Year: 2016

The best things I bought this year

Hoping you all had a gorgeous Christmas and are looking forward to the dawn on 2017. As you may have noticed from the title, today’s post recaps some of my favourite purchases of the year. This has been a difficult year in many ways, being unwell and all that, but I have appreciated even more the chances to get out and about and also to just enjoy being at home. If we’re talking from a wholesome, cost per use, enjoyment perspective then it’s got to be my membership to The National Trust. I’ve enjoyed a few trips to Fountains Abbey, Beningborough Hall, and Goddard’s in York which was the home of the chocolate family, Terrys. I have enjoyed the gardens which are beautiful and provided me some inspiration. And of course, the tea shops. The plan is to next year tick off some more National Trusts. From a completely selfish perspective (because there have been some very boring practical purchases this year, along with lots of lovely things for my new grandson) something that has …

Millers Fish and Chips

I do like to be beside the sea and have my ration of fish and chips, but my destiny seems to be to visit only fish restaurants as far from the sea as it’s possible to be. Be that as it may, you won’t find me complaining. Drumroll, please: the finalists in this year’s National Fish & Chip awards have been announced, revealing the top 10 fish and chip restaurants in the country. Miller’s Fish and Chips in Haxby, North Yorkshire are the best in the North East. The restaurant will now be going head to head in January to compete for the coveted title of Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award 2017. I had a lunch outing recently to Haxby, a delightful village suburb four miles north of York, all part of my relaxing into retirement. Millers, run by Nick, and his dad David has been serving up tasty suppers for 51 years from The Village, Haxby. So off I went to try the Senior Special. The business has recently undergone a …

SNAP! Recipe Box

I’m turning into a bit of a ‘box’ junkie – if it can be delivered in a box to my door, or fit through the letter box, it ticks my box with fascination! And being a foodie, I’ll introduce you to one of my latest… SNAP! recipe box If it can be grown, reared, caught or made in Yorkshire, it’s in SNAP recipe box. And boxes can be delivered monthly all over the country. SNAP was created by two brothers, passionate Yorkshiremen and foodies at heart. They have been out and about in the diverse countryside of God’s Own County discovering and getting to know the incredible food producers who supply them with the top-notch quality local produce you’ll find in their Yorkshire recipe box. My box arrived packed full of fresh Yorkshire vegetables and meat, and all dry ingredients needed for three recipes, this box is not only convenient but also cuts down on waste. It allows you to try ingredients you might not otherwise have tried, in small quantities without having to invest in a whole …

November in North Yorkshire

I’ve just come back from a bit of a retreat. I get this urge now and again to go to the seaside and I jump at the chance of a visit to see the sea, more so now that I live 70 miles inland. I was thrilled to join a dear friend 70th birthday celebrations at The Star Inn, Harome, which is just outside Helmsley. And then I was even more excited to combine a hop over the North Yorkshire Moors to Sandsend to curb my craving for the sight of the North sea. See what you think…….I love this bit of North Yorkshire, even in dull and damp November. And I even managed a misty and sunny peep over The Vale of York from Sutton Bank on the very edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. A treat like this is just what you need before the run up to Christmas.    

Autumn:Winter:Baby

Moving from autumn to winter has happened in one week, in my garden anyway. It was comforting to bring indoors the very last rose of the year. And then there was a visit to a Christmas Fair at Harewood House that gave me some inspiration to move the outdoors – indoors. I met Bert Blankers, a delightful Dutch guy who is also a bulb specialist, who fuelled my enthusiasm to bring some greenery and life into my house for winter. So let’s watch these ‘paper whites’ brighten up my hall in the run up to Christmas. I remember the traditional amaryllises that in Christmases of old you would buy for the aged Aunt who had everything. Well, I have bought myself a white amaryllis bulb, so there is something else to water, nurture and watch over the next few weeks. Black tulips bulbs were on offer, so these are now planted in the garden for a spring surprise. And I have a few more exciting events coming soon……Greygoose family, and her gosling have a new …

The Cafe at Field and Fawcett

After a decade as a successful wine merchant and delicatessen, this summer Field & Fawcett opened the doors to a new café. Located at Grimston Bar, on Hull Road, and close to the A64 from Leeds to Scarborough, it is perfectly located for some luxury en route. Always eager to enjoy my new pastime, Ladies who Lunch, I was curious to check out the new café, and see if it lived up to the high standards and reputation of the existing shop. Having to walk through the retail area to reach the café is an excellent marketing tool, with over 1000 bottles of wine and spirits to pore over. On first impressions the interior is cool and simple, leaving the details to shine through with the beautiful, convincingly vintage-style crockery. We were greeted by attentive staff who were confident in answering our questions. The Tart of the Day, leek and blue cheese, was flavoursome, and served with the three salads I had chosen. Apple celery and walnut, couscous, and lemon dressed courgette with pumpkin seeds …

Skosh comes to York

Skosh (noun) – from the Japanese word Sukoshi, meaning a small amount or a little The most exciting new restaurant in York, in my opinion anyway. Read on! I recently took a leisurely walk down the cobbled street of Micklegate, one of York’s loveliest streets. It starts from the historic entrance to the city down past Tudor and Georgian buildings, medieval churches, book shops and more. It was once a seedy drinking street, now I was pleasantly surprised to see it is being regenerated by the addition of some high end shops and restaurants. And one of these restaurants came highly recommended, a perfect lunch time spot I thought. Skosh was opened earlier this year by York native and creative chef Neil Bentinck. Two years in the making, Skosh now offers a grazing style menu of contemporary and internationally influenced dishes served from an open kitchen, providing a dining experience that is casual, personable, intriguing and exciting. Everything from the cool grey walls to the bright yellow metro tiles, from the industrial lighting, to the …

Browns:Charity Night Out

I was excited to be invited to a night out in York, I haven’t  done that for …. many years! This was a shopping night for two charities, Breast Cancer Now and York Breast Friends, at Browns, an independent family owned store that has been in York for over a hundred years. Browns hosted an interesting evening event providing nibbles and fizz, and the delightful staff were smiling and helpful and eager to support the customers and charities. Plus, there was a 20% discount so a chance to buy some of my favourite brands. I had been looking for a red scarf to brighten up the winter months, and here it was! Clinique have always been one of my return-to brands and this evening was just the time to have that makeup overhaul and try new products. The consultant was more than happy to chat and suggest the best of her products to my friend and I, plus we could have a free gift if we purchased two or more Clinique products. Hurry down, this …

Nidd Wick Farm

You’ve probably heard of vegetable boxes, but why not get your meat treats delivered to your door too? They’re a great way of ensuring meat traceability, as well as making sure you get really tasty meat without having to travel for it. I recently met Tim MacLean, a lawyer turned farmer at York Food Festival.  He has 20 native Longhorn cattle in his fields on the banks of the River Nidd, at Nidd Wick farm near Knaresborough in North Yorkshire and has now introduced a beef box scheme. His cows live outdoors all year round, are grass fed, have hay in winter and then go on to calve in the spring. Choosing from either a small taster box or a family sized box, each box will contain a selection of sirloin and rump steaks, roasting joints topside and silverside, braising steak, casserole and mince. I have recently been cooking up some Nidd Wick beef dishes in my kitchen The mince for a great chilli con carne, the succulent and deep flavoured roast beef for Sunday …

Bircher Meusli

Bircher Muesli was a very recent discovery for me.  A few weeks ago I was staying at the MGallery Hotel Continental in Zurich. It would have been disrespectful not to have tried this Swiss delight at the breakfast buffet. Introduced by Swiss physician Max Bircher-Brenner around 1900, the breakfast dish of oats soaked in lemon juice and condensed milk topped with grated apple and nuts was meant for his patients at the hospital in Zurich. Over the years, the original Bircher muesli has evolved and I have discovered it has become utterly adventurous and delicious. I was instantly taken by the simplicity of the recipe and the complexity of flavour possibilities at my fingertips. So after some research and tasting, here is my basic recipe which makes six servings: Ingredients 200g Rolled oats 500ml Probiotic Yoghurt, plain or with fruit 200ml Pressed Apple juice 40g desiccated coconut Toppings Grated apple, honey, fresh fruit, walnuts, pumpkin seeds or dried fruit and nuts of your choice. Combine oats, coconut, apple juice and yoghurt in a bowl, mix …