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Adam Balic

eG Foodblog: Adam Balic - An Australian in Scotland

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Well I must say that it is quite a strange and nervous making experience to be creating a foodblog. However, eventually one must take the plunge...

A tiny bit of background information. I am an Australian Anglo-Croat living in Edinburgh, where I work at the University of Edinburgh as a Biologist. I have lived in here for five years and while it may not be the most exciting place on the planet, it has certainly taught me a few things about myself. As a word of warning, I find the restuarants in Edinburgh to be pretty dull, so this blog will mostly be about what I cook myself, good, bad and ugly. So sorry about the lack of tips to Scotland's Festival city.

Ah, but for todays routine:

Up at 6:30, cup of tea made for the wife and off to the gym. After the gym I have a healthy and nutritious breakfast designed to give me all the bouncy energy that I need to get through the long hours between breakfast and brunch.

Actually, this is all lies. What I normally have is a coffee and sometimes a piece of fruit. For the simple reason that I don't have the time for breakfast and I don't feel like eating before 10:30 normally. If ever during this blog you find yourself thinging "I wonder what he had for breakfast?", during the week it will always be a crapy, bitter nasty, cup of coffee like this:

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It sets me up for the day of crappy, nasty, bitter work :wink:

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When is brunch usually?

We'll be revisiting Edinburgh later on in the year, viewed from another perspective. Not to worry. :wink:

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Adam, I am looking forward to your blog. Surely, you will include some single malt! :wub:

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When is brunch usually?

We'll be revisiting Edinburgh later on in the year, viewed from another perspective.  Not to worry.  :wink:

Different perspectives are good and I will look forward to it.

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I am cooking for a few friends tomorrow, as it is a friday I have pre-ordered the meat to save some time. This is my favourite butcher in Edinburgh. They have excellent produce, especially the beef and they also specialize in game.

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It is also great fun. An Aladdin's cave and temple dedicated to meat. They have their own farm, as well as sourcing great meat, they cure and smoke their own products and if you want something brined, just tell then what and how long for. If you are in the shop you can even pick the cut of meat.

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Scotland is the last stronghold of the British pudding, in this shot you can see Black and haggis puddings out on diplay in the shop window, but there are also white, red and fruit puddings, plus variations on sale normally.

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As I said, they specialize in game. This time of the year is not the best, but here is a small selection. You can see wild boar, roe deer, pigeon, partridge and pheasant here. Now, there is a clue in this image. What happens in Scotland on the date of the last day of this blog? And why does this mean that I bought lamb today?

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Historically, Scotland is not a big pork eating country. But bacon is another thing entirely. This is a selection of in shop made bacon, smoked, sweet cure and green. Now one of these bacons is specific to Scotland, can anybody identify the cure? Not shown here is gammon and smoked hough.

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I also wanted a bit of fish for my supper. Right across the street from Bower's is Armstrong's Fishmonger. One of two that I use and they are lovely people with an excellent range of local fish. They also smoke their own salmon (and other fish) as you can seen. Eh, the shop did recently burn down though :rolleyes: .

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Todays selection:

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But I bought a cut off this handsome fellow:

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Very nice "Ambience" picture. Puts the viewer right where you are!

Kep it coming Ol'boy

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Up at 6:30, cup of tea made for the wife and off to the gym. After the gym I have a healthy and nutritious  breakfast designed to give me all the bouncy energy that I need to get through the long hours between breakfast and brunch.

Actually, this is all lies.

Hah! I was really starting to feel down about my daily routine.

This is going to be great. Looking forward to this. That seafood shop . . . :wub:

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Up at 6:30, cup of tea made for the wife and off to the gym. After the gym I have a healthy and nutritious  breakfast designed to give me all the bouncy energy that I need to get through the long hours between breakfast and brunch.

Actually, this is all lies.

Hah! I was really starting to feel down about my daily routine.

This is going to be great. Looking forward to this. That seafood shop . . . :wub:

Kevin - the 6:30, tea and gym bits were all true I'm afraid. Wife never actually drinks the tea, but sometimes the idea of tea is even more important then the consumption.


Edited by Adam Balic (log)

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Now one of these bacons is specific to Scotland, can anybody identify the cure? Not shown here is gammon and smoked hough.

Would that be Ayrshire bacon? The rolled/sliced one in the center at the bottom?

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I'm looking forward to following this, Adam. I don't get to Bower's very often as Crombies is much more convenient for me, but I'm always impressed by the place - it's good to see trotters and such like in the window.

Likewise with Armstrong's (my not getting there very often, as opposed to the trotters in the window). I get very frustrated that I'll walk past a window full of great-looking fish on a Saturday lunchtime when I'm on my way to play hockey, so don't want to buy fish that will become tainted by mouldering hockey kit, and then I'll walk past an empty window on my way home. Such is life...

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Philip

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mmm... bowers, ever since you recomended it I've been trying to spend our meat budget there!

they're so nice as well, even for someone rather shy like myself, although, I think I would not have the courage to ask for something to be brined (really, very shy)

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As I said, they specialize in game. This time of the year is not the best, but here is a small selection. You can see wild boar, roe deer, pigeon, partridge and pheasant here. Now, there is a clue in this image. What happens in Scotland on the date of the last day of this blog? And why does this mean that I bought lamb today?

Is it the opening of grouse shooting season? I seem to recall that some shooting seasons start over there about now.

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Now one of these bacons is specific to Scotland, can anybody identify the cure? Not shown here is gammon and smoked hough.

Would that be Ayrshire bacon? The rolled/sliced one in the center at the bottom?

Yep that is the one, although it sometimes just called 'Ayr' bacon, like on the front of the shop. The perfect shape for putting in a morning roll.

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As I said, they specialize in game. This time of the year is not the best, but here is a small selection. You can see wild boar, roe deer, pigeon, partridge and pheasant here. Now, there is a clue in this image. What happens in Scotland on the date of the last day of this blog? And why does this mean that I bought lamb today?

Is it the opening of grouse shooting season? I seem to recall that some shooting seasons start over there about now.

Correct! It is know as "The Glorious 12th" and marks the opening of the game season, or specifically Grouse season. So the feathered game at the butcher is last years stocks at the moment. Nothing wrong with that, but I prefer to wait for the new season stuff.

Grouse 12th Aug to 10th Dec

Pheasant 1st Sept to 31st Jan

Woodcock 1st Sept to 31st Jan

Partridges 1st Sept to 31st Jan

Snipe 12th Aug to 10th Dec

Ducks 1st Sept to 31st Jan

 

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The tour of Bower's is terrific. Now I'm starving...

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mmm... bowers, ever since you recomended it I've been trying to spend our meat budget there!

they're so nice as well, even for someone rather shy like myself, although, I think I would not have the courage to ask for something to be brined (really, very shy)

They are very good, although the boss can be cheeky.

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This is so interesting.. Cant wait to read more Adam!

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Right as I am going to be mostly posting about what I am cooking, I though I should set the scene a little. This is my kitchen. We live in a Victorian (~c.1886) tenement flat. Some where on egullet therre is a thread devoted to the Hell of renovating the place. That was three years ago now and in general I am very happy with our kitchen.

One thing though, it is a long an narrow kitchen, so not as much room as I would like. For anybody thinking of renovating their kitchen, a tip: There is never enough storage.

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As I said the kitchen is narrow, so I have spill over of cooking books and pots etc into the lounge room. My wife is very good about this. I pretty much life all types of cooking, but most of all I like information. A well written cookbook is a good way of gaining an insight into a particular culture. I have also found that the more I these I read the more that the whole mishmash makes sense. Regions of the world I have thought as of quite seperate entities, sometimes have interesting links via food.

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Oh this should be good.

We're having sandwiches on Friday, right? :wink:

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Adam - salut! By "last year's stocks" (re: game), you don't mean they froze all that to sell through the year?

Will you be up to any Terrine/Ballotine/gallentine naughtiness? Can we convince you to bake 30 birds in a pie, and serve it with aspic?

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I'm looking forward to following this, Adam. I don't get to Bower's very often as Crombies is much more convenient for me, but I'm always impressed by the place - it's good to see trotters and such like in the window.

Likewise with Armstrong's (my not getting there very often, as opposed to the trotters in the window). I get very frustrated that I'll walk past a window full of great-looking fish on a Saturday lunchtime when I'm on my way to play hockey, so don't want to buy fish that will become tainted by mouldering hockey kit, and then I'll walk past an empty window on my way home. Such is life...

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Philip

This is a real problem in Edinburgh. After the first few weeks in Edinburgh, one of the greatest culture shocks was getting use to the idea that this city is not devoted to food in the same way that Melbourne is. Direct comparisons are not fair, but I was use to having easy access to acres of food markets (in fact the supermarket was just somewhere to buy shampoo and toilet rolls). Things are have got much better in Edinburgh there is excellent produce available, but getting it has to be planned very well and sometimes the two shops you want are on other sides of the town. My only advise is if you can spare the time, then take advantage of the fact that the buchers and fishmongers open pretty early. I was in the butcher at 8:15, enough time to get the meat and get to work on time. But this is not always possible.

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Adam - salut! By "last year's stocks" (re: game), you don't mean they froze all that to sell through the year?

Will you be up to any Terrine/Ballotine/gallentine naughtiness? Can we convince you to bake 30 birds in a pie, and serve it with aspic?

Yes, exactly that. They freeze hundreds of birds (as far as I understand). With it being this close to the new season, I most likely will not cook any game on the blog. But you never know.

I should say at this point that there will be a break in transmission on this blog for most of the weekend, as I am flying down to watch The Ashes in Birmingham. If you are darn lucky I might take some photographs of Birmingham.


Edited by Adam Balic (log)

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