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Restaurant Review – Timbrell’s Yard, Bradford on Avon

Today’s post was an unplanned lunchtime visit but one that made me very happy to have found this restaurant! A few weeks ago, Ian and I were having a wander around Bradford on Avon’s summer fair and felt a bit peckish. There weren’t that many food stalls so we were on our way to buy some picnic ingredients when we stumbled across this place.

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Timbrell’s Yard is tucked away from the main high street, right next to the river, and is housed in a beautiful Grade 2 listed building. As it was a lovely sunny day, we opted to sit outside as we looked through the menu. We decided to get some little bites to share from the bar menu and I think this was a great way to get a feel for how good the food is at this place.

We had chorizo sausage rolls, served with fennel seeds and a great crunchy apple slaw, salami chipolatas with a spicy hummus, popcorn cuttlefish with paprika mayonnaise (a lovely twist on calamari and aioli) and cauliflower and smoked cheese croquettes with a truffle aioli. I loved the way everything was served with an individual dip or accompaniment which really completed the food.

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My favourite dish however was the BBQ beef brisket served with a very spicy hot sauce. The meat was so tender and well-cooked and absolutely delicious – I was very tempted to order a second portion!

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I popped inside to have a look at the dining area and it is such a gorgeous space. The menu is seasonal and local and we are definitely looking forward to coming back soon.

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I am now off to carry on tackling our mountain of holiday ironing and packing up our suitcases ready for our holibobs! x

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Recipe – Easy Nasi Goreng

It seems as though today was meant to be the nicest of this Bank Holiday weekend so I was determined to spend as much of it outside as possible. Ian and I headed to our nearest town, Bradford on Avon, for coffee, a food festival and picnic along the river before heading home for a spot of gardening and a good book in the sunshine…pretty perfect day!

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Today I wanted to share a quick and easy Malaysian rice recipe that is a great midweek option. I use a jar of Nasi Goreng paste for this which I know isn’t 100% authentic but, if you don’t have time to shop for lots of herbs and spices and grind up the paste, is a decent shortcut. I have made my own curry pastes before and have to say the jar options are really just as good!

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This paste is a really good cupboard staple to have as you just need to add rice then a mixture of vegetables, fish, tofu or meat and you are good to go – think of this as a spiced up version of egg fried rice!

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Ingredients

A glug of vegetable oil

A garlic clove

A pinch of dried chili flakes

One tray of fresh prawns

A few tablespoons of Nasi Goreng paste

A mixture of vegetables – I used baby sweetcorn, green beans and broccoli

Enough cooked egg fried rice for two people – see my recipe here 

How to make it

  • Begin by heating your oil on medium heat and lightly frying the garlic and chili flakes
  • Add your prawns

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  • Next, add the Nasi Goreng paste and give everything a good stir
  • Add your vegetables then tip in the rice

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  • Mix well and if needed, add a spoonful of water
  • Season with some soy sauce (or chili sauce if you want some extra spice!)
  • Serve with roti and a cold beer

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Restaurant Review – The Moonraker, Bradford on Avon

Kind of a new restaurant review today…

We ate at the Milking Parlour back in October and it has recently been renamed as The Moonraker. We loved the tasting menu we ate there last time so were looking forward to revisiting this place which has recently gone through a rebrand.

I’m not sure what I was expecting but it was lovely to see that there was very little change in the welcoming dining room and bar and they hadn’t try to fix what wasn’t broken! I was also glad to see there was still a strong emphasis on using lots of local ingredients and produce grown within the grounds.

We ordered my favourite red (a Chilean merlot) and waited for our first course. As we were sampling the taster menu, we didn’t get an actual menu to peruse which I didn’t mind because a) we aren’t fussy and will eat pretty much anything and b) it kept an element of surprise to the evening!

Our first course was soup served with toasted bread in a cup and saucer. The soup itself was a rich beef broth with beef tongue, winter vegetables and girolle mushrooms. I know some people may balk at the idea of tongue but it was delicious and full of flavour.

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A slight moan about these next two courses as they were exactly the same as the ones we ate on our last visit. I would hope that a taster menu would change at least monthly so whilst they were both absolutely delicious (the beetroot salad was my favourite course!) it was a tad disappointing not to try something new.

Anyway, next up we had an incredible salad of lightly pickled beetroot, whipped goats cheese and micro greens served with peanuts, walnuts and a glaze. The crunch of the nuts really added to this salad and I could have eaten two or three plates of this!

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We had hay-smoked salmon after that served with an apple and celeriac remoulade and leaves. We both love smoked salmon and this went down well with the rich fish complimenting the creamy remoulade.

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For our main course, we had another interesting meat choice in the form of venison. This was made into a chilli and served with gnocchi. I’m a bit love/hate with gnocchi – I don’t mind it as an accompaniment but find a whole bowl of it a bit chewy and dense. Luckily, there was a good amount of venison served with the pasta. The chilli was quite spicy for me but full of flavour.

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Finally, for pudding we had a wafer-thin crisp filled with caramel and topped with a chocolate crème brulee. This was incredible, rich but incredible! I’m not too sure what the little amaretto biscuit on the side added to the dish but I loved it.

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Up to this point, I couldn’t fault the service but as per our first visit, we found that we struggled to get a waiter’s attention to pay. I was too tired to wait around so marched up and paid at the bar instead – my only real complaint, especially as this was the second time it had happened.

We found another deal on Amazon for this meal which I would recommend as it means you get a real bargain for some excellent quality food.

Restaurant Review – The Milking Parlour, Bradford on Avon

We had a real treat for our date night this week. My lovely friends Hannah and Ben bought me a five-course tasting menu at this new restaurant and it was absolutely amazing!

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Located within the grounds of The Old Manor Hotel just outside Bradford on Avon, this beautiful farmhouse restaurant is welcoming and cosy inside and decorated with quirky wooden whisky signs and a good amount of exposed brick and wooden beams. I’m at that stage now where I kind of know when I walk in somewhere if I’ll really love it and this is definitely my kind of place.

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It was lovely to find out how local and seasonal the tasting menu was. The chef uses as much as possible from the kitchen garden and there is even a smokery, beehives and rare breed pigs on site!

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Anyway…onto the food!

After ordering a nice bottle of red, our first starter was brought out. The waitresses really know their stuff and talked us through each part of the menu as it was served.  To being with we had Chinese pulled pork belly topped with a fat, juicy scallop, some micro herbs and a pipette full of a shitake mushroom sauce. I know some may find the pipette a bit poncey but I thought it was a really fun way of serving this dish.

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Ian and I both loved this first course and it definitely set the standard very high for the rest of the meal. I love scallops and its sweetness went perfectly with the pork and sauce.

Next, we had a pickled beetroot and whipped goats cheese salad served with nuts and leaves. I love this classic combination but for me this dish really won on its textures. Rather than the usual crumbly goats cheese, this was light and whipped, almost like a cream, which tasty very indulgent. I also loved the crunch from the nuts – I plan on trying to recreate this salad at home.

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A fish course next with hay-smoked salmon (smoked on site) and a posh coleslaw-style remoulade made with apple and celeriac and an apple vinaigrette. Again, I loved this dish! The salmon was rich and smoky without the chemical taste you sometimes get with supermarket smoked fish.

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Our main course was beef cheeks which had been slow-cooked all day. I’m a fan of pig cheeks but hadn’t tried beef before. It’s another one of those cheap cuts that are terribly fashionable now and taste wonderful with a generous cooking time. The meat just fell apart and was served with a beefy sauce, crunchy green beans and a woody mushroom puree. Although I thought the portions throughout the evening were perfect for me, at this point Ian did say he was still not feeling very full so maybe some sort of potato would have gone well with this dish.

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Finally, my highlight of the meal – the pudding! We had ‘Monkey Bread’ for dessert, a kind of banana bread cake and proper bread hybrid. There was an almost crusty outer layer with a rich, chocolatey, gooey inside. It was served with a big scoop of clotted cream and a toffee popcorn caramel sauce – absolutely divine!

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Whilst the service was really friendly and informative throughout the evening, it did take ages for the waitress to sort our bill out. normally I wouldn’t mind this but we ate quite late and it was a school night so I was itching to get home into my pjs!

Overall, this was a really amazing dining experience. The location, dining room and food were all great and I love knowing you have found a real local gem too! Thank you to my very generous friends for such a great present xxx

 

Restaurant Review – Thai Barn, Bradford on Avon

I have to admit that this restaurant was not our first choice when we went out for dinner last week but upon finding the pub down the road heaving, we wandered along to Thai Barn for a bite to eat and it turns out that we were very glad we did!

The restaurant itself is really beautiful, housed in an old building with exposed beams, stone walls and a large fireplace. We were sat up on the mezzanine level and I was surprised how busy it was for a drizzly Thursday night.

While perusing the extensive menu, we were brought prawn crackers to enjoy with our beers before ordering the mixed starter platter to share.

I was really impressed when this was brought over to us, complete with four different dipping sauces. We had chicken and sesame seed toasts, pork and spring onion steamed buns, spicy Thai fish cakes, satay chicken skewers and deep fried chicken legs. I couldn’t find fault with any of these starters but the little steamed pork buns were my favourite!

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For our mains, I had my favourite, Pad Thai with king prawns, whilst Ian opted for roast duck, stir fried in a spicy red curry sauce with vegetables and egg rice.

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The portions were really generous (we ended up taking a doggy bag home with us which I enjoyed for my lunch the next day!) and served to share.

My Pad Thai was great with loads of juicy prawns and a crunch from the crushed peanuts.

Ian’s duck was beautifully cooked and had just the right amount of chili heat.

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Having lived in Bath where there is abundance of good Thai restaurants, I was really pleased to find this little gem so close to us. I noticed they also do takeaway too which will make a nice option for a lazy Sunday night instead of our usual Indian food.

 

Restaurant Review – The Boathouse, Bradford on Avon

We are going camping! Yes, I will be gone for a few days as my lovely husband has surprised me with a little holiday. It is my birthday tomorrow then our 1st wedding anniversary the next day so we are packing up the tent for a few days by the sea to eat, drink and be merry! It is hard to believe that one year ago today we were flying over to Las Vegas ready to start our American adventure but we still have such amazing memories of that holiday.

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Unfortunately I have been left with the task of packing today. I don’t know how people manage to just throw the tent and some clothes in the back of the car – I pack with military precision for every eventuality and to ensure we are super comfortable in our tent…I am definitely a fan of ‘glamping’ as opposed to roughing it!

However, in the spirit of complete procrastination, I wanted to share a little restaurant review with you today. The Boathouse is a lovely little pub which sits on the canal on the outskirts of Bradford on Avon. It used to be the Beef and Barge, which didn’t have a particularly great reputation, but is now under new ownership and has undergone a rather wonderful transformation.

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We ate here last week when we fancied eating al fresco and there are great outside spaces to choose from including a lovely beer garden or benches overlooking the marina and barges.

I decided to start with the crispy fried hen’s egg (surely that’s just an egg?!), smoked ham and mushy peas. Quite a strange combination on paper but it worked well together. The egg was perfectly cooked and runny inside and the ham added a lovely smoky flavour. I wasn’t overly keen on the mushy peas but as a dish it was tasty.

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Ian had the bread-crumbed belly of pork served with a scallop and salad. Again, this was a lovely combination and both the pork and scallop were perfectly cooked.

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Both of our main courses had quite an American feel to them but there was a really varied menu – we just so happened to choose BBQ-style items! I had baby spatchcock chicken roasted with cayenne, honey and garlic and served with chunky chips, corn on the cob and a BBQ sauce. The chicken was delicious and so juicy. The rub on the outside had just the right amount of spice and I struggled to finish it! The BBQ sauce was the only let down – it was so sharp and just didn’t work with the rest of the meal.

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Luckily, Ian let me dip my chips in his sauce! He ordered pulled pork shoulder in a cider gravy served with crackling, a potato cake, apple sauce and greens. This was a really nice dish and the portion size was just right. The cider sauce kept the pulled pork really juicy and the crackling was a nice extra texture.

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We were too full for puddings (even though they sounded amazing!) so just enjoyed the last of the evening sunshine (and my handsome hubby!)

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This pub was a great find and if the weather stays like this then we will definitely be back soon!

See you in a few days! xxx

Recipe – Spicy Red Cabbage

I have had one of the best weekends in a long time, full of food, friends and laughter!

Our friends arrived on Friday night carrying Krispy Kreme doughnuts and flowers (the best houseguests!) and I cooked us a huge toad in the hole, complete with extra sausages, potatoes, asparagus and my delicious red cabbage…recipe below…followed by huge slices of chocolate brownie!

After a lazy Saturday morning of croissants and tortilla, Ian and I decided to show our guests a few of our local hotspots in Bradford on Avon. We started off with a wander around the Tithe Barn then the boys went to the pub and us girls hit the independent shops. Sometimes, it is only when you are playing ‘tour guide’ that you remember and appreciate the cool places that you live near!

After a long lunch back home, we braved the afternoon chill for a walk around the village and a quick half at the local pub before heading into Bath for dinner at The Bath Brew House.

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I love this place and couldn’t resist ordering the BBQ ribs again and yes, they were just as amazing as I remembered! I even found room for a huge slab of Dr Pepper chocolate cake afterwards.

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Whilst there, we also booked tickets for a special ‘pork and beer night’ later this week so expect another review of this restaurant soon!

Today’s recipe is only a side dish but it is one I have made several times recently and is a real winner! At first, I thought it was a bit too Christmassy but this side dish is lovely to have at any time of the year. Not only does it add a lovely deep purple colour to your plate, it tastes delicious and seems to make loads too!

Ingredients

Butter

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 cinnamon stick

A quarter of a teaspoon of ground cinnamon

A quarter of a teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg

A quarter of a teaspoon of allspice/ sweet mixed spice

1 red cabbage, cored and sliced

1 apple, finely chopped

3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar

100-150ml of balsamic vinegar

50ml of red wine

2 tablespoons of jam or cranberry sauce (I used sour cherry jam)

How to make it

  • Melt a tablespoon of butter in a deep saucepan and add the chopped onion to soften for a few minutes on a low heat
  • Add the cinnamon stick, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice and mix wellcab3
  • Add the red cabbage and sauté for a few minutes with another knob of butter thrown incab4
  • Add the apple, sugar, balsamic vinegar and winecab5
  • Cover and continue to cook on a low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Stir through the jam and cook for another 15 minutescab9
  • Season well and serve warm, with another knob of butter on top

Finally, I had to post this weird picture I noticed when cutting my red cabbage…can you see the lobster?!cab7