Went shopping at the weekend in Weston-super-Mare, which to be honest, is now quite a depressing experience with all the shops that have closed down, and many of these closed down even before the covid-19 lockdown.
We went into the Sovereign Centre to go to Waterstones, this is a shopping centre that has a food hall with no food places from which you can buy food! They converted the Druckers Café into this food hall, no one took up the other kiosks or stands, Druckers closed and so we were left with a food hall where you can’t buy food! Well not entirely accurate, there is a Parsons’ pasty shop in the centre, but you’re not allowed to eat in the food hall as it has been roped off!
So as we walked outside the Sovereign Centre it was a nice surprise to bump into the Weston-super-Mare food fair.
We looked around the stalls, in the end we bought some gluten free scotch eggs, which were very nice. As with the recent Portishead food fair I was slightly disappointed with the stalls, but even so it was nice to see such a busy market in Weston.
However I am now having real trouble finding it in my local supermarkets, Morrisons no longer sell it, my local Waitrose had it on special for a while, but now it’s no longer on the shelves. In theory it’s available at Asda, but I have never seen it at my nearest branch.
Since I wrote that, I have found it on Ocado, so have added a few packs to my basket for my next delivery.
One of the reasons I blog, it’s more for me than other people. It’s a useful reminder for me about what I have eaten, what I have cooked, and as in this post challenges when cooking on holiday.
At the end of July we went on an Eurocamp holiday in France. Having visited Brittany last year and stayed at a Eurocamp site I had anticipated blogging about myself-catering experience and what worked and what didn’t, but for some reason never got around to it. I wish I had as it would have made this trip a little easier.
This year we went with another Eurocamp to La Croix Du Vieux Pont in Picardy or Hauts-de-France in Northern France. So I have decided to quickly write up some of those experiences in preparing for self-catering.
My previous experience of self-catering apartments was from the Greek Ionian islands and Cyprus. This was before children, so it was me and my other half. We rarely used the self-catering facilities for cooking, as we would eat out a bit, but it was useful to have a hob, a fridge and a few utensils and crockery. The “kitchen” in the apartments I experience were very minimal and not really sufficient for anything more than snacks and hot drinks. Also the local shopping environment wasn’t exactly great for self-catering, with very small supermarkets.
When we booked our Calpe holiday in 2016, due to dietary requirements (gluten free) we wanted to ensure we had not only a self-catering kitchen, but a decent enough kitchen for actual real cooking. We found the kitchens in caravans in the UK great for self-catering, if a little cramped. However I would usually take a range of ingredients and kitchen utensils to make my life easier when cooking. So I did something similar when we went to France this year.
At La Croix Du Vieux Pont, we had a three bedroom caravan which came with a well-equipped kitchen including a proper gas hob, an oven and an outside gas barbecue as well.
This was in many ways better than the equipment I have had at UK holiday parks, for example there was a washing up bowl and a draining rack! This made clearing up after a meal so much easier than just having the sink and draining board.
I took the following items with me to make cooking and catering easier.
Chopping board – for some reason the only chopping board I find in caravans are glass ones! So I always take a plastic chopping board with me.
Knives – I have found the knives on holiday either blunt or broken, so I have a large kitchen knife and a bread knife that I use on self-catering holidays.
I took a sieve with me, but in the end didn’t use it, as the caravan was equipped with a colander.
I took a spare baking tray, as usually there is only one in the caravans I have been in, in addition I took a pair of tongs which is useful for turning items on the grill. There was a long-handled barbecue tongs were provided which worked well for the outdoor barbecue.
Though I wanted to take my Tassimo coffee machine, I was overruled so we took a cafetière that worked well.
I took a potato peeler and I also took a pair of scissors, but there was one in the caravan.
The other things I take with me our sandwich bags, cling film and foil. This is easier to store uneaten food but also for packed lunches.
To help with washing up and cleaning, I took some steel scourers, washing up spongs, j cloths, washing up liquid and tea towels. In addition I take spare binliners as well.
I also took the following ingredients, though I know I could get some of these in French supermarkets, I wanted to avoid spending extra money on basics that I already had in the kitchen.
Tomato pasta sauce
As two of our household are gluten free I also took a range of gluten free items as well.
I pack the fresh food in a cool box, which if we get a small fridge I use during the week as supplementary fresh food storage. The fridge though we got was pretty big and I didn’t use the cool box.
Overall I don’t think I missed anything, apart from some mustard and white wine vinegar to make a French dressing, so in the end we bought some dressing from the supermarket.
I am not really a fan of cider, I think it boils down to drinking stupid amounts of Merrydown Cider when I was student in York and not drinking it for a really long time.
I remember in 2006 accidentally ordering and drinking a Magners cider in Edinburgh, I don’t think I finished it.
Now living down in the South West (where everyone seems to drink cider) I have recently decided to give cider another go and looking over the supermarket shelves decided to try out a bottle of Henry Weston Vintage Cider.
I really quite enjoyed it, which surprised even me. I enjoyed the dryness of the drink and found it rather refreshing.
Second most popular blog, having been top for two years was Sirloin for Beef Wellington? This was a response to the high ranking of another post about using sirloin steak in a Beef Wellington rather than fillet steak due to the way people were (at the time) searching Google.
In at number one Chilli Squid from Wagamama, maintaining it’s top position as the most popular post on the blog.. This post was one of the many on the blog about squid, however it is now quite old being from 2011.
After going to watch a film at the cinema for a birthday treat (not my birthday) we decided to follow up with a meal at the local Pizza Express.
They have created an interesting environment for the Pizza Express at Cribbs Causeway, with a lot of Banksy’esque style artwork on the walls.
I have had some excellent pizza at Pizza Express and was looking forward to another one. Perusing the menu I reminded myself that I should choose one that I hadn’t had before. I have been trying, when going out to eat, to not have what I have had before.
In the end I went with the Calabrese, this is described in the menu as fiery, soft ‘nduja sausage and spicy Calabrese sausage D.O.P with fresh red chilli, Roquito peppers, roasted red and yellow peppers, mozzarella and tomato, finished with light mozzarella, rocket, pesto and Gran Milano cheese.
I really liked this pizza, nice base and a great mix of spicy toppings. This was quite a spicy pizza, so don’t get it if you don’t like spicy.
We also had some great service, so overall a really nice meal out.
These Kipling’s Witches Hat Fancies are described on the packet as: orange flavoured green sponge with a vanilla topping and black fondant icin.g
That whole combination really doesn’t appeal to me, but maybe that is the point..
In my previous blog post I said I wasn’t going to buy any, however on a visit to London, my sister-in-law bought some for the children as a Halloween tweet.
Now I didn’t eat any, but my son who did, said he enjoyed it, but then it probably just tasted of sugar! What put me off (apart from all the sugar) was that the combination of green sponge and black icing, meant after they were bitten into, they actually looked like they were mouldy French Fancies!
These Kipling’s Witches Hat Fancies are described on the packet as: orange flavoured green sponge with a vanilla topping and black fondant icing.
That whole combination really doesn’t appeal to me, but maybe that is the point.. though I suspect they will taste like other Kipling cakes with just a hint of orange, with the usual over sugared taste explosion.
The name also annoys me, well that I am sure the grammar is wrong. In the box there are eight fancies. If these are hat fancies then surely one on its own would be a witch’s hat fancy. As witches is the plural of witch, then eight witches is fine, but I do think eight hats would be eight witch’s hats. Though is this like courts martial (the plural of court martial) as a result it’s eight witches hat, but that doesn’t sound right.. Adding fancies onto the end seems to worsen the situation. Personally I think it should be eight witch’s hat fancies, or am I wrong and Mr Kipling is right?