A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about british cuisine

Pancakes

Veliko Tarnovo


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To celebrate Shrove Tuesday I decided to throw a pancake party at my flat, but because the day itself was a work night and some of my colleagues were working until 21.30, I simply tested the recipe for myself that evening and saved the party for today.

Though I say so myself, I think it was a success! There were ten of us altogether. My pancakes were complimented by several people, and I arranged a small buffet of savoury things to have as well. I made my own version of the sliced tomato, mozzarella and pesto salad that Kate had at Tempo Pizza on our birthday weekend. I also had very thin and long dried sausage that curves into loops, three different types of Pringles-type crisps, Greek-style tzaziki, sliced cucumber and celery sticks, cured ham, the rest of the jar of pesto, a jar of preserved and roasted red peppers, snejanka salad and Russian salad (not homemade). To go with the pancakes, I had lemon and sugar of course, along with chocolate spread and honey. I only remembered I also had some maple syrup after nearly everybody had finished eating!

Posted by 3Traveller 14:28 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged bulgaria veliko_tarnovo bulgarian_cuisine british_cuisine Comments (0)

The rest of the holiday

St Albans, Farnham and Hemel Hempstead


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Edit from January 2019: Fleetville Emporium was demolished in 2016 or 2017, and Dolce Italia on St Peter's Street closed down and became a charity shop at around the same time. Little Marrakesh and the Meating Room are both still going strong though!

We've managed to fit a lot into the last few days!

On New Year's Eve we woke up to heavy frost;

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Dave and I then went to see my Nana, who is unfortunately laid up at the moment with a broken ankle she suffered on Christmas Day.

In the evening Dave and I were thinking about going into London to see the fireworks, but decided against it in the end because it was cold and wet, we were too tired and we felt more like relaxing at home with Mum and Kate and watching the fireworks on TV instead.

On New Year's Day we had a big family gathering and exchanged presents, things we had deliberately not done on Christmas Day this year.

Yesterday was also eventful. The first thing Dave and I did was go back to the church to pay our wedding deposit, give back the filled-in legal document and have our IDs checked. Then we met up with Mum at Dolce Italia café, where we had a hot drink and a cake and I managed to knock my tall glass of hot chocolate off the table into my lap. Thank goodness I was wearing black trousers!

On our way home Dave and I stopped off at the Fleetville Emporium, a large place filled with antiques, vintage clothing, secondhand books, records and lots more. Every time I go there, it's extended itself a bit more. Dave bought some shoe lasts, but I didn't get anything. I did however buy some delicious rum balls from Simmon's nearby.

That evening we went out for dinner at Little Marrakesh, one of my all-time favourite restaurants anywhere in the world. I love everything about this place - the decor, atmosphere, food and service! We shared the Moroccan Mezze as a starter; hummous, tabbouleh, saffron-marinated sautéed potato and carrot chunks, chopped beetroot, filo prawns, a red pepper mixture and crushed grilled aubergine. Then I had grilled swordfish with Moroccan rice and Dave had a tagine, though I've forgotten what kind. The food was as delicious as ever.

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We thought about going into The Boot for a drink afterwards, but it looked too crowded for us, so we gave a miss.

Speaking of food, for lunch today we met up with Emma and Mark at The Meating Room, a fantastic new gourmet burger restaurant in St Albans city centre. This is another place I would recommend to all visitors. The burgers all have local names; I had a St Peter's, their version of a cheeseburger, with a lovely, thick, juicy patty. The burgers all come with amazing rosemary salted chips. I found out that our waitress was from Romania, but had worked with Bulgarians in Romania so had picked up some words from them; I tried out the word for 'thank you' (blagodariya) on her and she understood me, or at least was kind enough to say she did.

Dave left for Manchester late afternoon. After that, Mum and I went to Hemel Hempstead to have dinner at Kate & Andrew's. Special mention to the delicious bread & butter pudding!

Back in St Albans, at about 11pm I'm getting a train to Gatwick for my early-morning flight back to Bulgaria.

Posted by 3Traveller 13:43 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged united_kingdom christmas sisters dave mum st_albans st_peter's_church hemel_hempstead farnham british_cuisine Comments (0)

Wrecclesham and Farnham: Trip down memory lane

Wrecclesham and Farnham


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Today was a trip down memory lane for Mum and a lovely experience for me because I got to share it with her.

First of all we visited my Grandad and his wife J for a cup of tea/ coffee and a chat. They are moving house very soon, away from the old family home Mum stayed in during school and university holidays throughout the Seventies, so I also walked round the place with Mum taking photos of anything she wanted me to.

After leaving the house, Mum and I went round the corner to Wrecclesham Pottery (which recently changed its name to Farnham Pottery, despite not being in Farnham) to look round.

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The gate was open, so we walked round the small grounds, but couldn't enter the actual buildings. It's a working pottery, founded in 1873. We admired many of the outdoors features -drainpipes made from pottery, dating from the turn of the 20th century; the massive brick kiln; the well; the very old outside clock; the owl looking out from one of the pottery archways; and last but not least, the 'A Harris & Son, Pottery Works, 1873' written above the main door. Mum told me that she used to walk past it on dog walks with her Nana in the mid-Sixties and think to herself that one day, in the unimaginable future, the writing would be 100 years old. I remember something similar when I was at the same age, when time seems to stretch endlessly into the future; I remember once in 1992, in my last year of infants' school, someone mentioning something that was going to happen in 1995; I couldn't stop mentally shaking my head in wonder at how incredibly far in the future that was.

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For lunch we went round the corner to the Royal Oak pub. Mum had a baguette with salad and I had the best jacket potato I've ever had; goat's cheese, caramelised onions, parsley and extra butter.

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The last thing we did before moving on to Farnham was go for a walk, following one of the dog-walking routes Mum would go on nearly every day in her school holidays in the Seventies and late Sixties. We walked for nearly an hour through nearby countryside. At one point we looked into a field that used to be filled with hop plants which were picked every summer by people from London's East End, but is now choked with nettles, brambles and horse chestnut saplings. We also scrambled up a slope in a wood and followed the path there until it grew so small we would have had to start crawling to have gone any further.

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Eventually we returned to the car and drove on to nearby Farnham. Once we'd got there we looked round the town centre for a couple of hours. The first place we visited was the Bush Hotel, where Mum and Dad had their wedding reception back in 1980. I'd never been there before and Mum hadn't been for a very long time. We had a look round and Mum had a cup of tea in the main lounge. We noticed some very old-looking, rather faded murals of human figures (possibly mythological or from ancient history) on the walls, set between wooden beams. There was no information about them anywhere, but they were still interesting to look at.

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We also browsed in a couple of charity shops, window-shopped in the lovely cobbled Lion and Lamb Courtyard (saying hello to three furry model bears in the process), attempted to buy some fruit from a greengrocer but arrived two minutes too late, admired all the Georgian buildings and, on the way back to the car, walked past a house-end that looked quite comical. The wooden beams were sunk so deep into the whitewashed wall, it looked like the wall was full of yeast and had puffed out like risen bread dough.

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From there we carried on down the road to Nana and her partner R's new bungalow, a place I hadn't been to yet because I was still in Ecuador when they moved. I got a good look round the place and we had a lovely dinner together. Special mention to Nana's signature pineapple upside-down pudding!

Posted by 3Traveller 04:08 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged united_kingdom hotel mum british_countryside wrecclesham wrecclesham_pottery farnham traditional_customs british_cuisine Comments (0)

Winchester

Winchester


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We woke up to a light drizzle, just as the weather forecast had predicted, so my decision to look round the New Forest yesterday and go to Winchester today was vindicated.

We didn't have any breakfast, so by the time we arrived in Winchester at lunchtime we were starving. By now it was pouring with rain, too, so the combination of both made us dive into the first restaurant we both fancied; Loch Fyne. The food there was wonderful and I would most definitely recommend it to anyone. Their lunchtime deal is extremely good value. Smoked haddock chowder with granary bread, a massive smoked salmon fishcake with roasted vegetables and a side of chips, all for only £10.45? Yes please!

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The rain was still hammering down when we left the restaurant. It was mid-afternoon by now and Winchester has many different places of interest, so we decided to go straight to the main one first and then have a look round the shops after. The place we went to was the Great Hall, the only part of Winchester Castle that now remains.

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The Great Hall was built from flint in the first half of the 13th century, though the roof was replaced in 1873. The thing I was most interested in was the imitation Arthurian Round Table, built in the 13th century and repainted in the time of Henry VIII. Only the tabletop remains, not the legs, so it is hung on the wall. The names of 24 of Arthur's knights are painted round the edge.

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The rest of the Hall was impressive as well. There were stained glass windows, wooden rafters, a recreation of a medieval garden outside, and the wall opposite to the Round Table is covered from ground to ceiling with a 19th-century mural of the names of all of Hampshire's Members of Parliament from 1283 to 1868.

After leaving the Great Hall we walked up the road to the army museums, but unfortunately they had just closed. Then we passed by an old-fashioned sweet shop, so we went inside and bought various things... We carried on down the high street, passing by side streets named (I assume - but I might be wrong) after the types of people and trades that used to cluster in each; Jewry Street, Parchment Street, Tanner Street. It was still raining. I definitely want to come back to Winchester another time, when the weather is a bit better and we have more time to look round!

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Waterstone's was practically the only shop still open by now so we browsed there for a bit until it closed at 6pm and we had to drive back to the campsite. We arrived back tired, so we rested for a bit and had dinner quite late. Tuna and tomato pasta, cooked on our portable gas stove. Not bad... and while it was still cooking, a visitor bounded over and licked one of our plates! We heard it coming and saw by the light of our torch that it was a bulldog. Its owner followed behind, apologised and drew the dog away.

Posted by 3Traveller 02:41 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged winchester united_kingdom camping dave british_cuisine Comments (0)

Oxford: Lardy cake, witch in a bottle, shark & more

Cumnor and Oxford


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Breakfast at the Bear & Ragged Staff was excellent (I had Eggs Benedict for the first time) and afterwards we admired a small display of objects that had been found under the floorboards of the pub in 1988. There was an empty Player's Navy Cut cigarette packet, an empty Martins Gold Leaf cigarette packet, several marbles (including clay ones), an old handpainted King of Spades playing card, an ink bottle, a key, some buttons and one or two other things.

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After this we checked out and drove into Oxford. The first thing we did was browse in and buy lots of books from the Oxfam Bookshop on St Giles.

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Then we went on to the Covered Market, home of the famous Oxfordshire lardy cake, venison sausages and much much more. Mum bought some special pies at a butcher/ piemaker's and both of us bought two lardy cakes at a bakery stand. Oxfordshire lardy cake is one of the most delicious sweet things I've ever tasted, especially when heated.

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A quick look at the High Street followed. First of all we went into Payne & Son, the silversmith where Dad got Mum her engagement ring.

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While Mum was still in there, I walked down the road a little bit to have a quick look at Queen's College, where Dad went. Unfortunately the place was closed to tourists, but through the open main door I did get a view of part of the quadrangle.

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Mum then went off to sort the car out before the parking ticket ran out and I paid a visit to the Pitt Rivers Museum. To get there I passed through part of the Natural History Museum. From left to right: the museum, the jaw of a sperm whale, a dinosaur skeleton, a stuffed flamingo and the Oxford Dodo.

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I'd recommend both of these to anyone, but especially Pitt Rivers. It's one of the best anthropology museums in the world and is an absolute treasure trove. Totally fascinating. I wandered round for ages looking at a variety of exhibits, including amulets, charms and other objects used for divination in Africa, Asia and the Americas...

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...a small silver bottle said to have a witch inside...

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...unusual musical instruments from around the world, including a shell used as a trumpet for fog warnings at sea in Cornwall in the 19th century, nose flutes from the Pacific, and an Indian fiddle in the shape of a peacock...

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...weapons, shields, armour, masks, shrunken heads, Native American clothing and 'moss figures' from Russia (carved wooden figures covered in moss, who were used to worship a god who guarded the forest).

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The armour included some from Kiribati made from coconut fibre with a helmet made from a porcupine fish;

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Eventually Mum picked me up and we drove back to St Albans the quick way. On our way out of Oxford we passed by the famous model of a shark a man has sticking out of his rooftop. A very surreal sight anywhere, the fact that it's in an otherwise perfectly normal house in the suburbs makes it even more so.

Posted by 3Traveller 10:16 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged art united_kingdom hotel market museum oxford mum traditional_customs british_cuisine Comments (0)

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