What's this all about then? I took 8 friends to the new Northgate in Bury for dinner on Sunday night. We started the evening with excellent cocktails in the bar. The bar staff were great, friendly and charming. Then it all went a bit downhill. My starter was good, main course satisfactory and dessert awful. The dessert wine didn't arrive until after the pudding and the coffee and tea order was eventually taken just before midnight. As for the faff to make the tea. Do I need to be told to warm the cup, wait for it to brew ( timer supplied for the countdown) in order to get two mouthfuls of English Breakfast brew? The most spectacular thing of the night was the bill.
- Line caught mackerel, beetroot, apple and parsnip (9/10)
- Sidecar of the Orient (10/10)
- Loin of venison, shank, sauerkraut and kale (6/10)
- Roasted pistachio sponge, salted chocolate, burnt apricot (1/10 for the apricot)
- Tea at midnight! Losing the will so ask for the bill.
Whenever I go to Great Yarmouth I call in at Northgate Fish to see what Paul Williams has caught in his boat. As well as being a local fisherman for over thirty years he's also a Caister lifeboatman and knows all about the sea. It's also the only place I know that you can still buy a traditonal Yarmouth bloater or a Red Herring which he smokes in his own smokehouse at Caister
With the help of my amazing niece Afiya Frank (pictured) I'm in full swing with my Little House of Cooking Cafe. For those of you that don't know I get stuck in for a couple of months from the end of October until Christmas running the cafe during the Christmas Festival at Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham. It's been so busy, baking madly with no time to blog and hardly time to sleep. Come and visit us if you get time, we are open from 10am until 4pm everyday up until and including 22nd December. It's not just cakes, we serve a very good Welsh Rarebit too!
- Home made soup every day
- Citrus almond and polenta cake ( no gluten)
- Pecan tarts
- Hot chocolate ... the works
- Al fresco on craft weekends
- Mulled wine caravan for craft weekends
Bang on at Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre. Tom's Salty Shack ...four fabulously fresh Mersea Island oysters and a glass of Prosecco. £8.00.
- and a glass of Prosecco
- dancing with the Morris Men later
- a bamboo plate of four fabulously fresh oysters
Always the best, authentic Caribbean food and in typical West Indian style not always the full menu available. But if you go on Nyammings Night (Thurs 5-10pm) you get all you can eat for about £20 which always includes delicious dishes like this curry goat, Johny Cakes and plantains.
Landing on the doormat at SuffolkFoodie HQ last week were a couple of sample cartons of the new limited edition Apple, Mint & Lime juice drink from The Cracker Drinks Co. Forever sceptical about anything labelled as low calorie, with no added sugar and ready made in a carton, we got stuck in. We are happy to say that we were more than impressed. With deliciously sharp lime and true flavours of mint and apple, this is a brilliantly blended ready made virgin mojito, and a perfect base for a quick, easy peasy rum cocktail ... now you're talking!
A saucepan of meat bones boiled up to make a tasty stock and suddenly we have bone broth, the latest nutritional elixir to hit the high street. Well here is a recipe from my 1921 Edition of The Daily Mail Cookery Book or you may prefer the gruesome twosome Hemsley and Hemsley who tag their recipe under 'gut and psychology syndrome'.
The rich yellow moon rising last night proved a good omen for our visit to The Unruly Pig. The Driver’s Drinks menu pleased Inspector X as did her Unruly Damson Spritz. I opted for a large glass of the soft and very approachable Italian Barbera. The Unruly Pig has an interesting set menu, which changes often, but the piece de la resistance was on the regular menu that is changed monthly. I was leaning towards the Crispy Duck Egg with Parma Ham, Jerusalem Artichoke and Hazelnut starter when Brendan the congenial owner recommended a new addition: the Venison Tartare and Croquette with Beetroot, Apple and Blackberry. Beautifully seasoned venison tartare, with a delicate balance of tiny apple cubes, beetroot, blackberries, a lacy bread disc and a croquette of slow cooked venison haunch was the unrivalled star of the evening. Inspector X had the Ham Hock on Toast with Gorgonzola which although delicious was quite overshadowed by my venison. There is something to please even the pickiest diner on the Unruly Pig menu. Main courses chosen were Roasted Wood Pigeon Breasts with Pigeon and Black Pudding Pie (I could have eaten this little pie as a meal by itself) and Inspector X had Fillet of Hake with Saffron, Tomato and Haricot Bean Stew from the set menu. Brendan prides himself on his impressive appreciation of wines, including the Unruly Pig’s dessert wines, and we were not disappointed by his recommendations, a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and a Cadillac (French) – although I still prefer my pronunciation. My Damson and Pistachio Bakewell Tart was delicious but would have been even better served warm. The ever sweet and generous Inspector X shared her Hazelnut Panna Cotta with Roasted Pears and Coffee Gel (set menu) which was the perfect end to a great evening’s dining. We were guests of The Unruly Pig but amazed by the value of the set menu (two courses £15, three courses £18) and the regular menu won't break the bank either. Hearing something of the drama of the fire in the restaurant we celebrated Brendan’s dedication in getting the restaurant up and running again so quickly. At first glance the décor is almost unassuming but as the evening goes on it clear everything has been thoughtfully put together – right down to the background music and glass jar filled with dog biscuits on the bar counter. Heartfelt thanks to Brendan and his team. If I lived closer to the Unruly Pig I would soon qualify for a diamond loyalty card.
- Fillet of Hake with Saffron, Tomato & Haricot Bean Stew, Wilted Gem Lettuce
- Roasted Wood Pigeon with Pigeon and Black Pudding Pie, Kale and Mushrooms
- Dog biscuits on the bar ... Pooches welcome
- Unruly Spritz ( homemade Damson cordial)
- Venison Tartare and Croquette with Beetroot, Apple and Blackberry
- Dinner by candlelight
- Set menu
- Damson and Pistachio Bakewell Tart
- Hazelnut Panna Cotta with Roasted Pear and Coffee Gel
Jamie Oliver sent us a useful guide to buying olive oil which we have shared on our facebook page. For special occasions we really like one we bought in Sicily; Lorenzo No 5 is expensive but Inspector X gives her daughters a bottle each for Christmas. Each bottle says 'I dedicate this bottled essence of olives to my son, Lorenzo, with all my love' Manfredi Barbera.
Mr Roots was there himself handing out his new range of crisps and fizzy drinks at Notting Hill Carnival. I can say I tasted both and they were really good, but he really wanted me to tell you about his new cd.
It's a well known secret that Gilbert and George go to the same kebab house in London at least five times a week to eat supper. They have been there two out of the three times I have been recently with arty friends who I want to surprise and impress. Apparently they don't have a kitchen at home so they couldn't cook even if they wanted to. The question is, is it an Installation or not? Whatever it is, the kebabs are cooked on the traditional Mangal open-fire barbecue, the pide bread is freshly made and free, quail is on the menu, the meat is full of flavour and it will only cost you about £10 per head. This, and Gilbert and George, are the reasons I can no longer go to the kebab van on Station Hill after a night out in Bury.