Weekend Coffee Share – Como

If we were having coffee we’d be looking at the departure board, a tinge of excitement and a modicum of apprehension in case we miss the gate.

I really struggle with the airport scene.  I’ve done it enough to know the drill but not enough that it’s become 2nd nature.  The leaving enough time to get through security, the lure of duty free as your forced to walk through it to get to the lounge.  The spotting of an empty seat not too far away from the board, but close enough to keep a nervous eye and away from anyone who might invade the reading space.

Today we are straight through security, a minor blip as one of the boys pencil cases needs to be searched…..but aside from that I’d almost say it was pleasurable.  We headed straight for coffee, we’d brought some homemade Banana and Chocolate loaf to accompany (a great recipe from Nigel Slaters Kitchen Diaries II)

Destination Lake Como flying via Milan……

The flight came in a little early enabling us to catch an earlier train from T2.  Unfortunately the connection we needed in order to claim a score  at the change over station didn’t run on Saturday….so were we’d gained time, we lost waiting for our original connection.  Hitting Como at 6pm local time.

We are in an small apartment in the centre of the town and can’t believe our luck.  Bakery and ice cream shop on our doorstep.  The lake 5-10 mins away…this is going to be a lovely break from the norm.

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).

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Weekend Coffee Share – Printworks

If we were having coffee I’d tell you we were in the same place last weekend except this weekend the boy is here for a 13-18 year old print workshop rather than the Edinburgh Open doors weekend where we came to look at the repurposed North British Rubber Company building at Castle Mills

Now thanks to a bunch of funding initiatives (The Heritage Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and a number of trusts and foundations) the building has been re-purposed and a new lease of life given by the Edinburgh Printmakers. An organisation dedicated to the practice of fine art printmaking, high quality, low cost printmaking facilities for artists.

Last weekend we were early and the Lemon Polenta cake with an americano hit the spot and reminds me that I need to find a recipe.

Today, late afternoon not so lucky, I’ve opted for a date slice and a pot of tea. I‘ve carved out a couple of hours by being a chaperone, in case he needs me was the excuse. I know he’ll be fine and so to sit somewhere without interruption is a long overdue decadence.

I’m listening to the playlist that goes alongside the release of the new autobiography by Jean Michelle Jarre. An eclectic mix of music and genres.

Since my last post my Monday night Persian cookery course has kicked off. Forcing me to stick with recipes, think up front about the weekly shop. A simple chicken thigh dish with red opnions was a definite family hit for tea the night after.

Theres been no sign of the boy so far and we are 30 mins in, the clock is ticking and I’m torn by time….I’ve brought in several journals to pick up and move on. I like to keep the professional side of my life separate to the creative hobbyist side. As consequence the reflective side takes a back burner time and time again.

I’m going to leave you there an pick up one of those books. Thankyou for joining me on another of my sporadic coffee stops!

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 – Use a bigger bowl!

If we were having I’d welcome you in with a kink in my back. I’ve been nursing it all week with Ibuprofen.  I can’t even attribute it to anything other than a vicious sneeze and perhaps too much time in the hot seat at work.

Since we last had coffee the weekend’s have either been taken up with work or the back garden.   Work, a major project delivery with a few overnights involved.  There’s light at the end of the tunnel for now until the next phase.  

Then the garden which is really taking shape, the stump was finally removed, allowing me to finally get some shrubs in that have been in posts for too long, crying out for space being in pots for a couple of years whilst we get ourselves sorted.

Spending so much time outside in the garden I’ve really noticed the change in temperature and the garden coming to the end of season, which is sad in one way, in another though it’s harvest time.  I’ve got some really nice apples ready to be picked and entering into my favourite month of the year in terms of fresh produce. 

A new shed arrived this week which I’ll be painting later on, and I’ve been given the steer to cook a meal for two given the nephews are over. So I’m now racking my brain now……thinking which cook book to go to.

So a week into September, what you going to cook?   I’m still on with my bread journey, working through the recipes from my Danish book.   Lesson from last night.  Use a bigger bowl! And using the same dough for two loaves you definitely get a better result using the dutch oven.

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 – End of the Box

Good morning, we are up and at them this Sunday meeting for coffee…..nice and breakfast early.  Half the house is up an early football match with a 9.30 kick off.  

A fortnight of rainy days here in Edinburgh that’s seen a scary amount of water drop from the sky, the temperature has plummeted as a result and I’ve been choked full of cold since mid week with a bit of a crescendo head fug Friday, Saturday which is finally lifting.  It came out of nowhere and I can only put it down to the change in temperature that has coincided with the boys going back to school.

The sun in the garden yesterday was a welcome relief and despite my head I got out and pottered with some pointing.  I have some very old walls where the mortar has seen better days.   I’ve also come across further remains of an old pine tree stump.  I’m finally at the sorting out of a corner at the bottom of the garden, and disappointed to find out that a stump I’d paid to be ground down was only taken so far.  Just going to start digging it out myself.  Otherwise my plans aren’t going to work!

Kitchen wise we took a bold decision to kill the weekly veg box.  The boss had asked for the potatoes to be swapped out a few months ago (I missed them).  Then something just snapped in us, I think it was the arrival of some strange squash, a kholabi and pullet eggs.  Nothing against pullet eggs, but they don’t stretch far on egg night with two teenage boys appetites.  I’m sure the box guys would have put things right if we called but we are the not the sort of folk to complain.   So we are calling time on an end of an era.  

Strangely it’s given me a sense of excitement that has surprised me.  On one hand seeing what came each week was good fun and I loved the field to fork ethic….on the other I hadn’t realised that it was constraining my cooking and I’d got into the habit of having to clear the fridge of left overs and I was cooking them all the same way usually in a stew or soup because of time constraints.  So feeling both liberated and sad.   The plan though is to hit the farmers market every over week or when I do the butcher run.

Bread…my new sourdough starter is fighting fit and almost feeling stronger than the previous one. The Rye experiment from Denmark still not going to plan….another case of a mouldy result. It’s feeling like it’s not meant to be and I might resort to cross breading and performing some kind of experiment with my healthy starter.

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

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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 – The start of a Danish Adventure

Did you sleep?  It was the first question I was asked after turning the alarm function off, we’d both woken before the buzzer kicked in.  I had, but I don’t think my brain had rested was my response.  I felt hung over with no drink involved.  The start of our holiday.

Destination Denmark…… a big travel day, Scotland to Harwich to take a ferry overnight to Holland and a small job to do via the auction house.

The coffee is strong and I’m sat at the computer doing some final admin, playlist adjustments and a few thoughts on waking.  The bikes need to be loaded onto the back of the van along with the last odds and sods that seem to be spread round the house in various piles.  The joy of a camping holiday allowing you to take all the silly creature comforts that you need.

I write four sentences before I have to flip to my work email, realising that I’ve not checked since going to bed….the project I’ve been working on is flagged red by testing for the mere fact we are running to time and taking an environment away and he’s probably got tests to run…..I really need to get away.

We get two miles down the road before a voice pipes up from the back, ‘I’ve forgotten my pillow’.   Needless to say I didn’t consider it an essential item.  When I was a boy I didn’t get a sleeping mat, so I’m pretty sure I didn’t get a pillow….We didn’t turn back.

We’re away for two weeks so the van is packed within an inch of its life alongside this we have some temporary cargo.  The drive down includes a trip to an auction house.  Both bitter and sweet, the toys of my childhood have been valued quite highly so worth a slight detour.  I try not to think about the sentimental value as I handed over the boxes, the Snow-speeder, the Ewok Tree village and my prized Millennium Falcon. 

It’s a new ferry crossing for us so new roads, new timings and we’ve just recently come across the book ‘The Extra Mile’.  A guide to the foodie places that are just a few miles off the motorway.  I’m up for supporting local businesses that provide great food at a reasonable price rather than motorway fodder at day light robbery prices.

Lister Farm:  Butchery with a huge selection of bbq wares, it was surreal.  Opted for a herby drumsticks….I’m always amazed by the number of chicken breasts on sale compared to the other bits and pieces so although I like a chicken breast as much as the next guy sometimes I can’t face thinking they’ve been massed produced in a battery barns whereas I hope the leg cuts are left over from some form of butchery, a more reliable source.  I know the butchers around the corner from home they come from a blue plastic container pre prepared.  The shop had a nice small café and picnic benches.  A little field where kids could let off some steam if needed.

We’d made good time and a late night crossing allowed for a further stop which we made at the Anchor Inn, beside the River Stour at Nayland.  I don’t know how the Inn had made it into the book as the Garmin took us some back route roads for more than a few miles.  We had the time though and I enjoyed the break from the dual carriageway.  Food was good, it was warm, sunny and 40 or so minutes from the ferry….the holiday and our Danish adventure was starting.

Thanks for reading so far….the weekend coffee share is my friend in helping me to write. It’s been a while, life just keeps happening and 1 weekend missed turns into 4 maybe 5. The coffee hook gives me a mental switch to be able to start again…..so I intend to write more about my Danish adventure and what I learned along the way. I’ve just described day 1, the UK leg in red and there is more to come …..The Danish Adventure!

Danish Adventure

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 – Campsite Peace

If we were having coffee, it would be at a campsite, the door of the van open and the air though cold would be welcome and refreshing.   Its been raining since yesterday afternoon and at this moment in time there is nothing to rush for.

Its early and the campsite is coming to life, the ebb and flow of the caravaners coming and going.  The Sunday paper run for the guy who doesn’t walk anywhere as he comes back from the shop.  The dog walkers, the umbrellas, the dressing gown walk to the showers.  Its all just drifting by. 

In this moment I find an element of peace.  The boy on the top bunk is still fast asleep and I’m enjoying watching the rain clouds float by. 

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 – Braemar

If we were having coffee it would be in the small village of Braemar, in the highlands of Scotland. A lovely feeling of remoteness where the main thing on offer is fresh air, relaxation and time away from the office.

A Sunday morning run in the bag, bread in the oven and the paper to read, the week is starting well. Trying to forget the shower incident. The call from son number 1 who managed to break the shower, or to find the only thing with the potential to stop working in the place. Mainly we couldn’t get the shower to switch off. A hunt for the stopcock ensued, cutting the water off at the mains. Perfect timing in terms of me needing a post run shower!

Back to the coffee though, and breathe…… the shower now fixed post a quick visit from the owner of the place. The cottage is tranquil and warm, surrounded by great views. In April the camper van although an option is hard in damp, dreich and cold climes. The four of us for a week, we’ve tried in the past, no one comes back happy from being cooped in a small tin on wheels. The highlands at this time of year is still cold, below zero overnight and the mountains still covered in patches of snow. The appeal of a cottage was too great to ignore and the boy needed a place to revise with Exams kick in when we get back.

The main agenda of the week, to cover some of the hills in the area, mainly soak up the air, detox from the office and spend some time with the boys.

….…the week went by quickly, we were blessed with blue skies, albeit very cold days.

Managed a couple of Munro’s in the area. Carn Bhac….One of the less visited and we suffered for it struggling through peat bogs to get from Beinn Iutharn Mhor albeit we did it in reverse to the route suggested from walkhighlands. Mountain bikes to altanour lodge were a godsend for the way back.

Carn a’Mhaim from the Linn of Dee my favourite of the two hill walking days, the lush green scots pine against the blue skies, the rivers and the views from the top were just amazing. Another one of those if you could bottle up the feeling for the day and take a drink when you’re back at the office in order to deal with 200+ emails a day kind of moments….would make the office a better place if you could share the feeling. The mountains have been there for thousands of years….and will be there for a little longer.

Back at home and eager to get a few things done, my pc running like a dog, a week of being switched off has put the final nail in the coffin….I feel a rebuild coming on….but the whole recovery disk and Windows 10….has moved on…they don’t make it easy……..more coffee?

Various pictures on route to the top of Carn a’Mhaim

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

The Weekend CoffeeShare – Spring is in the Air

Longing for the first few days of March to show the markings of Spring. Storm Freya put a stop to any thoughts of me going out for a run, so I’m sat with my coffee browsing the Borough Market recipe book.  Willing the spring section to come up with inspiration.

The recipes talk about late spring, April even and I sigh. I think March is a hard time for a cook, on the cusp of something that’snot quite there.  The tail end of the winter root veg.  The beetroot in the veg box this week was massive and will take an age in the oven.  I’m looking to start turning my hand away from the comfort stews, something lighter and healthier but just can’t take that leap as another gust of wind buffets against the kitchen windows.

Eventually I came across a pot roast chicken recipe with a carrot top pesto that I think will aid my transitional state of mind.

Chicken not a problem….but finding young carrot tops is. Maybe they are in abundance in the London Market and to imagine that the greenery has been left on….well I had no such luck.  Closest I came to young carrots made a big thing about them being trimmed!

A week later I’m sat at my PC, with a nice strong coffee and wondering how time keeps flying by.   I didn’t manage last weeks post but for completeness I’ve included it here. I’ve wrestled with a sore throat all week,  which has given me an excuse to lay off the exercise in fear of coming down with the whole man flue thing.   The days are getting longer and at some moments showing some signs of warmth.  

Not today, Sunday morning and the boy has a football match. So before taking him up to the school I managed to get a stew in the oven.   The beef cheeks in the freezer finally coming out to play.  I also managed to soak some beans last night…so it’s more of a store cupboard stew with the root veggies from this weeks box, a splash of wine and some stock and tonight’s tea is in the bag.  

Lunch is from last nights remains where I’ve managed to grab onto last weeks feeling of needing more salad.  Waitrose supermarket provides a great little bag of mixed grains, combined with some Camargue red rice, zest and juice of an orange as a base for healthy carbs, served with greens and Annie Bells Quiche Lorraine (not so healthy).  A coleslaw from the veg box cabbage and I think we have picnic lunch for work tomorrow as well.

At some point during the day I need to get out in the garden, I want to move the gooseberry bushes before they spring into real life.  They haven’t moved on like I’d hoped and sure they will do better in a sunnier place which I don’t have yet.  Garden plans imminent……so a false economy I know I bought a couple of planters to keep them portable for now.  Would have been cheaper to buy new plants!

Thanks for joining me for this weekends coffee share.

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

The Weekend CoffeeShare – Dancing on the Clouds

If we were having coffee we’d be marvelling at the moon, and discussing how over the space of the week the light has got better and the day slightly longer. 

I’ve had the title of this post bouncing in my head all week since Monday.  I had the pleasure of seeing a full moon at both ends of the day. 

With a 6am start it drifted across the house roof tops that we can see from the kitchen window and then slowly drifted below sight as I packed my bag.  Then later that evening just before leaving work.  At the moment I’m fortunate to have a seat that has full view of some of the castle, and the moon in full splendour moved across the horizon just dancing on the clouds.

I’ve taken pictures before, but the reflection of the office lights on the glass always detracts from the image.  I get the same feeling when I walk in onto the office floor….I’ve been getting in early as part of my new routine, usually first in where I trigger the annoying sensors that flick on the minute I open the door.  Just once it would be nice to walk up to the window and take a deep breath before turning the lights on.   Still I have amazing moments from my vantage point that I know won’t last as the ebb and flow of office movements take place as teams morph and change to meet the needs of the organisation.

This week has been a hard come down from the last, and a great deal of will power to reduce my calorie intake of the bad stuff (not a diet!) in order to reverse the cheese and wine effects of last week.   I thought the scale was lying last weekend……amazingly today I feel slightly better as I’ve brought the needle into tolerance levels, albeit high….so lots to do.

I tackled the Cullen Skink recipe from “The Almanac, a Seasonal Guide to 2019”.  A fairly healthy version of a chowder, just full fat milk rather than cream.  I made the mistake of adding mushrooms which turned it a little grey in colour…but none the less tasty.   The Almanac is a lovely little book, a reinvention of a traditional rural almanac with charts, thoughts, seasonal ingredients,phases of the moon, sun, tides and recipes. This month I have my eye on the blood orange and pistachio cake.   I’m trying to use it as a prompt….if I make one thing this month it will be….

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