A sideline project for an IT guy who likes to cook

Month: May 2020

A Portobello Breakfast

IMG_3745

Coffee today is served outside, a thought that was put into motion Friday morning by suggesting that we cycle to the beach.  It’s rare that we get such a long dry spell here in Edinburgh, enabling us to plan, and the beauty of a sunny morning at the weekend is not to be missed.

Portobello is a short distance away, within our allowable 5 mile radius and easily cyclable.  We soaked our muesli overnight, loaded up our flasks and headed down for 9.  It was hot already with folk swimming in the sea, mainly the hard core open water swimmers armed with wet suits.

The sea and the sand a tonic for the mind after sitting at my PC all week, and a real treat to be eating our breakfast outside in the warmth.  We know this place will be busy come the afternoon, so we didn’t hang around.

The local high street, with both a traditional butcher and fishmonger was not to be missed, small queues at each and a new bakery Twelve Triangles we’d not see before selling the most amazing sourdough loaves….lunch sorted along with a couple of items for a BBQ later.

Another week flies by and Scotland is beginning to release itself out of lock-down.  We’ve entered Phase 1 and we are allowed to meet people again, in gardens and open spaces, but to keep 2m apart.  Not to enter the abode let alone use the facilities.  So meet ups will be short and sweet.  I don’t see these rules being followed as we see how our teenage boys friends are reacting, a never ending opportunity to meet up and flaunt the spirit of the new freedom.   I can’t help worrying that they bring something back into the house, un-controllable and inevitable.  Then again it might be me, who brings it into the house, due to the small errands that I run at the weekend in an effort to keep our meals interesting and feed my cooking habit.  To say we are anxious is an understatement.

As an aside I managed to post a couple of recipes this week:

Thanks for popping by, hope you have a great week and the sun shines for you.

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli 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.

Porridge – Magic in a bowl

Magic in a bowlIn amongst the discussions about back bling, axes, seasons and battle passes, there is shared pan of porridge between a father and his son.  Over 8 weeks it’s become our little ritual on workdays.    He’s up around 30 mins after the house wakes and the timing is just right before I log in.

There are so many variations on this simple dish and I think it really comes down to taste, over the years though I’ve come round to the overnight soak method.  I’m not sure I could tell the difference between those oats soaked overnight and those that were just added to the pan on whim, so if you forget to soak…don’t let it put you off.

In my case as I put a serving together for the 2 early birds I also put the ingredients for 1 into a microwave dish for the teenager of the house, as he makes his own in the microwave when he’s ready.   Something he’s been doing since year one at secondary school.  Keeps the cereal and cost of milk down as one bowl of porridge easily out ways the double bowl habit he has.


  Serve 1 Serves 2
Scottish porridge oats

Milk

Water

60g

300g

60g

120g

600g

120g

The liquid is weighed just so that I don’t create washing up with the jug

Topping Ideas

  • Banana and blueberries
  • Strawberries and Raspberries
  • A Teaspoon of honey
  • Raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Chopped nuts
  • Nutella my sons favourite

Overnight Soak Approach

  1. Add all the ingredients into the pan, put the lid on, just before you go to bed and leave in a cool place.   We have a cool kitchen so on the hob for us.
  2. In the morning bring to simmer on a gentle heat stirring as you go, 5 mins or so.
  3. Will get to the point where it starts puttering to itself.  Turn the heat down, stir a couple of times to stop it sticking to the bottom.

The nuke it approach

  1. Lid off,
  2. 1 minute on full heat, stir
  3. 1 minute on full heat, stir
  4. 1 minute on full heat
  5. Leave for a minute or so.

Do it enough times and you’ll find your rhythm,  I’m sure 2 mins on a low heat and then another 2 mins on low heat would work as well.  The one thing you don’t need is specially branded microwave sachets.  Although I do understand the convenience.


 

This morning for some reason I’m taken back to the days of ready break and the advertising campaign of getting the glow!  Just did a quick check and you can still get it!  Also did a price comparison.  85p per 100g for a sachet approach and 12p per 100g for the supermarket brand of standard Scottish rolled oats.

Water not milk….I know the true traditionalists out there will use just water, and a bit of salt, splash of cream.  I can’t make that leap and it’s a case of finding your own balance.   The recipe is mainly for those folk who don’t have porridge in their lives.

And finally, porridge really is magic in a bowl……I once went to India from the UK, flew out on the Sunday and was back for the Friday.  In between travelled to Mumbai, Pune and then Chennai.  The food was amazing, but my stomach had been so bashed and battered, turned up on its head again…..the thing I craved when I got home was a bowl of porridge, soothing, comforting and something that added a sense of balance back into my world.

Hummus

Flattered to be asked by one of my co-weekend coffee sharers Gary Wilson.  I’m posting our recipe for Hummus. A weekend staple for pre dinner drinks with crudite. A way of getting a round of raw veg such as carrots, celery and pepper into the boys…​.sadly the crisps always go first!

You’ll need a food processor and a pressure cooker for this recipe.  The pressure cooker, removes the need for an overnight soak and reduces the cooking time from a good couple of hours and then some to 30 minutes.

 

Ingredients

  • 200g dried chickpeas
  • 750ml water
  • 160ml tahini
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

method

  1. Give the chickpeas a quick rince and a once over, taking out any dodgy looking ones.
  2. Place the chickpeas and water into the pressure cooking bowl.
  3. Pressure cook for 30 minutes (ours is set at 80kPa – suggest you experiment).
  4. When cooking has completed, release the pressure, drain the chickpeas, reserving 125ml cooking water, and let cool slightly.
  5. In a seperate bowl whisk together the tahini and olive oil.
  6. Process the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, cayenne and reserved cooking water in a food processor until fully ground, should take roughly a minute depending on how smooth you like your hummus.
  7. Using a rubber spatula scrape down the bowl and give it another wazz.
  8. With the machine running, add the oil-tahini mixture in a steady stream through feed tube; continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy and the oil has been mixed in, about 15-30 seconds
  9. Transfer hummus to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

We have frozen this and used another time, I couldn’t tell the difference although the boss could. Need to arrange a blind taste test!

UnProductive

IMG_3579Coffee this week is served with a peanut butter brownie, crisp and chewy around the edges, gooey in the middle.  Definitely not for the health conscious and I almost regret making it having seen how much sugar goes in.

The baking experiments seem to be the things that are pulling me through this whole lock down experience.  I’m very lucky in being able to remote work, this week though has seen no let up, no extra time to myself.  A full on project gaining senior management attention as the number of issues starts to escalate and a milestone date that was promised a year ago is merely a few weeks away.  Many folk with lots of opinions staring at a hole that needs digging but funny enough they don’t have any shovels with them.

Another week has flown by and we mark this weekend by not doing some of the Cuillins in Skye.  A long weekend my youngest and I were going to take; to get him out the house and away whilst big brother did his exams….so sadly neither has happened.  We’ve climbed a few Munro’s (and have a lot more to go), but the Cuillins are probably the ones that scare me the most so we’d booked a guide.  They’ve been brilliant though and just to let them know when we’d like to re-arrange.

As a family we are all trying to keep the daily exercise going and I’m now back to running a 5k loop, which my Garmin seems happy about most days.  Although I did log in one day to be told my exercise was unproductive!  Oblivious to my mental state, which is on a roller coaster as we work through the quirks of the house through lock down.

So I’m choosing to ignore that piece of data and focus on the fact that 8 weeks ago I could barely walk around the house without numerous aches and pains.   Not saying the aches and pains have gone….they take constant monitoring and attention in order that I can be productive…..I’ve come a long way.

If your able to stay for lunch we have a nice homemade loaf in the oven, the dough enriched with a little sour cream that gives the crumb an amazing tenderness with a quick rise……in the meantime I’m away to do some yoga before I seize up!

 

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli 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.

Fast and Slow

IMG_3625Just topped my coffee up with some hot water, you’re welcome to do so as well.  Perhaps you like your coffee strong, like rocket fuel.  I’m topping it up mainly to add some heat.  I’ve been bobbing around doing the breakfast.  Getting a loaf on the go, so the coffee had gone slightly below that enjoyment heat level for me.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you how excited I am.  After doing various bits of research on the slow cooker scene we’ve gone for a a combined fast and slow cooker.

It arrived roughly around the same time as the prime ministers baby, absolutely not related but at the time I know what I was more excited about.  A replacement for a 10 year old steamer which had been holding onto life for some time, and a slow cooker which loves to spit all over the work surface when it’s doing its thing.  I convinced the boss that we could swap 2 things with one, up our cooking game and learn something new in this lock down period.  Placed the order on Sunday and it arrived by the Wednesday.

We had a pressure cooker back in the 80s, a monster of a thing that we used a fork to pull the valve off.  Today it comes like a robot just off the set of Star Wars or as my wife described it the head of a Cyberman.  I know I’m really late to this party of a modern one pot that both sears and slow cooks…or fast cooks depending on your mood.  But I’m looking forward to the journey.

Since our veg order came from the wholesaler there’s been a bit of queue on the machine, almost thinking we could have 2 on the go.  Monster beetroot reduced to tears in minutes.  Not quite like roasted, but still sweet and soft within about 15 mins.  Hummus from dry chickpea in 30.  Slow cooked a ham hock and then pressure cooked the bone afterwards.  Stock was amazing.  Not convinced with the Rissotto…but will give it another go.

Where ever you are I hope this brief coffee share finds you safe and well.

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli 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.

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