Archive for February, 2011

I’m afraid to say that the new ruling leaves me bewildered.

What new ruling? That of the European Parliament which say that only Pasties made in Cornwall, from a traditional Cornish recipe can be called a ‘Cornish Pasty’. Seen first here.

So, what’s bewildering about that? Well, where do you stop for one thing – should Yorkshire Puddings only be made in Yorkshire to a traditional Yorkshire Pudding recipe? What’s one of those – you could put ten Yorkshire born cooks of all calibre in a room and still have ten ‘traditional’ recipes. Should Lancashire Hotpots only be … (yadda yadda yadda – you know where I’m going)? And, I suspect the same can be said of Cornish Pasties – 10 chefs = ten recipes.

However, what’s more bewildering (actually it isn’t, I realise that it’s just big business protectionism on a national, rather than international scale) is the fact that “Cornish pasties can be baked elsewhere in the country as long as they are prepared in the west country” (by which I suppose they mean Cornwall, rather than Devon or Somerset etc.) Quote seen here.

Fair enough chaps – but what will you do when Cheddar Cheese needs to be treated the same way? How on earth will you answer to the wrath of cheese makers the world over, who will thereafter have to sell ‘generic hard cheese, made the way it’s made in Somerset England‘ – actually it probably isn’t anyway 😉

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This week’s Saturday walk didn’t go as planned, which is beginning to be the norm. What’s more, it nearly didn’t go ahead at all. John had told me that he’d seen snow on the forecast, but I’d not expected 3″ on top of my car when I woke.

We’d planned to forego the walk and spend the morning cutting trees in John’s garden – which over time IS part of the norm. We’d also planned (still plan?) to ‘do’ my trees during the week. But the snow, especially its doggedness, put paid to that. we therefore decided to meet in Huddersfield and to just walk wherever our feet took us. John wanted to look at the price (and delivery) of some breeze blocks so B & Q was our first target. As far as possible, we stayed off the main roads, passing through the Galpharm Stadium grounds en route. We then walked over Red Doles Lane to the canal and followed that through to Hillhouse Lane, where we turned up to Birkby. We passed St. John’s Church and walked along the edge of St. Patrick’s cemetery and onto Greenhead Park.

The snow never let up. some of the flakes were the size of saucers (small saucers, but big for snowflakes) but despite this by the time we’d finished the day most of it had gone. This was a good thing because that evening I’d planned a special dinner party to which John and Sandy were invited, along with another John, and Carol.

DinnerThe original plan for the evening had been to organise a games evening, but for that I needed a minimum of eight guests and with this being the beginning of half term, rounding up that many guests had been impossible. So, we’d planned a Theatre Night. The idea was to pretend that we would all be visiting a newly opened theatre where Les Miserables was been performed.

Pre-dinner drinks would be served, along with canapĂ©s. (We had smoked salmon and cream cheese roulades, bresaola curls, garlic mushroom, samosa, filo prawns and pate on toast). Then a simple entrĂ©e of Hungarian Goulasch would be served immediately before the curtain went up. We then sat and watched the first act before serving cheese and drinks during the intermission. Home made petit fours and more drinks completed the evening’s entertainment.

We’d moved our front room around so that it would accommodate my projection screen, projector and speakers. This took a bit of doing because although we only have a two seater settee (and two matching chairs) the room is fairly long by narrow – but in the end it worked. I’d set up the computer behind the settee, with a dining chair for me to sit on (ouch) and was therefore able to control sound, image and lighting.

We had a cracking evening, very relaxed and very enjoyable. You should try it.

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Picture shows the waterfall discussed in the blog postToday’s Saturday walk was another step outside the ordinary. This week, Sharon and I have gone into Wales for a short weekend away. We arrived during Friday afternoon and we’ll be home by Sunday afternoon, but as they say – a change is as good as a rest.

We’re staying a a small cottage close to the centre of Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant which is between Oswestry and Welshpool but inland, closer to the coast. The village is ideally placed for trips into those two market towns as well as for trips to Lake Bala or Lake Vyrnwy.

Of particular interest though, is the village’s proximity to Pistyll Rhaeadr, the highest waterfall in England and Wales. It is reputed to be 60 feet higher than the Niagara Falls in North America.

The single track road from the village to the falls is four miles long and must be a nightmare in summer when there are more tourists driving up and down it. We didn’t do too bad, although coming back down was a little busier. We’d read that there was a pay and display car park at the end of the road (and there is) but we didn’t drive quite far enough, so our first view of the falls was from a distance – and they looked impressive.

When we did get to the car park, we found public loos and a cafe/tea shop – so the trip to the falls can be an excellent day out. Especially when you get up close and personal to the falls. They ARE magnificent. Perhaps it’s the time of year but the noise and the spray are a joy to behold. Luckily, we were amongst the first to arrive today so the favourite photo spots were free. Having become enamoured of the falls, we decided to walk up the hill to the source. It’s not too far, perhaps about a mile but it’s a very steep walk, so if you plan on following in our footsteps do take your boots. In fact, take a picnic, it’s an absolutely fabulous view from up there and there are many many more walk emanating from the car park area.

View from top of waterfallAfter a couple of hours here, we drove over to Lake Vyrnwy, where we planned to have our late picnic lunch. Just an aside here: when we stopped at the waterfall and stepped out of the car to change into our boots, it rained. It stopped eventually and we had a cracking walk, but when we got back to the car to remove our boots, it rained again. How lucky was that? However, at the lake, the rain (and hail) got its own back and we had to eat our lunch in the car. No sooner had we decided  to drive back to the village, than the sun came out again. Hey ho.

We finished our trip with a walk around the visit and a look in at the pub where we had dinner last night. A pint of Stonehouse brewery beer and the first half of England v Italy. (and now Scotland v Wales as I write this). A cracking day!

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Well, we’ve finally been walking on a Saturday morning again! Two weeks ago, I had man-flu, so we didn’t go anywhere and last week we walked around Holmfirth on Sunday morning, which was different.Shows river in full flow at Marsden

This week, because the weather promised to be so appalling we decided to stay on the level and just walk into the wind and rain. Last week’s walk in Holmfirth had been a challenging walk on a crisp yet sunny day, but you can’t walk many yards without encountering a hill in that part of Summer Wine Country.

Today’s walk started down by the River Colne and took us along the road by the University, past the new Premier Inn building site at Aspley and along the Huddersfield Broad Canal towpath as far as the river Calder at Cooper Bridge, Bradley. There are only nine locks on this canal, over its four mile length – which gives some idea of how flat that is.  I was brought up at a time when this part of the Huddersfield canal system was called the Sir John Ramsden Canal after the local landowner/Lord of the Manor, a chap who features in much of Huddersfield’s history.  The Huddersfield Narrow canal (which flows to the south west of the town) by contrast, follows a steep track up the Colne Valley – with forty two locks between the town and Marsden, Tunnel End.

We returned via the cycle path which now follows the route of the old Huddersfield – Kirkburton railway line, as far as Fartown and then turned up towards Birkby where we were able to peruse and purchase Asian groceries, before continuing into town and back to the car. Birkby, where I used to live when I first married, now has a huge variety of Asian food shops where just about anything you want can be purchased. I bought a big bag of paprika, ready for a large batch of Hungarian Goulasch I plan to make over the next couple of weeks.

Now I’m watching the rugby.

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