Liberated

Sunrise from Arthur’s Seat

A sense of liberation today.  All the things I wanted to achieve, I either have or haven’t!  The world kept spinning and for 50 of those revolutions I’ve been but a small grain of sand in the cosmos.

The only thing I wanted to do was to catch the sunrise, to look into the awe of the world and admire its majestic nature.  The last few years I’ve been doing this but pretty sure I’d set off in the dark last time.  The sky already had tinge of pink and orange that merges into what I call a space blue.  The kind that a pilot might witnesses day in day out at 20,000 feet.  We set out the door with a little bit of panic in our stride.  Let’s say I did and perhaps a little too fast!  It was so bright and crisp that I was worried that I’d missed it, that my data was wrong, or perhaps the definition of sun rise was something else.

It’s a good 45-minute walk and despite the below zero temperature I was roasting by the time we’d hit the foot of the hill.  Thirty minutes in with a twenty-minute climb to go.  Perhaps my pace and the new pair of long johns!  I bought my first pair last week, feeling that for a man of my age it’s a kind of investment!  That and a preparing for ski trip we’ve got coming up.  I thought I’d give them a try….wow, where have they been all my life!

At this point I was starting to feel comfortable that the sun hadn’t hit the horizon yet.  The rocky steps cold and icy.  Part of the rock that doesn’t see any sun at this time of year.  I’d stop momentarily to take a picture and secretly catch my breath.

A little bit of a false summit as you turn back on yourself on the final way to the top.  A well-trodden path.  Relief to see a little community at the top, waiting eagerly.  Mainly students, folk with time on their hands, the odd tourist.  The locals too crazy to tackle the ice at this time of year!

I felt blessed as we sat down, despite the cold and my fingers raw from taking photographs on the way up.  Keen to mark the moment and capture that sky.  First a chink, next a slither with a pace that didn’t hold back.  The tips of the new town, the tenements bathed in a sprinkle of light.  A different definition to the city streets that I wanted to memorise.  Miles of cars on the daily grind oblivious to the change I was witnessing from up on a high.   A spectacle in itself.

The sunrise was just beautiful as the well wishes started coming in on my phone.  I was able to share a selfie in response.  Proof I’d made it to the top, proof I’d hit the milestone, proof that I could still climb the hill.  Proof that the world keeps spinning.


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

The New Gaff

Footprints

Scribble and Scran back operating under new premises….although you might well say I’ve just moved flat in the same block. Lets see what happens this time around!

All the old posts have been moved in, like boxes they need unpacking, it doesn’t feel like they’ve moved seamlessly. Like old pieces of kitchen equipment. They might have done their time and need to be moved on.

Ready to make some new footprints.

Beetroot and Chocolate Brownie

Beetroot Brownie

This week there are two beetroot in the veg box, huge bigger than tennis balls and by some mistake we’ve doubled up on the weekly shop.  My mind immediately leaping to beetroot and chocolate as a way to cash in on the bonanza.  Beetroot adds a dense moist texture with a sweetness that means we can use a little less sugar.   This is great as a pudding served with a compote some ice cream or a spoon or two of Greek yoghurt.

Since buying a pressure cooking preparing beetroot has been a doddle.  We typically put it on the potato setting and add a little extra water.  If they are little bigger, they just need a little extra time, a nudge on the pressure dial and a couple of extra minutes. 

20×30 shallow baking tin, greased and lined with baking parchment

Oven at 180°c, 350°f or Gas Mark 4

  • Beetroot: 300g (cooked from fresh, to the point of being soft, peeled and finely grated)
  • Butter unsalted: 250g roughly cubed for melting
  • Dark chocolate: 300g broken into pieces
  • Eggs: 4
  • Caster Sugar: 250g
  • Wholemeal self-raising flour: 200g
  • Salt: a pinch of fine sea salt

Melt the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. As soon as it starts to soften, reduce the heat and add the butter.  Stir until it has melted.

Meanwhile beat the eggs and sugar together within an inch of their lives, a good five to ten mins depending on the speed of the beater.  Looking for pale light and fluffy, doubled in volume.

With the beater on slow, add the melted chocolate mix into the eggs, just looking to combine the two.  Sift the flour and salt together over the chocolate.  Adding the wheat grains back in.  Gently fold this in and when it’s nearly combined fold in the grated beetroot as well.  Don’t overwork this as we are trying to keep the air in the mixture.

Scoop the mixture into the lined tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, remember this will carry on cooking when you take out the oven and we want them to stay moist. 

Leave to cool in its tin on a wire rack, before cutting into squares.

No lie in

We both woke at alarm time this morning without the alarm! It’s like a law of physics, when you don’t need to get up you can’t sleep and then when you do need to get up you can’t.   If it had been a school day we’d have been flat out.  Both in need of that extra hour to refresh.  It’s elusive and for no reason.

We decide to get up and make the best of the dry morning the rain is due around 11, in search of a second coffee perhaps something to go alongside.  We end up at old haunt, nothing taking our fancy on the way.  Soderberg, a Swedish bakery and we know we won’t be disappointed from an eats point of view.  The coffee is good just not big enough.  The service slow, it’s ok there is no rush today.

We swung by the bookshop, I was hoping to check out the new book by Anja Dunk, Advent.  Unfortunately not in stock.  I was also hoping to pick up some wheat gluten, which I’d checked on line to see if the store sold it.  Again though not in stock.  So not very successful.  Then the rain came, with a howling wind to the bite we didn’t hang around.

Back home pre lunch is unusual on a Saturday and I as watch the leaves dance on the wind, the rain at a diagonal with the wind crashing against the windows I’m glad I can stay in the rest of the day.

Dinner this evening is already in the bag, I made a slow cook aubergine and lamb stew Thursday evening so I’m hunting around for a dessert to perhaps fill my time.  The trouble is it will come with a bout of guilt.  There is a tub of sour cream in the fridge crying out to be used and I’m wondering about a cheesecake recipe and wondering if I’d be able to freeze half.  I feel I’ve left it too late in terms of cooling down.  The veg box came with a couple of beetroots almost the size of foot balls so I feel a chocolate beetroot combo might be the way to go.


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Cold Brisk Walk

At about nine last night as we were sitting down for our hour of TV for bed a moment fo dread came over me as I realised I’d not been out all day.  Caught up in work, my thoughts and organising I’d failed to make sure my eyes saw something more than four walls.

Woke in the middle of the night a frequent occurrence, probably related to my lack of external light intake and the whirring in my brain.  I flipped on the radio to help and came across a great little programme on food and the small changes we can make.

One small changeThe Food Chain Your stories of small, achievable changes around food to help the environment.

BBC Sounds – World Service

Thankfully this morning I’m able to make light a priority, a dry morning, crisp and cold.  The cars covered in what looks to be the regular arrival of the frost for the season.  I made it up Blackford Hill, catching the sun as it arrived for the day.  A good round trip of forty or so minutes and I’m feeling better for it.

Right here is…

Keyboard and Fork

I’ve got the words of Debbie Allen in my head as she plays Lydia Gray in Fame….’right here is where you start paying; in sweat.’ …..it plays out as I think about NanoPoblamo21..and the whole post a blog entry every day and I think about the goal to pull a cookbook together, it’s a dream, so I need to start the work and get on with it!

More a reflective ramble  as I try to get back into the habit of writing daily.  I’ve been skirting around the edges for a few days, perhaps weeks if I think about it honestly.  I already feel like I’ve lost the month despite it only being the 3rd.  The things I’ve written never whole in nature.  I dabble with my thinking in OneNote and then share as and when required.   The ideas have been building up and I really want to start shaping the structure of these thoughts.

I also dabbled on Facebook today with a page to share posts on moving forward Scribble & Scran on Facebook, think it needs a few likes to make it real.

One recipe to Rule them all

One Stock A Hundred Soups

Came across this book on my travels over the weekend, kind of aligned to some of my thinking on a couple of recipe spreads.  My thinking that from the basis of an onion you have the foundation for a great many things.  Soup, stews and curries.

This book has the premise that from one stock you have the basis for a number of soups.  On deeper reading, a cup of coffee in hand.  I can see the quantities jump around and the stock is more a pre-requisite to the different recipe.  My thinking is a little different in that the onion will be part and parcel of the recipe…..no discards. Not that I won’t give the recipes a go in this book and learn.

Onion, 2 carrots, 2 sticks of celery and away we go….

It All Started on Friday…

Happy Halloween – Bakewell Tart

I can’t believe it’s Friday already as it suddenly dawns on me the weekend coffee share is upon us.  The beauty of a four day week as I’d taken Monday off as part of last weeks half term. 

Monday felt so refreshing, a blue sky day, and I was productive.   The exhaust and new tyres on the van.  Cycled here and there, topping up on a few health (nuts and grass) store essentials along with returning some library books.   The library round the corner is still being used as a COVID test centre, so it’s a hike across town to a different branch holding strange hours that I’ve not got my head round.   I’m just glad it’s back and in operation, having it closed for a book junkie was like having my right hand cut off.

The weather since has been dark and dreich, constant rain.  Enough said!

On cooking front,  I’m tackling the Rye Bread from the guardian.  I’m in the final stages and it’s looking good so far.  My sourdough starter bit the dust a while back when we sort of gave up bread as a low carb diet experiment.  So to be able to build something up over the course of a few days using a slow ferment like this might be a revelation…..At the same time, I can’t go back to the high carb diet! 

Veg box had potatoes in it this week despite us specifically being on the list for no potatoes (that low carb diet again).  I’ve got a great chickpea and potato recipe inspired by Dishoom for this and the relatives are coming round for an overdue visit so mischief managed.

Halloween seems to be the theme of the weekend with a pumpkin/squash also in the box.  I’ll be hunkering down trying to avoid the cobwebs pairing the squash with a piece of Cod or Haddock.   The boy has a couple of parties to go to so there might be a bit of hair a makeup required, but as a teenage boy the days of lightning on the forehead has long since gone and we are now talking about curfew times as opposed to which face paints to use.  Oh for simpler times!

Thank you for those folk who came for coffee last week, really appreciated those battling with my comments section on the blog.   I think I’ve got a cache problem with the host service.  Which is really frustrating, wasted a lot of time for me which meant I didn’t get round to other folks posts.  Apologies.

…..and then Saturday came, I hadn’t managed to post this. The squash and Haddock soup was amazing. The bread….hmmm the jury is out, showed so much promise but may have been in the oven too long.

…..and then Sunday came and I’ve moved host again! A lot quicker this time, a little bit less stress (but not stress free). JetPack looks to be firing on all systems and no caching problems. There’s a media problem, but nothing I can’t handle and needs to coincide with a content review generally. …..and windows 11 available for my PC has popped up……I may be gone for some time!

On that note…..Happy Halloween!


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Taking a Day

Got the day off to myself….one way to kill those Monday blues!  The exhaust on the van is in a bad way so I’m up early and dropped it off at the local exhaust depo.  I knew from several calls over the last week it wasn’t going to be a quick fix.  I seem to remember as a boy the exhaust depo having rows and rows of exhausts to pick from whereas now it’s all ordered as and when required.  Don’t think Amazon have cornered the 1-click exhaust market yet.

So I’ve popped round the corner to a local café, nice and empty.  I’m able to pick the seat nearest the radiator which I’m not quite hugging.  I’ve ordered the wrong kind of coffee hoping for a mug rather than an espresso with a drop of water added.  Which is what I seemed to have received…a long black.  Have to admit though the taste and zing is a good jolt to a cold Monday morning.  I was about to plug my own tunes in, however the Beatles are playing in the background which is a nice tonic to the pop music I’ve been playing lately.

In terms of a weekend in review, it was a day of travelling on Saturday, finishing off the cheese we had left over for tea with a couple of tins of soup from the cupboard.  Returned back from the Peak District with a 101 things rattling around in my head, the joy of a break and stepping off the hamster wheel for a few days can do that for you.

Sunday a more leisurely affair.  I’m keen to embrace the more flexitarian approach to living so the weekend saw me dabbling with a corn and cauliflower soup from Anna Jones book.  A long with the inspiration for a squash and sweet potato stew.  I took one of the frozen curry pastes I’d had sitting around in the freezer for ages (I’m embarrassed to say Feb) and sweated it down (ice and all, bit of oil, the stalks from the greens. Added a can of coconut milk,  a small squash peeled and diced into bite sized pieces, same for a couple of sweet potatoes.  Topped up with a little water, brought to a simmer for 20 mins, then added a can of drained black eyed beans that I’d crushed a little.  Which did a great job of thickening the stew.  Simmered a little longer and then added some shredded leaves to wilt.    Served in a bowl, topped with some diced feta. 

….Monday and I’m thinking what to start with first!

Lagom, One Pot, a week in the Peak District

It’s been a week of tumbling leaves caught on the wind, dancing on the change in season. The air not quite in Winters grasp as the feeling of Autumn try’s to hold tight to it’s the colours in the trees. There are moments of bitter cold that cut through to the bone. Another layer of clothing is required to make the best of the day.

A week away from the four walls has been a welcome a break from living at work. The change of routine has been great for the mind and despite the cold and the wet we’ve explored the area with our bikes. The old railway tracks now used for recreation and wonder. Cutting through the hills and a great way to get the heart going. There are tunnels that take you from one valley to the next and a reminder of the industrial age in which they were built. Still coloured by coal and although it’s been a long time since a train passed through I swear I could hear the clatter of the pistons and the noise of the steam engine chuffing along, the ghosts of yesterday playing with my mind.

There are walkers too, making the most of the footpaths. The odd one sat by the side, annoyed as another cyclist flies by and doesn’t ring their bell. Some stare like a bike is a new invention, I want to shout out the train will be a long in a minute just to try and add a little humour to the day. I keep it to myself. This trail is amazing and I’m out the office exploring the land and that’s enough. Pheasants roam the fields and I’m reminded that the game season will be upon us soon.

The kitchen at the place we are staying is small and a little disappointing for the cook in my soul. Only one saucepan, a wok and an oven to table roasting dish that isn’t hob friendly. I know I’m spoiled and it’s given me a bit of a challenge as I fry and decant to the roaster. The thing I missed the most was a set of oven gloves. That oven to table pot gets mighty hot! The kitchen a minor niggle, otherwise the place has been great. Minutes away from Bakewell, an old marketing town a short distance away from Sheffield and famous for it’s Bakewell pudding although I prefer the tart.

Chatsworth house is a stone throw away.   We tried to cycle to it via safe traffic free roads but we were foiled by the rather impressive gates!  The estate farm shop is a beauty and a real treat for the foodie.  A butchers, a fish counter, a cheese counter and all things in between.  I couldn’t resist the various sausages they had on the go,  Venison from the estate along with an Old Spot (heritage pork breed) sausage.

When we go away and space isn’t a problem I like to bring a big plastic box with us.  Easily holds a couple of cooking books, a few pens, a couple of notebooks (my current bullet journal and my writing journal), the iPad along with cables and a set of headphones.  If I’m lucky and sometimes by design I manage to carve some time out and land myself in another world.  I read the introduction of the new book and allow the premise to flow into my thinking.  I’m a bit of an intro junkie.  There are some cookbooks, that just leave it there, the usual sections ensue.  Typically follow a set standard, glossy photo and then a recipe. Page turners for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  These definitely have a place in my heart and they are great when I don’t need to think and all I can do is skim read. 

Then there are those books written and carved by time and toil by a cook who cares enough to share their world, to take someone on a journey themselves to impart wisdom and wizardry.   I love these books and I want to give them time and attention.  Skim reading is so easy but wrong! So I try and find time and carve out a moment where I can give the book my whole attention.

A bit like when a new album is released or a new film. Time is specifically given to listen for the first time, to watch for the first time and in my case read for the first time. Bringing the books on holiday is my way of trying to take my mind on a journey a quest for knowledge whilst I dive into something that will transport me to another kitchen, give me a new way of thinking and the chance to embrace new ideas.

This week I’ve brought One Pot, Pan and Planet (a greener way to cook for you. Your family and the planet) by Anna Jones and Lagom (The Swedish art of eating harmoniously) by Steffi Knowles-Dellner which was recommended by another weekend coffeeshare, Thistles and Kiwis

Needless to say the week has flown by and I want to give a special thank you to Natalie this week. With moving my host provider for the blog have I’d had trouble with comments section, along with the followers. I thought I’d nailed it with a Jetpack re-install to find they were still not working. The re-install tweaked the settings I’d been playing with! Natalie has been really patient and helpful with regarding testing my comments. I don’t know if they are fixed yet and without being back at base I haven’t had the chance to get stuck in with my desktop. I may need to go nuclear and do a complete re-install. Hopefully though, I’ve fixed it. If you did attempt to leave a comment and I didn’t get back to you, please accept my apologies and thank you for stopping by!


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.