Archive for March, 2012

My first post for the site is over on Total Food Geeks peoples!

… some more wild garlic recipes to follow here in a few days!



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I don’t know which I’d rather have… a wander round the goodies at a farmer’s market, or a wedge of really good cake.

The good news is I got both. I finally made it to Earthy Foods yesterday for a spot of indoor market shopping and lunch in their cafe, and since we were nearby we dropped in to Tea at 94 afterwards for a spot of cake.

These photos don’t need much explanation but if, like me, you think bliss is browsing mountainous piles of fresh veg, charcuterie, home made condiments and preserves and a deliciously stinky cheese counter (the cheese not the counter or the staff behind it I should clarify), then Earthy is worth a nose.

The market cafe downstairs serves some equally delicious lunch and some seriously good looking cakes. The only reason we chose to have our cake elsewhere was because it was a little draughty* so we started to get a bit chilly by the end of our meal but had I been in a slightly warmer jumper I would definitely have stayed for the chocolate cake. Next time… I’m on it.

So instead we rounded things up at Tea at 94 with a scone and a slice of Raspberry Cloud (a curious but tasty combination of pastry base topped with sponge cake and raspberry icing). This cosy little cafe isn’t as trendy or as busy as places like loopy lorna’s yet but personally I would rather get a seat, charming service and decent cake.

Nom nom nom…

* Earthy just advised me that their door heater is on the blink and hopefully fixed soon so don’t worry about an extra jumper if you plan to visit!

You can find Tea at 94 at 94 Buccleuch Street or on facebook or twitter.

The Earthy Foods website has all you need to know about their market shops and how to find them.

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Where to start… its been busy at Chez Clarkson.

Despite my determined efforts to unglue myself from twitter and spend more time on my blog I managed to get side tracked again. In fairness we are putting our house on the market so the last few weeks have been given over to last minute decorating and spring cleaning and any spare time I’ve had I have chosen to do food related things rather than write about them! So this post is a random scattering of all the things that have been pinging around in my head lately but havent managed to make it to page because I was too busy holding a paintbrush and a pot of paint.

As a result of all my twittering, I discovered Total Food Geeks and last week I put down the vacuum cleaner and dragged Dawn to their open night for a couple of hours. TFG is an Edinburgh foodie community and a blog that shares all kinds of food related news and information (they word that a lot better if you want to have a look for yourself). The evening started with a rather traumatising/hysterical parking episode because parking in Edinburgh centre is hard enough at the best of times and the council happened to have decided to close George street on the same night but after much driving in circles and getting flashed at by other drivers (including a bus) we eventually found a space and arrived at Underdogs a little late. Because we were late and driving (i.e. only one glass of wine for Dawn and for me in sympathy), we didn’t really get into the full swing of things as planned but we did meet Georgia and Emily who started the group and were lovely and told us a bit more about what goes on. Just taking the first step towards meeting other foodies was a great event in itself and as soon as I assuage my guilt by drafting this post I will be writing up my details to join in the activities over on the TFG website (very excited and somewhat nervous about this but trying to limit the number of exclamation marks so you dont feel like I’m shouting at you). Next time though I am definitely taking the bus and hitting the vino!

(vino always requires a !)

Photo courtesy of the ladies from Total Food Geeks as I was too awe struck to snap my own.

One of the reasons I’m a little nervous about signing myself up for things like TFG is because I’m not a professional writer and the complete lack of enthusiasm for my last jar swap idea didnt exactly prove me otherwise. So I’m trying not to draw attention to it really, but I promised to share the marmalade recipe and we did actually learn a lot about what worked/didnt so here it is, accompanied by a picture of our dressed jars that we entered into the marmalade awards.

Jack n’ Toast? – seville orange with a dash of bourbon

Vanilla Ma’amalade – seville orange and vanilla for her Majesty

Paddington’s Special – good plain old seville orange (our silver award)

Update! I’ve just had to edit this paragraph before publishing it as although I thought we had won absolutely nothing, an envelope arrived in the post today announcing that we had in fact been given a silver for our novice entry and two merits for our other two! So we didnt actually win but I’m pretty proud nonetheless. And I will draw your attention to our choice of names… we thought we were extremely witty!

Vanilla Marmalade

We made two batches from different recipes and found that parts of each were the most successful so this recipe is a combination of the British Larder and River Cottage versions.

  • 1kg seville oranges
  • 1 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out
  • 2kg granulated sugar or jam sugar (not the added pectin one)
  • 2 litres water (2.5 litres made the marmalade difficult to set)

Scrub the oranges, remove the buttons at the top of the fruit, then cut in half. Squeeze out the juice and keep to one side. Slice the peel, pith and all, into shreds (we removed a little of the pith to get prettier slices). Put the sliced peel into a bowl with the orange juice and cover with the water. Leave to soak overnight or for up to 24 hours (we found the soaking made the marmalade taste much better and less bitter).

Transfer the mixture to a preserving pan (we put the pulp and seeds in a muslin bag and added them as well), add the vanilla bean and vanilla seeds, and the lemon juice. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Boil rapidly until setting point is reached, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat. Leave to cool for 8-10 minutes then stir gently to disperse any scum. Pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately.

Now back to my commitment to writing. Ive been thinking about this blog, what I enjoying writing about and what is most useful to others who read it, and in addition to (hopefully) posting on TFG now and then I think I’m going to write more short posts in future as soon as I find things that I think are noteworthy, rather than waiting until I have a successful recipe to share. Somewhere between a twitter update and a full blown story.

So to start as I mean to go on…

I made this caramel cake yesterday from Dan Lepard’s cookbook Short and Sweet, but substitued almonds for hazelnuts and although I didn’t manage to entice the surveyor into having a slice while he was doing our home report (blatant attempt to boost property prices with baked goods I’m afraid), I’m quite glad because I have it all to myself now. The dulche de leche icing is the best part. You can get the recipe here and I recommend you do.

And last but not least, I have also booked tickets for Aoife Behan’s supper club in April.

The theme is tea.

Its my first supper club.

I am beside myself.

Almost wish I hadn’t shared it now actually. Best hit publish before I change my mind…

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