It’s come round quick

Fruit Cake

It’s Saturday already, it’s come round so quick. I’m back from the morning messages and a simple light rye loaf with blue cheese for lunch. It’s time for a post lunch coffee and the weekendcoffeeshare.

I’m gearing up for painting the porch, it’s a small affair, a long over-due job probably not been touched in 20 years. I can understand why though, a hotch potch of corners, nooks and crannies. The meter is there for the electric, the fuse box and coat hooks. It’s going to be fiddly.

I’m off the Saturday cooking duty as a consequence; which is a little disappointing, at the same time nice to be cooked for….although that is the case most days! I enjoy the weekend spot and the routine of producing something new.

The Guardian today, had various recipes for lunch time cooking whilst at home. I cannot see myself going anywhere near them given the amount of time between online meetings. Where one meeting ends and the next one starts with the touch of the screen on the iPad. I am taken by the roast chicken legs and radicchio (tomorrow nights tea). Then there is the easy weeknight root vegetable fitters and slaw with Sausages….probably Monday’s tea.

TV has so much going on at the Moment. I’m late to the Mandalorian, and caught up quickly, about to start the next series (no spoilers please) with the youngest. Star Trek Discovery, my guilty pleasure just keeps giving…and nobody is interested in the house but me. Then the BBC has got His Dark Materials an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s trilogy and the whole family seems to appear for the Sunday sit down which is nice.

It’s time to start making the fruit cakes if you wish to feed them in time for Christmas, another thing that’s come round quick. The smell lingers in the kitchen for hours….a smell that always takes you by surprise, but right back in time to my grandma’s kitchen.

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

The Fear

Chair, Headphones

The 7 day streak is long gone and the fear of keeping it going has to.  It got too much for me I have to say.  That and a number of other things like staring at the computer screen for 12 hours a day over the last few days.   A mammoth milestone at work coming to fruition this weekend.

I’ve managed to shape some kind of routine where the first hour of the day is my own over the last few months.  If I do manage to not hit the snooze button it starts with a bit of yoga, an attempt to stave of the back pain from sitting in a chair all day.  A bout of fresh air, although it’s dark now. The bonus of the shift in daylight hours long gone.

Breakfast, I’m working through some chocolate porridge concoction from Jamie’s Superfoods, the boys tried it once and I’ve since been left with the consequences.  It’s a date, cocoa and hazelnut affair, that grows on you as you get to the bottom of the bowl.

I then take my coffee or tea through to front room, head phones on, Einaudi, breathe and then read for the remaining time until such that I need to plug into the real world.

I’ve got through a few leadership books that have sat on the shelf for a while, a treat for me if I get through one book is to intersperse with a lunch time interview with the FT.  42 interviews combined in one book, the rich and famous, an eclectic mix that make me think about the world differently.

Rather than read this morning, I’m plugging away talking to you and if you’re still reading this, then thank-you for your time as it’s precious!  I’m sat in the armchair next to a big old fireplace, I’m still powering up with piano music and wondering what lays ahead for the Friday.  I hope you have a good one.

Nanopoblano Week 1

View from Arthurs seat to the pentlands

Woke to a strange sky this morning, Edinburgh enveloped in a shrouded mist with patches of blue. The sun was welcome as a source of heat, slowly working it’s magic. Inspired me to a long walk around Arthurs seat to take in a the fresh cold air. A welcome day away from the office and a chance to soak up the last of the Autumn colours.

Brunch out with the boss, a masked affair that saved us having to worry about making lunch, and then a few bits and pieces to supplement the menu for this evening.

  • Leak and bacon buckwheat pancakes, served with a rocket, sweet potato and avocado salad.
  • Hazelnut chocolate pots to follow.

With such an early lunch, there was time to crack open the fruit cake (we are not mentioning the C word yet) with a cup of coffee…..which I would gladly share if we were having coffee.

While we were having coffee I would tell you about WordPress and its constant need to tell me about my daily streak. I made it to 7 since last week, the start of nanopoblano regardless of quality! I’d tell you that a daily blog habit is quite hard if you want to provide meaningful content, at the same time as keep to the daily grind of a project that has a major milestone in the next week.

Having missed yesterday’s post I’m now wavering around the journey that I have put myself on. It’s something to add into the mental health stakes of both working from home all day on a computer to add in another item that I need to do. I’m trying to reframe it on the basis it’s something I want to do…..but with an active mind there are another million and one things I would like to do as well.  On a postive, My Nanopolblano challenge has given me focus though, making me think daily alongside visiting some other great blogs.

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Breathe….a day is dawning

Sunrise

Inspired to post this after seeing a post from Dina at withangelsandelephants : Being reminding us just be.

Some days I have a great motivation to get up and get out, breathe in the sunrise, and with it the amazing colours that creep up and can quickly disappear.

Apologies, so the post is short for nanopoblano2020……..It’s been one of those days….and it’s time to just breathe!

 

A little more organisation a little less conversation

Up early with a start at 5:30 am this morning, no turning over waiting for the alarm.  The world in motion, I needed to know what was happening, needless to say it was still pole posturing.

What to do from a Nanopoblano perspective?…..I decided to add a dedicated page in order to list the content I was producing for the month.

I’ve updated the header from some of the early pictures I took Monday,  keen to bring the blog more in-line with the season, the view from Blackford Hill out towards Arthurs Seat.

A short entry for the day, no doubt it’s going to a busy and thought provoking one.

 

 

 

 

Spiced Root Vegetable

We are definitely heading into root veg season and this recipe came about from having to utilise the veg from the veggie box we used to get delivered.  Sometimes it’s just the one ingredient that sends me off in one direction….this time a huge piece of ginger, huge by our standards anyway. We’ve only been known to buy a thumb sized piece….this one was at least 4 thumbs.  The box also contained a stonking turnip and a huge ugly parsnip….soup!

This requires a large stock pot with a lid and don’t get precious over the veg you use. Just pick a few good wholesome root veggies and the liquid ratio is yours to choose depending on how thick you like your soup

Ingredients

  • 250g split red lentils and 350ml water
  • 2 onions, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 mild fresh chilli’s, deseeded
  • a thumb sized piece of ginger peeled
  • 1 tbsp Curry Powder
  • a large sweet potato (or 2 medium)
  • a large swede or turnip
  • a large parsnip (or 2 medium)
  • 2 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • Glug of Olive Oil/Rapeseed Oil

Method

  1. Start with the lentils, give them a thorough wash in plenty of running cold water, then soak in the 350ml of water
  2. Dice the onions, ginger, garlic and chilli. (I use a mini food processor to make this quicker, or you could grate the ginger and finely slice the chilli)
  3. Glug of oil into the pan and gently soften the onion mix for 5 mins on low heat
  4. Add the curry powder and continue to cook for a minute or so
  5. Peel and chop the root veg into chunks, add to the pot and turn over, cook for a minute or so
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir over
  7. Add the red lentils which should be looking a little plumper by now and stir over
  8. Top up with water from the kettle. I usually do this to just about cover the veg
  9. Simmer until the chunks are soft
  10. Pulse with a hand blender, or mash with a potato masher to the consistency you like

Learn to cook through making soup

The word Soup conjures up so many feelings and memories.  Just thinking about it, it probably was one of the first things I made for myself in relation to helping my mum out. ‘What would you like for lunch, why don’t you nip to the shop and buy a tin of soup?’ It was a treat, I got to pick the flavour and at the time I didn’t realise how I was helping my mum out. It was always a tin of Heinz Big soup, probably ham or chicken.

Then there was a year where Mushrooms seemed to be everywhere, and every meal seemed to consist of mushrooms, including a milky soup. I shudder at the mention of this, the taste is so unique it instantly takes me back in time, I can eat the soup it just stirs something deep inside me, probably something I had no choice over.

As a student, I probably went back to my favourite tinned variety and then my best pal introduced me to Chicken and Sweet Corn soup from the local Chinese takeaway. At one point we tried to make it ourselves where whisked egg whites meets chicken stock became a complete disaster and we didn’t try it again!

30+ years on for me the humble tin of soup still lives on, both lunches over the weekend consisted of soup purely for convenience at the time. The boys can get it going and we all sit down with a loaf and some cheese. That said the boys can also reheat stuff we’ve made, pulled out the freezer.

I’ve bought many learn to cook books over the years. They usually start with eggs, or start with a cartouche or some other unworldly technique within a couple of pages.

I’m suggesting home made soup for the wannabe cook as a starting point. It’s an amazing place to start, a great way to learn about foods and simple techniques, it can be forgiving in so many ways. It really doesn’t matter how you chop your onion or your carrots if you’re going to blitz it. At the same time it can be healthy and tasty.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting various Soup recipe ideas, recipes to make your own, or just to fuel your ideas. I’ll add the links here, you can either bookmark this or click on follow so you get them in your in-box as they are added.

 

Would love to know your favourite soup, or whether this is a great place to start as a cook.

Day 1- Nanopoblano

You can do that thing is an apt starting point for my Day 1 of Nanopoblano and I thought I’d share my goal of committing to 30 days of blog activities and essentially trying to post something everyday for the next 30 days.

A post a day in some shape or form might sound easy, I’m both excited and worried. It really means committing to something that I’ve tried to do for so long on and off……but in the spirit of doing that thing I’m giving it a shot.

One day I’d like to pull a cookbook together, it’s a dream that started probably when the boys arrived a good sixteen years ago. I’d wanted to chart the food that helped them to become good eaters. Then it was the food that I would cook that enabled us to move house a couple of times, sustaining us through the fixer uppers. Then it’s Scotland, the walks the exploration, then it was the summer holidays, the camper van. Then it was the box of random recipes that got passed on some time ago. With so many twists and turns, life has a way of happening and time passes by.

The recipe book isn’t about seeking fortune or fame, more a way of collating ideas over the years, the recipes for life and perhaps something that might get passed on at some point. It’s also worth pointing out eight or so home economics classes as a thirteen year old boy doesn’t constitute catering training and neither does a brief stint of washing dishes as my Saturday job before getting fired for dropping a milk crate! That was a good 30+ years ago; my career is in technology and so my experience really is as being a home cook, a family guy who lives in Scotland.

Woefully in fits and starts I’ve posted something every other week to the #WeekendCoffeeshare, nothing that would really move me forward with my purpose, my writing or to push my dream forward. Lock-down and the Covid situation saw me producing even less despite working from home. For a little while I fell into that trap of thinking I’d have more time being at home, that there would be more hours in the day for that side line project. An illusion that disappeared quickly as I realised working from home is harder, time management even more complex from both a physical and mental health point of view.

The ramble and the woe is me is over…….the next 30 days is going to see me put some effort in.

As you can see I’ve put a personal kind of Kanban board together:

  • 30 Days down the side
  • New Ideas
  • In Progress
  • Ready to Post
  • Done

Let’s do this!

Hunkerdown Halloween

Hunkering down in town today. With gale force winds on the forecast it’s not a weekend to be exploring the hills. We’ve walked in with a few messages in mind.

For me it’s the ingredients that we don’t have readily available, the butchers and the whole foods store. We’ve recently subscribed to the guardian and so on waking I’m able to hit my favourite Saturday food section. This in order to broaden my skills and thinking in the kitchen. I use it as inspiration and a way to just say this is it, the choice whittled down to a few pages, what you going to make.

My favourite writers that brought me to the paper have long since moved, now it’s Rachel Roddy that brings me back. An ex pat living in Italy sharing homely recipes. Translating traditional Italian recipes, making them accessible with a writing style that inspires. A gnocchi made from semolina is on the menu tonight with a beef stew. Followed by an Almond based carrot cake.

Halloween this year is going to see me transition to a daily blogger, I’ve signed up to NanoPoblano2020.  Possibly failing at the first hurdle of day -1 as it’s supposed to be about the goal, a plan so to speak.  I have one in my head and the plan is to tackle this ……..you guessed it tomorrow.  My son is waiting for me patiently to watch the Mandalorian.

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.