Face it, Edinburghers; this summer has been a wash-out. And judging by the 70mph winds this M0nday (I thought my balcony doors were about to get blown in!) it seems like Autumn (if not winter) is well and truly on it’s way. Yep, it was a stark difference toa few weeks ago when I was toddling around in a Primark sundress and was still too warm.
But then the fact that I was hanging around on a beach in the Algarve might have something to do with that.But you don’t want to hear about 14km daunders through the countryside, or scrambling down rocky cliff-faces to get to a secret beach, or even about me swimming in the freshwater Barragem do Arade; nope, you’re here for one thing and that’s food!
I must apologise for my lack of posts recently. I’ve been struck down with the lurgy- my boyfriend thinks I’ve defeated science and somehow contracted man flu, despite being a laydee.
Being choked with the cold has it’s benefits, however; on the flight back from Portugal I had a spare seat as nobody wanted to sit next to a snot-nosed dying girl.
I’m feeling much better now, thanks to some spicy food and red wine; while I catch up with emails/comments/writing more posts for you lovely people, here is a video of the first time I gutted a fish. In the small open plan kitchen of a holiday apartment in Sardinia.
(If you’re squeamish you probably shouldn’t watch. Also I should mention I’d had a few glasses of the cheap local wine and thought that gutting a fish looked like ‘fun’).
The reasons the fish wasn’t gutted by the fishmonger;
1) We don’t speak good enough Italian to ask for it, and
2) They were going to charge an extra Euro and a half for the privelege.
If I had to do it again, I would recommend a very sharp knife. And it’s probably prudent to cut away from oneself rather than towards like I do in this video, but I just don’t seem to have the strength to do that properly. If I die with a vegetable knife plunged through my heart then I guess at least I died doing what I love.
(I’ve already lost the tip of a thumb to a salami machine… long story, perhaps for another day!)
Last weekend James joined the quarter-centenarian club. He was being quite morose about the whole thing (which he dubs a ‘quarter life crisis’) and as such couldn’t muster the energy to organise a night out. Those who know me will know that I’m a bit of a social animal; the thought of a birthday without friends to celebrate it with does not sit well with me. So I did what any good girlfriend would do; I secretly messaged our friends and organised a surprise meal at Le Sept French restaurant.
Of course, I spent the whole day worrying (did I definitely reserve a table for THIS Saturday? Will everyone arrive on time? What if we get there early?) but it was well worth it to see the look of surprise on his face.
My mother has an amazing cookbook. It’s from back in the day and she refers to it as her ‘bible’. She saved up a months wages to buy it in John Lewis during the 80’s. The pages are tattered, the dustjacket is long gone, and there are infantile scrawlings in biro from my toddler days. There’s grease stains, baking stains, all sorts of leaflets poking out as impromptu bookmarks.
One of my favourite recipes from this book is for pickled oranges.
My mum once picked up a whole bunch of oranges for 2p in Scotmid and looked in her bible for ideas. She saw ‘pickled oranges’ and thought, why not give that a bash?
And they’re amazing. Festive, fruity, chutneyish; perfect with meats and cheeses and even as part of dessert. I kept hassling her to make them, so one Saturday we did. But wine was involved and… well… I’ll let the pics speak for themselves.
But… why’s the fire alarm going off?
Hopefully I’ll get the full recipe for pickled oranges up here for you soon folks.
But remember this for now; don’t pickle whilst pickled! It will only end in tears. And a ruined saucepan.
For Christmas this year Mummy P bought me some knitting needles and wool. I feel really guilty that I’ve not given her a chance to show me how to use them until now, and so I popped around to her house for a day of being domestic godesses. Although my knitting didn’t turn out to great (I had to endure her and Euan laughing at my failed attempt at a ‘bookmark’) we did make some pretty yummy beetroot cupcakes.
We very loosely borrowed the recipe from Nigel Slater. It was supposed to be a loaf cake, but Daddy P has taken up bread baking and was already using the loaf tin. So I suggested cupcakes. I know you’re probably turning your nose up at the thought of beetroot cake, but it’s no different to carrot cake as we used raw beetroot. Made all the more special since it’s from the allotment.
Unlike my friend Sarah, who likes to put pickled beetroot in her muffins. I’m yet to taste her culinary creations, but maybe if you’re lucky (?!) she’ll write me a guest post soon.