Posts Tagged ‘food’

Midsummer House

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Almost a year ago, Sir Pubert’s mum, Katy, told me about a restaurant that she and and her partner Ken had eaten at. These two occasionally spoil themselves and eat out at fancy restaurants and they highly recommended the two Michelin-starred Midsummer House situated on the riverside in Cambridge.

Not only did they recommend it, in December Katy decided to book a table and the earliest Saturday night they had available was the 19 September. Luckily I had decided to pop over to Australia for eight months so the wait wasn’t an issue.

Last Saturday night, Katy, Ken and I glammed up and forced Sir Pubert into wearing a shirt (which he refused to tuck in). I’ve never been a very girly-girl and I don’t understand makeup in the slightest but I do enjoy having an opportunity to wear slightly dressier dresses. It means they weren’t a complete waste of money, plus it’s nice to look pretty every now and then.

Midsummer House isn’t the location of many murders, extramarital affairs or religious sacrifice, but instead is an understated house that has been transformed into a fancy-pants restaurant on the banks of the river in Cambridge. We were greeted about approximately seven chirpy wait staff who were all exceptionally happy to see us. The overly cheery welcome unnerved me slightly but thankfully it soon calmed down and the staff turned out to be sarcastic, witty and easy-going people. They were extremely good at their jobs and the service throughout the evening was exceptional.

Midsummer House

Midsummer House

And then there was the food. We had the seven course degustation menu with the matching wines. This started with some canapés which continued to arrive from the kitchen and you were never quite sure when it was all going to stop. And then came the main dishes, each plate delivered with a synchronised placement on the table so that everyone was served at exactly the same time. I loved this.

Overall, the food was beautiful. It looked good, tasted good and brought smiles to our faces. Of the savoury dishes, the highlights were a crab, avocado, champagne and pink grapefruit thing (my grandmother would describe it as ‘fluffy’ and I would concur), the roasted beetroot with frozen goat’s cheese and quinoa (all of my favourite things on one plate), and this quail mousse on sourdough. The roasted quail was an extreme disappointment and so was the duck. If I’ve learnt anything from watching hours of Master Chef it is that duck fat needs to be rendered and the skin should be crispy. This was neither of those.

The ultimate highlights, however, were the two desserts. Yes, two. The first was called the ‘pre-dessert’ which is a plate that I am introducing to my daily life from now on.

This pre-dessert was an aerated lychee and mango dome with crunchy meringue and mango shards. I don’t particularly like mango, or lychee, but WOWZERS! This was light, tangy and refreshing, plus it just looked beautiful.

Pre-dessert

Pre-dessert

However then came my overall favourite dish of the evening – described as “Pickled blackberry, pastis and pear, blackberry ‘Marquise'” the final dish wasn’t at all what I expected because they failed to mention ‘chocolate’. Yes, the holiest of ingredients. The pear sorbet fizzed in your mouth, and the blackberry marquise had a fantastic berry flavour. The little crisp sitting on top had a subtle pastis flavour (highly appropriate as I had played petanque earlier that day) and then there was a small ball of dark chocolate and blackberry ganache that just added a depth and richness to the whole dish. It so good. I ate it as slowly as possible with a big grin on my face. I could have eaten 5 of those.

Dessert #2

Dessert #2

After all of this food we were brought chocolates and doughnuts which none of us really wanted but we all tried anyway. The homemade chocolates were quite interesting – particularly one which was flavoured with bay leaf. I have recently had rosemary and chocolate and bay leaf and chocolate. All winners.

The meal was lovely and the quality of the food, the presentation and the staff was outstanding. It wasn’t the greatest meal that I have ever eaten in my entire life and I’m not necessarily going to rush back, but it was definitely one for the food memory bank. Thanks Katy and Ken for a lovely evening and my first ever Michelin star experience!

Getting Old

Monday, September 7th, 2015

After running 42 kilometres I then had a birthday party. I wasn’t sure about whether or not my local bar, The Nic, would be an appropriate venue or if it would even be open, but it turned out to be perfect. From 3.30pm until around 6pm, my friends and I essentially had the place to ourselves!

Every time I leave a country I am reminded of how lucky I am to have such awesome friends and family. I had an unexpectedly large turn out to my party and despite it being a very random selection of people, everyone seemed to get along. There were no bar fights so I count that as a successful birthday party.

The post-marathon tiredness hit me at around 6pm as I lay down on a bench seat next to my friend Ellice who proceeded to stroke my hair as I nodded off. Good times! Wild party. Any shindig that ends in me having a head massage is a winner in my books.

My actual birthday was on Tuesday and it crept up on me quite suddenly. I didn’t find the ‘turning 30’ thing as scary as I could have, mostly because I have declared that 30 is the new 20. The fact that I am heading off on yet another adventure and starting a new life direction means I don’t have much choice than accept that I’m not being a typical 30 year old. No mortgages, white picket fences or weddings are on my radar. Instead I am going to become a student again.

birthday card

My brother knows how to choose a birthday card.

*Small aside* The flight attendants have just handed out bags of sweetened popcorn to everyone on the plane and it sounds like the start of a film. Packets are rustling and there’s the crunch and chomp of popped corn between teeth. Pity it is coated in caramel and a bit soggy. Mmm… plane food.

Anyway, good birthday times were had – I started my day with a massage in the hope to alleviate some of the pain from the marathon. It wasn’t quite the ‘dolphin sounds’ relaxation session that I was hoping for and more of an intense pummelling but my muscles thanked me for it afterwards. I then had coffee and cake with Dad and Eva before meeting my friends for lunch in the park.

Dinner was at the Beaufort Street Merchant where we were served by a charming waiter who sounded like Jamie Oliver. The food was excellent – cauliflower and lentils followed by a delightfully rich chocolate mousse with peanut butter ice cream. Somewhat unfortunately all of the desserts were covered with exceptionally teeth-sticking toffee. We all ended the meal trying to discretely remove chunks of sugar from our teeth with our fingers. Classy!

In this soft candle light, the wrinkles are far less defined.

In this soft candle light, the wrinkles are far less defined.

The Tale of a Seriously Big Zucchini

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Once upon a time, a lady called ‘My Mum’ grew some seriously big zucchinis. They were the length of my Dad’s arm and about the same width. They were the biggest zucchinis ever seen in this part of town.

A big zucchini

The big zucchini

One day, a girl called ‘I’ decided to make dinner with one of the seriously big zucchinis. I wasn’t sure how they would taste because surely a zucchini of that size would just be full of water and tasteless. How wrong I was. After cutting the seriously big zucchini into quarters, roasting and stuffing them with an amazing cous cous, tomato, feta and olive mixture, I made a seriously tasty dinner with the seriously big zucchini.

stuffed zucchini

That big zucchini has been stuffed.

Another seriously big zucchini is still in the fridge waiting to be eaten. All recipe suggestions for the seriously big and seriously tasty zucchini are welcome.

*For any British folk reading this, zucchini is Australian for courgette.

I’m Back.

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

This time one week ago, I was squished between a window and a fat woman with a beard on my flight back to Perth. Having just spent 11 hours in the foetal position avoiding any contact with the excess flab hanging over into my side of the arm rest, I was quite keen to get off the plane, collect my luggage, assure Australian customs that I wasn’t smuggling any dead animals into the country and give my mum a hug.

Since then I have spent my time re-adjusting to life in Australia and drinking a lot of ice coffees.

Jet lag.

I thought I had done so well. After arriving home on Saturday afternoon, I managed to stay away until 9.30pm before having 12 hours sleep and waking up feeling relatively adjusted. However, Sunday evening I lay staring at the ceiling until 4am when I finally felt tired enough to go to sleep. It is a strange feeling to lie in bed knowing that you’re supposed to be tired and that now is sleep time, however your body thinks it is still living on the other side of the world.

Anyway, my body clock is functioning properly now and I have even managed to get into the obscene Australian lifestyle of getting up before 6am to do exercise. Who does that? A lot of people around here it seems.

The weather.

I hear it is a bit chilly in England. My plane was delayed by over an hour when I left Manchester as they had to clear snow and ice from the runway. Apparently the canals have frozen and people are complaining about the cold.

manchester airport

From this…

It isn’t cold in Perth. This weekend we’re expecting 37 and 40 degree temperatures which is a little unnecessarily warm. I had forgotten what it feels like to sweat and I have managed to reach ‘beetroot’ level where people gawk at my red face and ask me if I am ok after my morning runs. I had also forgotten that everything melts and all of my lip balms, hand creams, chocolates and pots of Nutella are particularly runny.

Perth skyline

To this.

My family.

I have managed to catch up with a lot of my family since my return and have spent many hours sitting around chatting with my Dad. We have managed to come up with many great plans of things to build, books to publish, jobs to complete and adventures to have over the next 6 months that I may need to extend my stay.

And I am catching up on four years’ worth of Mum hugs.

Mum lasagna

She may not be Italian, but nothing beats my Mum’s lasagna.

The dog.

While I have been living overseas, my parents have replaced me with a dog. My tendency to sneeze in the presence of any furry creatures and the fact that I was terrified of dogs as a child has meant that I have never been much of a dog-person. However, Cali isn’t any old slobbery mutt – she is a guide dog in training and understands the word ‘sit’. She doesn’t jump, bark, slobber, lick (that much), smell or make a mess. She doesn’t even seem to molt which is particularly impressive. While I still dislike dogs, she has managed to convert me into a Cali-person.

Cali

Cali rests her head after a long day at Guide Dog training school.

The beach.

Oh, the beach. Glorious, glorious beach. Tuesday morning saw my return to the early-morning-swim-at-the-beach ritual as Mum, Dad, Cali and I headed to North Cottesloe for a 7am swim. It was nice to see the regular beach-goers again and for them to recognise me and welcome me back. There is nothing like the smell of ocean air and the feeling of being immersed in salty water. Those 15 minutes of bobbing around really kick start a day. Both Paris and Manchester are definitely lacking on that front.

So I am back. Physically, at least. I’m not sure where my head is living and I have no idea where ‘home’ is exactly. But it is nice to know that I have multiple places across the world where people will be happy to see me.

We are Italiano

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

For Christmas, I bought Sir Pubert Gladstone a pasta maker. He eats an unusually large amount of the stuff and had mentioned his desire to own a machine so he could make his own. It was an obvious choice for a christmas present but his constant mentioning of this being on his ‘christmas wish list’ to every family member/friend/bearded man who asked was a little annoying considering I had already purchased one and no one needs multiple pasta machines.

Anyway, the purchase has resulted in our four attempts at ‘filled pasta’ – whether that be ravioli, tortellini or pastaloni as our non-traditional shapes would suggest. And clearly we have italian blood seeping through our bodies as we have managed to create some mighty fine pasta-pockets.

pasta machine

Ready to roll.

Our first attempt was on New Year’s Eve where we went for roast pumpkin, stilton and walnut ravioli with a sage button sauce, accompanied by parmesan roasted fennel. Holy guacamole, it was good eating.

pasta

There’s pumpkin in there. And cheese as well.

Sir Pubert then challenged me to create two different fillings as a ‘surprise’ for him (although I suspect it was just his way of tricking me into cooking for him) and I delivered a seriously good spinach and ricotta filling and one with mushrooms with thyme.

pasta

Dough pillows.

While the idea of making your own pasta seems somewhat time consuming at first, it is remarkably quick and easy to do. I think the Italians would agree that simplicity is key so there aren’t many ingredients to worry about. Plus it is much lighter and far more satisfying than buying the dried stuff from the supermarket – knowing you have kneaded the dough means you’ve already worked off most of the calories. More pasta for you!

Snow.

Friday, December 19th, 2014

It would seem that I have had actual paid work and responsibilities this week as I haven’t written about the fact that IT SNOWED last Friday. I had been concerned that I had lost my inner child who becomes ridiculously excited by the arrival of falling icicles; so imagine my relief when I giddily screamed “SNOW!!” when I saw the first flakes fall. They melted instantly and turned into slop but for a brief second I was excited.

Ice patterns on Sir Pubert's car

Ice patterns on Sir Pubert’s car

Friday’s blustery snow arrival was more impressive in hilly parts of the North such as the Peaks, the Lake District and Scotland. So on Saturday, Sir Pubert and I packed an impressive lunch and headed along Snake Pass into the Peaks in search of a picnic spot.

Warming soup.

Warming soup.

 

We headed to the highest part of the Snake Road pass where we were surrounded by fog and scatterings of white icy stuff. We parked and walked a very short way along a muddy, icy and therefore slippery path before sitting and scoffing our faces. The sun managed to come out from the behind the clouds and warmed us up nicely. It was great fun but after we’d eaten our delicious cheese sandwiches and warm soup, we threw a few snow balls and hurried back to the car. Sir Pubert was concerned we would get stuck in the Peaks due to ‘the weather’. That’s Brits for you – always concerned about getting lost/stuck in the ‘wilderness’. We managed to escape unscathed.

Snow at the High Peak

Snow at the High Peak

Since the weekend, the weather has changed once again and turned into a constant drizzle. It is much warmer but I have holes in the soles of my shoes and my feet keep getting wet. Everything is wet. It’s quite horrible.

In other news, today I bought my plane ticket home to where the current forecast for tomorrow is 39 degrees. No rain. This ‘going home’ thing is suddenly sounding ok.

My Favourite UPT

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Throughout my trip to Northern Ireland, I learnt more and more about the Unique Personality Traits (UPTs) of family members and the local population in general. It didn’t take me long to work out what my favourite local custom was – the tray bake. I have never before heard the phrase ‘tray bake’ used as frequently as I did in this country. After confirming that a ‘tray bake’ is Irish/British for what I would call a ‘slice’, it amazed me how regularly it popped up in conversation.

While I was never offered of a tray bake during my stay (although at our first family member visit the table was covered in pikelets, meringues, short bread (one could argue that this is a form of tray bake), biscuits and eventually a trifle, but we had already eaten) I did discover that many of Sir Pubert’s family members had freezers full of pre-prepared tray bakes. And not only tray bakes but scones, soup, and entire meals, all frozen and ready to go on demand. One aunt had nine types of scones in her freezer – now that’s my kind of household. Baked goods on demand.

In honour of what I learned on my trip to Northern Ireland, I spent the afternoon at home today and whipped up a little carrot cake in order to use up some eggs. While it won’t go in the freezer and it isn’t a tray bake, I feel it is the least I can do to recognise the tray bake phenomenon of Northern Ireland.

Carrot cake

Walnutty, carrotty goodness.

A Two Hour Drive for Lemon Ice Cream

Friday, October 10th, 2014

*Warning: The following blog post contains discussions of food regurgitation (aka vomiting.) If you don’t want to hear about it, don’t read further.

I will travel great distances for good food and when my cousin, Les, told me about a lemon ice cream that could only be described as “orgasmic,” I decided I needed to try it. I have never heard anyone describe a food as orgasmic as repeatedly as Les did about this ice cream. Clearly it was good and clearly I needed some.

The fact that the ice cream was located a two-or-so hour drive at the Inn at Brough in the Lake District didn’t really bother me. Thankfully Les was so keen on this ice cream that she was willing to drive me there as a “Birthday Adventure Treat.” So yesterday my birthday continued in the form of a drive through the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District and an amazing lunch at the Inn at Brough. I’m a lucky girl.

We arrived at the Inn for our booked time slot of 1pm and were greeted by the very friendly staff members who knew that Les was ‘that woman who keeps calling to check they will have the ice cream.’ The restaurant was empty, but it was a rainy Thursday and apparently the place is booked out on weekends. I could see why – Brough is a small village and the Inn sits proudly in the centre, offering a comfortable place to come and sit, drink and eat. We were looked after by a delightful lady who was friendly, welcoming and very, very polite. The Inn is attempting to be a little bit fancy and the service reflected this. I preferred when she kept looking out of the window and across the road to her house where a man was pruning her trees.

View from window

Our rainy view

We ordered some wine and then our food, our grumbling stomaches dictating that we should both splurge and try the lamb and redcurrant pies seeing as the lamb would be local and therefore delicious. This was Error #1. Our menu reading eyes and greedy stomaches were far too hungry for their own good. We were told the pies would take 25 minutes to cook during which time we just salivated more and more for tender baby sheep.

When our food arrived we both recoiled at the size of the serving and made “Gosh, I’ll never finish this” noises. But as we tucked in and tasted the tender lamb, buttery pastry, crisp potatoes, sweet carrots and some heavily buttered snow peas, we couldn’t stop. Soon we had both devoured the majority of our food, not quite finishing simply to ‘leave room for the ice cream.’ This was Error #2. Hindsight suggests I should have chosen a cheese and pickle sandwich but I know it wouldn’t have been as delicious as the pie.

Lamb pie and vegetables

Mmm… pie.

It was really good – the meat wasn’t fatty and the flavours were fantastic although I didn’t taste much redcurrant. The chips were seriously crispy – these giant potato chunks had obviously been doused in some sort of animal’s fat and deep fried. Too good to stop eating. The vegetables were alright but nothing special. The snow peas were limp and dripping butter and the ratatouille looked and tasted like it had been made a few days ago and reheated. But overall it was a top plate o’ food.

The lovely server knew we were wanting the lemon ice cream for dessert and said she would give us ten minutes to digest before bringing it out. Such a wise lady. She would have been even wiser to suggest that we have a cup of tea instead. But no, we were there for the ice cream and so we should have it. Error #3.

Three balls of soft yellow ice cream were served rolling around on a plate with a chocolate swirl biscuit as garnish. It didn’t look beautiful but who cares? If this ice cream is really orgasmic then does presentation really matter?

Lemon ice cream

It ain’t pretty but it sure tastes good.

Les dived in first as I took the necessary photographs and there was that silence that you only get when people are sitting enjoying food on the other side of the table. She was a happy lady. The ice cream was creamy but not overly sweet with the lemon tang biting through. It was really, really good, although I kept getting strong hints of egg which kind of put me off. After one and a half balls I was reaching my cream/fat/excess food limit but I struggled on for the sake of having driven two hours to eat this dessert.

Was it orgasmic? I’m not quite sure but I am not a citrus lover. I also have difficulty eating large amounts of cream-based items and would never normally have three scoops of ice cream. But the flavours were definitely delicious and it was very good homemade ice cream. Compliments to the chef.

Reclining back in our seats, our over stuffed bellies were now grumbling in disgust at our greed. I had a cup of peppermint tea to aid my digestive system and Les had a cup of coffee. Both were served with shortbread biscuits on the saucer. Perhaps these were the ‘waffer thin’ mints that broke Mr Creosote in the infamous Monty Python scene. We were both feeling a little unwell.

I would like to point out, highlight and emphasise the fact that neither Les nor I believe the Inn at Brough was to blame for the events that followed. The food was perfect, there was absolutely nothing wrong with it whatsoever and I think you should definitely eat at the Inn. It was our own personal greed and in ability to handle rich food that led to us both experiencing moments of nausea that may or may not have resulted in one of us revisiting her lunch near the roman ruins of Brough Castle. Let’s just say, I will do anything to avoid vomiting so you can add up the clues by yourself to work out who it was.

Brough Castle

Scene of many battles and at least one upset stomach.

And so, with our disgruntled bellies and our acceptance that it just served us right for being greedy pigs, we headed off on an exploratory journey of the Lakes and the Yorkshire Dales. Apart from intestinal explosions and the fairly insistent rain, it was a great day out and the meal at the Inn was definitely worth the drive. Perhaps not surprisingly, neither of us are in a huge rush to go back for more lemon ice cream, no matter how orgasmic it may be.

Trough of Bowland

A yellow beetle is the only way to roll on the Trough of Bowland

I Ain’t Got Beef Wiv Dat

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Innit.

Another week, another Yelp event with more food than even my endless stomach could handle. Last night I headed to Handmade Burger Co on Deansgate with my fellow Yelp buddies for food and frivolity. It was part of the Carnivorous Maximus series of food events being run by Yelp where a group of us go to a meat-tastic restaurant and gorge on cow/pig/chicken/whatever. My current cooking habits and the regularity of my friends saying, “But I thought you were vegetarian, Jess?” would suggest that I am more of a vegetable than meat lover. I would always choose a spinach and feta filo tart over a plate of ribs. Broccoli excites me and pumpkin… wow. Don’t let me start talking about pumpkin. But every now and then my inner beast craves a big chunk o’ meat. A nice rare filet steak with peppercorn sauce, my mum’s various one-pot chicken dishes, or a juicy burger are always welcomed by these taste buds.

I purposefully avoided over eating in the lead up to this event. Burgers are filling things and I wanted to ensure I had enough space in my belly to fit it all in. Plus there would undoubtedly be chips. Mmm… chips.

On arrival we were offered a drink and I was a little disappointed by the beer options as they were your fairly standard Peroni and Coronas. I had come picturing myself with a pint of ale in one hand and a dripping burger in the other. But some clever reflection on the situation made me realise that a glass of wine is far less stomach-swelling than beer and their New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was a much better choice anyway.

After a bit of mingling, we sat down and ordered our food at which point my thoughts on Handmade Burger and Co skyrocketed. I had spotted the “Specialist Cheese” burger – beef patty, salad, tomato and onion with a choice of ‘fancy’ cheese. One of the cheese options was “blue cheese mayonnaise” which sounded both fantastic and disgusting at the same time. Why ruin a perfectly wonderful cheese by adding mayonnaise? The particularly friendly and organised host serving us delivered the best news of the evening when I questioned how ‘mayonnaisy’ the cheese would be. She simply asked the chefs if I could have plain blue cheese added to my burger and my request was made! No hassle, no rolling of the eyes and I’m fairly certain they didn’t spit in my burger. Wonderful. Now that is customer service.

Handmade Burger Co burger

Look at that Stilton.

The burger arrived and I was thrilled to see a sourdough bun instead of the sickly sweet brioche buns most other burger companies insist on using. It wasn’t the greatest bread but at least I didn’t feel like I was eating a very expensive Big Mac. The beef patty was well cooked and still juicy in the middle and the blue cheese was fabulous. Normally I feel slightly ill after eating a burger and regret the decision – not this time.

I did, however, regret the plain potato chips that I ordered as my side dish. While they may be hand-cut, they lacked any flavour and were just a bit stodgy. You certainly get a lot of them though – I was served at least five potatoes worth. Fellow Yelper, Becs, made an excellent comment saying they should recommend sharing a bowl of chips between three people. There were a lot of wasted potatoes on the table last night.

After stuffing ourselves silly on cow and carbohydrates, a selection of what I can only describe as novelty-sized sundaes were placed down the table for us to share. These beasts were massive heart attacks and we were all a bit overwhelmed by the sugar overload. Sure – they were tasty but I would never, ever order one. Once you start piling cream, brownie pieces, ice cream and sauce, into a giant glass, you lose all concept of flavour. I prefer more refined and less sickly desserts but I have a certain housemate who would make that thing disappear in record time.

Handmade Burger Co sundae

What a whopper.

I was quite impressed by Handmade Burger Co and would put it as one of my better burger experiences since moving to the UK. Nothing beats my favourite Jus Burgers back in Perth, but it is nice to see a burger company offering an interesting range of burgers that stems beyond added copious amounts of bacon.

He’s Back!

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

About six months ago, I learnt the sad, sad news that one of my favourite local chefs, Robert Owen Brown, was closing the doors of his seriously great restaurant, The Mark Addy. I will admit to weeping a little – this was devastating stuff! His delicious pheasant had made me a very happy girl and I wasn’t going to be able to eat his food ever again. THE HORROR.

So I write to you with great news, kids. My constant interest in Mancunian food news meant that I learnt he had moved to the location of one of my most disappointing restaurant experiences in Manchester and had taken over the kitchen. Two great pieces of information in one big ball of goodness. So when my Australian cousins, Sophie and Kate, came to visit me this weekend for delayed birthday fun, we went for dinner at the re-branded Rosylee to visit Mr Brown.

Clearly not many people have heard that Rob is back in action as the restaurant was basically empty. This did mean we could easily get a table on a busy Saturday night in the Northern Quarter. My previous visits to what was the Rosylee Tearooms had been very disappointing. Not great food being sold at excessive prices isn’t my thing and I had always left feeling very disappointed about what could have been a great restaurant. But I was determined not to let this ruin my experience this time and went there with high hopes and good intentions.

After umming and ahhing over the menu, each of us changing our minds multiple times about what we wanted to eat, we finally ordered – Kate and I both choosing the wild rabbit while Soph went for spatchcock marinated in dandelion and burdock. And it was all so GOOD! My rabbit was flavoursome and tender, served with a little layered potato stack and a couple of vege.

Bunny rabbit

Bunny rabbit

Sophie’s spatchcock was really tasty with its sweet marinade but smokey barbecue overtones. We were three very happy ladies eating good food with a nice bottle o’ red.

Spatchcock. Aka mini-chicken.

Spatchcock. Aka mini-chicken.

Of course, there was then dessert. Kate’s options were limited by her gluten free requirements so she went down the cheeseboard route. Four large chunks of cheese with an excessively large number of packet biscuits (none of which she could eat.) The cheese was great but the inclusion of celery on the plate was a bit odd. Celery after dinner? Really?

Cheese. But mostly crackers.

Cheese. But mostly crackers.

Sophie had the rhubarb and custard fool which was HUGE and required a vote amongst the table as to whether or not she was supposed to eat the twirly decoration on top. We decided it was raffia and therefore not designed for human consumption. I hope we weren’t wrong and the chefs in the kitchen weren’t all hitting their heads in disgust at our lack of food knowledge. Anyway, it was mostly cream and about the size of Sophie’s head so she gave up half way through. Brave soldier.

Foolish rhubarb

Foolish rhubarb

I went for my staple choice on any dessert menu – the chocolate based item. This time it was a dark chocolate tart served with a hot custard and caramel shards. Not bad for a chocolate tart although the filling was very soft and almost liquid and I prefer a firm centre. It was rich, dark and not too sweet, which is always a tick from me. The custard was served in a shot glass on the side and was really just confusing and weird. Custard is always nice but it doesn’t really go with a chocolate tart. A dollop of ice cream would make more sense – may I suggest salted butter caramel? I exchanged my caramel shards for Sophie’s ginger snap as I have never really understood the point of melted and re-solidified sugar. Overall it was tasty but not mind-blowing.

Mmm… chocolate tart...

Mmm… chocolate tart…

Overall this was a very tasty meal and it was exciting to once again eat some hearty and wholesome food served with style. The service at the Rosylee wasn’t great but it just felt like no one had put any effort into training the wait staff. It wasn’t that they were bad – they just didn’t really add anything to the experience. And I still hate the fake flowers on the ceiling. But other than that, the Rosylee is on the improve and I will be going back for more rabbit. And perhaps the Lancashire hot pot.