15 Aug 2010

Incredible Edinburgh skies

A friend of mine took these wonderful photos of Edinburgh over the past week from the top of the Tattoo stands. We have had some incredible dramatic skies this month, although I’ve not been able to get to enjoy them due to extremely long work hours.

I have two weeks to go before the festival season is over for me. Already I am looking forward to getting out of the city and heading north for a weekend, and also just taking more enjoyment in this fantastic city, which currently is overrun with visitors and performers.

Another pleasure that has to wait until the autumn: braving sections of the glorious Edinburgh Spotlight cake trail.

I’ll be missing from the blog world for another couple of weeks at least, but I can’t wait to start experiencing and writing about Scotland again.

4 Aug 2010

Pipes and Drums on the poetry bus (giveway winner!)

The names were added to the hat, my Scotsman gave them a swirl and has plucked the lucky winner of the Edinburgh Tattoo's new Pipes and Drums DVD.

It is...Weaver of Grass! Perhaps seeing and hearing the massed pipes and drums will inspire her regular poetry bus blog posts.

Thanks for all your great comments about your favourite pipe music. If you're still interested in the Tattoo there are a list of their available DVDs online here.

The Tattoo for this year is about to start on Friday. 1,000 performers have arrived and are rehearsing daily and 217,000 people will see the show over the next three weeks. If you love the Tattoo you can become a fan on Facebook and keep up with all the news.

1 Aug 2010

Scottish comfort food: Eyemouth Fish Pie

It has been raining in Edinburgh since the early afternoon, the grey light barely managing to limp through the window into the living room.

Time for some comforting stodge, me thinks. Grab a spoon:

The recipe for Eyemouth Fish Pie contains the following basic ingredients:

-White fish, such as haddock or cod (4-5 pieces, skinned & boneless)
-milk in which to cook said fish
-shallots (a tablespoon or so, finely diced)
-potatoes for mashing
-cheddar cheese, grated
-bread crumbs
-hard boiled eggs, sliced
-tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

Specifically I used Catherine Brown’s recipe from her book Classic Scots Cookery. However, I made a few small adjustments. Since I lacked breadcrumbs, I made my own from a crunchy baguette. I didn’t have any shallots so I made due with a bit of red onion. And though the recipe calls for tomatoes, I am not a fan of cooked tomatoes, so I left them out.

The recipe is simple but requires several separate steps, which had me shuffling around the kitchen in a bit of a state, making things much more complicated than they needed to be.

First I made some mashed potatoes and boiled a few eggs (the recipe only calls for 2 hard boiled eggs but since I wasn’t having any tomatoes I thought an extra egg would be okay).

It had been a long time since I cooked with fish and I had forgotten how pleasurable it can be, because it cooks so quickly and looks lovely when it starts to fall apart. The fish is cooked in milk and the diced onion, covered for about five minutes until it is flaky (don‘t forget to season with salt and pepper!).

When you drain the fish, keep the cooking liquid and while the fish is cooling, make a roux using butter and flour and the oniony fishy milk. If you are feeling adventurous you can add some white wine as well.
The fish is then added back into the roux and given a wee stir so the fish flakes apart some more and the mixture is ready to be added to the dish. Pour half of it into the pie dish, and stop to top it with the sliced eggs (and, if using, your sliced tomatoes).

Pour over the second half of the fish mixture and top with mashed potatoes, into which you have mixed the grated cheddar. Yum.
Top the whole thing with bread crumbs and some more cheese if you fancy it. All you really need to do now is put it under the grill to get the top to brown. I don’t have a proper grill but I left it on the top level of the oven and that did the trick.

The final result: Delicious. Rich and Moorish - the perfect meal for a rainy day.

What is your favourite Scottish seafood dish?

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