A sideline project for an IT guy who likes to cook

Month: January 2022

Dancing on the wind

The leaves are dancing on the wind this morning as I pull up the zip on my coat.  One minute the road is empty the wind orchestrating a kind of dance, like starlings in synchronisation.  The next the wind cuts off the oxygen and the road is strewn with leaves.  Blink and they are on their way again.

I’ve been dropped off as part of the taxi service for the boys soccer game this morning.  The streets are empty like everyone in the town has taken the extra time to prepare themselves for stepping out the door and strength they will need to walk in a straight line.  I’ll be amazed if the boy manages to kick the ball in this wind.

I’m so early there is no queue at the fish van and I don’t feel pressured to stop and choose for a change.  I notice the van’s slight wobble in the wind and make a general comment about the day.

The supermarket is as quiet as I’d hoped but still there is no wait at the butchers counter nor the till for when I make my escape.  I’m armed with a few extra veggies, some free range chicken thighs and oranges.  I’m going to tackle that recipe of Grannies that’s been on my to do list for a while.

The walk home is in the general direction of the wind, and I’m sure a personal best of forty minutes is down to the fact I myself was carried like the leaves.

Coffee is served with homemade scones, gently warmed in the oven so you’d have no idea they were made the day before.  A touch of raspberry jam and some spread, a luxury I take today.  My normal preference to just take them as they come.

The boy returns home early, the other team didn’t show.  The wind too much and it seems so was the communication.  However he’s happy the team got to play against each other and days exercise has been had despite the weather.

I’m well and truly caught up in the world created by James Islington and cruising through a mighty 693 page monster of a book, The Shadow of What Was Lost.  As destiny calls, a journey begins an epic fantasy page turner.   The next instalment waiting for me in the book shop already

The Shadow of What Was Lost (The Licanius Trilogy, #1)


It’s Sunday morning as I finish up this post and enjoying a new find on Spotify.  Some gentle atmospheric piano that is soothing to the soul. 

The Wind has died and it’s a bright day.  There is another soccer match on this afternoon, close by to the garden centre so the plan is to take a look, bring the idea of growth and renewal into the home. 

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.

220123 – 4 of 52

Best Seat in Town

It’s one of my favourite weeks of the year. It’s a new year of sorts, the sky the moon and a marker in the sand for another year of my life.

6:30am… Today I jump out of bed as I’m keen to make the sunrise from the top of Arthurs seat.  No sign of rain, so it’s on.  I briefly scan the local barbers for appointments as a reward, a random act of kindness to myself as another year turns over.  I’ve a rough timeline in my head and want to make use of a day off work.  A hot towel shave and a fresh haircut.  Let’s start this 49th year as I mean to go on.

Leaving the house around 7.40.  It took me longer than I thought to get ready, but make it to the top in ample time.  I download some upbeat music, something new.  Nothing to generate memories, or reflect on as today I’m moving forward and taking charge.  I make it to the top in time for the official rise time.  A few folk doing the same, the odd runner.  It’s cold to take my gloves off for the camara and the odd picture.  There’s a bit too much cloud though, Tuesday would have been better the sky was on fire.

9am…down the other side, a Bacon roll and Haggis, it was chopped all wrong and fell apart, collapsed in my hands.  No matter a fork and some good coffee I’m ready to take the barbers on

Hot towel shave, a new me and the face of baby!  Then  some lunch in one of the best seats in town.  The bookshop café overlooking the castle.  I’ve gone nowhere near the cookbook section and I know how good it is.    I’m staying clear.

I’m not sure what I’m in for apart from the warmth of the sun and the proximity of all those words, knowledge facts and stories.  The possibilities are endless, so I make a few mental notes. I’d be in big trouble if I bought something on my wish list and found later to be in amongst the gifts.

My wife did get me some great presents including a new apron, a guide to herbs and a beautiful chopping board.  I’m now dreaming of warmer days where I can get a few seeds going.

Going to cut this post short, so I can pop round the other shares.  Hope everyone has a great week.

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.

220123 – 3 of 52

With a Bump

Woke to find the BBQ upside down.  So kind of the wind to make a visit and take the BBQ on a trip.  Amazingly didn’t hear it in the night or perhaps I did but didn’t realise.  On inspection it looked ok and other than a dust off  and the longing for warmer days it looked ok.

First full five day week in a while and it’s been ok.   The dark mornings have been hard, beaten by strategically placing an alarm (my watch) on the other side of the room in order that I have to get out of bed to switch it off.  If I’m not quick enough this will awaken the teenage beast. With it the peace in the house which is to be enjoyed at this time in the morning.  The early routine has given me time to do some stretching, reading, fresh air and an attempt at writing before the work starts.   I’ve lost track of the length of time now working at home and it’s going to feel strange when finally we return to the office. 

Until then though, coffee is served early with the view of the sun rising through the trees.  A gradual orange hue that merges into a crisp blue.  As my wife pointed out the birds are tweeting in the background if you listen carefully.  Surely a sign of breaking the back of the short days.  I’ve seen the first snow drops of the year, always a good sign and we have a bunch of daffodils on the kitchen table that are definitely brightening the mood.  A tiny bit of happiness, a snip at the price of a pound.

I’ve got my head around a few recipes that I intend to try this weekend catching the online shop so I’m well prepared this weekend. 

From the Home Cookery Year.  A couple of winter dishes. 

  • Mushroom (no meat) balls.  
  • Chicken with Prunes Stew.

The veg box came with a huge ugly looking thing called a celeriac, so I’m going to be a little creative in the soup department by adding a few Cannelloni beans and Pancetta.  

In amongst that there will be a quiche, a salad and the browsing of Grannies Recipe box. After collecting some dust in my virtual filing system I need to get on with bringing them up to date, and writing them up.  There are never enough meals or hours in the day!

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.

220114 – 2 of 52

Happy New Year 2022

Back to it, Green lights

I’ve been mulling over my first blog post since the start of the year and welcome return of the coffee share to add that impetus to complete post!

The first nights sleep of 22 was broken and hard work. I could feel the headache enveloping my brain.  Try as I might, I wasn’t going to defeat the fog of that extra glass of fizz!  Although it was enjoyable at the time!  New Years day wasn’t going to be the day the resolutions kicked in!  The potential for the new me revealed as quickly as Clark Kent in a photo booth just wasn’t going to happen.

I’ve not been on the scales for a few weeks, I knew the answer.  Heavier than I wanted to be.  I do it anyway I want a baseline.  I try to convince the scales to give me a different answer by having a go at it a few times even employing the post number two technique later on which made me a pound or so heavier.  Go figure!

Breakfast is a refreshing grapefruit, followed by a couple slices of Panettone.  A lovely melt in the mouth kind of Brioche that toasts really quickly and makes the kitchen smell of heaven.  A choice of spread, Jam or Chocolate, both full of calorific goodliness and so there is no sympathy required for the weight headline. 

The article in the Guardian is apt,  New year, same old you! The secret to self-improvement is embracing your messy, imperfect life It’s only when you learn to accept who you are, flaws and all, that you can make real, worthwhile change!

As I was having a second cup of coffee I watched the hour long special on Quentin Blake.  I’m left in awe of the man and the legacy of his work.  I’m inspired to try some drawing again, another thing to add to my dreams list.  A good watch if you can, but suspect only available in the UK.  YouTube though, I just found a treasure trove of things to add to my watch list.  How to draw Willy Wonka with Quentin Blake

We’ve also been working through the Beatles and the McCartney programs on Disney+.  Again a level of creativity that is just so inspiring.  Particularly enjoying how McCartney is breaking down his music with the mixing desk and Rick Ruben.

……Fast forward to day 7, and I can safely say the week has flown by.  A return to work and some semblance of routine kicks in.  The habits and thoughts around 2022 are still there but starting to become a little more realistic as I battle with the day job versus the aspirations I’d set out for myself. 

I’m close to starting my 49th year and one of those sliding doors moments appears, I’m asking myself who I want to be next year when I look in the mirror and so I’m using the power of intention to try and direct me.  It hasn’t made getting up in the pitch black on a cold and icy morning thirty minutes earlier to try and kick start the mind any easier.

James Clear dropped into my inbox yesterday with his words of wisdom and I’m not surprised Atomic Habits is in the top 10 globally.  Possibly the state of the world at the moment causing everyone to reflect and think about who they want to be. He’s got a free 30 day course to supplement the book at the moment.

So lots of habit stacking, intention defining and reading on the agenda. I’ve just put up my current list of cookery books that I’m working through. and I’ve made the first coffee share of the year!

Heading into the weekend and I’m looking forward to a bit of free time to double down on my thinking.  I’ve to return my son to his University flat, fed and watered ready for a second term.  I’ve asked him to get up early so I don’t lose the whole day!   I can but ask, and make lots of noise as I get ready 😊

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.

220107 – 1 of 52

Cookbooks for 2022

The start of the year is a great time to reflect on the books that are on the shelf or gifted over the holiday. Thought I would share my choices at this point of time, listed in order of entry into the house.

A list of books that I’m choosing to guide me with a view of changing my habits and patterns with food. The intention of trying to work through them learning as I go.

A Cooks BookA Cook’s BookReleased in September 21, I waited for Christmas before I even took a look at the book. Beautifully written and a great read rather than just a bunch of recipes. The friend you always want by your side. There is a great podcast that runs alongside A Cooks Chronicles Podcast
One, Pot, Pan, PlanetOne: Pot, Pan, PlanetThe latest set of recipes from Anna Jones, a vegetarian cookery author with an ethos on the environment. Instagram

Five Soup Recipes
Cook, Eat, RepeatCook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes and StoriesThe queen of the kitchen latest revelation, an ethos around food with some great recipes. I’ve been dabbling with Anchovies ever since and the black bread a repeat recipe for life. There is a 6 part TV series that featured in the UK and a luscious Instagram feed.
Home Cookery YearHome Cookery Year: Four Seasons, Over 200 Recipes for All Possible OccasionsThe home cooks year,  follow Claire on Instagram as she shares tictok style posts of her recipes and food throughout the year. Just reminding me to go back and look up the recipes and see how useful they are for ever changing house routine.
Salt, Fat, Acid, HeatSalt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good CookingA mighty tome of wisdom that was just too big to take in when I got it. A wealth of upfront thinking before the recipes started. I’ve had a revisit and the buttermilk chicken is a revelation to me. There is a four part series on Netflix that sits alongside.

A great podcast from the honey and co food sessions

A Cooks Tour of ScotlandA Cook's Tour of ScotlandMore a wild card in my list, a pick from my shelves with a view to exploring the hood and growing my knowledge. Sue Lawrence on twitter and a BBC presence.

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