We are visiting the gorgeous Sarah today over in Hampshire and we hope to see her Labrador, Jester; a beautiful, wonderful dog we used to look after many years ago. I wonder if he will remember us? I am so excited!
All those years ago and it was if it were yesterday! This is Jester on the left and the dear departed Indi in the lower fields at Haughurst House in Hampshire.
What a magnificent Sunday we have had today in Dorset…(the sun was shining….this makes all the difference to Aussie sun lover me!)
I had a lovely lie in (Steve was up early lol!!) and after a gorgeous pot of tea we set out for a long walk out of our village, up and around Melbury Hill……
Ideal conditions for a change and I loved every minute of it…….We had a brunch planned for 11 am of local eggs and bacon with the magnificent cherry tomatoes we picked up yesterday from the road side just out of the village of Marnhull.
We have Roast leg of lamb organized for dinner tonight with a couple of drinks beforehand in a village pub nearby………you little beauty!!
Saturday in England….mild but rather blustery showers ……perfect conditions for a pub lunch in the countryside (well all conditions in this country are good for a pub lunch in the countryside!!) After ringing my mum in Australia and doing the usual washing, changing bed linen, I started to get ready for lunch out at The Crown Inn at Marnhull, a nearby village where the drive there and back is full of wonderful scenery of rural Dorset.
Well, I am disappointed to say the food was just awful….shocking and typical of the majority of pubs in this country. We often call in here for the odd drink or two, but have never had a meal here before…..and we won’t again! We both chose a pie on their menu…..Steve had the Steak, ale, parsnip and stilton pie and I had the Chicken, leek, ham and bacon pie.
I am a very enthusiastic pie maker/lover so like to see what other cooks are making of a simple but potentially special dish. This pie was dire in my book…..very dry, flat and flavourless filling with a top that should never be called pastry as it was like eating doughy bread that they had forgotten to season….no sign of the flavour and shortness of any type of pastry, made with good butter or lard or a combination of the two!
Steve’s pie actually had depth of favour, although I couldn’t taste a trace of stilton cheese and the meat was very dry and the pastry again like a thick layer of bread browned that tasted of very little. The veg accompaniment compared to what I used to see visiting my dear departed granddad in Bethlehem Nursing Home in Bendigo. Overcooked, lifeless, colourless food, reheated to serve. The leeks were watery and lifeless, cooked to death, carrots weren’t too bad and the new potatoes were bog standard and tasteless….no signs of any seasoning and no beautiful parsley or butter coating them like they do so wonderfully well at The Cricketers in Shroton.
The staff were attentive but there was only one other table eating, so you would expect them to be! We will return for a drink sometime as the bar is a great space overlooking a fantastic inglenook fireplace but wouldn’t eat here again. Oh, the mint chocolate we were given on the way out was yummy! best part of the lunch for me!
We were delighted on the drive home to see the farm we past last week selling punnets of cherry tomatoes and chillies again on the roadside. We just bought tomatoes today!!!!
What horrible weather we are having this week in the UK and after a few hours chain sawing wood today, Steve was watering at the mouth thinking about a late afternoon bevvy..
We were off to see sally at The Rising Sun…..always an entertaining visit. This real ale from St. Austell Brewery in Cornwall is named ‘Bucket of Blood’ and apparently is to die for! How charming!! Steve enjoyed this drop very much and at a gravity of 4.5%, not an ale to take lightly!
What do you do on a wet, dismal Bank Holiday in England? Find a good country pub and have lunch. The Cricketers Free House in Shroton was our choice again and it was fantastic….Steve and I both had ‘the proper pie’ again! as it is so good….home made shortcrust pastry that melts in the mouth and the filling was very moorish….. tender beef and pork. Served with beautifully cooked vegetables (new potatoes, beans, peas, mange tout and carrots, all tossed in a little butter.) We shared a bottle of red wine and found it very hard to leave! The service, atmosphere and food was spot on….yet again. Thanks so much……perhaps I’ll have the mussels next time??
As in my previous post I mentioned the forecast for today, long weekend in England was to be heavy rain all day. Well, rain all day has been accurate, but I would describe it as a soaking continuous rainfall, constant dredging type of rain, enough to make an Australian think about relocating to the southern hemisphere (lol!) Hmmmmm?
All jokes aside! we went out for a lovely lunch today in one of my favourite pubs in the area, The Cricketer’s Free House in Shroton. It didn’t disappoint…..great crowd, fantastic table, surrounded by some great cricket photographs framed and signed. We shared a lovely bottle of red and both had the pie of the day….just fantastic. I started some glass art before we left and have just finished it now and it’s happily lying in the kiln, fusing until I can open it again in the morning.
We are building up quite a collection of glassware now and my mum in Australia has said she wants a set of entrée plates……….soon mum……..
It’s a rather wet and dismall looking bank holday weekend in England and today’s forecast is for heavy rain all day! Wonderful! Great news for Aussie outdoor lover me! It’s perfect weather though to start some glass artwork and we’ll go out for lunch over in Shroton, then I’ll finish off my glass when we return…….I’ll keep you posted!
The Cricketers Free House in Shroton, in my opinion has the best, consistently fresh, well made pub food for miles……and I will look forward to what specials they have on the board today!
‘Long weekend’ is what we say in Australia…….but in England it’s ‘ a Bank Holiday weekend!’ Sadly, Steve and I can’t do any long coast walks over the weekend as I have a knee injury, after running up and down the hills around here. It’s called Patellofemoral pain syndrome, but commonly called runners knee. Happens a lot to hikers/walkers/runners who take in hills, putting pressure on the knee cap from the thigh bone. Getting better though after no activity, but hating this no activity business!! Ughh! Patience is not one of my strong points……….so keeping busy doing stuff around the house…..sorting out my wardrobe for the winter ahead and a summer almost lost now.
We went out for a drink today the The Cricketers Free House in the near by village of Shroton. Lovely cider in the beer garden and back to cook a Sunday roast now as we are having lunch out tomorrow. I’m cooking free Range Guinea Fowl (from Waitrose) with organic carrots and beans from Kenson’s Farm http://kensonsfarm.wordpress.com/ in Sutton Mandeville.
I’m throwing in a couple of gorgeous potatoes from the paddocks in Melbury Abbas. This place over the hill in Melbury Abbas also does the best chicken and duck eggs I have ever tasted. I am a very fussy free range egg person! and these a really superb…..bright yellow yolks with magnificent flavour. They poach boil and scramble beautifully too.
Great food, service and atmosphere…..
Just back from a lovely lunch at The Cricketers and it didn’t disappoint, in fact it was the freshest, beautifully cooked pub food I have had in a long while…fantastic! We sat outside in the sunny beer garden and the tables were filling up quickly. Steve had one of the famous pies (pork and beef today) and it was just sensational with crisp, homemade short crust pastry. Presented beautifully it came with a decent serving of veg (bu…ttered new potatoes, peas, beans, carrots and mange tout.) I chose the Cod in Beer batter which was cooked perfectly, served with a generous serve of crisp, golden chips and a lovely mixed leaf salad, along with tatare sauce and fresh lemon….extremely good (and I was pleased I missed breakfast and walked the dog up Melbury Hill this morning!!) The menu is so reasonably priced, not over complicated and many daily specials were on offer on the blackboard inside. We drank wonderfully chilled Stowford Press Cider and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The staff are wonderful, a breath of fresh air really…so polite and the attention to detail is just fantastic (our plates were cleared in no time with a friendly smile)….but all good things must come to an end, but we will be back again soon!!! Magic place.
The weather forecast for this weekend in the south of England was sensational, so we planned a long walk today along the coast to lap up the sun and the sea air. It was sensational. We started just after 8am and walked a total of 4 hours, around 13 miles and I loved it. We finished with a pint and a home made pasty (disappointing!) at the Square and Compass Pub in Worth Matravers…but the Stowford Press Cider was exceptional!! The highlight on this walk for me was passing the wonderful little chapel of St. Aldhelm’s at St. Aldhelm’s Head….an amazing tranquil space in the middle of quite a lonely part of the coastline.
It’s approaching the heartbreaking time next month of one year since my dear dad departed this world, on May 14th, not long after his Birthday. Every time I visit the Compton Abbas Airfield I get a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye, unable to speak!. Dad loved light aircraft and he has passed this love of small planes on to me, as I am a huge fan of light aircraft, military in particular. So dad, I made this short film for you to look at where ever you may be…..I will make another one for you soon.