Weekend Coffee Share – The Routine is Back

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And breathe….If we were having coffee I’d tell you we’ve got the routine back, the schools went back on Wednesday and a sense of normality has been restored!

Porridge has been established as the breakfast of champions as the boys now have ownership for making it themselves  (My recipe and version of events).  Not sure you can class it as a recipe as such but a definite alchemy as heat turns two ingredients into a wonderfully creamy bowl of comfort to start the day.  I once went to India for the week with work. In the space of 4 days covered 3 cities with two companies providing various amazing meals. To say my constitution was turned upside down is an understatement…. all I craved was a bowl of porridge to put me right! Marvellous stuff.

As an end of holiday treat, bagged the movie Valerian a Luc Besson, a CGI fest.  It was good, probably not deserved of the bad reviews.  Just something missing… the boys loved it.  Cinema and blockbusters just seem so ever present and accessible now I don’t think the boys realise how big a deal going to cinema was for me as a boy.  The 4 year wait for something to come out on video….getting to the cinema to see a blockbuster was important!

How’s the organisation challenge going I hear you ask!  So week three has arrived and nearly gone.  Monday Tuesday, I covered the last days of the school holiday.   Wednesday I was in the office, then Thursday out on a course and then back in the Friday.  So despite the routine of school being back, establishing my daily journal has been difficult… it’s only really going to kick in again this Monday.

Despite this though I did manage to take a look at a concept called “Don’t break the chain”, google will provide you with all manner of links, Lifehacker has a good one.

I’ve set a rudimental version in my journal and now have a habit tracker up and running. No pun intended!

  • I managed a run 3 times this week with stretches Not enough for my physio, however a big change for me and my mental state.
  • I’ve sat down at the ivories for 10 minutes a day as an adult piano learner it’s a biggie.
  • Finally got my head round a system for a dedicated tackling of 5 chosen cookery books.  I hope to write more about the adventures in the kitchen later. 5BooksSep17
  • I started reading…how to have a good day from Caroline Webb.  So far the three As are key:
    • Aim: What matters most today, what should be the priority
    • Attitude: Get your head right
    • Attention: Given your real aim…what you going to give your focus

So the push for me to really stop procrastinating is finally on…although I’m feeling a bit fraught!  Please don’t read this as man who’s really got his stuff together.  It’s a man trying to balance his aspirations and sharing the approach hoping that this might help someone else.  If you take one thing from our coffee chat today…..I think breaking the chain is a real biggie!

Thanks for stopping in and sharing coffee.

The Weekend Cofee Share is hosted by the Part Time Monster

Porridge

Breakfast of champions #porridge and kiwi #365 20/365

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My eldest is starting to eat us out of house and home…an example of this is breakfast, he’s started getting through 4 Weetabix a day!  Not really a problem apart from cost and the feeling of being visited by a locust as he inhales the buscuits.  I find breakfast cereals really annoying in terms of cost, actual nutritional content and the promise of keeping hunger at bay.  Porridge though, passed down through the generations, a warming soul food.  Not too expensive and a genuine life saver in terms of keeping my boys happy.

Oats have got to be one of this worlds gifts, a humble ingredient and so versatile especially in this simple recipe.  We are a hundred percent milk house, you can use a blend of water and milk and adjust to taste, a pinch of salt if needed, a drop of honey to add sweetness. I love chopped banana and blueberries. Easy to make this your own.

Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File

Ingredients

  • 50g porridge oats
  • 250g milk (or 150g milk/100g water)

Directions

  1. In a microwave bowl, weigh 50g of the oats
  2. In the same bowl pour in the milk to the 300g mark  (You could measure 250ml from jug).  Just easier on the scale to pour from the 2 litre bottles we buy
  3. Mix together and put in the fridge overnight (optional)
  4. Microwave for 1.5 mins, stir
  5. Microwave for 1 minute, stir
  6. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir

Alternatively bring to a simmer on the stove, stirring all the while, you want to it to barely speak to you with a plop and a burp.

I now leave my boys to it, they have adapted their technique to their own preference.  The youngest doesn’t like to soak overnight, and the eldest likes to soak and has changed his own  variables

Weekend Coffee Share – Week 2 of the challenge

Saturday and we woke to the sound of rain on the cupola.  Peeking through the curtains confirmed it and essentially made our decision on a stay at home day……homemade scones were in the offing and this just tipped the decision in their favour.

Come on in, you have arrived just in the time….the smell from the oven is lingering in the hall.  The scones have just come out the oven, the coffee freshly made.

We had a late night last night, I’ve lived in Edinburgh 20 years now and never seen the Tattoo and finely scratched it off the list.  The cost had always put me off and I never seemed to be in the right place when the tickets go on sale.  This year the stars were obviously in alignment and I put the money thoughts aside.  We all had a great time, such a great setting up on the castle esplanade and the bands were just pure brilliantly rehearsed.

#edinburghtattoo great show @edinburghtattoo

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So where I am at with my thirteen week get organised challenge!…..well I’m back here having coffee, haven’t managed to get a recipe up and my daily journal has had some sporadic entries.  I have sat down and thought about things though.  Resulted in biting the bullet on a few things rather than procrastinating.

  • Had a knotted hamstring for some time and went to see the physio….crumbs to say I’m a bit in a mess when it comes to stretching is an understatement.  I’ve been given 20mins exercises a day for 6 days a week…..not sure how I’m going to fit those in!
  • I signed up for a beginners cookery course – vegetarian India, mainly to catch up with a pal once a week.
  • Time to start the DIY season again….open for business with such an old house the list is mounting.  This morning, I took out the dead water tank……..grim
  • I’m starting to sort out my recipe system……….I know the new cookery books are going to start appearing on the shop shelves….I don’t need any-more honest, except they are a guilty secret, except they are not being used and I need to do something!
  • My daily photo has been kept going, think my favourite from this week is the Olympic torch that was hung on the wall of the Physio

At physio this morning, olympic torch on the wall. 13/365 #olympics #365 #365project #olympictorch

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Thank you so much for popping around, I’ve given you too much of my chat!….Hope your doing OK and your keeping your chin up.  I’m going back to looking at a few more recipes and the boy and I are going to harvest the miracle basil that grew in the summer before it turns black….too late for some of it…..Pesto for the freezer.

The Weekend Cofee Share is hosted by the Part Time Monster

Weekend Coffee Share – Week 1 Challenge

Coffee and toasted coconut bread, nice breakfast number 2 option @leosbeanery 8/365 #365 #365project

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If we were having coffee, we’d talk about the weather in Edinburgh the last few days and how the tourists are getting a rough deal. One minute it’s sunny, the next torrential down pours and then hours of dreich sticky mist that hangs in the air and just clings to you.

I’ve woken up early for a Saturday, normal time for a weekday, I’ve snuck out of bed, so you were passing just at the right time.  The house is quiet for a few minutes and I can tell you about my week.

I started a 13 week challenge for myself, mainly taken the ideas from the self journal approach, and I’ve high jacked it to work with a bullet journal.  The self journal would create waste for me in a journal, I just don’t think I could be that fanatical about my day (yet), whereas the bullet journal is more random and suits the nature of the beast that is my working week and my random head.

My main goal is to get myself organised, you could say it’s the prequel to being able to take the self journal approach.  And the 2nd goal was to really give my a blog a stretch of its legs.

I started writing a piece for the weekend coffee share whilst on holiday but then something got in the way….probably a child.

The thing about holidays…you start to think differently, the daily demands of the mind start to unravel at the edges.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s still the constant demands of the boys and I’ll be going back to work for a rest on that front.   It’s the moments where your mind gets to drift, the first coffee in the morning (if your left in peace) or the moments when we are all on our bikes in harmony.

I’ve been trying to hang onto that feeling of holidays, freedom, harmony and mindfulness.  The boys are still off school and I’m 2 weeks back in.  There have been a few ups and downs, hence the challenge and the daily focus has helped both keep my work and life priorities on track.

So here I am two weeks in a row now enjoying your company!  I’ve been looking forward to it wondering what I’d tell you.

  • I’d set myself a goal of getting at least one recipe up this week and I managed it.  Bolognese EdinburghCook Style
  • Loving Rachel Roddy, if you are into podcasts, great intro to the book from Honey and Co Food Talks   With the Honey and Co Podcasts here
  • The eldest had seen SpiderMan, and I’d promised I’d take the youngest one night.  A school night for me, the timings sucked in terms of lateness but I went for it.  Pleased I did he was so grateful and it was great.  I’ve started to become tired of the adventure hero genre and really didn’t need to see another reboot of SpiderMan.  Marvel have done a good job, and so much better than I thought it would be.
  • Discovered this great playlist on Spotify Music for concentration 
  • Really inspired by the I Am Bolt documentary
  • Despite the weather, manged to cycle to work every day plus a Monday run
  • As well as the 13 week challenge.  I’ve started a  365 photo challenge…for no other reason to try and capture a moment in each day.  Something that made me smile, react or think about my place in the world, a wannabe cook and his iPhone!  @EdinburghCook Instagram


Thank you for sharing coffee and saying hello,  The weekend coffee share is hosted by the PartTimeMonster

 

 

 

Bolognese – Authentic Edinburgh Cook Style

Bolognese EdinburghCook Style

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: Prep: 20 mins Cooking:  2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
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Bolognese

Bolognese when I was a boy came from a Colman’s packet, a dry substance that was mixed with hot water and mince that had been browned for 5 minutes or so served with a bland starchy spaghetti. My sister and I desperately trying to convince my dad that it would be great idea, worth a change and add some variety to our menu. I can’t remember how we convinced him, but we did and it was horrible! Maybe it was us, we weren’t cooks, the sauce I remember was so watery and tasteless, we put a brave face on and made out it was great! We didn’t get to try again, probably a good thing!

As a student I moved onto jars of Dolmio probably buy 1 get 1 free and then later after graduation more sophisticated jars of pasta sauce with bake in the oven magic skills. At some point though I became aware that these jars came with sugar, salt and all manner of preservatives. I’m pretty sure they came with the word authentic across the label, or just like mama used to make. Somehow I became aware that all that was really needed was a tin of good quality tomatoes, some seasoning, good mince and some slow cook time.

I’ve come across many variations of a Bolognese recipe all claiming to be authentic and I’ve tried a few of them, hoping to come across the secret sauce, the be all and end all of all Bolognese recipes to end them all. I’ve come to realise that the authentic Bolognese is your own recipe…the one that works for you and your family.

Mine, I adapt for the mood, it’s always made with view of having enough to freeze, use up the onions and the carrots from the veg box, even the odd chilli and then I add kidney beans as well…..please don’t shoot me….I know it’s not traditional authentic…..it works for us though! I hope you get something from my recipe!


Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File
Prep: This roughly covers 12 portions, we get 3 meals for 4 in terms of freezer prep. Good sized casserole dish, heavy based pan.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 100g pancetta or bacon (I use ham ends from the butcher), diced
  • 2 Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • 2-3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1kg mince (Our butcher now does minced pork, so I use 500g of pork and 500g beef)
  • 1 tblsp dried oregano
  • 300ml red wine (could use white)
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 100g split red lentils (controversial! Optional)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 150ml whole milk

To serve, up until recently we were big fans of Spaghetti or Fusilli. My recent discovery being that Spaghetti is a British/American take on the dish. More traditional would be Tagliatelle or Pappardelle and mixed into the pasta rather than served on top in a big dollop.

Goes without saying freshly grated parmesan adds that true authentic taste!

Directions

  1. Heat the oil, and gently brown the bacon
  2. With the heat at a gentle setting, add the veg to this and soften the onions, garlic, carrots and celery with the idea of creating a Soffrito, a soft base of veg
  3. At this point I tip this into a bowl and put to a side….just so I can really get stuck in with the meat. You can crumble the mince straight into the pan if you like.
  4. Turn the heat up slightly and using a wooden spoon break the mince down, browning it as you go. The mince needs to have lost all its colour.
  5. Once browned throw the veg back in if you went for the separate bowl option.
  6. Add the Oregano, stir through.
  7. Add a pinch of salt and a grinding of black pepper
  8. Add the Wine and stir through, bring to a simmer.
  9. Add the tomatoes and the purée, stir through and bring to a simmer then lower the heat and pop the lid on for an 1hr 30mins. You just want the ragu to talk to itself for an hour so. Keep an eye on it…I like to nurture it.
  10. At this point I stir in the milk….some people add a bit of dark chocolate. The milk adds a subtle creaminess that I like
  11. At this point I gage whether it’s too runny and add the lentils in, simmer and stir for 30 mins. This both soaks up the liquid at the same time as bulking out the meal for the boys who just seem to be eating more and more! You could just take the lid off and simmer slowly for 30 mins to thicken up

#weekendcoffeeshare – Swiss Memories

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If we were having coffee it would be outside in the morning sun, served with breakfast.

The cares of the working world left behind, the list of chores around the house slowly fading, there is nothing I can do about them, so they slowly dissipate.

I have access to the world on my phone, work email is a thumb press away.  It takes huge resolve on my part not to just take a peek. A habit, a need to know everything is ok or give something a nudge if it’s not.  The intermittent Wi-Fi locations and the need to be in a vicinity of a Wi-Fi antenna at the campsites we stay at has helped me break a habit.  The only thing I crave is an Instagram hit, or a Facebook check.

The thing about holidays…you start to think differently, the daily demands of the mind start to unravel at the edges.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s still the constant demands of the boys and camping comes with its own heartbeat of chores.  I’ll be going back to work for a rest on that front.   It’s the moments where your mind gets to drift, the first coffee in the morning if your left in peace and those moments when you’re first up.

The campsite is at peace and the sun is just stretching it’s legs, different shadows and a freshness about the air.  TCS Bönigen – Interlaken is just on the corner of lake Brienzersee with the magical colour of turquoise on the door step of awe inspiring mountains………and breathe.

This was a few weeks ago and I’ve been desperately trying to get back into the rhythm of work this week at the same time as keeping my mind free.  The garden is helping and I came back to glorious sun flowers in the garden……

Came home to sunflowers in the garden #monday #backtowork #sunflower

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I’ve been working through a few resolutions that are putting my brain into overload and wrenching my time management skills into action…….I’ll leave you with one thought that is sticking in my head.   What you do, gets done!

Thank you for sharing coffee and saying hello,  The weekend coffee share is hosted by the PartTimeMonster

Weekend Coffeeshare – Coffee and the Boat


This morning we are having coffee on the ferry between Newcastle and Amsterdam. An overnight crossing that gets us into Amsterdam at 9.30 so plenty of time to ease ourselves into being ready before we are allowed on the car decks.

The night was fraught with tossing and turning. It was hot, the air dry with no ventilation. I’m glad I didn’t partake in any beers last night as today would have seen grumpy dad…big style, I feel hungover as it is due to dehydration in the night.

Breakfast buffet is 17 euros each, so we have blatantly broken the bring your own food rule, the forbidden sign staring us in the face, supplemented by a coffee from one of the many bars at marked up price so I don’t feel that bad. The coffee, It’s surprisingly good, hot to the right temperature I like and I was able to add that dash of milk that makes it just right.

Thanks for joining me for coffee…very short and sweet, like ships in the night!

Thanks to Nerd in the Brain who hosts the Weekend Coffee Share.