I really, really love lamb. In terms of favourite foods it’s right up there, shining bright at number 1 on my list. Chops are great and roast leg of lamb is wonderful but I absolutely love braised lamb shank. It’s slow, patient cooking that has such a deep reward of the strong lamb. Tender and moist from being bathed in a lot of red wine for 2 or 3 hours. The flesh just falls off the bone and the gravy… oh the gravy! Read more Braised lamb shank
Sundays can be maddening. They’re made for not doing much but invariably end up with the pre-monday rush of boring chores like ironing work clothes, doing the weekly shop and cleaning the house. I’d much rather spend the day sitting in the garden (on the rare occasion when sunshine occurs at the weekend), drinking a few beers and generally doing as little as possible. Because I was feeling a bit lazy today and didn’t want to go get lunch from the supermarket I knocked up this quick fishy feed instead. Read more Quick lunch – mackerel, courgette and tomatoes on toast
There was a Scotland game on tonight (0-0 against Lithuania, good performance but we should’ve won) so I needed something quick for dinner before the game. Quick, relatively easy but also fancying something I hadn’t cooked before my thoughts started turning towards fish. Read more Lemon and herb crusted sea bass
I used to make a lot of stir frys. By which I mean I used to buy a pack of stir fry veg, some noodles and chuck it in a wok with some chopped chicken and soy sauce. It wasn’t bad, but it never really stood out or tasted close to anything from a good restaurant. So eventually I thought I’d give a pad thai recipe a try. Read more Pad Thai
After the pork dish earlier in the week I had some spinach and bacon needing used up so I thought a quick pasta dish would do the job perfectly.
Due to it’s quickly botched together nature I don’t have any accurate measurements, but to be honest this sort of dish shouldn’t be exact. Add more of what you like and take out what you don’t, you’re the one that has to eat it after all. Read more Pasta with spinach, sage and bacon
Recently I worked with a guy who had a bit of spare weight he wanted to lose. Having been there myself I tried to give him some pointers, as did some of the other people in the office who are into fitness and nutrition. In the end he didn’t really pay attention to what we said to him (make small, long term changes and do more exercise) and ended up going down the path of diet pills and depriving himself of all the food he actually likes. He lost a decent amount of weight quickly but got frustrated as it slowed down.
Read more Lifestyle Balance
It was my Dad’s birthday this week and with the forecast for the weekend being dry weather we headed down to their house for a barbecue. I thought it would be nice to take some homemade burgers along so knocked up a batch this morning.
I’m a big fan of paella and we often make the trip to the international market when it visits especially to get a portion for lunch. Unfortunately the market is getting hugely overpriced in the current economic climate so I thought I’d try making my own and save us an expensive trip in the future.
After checking a few recipes online and a quick detour to the supermarket on the way home I got down to work. The end result was perfect. Exactly what I was hoping it would be. Tasted exactly the same as the overpriced paella from the market at a fraction of the price and it only took half an hour to make. Definitely one to make again.
Read more Prawn and chorizo paella
Mince, tatties and skirlie
This is one of those recipes that has come to define Scottish food over the years. Perhaps unfairly considering the broad range of cuisine which is actually on offer here. Aside from that when mince and tatties is done well it can be a brilliant meal. Tender mince in a rich gravy, with the seasoned crunch of the skirlie and creamy mash to finish it off.
I can’t stop thinking about food. I’m conscious that other people are more relaxed about the subject and will go whole hours without images of food flitting through their head.
It never used to be like this. I just used to come home, take a cardboard box out of the freezer and throw it into the oven for twenty minutes. Unfortunately this, coupled with working in an office environment and an… um… active social scene, meant I ended up in a clothes shop desperately trying to fit into 38″ trousers because I refused to go past the 40″ barrier. Something had to change.
A fitness regime followed and out went the ready meals and frozen food. In came some tentative efforts at cooking from scratch. I bought a book of basic recipes using 3 or 4 ingredients, learned a few classics (chilli, spaghetti bolognese) and got to work being a bit healthier.
Five years, eight inches and a few stone later I can’t imagine ever going back to the days of frozen chicken breasts, Fray Bentos pies and microwave curries. I get so much pleasure from thinking about what I want to eat, planning it, cooking it then devouring it. These days I scan the TV channels looking for cooking programs to learn new skills or get new dish ideas from and my kitchen worktop is groaning under the weight of a growing collection of recipe books.
It’s not just cooking though. My new education into the world of proper food has changed my attitude to eating out as well. A few years ago all I wanted from my weekend was a hangover and some good stories at the end of it. Now I curse the hangover as a waste of my time and given the choice I’d rather spend the money on a good meal in a favoured restaurant, than pint after pint in the pursuit of a vague memory of a night out and a very sore head the next day.
Basically I’m trying to explain why I’ve started this blog. I suspect it’s for much the same reasons as most other food bloggers. I think about food a lot and I like to talk about food, so I thought I’d start writing down the thoughts on a blog before they pop out of my head for good and perhaps other foodies will comment on them and give me some more ideas.
So I’m going to post up some recipes I like, some ideas I have and some opinions on meals I’ve eaten. Most of the restaurants will probably be based in Aberdeenshire as that’s where I live. I’ll try and remember to take pictures as well, though I can’t promise the quality will be any good.
It won’t just be about food either. I can be just as serious about whisky, beer and wine. Though the latter is still a subject I would confess to know fairly little about. Fitness will also feature heavily as I believe, and am forced into this by my own vices, that to be able to enjoy all this great food and alcohol you have to work pretty hard to burn it off. So I’ll probably post up some thoughts on exercise and some of the stuff I’m doing through the week to make me think I deserve my good eating at the weekend.
If you’re reading this blog please let me know what you think by posting comments in response to the articles and I hope you enjoy it and get some good ideas.
Mince and Skirlie