Posts Tagged ‘edinburgh’

Things you’ll only hear in ‘Embra’

Friday, August 16th, 2019

Edinburgh is a city of marked contrasts and there are certain words and phrases that you are unlikely to hear anywhere else in Scotland.

The contrast between the genteel New Town and the shadowy Old Town certainly fuelled the imagination of Robert Louis Stevenson. In fact, his famous tale Jekyll and Hyde is thought to be heavily inspired by Edinburgh because of this ‘double existence’.

Here is a guide to some of the most frequently used words in Edinburgh’s (Embra’s) local dialect and what they mean!

Definition: Unfair, disappointing, terrible, bad. Often used in conjuction with ‘pure’ (ie ‘very’) to denote extreme shanness. Everything that’s rubbish can be described as shan.

Definition: A ‘radge’ is a person who consistently acts in a noticeably crazy or angry way.

Definition: This means clueless, Scooby Doo being the rhyming slang for clue.

Definition: Disgusting or vile.

Definition: Someone who is constantly ‘spraffin’ too much is a person who just will not stop talking.

Haud yer weesht
Definition: An Edinburgh phrase delivered to people who just will not stop spraffin’ drivel, ‘haud yer weesht’ is a brilliantly onomatopoeic way to tell someone to be quiet.

Definition: To move quickly, run or run away.

Definition: Originally used to describe someone who lived in the city centre, these days the word ‘gadgie’ is more of an Edinburgh insult.

Definition: Great. Although it’s use has spread wider, this is still a proper Edinburgh word for anything that’s really good.

Definition: To purposely ignore someone. ‘Pie-ing’ a friend is the lowest of the low, and to be ‘pied’ really hurts.

Definition: Be aware that if someone asks you to help with a chore in the Edinburgh area, they may well be introducing you to a life of crime. Locally, to ‘chore’ or to ‘go out on the chore’ means to steal.

Definition: Accompany. Used as a verb, this means to go on a journey with someone.

Definition: A ‘stooshie’ is a bit of bother. Strong words may have been exchanged at the pub, but it came to nothing – that’s a stooshie. Stay vigilant during a stooshie to make sure it doesn’t turn into a stramash.

Definition: In Edinburgh the term is most commonly use to describe a friend who is acting like an idiot.

Definition: Unlike its standard meaning of smelly, in Edinburgh it’s one of many ways to describe an extreme state of inebriation.

Collie Buckie
Definition: Piggy back. To ride on someone’s back.

Edinburgh in quotes

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

“The most beautiful of all the capitals of Europe.”

As well as being Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh is also the leading festival city in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But when you live and work in such an incredible city, it can sometimes be easy to take it for granted.

So, we thought it would be interesting to remind everyone about how the city has been loved and admired for hundreds of years with some of the most memorable and famous quotes about Edinburgh from some equally famous people.

Queen Victoria

“The view of Edinburgh from the road before you enter Leith is quite enchanting: it is, as Albert said, fairy-like and what you would only imagine as a thing to dream of, or to see in a picture.”

Queen Victoria made her first visit to Scotland in 1842, just five years after becoming Queen.
She marvelled at the beautiful views of the Castle, Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat.

Alexander McCall Smith

“This is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas. A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again.”

Author Alexander McCall Smith has written several novels set in the city, including 44 Scotland Street and The Sunday Philosophy Club.

Richard Demarco

“The Scots think of it as their capital; they’re too possessive, Edinburgh belongs to the world.”

The Edinburgh-born artist Richard Demarco has been a champion of visual and performing arts in the city for decades.

Robert Louis Stevenson

“Half a capital and half a country town, the whole city leads a double existence; it has long trances of the one and flashes of the other; like the king of the Black Isles, it is half alive and half a monumental marble.”

Stevenson’s Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes, is full of beautiful descriptions of Auld Reekie such as this. Despite being set in London, Stevenson’s famous tale of Jekyll and Hyde is thought to be heavily inspired by Edinburgh because of this ‘double existence’.

Tobias Smollett

“Edinburgh is a hotbed of genius.”

This famous quote from Scottish poet and author Tobias Smollett refers to Edinburgh’s Enlightenment of the 18th century. The city was associated with many writers, philosophers, scientists and academics, including David Hume, Adam Smith and Francis Hutcheson.

Oscar Wilde

“It is quite lovely – bits of it.”

Oscar Wilde’s famous quote gives a less romanticised version of the city, but still gives the literary seal of approval to Auld Reekie.

Hugh MacDiarmid

“But Edinburgh is a mad god’s dream.”

One of the principal figures behind the Scottish Renaissance of the mid-20th century, Hugh MacDiarmid, was an influential poet and writer. This quote, taken from his poem Edinburgh, is immortalised on a plaque outside the Scottish Parliament.

Alan Rickman

“I always feel that when I come to Edinburgh, in many ways I am coming home.”

Even for those who are visitors to Edinburgh, this quote from the late British actor Alan Rickman, a regular at many of Edinburgh’s festivals, sums up exactly what people feel about the city.

Ian Rankin

“Edinburgh isn’t so much a city, more a way of life…… I doubt I’ll ever tire of exploring Edinburgh, on foot or in print.”

Ian Rankin’s series of Inspector Rebus novels are some of the most popular books set in the city.
Rankin began his writing career whilst studying English Literature at the University of Edinburgh.

Robert Burns

“Edina! Scotia’s darling seat!”

Burns lived in Edinburgh for a couple of years at the height of his career. Although he originally hailed from Ayr, Scotland’s national bard was very fond of the capital city, as illustrated here in this Address to Edinburgh.

Washington Irvine

“It seemed as if the rock and castle assumed a new aspect every time I looked at them; and Arthur’s Seat was perfect witchcraft. I don’t wonder that anyone residing in Edinburgh should write poetically.”

In 1817, Washington Irvine travelled to Edinburgh to visit Walter Scott and was enchanted by the city. Best known for his short stories Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Irvine was one of the first American writers to gain international success in Europe.

Sir Walter Scott

“Piled deep and massy, close and high; Mine own romantic town.”

This famous line is taken from the epic poem Marmion. Scott, who was born in College Wynd on the Cowgate, is one of the most significant figures in Scottish literature and the Scott Monument is the largest monument to a writer in the world.

Charlotte Bronte

“My dear Sir, do not think that I blaspheme when I tell you that your great London, as compared to Dun-Edin, ‘mine own romantic town’, is as prose compared to poetry, or as a great rumbling, rambling, heavy Epic compared to a Lyric, brief, bright, clear, and vital as a flash of lightning.”

In this letter from 1850, author Charlotte Bronte tells her companion that London and Edinburgh are two very different cities. She even makes reference to the famous line from Marmion, which she also quoted in her novel Jane Eyre.

Sir John Betjeman

“The most beautiful of all the capitals of Europe.”

The Poet Laureate was a huge fan of Victorian architecture, this explains why he was so fond of Edinburgh’s traditional tenements and town houses.

George Eliot

“When I looked out in the morning it is as if I had waked in Utopia.”

Mary Anne Evans, better known by her pen name George Eliot, was one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She was one of many authors to be inspired by the city after a visit to Edinburgh.

Charles Dickens

“Coming back to Edinburgh is to me like coming home.”

Charles Dickens was particularly fond of Edinburgh, as it was the place where he received the first significant public recognition of his work. He described Edinburgh as a “city so distinguished in literature and the arts” and visited several times throughout his life.

Pigs in the city

Monday, July 15th, 2019

As Britain’s second most visited city after London, Edinburgh truly is a world class place to visit at any time of year.

Almost every inch of Scotland’s stunning capital city is a reminder of its fascinating history. Once you explore the narrow, cobbled alleys of the Old Town and the elegant crescents of the New Town, you’ll soon see why they’ve been jointly awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. With so much to see and do, it can be hard to know where to start exploring. But we recommend a great place to start is the Royal Mile, home to the iconic Edinburgh Castle at one end and the Palace of Holyroodhouse (the Queen’s official residence in Scotland) at the other discover here. As you make your way along the Royal Mile, you’ll pass St Giles Cathedral, The Real Mary King’s Close underground tour and the amazing Scottish Parliament building.

There’s always something going on in Edinburgh but if you are interested in arts and culture then a visit to one of Edinburgh’s Festivals is an absolute must. Each August, people from all over the world flock to the city for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world and the iconic Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. And come December, if you are looking to celebrate the New Year in style then don’t miss the city’s spectacular Hogmanay celebrations.

And if you enjoy a little retail therapy, Edinburgh certainly won’t disappoint. Head to world famous Princes Street and George Street and for luxury brands look no further than Multrees Walk and Harvey Nichols in St Andrews Square.

After setting the scene like this we are very proud to be located in two of Edinburgh’s most famous and iconic streets and thought it would be fun to let you know some interesting facts about them and the vicinity.

Did you know that JK Rowling based magical shopping street Diagon Alley in Harry Potter on Victoria Street ?

The street is of course located in the Grassmarket, which was from 1477, one of Edinburgh’s main market places, a part of which was given over to the sale of horse and cattle (the name apparently deriving from livestock grazing in pens beyond its western end.

In 1803 William and Dorothy Wordsworth took rooms at the White Hart Inn, where the poet Robert Burns had stayed during his last visit to Edinburgh in 1791.

In his 1961 film Greyfriars Bobby, Walt Disney chose a lodging in the Grassmarket as the place where the Skye terrier’s owner dies (depicting him as a shepherd hoping to be hired at the market rather than the real-life dog’s owner, police night watchman John Gray.

The Canongate is the lower section of the famous Royal Mile and ends at the Palace of Holyroodhouse which was built in 1501.  It was only incorporated into the city of Edinburgh in 1865 before that it was a separate burgh and had a history and culture all of its own.

Did you know that Bovril can trace its roots back to the Cannongate?  An early version of the drink was made by a Cannongate butcher John Johnstone who developed “Liquid Beer” by using spare beef and gelatine.  He emigrated to Canada and there further marketed his drink coming up with the name Bovril (from Bovis Latin name for a cow and the word Vril).

Like many other streets in the New Town, Hanover Street was named in honour of the monarchs on the throne at the time of its construction.

The Hanoverian dynasty ruled Britain from 1714 to 1901, and George III was the reigning monarch at the time of Hanover Street’s construction in 1786.

After the First World War there were proposals to change the name to something less German-sounding, but they were unsuccessful and Hanover Street remained.

We’ve pulled

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

A history of pulled pork

Pulled pork cooking has its roots in the Southern United States, where early settlers brought pigs with them when they arrived. As cattle perished, pigs were the only animals that could survive the weather conditions, hence the reason why pork was the only variety of meat available to the settlers. Eventually the pulled pork method of cooking was invented.

Pulled pork is a method of cooking pork over a low heat for an extended period of time, slowly softening the connective tissue of the meat so that it can be pulled apart by hand and where pork is cooked to a very tender consistency. Traditionally it involves cooking pork over a low smoky fire for a long time but this can also be achieved by long slow roasting in a conventional oven too. Several culinary traditions have a history of pulled pork and many people associate it specifically with the American South, where it has almost become an art form and a common dish served at parties and celebrations. But making pulled pork at home is time consuming.

The definition of pulled pork is the softness of the meat once it has finished cooking but the dish can be prepared with a wide range of sauces and rubs. Depending on the region, you may see pulled pork with spicy sauces, sweet mellow sauces or tangy sauces inspired by regionally available spices. In Tennessee pulled pork is made with arm and blade shoulder meats and is served with a tomato condiment, whereas the North Carolinians have pulled pork made from both mixed cuts and shoulder cuts with a vinegary sauce or without any sauce. The Southern styled smoked pork is also commonly referred to as pulled pork. Our own particular regional slant combines Scottish pulled pork with haggis- a delicious and truly Scottish combination which many of our customers absolutely love. Other delicious combinations are available too!

In addition to Southern US cuisine, pulled pork also appears in Polynesia, many parts of the Caribbean and parts of Southeast Asia, thanks to abundant pig populations in these parts of the world. The shoulder cut of pork, or mixed cuts, at times referred to as the Boston Butt, is commonly used for pulled pork cooking. Although basically the name pulled pork is derived by the action of being able to pull the pork by hand, other forms such as sliced, chopped and shredded are also often referred to as pulled pork.

As we can testify at Oink, pulled pork is extremely popular when served on a roll (or a bun as our American cousins would call it) as a sandwich. The tenderness of the meat is one factor that seems to have made pulled pork recipes a real favourite with many, though the long cooking time is much less appealing to the home cook.

Fear not, there’s always a succulent hog roasting at Oink to keep lovers of pulled pork this side of the Atlantic very happy indeed. Enjoy!

Oink Collection

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

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