Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween Cupcakes

Here are some of the gruesome green Halloween cupcakes I made for work today... Complete with pumpkins, tombstones, bones, bats and ghosts. Why the devil not...?
Halloween Cupcakes
Halloween Cupcakes
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Bonfire Gingerbread Bad Boys

Bonfire Gingerbread Muffins
About four years ago, I met my dear friend Emma. She shares my love of baking and one day brought the most amazing gingerbread into work. This recipe was given to her by her mother-in-law Hilda, who had it given to her many years ago. It's been a family favourite in the Jones household for a long long time, and it's not hard to see why! This cake is soft, spicy and when left alone for a few days it becomes slightly sticky... It's just beautiful! I call these muffins 'bad boys' because they seriously pack a punch. There's enough ginger in here to ward of pneumonia!

Emma was kind enough to pass this recipe onto me. I make these cakes in huge batches every winter. This recipe is for 36 cakes, as I find 18 is just a tragedy! However, if you're not a fan of batch baking, you can easily half the ingredients. Likewise, if you're not fond of spicy things, half the amount of ginger.

Ingredients
  • 900g plain flour - sifted
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 tsp ground ginger (Yes, really. That's pretty much a full pot... Feel free to put less in.)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 450g dark brown sugar
  • 340g unsalted butter
  • 340g golden syrup
  • 340g black treacle
  • 570ml full fat milk at room temperature
  • 2 medium eggs

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to gas 3/160 C
  2. Measure all the dry ingredients into a large bowl - I think this recipe is best made without a mixer. 
  3. Add the eggs and milk to a jug and whisk to combine.
  4. Measure the butter, sugar, syrup and treacle into a large pan and melt slowly over a low heat. 
  5. Tip your syrup mix into the dry ingredients and give a quick stir.
  6. Add the milk and egg mixture slowly.
  7. TIP: it's going to look incredibly runny. It's fine...
  8. Pour the mixture into muffin cases - no more than 3/4 full. 
  9. TIP: because the mixture is so runny, it's easier to pour the batter from a large jug.
  10. Alternatively you can divide the mix between two 9 inch round tins lined with baking parchment.
  11. Bake for 40 minutes (90 minutes if you're doing the two round cakes).
  12. If you can, leave these cakes for at least a day before serving. About 2 days is best. I've never got to three...

The finished result is an amazing cake perfect for the colder months...

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Monday, 29 October 2012

Italia Manchester - Preview

Italia Manchester
A few weeks ago the lovely Franco Sotgiu invited us for a snoop round his new restaurant, Italia. We were already massive fans of his other gaff Solita so knew he would be planning something a little bit special for the tired old Rustica.

Originally opened in 1977 under the name Pizzeria Italia, some of the fittings haven't been touched since. Upstairs is a shrine to yesteryear, but rather than rip it all out and put in glitzy new fittings, Franco has decided to preserve some of the fantastic original features as a nod back to the restaurant's heyday in the 70s and 80s. Franco told us that Italia is the oldest Italian restaurant in the city. With so much history within its walls, it would be a crying shame to bring it into the 21st century. It gives the place some soul.

Saying that, there are no more ruched red napkins and the shabby signage that was Rustica's is gone. The original fittings have been complimented with a large 1950s poster and the odd vintage cheese label. We did suggest a framed picture of Roberto Baggio, but they weren't having it...
Italia Manchester
Yesterday we were lucky enough to be invited to a tasting session at Italia. Although I like Italian food, it has never been one of my favourite cuisines, mainly because I find pasta very heavy and a lot of the sauces a little boring. Wrong!

My husband and I went with our good friends Wayne and Vicki (MrsPetticoat) to put the menu through its paces. We were greeted by Franco and his front of house staff, and given a fantastic table perfect for people watching. The location is ace. From the window you can see right up Deansgate, perfect for a nosy Parker such as I. 

The front of house staff deserve a mention before I even speak of the food. Very rarely do I go somewhere where they get it so right. We all agreed that whilst we were in Italia we felt like we were at a friend's house. They are chatty, funny and turn each course into a little bit of theatre. They were never intrusive and had us in stitches at regular intervals!

First came a selection of bruschetta. I have a confession. I am a huge fan of garlic bread with cheese so I tend to stick to that. This plate of wonder has opened my eyes to a whole new world! Beautifully sweet tomatoes, melt in the mouth lardo and something I am sure was some sort of spicy chorizo heaven. I can't wait to have these again.
Italia Manchester
Oops. This was made by mistake for another table... happy accident in my eyes folks! We got to try another dish! Well, it would have been rude to let such wonderful pasta go to waste... This was served with a beautiful ragu. I'm sure I could easily have eaten the whole bowl left to my own devices...
Italia Manchester
Vicki had the clam linguine. Not a fan of fishy stuff myself, I still found myself nicking bits... This has a really subtle flavour from the clams, with more of a punch coming from the dressed pasta.
Italia Manchester
Wayne had heard amazing things about the oxtail gnocchi. Again, I had once had a bad experience with a slimy piece of gnocchi which reminded me somewhat of a slug. These were beautiful (yes, I stole one...). Think of a rich oxtail stew with soft dumplings... now add more flavour. I am having these next time. The portion was massive too!  
Italia Manchester
My husband is a huge fan of meatballs. Years ago, a local restaurant called Il Toro did a brilliant meatball starter. I'm sure they still do it now, although I would need to go and check whether they are as good now it is under new management. These were served with pasta in a tomato sauce. A quick note on the sauces... step away from the classic 'Dolmio'... add some warming spices and a bit of clout. These sauces give you a good kick up the jacksy and remind you that Italian food is more than jars and Night Bar pizzas. The meatballs were seriously good. A subtle hint of star anise perhaps? A wonderful winter warmer.
Italia Manchester
I couldn't resist. I love a good lasagne. What's better than layers of meat, pasta and cheese? The cheese on this one was perfect. Chewy and crisp in places and soft and stringy in others. Again, the sauce had a lovely little kick to it too. I often find that Italian restaurants overface you with enough pasta to pave a patio, but this was perfect. I'll be having this again too.
Italia Manchester
Now then. Crunch time. Desserts. Vicki and I had already had our eye on the contraption housing lots of cake. Inside the motorised dome lives all sorts of wonderful creations! There is also a gelato bar at the side. Everything is home made too. Despite being full of pasta, I had my eyes on the prize...
Italia ManchesterItalia Manchester - Gelato
Imagine my excitement/hysteria when this platter was put before us. Boozy tiramisu, Ferrero Rocher cake, something a little like a filled brandy snap, ice cream cups and a vision in pink. It may look like Pepto Bismol, but this is one of the finest tasting things I have eaten in a while. It tastes like raspberry ripple ice cream on a biscuit base (cue the song...). I was quite pleased that everyone else got full. I am lucky enough to have a separate stomach for desserts and cake...
Italia Manchester
Warrior like behaviour from our table...
Italia Manchester
A massive thank you to Franco and his team for the amazing food and wine, but also for a fantastic afternoon. We ate, laughed and left feeling happy. What more can you ask for? Go and give them a try. You won't be sorry...

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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Build-a-Bundt

Build a Bundt
I am constantly asked for a basic bundt recipe. Something that's easy to make and beginner friendly. However, after mastering this one (and subsequently getting hooked on bundts) many people are eager to experiment. There are a lot of recipes out there which call for packet mixes or that give mixed results. My basic recipe works a dream every time. It tastes fantastic and releases from the tin without losing chunks! 

Don't worry about the type of bundt tin you have, or what size it is. If you follow these simple steps, you will have a beautiful bundt every time. Everyone will think you are very clever and you can sit back safe in the knowledge that it was actually very easy indeed...

I do of course have lots of other recipes on my bundt page, but this is a good starting point.

You have lots of choices here, ranging from a basic (but brilliant) vanilla bundt to the camp as you like glittery, all singing all prancing bundt bonanza! The hardest bit is finding the time to try them all!

Bundt Tips 

  1. Use good quality, heavy duty tins.
  2. Grease and flour the tin really well. Use plenty of flour and tap the excess out over the sink.
  3. Spoon the mix into the tin rather than pour in one go. This gets it into the nooks and crannies!
  4. Push the mix to the edges and tease it up the sides.
  5. Never fill your tin more than 3/4 full.
  6. Always bake in the middle of the oven. If in doubt, Gas 3/165 C for at least 1 hour.
  7. Use an oven thermometer.
  8. If it’s not shrinking from the sides of the tin slightly, put it back in until it does.
  9. An inserted skewer should be clean (a toothpick isn’t long enough…)
  10. Leave it to cool for about 10 minutes before turning out. If your cake is still losing bits, try letting it cool fully next time. I have a couple of recipes that require this special treatment…
  11. Fill the hot tin with warm soapy water and leave to soak until the grease has loosened (or in my case, until my husband washes it!)

Basic Bundt Ingredients:
  • 225g butter
  • 450g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250ml vanilla yogurt 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Your choice of additions...


Optional Variations
There are lots of things that you can add to modify my bundt recipe. Try some of these:
  • Extracts - coffee, almond, lemon, orange, strawberry, rose, mint etc. Add more or less depending on preference and strength.
  • Spices - these are my favourite and can be changed to suit your own taste! Cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice, ginger and cloves all work well in a bundt. 
  • Plants - yep, you can add things like seeds, lavender and herbs. I often use poppy seeds with citrus fruits, thyme with lemon and lavender with vanilla. 
  • Zests - lemon, orange, grapefruit and lime all give a bundt a lovely lift. 
  • Yogurt - you can swap the plain vanilla for any yogurt, or even a mixture of yogurt and something like jam, marmalade, honey or curd. Just keep the total volume the same. Just make sure your yogurt has enough flavour. I tend to find if you use a good quality yogurt you get much better results. If you want to reduce the fat content a little, use fat free. 
  • Additions - add 100-150g of chocolate chips, glace cherries, mixed peel, toffee chunks, dried or fresh fruit, chopped nuts etc. It's worth dusting these in flour first to stop them sinking to the bottom of the cake. 
  • The Tin - this recipe works in any sized tin. It's perfect for a standard size (10 cups/10 inch diameter/2.4 litre), but can be used in smaller ones too. Just make sure you don't fill more than 3/4 full. If your tins are much smaller, peep at them after 45 minutes.
  • Colour - I often colour my bundts for a bit of fun! You can colour the entire cake, marble multiple colours or allow natural waves by not mixing the colour in fully.
  • Topping - there's something quite pleasing about a bundt simply dusted in icing sugar, but you can really do whatever you fancy. Mix spices in with the icing sugar (I regularly mix cinnamon or ginger with mine), make a simple glace icing and drizzle over (coloured or plain, with or without an extract or zest), cover with frosting or in chocolate ganache. There are some recipes for these on my Bundts on the Brain page. You can even go wild with edible glitter, icing pens, sweets or coloured sprays. 
  • Flour - This is a bit of an update to my original post. My friend Vicki recently had to revert to a gluten free diet, so I investigated. I'd recommend swapping the plain flour for Dove's Farm gluten free plain flour. Works a treat. Just use slightly less intricate tins, as you lose a little of the sharpness on edges. 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 3/160 c
  2. Grease and flour your choice of tin - this is based on an average bundt tin of 10 cups/10 inch diameter or 2.4 litre capacity.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time on a low setting. You'll see the mix get noticeably fluffier.
  5. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  6. Mix the yogurt and any zests or extracts together in a jug.
  7. Sift in 1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by 1/2 of the liquid. Repeat until all the flour and liquid is used up. Fold it in gently... Over-mixing at this stage will make a dense cake and may cause air channels. This can ruin the shape of a decorative bundt.
  8. Add any additions such as chocolate chips etc.
  9. Give it all a quick mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds, or until smooth.
  10. Pour the mix into a greased and floured tin.
  11. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. It's stable from about an hour in if you want to check or turn it around.
  12. Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.
  13. Serve with your choice of topping!
Please feel free to browse the pictures on my Bundts on the Brain page or the entries on my National Bundt Day UK challenge. Make sure you enter yours if you make one!

Bloggers: Please respect the fact I am sharing my own ideas and basic recipe. Blood, sweat and many tears have gone into getting this right, so you may enjoy a perfect bundt. If you wish to re-blog a recipe from these variations, please credit my blog and link to this original post rather than pasting the recipe on your own page. 
Please see my Creative Commons Copyright information for more details. Thank you. 

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Meat London: An Insider's Guide by Tom Howells

Meat London: An Insider's Guide by Tom Howells
Someone wrote a meat bible folks...

I love this series of books. They have to be one of the best ideas ever. For those of us who live outside London, finding somewhere good to eat can be a minefield. Okay, so you have the Michelin, Good Food, AA and Hardens guides but they tend to stick to fine dining. They do go a little beyond the white table cloth, but you rely on a score to tempt you. These books are like a very specific travel guide tailored to your preferred type of food. Earlier this year I reviewed Tea and Cake. This will be in my handbag when we visit London later in the month. Imagine my joy when I received a similar guide called 'Meat London'...

I don't know who loves this book more, me or my husband. It is rammed with wonderful pictures of what these places have to offer, tempting you like a meaty mistress! It's also in the same handy format as the other books, so it's easy to flick through for inspiration for any occasion; even if that means cooking at home. There's a really varied mix of high end restaurants and cheaper places too, so there's something for everyone regardless of the circumstance or budget. There's everything from Michelin stars to street food vans in here.

The book is split into three main sections for ease of browsing:

  1. Restaurants and Pubs
  2. Street Food
  3. Butchers

Here are my picks from each section. Some I have already been too, but most are on the 'to eat' list...

Restaurants and Pubs
    Meat London: An Insider's Guide by Tom Howells
  • Dinner by Heston Blumenthal - we went here not long after it opened and were flabbergasted by the steaks and their famous meat fruit.
  • Hawksmoor - we still haven't got round to going here. Our London trips are always jam packed with restaurants, so it remains on 'the list'.
  • Honest Burgers - I had never heard of this place before, but the pictures remind me very much of Roam in San Francisco. I have to go...
  • St John - one of my husband's favourite meals ever. I expected offal-a-go-go here but was pleasantly surprised by their varied menu. Fantastic desserts too.
Meat London: An Insider's Guide by Tom Howells
Meat London: An Insider's Guide by Tom Howells

Street Food
  • Daddy Donkey - authentic Mexican inspired by the owner's travels. He claims to be the daddy of burritos. Sounds right up my street!
  • The Rib Man - inspired by the American deep South, this looks very 'Man vs. Food'. Yes.


Butchers
Not something I would usually purchase on a trip to London, however some of the pictures in this book have me considering a cool box...

  • The Ginger Pig - this small chain of butchers has a simple ethos of raising well cared for, happy animals on the Yorkshire Moors. As a result, the quality of their meat has earned them an excellent reputation. The Hawksmoor even use their steaks...

This really is a great little book because it's a pleasant book to pick up and have a flick through, but it's also one I will actually use when planning future trips to London. 

Also available in the series is 'A Guide to London's Classic Cafes and Fish & Chips Shops'.

Publisher: Black Dog, 2012
Hardback, £9.99
Disclaimer: I reviewed this book because I am a carnivore. I received no payment from the publisher for doing so.
Read more about the authors at Black Dog.

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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Bouchon, Las Vegas

Bouchon, Las Vegas
On our first morning in Las Vegas we decided to head for the Venetian for a toot at the gondolas and hunt down one of the best breakfasts the Strip has to offer. Bouchon is a bistro owned by Thomas Keller; the culinary wizard behind The French Laundry in Yountville and is situated in the hotel part of the Venetian, away from the crowds in the Mall.

Bouchon, Las VegasYou cannot make a reservation for breakfast, and we had heard that there is sometimes a long queue for a table. With this in mind we went at about 9am (by which time it was already 28 C outside) in the hope we wouldn't have to wait too long. There was no queue at all! Apparently 9am is early... We were greeted by a friendly waitress and taken into the main seating area via a stunning tiled walk way. Everything is beautifully finished, and definitely feels more European than American. We had the choice of sitting outside (on the air conditioned balcony) or inside. We remained inside just because it was so nice.

The menu is extensive, ranging from a full English type breakfast to the more continental choices. Everything is home made including the pastries, butter and preserves.

Our waiter was fantastic. He was really chatty (and seemed to know an awful lot about Manchester) but was not intrusive. He asked us about our plans so we told him of the excitement brewing about visiting The French Laundry later in the week.

We chose the Breakfast AmĂ©ricaine and Bouchon French Toast. This didn't sound like a lot of food when we ordered it, nor did it appear a breakfast behemoth like those at Dottie's. However, it was unbelievably filling!

Our menu choices:

  • Breakfast AmĂ©ricaine: two eggs any style served with bacon, country sausage & toasted brioche & a pecan sticky bun.
  • Bouchon French Toast: bread pudding style with warm layers of brioche, custard & apples served with maple syrup.
  • Fresh orange juice, breakfast tea & Bouchon blend coffee.

Bouchon, Las Vegas
Bouchon, Las Vegas
Bouchon, Las Vegas
Bouchon, Las Vegas
Wow. This breakfast was epic. Everything in sight was rich and packed with flavour. The bacon was maple smoked, anything bread based was actually brioche, the apples were stewed in cinnamon, the massive pecan bun was covered in sugar syrup and even the jams were full of fruit. Coffee, tea and orange juice were all refilled regularly too.

This was one of my favourite breakfasts ever. Go to Bouchon if you want relaxed dining with a flash of finesse. They also serve brunch, lunch and dinner. Well worth a trip if you're on the Strip...

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Monday, 22 October 2012

Happy Burro Chili and Beer - Beatty, Nevada

Happy Burro Chili and Beer - Beatty, Nevada
When we began researching our road trip in America, my husband started to look at the roads we would travel on using Google Maps. We had decided not to use the main highways in favour of the Tioga Pass, which meant driving through a little town called Beatty. After a bit more digging, we found a little place called Happy Burro Chili and Beer. They had won all sorts of awards for their famous chili, so we decided to check them out on our way to Mammoth Lakes.

The sun was blazing, and the fellas were sat in the outdoor bar, drinking from chilled jam jar tankards. Happy Burro is a wonderfully laid back affair with some of the friendliest people in the world. I don't think they get many people from Bolton in these parts. In fact, I don't think they get many people full stop! The lady who ran the bar showed us round then off she trot to source some of that famous chili we had heard so much about. 

In the mean time we had a chat with one of the chaps who had been drinking outside. He had (what was surely an award winning) white handlebar moustache but informed us that he normally had a full beard in the winter. He was a champion gun slinger, and there was a painting of him in all his gear on the wall of Happy Burro. You couldn't make this up. 

The chili itself is served with grated cheese and red onion in polystyrene cups. It's red, thick and has enough heat without blowing your head off. Remember, you are in the Nevada desert so no extra heat is required... It was bloody gorgeous! 
Happy Burro Chili and Beer - Beatty, Nevada
Happy Burro Chili and Beer - Beatty, Nevada
Now then. The facilities. I'm fairly confident I will never see this again in my lifetime. They are so proud of these toilets, they gave us a tour when we got there. And yes, the flusher is on the handlebar...
Happy Burro Chili and Beer - Beatty, NevadaHappy Burro Chili and Beer - Beatty, Nevada

Happy Burro Chili and Beer - Beatty, Nevada
They like guns...
Happy Burro Chili and Beer - Beatty, Nevada
Some of the awards they have won for their chili
Before we hit the road, they were quite keen to take a picture of us together. Nice gesture. Then they grabbed 'the special stool'...
Happy Burro Chili and Beer - Beatty, NevadaHappy Burro Chili and Beer - Beatty, Nevada
I'll be amazed if you find yourself in these parts, but if you ever do you must go. On our way out of Beatty we saw the family of burros (similar to donkeys) and a wolf! An experience we will neer forget!

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Sunday, 21 October 2012

Halloween Sour Snot Bundt

Halloween Sour Snot Bundt
For yesterday's Monster Mash cake club event, I tried a couple of different cakes but settled on one that tasted great, but looked utterly gruesome! This method can make even a plain cake look devilishly daring and has children shrieking at the sight of it! It's is a sour snot cake because of a sloppy secret ingredient... lemon curd.

Ingredients:
    Halloween Sour Snot Bundt
  • 225g butter
  • 450g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200ml thick vanilla yogurt (not the low fat type)
  • 50ml lemon or lime curd
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • Green food colouring 

Method:
  1. Grease and flour a regular sized bundt tin (2.4l, 10 cup, 10 inch). 
  2. Soften the butter and then cream in the sugar in stages.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time on a slow setting.
  4. Add all the remaining dry ingredients to a large bowl.
  5. Measure the yogurt, curd and extract in a jug. Give it a quick mix.
  6. Sift in 1/3 of the dry ingredients with a good pea sized amount of green food gel (or a good glug of the liquid stuff...), followed by 1/2 of the liquid. Repeat until all the flour and liquid is used up. Fold it in gently...
  7. Give the whole thing a quick mix for about 10 seconds or until well combined.
  8. Spoon the mix into the prepared tin.
  9. Bake at gas 3/160 C for about an hour and 15 minutes. 
  10. It should be shrinking from the sides and a skewer should come out clean.
I decorated mine with a simple glace icing dyed green and tipped over the entire cake. This can of course be made in any colour too...

BloggersPlease respect the fact I am sharing my own ideas and recipe. Blood, sweat and many tears have gone into getting this right, so you may enjoy a perfect bundt. If you wish to re-blog a recipe from these variations, please credit my blog and link to this original post rather than pasting the recipe on your own page. 
Please see my Creative Commons Copyright information for more details. Thank you.

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Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo - Wales

Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo

When we got back from America we were:
a) Jet lagged
b) Cold
c) Craving comfort food

It's a duck in a frame...
On the Saturday after we got home I was at the Clandestine Cake Club annual organisers meeting in Leeds, where I had to do a presentation on bundt cakes. I was bricking it. As a little 'carrot on a stick' to soothe my crippling sense of impending doom, my husband booked us in to Tyddyn Llan. Somewhere we had intended going for probably the last year, we finally made it to Wales...

As we drove through the wet Welsh countryside, we started to reminisce about some of the beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife we had seen on our trip through Yosemite National Park. Then we saw it. Like a wet leek to the face. There stood a fully grown man, in his underpants, in a lay by, pointing at some sheep. You could not make this up. Welcome to Wales!

I'm glad to say that the rest of the trip was rather uneventful in comparison! Tyydyn Llan is in the small town of Llandrillo. There are lots of houses and streets containing the word 'Bryn' and some serious levels of eating going on...

I'm quite certain that the staff behind Tyddyn Llan are feeders of the highest order. They love to look after you. On arrival we were greeted with tea and coffee and a fire was promptly lit. Flames roaring, I set about having a nosy round their gaff. We were particularly impressed with their medley of matchboxes and menus from around the world, the Michelin Man collection and a pleasing picture of a duck in a frame!
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
We got there about half an hour early, but it wasn't long before our waiter appeared with some canapes. Remember what I said about these chaps being feeders? Look at these pictures! There were six different types, including cheese puff type thing, smoked salmon roulades, scotch eggs, ham croquets, spinach tarts and spicy pork.
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
We were taken through to a traditional dining room; perhaps the sort you would expect at a Michelin starred restaurant in the Lakes. It was actually a bit chilly, but I put this down to the fact it was freezing outside and we had just been sat next to a roaring fire. A lovely assortment of bread lay waiting. Cheese bread sticks, something similar to ciabatta, soft white farmhouse and hazelnut wholemeal. I'm not going to lie to you. I snaffled a ridiculous amount.
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
By the time our food started to arrive, we had already consumed a light lunch in nibbles. In the quest for comfort food, to start my husband had a sweetbread dish with beans (we can't remember its name...) and I had a pressed ham terrine with piccalilli. Although mine was a cold dish, it was packed with taste and a little heat from the piccalilli. My husband likened his to a 'posh Big Soup'. I doubt Heinz have a market for sweetbreads...
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
For mains we both chose the beef roast. I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking here. I will say this though. Feeders. We thought they had lost the plot when our beautifully pink beef was served with nothing but an oversized Yorkshire and gravy. They even left us for a few minutes to stew... Then they came. Enough accompaniments to feed a family of four (plus a greedy dog) for several days. Roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, baked leeks, seasonal vegetables, breadcrumbed courgettes and more of that delicious bread! I did ask if they were trying to kill us. Our waiter laughed... note to self... at no point did he deny the charge...
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo - Wales
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
After eating what looked like a minuscule amount of the mountain of food before us, we were done. I never wanted to eat ever again. Luckily for me, I am blessed with a separate stomach for desserts. Call it restoring the sweet/savoury equilibrium if you like. I'd already spied a ginger pudding on the menu. Like the total greedy pig warrior that I am, I dealt with this dessert accordingly. The sponge wasn't too sweet and it was served with warm home made custard. I love custard season... My husband had creme brulee. This had a fantastic firm top with a smooth as velvet texture inside.
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
I'm pretty sure this is what minor death feels like. My legs were aching, my stomach bursting and feet throbbing. I had clearly over-done it. We asked if we could have our coffees in the lounge, mainly because I wasn't confident that I could remain sat upright for much longer! Feeders strike again. Three massive petit fours; fudge, truffles and some sort of marzipan chocolate thing. I literally nibbled the corners off each. I even struggled to drink my coffee!
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
Go to Tyddyn Llan if you are hungry, or at least make sure you are starving before you go! You will be well fed with food cooked and presented to a high standard. There's nothing ground breaking, but it's bloody good.

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