The Weekend Coffee Share – or Vin Chaud if you prefer

If we were having coffee it would be small and European (annoyingly so), or you could have a Vin Chaud to warm you to your toes.  It’s been a cold morning traversing the slopes, and a little warmth is required although for some crazy reason we are sat outside drinking it!  The power of the sun is a welcome sight forthose of us emerging from a Scottish winter, pouring over the majestic Frenchand Swiss alps.  The little mountainrestaurant has found the perfect spot away from the wind chill and I take adeep breath, it’s a Monday and it’s not a workday!

The last two days the resort has been on lock down due to wind and snow, so it’s with great relief that we are now able to enjoy ourselves, move away from the lower crowded tree lined slopes and up to the peaks with the fantastic views.

We are staying just off the French village of Avoriaz, part of the Porte de Soleil, a vast network of interconnected ski resorts and we’ve been in and out of Switzerland already today.  Early birds catching the first of the fresh snow and the best day to do the Swiss Wall without concern of breaking something!  At certain points it has a 90% incline, so it’s steep and daunting in equal measure.

The Swiss Wall

The boys are happy with a hot chocolate and frothy cream topping.  Another year older, and stronger we are covering more distance and the reluctance to go over the edge typically rests with me now.  Although I’ve brought them to the wall with no knowledge of my plan, we go over and down like it’s the most natural thing to do in the world.  Out the four of us it was me that was last down….age and the feelings of being the weaker skier start to creep in.  Feels like only yesterday I had these boys between my legs when anything got too tricky, now it’s them who support me with yelps and the odd grunt from the eldest.

I’m writing this at Geneva airport a moment of pause after luggage drop off and boarding, an early start of 4am to get from the mountains to the airport….I’m sat having a coffee in an effort to bring some element of stability to my system and dreaming of being back at the start of the week again.

This is my post for the weekend coffee share, thank you for popping by, if you like my ramblings and want to hear first hand how I’m getting on in the kitchen as a cook then please subscribe at the top right, to either my WordPress account or my picture diary (instagram feed).

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.

View this post on Instagram

January and they appear #snowdrops

A post shared by The Cook (@edinburghcook) on

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

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

I’m a wannabe cook, semi part time blogger!  Please subscribe at the top right. 

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.

View this post on Instagram

Amazing views of the city this morning

A post shared by The Cook (@edinburghcook) on

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.  

September18 – Weekend Coffee Share

IMG_5614Welcome to September, probably my favourite month food wise. Mentally there is transition to comfort foods, root veg, squash and plums all start to become abundant as we run into apple season. The plants that have taken their time to grow and produce finally letting go and saying I’m ready.

I love all these ingredients that lend themselves to slow cooking. With a big old house to slowly renovate a slow one pot dish allows you to get on with the list that the boss has at the same time as ensuring a good wholesome meal hits the table.

Of late though people have been muscling in on my cooking slots, the boys actually agreeing to make a meal, or the boss cottoning on to the fact I might be stalling by cooking.

If we were having coffee, we’d agree that this was only being said in jest. We’d talk about how we’ve been in the house three years now, how the kitchen, the electrics and the bathroom were all big jobs. However now it’s time to push on with the other things.

We have furniture that we’ve carried from 4 moves, wire boxes and components that I’ve not touched in a good 15 years when I dabbled with self-build PCs. The speakers from my teenage hi-fi that are just too hard to let go. The idea that you could Bluetooth your phone to a speaker and connect to a myriad of tunes a twinkle in someone’s eye compared to a black and red wire trailing around a bedroom hidden behind things so you didn’t know. The sounds of my teenage youth not the same now and the speakers of today although crisp, bright and compact never seem to live up to the sounds of yester year.

This weekend really is time to have a good sort out, I’m taping into the energy of the 1st day of the month falling on a Saturday and just a general feeling of it’s time to get organised and control some of things that I can unlike at work which is another tale.

Obviously there will be time to enjoy a few cups of coffee. I’ll be serving a few slices of freshly baked Brioche that’s in the fridge just now slowly proving.

Thanks for joining me at the weekend coffee share hosted by Eclectic Alli, nice to see you if this is the first time you’ve read through, I’m a wannabe cook, semi part time blogger. And if you read last weeks post….the iPad still isn’t fixed… though this time I’ve made an appointment with the Apple doctor for this week, rather than arriving on spec.

iPad Screen Problems – the weekend coffee share

img_5059Saturday and I’m first up, The sun breaking through the curtains in the front room. There is a silence about the place, the roads free from the daily grind of commuters. There’s a feeling that summer is erasing its way into winter with the chill in the air. The Sun is low for 6.40, it’s just gone past the stage of a sun rise. The coffee isn’t on yet. I want the peace to continue for a few more minutes. To revel in the luxury of thinking Space where I can put my mind at ease. No one asking questions, or a fight over breakfast…. just quiet.

It doesn’t last long….welcome and thanks for joining me for the weekend coffee share. The sun has come up and it’s going to a be a bright day, nothing on the agenda, perhaps a trip into town a little long overdue clothes shopping for work, a trip to the butchers for inspiration and the Apple store.

The trick here will be to get in and out before the tourists get out and about. The last full on weekend of the Fringe and the Festival. It’s great for the city but for the locals it adds on another dimension of chaos to the ebb and flow of getting about the jobs and the messages.

I’ve got a weird thing going on with my iPad and pencil where one particular part of the screen stops working along with issues with the same letters when I type. The standard response from the chatbot was to reinstall and rebuild…but the scientist in me knows it’s a hardware fault. I can’t get an appointment until 13.25….Tuesday online, it’s like going to the doctors, going to try my luck at just appearing at the store………

Stood at the bus stop, the warmth of the sun cuts through the chill in the air. There is no one here but me, so I’m able to stand here without embarrassment charging myself like a rechargeable battery. Its 8:30 and it dawns on me that it’s a bank holiday weekend and maybe that’s the reason for the quietness to the air……..

There’s a queue outside the Apple store with 2 mins to go until opening time, time to breathe and really take a good look at the Balmoral, the apple store doesn’t need another picture.

The doors open and there is a frenzy….. Tech support or Genius Bar, make your way up the stairs. A mad dash to make an appointment. Relief from a guy who came yesterday and couldn’t see anyone. He’s in the club. A text on my phone to let me know that I’ll be seen soon and to let someone know I’m here, it’s been 2 mins since I last spoke to the same guy.

……..Diagnostics and a reinstall later I’m sent on my way, but this time with the re-assurance that they will take me back in store with open arms. I shake the guys hand and re-assure him I will be back, he doesn’t know what to say. I smile and say thanks.

…..back home now and the tea is poured, I’ll keep you posted on the iPad saga….thanks for popping by.

 

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