A great cheese counter filled with carefully selected cheeses and staffed by people who really know a lot about the goods they are selling. You can taste before you buy and you are unlikely to be disappointed. Introduced us to Black Cheddar! Beadlam Review
Mannion & Co, Helmsley – best coffee and cake
Beautiful coffee and fabulous, freshly baked artisan made cakes. The cakes are often decorated with fresh fruit and interesting herbs that put them on a level above the competition. Mannion & Co also gave us the best pasta dish of 2017! Mannion Review
Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House – best attached tea room
Usually when we visit an historic house and/or gardens the cafe or tea room seems to be only there to provide basic sustenance. However at Blackwell they have an Arts & Crafts approach to food with a focus on quality, freshly prepared dishes. We loved it! Blackwell Review
Here’s hoping that 2018 gives us as much food joy as 2017!
We use The Spicery, a Bristol based mail order business that supplies some of the best restaurants in the UK, to supplement our home larder. For far too long now we’ve had a pack called Seekh Kebab Night sitting in a cupboard looking terribly inviting. Tonight we are going to create….
The pack includes spices for: seekh kebab; sizzling peppers; naan bread; garlic chilli chutney; raita herbs; chana masala; and even salad. Extraordinary. Most of the spices are familiar – we use mustard seeds, fenugreek and ginger all the time. But ajowan, amchur and asafoetida – they are all new to me.
Rock works on the naan bread and the chana masala. I work on the chutney, the raita, the sizzling peppers and the salad. We share the task of creating the seekh kebabs. The salad and raita just need mixing, pans for the chutney, chana masala, sizzling peppers and the kebabs are on the stove plus the naan bread is in the oven.
The whole process takes us most of two hours – but it is worth the effort. All the dishes taste fantastic – super hot but flavoursome chutney, zingy salad and raita, fabulous naan and the masala, kebabs and peppers all work really well together. We only used half the ingredients so, maybe we should do this again next week…
Bettys is a very civilised place. Traditional surroundings, staff in uniform and all the baking, patisserie, tea and coffee brewing skills you expect from a quality British institution. We’ve been to the Harrogate and Ilkley branches before – now it’s the turn of Bettys in Northallerton.
I have a cafetière of coffee made with Kenyan Karatina beans while Rock is happy with a cup of Bettys cafe blend. We share a piece of the Autumn berry cheesecake and the tangy lemon slice. They are both excellent with the cheesecake winning the beauty contest and the lemon slice winning on flavour.
As usual, as we leave Betty’s we wander into the shop to buy bread and pastries for later. It would be foolish not to!
This cafe in Lechlade has a relaxed friendly atmosphere. It is owned by Australian, Rob Broadbent, who makes an extraordinary flat white for Rock and an equally beautiful cappucino for me. Great coffee makes a great start to any breakfast. Can the food match the coffee?
We don’t have to wait long to find out – even though every item is freshly cooked. I have scrambled eggs on sourdough toast with smoked salmon. It is sensational but, at first, I can’t exactly work out why. Then, I taste the bacon sandwich that Rock has ordered and is raving about between mouthfuls. Now I understand – it is the bread!
The bread is made by Max Abbott of Sourdough Revolution. His bread is the lightest sourdough I have ever tasted and it is full of flavour. Max is in the cafe while we are there and takes the time to chat to us about his baking process. Indeed, it’s all about time with Max – his starter goes through stages of fermentation and then his dough is fermented before being put in the fridge for several hours. In effect, each loaf takes days from starter to baking!
While chatting I try a pot of the tea. Only because I’m aiming to linger here for as long as possible. The tea is very good but it does not reach the standard set by the coffee.
Just in case I have not made myself clear – the bacon on Rock’s sandwich is fantastic and the smoked salmon on my plate is equally fabulous. In any normal breakfast – these would be the stars of the show. But this is not normal, here the coffee and the bread outshine all the other stars – Lynwood & Co is simply on another level!
After wandering around the farmers’ market in Stroud and buying loads of interesting goodies for the next few days… it’s time for coffee and cake. Woodruff’s is a favourite stop for us when we are in Stroud. It is an organic cafe that was established almost 20 years ago and it now has a reputation for great food and friendly service.
The atmosphere in the cafe is buzzing and convivial. Rock has an americano and I have a cappucino – as always the coffee is excellent. There are always a range of freshly made cakes to choose from and, as ever, I want to be adventurous. Beetroot & salted caramel cake – that should do it. It is very moist, the beetroot and salted caramel icing is fascinating in colour and tastes good too.
As usual, this has been a great place to chill before heading back out for more food shopping!
We are at The Bakehouse in Greenodd and it is not often that a piece of cake is so good that I have to blog about it. However, along with excellent coffees, we are enjoying a piece of their iced gingerbread. It is covered in a thin film of icing that perfectly sweetens the beautifully moist and fully flavoured gingerbread. It is so good that we go on to buy white rolls for tomorrow’s lunch and take home a custard tart for afternoon tea. If you are in the southern lake district looking for coffee and/or baked goods then this place should be at the top of your list.
Postscript: The rolls and the tart were fantastic too!
Rock has honed her baking skills on courses with two extraordinary bakers both based in Bath. We’ve blogged about one of them, Richard Bertinet, before and today we had the chance to visit the cafe of the Thoughtful Bread Co. where the other, Duncan Glendinning, sells his wares.
The cafe is modest in size but the bread, salads and pastries on display all look very appetising. There are even purple wraps made with beetroot! We order coffee and, just because the mood takes us, a sausage roll. The coffee is fantastic and the sausage roll is the best I’ve had for a very long time.
They are planning to extend the cafe into the premises next door and I’m sure we will be visiting the new set up as soon as it is in place.