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During our travels last weekend, we visited Mr Rigg’s granny and went out for lunch with her.  We went to The White Oak in Cookham and ate the most delicious lunch.

Now we’ve been to The White Oak once before, but it was on such a sad occasion following a funeral that I can’t remember the food.  However, this time the food will stick with me for a long time.  It was superb. 

Not only has this pub been lovingly refurbished, but the staff are so friendly and polite and the food utterly scrumptious.  Sadly I have no photos of our meal, but Mr Rigg and his granny ate beer-battered fish and chips which was served on a wooden board, the chips (which were excellent) came in a tiny metal bucket. 

For my meal I choose a vegetarian main of Parmesan gnocchi in a winter vegetable broth.  When it arrived it the portion seemed quite small compared to the hunks of batter fish beside me.  However, it was delicate, delicious, beautifully presented, and incredibly tasty.  Just three homemade Parmesan gnocchi sat upon a heap of tiny cubed vegetables surrounded by a pool of clear broth.  Wow – just excellent food.

It was the kind of food I would like to eat every night of the week, but I’m quite sure it would take me many years to learn how to make gnocchi so soft and melt in the mouth, and a clear broth packed with oodles of flavour.  I guess I had better get started!

Images: The UK Restaurant Guide

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Friday was N’s birthday, which could mean only one thing – a fantastic weekend of good food.  I sat down and imagined if I were N, what would I want to eat for my birthday weekend.

So the feasting began on Thursday night with a curry from our favourite takeaway.  The British favourite of chicken tikka masala, with poppadoms, mango chutney, onion relish, and garlic and coriander naans.  We balanced this, of course, by having brown rice…

We also made chocolate brownies, enough for N to take to work and for us.  Following Nigella’s recipe from her book How to be a Domestic Goddess, we baked a tray of chocolate brownies with enough chocolate, sugar and butter to use of one’smonthly recommended allowance.  Three and a half bars of 70% dark chocolate…one and half pats of butter…and what I can only remember as a jug of sugar.  But seriously, these chocolate brownies were heavenly.  It really matters what chocolate you use – if you used Bourneville it would taste of Bournville, so make sure you buy the best dark chocolate you can afford. 

brownie debris

brownie debris

When I came downstairs on Friday morning to examine the insides of the brownies after N had taken half the tray to work, I thought that I had undercooked them.  It looked (and tasted) like the liquid mixture I had scraped into the pan before cooking.  These brownies improve with age.  In fact, the centres of each square almost transforms into a truffle, it is so dark and dense and soft.  I will post the recipe another day as it is one everyone should try.

N finishes work early on a Friday, so I laid out the table with all his cards and gifts (the bunnies spent their pocket money on two jars of sweets from our local old fashioned sweet shop), hung a string of balloons across the living room, and piled chocolate brownies into a mountain, dusted them with icing sugar and stuck in some candles.

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My birthday present to N – the best sirloin steak I could buy from Little Heath Farm, with melted blue cheese and chips.  I admit, the chips weren’t homemade, but there is something intrinsically scrumptious about the finest quality steak served with frozen chips – perhaps they serve to highlight how incredible the steak is.

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As you might imagine, but Friday night we couldn’t eat another thing.

Saturday evening we made homemade pizzas (which had been planned for Friday tea, but were pushed on a day due to the last minute revelation of steak and chips).  We ate the pizzas standing up in the kitchen straight from the oven, served with thin slices of Parma ham, crisp wild rocket, torn basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  They were so delicious that they were eaten up before I had a chance to take a photograph – such is the way with truly divine food – you just can’t wait to faff around with the camera, you just have to eat it straight away, hot from the oven.

Next weekend it’s my birthday, which means another excuse to eat more good food…yum.

I’ve got lots I could write about from last weekend, and will try and cover as much as possible in the next couple of days. 

Friday night we made homemade fishfingers and chips.  We also turned over lots of our flower beds and dug out compost to add to our vegetable beds.

Saturday we made mushroom pate, Marmalade Gingerbread, and spicy prawns.  I went to B&Q in search of lights, and anti-weed membrane (how exciting!) and N spent most of the day unsuccessfully trying to remove stubborn wallpaper glue. 

And Sunday we made bunny shaped dunking biscuits for my colleagues little girl – they came round to see the rabbits.  We also had a lovely morning at the Hulme Community Garden Centre’s ‘Potato Day’ and came home with a basket of goodies for planting out.

Borage was a bad bunny – he was caught in a wooden trough, digging up bulbs and chomping on them. 

Borage pretending that he's a little angel...

Borage pretending that he's a little angel...

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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