A sideline project for an IT guy who likes to cook

Tag: #weekendcoffeeshare (Page 3 of 5)

O Christmas Tree

Chocolate Christmas Cake, Coffee Pot

Coffee is being made whilst I stew the fruit for a chocolate Christmas cake, the smell is intoxicating.   The zest from the orange mixed with brandy.  Deliberating making the coffee slow in order to stay at the hob longer, to linger, to enjoy this moment and breathe.

The recipe has been on my list since mid November and welcome on this cold, wet and bleak day.  The ground is covered in slushy kind of snow that soaks and bleeds you dry of warmth and energy.  The sky is dark and full without a thought for the folks who need to get out for a walk in order to the clear the mind.

The recipe turns out to be a winner looks wise and I’m very pleased with the result, no battling with having to cream the butter and the sugar.  Proof will be in the tasting a couple of days from now, should be weeks but don’t think we’ll be able to wait!

With full on water proofs I make it out and listen to a new podcast, very much out my comfort zone about London, urban community and rap music.  It peaked my interest from one of the top 10 lists I’ve seen this time of year and hoping in some way to help broaden my mind…..I’d recommend the podcast or musical poetry from George the Poet a London-born spoken word performer

The Christmas tree is going up today the first real one in five years or so.  I’d forgotten the weight of these things and the pine needles as they follow you round the house.  The artificial has gone up the kitchen at the back as a way of lighting up the back.  Joining our neighbors in what feels like an unspoken solidarity with regard brightening up our corner of the world….to push back the darkness in more ways than one.

 

 


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.

Covered Cave

 

My computer cave has been squashed up into a corner, shut down and put into hibernation.  The sash and case windows that have served the house for a hundred years and then some need replacing.  The breeze that comes in from the tiniest of cracks is unreal, and has been known to tickle the goosebumps.  The dust on top of the books on the top shelf is unnatural and can only be caused by particles drifted through the house on the breeze.

We’ve had some windows replaced before, a gradual process as we work through the house, save the money and pick of the rooms that need it most.   It’s an upheaval, workmen in the house, banging, shouting, grunting and dust where the house is opened to the elements as the old windows are removed back to the stone.

So the weekend coffee share is one of carnage as we put rooms back together, the hoover doing overtime, soapy water and a clothe to clinch the final deal.

The coffee is a welcome break, and I thank you for stopping by, we discuss the black Friday offers….and they can make one black with the hunt.

Food wise, if you’re looking for a chocolate pudding……this one is a keeper Chocolate Tahini and Banana Pudding from Nigella.  It’s a welcome highlight to the day after all the cleaning and If there were any left I’d share some!

 


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.

 

It’s come round quick

Fruit Cake

It’s Saturday already, it’s come round so quick. I’m back from the morning messages and a simple light rye loaf with blue cheese for lunch. It’s time for a post lunch coffee and the weekendcoffeeshare.

I’m gearing up for painting the porch, it’s a small affair, a long over-due job probably not been touched in 20 years. I can understand why though, a hotch potch of corners, nooks and crannies. The meter is there for the electric, the fuse box and coat hooks. It’s going to be fiddly.

I’m off the Saturday cooking duty as a consequence; which is a little disappointing, at the same time nice to be cooked for….although that is the case most days! I enjoy the weekend spot and the routine of producing something new.

The Guardian today, had various recipes for lunch time cooking whilst at home. I cannot see myself going anywhere near them given the amount of time between online meetings. Where one meeting ends and the next one starts with the touch of the screen on the iPad. I am taken by the roast chicken legs and radicchio (tomorrow nights tea). Then there is the easy weeknight root vegetable fitters and slaw with Sausages….probably Monday’s tea.

TV has so much going on at the Moment. I’m late to the Mandalorian, and caught up quickly, about to start the next series (no spoilers please) with the youngest. Star Trek Discovery, my guilty pleasure just keeps giving…and nobody is interested in the house but me. Then the BBC has got His Dark Materials an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s trilogy and the whole family seems to appear for the Sunday sit down which is nice.

It’s time to start making the fruit cakes if you wish to feed them in time for Christmas, another thing that’s come round quick. The smell lingers in the kitchen for hours….a smell that always takes you by surprise, but right back in time to my grandma’s kitchen.

 


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.

Nanopoblano Week 1

View from Arthurs seat to the pentlands

Woke to a strange sky this morning, Edinburgh enveloped in a shrouded mist with patches of blue. The sun was welcome as a source of heat, slowly working it’s magic. Inspired me to a long walk around Arthurs seat to take in a the fresh cold air. A welcome day away from the office and a chance to soak up the last of the Autumn colours.

Brunch out with the boss, a masked affair that saved us having to worry about making lunch, and then a few bits and pieces to supplement the menu for this evening.

  • Leak and bacon buckwheat pancakes, served with a rocket, sweet potato and avocado salad.
  • Hazelnut chocolate pots to follow.

With such an early lunch, there was time to crack open the fruit cake (we are not mentioning the C word yet) with a cup of coffee…..which I would gladly share if we were having coffee.

While we were having coffee I would tell you about WordPress and its constant need to tell me about my daily streak. I made it to 7 since last week, the start of nanopoblano regardless of quality! I’d tell you that a daily blog habit is quite hard if you want to provide meaningful content, at the same time as keep to the daily grind of a project that has a major milestone in the next week.

Having missed yesterday’s post I’m now wavering around the journey that I have put myself on. It’s something to add into the mental health stakes of both working from home all day on a computer to add in another item that I need to do. I’m trying to reframe it on the basis it’s something I want to do…..but with an active mind there are another million and one things I would like to do as well.  On a postive, My Nanopolblano challenge has given me focus though, making me think daily alongside visiting some other great blogs.

 


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.

Hunkerdown Halloween

Hunkering down in town today. With gale force winds on the forecast it’s not a weekend to be exploring the hills. We’ve walked in with a few messages in mind.

For me it’s the ingredients that we don’t have readily available, the butchers and the whole foods store. We’ve recently subscribed to the guardian and so on waking I’m able to hit my favourite Saturday food section. This in order to broaden my skills and thinking in the kitchen. I use it as inspiration and a way to just say this is it, the choice whittled down to a few pages, what you going to make.

My favourite writers that brought me to the paper have long since moved, now it’s Rachel Roddy that brings me back. An ex pat living in Italy sharing homely recipes. Translating traditional Italian recipes, making them accessible with a writing style that inspires. A gnocchi made from semolina is on the menu tonight with a beef stew. Followed by an Almond based carrot cake.

Halloween this year is going to see me transition to a daily blogger, I’ve signed up to NanoPoblano2020.  Possibly failing at the first hurdle of day -1 as it’s supposed to be about the goal, a plan so to speak.  I have one in my head and the plan is to tackle this ……..you guessed it tomorrow.  My son is waiting for me patiently to watch the Mandalorian.

 


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.

 

Tier 0 – Nearly Normal

Coffee and Notebook

It’s 6.15am, pitch black outside and that’s before the clocks change tomorrow. Saturday morning and I could be lying in, instead I’m keeping the bread machine company as it whirs and wobbles. I’ve gone for a peppermint tea when really I wanted a coffee, which means I can get one a little later!

The wind has got up, which will be stripping the trees of their amazing colours and I’m pondering how to face into the last 9 weeks of the year as the half term holiday comes to an end and the days become shorter and shorter.

To add into the pondering we are still in a strange kind of loch down here in the UK where it’s hard to know what is coming next instruction wise. I’m trying to stay away from the news as a way of controlling my mental state but it’s hard. There’s mention of a 5 tier system in Scotland, cited to come into place from the 2nd November and I’ve no idea what that will mean travel wise.

I can thoroughly recommend taking up podcasts or audio books and walking as solace. Getting out into the day light when you can. Movement is key and I can thoroughly recommend this podcast from Rangan Chatterjee : How to Keep Your Immune System Healthy with Dr Jenna Macciochi and The Surprising Truth About Exercise with Professor Daniel Lieberman

I hope where you are you are safe, thanks for joining me at the weekend coffee share.

How to Keep Your Immune System Healthy with Dr Jenna Macciochi

The Surprising Truth About Exercise with Professor Daniel Lieberman

 


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.

A cheeky one

IMG_4044Coffee this morning is served in a flask, we are up 6am sharp to get a march on the day.  The mountains are calling and in this case its Ben Vorlich one of the Arrochar Alps

We hit the car park around 8:30 and it’s already full to bursting of about 30+ cars.  The car park used for a number of focus points not just our hill.  I’m stumped for a few minutes at the pay point, not accepting cards today which is frustrating in contactless world of COVID.  I haven’t had any coins for months.  Our emergency supply in the van is flush for once and a blessing.

Breakfast is an overnight soak of muesli with raspberries and blue berries and we watch the excitement as people are getting their boots on.  Good to see folk meeting with friends and there is a general jostle to get out on the hill.  Amazingly the toilets are open with plenty of hand sanitisers on tap.

We are off, opting for our bikes on a part way in.  It’s not far before we hit a steep bit and there is a friendly chap meeting my pace just walking.  We discuss plans and how this his first hill this year, just wanting to start with a cheeky wee one.  He’s heading up Ben Vane a neighbour to Vorlich.  I wish him well and then I decide to catch the boss up.

It’s not long before we hit the juxta position for getting off our bikes and just as we start the long slog the rain comes in and goes out and comes back again.   A brief glimpse of the magic that surrounds these hills, before it really came in.

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After 2.5 hours we made the top with probably the quickest selfie in history.  About an hour into the descent it dried up allowing us to get a sandwich.   The bikes a welcome sight as we covered the last mile or so freewheeling.

With a nice kind of synergy, we passed the same guy we met going up.  With a cheery wave, we were all pleased with the goal being met for the day.

The sun shining in the car park and I’m reminded of the quote ‘Better a bad day on the hill than a good day in the office’.   My mind was taken to a different place of reflection and wandering.


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.

Lockdown Escape

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Coffee today is from a small village at the gateway to the Cairngorms, known as Blair Atholl.

The 5 mile Scotland radius lockdown was lifted on Friday and we couldn’t wait to escape.  We’d managed to hire a small lodge in the woods for the week as a replacement to a usual summer road trip into Europe.  In one way we were sad as the usual adventure had been cancelled and in another….just relieved to break away mentally from the confines and routines of home.

The view from the bedroom window is one of trees, an abundance of green….and rain, lots of torrential rain.  The rain drops almost the size of golf balls, then with moments of blue sky and sun.  To me though the rain didn’t matter we were going to get out to soak up the fresh air and absorb the life forces that just seem to emanate from the cycle paths, the trees and the hills.

Foodwise it was a strange one…..we really had to think ahead, put a weeks’ worth of a meal plan together.  We knew there was a local village store, which we counting on for bread.  The watermill (dating back to 1590) was only for pre phoned through orders for the Saturday….and it looked like the local chippy was coming out of hibernation.

The meal plan roughly:-

  • Friday – Chicken Stew, Rhubarb Crumble
  • Saturday – Chippy (Fish and Chips)
  • Sunday – Chicken Stew, Rest of the Crumble
  • Monday – Scrambled Eggs, Beans on toast followed by Chocolate Puddle Pudding
  • Tuesday – Bacon, Pasta and Crème Fraiche rest of the Puddle Pudding
  • Wednesday – Backed Potatoes, Smoked Mackerel – Pancakes
  • Thursday – Grains, Chicken Legs – Roast Apricots with a crumble topping
  • Roughly gave me the idea for the following post around a few tips for self-catering for the home cook.

 

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We managed some of the mighty big hills (Munroe’s) in the area and my lungs and mind are feeling all the better for it.  A break from the screen, the escape and that feeling of euphoria that you get by challenging the mind through excursion.

So home now and the weekend has flown by, with jobs in the garden to catch up on.  Amazing how the weeds shoot up whilst your away.  It’s like they were sat in waiting, for that moment when nobody would be looking!

Hope your choice of beverage is both relaxing and refreshing and that you have a great week ahead.


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.

 

Fortnite

IMG_3879If we were having coffee it would be served with a huge slab of Chocolate birthday cake, a side of fresh Scottish strawberries and a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

The weekend is a busy one and I took Friday off work (which means trying not to log in, to not peak at the emails and to not worry about the issues that you know are building up).  Mainly to enjoy some family time as we celebrate a couple of anniversaries, ar year wiser for the boy and to acknowledge another year of marriage.  It all flies by so quickly.

As ever food has been a big feature.  At the request of the boy, there was breakfast pancakes and a Chinese take away for tea followed by a Fast and Furious film, I think it was number 8, they are very much blending into one!

The cake already mentioned baked and iced with a secret ingredient…..Condensed milk.  Which you wouldn’t believe how hard was to get in this current climate.   I turned it into a labor of love by drawing a Fortnite character on top using white chocolate.  Let’s just say there was room for improvement.  Fortunately though it didn’t stop it being eaten….and at time of writing there is only one slice left….which you are more than welcome to.

For some I’m sure your wondering if I’ve spelt Fortnite correctly.  It’s the name of an online shoot em-up, last man standing kind of thing.  You can play solo or in teams of up to 4 players.  Either Duos or Squads.  As a boy who’s games console was Astro Wars, and moved onto a second hand Spectrum 48k.   This is mind blowing with headsets to boot in order to talk to pals just round the corner, or around the world in New Zealand.  It’s been a god send during lockdown as the boys stay in touch with their pals over the power of broadband.

The best part is that I’ve been allowed to join in….I’m carried every step of the way, and they don’t seem to mind.  It just adds to being in the game for the boy and his pals.  It’s one of those if you can’t beat em join em moments and I’m really lucky to have this extra time with a teenage boy.

Saturday evening, In an effort to get sophisticated and have a more adult meal with the boss, I tried a new recipe where I discovered Freekeh.  Served with roasted butternut squash, a fillet of sea bream and a green salad.   Freekeh is an amazing grain, nutty, chewy and soft at the same time.

After the big cookbook sort out…..(Yes, I finally finished).  I bought a couple of new ones  (Don’t groan :)). Honestly, more went out than have come in!

  • Aran by Flora Sheddon,

Based around the startup of a village bakery cafe In Dunkeld, along with the ebb and flow of the daily life in a Scottish day.  I managed to grab 30 mins with a coffee, and I don’t know if was just peace for the self reflection, or the writing.  It took me back to my childhood, staying with my Gran at weekends, cricket teas and warmth of people.  This is a beautiful heart warming book about a bakery café.

  • 26 Grains by Alex Hell-Hutchinson

This I bought really for my wife, I’ve not had the time to delve deep yet.  It’s part of my journey into healthier eating.  It’s got the London vibe of another start up café.  Where the previous book is about old fashioned warmth…lets say Scottish Hygge.   This book is more akin to the new wave of modern eating, professing to be on trend and on message, the author having spent a year in Copenhagen as part of a degree, enjoying the scene and food so much that it translated into a new start-up café in London based around grains and good living.  This is where I plucked up the courage to tackle Freekeh from.

The battle bus is calling……I hope you have a great week.

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.

 

Fog

IMG_3836If we were having coffee we’d talk about the fog that seems to have enveloped the city.  The Meadows shrouded in an eerie cover of damp that sucks the warmth out of your bones.  Don’t hang around….who knows what’s lurking.

This morning’s walk took in the Saturday errands a good 8k including the local health foods store, the butcher, the fishmonger and a Boulanger I’ve been meaning to pop into for a while.  Greeted with a bonjour and thanked with a Merci.  It was a little bit disorientating but added to the experience.  Walking away with two sourdough loaves, a fig and a seeded.

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A smoked haddock risotto for tea with more of a nod to kedgeree than an authentic Italian dish.  Followed by a fruit salad, strawberries being in full swing at this time of the year.

Exercise wise, I’ve managed 4 runs.  Monday was really tough.  Thursday was a record breaker sub 30min for my 5k  route.  The last part is up hill, and at the end of it I barely had enough energy to stop the clock.

The cookbook sort out that started last weekend is thankfully coming to an end.  A good selection up for the charity book shop when it opens, some to go in a staging area (a cooling off period) essentially  hidden from being a distraction, some on my shelf next to me in my study, the diary and reference type idea.  The rest in the main hub, the kitchen for easy access…..and it opens a couple of spaces 🙂

Hopefully the week ahead sees the fog lifting with further restrictions from lock down eased.  Thank you for popping by and I hope that if you are surrounded by a fog in any form it lifts soon.

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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