Jet lag, Venison Stew/Pie, Edinburgh last days

And we’re back. It’s been a week and I’m now ready to finish documenting the trip. It snowed this weekend much to everyone’s surprise. But it’s sunny and beautiful out – I am grateful for no rain. It will make today’s grocery trip much more pleasant. So, the trip.


  • 28 days
  • 8 (count’em, EIGHT) plane rides
  • 3 countries
  • 50+ km walked
  • 2 awesome shows
  • 24 kg (The weight of my backpack going Naples-London-Edinburgh; Sean’s was heavier.)

    Half pint/full pint. Guinness 🙂
  • More wine, food, and fun than two people should probably consume – but it was really good!
  • 2 happy travellers who got to be out of the country for the above mentioned 28 days
  • 1 awesome trip 🙂
  • 2.5 days of jet lag post flight home (WAY better than the 6 days of jet lag the last time we had come back from the UK. Having a day to rest after travel before going back to reality was crucial to this minimal number. But my first day back at work was amusing because I was wide awake at 4am and then I hit the metaphorical wall of tiredness (where your brain just dies) at bout 2:30 while I was meeting with my boss. She thought it was pretty funny and was very understanding – she travels a lot).)
Edinburgh – Final Days
Our last week in Edinburgh was jam packed and relaxed all at the same time. Highlights include:
  • Seeing “We Will Rock You” at the Edinburgh Playhouse
  • Dinner at Loch Fyne
  • 80’s themed Hogmanay party at Frances and Jim’s house – they collected three song choices from everyone and played EVERY one. I even got Sean (sort of) dancing. 🙂 And there was the amazing fireworks display that we saw on TV. They lit the canon at the top of the hill and the fireworks went off all around the castle. It was beautiful. We missed the torch light procession the night before as we were on our way back from Aviemore but the below illustrates the view from when we got home. As you can see, that’s a lot of torches that were eventually thrown into the mix.
Dec 30, 2011 Torchlight procession
  • Climbing the mini-mountain called Arthur’s Seat on New Year’s Day – Also a place where I nearly got blown away. It was a beautiful day though and there were more people than we expected out hiking off their Hogmanay night.
Sitting at the top of Arthur
  • Eating Lesley’s venison stew – (recipe below)
  • Eating a traditional meal of Haggis, neeps, and tatties, acoompanied by a lovely fruit wine from Scottish Winery called Cairn O’Mohr (say it fast). It was our farewell dinner – so delicious. Apparently a haggis is also a (mythical) creature. They are super cute with short front legs and long back legs (to make it easier to run up and down hills – Darwinism at it’s best).
Haggis, neeps, and tatties
  • Taking the Historic Vaults tour. They take you underground and you see how this amazing network was built and live in way back when. We had a lovely tour guide named Roger who told us about body snatchers (very lucrative back then), scandals, how the vaults were built, and why. It was fascinating.
Inside the South Bridge Vaults
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  • Learning to build and light a wood/coal fire. I was not happy about touching the coal, but it was part of the learning experience.
Me building a wood and coal fire
My fire 🙂
  • Having lunch with my lovely friend Heather and her boyfriend Dave. We had been trying to get together since Sean and I landed in Scotland, so it was good to see them. They live in Glasgow and took the train in.
The girls
After all that, Stephen took us to the airport. We were sad to leave… But it was time for London. And the “almost” fire when we landed at Heathrow that had us on the tarmac for half an hour listening to that very loud alarm. Someone decided to pull the alarm and we were never told if there was an actual fire or not in the terminal. Never a dull moment.
The next day was Covent Garden, but that will be a separate post. As will the rest of the Napoli Diaries.
Lesley’s Venison Stew/Pie
  • 20g dried ceps
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g pancetta or smoked bacon
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small swede, finely chopped
  • 600g venison casserole meat
  • flour for dusting
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 200ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 350g puff pastry (option 2)
  • 1 egg yolk beaten (option 2)
Venison stew with mashed potatoes and green beans
Pre heat oven to 200C/400F. Put cepes in a bowl and pour over 600ml of boiling water. Leave to cool. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and saute the pancetta until brown. Add the onion and garlic and continue cookinguntil golden brown. Add all the other vegetables to the panand cook until soft, then transfer everything into a casserole dish. Toss the meat in a little seasoned flour and fry until brown then add to the casserole along with the vinegar, wine, cepes and their strained liquid. Bring to the boil, then add the juniper berries and season. Add the bay leaves, cover and cook for 1.5 hours in the preheated oven until the meat is tender.
Option 1: Serve as stew with whatever you like.
Option 2: Roll out the puff pastry and cut out a round to fit the casserole dish. Place it over the dish then brush with the beaten eggyoke and bake in the preheated oven for about 15ins until the pastry is golden & crispy.
Enjoy! 🙂

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