Category Archives: Food

Whining Wednesday – Again

I had a letter from the hospital last week. In all the excitement I forgot to tell you. I now have two sorts of arthritis and two joints I’d never heard of before.

I have osteoarthritis, which I already knew without the help of a highly trained medical professional. I also have psoriatic arthritis. This adds a few symptoms (it is apparently the one that makes my fingers swell up) and is a pain to spell. This, as I think I’ve already mentioned, is particularly annoying as, due to a previous poor diagnosis, I’ve only just mastered the spelling of eczema.

There are a number of things I can do to help myself – according to the internet if I lose weight, cut down on fatty foods and sugar and eat more fish and fresh veg this will do me good.

At the moment I’m trying to think of anything that isn’t improved by following this advice. Unless you are allergic to fish and fresh veg this is general purpose dietary advice. It’s as useful as saying that if you want to live a long time you should breathe in, breathe out and remember to wake up every morning.

Incidentally, there’s a link on the internet telling you about the five foods to avoid if you have arthritis. Unfortunately it’s a film and they tell you what the foods are without showing you. This is no use to a  a man with no sound on his computer.

To add to my misery my computer has just started in that mode where it overwrites good stuff if you go back to edit. I forget what it’s called, and even worse, I don’t know how to switch it off.

We went for breakfast this morning. Julia paid. As I’m giving up my day off to act as her taxi driver while she supervises the fitting of a new sheet on the polytunnel, I think this is fair. It hasn’t improved my temper or my views on organisations that can’t organise relief staff, but at least I’m not hungry. After leaving the all I could eat breakfast before I filled myself to the earlobes I am in a good place – comfortably full with a warm glow that comes from having had value for money.

However, this doesn’t mean I’ve forgiven her.

It does mean that I had a good laugh with my food. A family arrived just as I was putting my crumpets through the toaster a second time. They immediately started getting in the way, though I was intrigued to find that the father, who had a lisp, called his son “son” at every opportunity. It’s good to see a man who faces up to a challenge and doesn’t let a speech impediment restrict his behaviour. On the other hand, I did wonder if they could have chosen a better name – it seems the kid is called Zachary.

And that’s not all. They made a big thing about being vegetarian, even down to asking if the vegan sausages were OK for vegetarians. I know vegans have to check if vegetarian food is OK for them but I’ve never heard an enquiry the other way. I started to harbour suspicions about the vegetarian credentials, and intelligence, of this family.

Then we got onto nuts. Was the breakfast suitable to sufferers of nut allergies. The answer was that the breakfast cereals may have had contact with nuts in the factory.

“Oh, that’s alright, a trace doesn’t matter.”

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t an allergy, an actual allergy rather than a fashion accessory allergy, life threatening and triggered by even a trace of the substance in question? I knew a bloke who was allergic to fish. He kissed his girlfriend after she had eaten fish several hours previously and ended up in hospital. That’s an allergy.

When you interrogate the serving staff about allergens and then say a trace doesn’t matter you are actually proving you don’t have an allergy, just a love of hearing your own voice. (As an aside here, I always try never to irritate anyone who will be alone with my food. I think this is a good policy.)

I’ll finish this subject here, as the next 200 words don’t really add much, apart from a heap of abuse about a woman seeking attention.

I’ll finish the post with my new joints. They were listed as SI joints, I’ve heard of SI Units and CV joints, but never SI joints. Turns out they are sacroiliac joints. I don’t really see the point of them, apart from holding my hips and back in place, which I’m sure could be done without extra joints, but, having read about them, I am now quite concerned. Fortunately, mine seem in good shape at the moment.

That’s the trouble with doctors, the more you see them , the more things get looked at until, eventually, you end up with a new problem. Since finding out I had sacroiliac joints I have had them in my thoughts every day.

Gold Medallion - Richard the Lionheart

Gold Medallion – Richard the Lionheart

 

The gold medallions are part of a series from the Cook Islands. They are 11mm in diameter and weigh half a gram.

When these Kings lived they didn’t know that the Cook Islands existed, but that doesn’t stop the Cook Islands and their relentless drive to make money from the international trade in over-priced numismatic items.

I’m sure these coins are all sold out, but have a look if you want to see the depths to which the coin trade has sunk. We had some, but I’m glad to say we sold them before I started work in the shop.

A New Direction

We watched a few episodes of Diagnosis Murder this morning and ate a substantial brunch. I’m beginning to get used to this relaxation, though I’m definitely going to have to curb my portion size.

I am going to be on bean salad tomorrow, and can only guess at the horrors that will open up as I start eating “sensibly”. That, in my experience, means eating things you don’t like because they are good for you. It’s good, because you eat less of it if you don’t like it. However, would you rather live to be 70 on a diet of chips, pies and chocolate, or would you prefer to live to 80 on bean salad and virtue?

Seventy is a bit close now, so I’m thinking of interlacing a certain amount of salad with the pie and chips.

Tonight it’s home made beef pie. Tomorrow it’s seafood spaghetti and the day after it’s fishcakes with rice and vegetables. Wednesday is sweet potato and chickpea curry.

I’m starting overnight oats for breakfast again and salads for lunch.

I’ll give it a week. I can mange the healthy evening meal, with the odd takeaway, and the overnight oats. But a week of lunchtime salads will be plenty. Man is not meant to function without cheese and pickle sandwiches and pork pies. But he’s not meant to function in shirts that strain at the front with the curve of a galleon in full sail.

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Overnight Oats with Fruit

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.