When ramapaging around the capital of Scotland last Friday, it seemed only fair to pop into the local Parliament and enjoy a good debate about how the 'Future is Local' and the barriers to growing local food. An interesting time to be in such a wonderful building. My first visit. I did enjoy it very much. Breakfast and lunch at the Parliament, don't mind if I do. A most excellent session on the joys, barriers and constraints of growing more food locally and how we might overcome some of the hurdles by working together. I kept quiet about my tendancies to grow both flowers and vegetables together, whilst they seemed a nice enough bunch you can never tell when gardeners and allottmenteers might go a bit feral. I also REMEMBERED to take my secateurs out my hand bag, security at Parliaments I feared might not be so understanding of such handy tools in bags.
As I'm not in the city very often, feral gardeners avoided, it was time for a catch up with a serious plant scientist (microbiologist don't you know) mocktails overlooking the Edinburgh skyline with a chum also seemed a fitting way to chew the cud. As I have a stick of celery in my drink, chew I did. I think I'll never make a microbiologist, I find it easier to peer at my plants at arms length, covered in mud, than down the lens of a microscope, but she's very happy. Today I'm actually not even slightly covered in mud, she barely recognised me. That's when secret 'botanics' hand shakes come in handy, then she was sure it was me.
Cities offer delights that islands just don't have like trees that grow upright, winter bedding plants, blossom and alike. They also offer sushi. Now I can eat sushi at home having been trained by a well meaning Japanese lassie in Orkney, however getting out and having some in rather fetching plates, is something only to be experienced in the city. Had to be done, rude not too. And whilst squishing as much in my tummy as possible, I managed to visit the chinese supermarket on the way to a charming little rustic Dim Sum bar just off Leith Walk.
The wee hideaway is noted as one of the finest places to have Dim Sum in Edinburgh and it really was. If in need of an oriental nibble off the beaten track try Stack. Its got a truly awesome wee hatch the food pops out of, be warned, not all of the delicious grub is for you. Others like to share too. I'm not keen on sharing.
After a mountain of food and eating what better than a walk on a lovely beach over looking the capital over in the land of Fife. Early morning scamps soon put the air back in your lungs and prepare you for the day ahead. We headed to the farmers market........and then off out up the coast in search of houses, we're currently house hunting. Fife I have to say is the preferred location. Haggis slumbers on, dreaming of beaches.
The wee town of Anstruther took our attention as did the houses, all sounding fine but with a serious lack of information on their gardens, why don't estate agents give you what you need [soil type, depth, aspect, garden structures, common pests and weeds, frost pockets and alike], the indoor rooms whilst pleasant to know they exist do not hold much interest for me, I'd rather hear about the garden, sheds and the interesting stuff. Why are those things not on the details, that baffles me.
The East Neuk has many delights to offer a girl who loves both beaches and food and growing, whilst coastal an array of growing seems to exude from most corners.
Just a few miles to St Andrews we wasted the rest of the day ambling on beaches, meeting friends and just blethering. No ice cream this trip - the shops were just tooooooooooooo busy - those who indulge in cakes found refuge in the best cake shop in the world. I do not participate in cake eating, its vile stuff, second only in vileness to chocolate. I'm not a proper girl.
As others indulge in cakes, I can look back at the fun that was had, mini-holidays are often friend filled too. Much fun was had, I even squeezed in 24 hours with my manchild from university. The lure of dim sum was too strong for him too. Clever boy that boy is.
The weekend away also had an inordinate amount of cheese, chilli's and bread lobbed into it. It was SOMEONES birthday, and as she doesn't care for chocolate, cheese and chilli's are her preferred presents. And, socks of course, you can never have too many socks.
And to go with all that birthday cheese, what do you give a girl who also hates cake (aside a good slap as many of my friends have suggested), you furnish her with bread. As she's famished from all that adventuring, a good birthday bread loaf goes down a storm. Thank you cellist, a most appropriate welcome home.
Don't bother to count the candles, that's just rude.
What to do when home, despite the cheese mountain, go out to your favourite restaurant in Orkney, The Creel. Crab bisque, Pan seared Halibut and of course, a selection of cheeses to end. Perfect end to a fun filled week.
A huge thanks to all those keen participants in 'eat as much as you can over a weekend in Edinburgh and Fife and then again in Orkney'. We very much enjoyed your company whether it was lunch, brunch, breakfast, supper, tea, carpet picnics, al fresco fish and chips or all of the above.
Perhaps Scotland should grow more of its own food, I'd certainly help eat it!