Saturday, 13 December 2008

eggs on grey days

Although Edinburgh may not be a haven for all the gorgeous fresh fruits and veggies that I'm used to getting in California, it still does some things inexplicably well.
For instance: Eggs.
We get our eggs from a tiny market down the street run by an Indian family, the eldest of whom can't really answer any of my questions when I go looking for oddities like apple sauce or rhubarb yogurt. Their eggs come from a farm just outside the city, and always come packed in half dozen cartons (no one ever buys a dozen eggs here, how American). Small, brown, and free range, the eggs are fantastic scrambled with tiny lumps of goat cheese. Throwing in the creamy cheese as the eggs cook makes a deliciously warm, soft, and French feeling breakfast; the goat cheese melts ever so slighlty, and warms through as it coats the yellow eggs. So simple, so yummy.

Also: Heather beer. 
Apparently Scotland is home to ten million acres of wild flowering heather, or so the bottle of fraoch (gaelic for Heather) tells me. And thank god they have put it to use. This light beer is just so slightly floral, with a refreshing tang to it that cuts anything that might be considered perfumy, which was my first thought when I picked the bottle up off the shelf. The ale is infused with heaps of heather flowers, and then fermented in big copper urns. Now I don't really know how to talk about beer, all I know is that one bottle fills a pint glass quite nicely, and makes lovely company for nights in when Ian and I watch reruns of The Office.
I must say that all Scottish beer is not amazing. Take for instance, Tennant's. Tennant's is basically the equivalent of Budweiser, or Coors, or any of those cheap, flavorless beers that adorn the fridges of frat boys. Tennant's is very much a staple, however, amongst those truly Scottish. It's usually the cheapest pint of beer available in a pub, and it's so light you can drink pints and pints of it without filling up, making it ideal for young college kids and a night in the clubs. But even Elaine, born and bred in Scotland, said it best when she said: "Tennant's. It tastes even better when you can't really taste."

And finally: Oat Cakes. 
So much a standard that most people forget them when talking about Scottish cuisine, oat cakes are thin biscuity crackers that make a lovely seat for cheese or jam or butter or bits of leftover roast chicken pulled from the fridge. They are just a little bit sweet, just a little bit salty, and hearty feeling enough to leave you full after a few chews of their oaty goodness. I first had them last Christmas (my first spent with Ian's family), where they were eaten for breakfast with eggs, for lunch with mayonnaise and tuna, and while watching films late in the night: plain, perfect.

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