Friday, 9 January 2009


Andy and I had a 'coming to the end of the hols' day today. We got up late, watched a movie mid-morning - then decided to head down the Perth Road and find some lunch. We went to Drouthy Neebors which I haven't bee in since I was a student. The place has had a revamp since those days but in a sympathetic way and is like a proper pub - not a carbon copy chain pub. And the food was excellent. I had roast tomatoe, red onion and gruyere cheese macaroni with chips and salad and I have to say it was the best macaroni I have tasted for a long time. The sauce was cheesey but not stodgy, they used proper macaroni and the chips were crisp on the outside and fluffy inside. Even the side salad was something you wanted to eat. And had a spiced lamb burger with coriander and a beetroot relish which looked amazing and from the satisfied look on his face hit the spot. And he is a picky one for his pub grub.

So will definitely be back and will be checking out their live music too (jazz 6-8pm on a Sunday sounds rather good to me).

Monday, 5 January 2009

A Haven in Innerleithen

As I previously posted, we went for a week's holiday to Innerleithen. Andy and I met up with Calum (my Edinburgh ex-roomy) and his pal Stephen for a week of outdoorsy activity and much eating and drinking. In particular I really wanted to try mountain biking and see whether I could manage it up a brae or two.

Luckily for us, we had ordered one of Aneela's most excellent breakfast baskets so we were well fuelled for our first challenge to cycle to Glentress and do the blue/green run. I have to say the cycle out was a good warm up but I did doubt my ability to make it through the run in the first uphill part at Glentress. My gentle hybrid cycling does not leave one prepared for mountain biking! But, being the stubborn and determined creature I am, I kept at it, even though I wished I was as good as the boys, and made it up to the Buzzards Nest. The skills run came next which was really good for a newbie like me and then came the fun of the downhill! Although I wasn't quite as gung-ho as the boys I did love the speed and zipping over the trail and I think I may have squealed a few times too.

Me zipping down the hill!

On New Year's Day, Calum and Stephen went cycling but Andy and I opted for a climb up one of the hills behind the house which was stunning in the clear icy air and winter sun.

Here is Andy sorting out a cuppa at the top of the hill!

The following day Andy, Calum and Stephen went cycling but due to me having taken a tumble my shoulder was a bit sore so I decided to do a walk on my own. I did the red squirrel walk at Glentress and it was really lovely.

I didn't see any red squirrels but I did meet some very friendly robins who sat at my picnic table with me and also claimed Andy's handlebars when the boys met up with me.

Of course, one of the best things about holidays is the time to cook and the excuse to eat indulgently. For New Year's Day dinner we had an excellent steak pie from Keddie's the butcher. I went for a 2 and a half lb pie - it may usually feed six but I figured with three hungry blokes and appetites sharpened by all the excercise, it was wise to go for a wee bit extra. In the event, I was lucky and got a 3lb pie due to the generous nature of the butcher, complete with proper porcelain blackbird which I promised, and did, return. What a great thing, to arrive in a place you have never visited and the butcher trusts you with returning the blackbird! I served the pie with roasties, broccoli and carrots and we were all very happy with it. The pie was stuffed with really tender and melt-in-your-mouth beef with a good thick gravy. Our stomachs were very satisfied indeed.

On our last night Aneela and Andy came down and we had some drinks and a good laugh. Aneela entertained us with the footage from her bike camera - it films what she is up to on a ride and the trail we saw looked very impressive! We also got lots of tips and hints on mountain biking too and heard about their trip to Ullapool. It was a great way to end the holiday

One final word has to go to the tablet produced by Adam's the bakers - there is nothing better for nibbling in the cold to keep your energy, and sweet tooth, requirements going. The tablet was solid and took a good bite - I hate soft tablet - and was lovely and creamy and sugary without being too grainy. Bloody first class in my opinion!

So, a great weeks holiday and a New Year to remember - and whether it is more a threat than a promise we will definitely be back!


I love spuds!

The humble tattie

I think they are often seen as that bit of dinner that fills you up when really they should be the star turn on occasion. Here is a website I found that celebrates the spud

My favourite ways to have spuds include:

roasties (done in goose fat or olive oil)
mashed (Andy does them with creme fraiche that is well yummy)
baby new pots boiled and tossed in pesto
as a gratin with parmesan
baked (you can have a variety of fillings, of course, but I like mine just with a good knob of butter and some salt and pepper)
added to soups/stews a la recipes like turlu turlu
cut into wedges, tossed in olive oil and wholegrain mustard and baked
stuffed baked pots (scoop out the fluffy cooked flesh, mash with butter, spring onion and cheese, cram back into the skins and bake)

Also, a little late perhaps seeing as it is already 2009, checkout the Interntaional Year of the Potatoe (2008)

New Year!

We stayed at Innerhaven for New Year - a fantastic wee place, self catering, that my friend Aneela owns in Innerleithen, home to mountain biking, walking and amazingly beautiful scenery.

It was excellent - a home from home - and unlike many places I have rented in the past it lived up to expectations and then some. Also, cause Aneela is a really good cook and is something of a perfectionist, the kitchen was well kitted out and I cooked several meals there. I did have to make one improvisation which was to use a potatoe masher to whip the cream for the trifle - but then how many people want to make their own trifle on holiday? I imagine I am on my own with that one!

I will post more about the hols cause although not exactly food related food does feature and also I am just so buzzed by the holiday I can't help myself.