I had the Salted Caramel

…. And very nice it was too! That’s the Salted Caramel chocolate from the Co Co Co. Festive Selection, a packet of six different christmassy chocolates. No, I’m not starting my christmas this early, its purely research for presents, honest, but I did hold back from trying them since last Saturday when I bought them at the Edinburgh Farmer’s Market at Castle Terrace.

Co Co Co. are usually at the Farmer’s Market fortnightly, selling an amazing array of sumptuous chocolates all made by Rob, naturally at this time of year he’s turned his hand to a few Christmas treats. Edinburgh is just one of a number of markets he goes to around the South of Scotland, and this weekend he’s back in Edinburgh at the 3D2D Christmas Art, Craft and Design Fair in the Assembly Rooms. Stalls with amazing stuff from all over the UK, it’s always worth a visit, maybe find a Christmas present or two!

Stramash had their Christmas decorations up when I went along on Sunday evening, it looks very nice, nothing too much, just right. It was Chris Buckley from Moanin Bones with the Handsome House Band, a shame that I only caught the last few numbers; mind, the Handsome House Jams are filmed so I can watch it on Facebook (Carl Marah‘s night will be on there too, if you’re interested!)

Stramash was nicely busy by the time the Scat Rats came on. Plenty of the seats around the balcony were taken and on the ground level any vacated tables, with a view of the lads, were immediately swooped on by eagle-eyed drinkers. Luckily I had a lovely Spanish couple next to me, who were happy to guard my seat for me whenever I got up (that’s one snag of solo drinking – keeping a good seat!) A stand-out for me was the Rats Norwegian Wood especially the intro; they like playing around with long intros and this time Carl threw in a snippet of a Scottish melody, nice! Not as good as his intro to Runaway, that’s very special.

A recent addition (at least to me) is Willie Nelson’s On The Road Again a jaunty country number. I was singing it as I wandered down home afterwards and just had to google the chords to have a bash at it when I got in. Not sure what the neighbours must have thought!? Well, they never banged on the wall – I’m counting that as approval!

It’s rather late, so I’ll leave you with pics from a recent walk up in the Park. Oh yeah, and exciting news – the video for Heart-shaped Jacuzzi comes out tomorrow! Yay! ❤

Scotch n Eggs

Friday night again, Etta James is serenading me, sweet. Had a very, very late night last night at Stramash, so I’ve been feeling somewhat jaded today. Oh, I’m not hungover just missing some sleep, I was drinking very slowly after discovering the latest price increase when I paid for my first pint – dropped down to halves after that. Mind, I would have spent considerably more if my evening had gone as originally intended and I’d gone to the Jazz Bar. Oh I went along (intending to while away a couple of hours) then went along back home, apparently everyone and their cousins had turned up for the Groove Thursdays jam session, not even enough room left inside to squeeze in a mouse never mind a moose!

Why didn’t I just go to Stramash or Binkies rather than back home awhile? Because, annoyingly both pubs had bands on that I would never willingly go see, one because I’ve had the displeasure before, and the other just really is not my thing. I’m very glad I did trot back out after midnight to catch Scotch the Band, well worth it! Phew, so glad was I, well it was late 2019 when I last saw them play and I was fairly drunk that night.

Scotch the Band hail from Holland, clad in black and white striped trousers, white shirts and braces, the drummer carries his kit slung low from his waist, no sitting around for this guy! There’s guitar and bass, and banjo and fiddle, oh and four of the band sing. Their style? Erm, party folk music? Revved up Balkan folk? It’s infectious in the best possible way. Scotch sing in Dutch and English, they sing about cheap vodka, weddings, the hair of the dog, they get the crowd singing raucously along. And after a week driving around Scotland they’ll be back in Edinburgh in Whistlebinkies, yay!

In other news, Co Co Co. were up from Dumfries at the Edinburgh Farmer’s Market last Saturday with some amazing Easter eggs.

I resisted buying one, but I did succumb to a packet of passion fruit truffle eggs and solid white chocolate raspberry eggs. OMG!! These guys know their chocolate but those passion fruit truffle eggs really are divine! (there’s a strawberry cheesecake chocolate in the pipeline that I’m really excited about)

I’ve been very controlled and just had one or two each day – until shortly after this picture this afternoon!

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!