Food cooking and eating – stories and ideas from a passionate foodie

Just had a splendid week self catering in Yorkshire Dales.  Meadow Barn – Leyburn.  Excellent one bedroom, open plan ex cowshed, now like something from Homes and Gardens.  We also had a wood burning stove – which was great fun (and yes, it was cold enough in June to actually use it).

Time for a bad joke.  Two cannibals returning from holiday.  The other cannibals were appalled to see that they had lost an arm and a leg each.  “What happened?”  “We didn’t realise it was self catering…”

Onwards>  We were visiting our artist friends Ken and Lesley Jones, who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and their 70th birthdays last year.  They had an exhibition of their new works and were giving up the commission to help build a well in Africa.  The collection plate at their house was for the charity too.  Cost of a well is quite a lot – but Lesley told us the collection plate made £495, which is exactly the cost of one well.  And the sales means commission will yield another well too.  Fantastic effort.

We went to The Wensleydale Heifer twice with them.  Second time was a bonus – they knew we  were going then added their names to the table booking after they returned home in time on the Friday.  What a wonderful surprise!  Although the restaurant is named after a meat animal, the menu is famous for fish.  We had various:  Baked Sea Bass with sweet chilli, half lobster themidor, Fish Pie (with added lobster), Herb roast Cod, with Paella croquettes.  I was a bit worried about the chilli and fish.  I have had bad experiences with chilli and crab – a favoured chef led revolution a couple of years ago.  It wasn’t succesful I think – the chilli usually killed the subtlety of the fish.  You could only taste chilli.  But baked in sweet chilli – this was another thing completely. We decided the chefs knew their business.  Shared puddings (not enough taste buds left), included a baked Alaska.  How superbly retro!  The meringue was piped onto a tower of homemade ice cream, then (I suspect) it was heated using a blow torch, rather than being put in the oven.  Maybe there is less chance of spillage and explosions that way?  Anyhow, quite exceptional and fun.  I almost expected Crepe Suzette to appear – but they didn’t go that far!

As ever in modern menu the emphasis is on giving you a whole plate sensation, so that all the vegetables enhance and marry well with the main fish.  Lobsters simply had new boiled jersey potatoes, spinach and a couple of added king prawns.  Definitely worth a try for a special occasion.  And they do have an early doors (and lunch) fixed price menu – which is excellent value too.

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