The Table #7 – Advent

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Happy December! This has crept up on us in terms of time and how we came to be starting advent. On the other hand it’s not a surprise, Edinburgh has been gearing up since mid October.   At least now the lights and the glitz has a place and I can reconcile with the fact that we need to do something to send the dark days packing. The boys get to start the daily tea time ritual of lighting a candle, and we slowly count the days down.

A welcoming red is served this Friday alongside a curry, we have pals round for tea.   My friend who I’ve been going to the Indian cookery class with and we’ve both picked a dish that we picked up. He’s cooked for the kids, Chicken Tikka Masala and myself I doctored a recipe for the adults to cover fish for the lady who doesn’t eat meat.   The same recipe for the Tikka sauce which worked really well.   Served with a sweet potato, butternut squash and a chickpea number.  Breaking away from a traditional Indian dessert we followed by a pear and chocolate crumble.

A great evening kicked off with the Brandy nectar of the Apricots that have been soaking for a while introduced to us by Nigel’s Christmas Chronicles.

It’s a short table this week and my cooking exploits are cut to a minimum, I’ve started the winter DIY, some wall paper stripping and just as I was coming to the end I’ve put my back into spasm!  I’m reaching for the Ibuprofen and hoping that a good nights sleep will put me to rights.

Music wise this week I’ve really gone back catalogue and found myself listening to Nik Kershaw.  Takes me right back to Daly’s records……long since gone in the high street of Kendal.  My mum took me for a birthday treat to spend a record token and I listened to the album before I bought it just to make sure it was what I wanted.  My dad going mental because I’d bought a tape rather than LP…..how would I have played it without a record player and a strict no touch policy on my dads stereo.  I did however have my mono tape player used for loading computer games.   Not hi fidelity….it didn’t matter it was mine!

I leave you with ‘I won’t let the sun go down on me!’ Apt for these short days.

My nod to the Daisy Smile face who hosts the weekly rewind and helps add some blogging motivation to a crazy week.

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The Table #6 – Get Back Running

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Sunday morning, the frost has arrived, the tell tale sign on the car windscreens that I can see in the street. I’d told myself that this weekend was the weekend I was going to crack the fear of running that was building up in my head. Two weeks ago I ran a 10k and for days after I’ve been suffering. First it was the shock absorbing muscles and the movement of going down stairs really put my pain receptors into a fancle. Then when the muscle ache wore off my right knee seemed to be complaining of something a little more severe. I was feeling relatively fit for the run, I felt like I’d put the miles in, not quite enough to say I’d run 10k in one, but enough to know I could make it around the route. Which I did in 52 mins or so. I’m putting it down to the cold day and running probably at a pace I’m not used to…..however since then I’ve not been able to face the strides, the cold mornings the dark on either side of the working day.

Something however clicked, the boss got up and put her running stuff on and I was left there reading thinking how am I’m going to crack this…..the Christmas events are going to start, the comfort food is going to kick in and I’m going to appear out the end of February wondering what happened. Add to that the last few days has seen my mood change and I needed to do something about it. From my bedroom window at this time of the year the sun creeps up above the houses and I can see the chimney stacks basking in the sun whilst the rest of the houses are in the dark with expectation in the air that some warmth might come if only they could grow a little taller. The sky was blue and really there was no excuse, there was time and it was time.

By heck it was cold…..but I was moving and my legs still worked!

Welcome into the kitchen, we had a Venison stew last night. Funny we had one vegetable, an Aubergine, left over from last week and it dictated the main meal for the weekend. That and a Celeriac that turned up in the veg box. For me at this time of year Aubergines, belong in slow cooked stews and casseroles with a tomato and red wine based sauce. I’d intended to buy stewing lamb at the butchers and then I saw a tray of stewing Venison and a deal was struck.

Disappointed with last weeks cook section in the Guardian being solely dedicated to Pasta, this weeks is much more interesting with much more writing and thought for the food reader. Less is more from Sue Quinn…Love the name of her blog Pen and Spoon. A mushroom soup that’s definitely worth a shot from Rachel Roddy. And a Brownie Recipe that will put the chocolate lover in a spin.

My Indian cookery course covered off Chicken Tikka that the boys just wolfed down. I really need to get some of these recipes up on the site! This weeks blogging resolution!!

Highlight of the week was an early train ride through to Glasgow, a window seat, a coffee and Piano music on my phone. It was 45 minutes of uninterrupted time to me and my thoughts The Fields being laid for the winter rest, and the sun low in the sky. It was a nice change that I was grateful for and gave me the nod that I really need to get away from my desk at work to plan my time, think and feel.

Big shout out to Daisy Smile face who hosts the #DSFWeeklyRewind. Thanks for popping by and spending some time at my table.

 

 

The Table #5

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Come on in and take a seat, it’s a weekend of no plans…perhaps a cup of tea or coffee and some afternoon reading. The morning chores have been done….the shops are starting to get a little bit busier than normal with the extra items appearing in the basket.  I managed to find the bottle of British Cassis that’s going in the Christmas hamper.   I picked up the Guardian with my favourite food section and the new Waitrose magazine, which shouldn’t have the new year calendar attached but it does!

I managed the Edinburgh 10k last Sunday and I feel I’ve been suffering muscle wise since.  It was a cold cold day, blue skies and the city had its best face on for the event.   Starting at the castle it winds down to Princess street, the gardens and then back onto the Royal Mile heading down to Holyrood palace, the bottom of Arthurs seat and then a long hike to Murray Field stadium taking in the Grass Market.   It’s full of history and a genuine city run…..(Not like the Edinburgh Marathon!).   Did I tell you it was cold and that my muscles have been aching all week!

Psychologically I need to get back in the saddle.  Not been able to face running since.  I’ve been on my bike though, a means of getting to and from work quickly….strangely no aches and pains.

Weekend foodie wise…..the Guardian is covering Pasta and Waitrose the big roasts under the guise of ‘How to Feast’ over the festive period.

Sausage casserole on the go. #food #cooking #sausage

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Myself, I took on Nigel’s bonfire sausages, except I really made it my own, I made too much in case my in-laws wanted to stay after the pre tea fizz.   I made two types of bread, a wholemeal and a white, to serve with Olives, Serrano ham, Melon and crudités (Carrot, Pepper and Celery) with Hummus.   The white was really an afterthought to keep the kids happy by making dough balls.

Music wise….this week I’ve gone back catalogue with a little bit of Deacon Blue and the album ‘Whatever You Say, Say Nothing’ an album that I loved at the time and only revisit for the odd track that appears on a best off.  Probably the last 12 inch vinyl that I bought a good 20 years ago.

The city is really starting to prepare itself for the Christmas Market the Dome having had its lights on since October is starting to feel like a welcome beacon when I leave work for home.   I’ve been tracking the progress of the big wheel and although it doesn’t add any class to the proceedings the lights do add some razzmatazz as the dark and cold hits the lungs on my cycle home, especially over the Mound.

Thanks for popping by and spending some time at my table, and my nod to the weekly rewind #DSFWeeklyRewind

 

Mathieson Butcher Edinburgh

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This in my parlance is what I’d call a proper butcher.  With no airs and graces the guys in here do service with a smile, they know the locals and always quick with a joke.  The prices feel honest and true, and you get the feeling of family values and of a time when people always shopped locally.  I’ve been in the queue on Christmas Eve to hear that people have driven across town just to get to this butchers shop.

I looked for a website to share a link, in true form this butcher doesn’t have one and it pleases me to know that their reputation is enough.  With a bit of digging I came across the Grange Association website that makes a mention of the store setting up in 1902 by Andrew Mathieson, with a little history of Ratcliffe Terrace and how it came to be.  I wonder if the house I’m living in built in 1895 were customers of the same shop when it opened?

It’s only now as I write this that I realise you can smell the history when you walk in,  the floors are wooden and the little accounts office still sits neatly against the wall, sometimes with a man in it reading a trashy newspaper.   The signs have the old script painted with the various cuts labelled and a space for the chalk price.  Don’t come in with an idea of buying six thighs because the Sunday supplement calls for it.  The cuts here are traditional, if you want chicken pieces they are jointed there and then.   I don’t see this as a bad thing, more a nod to sustainability and staying true to one’s trade.  The exception I know of though is the chicken breast which I know they buy in to meet the demand.   Venison is kept in the freezer and so are the beef ribs (which I bought once…to try a recipe I’d seen in a supplement!)

Links: Grange Association

Table #4

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Welcome into the kitchen, we’ve made it to the end of the week and a glass of wine has been poured.  The menu for tea is a quick pull it together for the boys and I.  The boss is out with a friend and a very rare occasion for a Friday night!  Rice and a tub from freezer containing left over frozen lentils and lamb curry, served with broccoli and a spoon of mango chutney before some boys tv.

I got the boys to bed an hour ago and I’ve been shamelessly procrastinating, clicking and looking through Pintrest…man that can zap time!  And the irony of it is that I’ve been clicking through organising oneself…..until I got a hold of myself and went to play the piano for 10 mins.  We have the easy play version of La La land….the pieces are very evocative of the film and a joy to play.  I take it slow and remarkably they sound ok.

My blog has been calling me despite the fact when I sit down to write it’s a struggle….and finally starting to type and explain how the evening has gone is a help.  Spending time on something un-interrupted is a luxury and so sitting here with my mind to roam free is taking all my will power to concentrate!

The clocks changed last Sunday and my plans to revolutionise my weekly habit were going to kick in…easily bounding out of bed at 6, fresh and ready to take the world on…..it didn’t happen!   It happens to be pitch black at that time (obviously) and the last thing my brain wants to do is wake up!  Add to the that there’s definitely been a dip in the temperature,  the sporting gazelle did not appear and I just wanted to pull the duvet over my head when the wakeup call went.

The new Honey & Co Foodtalks Podcast appeared in my stream today.  This edition held with Ed Smith creator of the Blog Rocket and Squash (another recent discovery) has been blogging for 7 years or so.  He talks through how he came to blogging and how food became his calling rather than being a lawyer.  For a guy in IT with a passion for cooking well, this really struck a chord.

My challenge with Nigel continued,  one recipe I followed to the letter.  From the chronicles, taken from Three dried fruit drinks for winter Apricot, orange and anise (which doesn’t do justice to the brandy and sweet wine.  The other recipe, Lamb ‘osso buco’ with pappardelle which I really made my own, a slightly different cut of meet, an addition of tinned tomatoes (my Indian cookery class has annoying half tin tomato recipes so there was a half that needed using up) and I used port rather than Marsala.  Also made my own pasta…..which is a labour of love despite what anyone tells you.  I always forget how long it takes….enjoyable when you have the time…not when you have spent the day dismantling an old kitchen for the tip.   This Sunday nights tea involves a pan, a pork chop, and some pears

The table is my weekly review,  with a nod to #DSFWeeklyRewind and with that in mind I need to mention what I’m grateful for this week.   It’s music, this week it got me through some moments…I’ve discovered a new pianist, Yann Tierson (he’s not new), his music is new to me and I love this album, from track 2 it’s exquisite.  My favourite track of the moment though is Everything Now by Arcade Fire

Earthy – Edinburgh Causewayside

2017-11-04 10.18.23 HDRThe weekend is here a chance to recoup and connect with my foodie drive.  I’ve kept myself local today and this feels very much a decadence.  Earthy the local foodie emporium.  I look up to see the lollipop pop lady who serves the nearby primary school, I know she lives closer than I so I shouldn’t feel to guilty!

I’ve been to the butchers across the road, stewing lamb for a Rogan Josh  (my Indian course on Tuesday) and pork chops for the Nigel dish I have planned for tea.  The boys are out sporting and amazingly I’ve carved out the morning to myself.

Earthy is one of those places that’s had to grow and adapt as it got more and more popular and sits in my if you do things right people will pay and come bracket.  It’s a ram shackled place off the beaten track so you would be forgiven for just walking by, maybe in a previous life a garage or warehouse from the 60’s.  Open brick and steel girders, reclaimed wood for the counters, solid wood tables and benches should give you a feel for the place.  The scones, the salads, the cakes, the quiches all look home made on the premises with a very relaxed wholesome and urban feel.

My wife always on the hunt for a good scone tipped me off that they were good here and today was my time to try (although I think I’ll be in trouble for trying without her!).  The humble flour, raisin and butter concoction is taken to another level here with addition of pistachios, chopped into wedges the size just shy of a small builders brick was something to behold.  It arrived warm …..enough said.  The coffee brewed by the Italian style Electra was good not to strong I only wish I’d gone large to keep up with the pace of the scone.

I’d love to linger longer, it’s quiet today, to have another coffee and while the morning away.  The home list is long and I promised I’d take care of lunch.  The beauty of this place is that I can now pop upstairs and get a few extra things.  I’m hoping to find a squash or pumpkin to roast.  The kind that smacks of good wholesome growing, not the kind that are engineered for Halloween!

Links:  Earthy Causewayside

The Scone is a monster! #coffee #scone #saturdaymornings

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Red Onion Squash for lunch

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The Table #3

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Welcome into the kitchen, come on in this week we are serving up Roast Pumpkin and Polenta Salad with Hake.  I enjoyed it the fish so much last week that we had it again this weekend with the boys.  I gave Nigel Slaters Hazelnut chocolate cake with sultanas a go from his 2018 Autumnal recipe selection.  A labour of love…but definitely a keeper.   If you were staying for tea we’d be having braised lamb with home-made pasta, followed by a slice of the cake.

I’ve got two books on the go at the moment…a novel.  The Memory Stones, Caroline Brothers….one of those rare moments of luxury where you get to browse a bookshop, feel the covers, check the shelves and choose something new and inviting.   A welcome change from some of the management books I’ve been reading of late.   Then I broke my promise to myself around the new Nigel Recipe book – Christmas Chronicles.  In my defence it was on offer and starts from November in terms of the recipes.

I’m grateful for the extra hour today….the clocks went back!  Imagine what you could do if someone gave us an extra free hour every weekend!

I’m now counting days rather than weeks to a 10k race I entered months ago.  The last 10k I did was the same race last year!  I’ve been training on and off and got myself up to the 7.5k mark, hopefully it’s enough.  Have to say my back is twinging at the thought of it.

For the cinema goers amongst you….I can definitely recommend Thor: Ragnarok.  Full of good humour and a great addition to the Marvel Studios range of films.

Enjoy your week, and hopefully see you next week at the table as part of the #DSFWeeklyRewind.