Passionfruit buns and other highlights

There’s a mutton tagine and pork cheeks slow cooking in my oven. No, not in the same dish, that would be too weird. I prepared the pork cheeks first and put them in for an hour on a low heat (long and low for melt-in-the-mouth tenderness). In that hour I started my mutton tagine on the hob, and had time to make some bun mixture for my latest experiment in baking….

Buns with passionfruit pulp inside! A good dollop of bun mixture slightly hollowed out, some passionfruit innards dropped in, another dollop of bun mix on top. Popped in the oven along with the tagine (cheeks taken out, temperature raised), once the buns were nicely baked they came out, temperature lowered and the cheeks went back in. I tried one immediately, well, I had to be sure they were cooked right through, it was and bloody yummy too – a success!

Oo, that’s reminded me, literally just this second, the pear sponges I made last summer, they were so good! But where did I find the passionfruit and mango coulis to drizzle on top? The combination was quite a highlight of my culinary year, and speaking of highlights – any more from 2022? Well, The Scat Rats as mentioned in my last blog post; rewatching all my vid clips as I attempted to prune my collection recently, my god, the lads are sooo brilliant now, a recorded live set would be awesome!

Just the amount of time spent seeing great local bands last year was amazing, late nights in Stramash and Whistlebinkies, sunny afternoons watching The Kennedy’s Project playing on Waverley Bridge; the Miracle Glass Company in the Old Royal High. Of course, a particular highlight of 2022 for me was seeing local favourites Logan’s Close a few hundred miles away in Nottingham! The whole day was such fun trawling round some great little boozers with an old friend before heading to the Running Horse and seeing the new line-up for the first time (yeah, and the rest of it!)

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival was back almost to old normalcy, shame how they screwed up with the Half Price Hut and no app, but apart from those hiccups it was rather good. I did write about my highlights shortly afterwards, but now with some months gone by, what are the bits that still really stand out in my head?

Crybabies: Bagbeard immediately springs to mind (err, possibly assisted by the fact I follow them on Instagram), clever, fun, stylish and utterly charming; Mr Sullivan Brown in red shirt and shorts in Grubby Little Mitts a darkly bonkers sketch show with partner-in-comedy Rosie Nicholls (and lots of eyeballs); The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much, sharp, stylish physical theatre and a wide-brimmed red hat; Blueswater playing The Wizard by Black Sabbath, truly astounding!! A rat-arsed Rat performing in Binkies after two in the morning; and lastly, but by no means least, a guy with show that is so much what the Fringe is all about, Accordion Ryan’s Pop Bangers.

Back with Elsie, there was the triumphant gig at the Voodoo Rooms on their return from southern parts in March. Like, wow, brilliant, but, for me, then topped by two awesome gigs in Sneaky Pete’s in December, the perfect way for Logan’s Close to end such a great year! But, still not my top highlight….

That plaudit goes to the CD of 2021’s top highlight, Logan’s Close on LimbicTV (Live from Aluhpasonics), an hour of raw, exuberant energy in the time of Covid. I’ve been listening to it for just over a year now, still love it to bits. And you too can grab a copy of Logan’s Close Live at LimbicTV by going to their website, just £10 GBP (+postage). No doubt their album Heart-shaped Jacuzzi will be a highlight this year.

It’s late, yes, I remembered to turn the oven off. I may edit in a couple of pics later, I need my bed just now but if you check out my Instagram I’ll put up a lovely, sweet moment from Stramash in August, the two dancing are the other two original members of the Close 🧡

Cheesecake with blues

As weekends go, that was quite a good one. More frozen turkey bits from the Farmers Market (two wings this time, bloody big they are!); also treated myself to some baba ganoush from a relatively new stall which turned out to be seriously yummy. On my way home from the Market, the shop I popped in for a newspaper had Hagan Das Strawberry Cheesecake ice-cream on offer at £3.50!! Oh yes, another treat for my tum.

Plenty of musical delights as well (as previously anticipated) Bones, Rats and a Jam, a veritable cornucopia of rhythm and blues. The double helping of The Scat Rats was great, both in the early evening too, nice. It has occurred to me that the Rats were quite a highlight of last year for me; since their continental jaunts in the first half of the year Messrs Marah and Rough have played Stramash and Whistlebinkies plenty times in their Scat Rats guise – two voices, two guitars, great rhythm’n’blues, love’em!

Sunday evening saw the 100th Handsome House Jam at Stramash with host Tim Elliott, invited along as it was he who hosted the very first Handsome House Jam, nice touch. There were a few guest musicians joining the band on stage, including one of my favourites, Jed Potts. It was a cool, laidback evening, helped along by a couple of pints of Pentland IPA from Stewart’s, the current guest ale; it’s rather nice. I’ll put a couple of clips on my Instagram, for pics check out Waysted Photography on Facebook, he gets amazing shots at gigs around town; last night’s are up on Facebook now.

I’ll leave you with a still of Scott Rough clocking me filming The Scat Rats on Friday evening ….

A quiet weekend….

No Rats, Bones, Buccaneers or mild-mannered janitors this weekend, suppose I’ll just get on and write to you guys. I have a chicken leg roasting in the oven (along with tatties, carrots, red onion, garlic and rosemary, all sloshed with olive oil), so fifty minutes to spare! At least I think none of my favourites are playing nearby, some website calendars have gaps in them and others, well, are not necessarily right by the night (if you read this blog much then you’ll know which local hostelry I’m referring to here).

Next weekend’s better, I believe the Scat Rats are at Stramash on the Friday early evening slot (well, Mr Marah thinks they are), then at midnight the Moanin Bones are rattlin’ and rollin’ at Whistlebinkies. Saturday sees the Scat Rats at Binkies at seven o’clock, a fine way to start a Saturday evening, folks. And it’s the Handsome House Band’s 100th gig at Stramash next Sunday! It’ll be featuring Tim Elliott (Blues’n’Trouble frontman, harmonica and vocals) and hopefully more unannounced guests. Come on, the 100th has to see a few “previously featured” getting up there for a jam!

Earlier this week I went to see Empire of Light at the cinema, there’s been mixed reviews but I loved it. Olivia Coleman is always great to watch, and with Toby Jones, Colin Firth and Micheal Ward in there too – well, it ticked plenty boxes. What a cinema it’s set in! Apparently it’s the Dreamland Cinema in Margate (first opened in 1935 with a very chequered past, like many old cinemas), almost another character in itself. The story takes place in the early 1980s, a time I remember, the good and the bad, I thought Empire of Light portrayed it well.

In other news, show registration for Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2023 is now open. I don’t know about anyone else but I do know Accordion Ryan has registered, yay! So that’s one show on my list to see, sweet.

Well, my tomato timer has ticked round to almost zero, I’d best go check on my chicken.

Toodle pips!

I feel better, thanks for asking

Finally I feel moose again! That lurgy was a real mean one, I hope you haven’t had the misfortune to start your year with such as I had. I’ve been battling mine with turkey curry! January is a great time for buying turkey carcases and frozen turkey legs from Brewsters Smalling at Edinburgh Farmers Market. Hurrah for folk who just want turkey crowns for Christmas lunch, that leaves extra legs and wings for later. A turkey carcass I bought last weekend made a splendid broth; a long, slow simmer allowed all the meat to be stripped from the bones. I left out the leg I bought yesterday morning to defrost and roasted it in the evening, oh my, it was really hard to stop after a little taste!

With my health just about restored, I finally caught up with The Scat Rats at Whistlebinkies on Friday evening, yay. It was fairly quiet – dry January? Personally I prefer to support my local drinking establishments, someone has to when so many abstain for a month, it was my duty! The Moanin Bones played the late night shift at a packed Stramash (the students were well up for a party before the next term gets under way), I had a quick peek in on my way home.

Oo, other news from Friday, Logan’s Close released another single Dans Le Jardin, do check it out! There’s clips of Messrs Marah & Rough looking very come-hither in Dr Neil’s Garden to help promote it on Instagram and Facebook; I’m not sure about the beret, though (why?! well, see for yourself do). I felt inspired to take a walk round there for myself. The garden used to be closed during the winter months, it’s good to be able to visit all year round now.

Dans le jardin du Brucie

Earlier in the week I was delighted to see that Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan both won Golden Globes for Everything Everywhere All At Once (Jamie Lee Curtis was nominated but sadly didn’t win), the weirdest film of 2022, probably the decade too. The Banshees of Inisherin did well too, picking up three awards and Austin Butler won one for playing Elvis (though Bill Nighy would have been equally deserving for his brilliant performance in Living). Not that I need my film choices to win awards to feel vindicated or anything, but it’s nice when they do.

Anyway, there’s a cooked turkey leg in my kitchen calling out to have a few slices removed and placed between two chunks of bread. Toodle oo!

It’s bin a rubbish week

Can we rewind back to the 2nd, please? The last morning when I woke up feeling good – what a waste this last week has been! If I could just go back to waking up on the 3rd and find myself gotten over the lurgy while I slept (this can happen, I’ve really felt bad in an evening, all the signs flashing red, then managed a sound sleep and woken feeling fine). I could have gone to see Potts & Smit that evening and been fine for a midnight rendezvous with a couple of Rats the following night. Oh, and The Buccaneers late night at The Jazz Bar, missed that too!

So much for a happy new year! The Scat Rats are playing the midnight set at Whistlebinkies again tonight, not a chance of me going, so not happy. It’s one thing to be ill, everyone gets ill, but I prefer to be ill when I won’t be missing good music. Oh yeah, I did catch some of the Handsome House Jam on Sunday 1st at Stramash – that was good. It was one Gus Munro with the band, I haven’t seen him before, but on checking a previous jam I decided to pop along.

It’s coming back why I missed the first set, His Dark Materials was on the telly and I kinda got caught up in it. If I’d known I was about to be laid low for a week! I have watched both sets since, but it’s not really the same watching on a small screen rather than in Stramash with the atmos and a drink in hand. The Handsome House Jams are filmed and can be seen on Facebook, there’s quite a collection on there (including Carl Marah twice). If you’re ever going to be in Edinburgh on the first or last Sunday of any month the HHJ vids will give you a good indication of what you’ll get in Stramash.

Well, I guess I should to my bed seeing as I’m not trotting up to Binkies. G’night!

Happy New Year to you

Just a quick one to wish my readers a Happy New Year and all the best for 2023. Unfortunately I have succumbed to the lurgy that was hovering, at least I managed to dodge it until the 2nd of January, so I made it up to Arthur’s Seat, yay. No rain just extremely low clouds, but hey, I know what the view looks like.

I went up mid morning when not many were there, and my long-held belief seems to bear out – earlier birds are much more convivial, new year’s greetings with other walkers were plentiful and with smiles attached! I did well to be up so early considering I didn’t leave Whistlebinkies ’til sometime after two. The Moanin Bones were on fine form, as were Three Wise Monkeys who played up to and just past the bells (some real throwback tunes from Citrus Club nights).

Maybe sitting atop the rather damp trig point didn’t help! By midday yesterday I knew I was going down rapidly; no seeing Potts and Smit at Binkies tonight, damn. Can I pick up in time for the Scat Rats late tomorrow in Binkies?

I’ll leave you now, head off to bed. Normal service will hopefully resume very soon with my best bits from 2022. I may even get round to putting a clip or two from Hogmanay on Instagram. Oo yeah, do check out Accordion Ryan‘s clip of Auld Lang Syne!