Trotting in Manchester and Blackpool – the coffee share

Today’s weekend coffee view comes from a premier inn overlooking the canal in Manchester.  The coffee is not special, purely a instant made from a sachet and the kettle in the room  to help with the wake up.

The view, unusual for us in a premier inn, normally a car park with the sound of rushing cars, somewhere to pop our heads for the night.  We lucked out this time, top corner on the 5th floor.  Blue sky and the canal,  I can see rowers, a mix of 2’s and 4’s.  There fast and it’s inspiring seeing them out on the water.  Great to see that redevelopment of these areas are being put to good use.

We are in Manchester to see the Harlem Globetrotters, and for someone who doesn’t really bother with sport this is different for us.  I remember seeing them on the tv passing a ball to wacky music and performing tricks as a child.

The youngest plays basketball weekly and so so excited,    Including a trip to Wagamama, the merchandise stall and pretty much front row seats (I booked this a year ago).  The show really was for kids very akin to a circus act with basketball mixed in.  Just feel good fun and then autograph signing at the end.

Back to today and what to do with a sunny Sunday.  With Blackpool an hour away and somewhere I’ve been as a child but not as a family I felt it was worth carrying on the different theme.

They’ve do so much to improve the sea front.  The tide just going out, the sun with it’s charm shining made for a lovely walk.  The tram and the road making a good separation between the amusements, the B&Bs, the  bars, hen and stag nights that the town is known for.  We were just able to ignore it all and focus on the piers, and the tower.  The boys both accepting that we’d spent enough this weekend.

There was obviously room for an ice cream though and we came across an artisan ice cream stall as part of Silcocks Leisure and Funland.  There is something about ice cream that can take you back in time, and Blackpool is full of memories for me.  A day trip on the train with my grand parents….I don’t remember the Ice Cream but I do remember the pick and mix stall in Woolworths which is long gone.

A good family weekend and hopefully one the boys will remember.

 

Weekend coffee share is hosted by Eclectic Alli 

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Table #13 – Galloway Forest

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The coffee has been poured and I’m struggling.  I have a bit of stiff neck and a few aching muscles this morning.  The effects of a 36 mile big country loop on the mountain bikes and a solid 9 hours sleep in the camper van afterwards.

We camped at the Glentrool campsite which was just under a mile away from the Glentrool trails and all part of the plan to be in situe for the big loop.

Managed to get to the visitor centre for 10.10, to find it didn’t open until 10:30.  Plan was to have a coffee and hopefully sample some local produce.  Those precious minutes were going to be costly, it was too cold to hang around and we had a plan B in the pannier.

By 11, we were ready for our stonking chunks of choc banana loaf that I’d baked at Christmas.

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Lunch half way at the 18 mile mark, nice to see…Old Edinburgh Road.  I was certainly starting to feel broken.  The trouble with forestry routes like this, is that you start to feel like you in some large construction site.  Mile after mile trees have been felled for timber use, to make room for the new.  On reflection a tree graveyard.

Post lunch the boys miraculously switched personas, energy levels transposed, the youngest up front with zero moans starting to sing Disney songs and the eldest now at the back.

The 2nd half felt the best part of the loop in terms of scenery and lack of forestry work, a mixture of lochs and hills.  We also came across one of the seven stanes.

Can’t beat a campsite that plays radio in the shower block, but annoying to hear tales of blue skies and BBQs when we had dreich mist and fog for most the day.

In terms of a rewind (which sadly I’ve just found out will not be continuing, all good things come to an end!)….living off the wall was playing in the shower block and couldn’t help tapping my feet whilst waiting for my boys to free up the showers.

I’m grateful for the head-space that the countryside and fresh air gives you, even through the moans there are moments of tranquillity where you get to put your troubles into perspective.  The office is miles and away and the DIY is parked for those precious few moments.

On the table was a broken sausage and pasta dish….so easy to get on the table when your on two hobs.

Two pans….Pasta in one pan cooked to packet directions.  In the other, soften a diced onion, throw in  5 de-skinned herby sausages which you can break up into bits. Stirring until colour changes, add sliced mushrooms, a glass of white wine if the bottle is open! Add half tub of crème fraiche.  Stir through.  Drain the pasta and add the sausage mix

Back to the coffee at the weekendcoffeeshare, the aroma fills the camper van and a day of adventure awaits. The stirring of the boys up top and the promise of a real mountain bike trail. We move camp today as well….a visit to Port Patrick and the Mull of Galloway….most southerly part of Scotland apparently.

 

Herby Sausage Pasta

Herby Sausage Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A simple pasta dish that’s great for two hobs in a camper van or on a school night when time is tight.
Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe file

Ingredients

  • 250-300g dried pasta twirls
  • 4-5 good quality meaty sausages, skin removed
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 1/2 tub Crème Fraiche
  • 250g mushrooms chopped
  • Optional glass of white wine


Directions

  1. Two pans….Pasta in one pan cooked to packet directions
  2. In the other, soften a diced onion, throw in the herby sausages
  3. Break up into bite size bits with back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Occasional stirring until colour changes
  5. Add the sliced mushrooms,
  6. Add a glass of white wine if the bottle is open and simmer until the liquid reduces
  7. Add the crème fraiche and stir through.
  8. Drain the pasta and add the sausage mix, stir through and serve


Table #12 – last weekend in April

Flipping heck, I forgot to soak the beans! Was my first thought this morning, before I even opened my eyes.  The sound of rain on the cupola slowly bringing me to my senses and my 2nd annoyance that I had a bathroom window to paint…..it was supposed to be sunny today……especially because I was going to take the whole window out to do it properly.

Where my manners!  Come on tea is made and fresh coffee ready to go on the hob……hello hello, hello and welcome to the weekend coffee share.

January was my last post I am ashamed to say not counting my brief appearance on Wednesday with Hiatus, which I needed to post just to free the block I’d built up in my head.  Not having time really was a factor….really though it was mental strength that I needed

I’ve  been back from holiday for about 2 weeks and I feel like I have my mojo back despite a near miss of redundancy last week (which really knocked my inner core after 20 years!).   I’m going to put it down to the brighter days and starting to run again with the sun against my face, a mental list of priorities and just trying to do them….so far it’s working for me.

After being in the house for 2 years I’ve finally assembled my hi-fi system…….to the amazement of my kids, a tape player and a mini disc!  What was really nice was to find the mix tape that I’d made for our honeymoon lodged in time in the tape compartment.  Call me a sentimental old romantic…..here’s my tip off to the rewind.

For the billy Joel’s fans out there…be careful clicking on the link you might end up going down a treasure trove of rabbit holes…………30 minutes later…I’m back in the room!

And in order to fulfil my obligations of taking part in the #DSFWEEKLYREWIND I’m grateful for flour and yeast….it’s amazing stuff!

Amazing what happens in an hour #bread #realbread

A post shared by The Cook (@edinburghcook) on

So what we got on the menu.…what have I got my eye on?

  • Just recently found The Sourdough School: The ground-breaking guide to making gut-friendly bread.  I have this notion that I could bring sourdough into my schedule!   A beautiful book, and easy to read science of sourdough
  • Caught up on this months Olive Magazine and have my eye on:
    • Gujarti Carrot Salad (where I’m going to get a variety of carrots I don’t know)
    • Encocado – a fish curry by another name
    • One-pot paprika cod
    • Soy glazed butternut thai green curry

This week I really need to finish sorting my study, the piles have built up, I’m going to hit those boxes that have been lying in limbo in the spare room…..and be ruthless!

Have a good week folks!

Hiatus

I’ve been trying to write this next post for some time, trying to give myself permission from where I left off. It’s been hard to get started, the opening sentence there in my mind, with no moments in time to move my fingers, to get them in line.

The excuses are there, life, work, the house renovations, the end of winter never in sight, motivation and the darkness that consumes it. I’ve not been able to break through or to elaborate what I’ve been through.

Then there is the guilt, a neglected site once again…like a yo yo diet…I’ll start again on Monday. Little and often I hear myself say!

Today though is another day, a Wednesday, a crack in time that I’ve managed to break through….I’ve just started to write without concern about all the stuff in my head.

Stick with me, I’m back!

Table #11 – Black Ice

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Coffee is ready and we’ve cracked open a Christmas cake from the Bourke Street Bakery cookery book….come on in it’s snowing again!

The streets here in Edinburgh have been in a bad way, sheet ice on the paths and the side roads fairing no better. The weeks exercise constrained to walking and the bus. To say we were going a little stir crazy is an exaggeration.

Fortunately the weekend saw a blue sky day and we were determined to get out. I love Braid hill, close to home at the same time a feeling of escaping and a way of looking at the world in a different light.

Inspired and in protest at the world I’ve signed my self up for a triathlon sprint in August. Apparently great for the beginner. 20km cycle, 5k run and 750m open water swimming. Cycle, not a problem and running I’ve finely got that distance in the bag without too much of an issue. The swimming….fills me with dread. I’ve not covered that distance since I swam for badges back in the 80’s.   Then add them together in succession…..I’m starting to realise I’m going to have to get a training plan in place…..fortunately it’s 7 months away and that’s the point right.

Retro movie re-wind time and what did I torture my boys with today?  The Last Starfighter!

Music playing on the kitchen stereo….a little bit of INXS.

I’m grateful for root vegetables and soup, just the ticket for these cold days and trying to be a bit more healthy.

Thanks for popping by, A nod to the #weekendcoffeeshare and a #DSFWeeklyrewind, thanks for hosting.

Honeyed parsnip and lentil Soup

Honeyed parsnip and lentil Soup

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Hearty Soups are a must for January and the veggie box came with a bag of parsnips this week. This is a warming earthy soup where the honey takes the sharp taste that you sometimes get with a boiled parsnip.


Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File
Prep: A heavy based soup pan to hold more than 1.5 litre.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 450g root veg (3 parsnips and a carrot) chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 250g red split lentils
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1.5l Vegetable stock

Directions

  1. Whilst your chopping the veg soak your lentils, I weigh the lentils and then add 250g water at same time. Not essential I just find they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Heat the oil and add the onions, celery, garlic and rosemary, gently sauté until the onions and celery soften
  3. Add the spices and turn over
  4. Add the honey and coat the onion mix
  5. Add the root veg and stir through
  6. Add the stock and the lentils
  7. Simmer gently for 25-30 mins with the lid on, stirring every so often
    If you like a smooth soup, blitz with a hand blender or mash and stir through