Posts Tagged ‘sticky toffee pudding’

365 Days Left

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Yesterday (30 January) marked one year until I am to be kicked out of the mother country. For awhile there I thought my Visa would expire two years from my date of entry into the country but apparently not. I have been gypped 29 days of British residency because I planned in advance and applied for my visa before I really needed it. Damn you, Home Office.

It is remarkable how much of a difference knowing that I only have a year left makes. For the last month I have been toying with the idea of going back to Australia early as my inner need to settle, build nests, grow roots, get a mortgage and spend the rest of my life paying it off reared its ugly head. Now that I have reached the ‘One Year Left’ milestone I have switched modes and am now fretting about what to do next and how to make the most of my time in the UK. I can feel a list and a count down calendar coming – every day I have to do something new/fun/exciting/ different/dramatic/scary/boring. That’s easily achieved and will make me feel like I haven’t wasted yet another year ‘finding myself’ by running away to a foreign country. Good plan.

So yesterday to celebrate the milestone, I worked all day. Brilliant. However, to add some excitement and festivity to the day, I did the one thing that I know will always bring happiness to my day – I ate food. I tried a new recipe from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s brilliant cookbook Veg Every Day. Hugh’s recipes never disappointment me and his spicy carrot and chickpea pitta pockets were brilliant. Butter, cumin, carrots and chickpeas – happiness wrapped up in bread.

Mmm… tasty.

Mmm… tasty.

I spoiled myself with a sticky toffee pudding for dessert, on special from Sainsburys. While my inner food snob tells me off for enjoying supermarket puddings, it was really good. And I have another one waiting for me in the fridge for another night.

Not bad, Sainsburys. Not bad at all.

Not bad, Sainsburys. Not bad at all.

They are Wrong About English Food

Friday, April 6th, 2012

As I am sure you all realise by now, I generally base my enjoyment of a country on how many delicious meals I eat, and I can therefore declare that I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to England. Most people poo-poo British food, and while I agree that some of it is awful, I can also inform you that some French food is awful and that is apparently one of the best cuisines in the world. British food is definitely moving away from stodgy vegetables and mushy peas and you can now find some wonderful restaurants.

The numerous times that I have been to England, I have always managed to have a really good meal at one of the many, many pubs scattered throughout the country. They are a bit like the Parisian bistro – you have to pick wisely but you can find some that offer excellent meals. The area around Creswell isn’t exactly a culinary hub, however, in a nearby town there is a pub called the Elm Tree which I went to with Ben for dinner.

Elm Tree

British Cider at the Elm Tree

Where English pubs differ from Parisian bistros is the presence of friendly staff. AMAZING. A smile and a friendly welcome – who would have thought? Anyway, the Elm Tree is a simple local pub which appears to be very popular as we attempted to go there three times but each time it was fully booked. We ended up there on a Monday night and it wasn’t particularly busy. I had a steak which was served with hand cut chips and vegetables, and I chose a peppercorn sauce to go with it.

Elm Tree steak

Mmm... steak.

The sauce was an extra two pounds but considering I got a bucketful it was worth it. And oh was it delicious. The steak clearly came off one of the cows in the paddock nearby – very tender and perfectly cooked. Ben had a cottage pie which was very well put together and very flavoursome.

Elm Tree Cottage Pie

Ben's Cottage Pie

We both had dessert – I went for the sticky toffee pudding because I think it is the ultimate british pub dessert, while Ben had a chocolate and marshmallow brownie. My pudding was rich, sweet and moreish and was served with a tooth-breaking lump of honeycomb sticking out of it. Wonderfully good. I turned up my nose at the inclusion of marshmallow in the brownie but I was wrong – it was served with a rich, dark chocolate sauce which cut the sweetness of the marshmallow and it was a really good chocolate cake. A fantastic meal.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Look at that lump of honeycomb!

Another food highlight was a lunch in Sheffield with Ben’s friend and co-bread-maker, Martha. We went to a café called the Blue Moon which offers three vegetarian mains which come with a plate-load of salad. The meals are made from organic produce and were HUGE and very, very delicious. It was a wonderfully relaxed environment and a fun place to eat.

Blue Moon vegetables

It doesn't look like much but it sure was tasty!