Saturday 27 February 2010

Lunch at the Star at Harome

I love to go to the Star at Harome as it always lends itself to any occasion so when the girls rang up to say they were going I didn't have to be asked twice.The four of us meet up for a girlie lunch -One time we went it was for the wake of our ferret as we had run out of birthday and anniversaries for that year - and we were soon delving into the menu . The choice is the worst thing about going to the Star. Andrew Pern always comes up trumps.Each of us had something different and it was a bit try some of mine and do try this -it is wonderful.I had taken the camera with every intention of taking somefood on plate shots to make you all down tools and rush over for your supper but I forgot until nearly the end of the meal,that was the only disappointment of that day.It was very busy for a winters day lunchtime which was nice to see and also adds atmosphere when there are other people about. the staff are very good at their jobs and all credit to the one who keeps the home fires burning -All adding to the enjoyment of the time we spent at the Star. Again a huge thank you to the Pern team for a lovely few hours.We could always say it was to celebrate my silver award in the marmalade festival but really there is never any need to make an excuse to eat first class food in a first class place.

Thursday 25 February 2010

A silver in the The World's Original Marmalade Festival.

Had I been younger I may have thought to take up skiing and go to the Winter Olympics which have been fun to watch but as I am getting old I entered a different competition and got a Silver Merit with my marmalade in the Bed and Breakfast and Hotel Section. I think there was over 800 entries and I scored 19/20 so I am very pleased.The Worlds Marmalade Festival is held annually at Dalemain Historic House in aid of the Hospice at Home Carlisle and Lakeland. It was held on 14th February which would have been Fred, my uncles, 93rd birthday and I know what he would have said " I told you it wasn't as good as it could be,you will have been rushing it, you had better try harder next year. He had high standards,never giving praise unless it was truly worthy of it,I am proud he had as he may not be here now but he is certainly not forgotten and know he will be keeping his eye on us.

Sunday 21 February 2010

Vogue -the posh magazine

I was thrilled the other morning to open the post and find a Vogue glossy. It had been sent to me by a kind lady guest who thought I might enjoy.As I flickered through the pages remembering what life was like when I was young -hundreds of years ago . I came across a familiar face. It was George Craig now a face for Burberry. There he was posing with the young lady of Harry Potter fame,Emma Watson. It doesn't seem two minutes ago that George when he was about 7 used to come to our house with his mum Louise and eat Yorkshire puddings as if he was doing it for England. He is now in a band called -now I must get this right -One Night Only -I keep saying One night stand - who have even had a no 1 hit. I am so pleased for Louise that he is doing well. It isn't often I see her these days but occasionally pop into her shop in Helmsley -Genevieve which sell the most amazing clothes to catch up with the news .She told me ages ago George had been asked to go to Burberry for a photo shoot.So this is what it was all about.

Saturday 20 February 2010

A trip to Northumberland

Usually when we got to Northumberland it is to buy sheep but today my friend Caroline and I had a day out. We were to Country Baskets on the Team Valley Estate before it opened as we had set off early to get in a full day out and sat in the sunshine waiting for it to open.It was easy to find and it is nice to know Country Baskets only opened in the New Year up north as it is the Leeds one we have to go to buy their goodies. Both of us came out with a box full of interesting bits and pieces.We got had a choice of complimentary hot drinks which was nice and then set off to the viewing day that was at Woodhill Hall just outside Otterburn. Coreen had kindly invited us along and there were some lovely rooms which she has taken a lot of trouble to decorate and put her stamp on them/ We stopped for lunch on the way at Otterburn Towers which was a huge disaster.To make up for it we stopped off at a tea room in Corbridge on the way home which even offered gluten free cake so Caroline had a treat after all.

Friday 19 February 2010

Helmsley and another fishy story...

Fridays is market day in Helmsley and its a trip to the bank, the post office and a quick look round the stalls before going to the deli in Perns and to their butchers counter to pick up some meat. This is when I spied a sign showing a new shop is about to open. Another brainwave from the Perns of the Star at Harome and this time it is a fish mongers.We are lucky there has been a market stall on Fridays selling fish for over 50 years. When I was a child I remember been lifted off the floor to see fish in large metal troughs covered in ice. Red faced fishermen would throw it on scales with little weights and wrap it in greaseproof paper and my Grandad would pay with it in shillings and pence and put it in a separate lino bag so not to get the smell on his bank papers. 20 and 30 years ago it was always where I would meet up with Mr Bobby Pearson, the local solicitor and a great friend of the family. Bobby as a small boy used to run round the village and sell kippers,goodness knows why . He taught me a great deal about fish and to this day I relate the now fish lady with the plastic trays and electronic scales to Bobby Pearson doffing his cap and exchanging pleasantries at the market stall . I am sure there is room for both the lady on Fridays and the new shop for the rest of the week. It would be a shame if the tradition went.

Sunday 14 February 2010

St Valentines Day....

and what did you get your beloved today. I had the brain wave to give Jack three crowns of rhubarb and a horseradish plant. Hopefully they will grow and we will have them for years to come.
I heard with sadness that Dick Francis had died today .I have always loved his books after Catherine Bolitho introduced me to them 20 years ago when she bought one for me to read when in hospital.They were a compelling read and I guess I am not the only one who once they started reading one found it hard work to put down.
I am hoping to hear the results tonight of the Marmalade Festive which is held every year at Dalemain House in Cumbria.This was a marvellous idea to raise money for the hospice and entries are now world wide. It is thanks to Mary Pearson of Lovesome Hill Farm that my entry got there. Mary went up last Wednesday just as the snow was going to come to make sure it got there in time. Last year I spent ages making some and had put it in a box on the table as we were heading up to Scotland .It was only when we stopped to deliver it that I discovered Jack had left the box with it on the table.... as it was said of Queen Victoria "one was not amused".

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Jamie Olivers Fifteen in Cornwall for lunch and the Scarlet Hotel

For once I was organised and had arranged for my friend Sue to meet me at Newquay airport in her very swish BMW Z4 sports car as I wanted to go to have a look at the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall as they have lots of eco friendly stuff going on there. Even though they do not open until the weekend they kindly showed us round. I had left Yorkshire in the snow and here I was thanks to Southwest Airlines enjoying a lovely sunny day in Cornwall. It is a great service and believe it or not works out cheaper than driving down. After asking on the Trip Advisor forum a suggestion of somewhere to eat both quite close to the airport and the Scarlet Hotel some kind soul told us to go to Fifteen -Jamie Oliver's restaurant .We duly arrived at midday,where we were seated at a table which had a wonderful view of the ocean. It is times like this in the sunshine watching the surfers that makes one wonder why we always hanker to go abroad. I suppose it is the weather as everything we could have wished for was there. The food was very good and the decor with hues of girlie pink I wonder if Jools and Jamie's daughters had an input in that. It was such a lovely day I just wish Jack had come down with me but he didn't miss out on the food as the helpings were so generous I brought him home so of the Fifteen Cornwall signature antipasto plate which includes as they stated the biggest olives and half of my veal main course.The olives were gi-nomous and they best I have ever tasted so I have saved some of the stones to see if I can grow them. The waitress explained everything that was on the plate which was a feat in itself and all was truly delicious.The menu was called a taste of Tuscany which runs for a month then the totally Cornish menu is back. All in all it was a very nice day out and thanks to everyone for their part in it

Thursday 4 February 2010

Our 2nd wedding anniversary....

Here a photo in case you didnt see any on our wedding day.It was planned that we were going to Middlethorpe Hall for lunch as it is our wedding anniversary today.A good excuse for a lunch out They do really good deals at lunchtimes and the food is superb. Unfortunately we both have colds and after a few exhausting days and nights with pups we decided against going. It was quite foggy here today and Jack had the day clearing up some tree brash that was in the back garden in between feeding pups. It is good to have him at home now the shooting season is finished. A far different setting than on our wedding day but nearly as warm as the West Indies thanks to the Aga.

Monday 1 February 2010

Party at the Fauconberg in Coxwold.........

Tonight was the last night of the shooting season party at the Fauconberg in Coxwold. the back bar was full of pickers up and beaters and familiarly faces that play a part in the Newburgh Priory Shoot. Mark and Rob not only threw a Christmas party here, but there was another tonight and I went along to pick Jack up. As soon as I got there,Rob Easton the head gamekeeper came up to me and it was "Help yourself to some food Anna" -The food for those who have never sampled it I must tell you is some of the tastiest around. The beef was delicious, slices for men not for mice sandwiches -how I hate sandwiches with thin fillings , and sausages with bacon wrapped round them were excellent -not just piddling little bite sized ones but whole sausages with bacon curled all the way down. There was a host of food-all very fresh and obviously locally produced and top quality -the portions are always very generous at the Fauconberg. To the side was a stack of sweet goodies and a nice touch of some plainer biscuits.After one piece of millionaires shortbread which was very much home made and exceding rich just how I like it- I had to move away as I knew I would have continued to have just one more piece and ...
I was surprised to see how full the front lounge bar was for a Monday night and there was quite a few tables eating in the dining room -which I am told has been recently decorated so I popped my head round the door to have a look in.It is well supported by local faces which is always a good sign, Someone we hadnt seen for a while and who was a face from tv fame,Jack tried to sell a Labrador to. That farmer still hasnt found himself a wife -Tut tut! I had to take this photo of the dog asleep in the chair as I though he just added to the atmosphere . What a lovely country life feel this pub has. The publican and his family have worked very hard to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. This should be on your 2010 list of places to visit. I have heard wonderful reports of the Burns night supper which was more of a feast with 6 courses than a supper. So not to miss out our names will be down in good time for next year Burns night celebrations. I think there is quite a bit of interesting stuff going on in the coming months at the Fauconberg I will try to keep you informed before it happens or else give them a ring on 01347 868214. Whoever answews to phone I can honestly say they are always very friendly and helpful and will accommodate hungry mouths if they have a table free.