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 ….

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!

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! ❤

Fringey things are afoot….

Hi there! Bruce here, coming to you from deepest dankest Yorkshire, yes, even in summer the damp is never far away. I may be away from Auld Reekie but I’m keeping tabs on what’s happening, like Fringe tickets now being on sale! One thing I managed to miss is that social distancing will be down to one metre as of the 19th July (how did I miss that?!) On the Edinburgh Fringe website it says that the Scottish Government has advised that even the one metre could be lifted on 9th August; two thoughts on this, i) I’m not going to hold my breath, and ii) its a bit bloody late to appease anyone. Did the decision for allowing the drop to one metre come too late for Underbelly? Whatever, apparently Underbelly will not be going ahead with plans for a Circus Hub venue in the Meadows.

Underbelly will be back in George Square as well as having an outdoor stage in Bristo Square. Assembly Festival will also be back in George Square Gardens with one spiegeltent and an outdoor stage. The Pleasance will be creating an outdoor stage in the Courtyard, let’s face it so many of their spaces are cramped, they couldn’t happen this year! Summerhall will also make use of their courtyard as a venue space – where will folk do their boozing and schmoozing?! Gilded Balloon will as ever be in Teviot (I guess the Wee Room won’t be used this year). Heaven knows how the smaller venues will manage, or if they’ll bother even trying.

The Edinburgh Farmer’s Market may benefit from having a new venue right next to it; the top floor of the NCP car park on Castle Terrace is to be an open air festival hub run by the Gilded Balloon, Traverse Theatre, DanceBase and Zoo Venues. At least I hope the Farmer’s Market will still be able to be in its usual spot over August, okay, yes, I am slightly troubled about this development.

Tickets for over 170 shows (but less than 180 shows, I’m guessing) are now available from the Fringe website. These can be In-person or online shows, the online shows may be scheduled or on-demand, or a show may be a mixture of the aforementioned. At quick glance it seems that if a show is both in-person and scheduled online it’s listed twice, this could take some time!!

One show that I spotted is back is that bloke atop Arthur’s Seat! Oh yay, Barry Ferns is going to back on Arthur’s Seat at one in the afternoon from 7th to 28th August, oh, with Wednesdays off and as long as his knees hold out. What with the Ferns’ return and all these outdoor stages, better pray to all the gods for a dry month!

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!