Happy New Year everyone! I know it’s three weeks in now, but this is my first blog since early December, therefore the first of 2018! It was a busy end to 2018, a year which certainly had its ups and downs from a family point of view.
Trip to Belgium: Ghent & Bruges
My trip to Bruges and Ghent in December was amazing (full blog to follow on this!). I’d always wanted to visit a Christmas markets outside of the UK and I finally did. Bruges was as beautiful as I’d imagined it to be, as was the chocolates and beer! Whilst Ghent, a University town in between Bruges and Brussels, was more gothic and edgy.
Christmas was a usual crazy Kane family Christmas, although strange and sad at times with it being the first one without Dad. We remembered him fondly though and have started a new family Christmas tradition in his memory, with these beautiful angel tree decorations below.
On Christmas Day, I was on cooking duties of course, feeding 13 people. It was Thomas’s first one with the family, and for someone who’s used to quiet Christmas’s, he handled it remarkably well! He was on hand helping me out in the kitchen too.
New Years in Northern Ireland:
For New Years, I was back over in Northern Ireland, for our fourth visit in just over a year! On New Years Eve we headed up to Norma & Andrews (Marks Mum and stepdads) bar. The bar is actually within their grounds, it used to be a horse stable and has been fully converted. It’s a great place!
Whilst over there we enjoyed another evening in Billy Andys, Glenoe, a local pub that serves amazing food. It’s Chef has just received an award as one of the bests in Northern Ireland. It’s a must visit place if you’re in this part of the country. There’s also live folk music every Saturday evening http://www.billyandys.com/
So far in 2018: Weekend by the Coast, The Corbridge Curry Train & Supper Club Planning
Its been a busy few weeks already and I feel another full on but fun year ahead. Having a large family alone is reason for this, with two 40th birthdays, a 30th birthday this year, as well as a new niece or nephew making an appearance soon, and everything else that’s thrown in!
North Yorkshire Coast Weekend:
Me and Thomas have just returned from our first trip away by ourselves. We stayed in a lovely little cottage up on the North Yorkshire Coast in Lebberston, near Filey https://www.sykescottages.co.uk/cottage/North-York-Moors-Coast-Lebberston/Home-Farm-Cottage-27322.html
Despite it being January, we managed a lovely picnic on the beach at Cayton Bay. I even had a quick dip of my toes into the freezing North sea! The locals in the nearby Ox Inn pub kept us entertained, making it worth our visits there, despite the food only being average.
Newcastle – The Corbridge Curry Train & Grainger Markets:
We had a trip up to Newcastle last Thursday night for Thomas’s birthday, experiencing the Corbridge Curry Train. The experience started with a meet and greet at Newcastle Train station by a member of the team dressed in full Indian attire, before being escorted to our train. Once on the train we were offered drinks and each had a Cobra beer whilst choosing our menu options.
We arrived at Corbridge after about a half hour journey, and The Valley restaurant was literally right on the station platform.
For a price of £38 per head for transport and food, drinks not included, we had popadoms, choice of a starter and a curry with sides, rice and naan bread. This was followed with a desert and coffee. A couple of the curries were good and my tuna fish cake starters was tasty, however it certainly wasn’t the best Indian food I’ve eaten. Living in Leeds for three years I have become used to the amazing Indian food on offer. Despite this though, it was a fun experience and a good night. The views from the train during the summer months are meant to be beautiful.
Newcastle’s Grainger Markets:
The following day after the curry train evening, we spent a few hours walking around Newcastle’s famous Grainger Markets. Inside a Grade 1 listed building, the independent traders sell a wide range of food, drink and craft produce.
Thomas enjoyed some deep fried Olives from Abrootso & Cultures, an Italian cafe. See the below photo showing just how much he enjoyed them! I opted for a local dish of a Hot Saveloy dip with Pease Pudding and Stuffing on a Stottie muffin, from the Delicatessen stall.
Vegan Supper Club:
My next Supper Club is on Saturday and I’m going vegan for the first time! With the help of Thomas, who’s making his first appearance as my Sous Chef, and lots of recipe practice, we have our Pan-Asian menu planned out. It’s been really interesting experimenting with recipes and finding alternative products to meat, fish and diary.
More Supper Clubs are to be planned in for the rest of the year so keep posted for these. One will include a North of England evening serving traditional Northern recipes.
Trips Planned for 2018:
Lots of trips are in the midst of being planned for for this year. I’m visiting Scandinavia for the first time in March, with a stay in Copenhagen followed by a few nights at my friend Philippa’s house just outside Gothenburg. I’ll be heading back to Ireland and Northern Ireland in July, and planning weekends to Bristol, London and the stunning Lake District.
As I said at the start of this blog…….2018 is going to be another busy one!
x The Messy Cook x