Tuesday 31 December 2013

Mulberry Hall

A trip to York would not be complete without a look through the windows at Mulberry Hall.Sometimes I venture in for a present for a christening,wedding,birthday or a horse statue for Jack for his Christmas present. I have my eye on some heart shaped spoons at the moment for the grandchildren instead of Easter eggs. As they wont be old enough to read this it will not spoil the surprise. It is such a gracious and elegant shop. The staff are lovely. Even if you only buy one glass they don't mind. We got Liz Stevenson's 21st birthday crystal here ,Angie -a Baccarat globet for her 40th, Flossie used to collect a piece of Royal Copenhagen every year. They have a very good sale too- all my Spode dinner service came from here at sale time.They often display their finer pieces in the window - a show case in other words. So next time instead of walking by go through the door and wander around.They save the grandest until last,at the back of the shop the crystal room with a flowing fountain -you will be tranfixed.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly....

As I went window shopping in York before Christmas I nipped through a snickleway passing Barley Hall on to Stonegate .There I say children dressed up sat at long tables eating their lunch It was so atmospheric that I stopped to take a photo of them through the window. They must have thought I was mad. In those days as in my childhood too and more recently when Nicholas was a child 30 years ago Christmas was a proper Christmas. We had turkey once a year and in my Dad's day it was goose as they were reared on the farm and so they could afford to eat one. We had a present from Santa Claus who my parents sent money to help him pay for it.Today children get one from the parents and One from Santa .nest thing we will hear is that the reindeers will bring one too .PJs or slippers from grandparents. Orange,tangerine and nuts in a stocking. Children are so spoilt now a days. Every day is Christmas and we are lucky to have the choice to eat treats all the time. I mean look what the shops have to tempt us now. The White Company did look lovely and I spied another one full of robins.

Monday 30 December 2013

Handcream for Claire

Daughter-in-law Claire had posted a face book message as she had sore hands. I remember years ago getting some very good hand cream at Crabtree and Evelyns' at the bottom of Stonegate in York . It was called Gardeners Hand care and I remembered it been very good .I often say this but how time flies it must have been over 20 years ago. I thought I had maybe saved a bit -the last squeeze in the tube for if I ever needed some. Anyway I decided to take a look inside. Spoilt for choice was an understatement. So I hummed and haaed and haaed and hummed and came out without any. Jack swears by udder cream we get in big tubes from Laycock's in Malton. Yorkshire thrify came into force.Maybe it doesn't have the packaging but it does the job I came out without any.

Susan Caroll Frank's Birthday

it is 41 years since I met Susan Frank when we started Scarborough Technical College. The other day it was her birthday.So she was having the day off from her beauty salon in bar Street in Scarborough.A good excuse to go to see her with her mum who I call Mary Poppins because she is . And Liz Stevenson her daughter -the bonny blonde one. There isn't a photo of Susan as she like me likes her food and she wouldn't be my friend any more if I posted the photo I took of her.We ate at Lucia's just down from the Minster in York. Maybe I am spoilt now after been to the recently open Star in the City but hey ho we lunched outside under heater lamps in December and had a pleasant time .So in England in |Dec that can't be bad. As all good shoppers we did the shops before and afterwards. Mary Poppins always looks smart and is 81 in February -now that is some goer. A couple of years ago after Liz and Gary's wedding in the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas she went up in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon. She is such an amazing lady-a very wise old bird.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Christmas with Shepherd's Purse

On Tuesday Judy and Caroline Bell hosted a Christmas event. I took Katie,our helper from America along to sample the cheese.It led to her sampling Nick Stafford's beer from the Hambleton Ale Brewery and she topped it off with Mason's Gin. As I had been at a North York Moors meeting in the afternoon I could not do the cheese justice and I am not a beer person but thank the Masons for the tonic water that went down a treat. Nick Stafford wore the most amazing Christmas hat. It left him with a constant supply of drink.

Monday 16 December 2013

Full Steam Ahead

On Monday I was invited to a Christmas event at the National Railway Museum In York. Drinks and very nice nibbles.A lovely start to Christmas celebrations and meeting new faces. The "new boy on the block " Alan Cass took up the post of sales and events manager the week before. He has already started sorting out the corn from the chaff. NRM is a member of the Science Museum Group. Alan is very switched on and easy to talk to. Anyone wanting to have a large party/event can contact Alan by his email -alan.cass@nrm.org.uk. A memorable evening I attended was a dinner when the guest speaker was James Martin. The food was delightful along with the staff who were friendly and professional.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Handel's Messiah..

The Messiah saw Ampleforth Abbey packed to the rafters. Locals,non locals and parents of preforming children all packed in on a cold winter's night. I went in my fur coat but Benediction hospitality made sure the abbey was warm.The air was heavy with incence. I did see a number of people carrying cushions though. Katie Dodge has been staying helping us from Boston ,America and I were invited along by kind school parents, Gerry Agar Fennell and David Fennell. I had always heard of the Messiah but never been so hear was our chance. It was performed by The Schola Cantorum and Schola PuellaruM of Ampleforth Abbey. Schola Sancti Martini.The Orchestra was led by Dara de Cogan and the conductor was Ian Little. A welcomed interval was operated with military precision took us into the grand hall.Here was served mince pies and drinks,

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Out to lunch

After we picked the apple trees up my Dad and I went to lunch at the White Swan in Pickering.The owners had kindly offered us a free main course lunch for 2 if I have their menus on show to my guests. I recommend that if guests are going on the North Yorkshire Moors railway and get off feeling hungry that the White Swan is only a couple of hundred yards away. We were welcomed by Catherine Feather who I have know for many years. Her husbands family ran the Feathers in Helmsley for donkey's years and her brother Simon used to ride jack's point to point horses when jack got too old or should I say wise to ride in races any more. Lunch was delicious. My Dad had a huge great plate of fish and chips and mushy peas which he polished off. I had their special ploughman's platter which was so big I took some home for my mum for her tea. The bread was gorgeous too. I looked at the price and thought for what they charged it was very good value. An ideal place halfway between our house and my friends to meet up again for lunch. Certainly didn't need to eat for the rest of the day. So saves on the washing up too. The son of the owners started off the Ginger Pig Meat Co and they have cookery books on sale too as well as having the produce on the menu

Appley Dappley which to choose...

Can't believe it is a year since we were at Rogers Roses at Pickering to choose my Dad's apple trees. For some reason we didn't get them last year so when I got a phone call out of the blue to say My Dad had ordered 4 apple trees 2 pear trees and a cherry I was a bit flummoxed. They were ordered last year they said. When you are 91 I was surprised he had ordered then a year in front. Fortunately I was able to say we would go to pick them up.It had to be organised around the days my dad would be shooting . To miss a day's shooting was something that does not occur.Plant for future generation I think should be our family's motto. The apples were still on display and so my Dad did a good inspection of what fruits these trees grow. It has been a wonderful year for fruit and I use for breakfast as they have pink flesh. Discovery apples have finally ripened – in early September – about a month late according to many people’s idea of when it should be ready to eat. Not only are they delicious but also the skin colouring in many of them is intense, the flesh also more intensively coloured than normally seen.

Friday 6 December 2013

The Very Best of Candles

My dear friend,Louise, is such a talented yummy mummy. Not only does she make delicious cakes,biscuits and anything else that can be eaten on a fork or off a spoon. Louise has now started to make the most amazing candles. She warms up the beeswax and rolls them herself. Sounds a bit like a cigar maker. The smell that comes from a burning beeswax candle it just as if you had put your nose into a honey pot. She is selling them alongside the antiques in her shop at No 1 Bondgate in Helmsley. Singular,in pairs or bundles. Natural,ivory,reds and greens. With bees,ribbons and bows -all ready to hand over as a gift or keep as a present to your home from yourself Louise's number is 01439 771864 and candles can made to your requirements Lo

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Dinner at the Tontine

Sorry folks I cant bring myself to call it the Cleveland Tontine to me it will be the Tontine and equally McCoy's Tontine. Many a wild night was spent here as locals rubbed shoulders with rockstars.The only reminder of those days is a picture of Munro in the drawing room as it would have been now more of a snug sitting area. Tales like the local farmer who escorted one famous Brigitte around the North Yorkshire countryside until daybreak I feel are now part of a history sadly never to be repeated. The legendary Eugene McCoy and the Tontine seem to go hand in hand. We have to be brave and face winter 2013 .A bestie friend Louise and I set out to see how the food fared on Monday evening. The dining room lit with candles,crisp white table clothes and odd plates a little of the past remains. We settled for the 3 course tea time menu even though it was after 8pm. I had never had eel before and razor clam so that was my choice of starter. Interesting starter with treacle? brioche perhaps with a little taster of a deep fried oyster with advocado puree. I went for fish again -beautifully executed sausage of lemon sole.Louise had lamb pie. Pudding was heavenly mascarpone ice cream, hot chocolate soufflé and yet another sausage this time of fresh fruit.Kindly sent over by another diner for us -champagne. We toasted to the old days,the magic and memories that Eugeene McCoy create and to the new Cleveland Tontine for the delicious food we had eaten. Unfortunately with the light been low the photos are quite blurred

Welcome to Yorkshire event at the Cleveland Tontine

Did you remember when eating your first mince pie of the season to make a wish. So that is why I had to have another. My excuse as I had forgotten to make my wish.These were indeed the most delicious mince pies created. Gary Verity,David Shields and Rosie Fyfie were all in attendance from Welcome to Yorkshire.A good gathering of folk -some more famous than others but indeed a good crowd to support the Cleveland Tontine and their new look.It was organised by the lovely Heidi Hatfield who is now freelance. Rhiannon Piasecki is now the house manager.A delightful vibrant approachable soul. If you could team a building and business with a person the new owners have already got it right. The Tontine was always a place I held in my heart. Sad the days of the McCoys are finally over.I always thought I would bump into the likes of Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull dining here,maybe Picasso in any earlier light. Times move on and with it comes changes. But the changes are good and the things that remains truly "The Tontine" before Cleveland was added and the new twists appeared. I had pleasure of meeting the famous William Tillyer and his wife. My connect to William would come not through him being a famous artist but to his daughter Kim.I met Kim through the North York Moors National Park workshops organised by Susan Briggs and Catriona McLees. Her father must have passed a lot of his genes down the line as I think Kim is so talented.William has sold his work to David Bowie. No mention of Mick Jagger but the same era. You can see his work at MIMA from 25th October to 9th Feb 2014. MIMA stands for Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art. Friendly staff gave us a tour of the hotel. I already have my eye on some of the wallpapers they have used.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Taste of Herriot Awards

Thirsk Racecourse was the venue for the awards ceremony for the Tastes of Herriot. Jessica Barker had worked very hard for the second year running to pull the day together.The first photo of Gary Verity from Welcome to Yorkshire It was a great success. I was sat on Jessica's table next to Kyle from the newly opened Park Restaurant. It was well attended and lots of local faces. Nikki and Robin Jaques formerly of the Fauconberg Arms won an award as did the Carlton Inn with Jason Sargent and his wife. I used to do Jason's granny's hair. A local boy made good and used to work under Nikki and Robin when he was a young lad. Delighted for both parties .Nikki is still beaming.Hope she has made time to get back into her kitchen and make her delicious Sawley Kitchen biscuits. As any good event it was all too quickly over. Well done Jessica another feather in your hat.Here you see her with her biggest fan next to her -Phillip -her husband one of the best

Thursday 28 November 2013

A bumpy road....

no more. Our drive had got some larger than large potholes in it thanks to the flood of rain we had it just washed the road away. We had a local firm who came in took off the old tarmac and replaced it with concrete as far as the gate. From there upwards it has been mended with tarmac. So now we are the owners of a posh new smooth driveway in.So we have the before and after photos -a drive facelift.

To cook or not to cook...

But when you have a recipe book like this you will find it very hard not too. I was lucky that my recipe was chosen along with the good and greats of the food world industry.Page 27 if you wanted to know and still page 27 of you aren't interested. Rosemary Shrager,Simmon Crannage,Stephanie Moon,Annie Stirk and Tim Bilton to name but a few. This recipe book has been created by Angela Hobden -first photo -and her band of supporters at Selby College to raise money for Yorkshire Cancer Research in memory of a young man,Scott Robinson, who died of testicular cancer aged only 18 years old. A student of Selby College and promising young chef. The book launched on 12th November Everyone is very pleased with the variety of the delicious recipes in the book, the beautiful Yorkshire images and dialect and the whole reason behind the book. The initial target was to raise £10,000 for Yorkshire Cancer Research,now aiming for £15,000 which if we can reach it, will be amazing. If anyone would like to order any books or are interested in selling them in their restaurant or business pleased could you let Angela know as soon as possible as they have an opportunity to deliver some throughout Yorkshire on Monday 2nd December through Tina Boden who has kindly offered to drive around the county for us. It can't guarantee we can reach everyone but once we know if anyone is interested we can make some plans. Additionally we are trying to gauge if we need to go for a reprint as stocks are rapidly depleting. (we had 3000 printed originally) Therefore if you would like any books please could you let Angela know asap how many and where they would need to be delivered to, so we can make the appropriate decisions. Alternatively if you would like to order a single copy this can be done via our website www.thesweetestthoughts.com which we have now set up for paypal payments. After Christmas they are planning more promotion through media articles and are looking at promoting the book and testicular cancer awareness through some professional Yorkshire sporting clubs. This will keep the momentum going and continue to support Yorkshire Cancer Research. Angie and the students Dot, Danny, Kelly, Sean, Hannah and Patrick have worked very hard and their number is 01757 211164