What a lovely weekend I have had. Definitely not the healthiest and most diet conducive but loving and fun and all local. I spend so much time travelling it was wonderful to be at home and in my immediate area.
I certainly do live in a beautiful part of the world and this weekend was a great opportunity to find out a bit more about it. I have lived here now for many years but never actually been to the windmill in Cranbrook before. Past it? Oh yes. But actually been right up to it? Never. Until Saturday that is. Harvey had to make a windmill (thank you very much teacher for that bright idea!) so we thought we had better go and look at one to get some proportions and to pick up some art materials from the well stocked art and craft shop in Cranbrook – Stoneydales. I never knew that before! It will be 200 years old next year. Unfortunately it was shut until Easter but there was useful information about the mill and we worked out the relative sizes and proportions of the components of a windmill. With the bonus of enjoying being outside on this beautiful sunny Autumn day. We walked back to the town and went past some other historic buildings. I have driven up this little street numerous times but I don’t remember ever walking. Lesson learnt – park your car and walk as you see so many interesting things. We had a very sociable weekend as my sister Abi and her
cheeky monkeys lovely family came to stay. We remained in the local area.Keeping local, we went to the local.
Our recently renovated pub, The Milk House was a very pleasant spot to sit for a while on a chilly Sunday while we waited for our roast to cook. We had another visitor too – Beryl 🙂 So how was the eating? Hmmmmm. On the good end of the scale, there was no sugar and I did not drink excessively. There was too much bread, butter and cheese though.
I bought most of my food for the weekend in either Cranbrook or in Hartley Dyke on Saturday. I often extol the virtues of Hartley Dyke. Here’s another one – it is surrounded by beautiful countryside so even parking and walking inside is a pleasure. Look at this lovely view. So much more inspiring than the usual Supermarket car park.
I bought a superb sourdough. Perfect with scrambled eggs on top for a late breakfast. Inspired by Nigel Slater’s latest series, Nigel and Adam’s Farm Kitchen, I made the Cow Crumble fro supper on Saturday night.
I bought the beef from the local butchers in Cranbrook and all the veggies from Hartley Dyke. Cow Crumble is essentially a beef casserole with a topping made with shredded parsnip, potato and mustard seed. I really liked the topping. I was unable to get a shin bone from the butcher as the recipe recommended which was a shame. This was a good dish but somewhat lacking in flavour which I suspect was down to my ordinary stock and not paying full attention to cooking, rather then the recipe. I will make it again and I particularly liked the parsnip and potato top. An evening with my lovely family, eating too much cheese and crackers was a fattening but very enjoyable way to end an interesting and fun day.
Sunday began in a traditional manner. Actually, not traditional for me but it is for many; egg and bacon. I had mine in a bap. The bap, butter, bacon and eggs all came from Hartley Dyke. They were all very good.
Some of our lunch was even more local than that – it came from our garden! I dug up potatoes and picked Swiss chard, leeks and a red cabbage. The red cabbage was small but perfectly formed. The brussel sprouts were the only vegetables I bought. Lunch was quite the production actually. It takes a long time to cook a really good roast. Luckily, I had an able co chef – my brother-inplaw Jim who focused on the meat and potatoes. Which left me to get on with the veg. We had red cabbage with apples and Swiss chard stalks. I braised them all with some salt and pepper in about 1/4 of a cup full of water, in a slow oven for about 1 1/2 hours. I didn’t add sugar or cinnamon as many recipes suggest. I cooked the brussel sprouts with bacon and almonds (another copy from Nigel Slater’s Farm Kitchen) and stir fried the Swiss chard leaves with the leeks.
This was not a weekend where I would have lost any weight, that’s for sure. But it is a weekend where I discovered more about my local area, invested time and money in supporting my local community and had a wonderful time with my sister and her family. I wish we could do it again.