Friday, 23 November 2012

Beverley's Indulgent Tart

Beverley Cathedral - Picture by V. Ellory
 Beverley is somewhere I had never been before until recently. Apart from the annoyance of a parking ticket brought about by some rather shoddy time keeping, me, my sister, tom and my dad had an impromptu visit the other week and we were pleasantly surprised by the range and quality of the shopping but more importantly the places to eat. There were some great cooking shops including Steamer Trading Cookshop which had an amazing range of cooking supplies,enough to rival Lakeland. We also had a look inside the beautiful cathedral building where we were welcomed by a tour guide should we want more information about the history. It's amazing that people travel the world looking at religious sites, but fail to look at the beauty on offer in their locality. We take the history and architecture for granted, but we should really look at these buildings with awe and pride at our own achievements.

This all followed a spot of lunch at a place which caught our eye because of the gorgeous looking pastries in the window. Wholesome sausage rolls and more refined onion, bacon or goats cheese tarts drew us in and the sweet patisseries looked even more inviting.

The Indulgent Tarte- Beverley
Indulgent tarts from Indulgent Tarte- Beverley

The rustic and homemade feel of this little cafe made for a perfect resting stop. The two women running the place were lovely, very helpful and accommodating of our requests to sample a few things from the menu in a different order. It was also nice to see them serving Yorkshire Tea! A selection of the food on offer is pictured below and all was very delicious and satisfying.

Goats cheese open sandwich and delicious Spanish tortilla

Salami, Spanish tortilla and sweet chili platter

Goats cheese salad and onion tart - Indulgent Tarte Beverley

Sweet Patisserie - Indulgent Tarte - Beverley

We wandered around a few of the many upmarket charity shops and generally absorbed the market town atmosphere. I really like Beverley and would be happy to visit again soon.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Whitby Pit Stop

After our afternoon in Robin Hoods Bay we drove back towards Harrogate and called in at Whitby for some more sea air and a bag of chips from The Magpie Cafe. There was the usual queue even on a week day, but it was half term and the week leading up to the Town's Gothic weekend in which it hosts festive Halloween events- held in Whitby for its Dracula connections. There were some darkly dressed but colourful characters wandering about, including families dressed up in black velvet capes with black lipstick. Looking beyond this, Whitby was up to its usual picturesque standard and the abbey was still looking down on the bobbing moored fishing boats.

Whitby Harbour

As always, first stop was a fish mongers where we bought a pot of fresh mixed cockles, mussels and whelks to nibble on. Although these little sea creatures look a little odd, they are packed with flavour and protein to boot. I could take or leave the chunky whelks, but delicate cockles are by far superior seafood!

Pot of cockles, mussels and whelks, Whitby
 We enjoyed a meander through the cobbled streets and alley ways and stopped for Tom's brother Dec to buy a stick of rock, although I could scarcely choose one from this display. There was even a full English breakfast made of rock but toffee apples and candy floss are more familiar offerings...

Whitby sticks of rock
...and then we had some fun in 'Fun City' slot machines. It really is amazing how a plastic cup filled with 2 pence pieces can bring so much frustration. The warmth of a bag of take away chips with salt and vinegar cut through the fresh sea breeze. It was nice to stretch our legs before the long drive back.

Whitby slot arcades

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Robin Hoods Bay - Chocolate Box of Memories

Robin Hoods Bay

Rarely do you find a place that holds so many wonderful memories, other than the house you were brought up in. Robin Hoods Bay however is like a memory playground for me. Every corner holds comical nostalgia. When I was a child, we owned the white cottage which looks over the sea wall. It has a very narrow gable end which widens as you head down the hill to the bay and has lots of character with higgledy piggledy windows. The back of the cottage looks out over the sea and the sight of it always reminds me of my weetabix t-shirt. I have an old photograph of me sat on the backdoor step ironically eating weetabix. Unfortunately, my younger sister Victoria did the same thing a few years later (minus weetabix t-shirt) and had her breakfast stolen from her hand by a particularly cheeky seagull. I also remember walking to the old fashioned sweet shop 'Dollies' I think then it was owned by three elderly ladies. I always thought me and my sisters could take over one day. I would savor my bag of rhubarb, apple and custard sweets over the week we stayed. Our arrival down the hill in the car would always be precluded by a round of ''She'll be coming round the mountain" and my dad challenging who could see the sea first!

Georgian House, Robin Hoods Bay.

 This time, the visit was made more special as I could share it with Tom and his brother Declan. Tom has joined me on a day trip to the old place once before, but we were well due another turn about and it was nice to spend some time with Dec too. It is a very peaceful place and for somewhere hilly, it is even worth a trip if you are on crutches!

Tom and Dec -Bros on RHB beach
 Before lunch we had a little stroll along the beach; looking in rock pools, picking up shells and commenting on strange seaweed, then back onto New Road to look around and find out what was new. There are a good range of lovely gift shops, eateries and all completely independent which to me is what makes Robin Hoods Bay so special. It is still a little piece of smuggler history with a family seaside spirit. Lots of nooks and crannies for smuggling luggers to hide their contraband.
Walking down the narrow streets we peered in the windows of a new (to me) chocolate shop called 'Browns'. The selection of confectionery was very impressive- ice cream and sweets were on show too. We hand selected a bag of mixed choccies for our reward once we made it to the top of Station Road- the steep hill back to the car.

Browns Chocolate Shop, Robin Hoods Bay

Browns chocolate heaven window, Robin Hoods Bay

Sitting on a bench at the top of the hill we looked out onto the sea and scoffed a few each. A champagne and almond. Whiskey, Baileys and Coconut flavours. White chocolate, Turkish Delight and Rose Cream. All delicious! After making ourselves decidedly sick, we headed on for Whitby and another adventure.

Browns chocolate, Robin Hoods Bay

Delicious chocolate treats, Robin Hoods Bay

Hazelnut, Browns, Robin Hoods Bay

White Chocolate, Browns RHB
Another memory to add to the bank. What a wonderful place to get some fresh air and comfort on a clear Autumn day followed by a lovely drive over the moors home!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Valentine's Treats

I wanted to share this lovely chocolate figure picture. It was given to me by one of my students on Valentine's Day 2012. Most of the young girls made chocolates from kits they bought at the local accessory and stationary shops for young'uns (although I was quite partial to shopping there myself for cute Korean goodies). The kits contained molds, sprinkles and chocolate to melt, plus individual bags for the chocolate gifts to be wrapped in. It is common for kids to give their teachers little gifts on Valentine's Day, something I found strange at first but that now seems completely normal!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Angel-In-Us Coffee

Starting work at 1 or 2pm at an English academy means you have the morning time to kick back, catch up with friends, get a spot of Korean study under your belt or have a good gossip; all over a coffee.
My favourite coffee spot in Korea had to be Angel-in-us Coffee, purely for the nonsensical name and branding common to much of Korea and adherent to baffling Konglish tendencies. I especially loved Samgye's Angel-in-us, because of the big windows where you could watch the Korean world go by. Also, it had a view of my academy; providing a quick skip across the road to work!

Korean coffee shops have it all right, comfortable seating, open spaces, quirky decor and big mugs! It was not unusual to be given 'service' chocolate bars, plus coupons for free coffee and cheap as chips merchandise were also a big draw for me. One of these delightful mugs made it as my Secret Santa gift and within the 10,000won budget.

Barista courses are very popular among young Korean women who dream of having their own coffee shop selling western inspired cakes and confectionery. Many Coffee shops in Masan came and went, and it was clear that although most of the proprietors had great passion for design, taste and all things pretty, there was little room for making money if you gave free brownies to every customer! This sweetness in employee character and atmosphere made Korean coffee shops one of my favourite resting places. You were filled with the charm of Korea and humbled to be treated with such respect and concern for your comfort.
You could sit and devour two or three coffees over a couple of hours and sit alone, with a friend or a host of Korean study and note books in a large window seat, without ever being asked to move on or buy more. As regular customers, you were greeted with adorably enthusiastic English greetings and an offer of assistance with your studies!

Koreans have a love of all foods western; bagels, sandwiches, cheesecake, paninis, ice cream, cookies and doughnuts. Despite this, there is still a vehement passion and a firm refusal to give up their own traditional sweet treats as should be the case. The two streams are found together in most bakers and coffee shops. There is a distinct love of sweetness in this place. I can just taste that blackberry cheese cake. . .

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Camping is so much better with Fondue

We did a lot of camping while we were away, so now we are back we want to keep this up and make the most of the patchy summer weather.  We took a trip north of Harrogate up to Leyburn and set up camp for the evening in a lovely garden camping field. It was quiet and we had our own picnic bench and private garden complete with stream at the gorgeous Craken House which lies about a mile out of Leyburn, Wensleydale. There were a handful of caravans on the further paddocks, but we were the only tent. The campsite overlooks Middleham and the scenery is gorgeous. Facilities there are basic but clean and tidy and although the driveway up to the house is a little confusing, the neighbours pointed us in the right direction :) Camping cost 10 pounds: one night for two people and a car.

So, once we had unpacked the boot and backseats of the car which had been filled with duvets, pillows, walking boots and a hamper of food, we set up the gas stove and started to cook our Swiss cheese fondue!

Swiss Cheese Fondue

450g Emmental Cheese
450g Swiss Gruyere Cheese
One quarter of a bottle of dry white wine
1 tbsp cornflour
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 juice of one lemon


1. Mix the cheese and cornflour in a bowl (or bag if you are taking the ingredients camping).
2. Pour the wine and lemon juice into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the crushed garlic. You can add a few sprigs of thyme or cloves at this point, too.
3. Slowly add the cheese mixture a handful at a time, stirring lightly until all the cheese has melted.
4. Season to taste

The beauty of eating fondue while camping is that you can put the cheese in one pot and take blanched crudities and crusty bread along with you. It might be worth trying this with some Wensleydale cheese! Whatever cheese you choose, this makes a lovely comforting one pot meal which is very simple to make and involves very little washing up. This is a good thing as we always, always forget our washing up stuff! We also took a bottle of ale and enjoyed the rest of the wine to wash it all down. The alcohol definitely helps you wind down and keeps you warm during the night! Although you shouldn't really be able to taste the alcohol in the fondue, be careful to cook off your wine for long enough to release most of the alcohol before adding the cheese! You need to keep the cheese loose by maintaining the heat beneath the pan so make sure you have lots of gas for your stove! The heat from the pan also acts as a lovely warm fire!

We packed everything up and had a little walk through the sheep fields, all of them looked at us suspiciously (probably because we smelled of garlic, cheese and wine).

The next morning we drove up to Aysgarth Falls, the setting for the very wet Kevin Costner fight scene in 'Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves'. We enjoyed the shorter walking trail along the riverside including the upper, middle and lower falls and delighted in exploring our dearly missed English countryside!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Jeju Gumgyeol (Kumquats)


 These tiny oranges are delicious but a little disconcerting. No one likes pith, peel or seeds. They are tedious to get rid of and lets not forget messy! We were first served gumgyeol at school on our lunch tray, where we were encouraged to pop them down the hatch all in one, one at a time. Packed with vitamins and tiny edible seeds, the bitter peel is consumed along with the sweet citrus fruit and you can taste the goodness without any mess! The fruit grows well on Korea's very own paradise island, Jeju. It is often sold as a kind of marmalade tea which provides a warm and nutritiously packed alternative to hot chocolate during winter time when the weather really takes a plunge into bitterness!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Mussels in Korean Beer

In our last few weeks in Korea, we realised we had talked about cooking some of the mussels sold on the street by the ajumammas for weeks and weeks. We had a spare can of Korean beer in the pantry and decided we should combine the two with a french loaf from our local baker.

Mussels in Korean Beer

50g butter
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 can of Korean beer
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
2 kg mussels cleaned
220ml double cream
crusty bread to share
1. Melt the butter over a medium heat in a large pan.
2. Brown the onions in a little salt for 3-5 minutes and then add the garlic.
3. Add the bay leaf and thyme to the pan and pour over the beer.
4. Bring to the boil and then add the mussels.
5. Cover the mussels tightly and boil for 2-3minutes shaking occassionally.
6. Use tongs to pick out the mussels, removing and discarding unopened mussels.
7. Add the cream to the sauce, boil for a further 2 minutes.
8. Season well and serve the mussels in a large bowl to share with the liquid poured over. 

We ate our mussels with some steamed broccoli and crusty bread.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Bettys Certificate Course so far... and Vegetarian Ponderings.

So Tuesday was a busy old day. I had just about recovered from the information and butter overload on day one. Tuesday was food hygiene and introduction day. We introduced the person sat next to us and I introduced my partner Suzanne as a mum of 6; a self employed business woman who wants to take time out to do something different. She introduced me as a food lover, who is working towards a career change having spent time out in Korea figuring myself out, exploring food and the course was my reward for 2 years away from English food! She also explained that the main thing I want to get out of the course is how to do everything properly, especially meat preparation.

Since coming back from Korea, I have had a rethink about vegetarianism. Korea and the countries around it, have really opened my eyes to the principal that people around the world eat meat without question. That doesn't mean I agree with their food processes, but it does mean I have become a little less sensitive and perhaps more realistic about meat. Asian countries especially, seem to embrace the flavours and textures of their food and separate the whole thing from the lambs and pigs frolicking in the fields. A few people have joked around with me for some time that meat eating is something I am seriously missing out on. On the other hand people have commend my resilience when faced with difficulties while living in a culture that cannot understand vegetarianism. I am a vegetarian of 14 years and find the idea of eating meat strange and exotic! I have always brushed it off when Tom has commented that I will be lacking important nutrients. But knowing I was coming home to do this cooking course, I began to wonder how I would cope even preparing meat and to a certain extent fish as well. Food with a face!
It led me to think long and hard and I began to question my reasoning for doing the course at Bettys. Why put myself through it. Bettys is an institution, and a company which sources every single ingredient carefully and ethically in order to reap the best quality products. Free range butchers and locally sourced ingredients are of the highest standards. I realised that above everything else, I really enjoy cooking and eating and at the end of the day it is something I think will make me happy to be involved with day to day. I could not seriously attempt to get the most out of this rather expensive ten day stint or likewise a career in cookery, if I was not prepared to taste fifty percent of the end results.

So I did something rather naughty. On the plane on the way back to England, Tom had luckily been offered three seats to himself further down the plane where he could lie down. I was alone and really hungry. Lots of things were going around in my mind, it was a long flight home and it was a time of reflection, the end of an adventure. I realised that as an adult, I had not eaten meant, (other than the odd sneaky camouflaged ham or minced beef I found in my food in Korea). To me this seemed strange and I realised for the most part, it was psychological. The guilt, the judgement, the 100 different opinions. So when the flight steward asked me chicken or lamb, I said, "chicken, please". Nobody around me knew I was vegetarian, the airline and my director had failed to provide me with a pre-ordered alternative and I was hungry. So while no one was looking, somewhere above Russia, I ate some chicken.... and it was okay. Nobody gasped in horror, nobody laughed or made chicken sounds. When Tom came back he didn't believe me when I told him what I had done.

So since then, I have sampled a few bits and bobs and taken the notion that I shall not pigeon hole myself as vegetarian, I will simply embrace the Bettys experience and see what happens.

All the dishes below have been cooked by myself on the course, and sampled by myself.


Eggs Benedict/ Florentine - Poached eggs on a toasted Bettys English muffin with ham and homemade hollandaise. 

Plaice ready to fillet

Filleted plaice goujons - all by myself

Hardest part of the day: Looking that fish in the eye.
Best part of the day: Filleting my first ever fish.

The rest of the day was spent on the hygiene course.


Bettys full fat and creamy porridge. Secret ingredient is salt and brown sugar mixed in.

I opened my first ever oyster

And threw it down the hatch.

Cauliflower puree with pan-fried scallops and a red wine dressing.

So satisfying, 8 minute chocolate fondants. Served with Bettys breadcrumb ice cream

Rack of lamb, bones exposed by myself, with a herb crust.

Finished lamb although mine went in the freezer uncooked, so this is the tutors.

Hardest part of the day: Dealing with the lamb bones.
Best part of the day: The moment I cut into my chocolate pudding and found fondant and not sponge!


Choux pastry

Finished profiteroles with chocolate and toffee sauces, filled with creme patissiere

The most divine Swiss onion tart. Nice pastry if I say so myself
Hardest part of the day: A very difficult pork dish and presentation challenge which I forgot to take pictures of. Whoopsie, must have been the stress!
Best part of the day: Making a fab pastry case.