A market, a mystery and a mess

Saturday evening in Auld Reekie, the aroma of hogget curry is still wafting through from the kitchen, I’ve poured myself another glass of Dance Commander from Ascension (that’s sour cherry cider from the Jolly Judge), outside it’s a clear, breezy night. Yes, I’m back up from darkest Yorkshire, toddled back on Thursday, I was hoping Moratti on St Mary Street would have opened again, but sadly not, so I went and got a fish supper in stead, no pizza if it’s not from Moratti! Mind, even when (or if!) they open again, will Alex the pizza guy be back? He’d be a hard act to follow, the best pizzas and great chat.

Being a regular at the Farmers Market on Castle Terrace on Saturday mornings means plenty of chat; over the last year sometimes it was the only time in a week I would have a face to face, well, mask to mask, conversation with anyone. Annanwater are sheep farmers from near Moffat, theirs is the hogget I’m having for tea (hogget is older than lamb but younger than mutton); Brewsters, once “the egg lady”, are now a smallholding with sheep, pigs, beef and honey, all very tasty! Oh joys, this week Ridley’s Game had wild hill goat back in season, I have a haunch bone-in now in my freezer.

Since the Farmers Market became a stallholders cooperative last August there’s been a slow but steady increase in stalls and variety; looking for a hot chilli sauce, delicious cheesecakes, fancy mushrooms, local beers, an occasional cider? And up from Dumfries, Co Co Co. sell the most divine chocolates, okay so they’re not cheap but by’eck they’re bloody good! All handmade and their own recipes, there’s a variety of chocolate slabs or packs of six chocolates, oh, yeah, hot chocolate stirrers too (a large square of flavoured chocolate with a wooden spoon set in it, stir in a mug of hot milk). I really like the passion fruit chocolates but they’ve recently been pipped by the Eton Mess, exquisite! Apparently they’re going to try to come with a strawberry cheesecake chocolate, oh my heartses, can’t wait for that one!

Edinburgh is already noticeably busier, mind any amount of people would make it seem busier. This morning I couldn’t quite credit the amount of people around the Old Town. I wondered at four ladies all holding magnifying glasses – was this a hen party making a withering statement about male genitalia? Then it struck me that there seem to be rather a lot of deerstalkers being worn (after I walked past the twentieth person wearing one), bowler and homburg hats too, and then women with black moustaches?! Hang on, deerstalkers and magnifying glasses, homburgs and black moustaches? That’s Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot! By george, I’d finally got it, it was teams trying to follow a puzzle trail of some sort. That explained all the little gangs charging around/looking blankly around, and all the odd garbs, like the middle aged blokes in t-shirts with CIA emblazoned on the front, the four wandering round in cheap-looking biohazard suits, the Mystery Machine side cutout parked as the Scooby gang drank lattes. I assume the two kids I thought were dressed up as Blues Brothers were actually Men In Black (their parents had made no effort at all) and the dudes in cowboy hats, agents of Statesman? It was like an Edinburgh Saturday pre-Covid, awash with hen and stag dos, all very entertaining to watch.

I shall leave you with a little puzzle of my own. The picture below, can you identify what it is? My mother says she’s been making it for years – never have I seen this dish before, ever. She’d asked if I wanted one, like I knew what one was, sorry but those ingredients don’t go together in my recipe book and I’m pretty sure I’d remember such an anomaly of gastronomy if I’d heard of it previously.

Toodle pip!

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