Today I plan to take you on a food lover’s tour of Edinburgh, but before that, a quick apology; It’s been a little quiet around here recently. Its been a busy couple of weeks, not least because Andy’s flown back out to Hong Kong. He’s headed back to work, and I’m staying here. I’m already counting down the days until May when I’ve got a couple of weeks off to fly out and visit him.
Instead of even thinking of being in the kitchen over the Easter weekend, I spent the weekend with Andy. Spending time with our families, eating huge amounts of chocolate, and sipping local ciders in sunny beer gardens.
Bear with me a little while I adjust back to life lived across a 7 hour time difference. I’ve spent today in the kitchen, and I promise the cakes will return very soon, but, in the meantime, instead of a recipe for you today, I’ve got a few pictures from my weekend in Edinburgh. A beautiful weekend of blue skies, wedding dress shopping (!!!), eating, drinking, long over due catch-ups, and copious amounts of cheese.
I arrived in Edinburgh on Thursday night, and spent Friday pottering around the city by myself while Lucy was at work. The National Museum of Scotland was a true surprise. Hidden inside a modern exterior is this gorgeous atrium, flooded with light and full of gorgeous details. The side galleries are packed with fascinating displays. I wandered along these galleries, soaking up the warmth of the beautiful spring light.
In the evening we stuffed ourselves silly with dirty burgers, and chips drenched in melted cheese, onions and mustard at Boozy Cow. The cocktails are delicious, but the real star of the night was the pudding. A childhood dream of a bucket of ice cream loaded with marshmallows, honeycomb, raspberries, cream and topped off with a giant chewy chocolate chip cookie. Far from refined, but oh so good!
Our cheese for the weekend came from I.J.Mellis. A fabulous shop. The strong smell of cheese wafts out onto the road in deliciously inciting waves. Inside a table heaves with the most tempting of cheeses. Rippled blue cheeses, crumbling hard cheeses, enormous wheels of soft cheese melting into delicious creamy puddles. Each cheese is displayed with a description of its flavours, production and origins. A shelf to the side is heaving with all the accompaniments your cheese board needs; chutneys, pickles, jams, oatcakes.
As if this wasn’t enough cheese, we topped ourselves up at the Grassmarket Saturday market, sampling our way through the finest cheese Italy has to offer. The market is a gorgeous place to stop for a light nibble. Local and specialist importer food stalls sit side by side. Enormous pans of paella release tempting smells as they’re stirred, golden pearls of rice gleaming and steaming. We had other plans for lunch, but if we hadn’t I could easily have filled myself on the artisan breads and home made chutneys on offer.
Mary’s Milk Bar provided the perfect refreshment while wandering this beautiful city. The vintage milk bar, decked out with retro stools, has a cabinet packed full of delicious sounding home made ice creams. Flavours like salted caramel, Belgium chocolate and white chocolate and basil call out to be picked. The lady behind the counter lets you try different flavours before committing to one to be whizzed up into a thick, smooth, creamy shake. I went for the white chocolate and basil and oh what a delicious choice it was! The white chocolate makes it every so creamy and rich, but the basil cuts through excess sweetness, stopping it becoming sickly, and making it absolutely perfect to gulp down before the ice cream has completely melted. I spent a very happy half an hour sipping away, flicking through the vintage reading matter on the tables. The recommended uniforms for a milk bar waitress are quite a eye opener!
Another refreshment stop was Mimi’s bakehouse. A gorgeous retro styled teahouse in Leith. On Sunday morning it was absolutely packed. We hadn’t made a reservation and, arriving at the cross over point between brunch and lunch, we weren’t able to get a table long enough for hot food. The squeezed us in just long enough for tea, scones and cake though. If you saw my recipe last week the cake below might look a little familiar! I would love to go back and sample a little more of the menu, especially the scrumptious looking beforenoon tea, an afternoon tea styled brunch, complete with mini bacon sarnies, cheddar scones, and a dulce de leche pancake tower.
The final trip for the weekend was a visit to Maison de Moggy, the cat cafe. The moggys have the run of the cafe, specially equipped for their needs, with lots of little holes to hide in, and walk ways around the top of the walls where they can escape if they get fed up of the visitors. Lots of the cats were curled up snoozing. A little one dashed around like in crazy fits and starts, jumping at shadows and attacking the air. We spent a very happy hour sipping our drinks in-between stroking the cats. I think we’d happily have taken most of them home if we’d been allowed.
Edinburgh is one of my absolute favourites cities. I’m a little bit in love with its architecture, its people, its food. On the way home I day dreamed of moving myself up there, putting down roots in a gorgeous period apartment, all high ceilings, huge windows and period details. For now though i’ll content myself with planning my next visit.