Category Archives: Food

The Scone Chronicles XXIII – Afternoon Tea. Again.

The Afternoon Teas were actually ten days apart, despite the two reports being published on the same day. Sorry if this seems like overkill, but it’s just the chaotic nature of my life.

I have reported on Mrs Botham’s Tearoom before. They produce excellent pork pies and capital crab sandwiches.

Today we selected Afternoon Tea. This proved to be a good decision.

At £12.95 it’s a mid-range option compared to the prices of the other teas we’ve had (though the comparison is with the special offer price at the St James Hotel).

It’s a typical Mrs Botham’s production, with freshly made sandwiches and a bit of salad with citrus dressing. This dressing did make a couple of the sandwiches soggy on the lower edge, as they were served on the same plate, but it wasn’t much of a problem as they didn’t have long to wait before consumption, and it’s all going to end up in the same place anyway.

Botham's Whitby

Botham’s Whitby

They were a definite level up from the curly Bettys sandwiches. They may have benefitted from some variety of brown bread, but let’s be honest, there is a reason why soft white bread is a top seller.

Apart from being fresh they were also well-filled, the cucumber being particularly good.

The cakes were, for me, the least good bit of the meal. They were good and fresh, being baked by Bothams and sold in the shop downstairs. The meringue was fine, and about twice the size of the St James one.

The chocolate thing (my command of cakey vocabulary is buckling under the strain here) seemed to have a biscuit in it, probably with hazel nuts, and was difficult to manage with a cake fork, though it did break up when bitten, It was OK, but I wouldn’t go and buy one in the shop as a result of the one I ate.

The fondant fancy was lovely, but rather sweet. And if I say it’s too sweet that is serious sugar, as I’m not known for my sensitivity to sugar. The icing was too sweet and the creamy bit inside was too large and too sweet. I’m a lover of fondant fancies, so this is hurting me to write.

The scones were nice and soft with good texture. We had a clotted cream portion each and it was a perfect way to round off the meal, along with another cup of tea. The tea was prompt and plentiful and there was a jug of hot water to top the pot up.

Sandwiches – they best we’ve had. The salad was good, though you know my thoughts on salad. Cakes too sweet. Scone – lovely. Tea – excellent. Surroundings and service – excellent.

So far, this is the winner.

 

Did I mention the pork pies? We brought some home. I had one for tea, with a cheese scone and soup, and had one for lunch with my sandwiches. Don’t be tempted by the pork and apple.

If you are in Yorkshire looking for an afternoon tea, I’d definitely go for Botham’s in preference to Bettys.

This, of course, brings me to another point. Bettys has dropped the apostrophe and Botham’s have kept it. I think the lesson is clear here. Old fashioned values still rule where Afternoon Tea is concerned.

Please note the picture of the stair-lift leading up to the tea room – they know their market!

Stairlift at Botham's tearoom, Whitby

Stairlift at Botham’s tearoom, Whitby

The Scone Chronicles XXII – Afternoon Tea

Sorry, I had intended managing one instalment of the Scone Chronicles a week, but we haven’t been out much this year and when we do go out it tends to be repetitive. Added to that, I don’t always take photos, I don’t want to admit to all the rubbish I eat and I’m not always very efficient.

This post has been maturing like a fine wine, for over a week. This probably tells you something about my definition of “fine wine”. That, in turn, reminds me of the wine kits they used to sell in Boots chemists thirty years ago. No, forty years ago…

How time flies.

However, I will return to the subject of scones rather than drift off on a digression relating to cheap wine.

Julia’s brother and sister-in-law have been up to visit and invited us to Afternoon Tea at the St James Hotel in Nottingham.

The review is a bit tricky because I don’t want to criticise a meal I’ve been treated to. Fortunately, after we’d left, the in-laws said it wasn’t a patch on their local tearoom and was more on a par with the local Patisserie Valerie. That’s not meant to be a slur on Patisserie Valerie, because they are a chain and a chain does things differently to somewhere claiming to be a boutique hotel. Or it should do.

It is, considering the deal they do, a very good value budget Afternoon Tea – if their website is correct, afternoon tea for two costs slightly less than afternoon tea for one at Bettys. If you don’t get the discount, it’s still a lot cheaper. However, don’t be fooled by the picture on the website, the sandwich fillings were much less generous in real life and the cake selection was not as good.

In fact, the sandwich fillings could accurately be described as meagre, the cakes and scones all seemed to be mass produced and they really should have been quicker on bringing the tea.

However, they surroundings are pleasant, and not as crowded as Bettys at Harlow Carr. The company was, as you would expect, excellent, and the neighbours were sufficiently far away as to be part of the background chatter, again, unlike Bettys.

So – comparisons.

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Scones with jam and cream

Cakes at Bettys were far better. Sandwich fillings at Bettys were better. Scones at Bettys were better (and not dusted with icing sugar – I hate it when they do that).

However, sandwiches at St James’s were fresher, surroundings were more relaxing and the cost was more affordable.

At St James we got one pot of clotted cream between two of us – it’s enough, but it’s the only place I’ve ever been that does that. Don’t know whether I’m happy not to clot my arteries or unhappy at being short-changed.

I’m not sure which was better value, as they both had their good points, and both had their less good points. Nor am I sure if either is worth repeating.

I suppose I’ll just have to keep eating until I find a better place.

 

(Sorry about the quality of the photography – low lighting).

Scone Chronicles XXI

It’s a bit late, but if we go back a while I can pull in a very nice afternoon snack and re-use some Puffin pictures.

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Puffin at Bempton – Sad-Faced Clown Contemplating a Life Devoid of Eccles Cakes

At the end of our second trip of the year to Bempton Cliffs we decided to see if there was room at the cafe. It had been quite crowded on the first visit but was slightly better this time, despite the presence of two coaches in the Car Park.

I just suggested a cup of tea, and asked a lady if we could share her table. As a result, my conscience is clear. It was Julia’s idea to buy the Eccles Cakes, and all the damage done to my weight control plan is a direct result of her dietary delinquency.

 

I like Eccles Cakes. They are available in supermarkets all over the country and they are crammed with dried fruit, sugar and fat. As they have dried fruit they must be full of fibre and vitamins too. What’s not to like?

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Puffins at Bempton – eyeing Up my Eccles Cakes

My all time favourite is the Sad Cake. My grandmothers made Sad Cakes. They are like Chorley cakes but more pastry and less fruit. The Chorley cake link includes information on Sad Cakes. I used to make them when we visited. I also used to make Rock Buns. I was quite handy in those days. I really must start baking again.

Eccles cakes are probably more palatable but sometimes it’s the association rather than the actual food that makes things a favourite.

There are many variations on the fruit, flour and fat theme. These include Welsh Cakes, Shrewsbury Cakes and Blackburn Cakes. To be honest, despite having lived in Blackburn I’d not heard of that one until this evening. It was a footnote on one of the links and is, it seems, stewed apple in a pastry case. Sounds like a pasty to me.

Anyway, the tea was good, the Eccles cakes were good, the company was good, the clifftop sea breeze was good and the Tree Sparrows and Jackdaws were fun to watch. A Jackdaw can fit a lot of bread in its beak. Five big pieces torn of the edges of sandwiches by the kids on the neighbouring table.

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Jackdaw at Bempton Cliffs

 

Scone Chronicles XIX

Sorry, I decided it didn’t matter if I missed a day posting and, six days later I’m only just getting back to blogging.

I have plenty of things to write about, but no enthusiasm for the work.

However, I will give it a go, as scones have recently reappeared in my life. On that subject, I may dispense with Roman numbering after the next one. That’s what they did with Spitfires in WW2. They got to Mk XIX and the next one was the Mk 20.

I suppose it’s all part of the dumbing down of the world. First we stop using Latin numerals, then, under pressure from Microsoft, we adopt American spelling.

We’re on the verge of electing a buffoon, and have a fine choice, with both Johnson and Farage, so we’re following America in so many ways.

I’m going to fail to post before midnight, but I’m not rushing. It’s a bit late to worry about my posting record.

On Wednesday we went to meet Julia’s brother and sister-in-law who were visiting family in Radcliffe-on-Trent, a large village just outside Nottingham (which I thought was a town, until I checked when adding the link). The Atrium is a converted bank, and is very pleasant, though the name had led me into expecting more glass and plants.

The staff were efficient, cheerful, and very patient, which was good as they had a lot of kids running about. One of the kids was my great nephew, who is just over a year old now. He’s not quite walking but he’s on the verge, and manages to get about well enough.

The scones were large, and light in texture, though a bit sweet and slightly deficient in fruit. It doesn’t make them bad scones, but it does stop me talking of them in glowing terms. I’d happily go back for scones if I was in Radcliffe-on-Trent again, but I wouldn’t necessarily drive all the way from Nottingham for them. Julia had Bakewell Tart. It was a bit lurid compared to last week’s Bakewell Pudding.

Still having difficulty posting using the ancient netbook, so I’ll call a halt there. It’s amazing really, a few years ago I thought this machine was brilliant, but after using a laptop for the last three years it’s like torture.

 

 

Scone Chronicles XVIII – Bakewell Pudding

The header picture is Julia sitting outside the Bakewell Pudding Parlour. Last time she was left to her own devices here she ended up buying macaroons. I’d forgotten all about that, and, once again, failed to supervise her in an appropriate manner. She emerged with teas, bakewell puddings and cheese pasties. She keeps feeding me despite my diet. When I say pasties, by the way, they were monstrous. They were big enough to use as hats. It seemed rude not to eat it, even though it contains a possibly lethal dose of fat and calories.

 

However, I’m not going to talk about pasties, because this is a chronicle of scones. So I’m going to talk about Bakewell Puddings. There’s only so much you can say about scones, and I’m short of ideas for places to visit at the moment. My brain seems to be working rather slowly at the moment. I swear I’ve declined in intelligence over the last few months. Much more of this and I’ll have no option but to embark on a political career.

The Bakewell Pudding, as made in Bakewell, is not the same as the shop bought Bakewell Tart, which is generally an iced cake in a pastry case.  I’ve not made a Bakewell of any type myself, though I have made frangipanes with Cape Gooseberries (physalis, inca berries, ground cherries – it has so many names).

Today’s puddings were great – flaky pastry cases full of sticky deliciousness. Julia didn’t care for them, preferring something less sticky. It’s an ill wind that blows no good, or, in other words, I ate hers too.

In truth, they will never replace scones, but they are a pleasant change and it seems silly to go all the way to Bakewell to eat scones.

 

I also bought a few books, so it was a good day.

Catching Up on Scones – Scone Chronicles XVI

Having been kept at home this morning by various jobs, we popped out to do a bit of shopping this afternoon. It was raining a bit so we went to TESCO in Bulwell because it has a car park under the shop and you can walk from car to shop under cover.

I’m in such a state these days that if I get wet I’ll probably need a going over with WD-40.

We are currently on diets as the kids are cooking and trying to make us lose weight, so we decided to sneak a scone while we were out. It was a mistake.

The cutlery was dirty, the tea was OK but the scones were dry and tasteless. We did have cheese scones to be fair, so there was a lack of jam to help things along. We were trying to avoid excessive amounts of fat and sugar. Honestly.

Definitely not moreish.

Must do better TESCO.

Below, I have put the links for the first 15 parts of this series – I had to do that as I couldn’t remember if I’d covered TESCO before. I hadn’t.

 

Tearoom Tour – Number 1 – Thoresby Park

More on Scones

The Scone Chronicles – Number 3

The Scone Chronicles – Number 4

The Scone Chronicles – Number 5

The Scone Chronicles – the 6th visit (the one with No Scones)

The Scone Chronicles – Number 7 – Done as a Haibun

Not Quite Scones – but I’m calling it Number 8 in the series

The Scone Chronicles – Number Nine

The Scone Chronicles – Number Ten – Bettys II

The Scone Chronicles XI

Scone Chronicles XII

The Scone Chronicles XIII

Scone Chronicles XIV

The Scone Chronicles – XV

 

Mustn’t Grumble…

I really am being spoiled this weekend, with another yet another relaxing day.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing – it never is though, is it?

My arthritis flared up a few days ago. I now have it in three fingers, two on the right hand and one on the left. After a couple of days aching it was so bad yesterday that I could barely use my hands. Typing was OK and I could handle a knife and fork (carefully) but writing, for instance, was nearly impossible and the aches were spreading up my arms. Finally I gave in took paracetemol, and when that did nothing, tried ibruprofen. I’m not supposed to have that but I’m not sure why.

It didn’t seem to cause any problems, but then it didn’t do much to kill the pain either. This morning the pain was still bad and dressing was difficult. Then, as the morning advanced, the pain disappeared. It’s now disappeared entirely, leaving just a couple of stiff knuckles.

I’ve been racking my brains for any clue as to what could have set it off. I’ve done nothing strenuous with my hands, not changed my diet and haven’t a clue what could have set it off.

Anyway, not to grumble.

I’m going to have to do some research on this because if it comes back I’ve decided to go to the doctor. It was that bad…

The only thing I’ve had that I don’t generally have kefir, and that’s supposed to be good for you. It’s even good for arthritis according to this article. I’m mystified.

To be honest, I spend most of my life mystified so that’s no surprise.