Archives for November 2014
One Friday evening a short while ago, just before my son left home to start his studies at the University of Nottingham, we, as a family, went to a pub/restaurant that my husband and I have been frequenting since we first met in 1984. Since then it’s changed hands several times and the restaurant has gone through a whole range of food styles over the 30 years we’ve been going there. Actually – typing that last sentence has just made me feel incredibly old! Did I really meet my husband 30 years ago?! WOW!!!!
Anyway, back to the restaurant review. We went to the Castle Inn in Caldecott set in the heart of the country in the beautiful Welland Valley on the borders of Northamptonshire/Rutland/Leicestershire where the restaurant can be found in the shadow of Rockingham Castle and serves food in an Italian theme. You walk in the door to find the old fashioned flagstone tiles on the floor, the oak beamed ceilings and a friendly smile from the staff. To the right you’ll see the impressive stone baked pizza oven. The smells that welcome you are evocative of any Italian Trattoria – garlic, tomatoes and stone baked pizza dough; truly delightful!
There’s nothing nicer than a crusty based pizza, stone baked to perfection and topped with tomatoes, cheese and herbs. My daughter chose a Margarita pizza, whilst my son went for a Hawaiian. These both came in immense portions – a whole dinner plate full and I did wonder if my daughter would be able to eat more than half. Her brother, on the other hand, was more likely to eat his and then devour the remainder on her plate!
I went for the beef Lasagne and salad, whilst my husband chose the Pollo Alla Castle; chicken wrapped in parma ham and stuffed with mozzarella, garlic and tomato sauce served with gratin potatoes. Both of these meals were very generous in portion size and tasted delicious.
How any of us had room for dessert, I really don’t know, but the kids and my husband did! I had to settle for a coffee as there’s no way I could have moved if I’d had dessert too. My daughter enjoyed the chocolate brownie and ice cream, my son had tiramisu and my husband the creamy pannacotta. Again these came in generous portion sizes and were tasty (yes, I did have a little taste of each of them – purely for review purposes, you understand!)
With drinks, our meal came to £81.20. None of us were disappointed with our meals or the service we received or the atmosphere. We’ll certainly be back again!
The meal was paid for personally by ourselves. We were not invited to dine at the restaurant nor did we receive any compensation for our visit. All views are personal to myself and my family.
We love venison as its such a rich and lean meat that’s full of flavour and I was lucky to have been given a 3kg haunch of venison a while back by a colleague in exchange for making her daughter’s Christening cake. Her husband shot and butchered the venison, so I can be sure of it’s provenance.
500g Venison, cubed (you can use beef or lamb if you prefer)
30ml Rapeseed oil
2 Onions, sliced
2 Cloves of garlic, crushed
1tbs Ground coriander
1tbs Ground cumin
2tsp Ground ginger
1tsp Ground cinnamon
250ml Beef stock
400g tin Plum tomatoes
100g Dried apricots, chopped
2tbs Ground almonds
400g tin Chick peas, drained and rinsed
1. Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan and fry the venison in batches until browned.
2. Transfer the venison into the base of your slow cooker.
3. Gently fry the onion & garlic in the pan for 5 minutes until softened, then add the ground coriander, cumin, ginger and cinnamon and fry gently for 2 minutes.
4. Add this onion & spice mixture to your venison in the slow cooker.
5. Pour your stock into your frying pan to deglaze and heat until just boiling.
6. Pour this stock mixture over your meat and spice mixture.
7. Add the plum tomatoes, chopped apricots, ground almonds and chick peas.
8. Stir well then place the lid on top.
9. Cook in the slow cooker on low for 12 hours or on medium for 8 hours.
Serve with cous cous and a little fresh, chopped coriander to garnish.
As an official BBC Good Food Show Blogger, I have three pairs of tickets to give away for the Show at the NEC in a few weeks time.
To enter is simple. What I want you to tell me is three things from this blog post reviewing the BBC Good Food Show in Summer 2014:
1. What date did I go to the Summer 2014 show?
2. What is Paul Hollywood’s favourite ‘dirty food’?
3. Who arranged for myself and the other bloggers to meet Mary Berry?
Answers must NOT be posted in comments here, but should be emailed to:
The closing date is 5pm on Sunday 16th November 2014. Winners will be chosen at random from all entries received and tickets will be posted to home addresses.