Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Easter Eating

I had quite a busy Easter and since most of it was spent in the North West I'm going to do a quick run down of activities, rather than a blow-by-blow account of all the eating ...

Fri 14 April 2006

After the hot cross buns we headed off over to Lancaster where we embarked on a rather embarrassing four day eating and drinking binge. We started with an afternoon snack at Red's Cafe and Bar on Church Street. Apart from the mind bogglingly cheap cocktails (and it was too early in the afternoon to indulge) it was just a standard, student-y cafe. We moved on to the Lounge Bar on Marton Street - which was offering Kronenbourg for £2.80 a pint but no real beers ... Dinner was at Etna Pizza Pasta (does what it says on the tin!) on New Street.

Sat 15 April 2006

Fed and very well watered from Friday's antics we moved on to Cartmel, which was base camp for the remainder of the weekend. It looks as though gin and tonic weather has arrived - this was duly celebrated before moving on to the Jumble Room in Grasmere for dinner.

Sun 16 April 2006

Still feeling full from the past couple of day's efforts we managed to squeeze in a cream tea at Holker Hall in the late afternoon. Given my rather nasty experience of a north west cream tea few weeks ago I am going to spend some time doing a 'compare and contrast'. Holker Hall is the ancestral seat of Lord & Lady Cavendish and it appears that a lot of effort has gone into providing an experience slightly different from the usual stately house outing. Holker Hall has its very own food hall. I was a bit disappointed because the hall doesn't have a really strong regional focus - or rather, it does, but it also includes all other sorts of bits and pieces. Really rather incongruous to spot items like crushed or dried chillis alongside Valrhona chocolate and Cumbrian farm produce ... As you can imagine, on an Easter Sunday afternoon, it was also rather packed. Fortunately we timed our arrival at the tea rooms rather better and got a good seat in a quiet corner.

By this point I'd decided I felt like scones - to the extent that even though the scones had sultanas in them I still went for it! While the service in the tea room was nothing short of shambolic (our order went missing, the staff seemed to have no idea what was going on, etc etc) the afternoon tea itself was actually very good. My scone was an absolute monster, served with a very generous serving of clotted cream (which I guess was from the estate) and raspberry preserve (note - not jam!). The scone was warm (and fresh!), the sultanas on the outside caramelised, and it was dusted with icing sugar ... so I managed to make a lovely mess AND misjudge the amount of cream I used (yes, there was some left ...). Absolutely delicious ... and washed down with a very good cup of tea (even if it was only from tea bags!).

There was still more eating to come ... with a visit to the Pig and Whistle in Cartmel lined up for dinner. There was a bit of anxious anticipation ... after a bank holiday weekend with fantastic weather would there be any food left? Well ... there was, but not a lot ... our original choices were somewhat curtailed and the whole table ended up with Templand sausages and mash ... which was not an altogether bad thing ...

After all of this, I rolled out of bed on Monday and somehow managed to get back to Leeds. Now I've finally got my internet sorted out at home I can try to redress a tiny backlog ... and get on with the serious business of cooking and eating!
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