You don't usually see menus like this being served in a Norfolk village hall. Run by Rebellion who hold monthly pop ups, here is the link the their Facebook page and to their pop up at Long Stratton Village Hall on March 5th. £40 per head. Sounds good and it's bookings only.
You can't beat a plate of Norfolk asparagus and our favourite place to buy is direct from Tim Jolly at Roudham Farm. During the months of April, May and June the farm shop is open and you can see the freshly daily picked asparagus being sorted and bundled, ready to go off to Covent Garden and Spitalfields markets. The crooked spears are always a bargain if you want to make some soup or a risotto. Follow the signs between the whisky distillery and the railway station in East Harling.
Delia isn't very happy as Norwich are relegated from the Premier League this week, but us Tractor Boys are. We are also happy that there is now a monthly street food event at The Forum in the centre of Norwich - who are ya?
I was hunting for microcress, pea shoots and edible flowers and found the most amazing selection grown right here in East Anglia.
Allan Miller at Nurtured in Norfolk in Dereham invited me to take a tour of his glasshouses and I was hit by a sea of green, mini micro leaves of every variety, some which I had never even heard of.
Allan and his wife Sue gave up their jobs as chefs and started growing microcress in a greenhouse in their back garden. Now they supply the likes of Ollie Dabbous and other Michelin acclaimed chefs.
This multi function and award winning community building has a cafe, with enthusiastic staff and lots of homemade cakes. They tried to persuade me to have a full English breakfast, but for the sake of my arteries I settled for a capuccino.
Go upstairs to find out about the Pulham Pigs.
I couldn't stay in Cromer last night without trying out No 1 Fish and Chip Restaurant and takeaway, recently opened by Galton Blackiston ( you know; Morston Hall, Michelin Star, Celebrity Chef...) The restaurant is quite big and the takeaway shop is next door.
When you arrive you stand behind a sign which says "please wait to be seated" so I did. The waitress came over and said that she was not allowed to seat me - I thought she was joking, but she wasn't. So I had to wait for the lady in charge to finish taking an order before she showed me to a table.
I was hoping to try the house special - crab cakes - but they had sold out so I ordered plaice and chips and a portion of mushy pea fritters.The printed menu gives more space to the wines on offer than the savoury food but I was driving so had a ginger beer, there are some nice choices of soft drinks. The fish was very fresh - had lovely batter, light and crisp - and very good chips with a portion of homemade tartare sauce on the side. The pea fritters were also tasty and so hot I burnt my mouth eating them. They were served with a mint dip.
The service was a bit shaky from that wait at the start. A few things were forgotton and there were some interesting descriptions of the menu - olives in the tartare sauce.... I don't think so!
Quirky Black Lion Hotel in Little Walsingham, Norfolk has a menu especially for dogs. It also has a Stitch 'n Bitch Knitters Anonymous evening on a Wednesday night. I ate there last week, in the middle of the afternoon and the only person in the place. I had the fresh sea bass as I didnt fancy the rawhide chew. It was very good.
...from the football perspective you understand. We had to go to try it - what with Dad being eighty-something and from Norfolk. It was certainly worth the trip, simple and stylish with a no frills friendly local service and good home-made food. And they certainly pay attention to their bookings as the birthday card was a complete surprise. We had champagne, a three course menu with two very nice wines for around £39 a head, and so as a tribute we feature Delia on our Dish of the Day.
After a lovely family visit to her restaurant at the Norwich City Football ground, we felt we had to honour her contribution to the world of cooking. She had left a signed birthday card for Dad and after that he was as happy as Larry! This recipe comes from Delias Vegetarian collection which can be found on her website. It's full of other delicious seasonal recipes that just want to make you stay at home and cook. Apologies to all Ipswich supporters but really there's no competition - is there?
Winter Vegetable Pie with a Parmesan Crust
8 oz (225g) each of butternut squash, celeriac, sweet potato and carrots - cut into small cubes
8 oz sliced leeks
Freshly grated nutmeg
4 oz (110g) Gruyere or Emmental cheese – grated
1 egg beaten – to glaze
For the pastry
1 oz (25g) finely grated Parmesan
4 oz plain flour
1 oz vegetable fat
1 oz softened butter
For the sauce
1.5 oz (50g) butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1.5 oz plain flour
1 pint (570ml) milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
2 oz Gruyere or Emmental cheese – grated
1 oz Parmesan, grated
1 dessertspoon each of finely chopped rosemary and thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper.
First of all place the butternut squash, celeriac, carrots and leeks in a steamer (the sweet potato is added later on). Pour in some boiling water from the kettle, add the freshly grated nutmeg and some salt, then cover and steam the vegetables for 10 minutes. Now add the chunks of sweet potato and steam for another 10 minutes, or until the thickest parts of the root vegetables feel tender when tested with a skewer. Then tip all the vegetables into a large bowl and allow them to cool.
Meanwhile, make the sauce and the pastry. For the sauce, melt the butter in a smallish saucepan and add the onion. When you've stirred it so that it's nice and buttery, let it cook on the lowest possible heat for about 20 minutes. It's important not to let it colour, so give it a stir from time to time. Now, using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour until smooth, then add the milk a little at a time, switching to a balloon whisk and whisking well after each addition. Now season the sauce with nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste, and let it barely simmer for 5 minutes. After that, stir in the grain mustard, the cheeses and the herbs. Then leave to cool.
To make the pastry, first sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a large bowl, holding the sieve up high to give it a good airing. Then add the lard and butter and, using only your fingertips, lightly and gently rub the fat into the parmesan and then sprinkle in some cold water - about 1 tablespoon. Start to mix the pastry with a knife and then finish off with your hands, adding more drops of water until you have a smooth dough that will leave the bowl clean. Then pop the pastry into a polythene bag and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
When you are ready to cook the pie, preheat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C). Carefully mix the steamed vegetables with the sauce and pile half of the mixture into a pie dish. Now sprinkle half of the Gruyere (or other cheese) from the filling ingredients over the top and then repeat with the remaining mixture and cheese. Next, roll the pastry out into a circle on a surface lightly dusted with a little extra flour, and as you roll, give it quarter turns to keep the round shape. Next, cut a 12 inch (30 cm) circle out of this pastry. Roll out the leftover trimmings and cut a ½ in (1 cm) strip to go around the edge of the dish.
Now dampen the edge of the dish with water and place the strip of pastry around the rim, pressing down well. Dampen the top of this strip and then transfer the circle of pastry, rolling it over the rolling pin, to the dish and press it lightly and firmly over the edges to seal. Next, using the blunt edge of a knife, knock up the edges, then flute them using your thumb to push out and your forefinger to pull in again. Then make a hole in the centre of the pastry lid to let the steam out, and brush the surface with beaten egg. Now place the dish on the baking sheet and bake it for 25-30 minutes on the centre shelf of the oven, or until the pie is bubbling hot and the pastry is golden brown and crusty.
Guess what? More free yogurt! From New Zealand via Little Melton in Norfolk and delivered to my door - as you know I never turn down free samples.
These are just how I like my yogurt, flavoured with a satisfying drizzle of mango or passion fruit coulis (or pear, blueberry and honey) They taste as good as the ones I make myself for breakfast with plain yogurt and home-made coulis. My son said 'they look nice' when he opened the fridge after school, so I can only tell you that the one I had was lovely!