Saturday, 15 August 2009

Stirk House Hotel Gisburn Lancashire

Just returned from a Shakespeare evening at Stirk House Hotel, Gisburn. Fabulous country house hotel,which practices special attention to local sourcing. We enjoyed a fabulous 2 course dinner, we started with smoked haddock canapes, followed by sea bass on samphire for hubby and Pea lettuce and lovage soup for me. The main courses we beautifully presented , slow cooked lamb shank , soft and tender, falling of the bone with peas, beans and seasonal vegetables, I chose Organic salmon with watercress sauce, again served with seasonal vegetables. Everything was cooked with precision and attention to detail. On leaving the table we were given a basket of goodies to enjoy with the performance, this included champagne, strawberries and cream and sweets.

During the performance interval we were offered home made shortbread and after the performance warm bacon barms.

In the morning we enjoyed a full Lancashire breakfast , of particular merit were the sausages and bacon.

We would thoroughly recommend a break at this hotel for the food alone, but don't miss out on the the wonderful setting and well appointed rooms.

Perry Fruit Jelly ala Mark Hix GBM

We hosted a dinner party recently for friends and wanted to serve a dessert that used fruits from the garden. Over the years we have always watched the "Great British menu" competition on the BBC and were particularly impressed with the perry jelly served a couple of series ago. I was surprised as to how easy the jelly was to make and how impressive the finish was on the completed jelly. The jelly was served with home made elderflower sorbet. Delicious and extremely light and refreshing on a warm summers evening.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Plum Job AKA its raining plums

Its raining plums in the garden, for the first time ever our plum tree has produced a decent crop, its taken about 10 years for this to happen ! I think the variety is called 'Avalon' , its was birthday present quite a few years ago. Its been a race against the wasps for who gets to the ripe fruit first, Due to the size of the glut I think I will be freezing most of it for pie, crumble and cobbler filling, but I also love English plums raw.

The garden has been particularly bountiful this year, currently I am picking

· Cucumber - I can thoroughly recommend cucumber sandwiches a la Val Warner
· Courgettes - that’s a story for another day
· Beans - broad and french
· Rocket
· Tomatoes
· Blackberries / loganberries
· Spring onions
· Beetroot
· Potatoes
· Baby Carrots

Wow that’s a lot of fruit and veg.
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