and lentil Soup

Honeyed parsnip and lentil Soup

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. Heat the oil and add the onions, celery, garlic and rosemary, gently sauté until the onions and celery soften
  3. Add the spices and turn over
  4. Add the honey and coat the onion mix
  5. Add the root veg and stir through
  6. Add the stock and the lentils
  7. 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

Table #9 – The New 2018 Year

2018-01-07 16.26.35Come 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.

Chilli

Family Chilli

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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The Edinburgh Cooks take on a family chilli.

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. Add the rest of the veg to this, the chilli flakes, the tomatoes and puree and turn over
  3. Simmer on a low heat for 40 mins or so with the lid on, stirring occasionally
  4. To thicken up the sauce simmer without the lid off
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste

The Table #6 – Get Back Running

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Sunday morning, the frost has arrived, the tell tale sign on the car windscreens that I can see in the street. I’d told myself that this weekend was the weekend I was going to crack the fear of running that was building up in my head. Two weeks ago I ran a 10k and for days after I’ve been suffering. First it was the shock absorbing muscles and the movement of going down stairs really put my pain receptors into a fancle. Then when the muscle ache wore off my right knee seemed to be complaining of something a little more severe. I was feeling relatively fit for the run, I felt like I’d put the miles in, not quite enough to say I’d run 10k in one, but enough to know I could make it around the route. Which I did in 52 mins or so. I’m putting it down to the cold day and running probably at a pace I’m not used to…..however since then I’ve not been able to face the strides, the cold mornings the dark on either side of the working day.

Something however clicked, the boss got up and put her running stuff on and I was left there reading thinking how am I’m going to crack this…..the Christmas events are going to start, the comfort food is going to kick in and I’m going to appear out the end of February wondering what happened. Add to that the last few days has seen my mood change and I needed to do something about it. From my bedroom window at this time of the year the sun creeps up above the houses and I can see the chimney stacks basking in the sun whilst the rest of the houses are in the dark with expectation in the air that some warmth might come if only they could grow a little taller. The sky was blue and really there was no excuse, there was time and it was time.

By heck it was cold…..but I was moving and my legs still worked!

Welcome into the kitchen, we had a Venison stew last night. Funny we had one vegetable, an Aubergine, left over from last week and it dictated the main meal for the weekend. That and a Celeriac that turned up in the veg box. For me at this time of year Aubergines, belong in slow cooked stews and casseroles with a tomato and red wine based sauce. I’d intended to buy stewing lamb at the butchers and then I saw a tray of stewing Venison and a deal was struck.

Disappointed with last weeks cook section in the Guardian being solely dedicated to Pasta, this weeks is much more interesting with much more writing and thought for the food reader. Less is more from Sue Quinn…Love the name of her blog Pen and Spoon. A mushroom soup that’s definitely worth a shot from Rachel Roddy. And a Brownie Recipe that will put the chocolate lover in a spin.

My Indian cookery course covered off Chicken Tikka that the boys just wolfed down. I really need to get some of these recipes up on the site! This weeks blogging resolution!!

Highlight of the week was an early train ride through to Glasgow, a window seat, a coffee and Piano music on my phone. It was 45 minutes of uninterrupted time to me and my thoughts The Fields being laid for the winter rest, and the sun low in the sky. It was a nice change that I was grateful for and gave me the nod that I really need to get away from my desk at work to plan my time, think and feel.

Big shout out to Daisy Smile face who hosts the #DSFWeeklyRewind. Thanks for popping by and spending some time at my table.

 

 

Mathieson Butcher Edinburgh

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This in my parlance is what I’d call a proper butcher.  With no airs and graces the guys in here do service with a smile, they know the locals and always quick with a joke.  The prices feel honest and true, and you get the feeling of family values and of a time when people always shopped locally.  I’ve been in the queue on Christmas Eve to hear that people have driven across town just to get to this butchers shop.

I looked for a website to share a link, in true form this butcher doesn’t have one and it pleases me to know that their reputation is enough.  With a bit of digging I came across the Grange Association website that makes a mention of the store setting up in 1902 by Andrew Mathieson, with a little history of Ratcliffe Terrace and how it came to be.  I wonder if the house I’m living in built in 1895 were customers of the same shop when it opened?

It’s only now as I write this that I realise you can smell the history when you walk in,  the floors are wooden and the little accounts office still sits neatly against the wall, sometimes with a man in it reading a trashy newspaper.   The signs have the old script painted with the various cuts labelled and a space for the chalk price.  Don’t come in with an idea of buying six thighs because the Sunday supplement calls for it.  The cuts here are traditional, if you want chicken pieces they are jointed there and then.   I don’t see this as a bad thing, more a nod to sustainability and staying true to one’s trade.  The exception I know of though is the chicken breast which I know they buy in to meet the demand.   Venison is kept in the freezer and so are the beef ribs (which I bought once…to try a recipe I’d seen in a supplement!)

Links: Grange Association

Earthy – Edinburgh Causewayside

2017-11-04 10.18.23 HDRThe weekend is here a chance to recoup and connect with my foodie drive.  I’ve kept myself local today and this feels very much a decadence.  Earthy the local foodie emporium.  I look up to see the lollipop pop lady who serves the nearby primary school, I know she lives closer than I so I shouldn’t feel to guilty!

I’ve been to the butchers across the road, stewing lamb for a Rogan Josh  (my Indian course on Tuesday) and pork chops for the Nigel dish I have planned for tea.  The boys are out sporting and amazingly I’ve carved out the morning to myself.

Earthy is one of those places that’s had to grow and adapt as it got more and more popular and sits in my if you do things right people will pay and come bracket.  It’s a ram shackled place off the beaten track so you would be forgiven for just walking by, maybe in a previous life a garage or warehouse from the 60’s.  Open brick and steel girders, reclaimed wood for the counters, solid wood tables and benches should give you a feel for the place.  The scones, the salads, the cakes, the quiches all look home made on the premises with a very relaxed wholesome and urban feel.

My wife always on the hunt for a good scone tipped me off that they were good here and today was my time to try (although I think I’ll be in trouble for trying without her!).  The humble flour, raisin and butter concoction is taken to another level here with addition of pistachios, chopped into wedges the size just shy of a small builders brick was something to behold.  It arrived warm …..enough said.  The coffee brewed by the Italian style Electra was good not to strong I only wish I’d gone large to keep up with the pace of the scone.

I’d love to linger longer, it’s quiet today, to have another coffee and while the morning away.  The home list is long and I promised I’d take care of lunch.  The beauty of this place is that I can now pop upstairs and get a few extra things.  I’m hoping to find a squash or pumpkin to roast.  The kind that smacks of good wholesome growing, not the kind that are engineered for Halloween!

Links:  Earthy Causewayside

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The Scone is a monster! #coffee #scone #saturdaymornings

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Red Onion Squash for lunch

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