Oh let's stock up on toilet rolls, ibuprofen, hand sanitiser and pasta shall we? Mrs Madumbi, my favourite sister-in-law (yes I can have a favourite) would no doubt have amadumbe's and mulberry gin in her Zimbabwean pantry. I'm having Lindt Lindor chocolates and Cavalier rum in mine. The UK is not going to run out of food so COVID-19 panic buyers, stop punching each other in the toilet roll isle and consider giving a couple of your stockpiled cans to your local food bank.
All packed up and ready to leave for the airport and the flight cancellation crash lands into the inbox. So instead of staring miserably at the packed suitcases Mr SuffolkFoodie and I decided that a full English breakfast (£7.25 each) was the answer. Luckily the very well run cafe at Hillcrest Nursery is open on a Sunday and serves breakfast from 9am. Half English is also available.
- we may have been first in!
- a simple menu, very good scones from the counter too
- the breakfast was served with granary toast and butter
My worst nightmare on Valentine's Day is a meal out in a restaurant, crammed full of tables for two, with couples who have nothing to say to each other. So instead, if I'm in the mood, I'll cook something for Mr SuffolkFoodie from my repetoire of heart shaped meals.
- couer a la creme, a delicous cream cheese dessert (recipe on the blog)
- jammy heart biscuits (recipe on the blog)
- apple cobbler, with heart shaped cobbles, before it goes in the oven
- delicious hot baked apple cobbler, how to melt your Valentine's heart
- Butterflied rib eye steak for the carnivore
- tarted up couer a la creme, yes it can look like this
I'm pretending to be packing as I'm moving house, but lost interest after box number 8 of tat that I've hauled from charity shops and I'm now returning. So instead I'm telling you about Suffolk's latest cookery school, Mrs Portly's Kitchen. Mrs Portly is the alter ego of food writer and recipe developer Linda Duffin. Linda is an expert cook and has teamed up with some of Suffolk's finest producers who will be joining Linda in teaching the cookery classes. A fabulous Tudor house setting awaits you and the chance to explore the kitchen gardens and orchard to glean produce for the classes. If it's too far to travel in one day then you can stay the night! Be quick and sign up for the next class on January 17th - Game, where Linda is joined by field to fork expert Steve Tricker from Truly Traceable. Learn about game prep and butchery, cook dishes to take home and ... drum roll ... there's the legendary Truly Traceable game pies for lunch.
From my foodie friends and family this year I received - A Cheesemonger's History of the British Isles by Ned Palmer. A selection of English cheese.. A bottle of Mancino Vermouth and a Nut Mug in a pear tree. All wonderful. Thank you!
- 'an informative romp through centuries of British cheesemaking'
- Wensum White - a Brie style Norfolk produced Goats cheese
- Who'se the nut then? Brought back from Abu Dhabi by my Alice
- A bittersweet and floral vermouth containing 37 botanicals. Delicious licquorice and angelica notes work perfectly with a slice of orange.
We went for a pizza which was delicious, but the Espresso Martini's at The LP in Bury St Edmunds are magnificient.
- Sophisticated, stimulating and strong. The perfect Espresso Martini.
- The Elton John (mozzarella, anchovies, capers, artichoke hearts and olives)
- Goats cheese and pancetta salad with a Stevie Wonder (Piri-piri chicken,chorizo, mixed peppers and Mozzarella}a
Why not make some to give as a Christmas gift? Biscotti are very easy to make and keep in an airtight container for weeks. These Almond and Cranberry Biscotti are delicious but feel free to replace the cranberries in the recipe with more almonds or chocolate drops or experiment with other types of nuts of dried fruit. Just watch the temperature of the oven when drying out the biscotti so as to make sure the cranberries do not burn.
What a fun evening! Sculling and sailing through the creeks and marshes at Wells next the Sea, on a traditonal flat bottomed mussel boat, with our skipper Dom entertaining us with stories of the sea and a half time picnic of local cheeses, quiche, salads, bread and freshly brewed coffee. (We took our own wine). Henry from The Coastal Exploration Company has thought of everything when organising the trips and even for you landlubbers out there the three or four hour sail, on the tide, is just the most magical way to spend a summers evening.
- our boat ready and waiting for us at Wells harbour
- and we're off
- picnic time with local goodies including fabulousBrays pork pies
- and out comes the kettle to make a cafetiere of coffee
- Dom kept us entertained with his humble charm and wit
- the tide turns
- back before dark
Superb seafood and freshly filled baguettes here at Brancaster Staithe. Crabs and lobsters are from the owner's own boat Speedwell that fishes out of the harbour. You don't get much fresher than that!
All was revealed last week when I was invited to a 'Secret Garden' barbecue at Bildeston Crown and discovered the beautiful walled garden, tucked away at the back of the inn. You can book it exclusively for yourself and up to sixteen people for an al fresco meal. It has access through a gate from the car park or via the new very cosy lounge and Champagne bar (more about that another time). It's cook your own on the inset grills which run down the centre of the table, allowing you to barbecue delicious meats and vegetables yourself without having to move. Chef and owner Chris Lee is on hand to make sure no one goes hungry or burns anything they shouldn't. Ice buckets fill the gaps where there's no grill ensuring that the wine is as perfectly chilled as the guests. With delightful service from Hayley and the young, professional team at Bildeston Crown we enjoyed glasses of refreshing chilled rose and were delivered superb side salads, hot side dishes, dips and sauces to accompany the Red Poll steaks, homemade beef burgers, chicken kebabs and marinated pork. We cooked our meat on the grills, slowly grazing away well into the afternoon. If you fancy your own al fresco feast speak to Chris or Hayley who will tailor a menu for you. Prices start at £30 a head and I'll put my money on the cute little courtyard working well in the winter months too. Braziers, patio heaters, hot grills, vin chaud, raclette, Pierre-chaude and fondue ...just an idea.
- the inset grills, fired up and ready
- it was easy to reach the grills from our comfy chairs
- we cooked our own beef burgers
- just some of the hot side dishes
- drum roll .. as the food starts to arrive ... what will we be cooking?
- delicious side dishes kept on coming, including the Bildeston classic lobster Caesar salad
- thick cut Red Poll steaks were beautifully tender
- vegetable kebabs were delicious too
- chilled rose wine, ready and waiting