Matt's blog

The story of me, an American in Edinburgh, Scotland finding my place as a musician, a husband, a father and a Christian.

Planning a Trip to Edinburgh?

I know some of you are! One thing you should be ready to do in Edinburgh is a whole lot of walking. Yesterday was a good example:

Walking Jeni to her bus stop first thing in the morning so she can go play with dead hens: 1 1/2 miles
Walking to the accommodations office to pick up keys to look at a new flat: 2 miles
Jogging in the Meadows, a large park in the city center: 3 miles
Walking back to accommodations to return the keys, stopped at the bank on the way there and the store on the way back: 2 miles
Walking with Jeni to the new flat so she can at least see where it is, if not the inside: 3/4 miles

Total: 9 1/4 miles

I'll admit, yesterday was a bit more intense then average, I'd say I have a day like that only about once a week. Still, my daily average is about 4 or 5 miles. Of course, if you're coming for a visit it's bound to be more, since the only real way to see the sights around here is on foot.


Well, it's come to my attention that some of you might not be happy if this were to turn entirely into a mediocre food blog. So, how about a mediocre knitting blog? Knitting? What the crap?

Above you see a picture of my first 'real' knitting project in its infancy. Before then I had made several squares getting used to knitting and purling and trying out different techniques like ribbing and seed stitching.

Wait...Knitting? Once again, what the crap?

While some people, especially with a baby on the way, would choose for their first project to be something like a baby blanket, small and manageable, I decided on something more suiting my skill and ambitions. Some might call what I decided to make a washcloth; I have taken a more pragmatic approach and called it a spit rag. My spit rag ended up about 9"x9", worked in stockinette with a seed stitch border.

What. The. Crap. ?.

So, I don't think this post will contain any information answering the question, what the crap? Instead I will close by simply saying that I am trying not to despise knitting with the fire of a thousand yellow yarn-ball suns, though I feel close to that point. However, I cannot stop. I have found myself compelled by the desire to complete just one more row, though when it's complete it seems that I have gained nothing for my efforts. Add to that the fact that anything I make will likely be of lower quality and greater cost than its commercial counterpoint, and knitting becomes an exercise in despair.

And here I am with one completed spit rag and half a baby hat.

What the crap?

Fishy Sandy

Well, it's time for the obligitory weekly food post. Tonight's dinner was pan-seared cod sandwiches with spinach. One of the things Jeni and I looked forward to about moving to Edinburgh was the abundant supply of fresh, beautiful fish. Of course when we got here we realized that neither of us had ever cooked fish before (aside from fish sticks or those frozen fillets you do in the toaster oven) and we were both kind of scared of trying.

People. If there's one thing I want you to take away from this post, nay, from this entire blog, it is this: Don't be afraid of fish.

Fish is tasty and wonderful and good for you and marvelously easy to make. We first decided to try making fish with Mary's recipie, which involves covering salmon with Ritz crackers and butter, two of the finest things there are. Ritz are the only American cracker available over here, a fact which we took as a sign directing us to make Mary's salmon. For the last two Saturdays we have gone to the farmer's market and picked out a piece of salmon to make for dinner.

That was today's plan, too, which was only reinforced when the Creeler's guy at the farmer's market had the most awesome looking piece of salmon I've ever seen. We've bought our fish from a different seller every week, just to sort of check out what's available. This was the first week we bought from Creeler's. They always have the biggest selection of really fresh looking stuff, including prawns and lobsters still crawling around. The Creeler's guy is also chattier than the other fish sellers, which comined with the size of the line for his popular stand, made the wait pretty long. However, it was time well spent. We got to listen in on his discussion with the several people in front of us in line about all sorts of ways you could prepare his fish. By the time it was our turn we had all sorts of ideas in our head and, as good as Mary's salmon is, we decided to branch out. We ended up getting two good sized pieces of cod and the recommendation to pan-sear them.

Upon getting home I consulted Joy on the finer points of pan seared fish and saw that almost nothing could be easier. Simply dredge your fish in flour, salt and pepper and put it in a hot skillet on top of a good measure of olive oil and melted butter. Increase the heat as the fish cooks and give the pan a shake every now and then to keep it from sticking. Three minutes on each side results in perfectly browned and moist fish.

And so, Jeni and I have decided to make fish a regular part of our diet. The next step is to find a good local fishmonger (the one that at least looks best simply has the word "FISHMONGER" painted on the front of his otherwise bare storefront) so we can have fish during the week, not just on Saturdays from the farmer's market.

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