So anyways, I’ve been away on holiday for the past five or so weeks; in England and then on a cruise through the Norwegian fjords in search of the Northern lights (spoiler alert, we saw them), before finishing off with another few days in London.
We landed back in Australia at stupid o’clock on Saturday morning having missed Friday, and as I write this (early on Monday morning) my Fitbit is telling me I’ve had a total of just over 8 hours sleep since Thursday morning in London. Jet lag really is a killer. Plus, I now have a heavy cold.
Despite all the whinging and complaining, we had a fabulous time and I realise that it’s all just a part of the privilege that is international travel – and living on the other side of the world from, well, the other side of the world. And after the last couple of years, a little jetlag and a snotty nose (too much information?) are a small price to pay for the joy that is being able to travel again.
While I’ll tell you about our trip in more detail over the coming weeks, today is about what’s been on my plate, so here it is: the England foodie highlights post.
If you’re hungry look away now…
While we were in the English countryside, we’d booked multi-day stays at Air BNBs so we could get our own groceries in, have the occasional evening meal at home, and mostly keep it simple and light for brekky.
We did, however, indulge in brekky at Severn & Wye Smokery at Westbury-on-Severn just outside of Gloucester. Kedgeree for Grant (I had it last time we were there and he had food envy) and house-smoked kippers for me (which he had the last time we visited). For the useless book of knowledge, the kippers are so good that they serve Severn & Wye kippers at Fortnum & Mason.
Country pubs are a highlight of travelling through England – particularly in the country – and we tended to seek them out for lunches and evening meals.
In all but the gastro-style (or more upmarket) pubs, the portions tend to be huge – particularly in Yorkshire. We very quickly learnt that at lunchtime we needed to order a sandwich or the soup of the day.
A foodie must do when travelling in Britain is the Sunday roast, and we plan our Sundays around where we’ll be having it. This one (below) at Dick Hudson at Bingley Moor, West Yorkshire was the business. Amazing flavoured Yorkshire beef, excellent Yorkshire puddings, good veg and a refillable gravy jug – all washed down with a pint of the local brew. What’s not to like?
For some reason, the ice cream over here tastes different. Anyways, the best one we had was a scoop of damson ice cream at our old favourite Jolly Nice Farmshop at Frampton Mansell.
A close second was this bowl of vanilla, strawberry and pistachio which we shared to finish a fabulous Italian meal at Casa Cucina in Tetbury.
Morning tea at Betty’s, York
Betty’s began in Harrogate in 1919 and is a must-do when in York or Harrogate.
We shared a Fat Rascal (a cross between a rock cake and a fruit scone – you can learn more about them here), a Yorkshire pikelet (like a flat crumpet) and a Yorkshire Curd Tart. The curd tart is sort of like a cheesecake but made with fresh curd and currants – and is my new favourite at Betty’s.
Keep an eye out for future posts on BKD as I try to make my own.
Afternoon tea at The Pump Room, Bath
Sarah bought this experience as a present for Grant for Father’s Day and it was very elegant indeed.
While the sweet treats were a tad too sweet for my taste, the little sandwiches and savoury treats were perfect (my fave was the little pea tart – bottom left) and the scones were the best of the trip.
More belonging to Lancashire than Yorkshire, we found Eccles Cakes throughout Yorkshire and they very quickly became Grant’s favourite treat.
Almost like a fruit mince pie but encased in flaky puff pastry, the best ones we had were from Thomas the Baker at Helmsley, North Yorkshire.
No holiday to England would be complete without scones, although this time around my scone count was disappointingly low.
Other than the aforementioned perfect scones at The Pump Room, there were the (very disappointing) stilton scones in Bakewell served with a slice of cheese on the side and a little jar of onion relish.
And there were the scones at Fortnum & Mason which I’d had very high hopes for. The fruit scone, however, was stale. I suspect it’s because we weren’t in the tearoom, but rather the Parlour which was full of kids getting bowls of ice cream, but no matter.
The tea was, as Fortnum’s tea always is, excellent, so all was not lost.
The Celebration Dinners
Grant and I celebrated the release of Philly Barker Investigates at The Blacksmith’s Arms in Westow – the inspiration for Chipwell Arms in the novel.
Grant’s birthday fell on our last full day in London so a special dinner that night was a must.
We chose Boisdale in Belgravia, a Scottish restaurant with a rather clubby atmosphere (the wine list was huge, the whisky list even longer, and they even had a cigar room upstairs) befitting his Scottish heritage.
With offally things on the menu, he was in his element – although I steered clear of those…