Category Archives: Food

More on Scones

This is Number Two in the series about Scone Consumption.

Julia’s brother and sister-in-law were up visiting their grandson. That’s my great-nephew. Obviously it’s a bit too soon to make a judgement but he’s shaping up nicely – decent chunky build and a tendency to eat anything left in range. I’m sixty years older than he is but we clearly share the same attitude to food.

I limited myself to a scone and jam, as we met in John Lewis. It’s convenient, but

there is a tendency to need a mortgage if you get too adventurous with the menu. Plus I really don’t need the fat or the calories.

I used to shop there regularly but they aren’t really my sort of shop these days. Too old-fashioned, too drab, wrong size profile and, let’s face it, too expensive. I once asked a question about the lack of large sizes via one of their employees and the General Manager’s (uncensored) reply  was that they didn’t cater for freaks.

What with that and the store detective following me round one day and muttering “watch this one” to a member of the management team, I decided not to bother shopping there again. I’ve not missed it.

However, back to scones and jam. The scones were OK, though nothing special. The jam was OK too, made in Tiptree in Essex – well known for its jam, though still mass produced. Ditto for the coffee. I had an Americano, which is what used to be called “a coffee” in the days before coffee became pretentious. I checked it up on Wiki and they, being Wiki, have quite a bit on the subject. I’d have been happy with a nice instant coffee.

I’ve provided a link to Tiptree as I like Tiptree. I haven’t provided links to John Lewis or Americano as I don’t want to encourage them.

That’s about it – not much about scones but some days are like that.

Scones and Jam - John Lewis

Scones and Jam – John Lewis

Tearoom Tour – Number 1 – Thoresby Park

I’ve been meaning to start a Tearoom Tour of Britain, with a target of 100 in the year. Julia has indicated disbelief in my ability to do this (citing logistical difficulties rather than my lack of capacity for cream teas).

Rather than put a number to it, I’m going to start and see where we end up.

Today we went to Thoresby in Sherwood Forest. It’s not the best of the grand houses in the forest but it’s free and the service is a lot better in the cafe than the off-hand, rude, inefficient and useless service encountered at Clumber. Clumber is a better attraction in general, though expensive if you aren’t a member of the National Trust. But the cafe at Thoresby is a lot better. You may have formed that idea after reading my comments on the disgracefully bad, lamentable, terrible, rotten service at the Clumber cafe.

That’s why we won’t be rejoining the National Trust this year. We aren’t saying we won’t rejoin in the future, but for the next year or two their surly waiting staff will have cost them money.

Anyway, back to Thoresby. We didn’t have much time so we had a quick snack – I had the cream tea, Julia had the toasted teacake and we both had plenty of tea. Very palatable, served efficiently by pleasant staff and in nice bright surroundings, There was no time to look round the courtyard, which is partially closed for the winter, but we have done before, and it is worth a visit.

The downside – the scones seem a bit regular and industrial, rather than home made, but they were still good.

I’m happy to recommend Thoresby to anyone. £8.90, in case you are interested.

To be fair, I’m happy to recommend Clumber to anyone who wants grudging, slow, inefficient service in a dingy room, but it’s a niche market. It’s also slightly more expensive, as I recall, but you do get a free snarl and a long wait thrown in as extras.

 

 

Some New Challenges

Whilst shopping this afternoon I had a flick through the cookery magazines.

That’s two challenges in one. The first is to stop buying magazines. They are expensive and never as useful as you think they are going to be. I’ll only be buying magazines this year if they have enough free seeds with them to justify the price.

To reinforce the message I’m going to remind myself that it takes me half an hour to earn the money to buy an average magazine.

Second challenge is to find some new recipes.

It’s easy to get bogged down with the same old things. Traybake, pasta bake, vegetable curry, fish pie, cottage pie, stew, hash…

I could do with some new ideas.

Fortunately, I don’t need to get ideas from magazines as there are loads of new ideas on the internet. I will have to see what I can find. I also have a big stack of cookery books. They have all come from charity shops and the food looks lovely.

Time too, I think, to get the slow cooker out again.

Fish and Chips

I haven’t had much luck writing today – just the same dull drivel as I normally churn out on a Sunday. Washing, shopping, sleeping…

Even I felt bored. So, continuing from the last set of photos, I decided that fish and chips was what we needed, particularly as I lost out earlier in the week.

If you want more information on fish and chips the link has plenty of it. You can tell it’s a big part of British life from the number of times I have pictures of fish and chips.

They are a good subject – appetising, well lit and not prone to move suddenly or fly away.

 

Harvester – Review

Here it is, my first food review of the year. The target is to visit 100 tearooms in 365 days, but I’ve decided to review all the places I eat out to ensure we hit target. I’m hoping that it will also prevent me eating out too much, but I fear this may be a doomed hope.

We had to take Number One Son to the airport and Julia suggested eating on the way. Harvester in Wilford was conveniently placed so we tried there. It’s usually passable and often quite good. It provides free salad, fresh bread rolls and last time we went they had a special lunchtime offer.

Well, the offer is over, the bread roll baskets were empty and the salad looked like it had passed peak freshness several days previously.

Very disappointing.

The worst bit was when I ordered cod and chips.

“We don’t have any batter, but we can do you plain grilled cod.”said the server.

Because, of course, beautifully battered, golden, gleaming cod is very much the same as dull, dry, boring, grilled fish. (Please note that I’m being sarcastic here.) Frankly, I’d rather have a slice of grilled carpet.

Hake and Chips in Cromer

These are the fish and chips from Fish and Chips at Cromer. Just reminding you, and any passing Harvester employees, what they should be serving. Unsurprisingly, I have no pictures of plain grilled fish. There will be plenty of time for grilled fish when I’m in a care home and can’t find my teeth.

Did you know you can have your false teeth made with your name on so that you don’t lose them in homes or hospitals? One of our customers told me this as he makes them. You machine a recess in the plate, put in the name tag and then finish off with clear acrylic. Cunning, or what?

So I had a burger. No 1 Son (as I think of him in our less formal moments) had a chicken burger. Julia had gammon with egg. She was offered pineapple too but turned it down. I may have some reservations about aspects of the meal, but they can be quite generous at times. Even if they don’t have fresh salad, warm rolls or batter.

I was mildly sarcastic about the chef not being able to mix flour and water, but it seems the batter comes in bags of batter mix.

Without being too detailed or sarcastic, it wasn’t Harvester’s finest moment. They did replace the salad and refill the rolls before we left, but the moment had passed by then.

The food was good, even if the lack of salad, bread and batter was disappointing. Wasn’t keen on paying full price either, though it isn’t actually expensive by modern standards.

 

 

A Good Night Out

Well, despite my misgivings, it turned out to be a good night, although I was a bit late due to trouble parking. Maybe I’m more sociable than I think.

We went to Curry 2 Night in West Bridgford and I’d recommend it highly. Good service, good food and not many people there. I don’t like crowds. It’s really a take-away that has fitted itself out as a restaurant so the lack of customers isn’t significant. They had quite a few callers for takeaway so they kept busy.

I had the Aloo Mutter Paneer. I’m not sure it was as hot as the chillis in this recipe suggest. I’m a bit of a wimp these days and select milder options than I used to do.

I drank it with fizzy water.

I really can be quite boring at times.

 

 

 

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More Scones, More Chips

Really, the things I do for research.

First, I had scones at Minsmere Nature Reserve. They were big, reasonably priced and fruity. They were also much better than the ones we had on Wednesday, though that was not difficult.

The ones we had on Wednesday, during a visit to a craft centre, were “short” according to Julia. This is baker-talk for crumbly.

Actually they turned to dust as if they’d been tightly-wrapped in bandages 3,000 years ago and left in the pocket of an ancient pharaoh until recently rediscovered. They also tasted of baking powder, which is generally considered a bad thing.

The ones at Minsmere were far better. They wouldn’t be worth a special journey, but they are a safe choice if you find yourself on the Suffolk coast with an odd corner to fill.

While I was eating the scones I looked at some of the signs. They are really taking things seriously – possibly too seriously. I may come back to this subject later.

Later in the day we went back to Aldeburgh for fish and chips. We were there before five o’clock. There were two chip shops open this time and they already had small queues starting. I don’t think the people of Aldeburgh exist on fish and chips, by the way. Second homes make up about a third of the yown’s residential property and I suspect many of them are used by people who don’t cook.

They come in a specially made bag with greaseproof paper lining – very technical.

The chips were good – well-cooked and tasty. The fish was also good, with nice big fresh flakes. Again, we passed on the peas as they are tricky to eat in the car.

Were they worth the effort? Well, they were very good. They were probably as good as the ones from Saxmundham the night before. But they probably weren’t good enough to justify two trips to Aldeburgh.