Friday, 4 April 2014

THE HAAR WILL PERSIST


 'In meteorology, haar is a coastal fog. Haar is typically formed over the sea and is brought to land by wind advection. The term haar is used along certain lands bordering the North Sea, primarily eastern Scotland and the North East of England.'

The haar settled over Edinburgh this week. A cold, damp, mist. It's a word that draws blank looks if you mention it further south so it was a surprise to hear it on the main BBC weather forecast this morning,  'the haar will persit, another cold day.'

It can arrive in the Summer, a bright day, the city bathed in sunshine, but you look towards the Forth and see it creeping in, like the fog in a low budget horror film. Tourists look confused, locals reach into their bags for layers that are never far away, change their plans from going for ice-cream to going to the pub.

This week though there has been no sunshine, just a relentless grey sky and a permanent drizzle. It's supposed to lift. Later today? Tomorrow? Sooner would be better but until then I'm wearing my new favourite pink jumper, carrying my new favourite tote, and painting my nails a Spring shade to challenge the skies... 



Tuesday, 25 March 2014

TUESDAY


Is always the worst day. A little Fleetwood Mac because a baton twirling Stevie never fails to cheer...



Friday, 21 March 2014

21ST MARCH


...and it's almost the weekend.

Have you got plans?

Our favourite bar is one year old today so we're heading there after work for the specially brewed birthday IPA and a pork pie. Tomorrow I'm going on a trainer buying mission to replace the shoes that have been with me through three moonwalks with a new pair to take me through two in two months. There will be a 10 mile training walk on Sunday and I'm not sure what else. I haven't made pizza for a while, maybe an ice-cream at Mary's (just for a change)...

I'm looking forward to it (and hoping that the heavy rain forecast for Sunday morning holds off for long enough for us to walk those 10 miles) but until then...

I can always be tempted by another banana bread recipe

I wouldn't turn down a slice of this

Or one of these 

And, as it's now officially Spring, I'm looking forward to warmer mornings and think this might replace my porridge soon 

I sent Molly and Matthew a box of Scottish treats. If you haven't listened yet then go, go, go!

And some New Order to send you on your way...





Tuesday, 4 March 2014

HANG THE BLESSED DJ


I've had this stuck in my head all day...




Just thought I'd pass it on.

Friday, 21 February 2014

21ST FEBRUARY


A few things for a Friday... 

The Garden Edit
 
Brian's photos for Fort Standard (and everything in them)

This space

A new (to me) blog

A weeknight recipe

And another

Citrus-spiked muesli bars

And some Steely Dan to send you on your way.



Friday, 14 February 2014

14TH FEBRUARY


Today I would rather be...

Watching 'Her' and reading this about how a photograph inspired a film.

Reading Edwin Morgan  

Eating brownies 

Drinking a Nardini Spritz

Painting my nails red

Listening to this...



Happy Valentine's Day xx 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

BUILDING

I read this excerpt from Molly's talk at Food Blog South while I drank my coffee this morning. I thought about it while I was in the shower. I sat on the edge of the bed and wrote a scrappy version of this post rather than getting dressed. It stayed with me.
'But a lot of the time, to be honest, I’m disappointed. I look at something I wrote last month, and I wish I could have done it better. Maybe you know that feeling. It’s uncomfortable – it’s awful – but I’m trying to teach myself a different way to feel about it. I’m trying to see it differently. I’m trying to see that discomfort as a good thing. We’re all in this together. We’re all uncomfortable. I can only do the writing that I can do that day. You can only take the picture that you can take today. Tomorrow, with work, maybe I’ll be a better writer, I hope. God, I hope. Tomorrow, maybe you’ll be a better writer. Or you’ll be a better photographer. Or you’ll make a better recipe. The key is in the act itself, in the fact of showing up and doing today’s work.'
I've always been scared of getting things wrong, of failing. Happier to say I don't know rather than risk a wrong answer, good at reading and listening in language classes but terrified of speaking and making a mistake. I was good a high jump for a few days until they had to pick teams for our school sports day; up against the girl who was on all the teams, who ran, who played tennis, I froze. Now, thankfully past those school days, it is still there. Creative ideas stifled in case the reality falls short of the dream, classes that should be be fun, are fun, but where I have been told to stop looking so nervous (by the lovely Yotam Ottolenghi in one case). I think a slight look of terror is my default setting whenever I try something new, it's no coincidence that my biggest problem learning to drive was hesitation.

But there are moments when it works, moments when I don't add that anxious 'but'. An exercise class that I had been tempted by for years that I finally joined in January; reasoning that I would be one of many among the New Year's resolution crowds. I wasn't, it didn't matter at all and I've been back each week since, I'm not sure what I thought would be so terrible about those 45 minutes as the new person.

And then there's bread.


I knew the bread that I wanted to make. Crackly crust, air holes, well baked, an even shape. But the odd loaves I had tried in the past weren't quite there. I bought books and kept meaning to try again but those failures, the loaf that had to be sawn off the baking tray, the time when I guessed rather than weighed the salt, weighed me down. Until I bought a book on a friend's recommendation (a book that I had resisted thinking of those other books and the unmade loaves) and the basic recipe clicked. Until I went to a slightly oddly conceived but well executed show involving the author, a medical student wearing a Shetland jumper, baking stollen in front of a small crowd in a comedy club. Until I went home clutching a little clingfilm twist of sourdough starter that was given to almost everyone there. Until I got home and fed that starter knowing that if I was ever going to make sourdough this was the time.

I thought, briefly, that I had killed it. One type of flour turning it ripe, boozy, alarming. I poured most of it away and coaxed it back from the brink. I've made a loaf with it every week since. The first was pretty good, each week gets better, each time it feels like magic, that flour, water, salt can do this, can rise, can turn into bread, bread that I'm actually happy with, proud of. There's a metaphor somewhere in there.

Brian came to stay last weekend. I baked a loaf of sourdough on Saturday morning and we ate most of it for lunch, the rest for breakfast on Sunday. I baked again on Monday, sourdough, a little rye flour, hazelnuts, sultanas. Building on the foundation that I have been practicing. There's that metaphor again. I need to remember it. I need to keep building.