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

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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

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.

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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