March 31, 2014

As a Mother's Day treat we ventured out to the Feathered Nest in the heart of the cotswolds. Only having been for a pub lunch I wasn't sure what to expect from the dinner menu. Just from a glance at the menu I could tell this place would not disappoint. 

We got settled into a little corner, the decor of the place is like a big country sitting room, books piled high on shelves, wine stacked in every corner and everything painted in a dark magenta and bottle green. With fires lit in every room you could not feel more at home. 

After the wine and water had been poured we were brought a little selection of canapes. Fishcakes with black sesame and cheese scones with relish and pate and some anchovy twists to accompany. 

Then a little saucer of pea and ham hock soup came round, a small but immensely tasty start.

To start I went for Duck liver rolled in the softest breadcrumbs, with black truffle brioche alongside. Really delicious, each mouthful completed melted in your mouth.

Lightly toasted black truffle brioche.

For main I went for the Roe Deer. The loin fillet wrapped in a crepinette (coated in mushroom puree and then cased in pig intestine, sausage skin and then flash fried), Parsnip, Gin & Black current gel, Chestnuts and cocoa bean crumble, which did taste surprisingly chocolatey. 

Everyone chose the Roe Deer, and polished plates all around, clearly a success.

and dessert, Valrhona Chocolate, guanaja grand cru and praline served with goats milk ice cream.

The boys went for the cheese board. A selection of Cotswold and English cheeses.

The cosiest but most elegant restaurant and meal I have had in a long time. 

March 30, 2014

For our last night in Padstow we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at Rick Stein's restaurant. 

We kicked off with salmon sashimi, served with a sticky soy sauce and wasabi for some heat...

all washed down with ice cool, cucumber crisp, Gin & Tonics.

Once seated at our table we were brought the bread basket, with parmesan and truffle butter to spread (divine!). 

After demolishing the bread basket in seconds we set about deliberating what to have to start and to follow...
A mixed seafood broth made the cut, flavoured with chilli and coriander, filled with the freshest seafood, mussels, crab and scallops.

Followed by this monstrosity... 

Rick Stein's Singapore stir-fried crab. You are prepped with various tools and tongs and whilst you get yourself safely tucked in with several napkins your piled high bowl of fresh crab arrives. Its a messy business and you will be at it for a while, but really worth the work. 
(Rick Stein did saunter past at the most inelegant moment, covered in crab and tools in both hands.) 

And for dessert, chocolate fondant. Just the perfect treat to share after a decadent last meal at Rick's.

March 27, 2014

Feeling more than a little well fed after a decadent brunch I headed back through the wind and by this time, spattering rain, to the hotel, made a large tea and read my book for a an hour, in the hope that the rain would subside and the sun would come out. 

I gave it an hour, with the sun hidden behind thick cloud, and refusing to show itself,  I ventured out into the overcast drizzle to get the little ferry over to Rock just across the marina. 

The view from Padstow over to Rock. (with more than its fair share of gloomy clouds over head)

The Black Tor ferry. 

Once reaching the other side, and while the rain had stopped, I decided to make the most of it and go for a little wander down the beach.
Long, sandy and deserted, the perfect place to gather thoughts and start thinking about lunch!

After a wander down the beach I headed back to the 'town' I passed a couple of cafes and shops in the harbour and thought 'there must be a high street of some kind... a couple more shops' I walked on past with not much luck, with the weather not being in my favour I escaped back into the Blue Tomato. 

A cute little cafe/restaurant and the perfect respite from the wind and rain. Only really wanting something small for lunch (as tonight we are eating at Rick Stein's seafood restaurant, extremely exciting, but more of that later) I went for the Chicken Satay... 

Served with a creamy peanut dip and a crispy, peppery side salad.

washing it all down with an Oreo Milkshake as an afternoon treat!

A little adventure across the shore.

Up early this morning, a flurry of present opening, tea drinking and rushing (a day at the Seafood Cookery School starts at 8:45am and we had to fit presents in first!)

Once I had safely dropped him off ( and had a sneak peak at the school myself), I wandered through the town, slightly chillier then yesterday, and realising that Padstow was still snoozing, I made a hasty retreat back to the room to relax for a while until the rest of the town woke up.

Then it was the choice of breakfast, still feeling a little disappointed that we had missed out on Rick Stein's Fish & Chips I wondered if they did breakfast.

Sure enough after a quick google, they opened at 10, with a small but tasty looking breakfast menu. Only a short walk away I wrapped up warm again and headed out.

I was the first visitor of the day, pretty quiet but such a great, seaside cafe. I decided on the smoked mackerel bap, and a hot chocolate. 

A true 'Fish & Chip Cafe' hot chocolate.

A good slather of ketchup.

A great start to a day of cornish adventures. 

March 26, 2014

This afternoon we arrived into the picturesque cornish town of Padstow for a couple of nights away. Tomorrow my other half has a day cooking at Rick Stein's seafood school so while he is cooking up a storm in the kitchen, I will spend the day exploring the coast and maybe take a little ferry ride over to Rock. 

I have really only heard of Padstow through watching Rick Stein, and after a little while it becomes obvious that padstow is almost entirely owned by the chef, with several hotels, cafes and restaurants scattered around the town. We chose to stay in a little independent hotel to get a taste of the real town.

Once checked in, to a gorgeous little room with views over the harbour we took to the streets to wander and explore. The smell of sea, fresh fish and seagulls overhead, you couldn't feel more away from it all.

The view from our room.. 

When I was little I used to collect shells, every seaside town or beach we went to i had to leave with a little bundle of them in my pocket, this shop had me cooing with excitement, just look at all those shells!

After a relaxing wander we then headed back to the hotel for a cup of tea to warm up, and off to have Stein's Fish & Chips later, but more of that tomorrow. 

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