Wednesday, January 03, 2007

More Christmas Presents ...

Wed 3 Jan 2007

... and also, a happy new year!

Unsurprisingly, the Christmas break was spent indulging in a lot of eating and drinking! The main eating treat was a visit to L'Enclume, Cartmel's very own Michelin starred restaurant. While that merits its own entry what else did we get up to and what other presents did we get?!

On the present front, aside from the sausage maker, there were lots of cook books all round! To go with the sausage maker I received the Sausage-making Cookbook by Jerry Predika. It's an American book, and while you might be forgiven for thinking that sausages were an American invention, it has loads of recipes from all over the world, including ones for dried and semi dried sausages (if I ever get into curing). As it's full of very tasty sounding ideas I'm keen to start trying the recipes out ... but I'll have to wait as our first foray this weekend will follow the very basic recipe which came with the kit.

I gave Andy Cooking Japanese. This is in order to perfect his sushi rice making skills, but the book contains so many beautiful photos that we've both spent ages salivating over it. A shame it doesn't contain a Japanese sausage recipe!!!!!!

I also received a translation of Ma Cuisine, by Escoffier, and a copy of The Women's Institute 650 Favourite Recipes. While this sounds a bit like the sublime to the ridiculous they both have plenty of solid recipes. The WI book in particular has a couple of very good sections on cakes and biscuits ...

And finally, an old copy of part VIII of the Concise Encyclopaedia of Gastronomy - featuring all beverages alcoholic, by Andre Simon. It's a 1940s edition, so while it's full of useful information it is also full of some rather quaint turns of phrase! I hate to think what would happen if I read too much of it after a couple of drinks!

And on the eating summary ... we ate at the Engine Inn in Cark, where the selection of beers was a bit limited, and the food fell into the OK category. It was relatively cheap and the service was very friendly, but my fillet steak (which was a lovely piece of meat) was still over cooked and served with a rather sad selection of vegetables. It was actually quite a shame, because I don't think it would take much at all to elevate this pub to something above the ordinary. The landlady was friendly and working very hard ... I just can't help but think her kitchen is holding her back.

We also ate at the Rusland Pool Hotel in Haverthwaite. I think they need to do a bit more work than the Engine, to be honest. The service was below par and the food seemed a little bit patchy - fantastic potatoes, but a pie overloaded with salty gravy, and some really alarming looking cream with my very tasty bread and butter pudding with lemon curd. It was also a more expensive meal than at the Engine, so I would have expected something to stand out.

And finally, we played pub quiz at the Pheasant in Allithwaite (Thursdays, 9:30pm) - everyone was so friendly that somehow it made coming a resounding last just not quite so bad!!

1. L'Enclume, Cavendish Street, Cartmel, nr Grange over Sands, Cumbria, LA11 6PZ, phone 015395 36362
2. The Engine Inn, Cark in Cartmel, Grange Over Sands, LA11 7NZ, phone 01539 558341
3. Rusland Pool Hotel, Haverthwaite, Nr. Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 8AA, phone 01229 861 384
4. The Pheasant, Flookburgh Rd, Allithwaite, Grange Over Sands LA11 7RQ, phone 015395 32239

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