Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Good food, great company

So today, I got the opportunity to nick off with Allotment Junkie's car, leaving the kids with her, and headed off to the Dales with Fred in tow, to meet up with an old uni friend, her husband (who was also at uni) and his dad who came along for the ride. Em and Jon are visiting from Italy where they live outside Rome with 2 dogs, a cat and a swimming pool and they drive to work at the British International School in a convertible everday. Not that I'm jealous or anything...

We met at The Tempest Arms at Elslack, outside Skipton, which has just been awarded Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide 2011. . Had a LOVELY steak sandwich with fat chips and caesar salad, Em had fish pie and Jon and Clem both had the oak smoked salmon open sandwich which looked delicious. After lunch, Em and I took Fred for a walk along the canal while Jon & Clem went to find a bike shop in Skipton. Fred managed to restrain himself from launching into the canal despite severe provocation from some ducks, but just after we'd turned round to head back to the car, he realised that although he might not make it into the canal he had an opportunity to leap over the wall the other side of the towpath and get into the open fields. Fortunately, there was no livestock around (I had been keeping an eye out) and he was also quite knackered from a walk he'd had earlier in the day, so when I started shouting at him, and whistling like a thing possessed, he was reasonably compliant. I had to follow him over the wall in a rather indignified manner, but in the end it turned out all he really wanted was a long drink from the cattle trough.

I really enjoyed catching up and hearing Em's news and plans. I hope things all work out - maybe the next time we get together it can be in Italy - wouldn't that be lovely...

Got back to the ranch to find the kids engrossed in James and the Giant Peach after a fun packed day which involved the swimming pool, raspberry and blackberry picking and a close encounter with a hedgehog at Allotment Junkie's allotment.

So after all that it was a good job that supper was uncomplicated and delicious. Allotment Junkie had made meatloaf and it's a really good recipe, so I'm going to share it with you. I have it on an index card ready to go in the box when I get home. I can guarantee that this is going to become a regular:

450g turkey mince
3 pork sausages (meat squeezed from skins)
1 slice of bread made into crumbs
2 shallots
2tsp mixed herbs (or use handful of fresh, chopped finely, if you've got)
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 170 (fan). Fry the shallots in a little oil until soft; mix together the onions with the mince, sausagemeat, breadcrumbs, herbs and beaten egg and stick in a loaf tim. Cover with foil and bake in the oven until the mixture is coming away from the sides of the tim - about 45 mins.

Allotment Junkie had made this up and frozen the loaf mix in the tin before cooking it, then had got it out of the freezer, defrosted it and baked it, so it's probably worth making double if you've got enough loaf tins and freezing one uncooked. Or I guess if you lined the loaf tin with foil and froze it you could take the mixture out of the loaf tin once frozen, and then when you want to cook it, take it out of the freezer and put back into a tin for cooking.

Anyway, we had it with beans, beetroot and potatoes from the allotment, followed by rasps and her 'homemade' frozen strawberry yoghurt/icecream.

I've also finally got hold of the recipe for my Great Aunt's totally scrummy ginger shortbread. But I'm not going to share that with you till I'm back at home, can back a huge plate of it and tell you how delicious it really is - I need to sample it again, and you could probably do with a photo of it...

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