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.

 

 

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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

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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Sweet Potatoe and Lentil Soup

Red Lentils

Saturday Morning and the main shop was done yesterday and we are walking around Bruntsfield and Morningside after dropping our bikes off for a service. Waitrose, the foodies supermarket usually calls out to us, to grab those last minute items and a free paper when you spend over £10. I love the Guardian on Saturday Food Supplement! They sell an ideal sized bag of sweet potatoes in their essentials range and apart from the addition of the weight in my rucksack I see no reason to add them to our extra swag for soup making purposes.

This is a lovely creamy style soup, great for those autumn nights.

Credit: EdinburghCook

Ingredients

  • 1.25kg bag of sweet potatoes
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • Olive or Rapeseed Oil
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 400g tin of coconut milk
  • 200g split red lentils
  • 1 tbsp bouillon powder

Directions

  1. Rinse and then soak the lentils in 500g/500ml or so in cold water for 30 mins
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into chunks, roast for 45 mins to an hour until soft
  3. Dice the onion
  4. Bring a tbsp of the oil to a soft heat in a heavy based pan that will hold a good 2litres of liquid.
  5. Add the onion and crushed garlic and soften until translucent
  6. Add the bouillon powder and stir in
  7. Add the coconut milk
  8. Then a litre of water, which I add boiled from the kettle, bring to a simmer and stir through
  9. You can add the lentils at this stage and cook in the broth
    1. Or cook separately in their own water to then add later
    2. I choose to do this as I didn’t want to blitz the lentils…preferring to keep them whole
  10. When the potatoes are ready, add into the broth mix and blitz using a hand blender
  11. Add the lentils if you cooked them separately.

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Doesn’t that just make you happy rice

Plain Basmati Rice

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A cup of rice, with magic just waiting to happen

Rice is one of the worlds treasures, the magic that exists in a palm full of rice is amazing, simple and versatile and easy to unlock with a simple method.  Water and heat, but in which combination.   I grew up with the boil to death technique, sieve and pour over a kettle of water and hope that the rice has survived the process.  Then when I left for university I discovered and upgraded to brown rice, and this to my mind enjoys the boil to death technique, 30 mins should do it.  It was good, it was healthy but it didn’t quite have the magic that white basmati has when cooked to perfection.  The recipe below comes close to it!   When the time comes to take the lid off…….it will just make you happy!   

  • The key to this recipe is steam and warmth, a heavy pan with a tight fitting lid is essential to this process, it keeps the heat and steam to cook the rice through.
  • Do not lift the lid or you will miss all that heavenly glory!  (Sorry Bruce Lee quote coming through there)

Ingredients

  • 200g basmati Rice, or a teacup
  • 15 butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 400ml boiling water, or 1½ teacup full

Directions

  1. In a heavy pan melt the butter
  2. Add the rice to the butter and stir through, the rice will become slightly translucent and gasping for water
  3. Add a pinch of salt and then the water
  4. Bring to a simmer and then place the lid onto the pan.  Turn the heat down as low as possible.
  5. Leave to cook for 12 minutes…..without peaking!
  6. Take the pan off the heat and leave for another 10 minutes…..without peaking….have faith!
  7. Now you can lift the lid and carefully using a fork, fluff the rice up and serve
  8. Doesn’t that just make you happy?

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

Bolognese – Authentic Edinburgh Cook Style

Bolognese EdinburghCook Style

  • Servings: 12
  • 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