Head Chef Stuart Drane, formerly of Aurora in Ipswich and more recently Chef Lecturer at Suffolk New College, has taken up the reigns at the Suffolk Food Hall, heading up the brigade in the Cookhouse. I was invited to try the new Spring menu and after a heatwave weekend, the day I went was freezing cold and wet. So I was quite happy to see a slow cooked featherblade beef with roasted root vegetables and roast potatoes on the daily specials and ordered that for my lunch, preceeded by three very crispy and tasty fishcakes with homemade tartare sauce. The new slightly shorter Spring menu offers a very good element of mix and match menu items, and had it been warmer I would have easily been tempted by the Suffolk Gold Rarebit with a side salad. As I took Mr SuffolkFoodie I got to dip into his roasted tomato soup which had dollops of mascarpone, grated Parmesan and olive oil dotted across the surface, and also tried his Shepherds pie, which was rather delicious as it was made from slow cooked shoulder of lamb rather than the traditional minced lamb. Portions are very generous, and being conscious of the amount of food I've eaten recently judging for the Suffolk Food and Drink Awards, decided that sharing a dessert would be the healthy option. I saw some fantastic ice cream sundaes being delivered to other tables, but couldn't resist the sound of the vanilla cheesecake with burnt orange caramel and orange sorbet. The sorbet packed a punch of flavour against the creamy cheesecake and the contrasting burnt caramel flavours and was easily big enough to share. The garden centre and farm shop proved to be a good chance to walk off some of the lunch, but as always, with the next meal in mind I managed to leave with a whole oxtail to cook for the weekend. And that was delicious too!
- roasted tomato soup with mascarpone, Parmesan and olive oil
- crispy fishcakes with tartare sauce
- slow cooked featherblade with roasted root vegetables and roast potatoes
- lamb shoulder shepherd's pie
- vanilla cheesecake with burnt orange caramel and orange sorbet
Zumba Josie celebrated 7 years of fitness and fun by having a party and a great Zumba Bake Off at Norton Village Hall. I hadn't quite expected the level of competition when I was asked to judge. Here's the winner! Chocolate Heaven. A tower of chocolate sponge with layers of buttercream, mountains of chocolate and a secret stash of smarties in the middle. Made by mother and daughter team Sue and Grace.
- runner up - Black Forest Gateau
- more cakes!
- runner up - Fruit Mousse Tower
- winner - Chocolate Heaven
- runner up - Zumba cake
Appearing on menus at a fast pace, pineapples are set to outsell avocados as the latest fruit trend sets in. Dehydrate it, ferment it, crush it, or colada cake it like me.
It's got a little colder and we are into December so it's time to roll out the mulled wine, and of course a cheeky cherry brandy. Why not?
I love my motor racing weekends making tea for the HRDC drivers and crew. I have never seen so many cakes consumed in a day, but it doesn't seem to slow the drivers down!
October 25th and we are all set up and ready to go. The Little House of Cooking Cafe will be open every day at Blackthorpe Barn until December 22nd.
Who would have thought that in the middle of the peaceful Suffolk countryside that one of the best ever punk bands, The Mekons would re-unite and party like they haven't partied for years. We popped up with our Little House of Cooking cafe and every little crumb was eaten. Thank you for a brilliant weekend!
Late February and into March saw my annual holiday to the sunshine of the Caribbean, a trip to see Claire (fellow SuffolkFoodie) in Barbuda. For those that don't know, Barbuda was wiped out by Hurricane Irma on September 9th. The island was devasted and 6 months on still is. No electricty and running water makes life difficult enough, but for those still living in tents or without a roof over their head, life must be miserable. Food and general supplies are desperately short, so first stop after arriving in Antigua was shopping and buying supplies to send on the cargo boat. Three days in Antigua provided enough time for some sight seeing and to eat some street food which is available on nearly every corner. Also this fantastic island breakfast at our Airbnb. In Barbuda we cooked for ourselves using the supplies that we'd sent ahead. There is little else to buy unless you find a fisherman or hunter with a good catch. We found Bernie who had just been out in his boat and supplied a 10lb red snapper to cook over the fire. We also successfully dived for conchs which were so tough to remove from the shell that we had to take we them to Bernie to release. Limited ingredients, only a generator for power keeps you on your toes when deciding what to cook. But our conch escabeche would give any top restaurant a run for it's money.
- Bernie's was so happy to have caught some fish
- Antigua street food menu
- loading our cargo in Antigua for Barbuda
- Curry chicken patties from a food stall in Antigua
- Conch's out of the shell
- Conch escabeche
- Dumplings cooked to order in Antigua
- Barbuda red snapper grill
- Antigua kitchen
Pizza Rosso has certainly put some life into The Railway Tavern in Elmswell. Friday night's only, grab yourself a lovely thin and crispy stone baked pizza from the food truck in the car park (from about 5pm to 8.30pm). Order your pizza, pop into the pub and have a pint while you wait for a text to tell you the pizza's ready. We ordered the Carne with salami, spicy beef and prosciutto and the special Code di Gambero with cray fish tails, jalapeno, sweetcorn and cajun seasoning. The smoked chipotle chilli dip was so fiery that it called for another pint of Aspall's. Lovely service from the owner and his mum, plus a pudding of the day too. Note that The Tavern, as the locals call it, only takes cash and despite it being run down has a dart board, a pool table and a friendly landlord. Unlike Elmswell Fox who has a grumpy landlord, I mean who shouts at customers for walking through a door in the wrong direction? Pizza Rosso is in Woolpit on a Monday, Stanton on Tuesday, Bacton on Wednesday and Thurston on Thursdays.
- Code di Gambero with crayfish tails, jalapeno, sweetcorn and cajun seasoning
- Carne with salami, spicy beef and prosciutto ham
- open from 5.30pm until about 8.30pm