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Posts from the ‘Eating Out’ Category


British Tomato Week 2015 is now!

The delicious red fruit used to be one of Britain’s most beloved.  But are you one of those who think tomatoes don’t taste quite as good as they used to? This may be because three quarters of the tomatoes bought in this country are now imported.

British Tomato Week has been set up to raise awareness of flavoursome British tomatoes, and help spread the word that when it comes to choosing the best, buying fresh, home-grown British tomatoes is a great place to start.

Tomato Week afternoon tea at Lancaster, London

Tomato Week afternoon tea at Lancaster, London

To celebrate British Tomato Week Lancaster London Hotel are offering a Tomato Week themed Afternoon Tea priced at £30 per person, which will include savoury delights made with the freshest British tomatoes, including Tomato bread, Tomato scones and Tomato sorbet. Looks yummy!

Island Grill restaurant on Hyde Park has created a special three course set menu, priced at £12.50 for two dishes or £15.50 for three courses.

However, like me, you might have some tomato plants on the windowsill or in a greenhouse. Many gardeners manage to grow them outside but up here in Cumbria the wind and lower temperatures mean indoors is the only option. I did try some outside last year but the plants were pretty much an unproductive experiment.

Two Ailsa Craig plants in the centre

Two Ailsa Craig plants in the centre

So this year I purchased two Ailsa Craig plants. Noted for the exceptional flavour of its fruit, which ripens early in the season this well known gardener’s favourite produces medium sized tomatoes with a uniform size and shape and an excellent deep colour.

Ailsa Craig

Ailsa Craig

Another popular tomato popular with gardeners and which has an RHS AGM*, Alicante, was available from a local nursery and I have placed both varieties in a glazed entry hall.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 16.02.40

Alicante tomato

They are growing apace, in fact one Ailsa Craig has grown half an inch in 24 hours I noted this morning! I only know that because I marked the support strings yesterday just to see what rate of growth might be in the sunny and warm hall. I didn’t expect such a surge!

I have another three pots of a tomato Crimson Crush, a new entrant on the tomato market from Suttons in the conservatory that only has sun from about noon and I’ll be interested to see if there is any difference in growth rate. They are going into grow bags.

Crimson Crush

Crimson Crush

I know of course I may well be awash with tomatoes and there is a limit to how much time I want to spend bottling and making tomato puree, so much of the crop will go straight in the freezer in bags. To remove the skin easily I just dunk them in hot water, the skins slide off moreorless immediately.

If you are growing tomatoes let us know the variety and their progress … we will probably try different varieties next year.

Val Reynolds, Editor


*Award of Garden Merit


Small is Beautiful – Little known London Museums

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 09.50.53Tucked away in a small sidestreet behind the British Museum is one of the little gems of London.  The Cartoon Museum in Little Russell Street deserves to be far better known than it is and visited far more often. One of its principal attractions is its size – small.  This means that both the permanent exhibition as well as temporary ones are compact and approachable.  Personally, I usually have to take a very deep breath when visiting Tate Britain, Tate modern or the Royal Academy because of the sheer volume of what’s on offer.  However interesting or stunning London’s blockbuster exhibitions may be, going round them can sometimes be a feat of endurance, particularly since it’s the norm that there is no  re-entry;  you have to swallow what’s on offer whole.  This is an ongoing beef of mine.  I’m sure I’m not alone in finding my attention waning after an hour or so, and would welcome the opportunity of a reviving cup of tea and a relaxing of the eye and brain. Returning refreshed would, I’m sure, enhance the experience. The small-scale Cartoon Museum throws up no such problem.  Cartoons, almost by definition, present the viewer with a lot to observe, generally captions as well as pictures, and too many at once would inevitably ‘do the head in’!  And what a pleasure it is to wander around with others smiling or laughing at the humour.  The content of a cartoon is sometimes acerbic as witnessed in the work of, say, Martin Rowson or Steve Bell, sometimes gentle and good-natured but always witty.  The current exhibition, Bring Me Laughter, a private collection on display featuring many of Britain’s best-known cartoonists over the years, runs until the 23 February.  This is followed, for me, by a real gem – a chance to get up close to the wonderful caricatured creations for the Spitting Image TV series, running from 26 February to 8 June.  After that, as part of the centenary events, comes The First World War in Cartoons.  Oh, and the gift shop offers an interesting selection of merchandise and is a pleasure to browse through,

Courtesy of the Trustees of Sir John Soane's Museum

Courtesy of the Trustees of Sir John Soane’s Museum

London is full of quirky museums catering for all tastes.  Particularly interesting are those which are private homes, offering today’s public a unique insight into people’s lives.  The Sir John Soane Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields is one such example and is packed with his collection of art and antiquities.  Another example is Dennis Severs house in Folgate Street in London’s East End which offers a uniquely atmospheric experience and is not exactly what it seems;  it’s extra special around Christmas time when the house is bathed in candlelight.  You can even visit imaginary houses such as 221b Baker Street, the home of Sherlock Holmes, which is guarded by a Victorian policeman who seems to spend most of his day posing for pictures with the visitors!  And to offer refreshment and souvenir-buying potential for the hordes that stop the traffic on Abbey Road everyday by recreating the Beatle’s Abbey Road album cover at the zebra crossing, a small coffee/gift shop has opened right next to St John’s Wood station, thus making the attraction a museum of sorts. When a man is tired of all the museums in London, he is surely tired of life! jeannette-adjusted31Jeannette NelsonArts Critic   A bit of a culture vulture, Jeannette enjoys art exhibitions, cinema and classical music, her main interest is the theatre. Having lived in London most of her life she has a fund of knowledge of interesting buildings and places to visit in the capital and we’re lucky to have access to her experience.


Chinese Tapas and Unusual Cocktails at Ping Pong, Wembley

Exterior2 ping pongOn a wild and windy night shortly before Christmas my dining companion and I exited Wembley Park underground station and followed the banners to the recently opened London Designer Outlet. We were blown down Empire Way towards Wembley Stadium, its arch silhouetted against the night sky and then turned off into a cluster of modern, illuminated blocks. We soon entered the outlet, much of which is, unusually, open to the elements and were surprised to find, so close to the festive season, a paucity of customers. Perhaps it has yet to become established, perhaps shoppers are waiting for more spring-like weather. Whatever, we graduated to the upper levels which are home to a multi-screen cinema (de rigueur it seems these days in shopping malls) and a plethora of restaurants, most of which are new offspring of familiar chains.

Main dining area

Main dining area

Our destination was Ping Pong, one of the newer arrivals on the London eating scene, with its original venue in Great Malborough Street and an extremely popular one on the South Bank judging by the number of customers I spy there on my frequent walks past on the way to the Festival Hall or the National Theatre. Warmth greeted us as we entered, both in the ambient temperature and the pleasantness of the staff. Both of us having confessed to never having previously frequented a Ping Pong restaurant, we were enlightened as to its ethos and to its modus operandi. The neat phrase ‘Chinese tapas’ summed up the food on offer, a modern take on the teahouse stops on the ancient Silk Route that fed and watered traders along its many miles. The menu is extensive but divided into sections such as soups, fried and griddled, baked, rice dishes and, the longest section of all, steamed.

Dim Sim Bar

Dim Sim Bar

Each dish is fully explained and, indeed, what you got matched its description perfectly. The recommendation was to order four or five dishes per person – we went for seven in total to start with and found that plenty. The tapas were small but quite filling.

We indulged in one of Ping Pong’s unusual cocktails, all the ingredients blending beautifully into a delicious drink. As we expected, the tapas dishes arrived consecutively, wonderfully hot and obviously freshly prepared. The flavours and spices mingled perfectly; nothing was overpowered but everything was there to be tasted. All steamed items came in individual bamboo steamers, piled up on top of one another.

King prawn and scallop sticky rice

King prawn and scallop sticky rice

Everything we ate was delicious, and it would be quite invidious to pick out favourites, but I have to say that the spinach and mushroom dumplings were my idea of heaven, and the sticky rice parcels of king prawn and scallop sticky rice wrapped in lovely green banana leaves, were my companion’s. But, there again, the har gau (prawn and bamboo shoot dumpling), the duck spring roll and the honey-glazed spare ribs were great too!

Having no room for dessert, I rounded off the meal with an amazing jasmine and lily tea. Placed in front of me was a large glass with a strange looking ball in it. Hot water was poured over it and, over the course of two or three minutes the ball gently opened into a beautiful flower as the tea brewed. A lovely theatrical touch to a cup of tea!

Despite the weather, there was a respectable number of customers in the restaurant (that can cater for 250), considering it only had been open for a couple of days. There was a good mix, different ethnicities, old and young.

We took away our loyalty cards (which certainly will tempt me back to a Ping Pong in the near future) – even the paper chopstick holder had an offer for a free cocktail printed on it!

And we headed back in the gale force winds, this time accompanied by lashing rain, to the underground station, replete and content after our Chinese tapas experience.

Jeannette Nelson Food Critic and Restaurant Reviewer, as well as all things theatrically entertaining!


What on earth can I give my lovely dad on Father’s Day?

Fathers day high resWith two weeks to go why not choose food? There’s time enough to order and receive a pie or two from Adams & Harlow.

An interesting variety of pies with unusual ingredients to choose from we rather liked the sound of the pie with seasoned pork and a layer of Lincolnshire Poacher cheese through the middle, topped with sweet roasted baby onions. It looks very tasty. We were rather taken with the named pies with pastry lettering.

PicfordandhYou might even be interested in the hamper entitled The Way To A Man’s Heart… £35.00, consisting of the following;

  • 2 x 1lb Traditional Pork Pies (Serves 2-3) The most extraordinary of all pork pies.
  • 1 x 1lb Huntsman Pork Pie (Serves 2-3) A jellyless pie, layered seasoned pork meat and tender chicken breast topped with a classic sage & onion stuffing.
  • 1 x 1lb Poachers Pork Pie Seasoned pork with a layer of Lincolnshire Poacher cheese through the middle, topped with sweet roasted baby onions.
  • Sloe Gin Chutney (220g)
  • 2008 Berrys’ Good Ordinary Claret (75cl)

Where to buy: The Father’s Day Pork Pies will be available from & Fortnum and Mason. The full range of pies and where to buy on

Another suggestion: Take your dad to a Fyne’s restaurant for some super fish dishes. We’ve eaten twice here and both times loved the menu offering interesting and tasty dishes. The presentation is always excellent.

Loch Fyne smoked salmon fishcake served with baby roasted vegetables

Loch Fyne smoked salmon fishcake served with baby roasted vegetables

Their menu is seasonal and for Father’s Day a Specials Menu has been carefully put together. Could be brunch, lunch or dinner. Dining after 6? Then you will receive a complimentary glass of prosecco or a bottle of Old Golden Hen beer.

The specials on offer include the Fisherman’s Plate starter, a feasty combination of potted and peppered Scottish mackerel, classic Loch Fyne smoked salmon with capers, Brandan Rost fillet, Kinglas fillet sashimi style, rollmop and Madeira-marinated North Sea herrings with crusty brown bread.

Mains include a half lobster tail with chargrilled octopus and clams and, for those unable to decide between the delicious meat and fish dishes, there is a Father’s Day Surf & Turf option, tender sirloin steak with a half Canadian lobster tail served with bernaise sauce and french fries.

There are some mouthwatering desserts, or a luxurious cheese choice served with a dram of Glenfiddich whisky.

If your dad isn’t a fish lover there is an a la carte menu that includes a large selection of meat, poultry and vegetarian dishes.

To find out more information or to make your reservation visit:

However if pies and restaurants are not your thing, why not make him a really luscious strawberry dessert.

image010Sweet Eve is a new variety promising a sweet full flavoured berry. This impressive Strawberry Victoria Sponge is easy to make, so great for kids to prepare ahead for Father’s Day, with a little help from Mum. Serve Dad up a mighty, manly slice.

There are more recipes to choose from, have a look at We were impressed!

Whatever you choose for your dad I’ll bet he’ll love it! It’s good for you both to make him feel special.

Lucy Trengar Guest Food writer


A Fantastic Overnight Stay – Cumbrian Hospitality

thIt’s not often an overnight stay  in a hotel or bed and breakfast is anywhere near as comfortable or pleasant as being at home.

The offending sugar bowl

The offending sugar bowl at a five star hotel

All too often  beds are uncomfortable, or the bathroom has mould in the grouting, or the carpets need a real clean in the corners, or the windows rattle, or worse they don’t open. Or there are just not enough towels, or the heating won’t turn down, or the air conditioning needs attention – too noisy!  The breakfast is fine but the seats are uncomfortable, or the cutlery needs a polish, or there are fingermarks on the sugar bowl plus a ring of coffee on the base – that happened in a  five star hotel in Birmingham. I passed a photograph to the manager. He promised to post it on the staff noticeboard! Which all reflected badly on the establishment which was a shame because the eggs benedict was scrumptious.

As you probably gather I have stayed overnight a lot as a travel writer in mostly top quality hotels in many different countries and I am so pleased to say we were very impressed with our night’s stay at  Swanson House in Brough, Cumbria. Booked without recommendation or from a list of where to stay, just a search on the web for somewhere to stay in the nearest town to where we had a meeting.

We found the room welcoming, the beds comfortable, the decor pleasing, the en suite a good comfortable size and beautifully clean. In fact everything was clean and appealing, not in the least pretentious. The complimentary beverages were high quality. Fresh ground coffee in a well sealed container, crockery was clean and shiny as was the cutlery. There was a sitting room next door we could use with complimentary fresh baked cake to sample and for those who wanted to, there was a microwave to heat up anything required.

After a good night’s sleep – the  room was at the back of the building, away from traffic and street noise – we went down for our breakfast. We can’t face a full English first thing in the morning and we had requested a continental breakfast. It was just right. Not too much, not too little. Appetisingly presented,  great to taste, the table laid out with crisp white tablecloths, sparkling cutlery, glass and crockery, fresh coffee, beautiful curled butter pats, prepared fresh fruit in bite sized pieces. The effort Pat Jones, the owner, put into presentation made it a memorable breakfast and how many times have I ever written that? I think this is the first!


The picture was taken from Brough Castle, courtesy of The Westmorland Gazette.

Before becoming a consummate cook and most welcoming host, Pat was sub-Postmistress. She  ran Brough Post Office with her husband Philip for many years before it was closed in the Government programme of closure about 5  years ago despite tremendous resistance from the local community. A protest march was held, a local resident dressed as Queen Victoria, and told the crowd of her displeasure at the proposed closedown. Then around 130 local residents gathered to show the strength of feeling in the community by spelling  out their plea to save their village post office. All to no avail sadly.

Pat and Philip decided to renovate and convert the Post Office into a restaurant with bed and breakfast and continue living there.  Swanson House is now a popular restaurant for locals and tourists alike.

Rural business is having a hard time economically and Swanson House is an outstanding example of triumph over adversity, it was ‘Good Taste’ winner in the Upper Eden Business Awards 2012 and 2013 runner-up.

So the killer question: Would we go again?  The answer? A resounding yes, and yes again!

Swanson House restaurant

Swanson House restaurant

Next time we will be sure we allow enough time to sample the mouthwatering menu. And be sure to book in advance, giving details of our choice from the menu. This is Pat’s way of making quite sure your meal will be cooked to perfection using the highest quality local fresh produce, a hallmark of your visit to Swanson House.

The wine list was attractive too … Ooh, can’t wait to go again!

Val Reynolds Editor


Food, Glorious Food!

I am often invited to press events featuring new food lines. The most recent was the M&S Delicious and Nutritious introduction.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 15.09.48Persian Duck with Basmati Rice, roasted butternut, spinach with pomegranate dressing. £4.49 (350g). One of a range of eleven to choose from, this is the one that hit my tastebuds. Stunning!

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 15.55.10Then Mini Macaroons – six flavours: pistachio, lemon, raspberry, vanilla, strawberry and passion fruit. 12 in a packet £1.50 144g – really great flavours, very very moreish!

[#Beginning of Shooting Data Section]Nikon D2002013/03/07 19:21:14.8JPEG (8-bit) NormalImage Size: Large (3872 x 2592)ColorLens: 17-55mm F/2.8 GFocal Length: 26mmExposure Mode: ManualMetering Mode: Spot1/80 sec - F/11Exposure Comp.: 0 EVSensitivity: ISO 100Optimize Image: NormalWhite Balance: Color Temp. (5600 K) AF Mode: ManualFlash Sync Mode: Not AttachedColor Mode: Mode I (sRGB)Tone Comp.: AutoHue Adjustment: 0°Saturation: AutoSharpening: AutoImage Comment:                                     Long Exposure NR: OffHigh ISO NR: Off[#End of Shooting Data Section]And this, the Summer Fruit Tart, that really ticked all the boxes. The most delicious tart I have ever come across. Crisp all butter pastry, filled with lemon and vanilla custard, topped with a summer fruit compote. A really piquant fruit mix, I detected cherry, raspberry … at £4.99, 530g. It deserves a drum roll! I will be looking for this every visit to my local M&S!

I was specially impressed with one of their ales, Citra IPA Ale. It was light, flavoursome and satisfyingly alcoholic without being heavy.

As you can imagine there was a lot more to try – you can see more on their website. Some are ideal as picnic food, or sitting out in the sun in the garden. Do give them a try  … we can’t rate them highly enough!

Val Reynolds, Editor


Wagamama: Great Food! Great Summer Menu!

My first visit to Wagamama in Lexington Street earlier this year was memorable, good food, clean and pleasant surroundings, food freshly cooked and served quickly. So when I heard about the new summer menu I decided to take two guests, who had never visited Wagamama before, to try it out. It didn’t disappoint. My guests, mother and daughter, were surprised and interested in the food. Surprised because it looked so inviting and interested to discover the taste of dishes new to them.

Fire cracker chicken

Fire cracker chicken

As always we were all watching our waistlines so we shared every dish trying everything on the new summer menu with the exception of Firecracker – a hot spicy dish that we felt would appeal more to the male members of our family.

Wagamama is well known for its noodles and we loved the Yasai Pad-Thai – egg-fried rice noodles in a tamarind sauce with fried tofu, beansprouts, leeks, chinese chives, spring onions, garlic, ginger, mint and chillies, garnished with coriander cress, fried shallots, peanuts and lime. Tasty and very flavoursome it is very suitable for vegetarians.

Yasai pad thai

Yasai pad thai

The two fruit drinks: Apple, mint, celery and lime and Orange berry bang that included passion fruit, were absolutely fab!

We really enjoyed the Beef Kushiyaki – skewers of beef rump steak marinated in lemongrass and lime leaf, glazed with a smoky sweet soy sauce and Chicken Kushiyaki skewers of grilled ginger and mint infused chicken meatballs glazed with a smoky sweet soy sauce.

Kushiyaki prawns

Kushiyaki prawns

The Lollipop Prawn Kushiyaki – skewers of grilled prawns marinated in lemongrass, lime and chilli  glazed with a sweet-sour and hot sauce and served with a caramelised lime were quite delicious.

Our eyes lit up at the accompanying fresh crunchy summer salad – Vegetable chop salad miso marinated fried aubergine, baby plum tomatoes, avocado, caramelised red onions, pumpkin seeds, roasted sweetcorn, red cabbage and mangetout tossed in a miso dressing, garnished with celery cress.

Chop salad

Chop salad

We saved enough space to try the two new desserts: frozen yoghurts, all low in fat, pro-biotic and with natural flavours. A choice citrus yuzu, strawberry and five spices toffee and black cumin seed, mixed yoghurt in any combination. The five spices toffee was a favourite.

The new passion fruit cheesecake – a creamy soft cheese on a real biscuity tasting base and mouthwateringly good passion fruit sauce. I’d have this any day! In fact my mouth is watering right now!

Irresistible Passion Fruit Cheesecake

Irresistible Passion Fruit Cheesecake

So would we go again? Yes, yes and yes again! Whether we want to drop by for a snack, lunch or evening meal, on our own, with friends and or family, it would be most appropriate and we could rely on a consistently good menu. There’s lot to choose from and the serving staff are very, very helpful and full of advice for those unfamiliar with the menu and type of food – that’s us!

Can’t say enough good things about it! By the way, we stuck to water with our meal but there is a comprehensive and inexpensive wine list. We had a cup of refreshing flowering jasmine tea to finish off our most enjoyable lunch.

The next seasonal menu change will be end of autumn – can’t wait to try it!

Wagamama Lounge – Wagamama sets up an outdoor eatery with music and art for festival-goers. For 2012 it’s Manchester, The Isle of Wight and SummerSundae Leicester.  You can find out more on the website  There is a Nokia and iPhone app.

PS Just found out TakeOut is on the menu!!!

Val Reynolds Brown, Editor


Really Inspirational Father’s Day Gifts

Why not plant a tree with dad?

Why not plant a tree with dad?

Most people seem to agree that finding the perfect gift for their dad is one of the least easy tasks of the year. Here are some ideas from our thoughtful team to inspire you:

Wine holiday in Oporto Built into the hillside of the spectacular Duoro Valley, The Yeatman hotel in Oporto is inspired by the celebrated wines of the region. Guests can seriously indulge themselves during the weekly wine evenings, tasting soirees and cookery courses. The extensive wine cellars hold 25,000 bottles alone and the in-house Michelin starred chef, Ricardo Costsa, is always on-hand to educate guests about food pairing. Even The Yeatman’s vinotherapy spa will be difficult for Dads to resist, as it offers a Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Bath or body scrub. Prices from €150 per night.

Failing that why not a bottle of Taylor’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2005, available from £13.79 at most retail outlets nationwide. Here is a link to information on the website

Or he might have loads of the stuff in the cupboard but may not have some luscious glasses to savour it – we would choose the beautiful Riedel Port Glasses available at John Lewis and Amazon.

Reidel port glasses

Reidel port glasses

How about a short holiday break for someone mad on fishing? Forget Salmon Fishing in the Yemen although a couple of tickets might go down a treat! – how about Fly fishing in the Maldives  All hard-working fathers deserve peace and quiet once in a while, and you would be hard pressed to find a more relaxing and tranquil outdoor pursuit than fly-fishing. On a secluded private island in North Maldives, Island Hideaway resort boasts deepwater channels and expansive shallow flats, ideal for whiling away the hours until that longed-for catch comes along. Prices from £1350 per week during low season, and £2300 during high season. OK, so that might be a bit over the top! How about The Ultimate Guide Book to Fishing? This Google page might give ideas.

Right, nothing so far appeals? What about a luxury wet shave? Harking back to simpler times when every man had a trusty barber to see to his beard and whiskers, in London the Spa at Dolphin Square offers chaps the rare chance to pamper themselves with a range of traditional Moroccan wet shaves. Choose from the age-old Savon Noir shave, which  cleanses by combining crushed olives, olive oil and Eucalyptus (£35), or go all out with a Moroccan Cleansing Ritual, incorporating a Hammam and Shea Butter Massage, followed by the relaxing shave (£104). This would appeal to many men I know so it could be a winner!

Dolphin Square Spa

Dolphin Square Spa

On a more basic level though why not a gift voucher from B&Q? Lots of us like browsing in DIY stores, especially new and improved gadgets!

 Or why not some Ogilvy’s honey – their Balkan Linden Honey is rather special. Gathered from colonies in the Danube region of Serbia. This honey was one of four varieties of Ogilvy’s Honey to win gold stars in the 2011 Great Taste Awards organised by The Guild of Fine Food. It is rather special – you can find more information on the Ogilvy’s website.

If you live in or near London then of course you could take him for a meal – Ping Pong in Soho is excellent, The Sanderson in Berners St  has a wonderful dining area as has the Lanesborough Hotel opposite Hyde Park Corner.  What about some tickets to a game at The Arsenal? A visit to the House of Commons to see Parliament in action and a meal in one of the boats on the river. Or a boat trip on the Thames? Of course you could just go for a walk in Hyde Park and have something to eat in one of the many cafes in the park.

The Arsenal

The Arsenal

Or how about an App for his iPhone or iPad – he doesn’t have one? There’s two more ideas!

Hope you might find one of these inspiring! Good luck – you have just three days left!

Val Reynolds Brown, Editor


EATING AL FRESCO – Picnic time is any time!

Punting on The Cam © Pintail Media

Punting on The Cam © Pintail Media

It’s always picnic time when the sun’s out, the river looks enticing and we’re in a hurry!

We grabbed a couple of packs of pate*, a french loaf, butter in a tub, some paper plates, a sharp knife**, something refreshing to drink, plastic cups and we were off.

Off to Cambridge for a break – why not? It’s the start of the term and yes there’ll be visitors galore, but it’s always possible to find a grassy spot on the river bank and have a great time with friends, gossiping, remembering times past, dreaming of good times to come. That’s the atmosphere we find whatever the weather.

It feels so good with the sun warming your bones on a cool autumn day, lounging on the grass, drinking in the view, admiring, or not, the prowess of the punters. We always feel better after a break away from the desk. Of course it doesn’t need to be Cambridge … Anywhere quiet and green with something to focus your attention on is good. Great for reducing blood pressure – frequent breaks from the pressures of publishing  are a must for us.

We took some Castle MacLellan pates. Three of us had tried them previously. Here are our preferences, each marked out of ten, ten being the top mark.

Mushroom with garlic and thyme – 9 – memorable, would buy this regularly

Salmon with lemon juice and horseradish 9 – excellent, would definitely buy it if we saw it in the supermarket

Duck with bramley apple jelly  7 – good but not outstanding

Crab with lemon juice and Galloway mustard – 6 – good but not outstanding, perhaps more mustard would give it more of a bite

Chicken pate with Scottish heather honey – 5 – needed more of a bite to make it memorable, bacon perhaps, or garlic, personally we added some lemon juice when we had it on toast and in a sandwich.

Punting on The Cam © Pintail Media

Punting on The Cam © Pintail Media

Castle MacLelland products are available at Waitrose, Nisa, Coop/Somerfield, Spar, Booths and also in Sainsbury and Morrisons (crab only), Asda (Scotland stores only) as well as independent stores throughout the UK.

The Crab is on special offer in Sainsbury’s reduced from £1.25 to just £1 from 31 August to 20 September – four days left!

**Sharp knife is needed to open the seal on the pate packs.

Val Reynolds Brown, Editor


Fancy a Free Meal? Really!

Hummus Bros SohoSunday 19 June is Barter Day at Hummus Bros who are offering free meals in exchange for donations to Cancer Research UK.  Those donations could be:


On Sunday, just take your unwanted items into the Wardour Street branch of Hummus Bros where you can haggle the value of your possessions with staff from the Marylebone Cancer Research UK shop. Vouchers will then be given out matching the value – two or three good quality donations should be enough for a completely free meal!

Barter Day runs from midday to 6pm on Sunday 19 June at Hummus Bros, 88 Wardour Street, Soho, W1F 0TH and all quality donations will be accepted. To get directions, see their mouthwatering menu and see what journos thought of the cuisine see the Hummus Bros website.

With Barter Day, Hummus Bros continues to offer unprecedented value while being socially and environmentally responsible – keeping your conscience and tummy happy.

So why not get a few things together and meet other likeminded diners on Sunday …

Val Reynolds Brown, Editor

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