My family left for Estonia yesterday after a very nice week in Edinburgh, and today is my first day in the office after a long-long break. That also means that I can finally write my first proper foodblog-like entry. As I still haven't made up my mind which digital camera to buy, there won't be any photos this time. But soon, I promise.
As I mentioned in my previous entry, my parents arrived with bags full of Estonian food. I don't mind, as I do miss Estonian food occasionally, so I enjoyed the breakfasts consisting of rye bread, cheese, salami, and yogurt from home. I also have loads of chocolates and sweets still to eat - oh so yummy, though 'a moment on your lips/lifetime on your hips' mantra suddently pops to my mind as well..
I had the pleasure of cooking quite a lot on my family's request. Some were their old favourites (my take on the Greek feta-spinach pie is always popular, for instance - my mum had even brought along some fresh spinach from her garden!), some were new to them (I made my first ever Eton Mess for my 5-year-old nephew's great joy, and my family also quite enjoyed the Penne alla (Estonian) Vodka from Nigella's Feast). We also had few nice meals out - lunch at the newly re-opened Pancho Villa's and post-graduation dinner at my lovely local Turkish restaurant Hanedan were especially nice. My mum was slightly disappointed that I didn't bake lots of cakes, but it was unusually hot in Edinburgh last week, so I didn't feel like baking a lot and instead we spent lots of time walking around and slothing in various parks..
But the week in general can indeed be described as really garlicky. Just over a week ago I found myselt wandering along the aisles at the Farmers Market in Edinburgh again, looking for something nice to buy to cook for my family. I stopped at the Nairn-based Really Garlicky Company's stall to get some of their nice cream cheese, when I was asked if I'd like to participate in their market research. Why not - as a sociologist, I understand the need for good market research:) and as a just-recently-a-student, I can't refuse a free foodie/goodie bag. So I signed up and was delivered a box full of their products last Tuesday. I tried and tested the products - a tub of cream cheese, a tub of aioli, a tub of garlic butter, a box of mash seasoning, a box of garlicky rub, a loaf of garlic bread, box of garlic scapes and some frozen chopped garlic - with my family on several occasions. The garlic mash was delicious, and my father almost single-handedly finished the aioli. But our clear favourites were the garlic scapes. Described on the packet as "carefully hand picked garlic shoots from the highlands of scotland", these were really yummy - long, twisted, green, roundish (you can see them under the "Shop" link on the company's website). Maybe just slightly too pungent when nibbled raw, they nevertheless made a tasty sandwich filling when mixed with tuna and mayonnaise. I used them as a base for some creamy garlicky gravy (my dad refuses to eat anything without gravy, so I always have to make some, whether the dish actually requires one or not). And they were simply divine added to the huge wok full of chicken-broccoli-green bean stir-fry with orange-soy sauce I made to my family. Soft and crisp at once, with a delightfully subtle garlic flavour and aroma. I'll definitely be buying these scapes again next week. Or maybe not. Seems that our Farmers Market is cancelled this Saturday because of the G8 meeting in Scotland. Oh well, I'll guess I have to wait until next week then. But then they're worth it..