Prepping for Lakes & York

Busily beavering away right now doing all the last minute prep for our upcoming tour Lakes & York, which starts on Sunday.  Choosing the menus makes me hungry.  It's weird with food as you'd think that as a vegetarian I would never dream of eating ninety percent of what's on any menu, which is true, but strangely that doesn't stop me from enjoying the tarted up language and the food combining that chefs seem to excel at. I also find myself watching the meatiest of cookery programmes.
You can count on the food at our Lakeside Hotel,
Cragwood - always a culinary delight!
As P and I haven't eaten any flesh for years and years, it's hard to know what the meat and fish dishes taste like and in the end it comes down to trusting the chef's ability to produce food that tastes as good as it sounds.  Of course, this doesn't apply to the puddings, all of which you can count on having been tried and tested thoroughly :)  So hope you don't mind me doing some market research here. Which of these two sample menus from our hotel in York would you prefer? And what would be your fave dish from them and the one you would definitely avoid?

Menu 1
Pea Soup, Spring Onion Salsa and Sour Cream
Smoked Mackerel Rillette, Baked Leeks and Horseradish Cream
Ham Hock Terrine, Piccalilli Vegetables and Soft Boiled Quail Egg
Ryedale Lamb Chump, Braised Lettuce and Peas, Salsa Verde
Pan Fried Salmon, Cauliflower Puree, Brown Shrimp and Caper Butter
Parmesan Gnocchi, Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Fricassee, Poached Duck Egg
Three Small Reasons to Love Chocolate
Cheesecake Mousse, Macerated Strawberries, Vanilla Shortbread
Artisan Cheeseboard, Quince Jelly and Biscuits

Menu 2
Roast Tomato Soup, Creamed Goat’s Cheese
Salmon Gravadlax, Pickled Cucumber and Sour Cream
Duck Liver Parfait, Smoked Duck, Onion Marmalade
Rare Roast Yorkshire Beef, Yorkshire Puddings and Onion Gravy
Pan Fried Sea Bream, Saffron Potato Puree, Sauce Bouillabaisse
Yorkshire Blue Cheese Tart, Waldorf Salad
Lemon Thyme Panna Cotta, Blackberry Jelly and Burnt Meringue
Dark Chocolate Mousse, Honeycomb, Vanilla Ice Cream
Artisan Cheeseboard, Quince Jelly and Biscuits

 © Yorkshire Museum
Had to blow the cobwebs away mid afternoon yesterday, so took a brisk walk into town, mainly to view the new landscaping and planting in Museum Gardens. Only completed a couple of weeks ago, just in time for the Queen's visit to open a new exhibition to celebrate The Making of the City in 1212. King John granted a royal charter to York in 1212, and it marked a pivotal moment in the history of the city. 

 © Yorkshire Museum

You can see from this pic I took of the same Lendal Bridge (new Victorian version) yesterday how much York's changed in the intervening 800 years! 

Stopped for a coffee at the Stickleback River Cafe, where food and drinks are served on the tow path (out of shot) and you can sit and watch the boats go by.

On the way back I always pass this gnarled old poplar and wondered if it could have been planted to celebrate the royal charter all those years ago. I love this tree, how about this for design inspiration? It's actually even bigger than it looks here, every angle of it is massive, it must support its very own unique eco-system.
Really looking forward to being in my home town with our visitors, showing them all the reasons I enjoy living in York so much.  Need to go and prep my last class now, but I'll leave you with the latest Django bulletin.  

He's making fantastic progress, but unfortunately believes he's an Olympic athlete instead of a convalescing kitty. It's all we can do to restrain him - when we took him out for a breath of air yesterday he was up onto some boxes and about to jump on top of the five foot garden wall.  Scary! He was immediately scooped up and taken back indoors. Right now he's back at the vets for another dressing change under sedation. But you can see from this pic that he's managing to put the injured paw down now and gets much more like his old self every day. His stitches come out on Friday, when the vets reckon he can probably dispense with the collar, so on and up Mr Reinhardt!

Don't forget if you'd like to win a copy of Stephannie Tallent's fabulous new book California Revival Knitsleave a comment on yesterday's blog before next Monday to go into the draw.


  1. Wish I were going to be there - maybe someday :) Menu sounds divine and hard to choose but Menu 1 draws me - lamb, salmon, pasta are big faves! I suppose the roast beef would be my last choice but can't say that I would actually avoid it (but am trying to eat less red meat) and thank goodness, no chicken dishes!!
    Btw, Sweet shawlettes arrived in my mailbox yesterday :) :) even better than the snippets I'd seen - yahooo!

  2. Menu 2 most definitely. My favourite is Roast Tomato Soup, Creamed Goat’s Cheese. Least favourite would be any dish with fish. Oh enjoy the taste testing!!
    Thanks for the update on Django. Glad to read he is on the mend and by the sounds of things, full of beans.
    Thanks for taking us along on your walk - it's beautiful.

  3. He looks a little miffed with the collar, as my cats have in the past. I love it when I take my little males in to be neutered and on release the vet says to 'keep him from jumping and running'. How the heck do you keep a 6 month old male from jumping and running??? Injuries can be so scary, but your Django seems to be doing very well.

    1. Yes he is, though after the latest sedation yesterday he seems to be slightly out of it - very tired, though the leg seems ok. His appetite is good so I'm assuming all is well and he's just exhausted. You're right that he's miffed about the collar and more than a little, compounded by the fact that he can only look out the window when what he wants to do is leap around outside and consort with other kitties. It's hard being cruel to be kind :D

  4. Hello Jean, Not sure if you got my first comment on the menu, but #2 looks great. I am not fond of fish or lamb, but love chicken, beef and any kind of pasta or salad or rice. See you on Sunday. Eileen. M.


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