30 November 2010

Breakfast at Elveden, or Bring on the Peasants, sorry, Pheasants

Last Saturday we disregarded all the bad weather doom and gloom on the telly, and set off for Norfolk to visit family. Rather as we'd expected, it was not too bad at all, and the tons of snow that had been talked up were in fact very modest, not to say slightly mean, though it was wonderfully Christmas card-looking in places.

As is not uncommon we allowed ourselves the treat of breakfast at Elveden, in Suffolk (not far from the border with Norfolk) -the Elveden Estate Restaurant does what is quite simply one of the best cooked breakfasts I've ever had, with a delicious combination of eggs, mushrooms, sausages, tomatoes, black pudding, hash brown, bacon and fried bread, for the astonishing price of £7.25. What's more, all the food in the restaurant is sourced from the estate or as from as close by as possible, and is cooked to order, so what you're eating is both fresh and supporting local food production.

The eatery is reached via the food and wine shop, where, well, yes, we usually give in to temptation and buy something, if that's only pork and apple pies for lunch, or fudge for presents (one recent selection being vanilla with cherry and walnut; caramel and cookies; vanilla and chocolate honeycomb; and caramel and chocolate with chocolate pieces). This being autumn, there were some good plump pheasants, so we bought two for dinner on Sunday - yum. Roast in a foil tent and served with jacket potatoes, garlicked roast parsnips, large mushrooms and onion sauce, and even after we'd tucked in, quite a bit over for eating somehow else tonight.

As the East Anglian section of one of my favourite books on dialect 'Yacky Dar, Moy Bewty' by Sam Llewellyn would have it, "Oi loike a pheasant. That eat excellent"!

14 November 2010

Rost befe of olde englande

Well, not entirely, to be honest - the accompaniments were rather more twenty-first century.

This evening we dined off a succulent piece of beef sirloin, reared by our friend Steve Rawlings before he gave up these entertainments in the face of too much aggro from the food police etc. It was cooked with lamb and rosemary chipolatas (I don't normally mix meats, but had exhumed these from the freezer a couple of days ago and they needed cooking) with some large mushrooms added towards the end. I also cooked cauliflower, garlic potatoes, and onion sauce, and we opened a bottle of red wine - the lovely Chorey-les-Beaune (2008) which takes no effort at all to drink. It was a sort of rehearsal for Christmas, it was that good...

Yes, this was a slightly extravagant meal, but it was demmed tasty, and made a morceau of space in the freezer. It was also better value than the meat I was looking at in M&S yesterday - a depressing selection of the expensive, quick to cook, and no effort required to deal with inconvenient flavour factors like bone or skin. It caused me to realise once and for all that I am not one of their core customers. That seems to be the suited and booted male and its female equivalent. Yes, I see plenty of grannies in there buying food, and Marks do well at providing things for the single person - but from observation the majority of their profit these days surely comes from dinner partyish food needing the minimum of preparation, with cost not really a factor to be considered. There are occasions when I'm grateful for it, but when I retire those are going to be fewer and further between...