The Pig near Bath

The weekend before last was the wedding of one of my lovely Leeds couples A and S in the beautiful City of Bath. Not visiting Bath for years, Mr D and I decided to make a weekend of it and put ourselves up at The Pig. WARNING It's a long one...

We pulled up outside the most gorgeous stately home guarded by two bronzed piggies and immediately relaxed...  being a little early for our room we were shown into the lounge/bar area which showcases a rather tempting amount of flavoured vodkas and gins. Thinking this was a little punchy for an 11am tipple I ordered a glass of their pink prosecco and watched the morning go by in front of a roaring fire – heaven, right?

We were staying in one of their Comfy Luxe rooms and upon entering I immediately hurled myself on the ginormous bed and snuggled in... for all of ten minutes... the rooms are tastefully decorated in a French shabby chic way (think Soho/Babington House-esque), wonderful Four poster beds and (in our case) a huge bathroom with roll top bath and monsoon shower.

After a rather glorious night’s sleep/passing out after said wedding! We woke to true British Summertime weather... rain. And, lots of it. Zooming across the courtyard to breakfast we grabbed papers and sat in the quaint conservatory and nestled into delicious ‘home smoked’ eggs royal (hollandaise on the side for me)...

Luckily the rain stopped for just enough time to wander round their incredible kitchen garden which I was far too envious of and immediately demanded we pack up and leave London for a country pad like this... in.my.dreams! It is rather reminiscent of Peter Rabbits garden although on a MUCH bigger scale, and is simply, stunning. Rows upon rows of unusual vegetables, cabbages and fruits which is all used in the restaurant and bar food and manicured to the highest of standards...

After a day in Bath City we returned for dinner which is held in the conservatory however this time the room is lit by candle light and low wattage French lamps. But, before food make sure you make full use of the bar... I so wish to have a gin selection half as good as this...

Whilst choosing our 'Piggy treats' we had a plate of the most incredible crackling sticks served with an apple sauce. The menu comprises of foraged and home grown goods as well as every other aspect coming from within a 25 mile radius hence, ‘The 25 mile menu’.

Decisions made, two kinds of bread were served. A warm sour dough and a flavoursome onion bread served with some ‘garden herb’ olive oil and a wonderful ‘home smoked’ salt.
Starters then followed...

Black pepper and Juniper berry venison carpaccio with Old Winchester cheese for him. I managed to sneak a mouthful and it was as good as it looks...

12 month air dried ‘Karma (Parma) Ham’ salad with garden artichokes for yours truly. Paper thin slices of deliciously salty, cured pork sat well with a crisp, humble and simply dressed salad.

Mains certainly caught our attention on and off the menu. With every plate passing looking totally delicious. Mr D was particularly bowled over by his ‘Kentucky fried’ rabbit. Which was in a word, superb. The flavour was as one would expect but, with more finesse and the meat was kept succulent. It was served with a carrot 'slaw which complimented the spiced coating of the rabbit well.  

Unusually for me I went for the veal chop, served as the chef recommends - pink. It was gigantic. Charred in all the right places, crisp fat and succulent underneath. Thoroughly enjoyable paired with the buttered al dente sprouting broccoli and black pudding cubes. And even more naughty when paired with some thrice cooked chips... (so bad, but, so so good!).

We skipped puddings in favour of retiring back to the drawing room to nestle into some of those G and T's and chatted the night away to the delightful bar staff...

The Pig completely and utterly stole my heart. It's definitely a case of eat, drink, sleep, repeat for 48 hours solid which made for such a great weekend. I urge you all to take your lovers and thoroughly enjoy every aspect this place has to offer...it's heaven! 
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London House

Ramsey’s newest venture is nestled within what is now locally known to those estate agents as ‘Battersea Village’ (yes, another ‘cutsie’ London estate agent phrase!). It’s that pretty little square you and I zoom through to get to Wandsworth Bridge, when Battersea Bridge is choc-a-block, en route to get North of the river and is full of coffee shops and little local restaurants, none of which I have ever frequented, until last week...

The building somewhat sticks out as being rather grand amidst the slightly older establishments and once inside it’s apparent that this is a fine dining establishment with added atmosphere and a cavernous one at that. On Wednesday we arrived to a busy, buzzing bar area and a pretty much full restaurant. It was apparently a ‘locals night’ event that gave a vibrant ambience, which I hope continues.

Once seated, we were offered an aperitif of which I chose a delicious peach Bellini. He, a beer and we were left to our own devices for just enough time to discuss, at length, which of the ‘British sourced, market style’ 6 starters and 6 mains we were going to have. Along with some home made sourdough bread and the oh-so-trendy and very much 'of the moment' churned butter.

We were then brought some delicious arancini to nibble on as a pre starter which, we think, were butternut squash – correct me if I’m wrong LH! Crisp on the outside and oozing buttery risotto yumminess on the inside. 

Our first courses then kicked off our meal with a flying start...
Ribbon thin, lamb carpaccio, for him, served with a celeriac and parmesan puree and kale potato.

Crab tortellini, black radish in a shellfish broth, for me, which turned out to be three delicate little dumplings filled with plenty of fresh white crab meat bobbing around in a wonderful flavour-rich clear broth - de-lish!

We were then sent a mid-course of their succulent pig head croquette served with a pickled carrot salad, quail egg and caper mayo. A really great contrast of sharp and sweet with each mouthful. 

Recently, I seem to be really enjoying pork and London House’s belly with crackling hit the nail on the head... perfectly cooked (unfatty - BIG thumbs up!) belly had the most incredibly thin and crispy crackling I have had in a long time, extreme brownie points here...This was served with an apple puree and sadly, a rather small amount of lentils as an accompaniment –although they did compliment the dish well I just wish there was a little more so you had enough to have a little with each mouthful of the pork.

He had the Seam Bream, broccoli purée and cockles which was very, very good. The purée had a good strong broccoli flavour and complimented the fish well. 

For pudding we shared the nougatine parfait with rhubarb which was the perfect amount of sweetness to finish off the evening. Gloriously chewy, wickedly sweet, it was delicious. And, for once in my life, I actually enjoyed rhubarb... that lovely vibrant dollop of sauce was, to die for! 

Petit fours then followed and near to bursting we had to call it a night. London House completely exceeded our expectations I have no idea why it's taken us this long to make it here. I admit, the location isn't the easiest for people to get to. Nor would many be familiar with it. But, if you're after a fine dining evening with a bit of atmosphere then L.H is your ticket (perfect in-law treating kinda place...without totally breaking the bank!). The staff were exceptional, venue buzzing and the food was utterly delicious. Be sure to head over early doors for a pre-dinner cocktail, by the fire, and let your evening unfold...

Square Meal

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Polpo Soho

Polpo seems to be my place to send the masses as it never falters. Whether it be a lunch date for two or a family catch up for four (as was the case here) the food is always consistent and, thoroughly enjoyable with an atmosphere to match.

We booked for lunch (bookings taken at lunch only) and had a decent stretch of the menu and a carafe of white wine - perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon. I have blogged about the lovely Polpo way back in 2013 although the menu hasn't changed much- if at all!

We gorged feasted on the following:

Crab arancini, fried to give an amazing crisp coating and gooey centre. These little balls were incredibly flavoursome and thoroughly enjoyable as a pre-starter. 

It apparently is a sin to go to Polpo and not have some of their meatballs. Always a crowd pleaser, always delicious and this batch of pork and fennel were no different. For a non-meatball lover these were pretty much a game changer... beautifully moist, perfectly spiced and coated in their rich tomato sauce, de-lish.

Market Greens were smothered in a light coating of olive oil. Simple but, divine.

We had two pizzette (they're another 'must have'). Cured pork shoulder and pickled pepper. And, another of spinach, parmesan and a soft boiled egg. Both as delicious as each other and well worth a try if you're ever visiting...

The Polpo 'Frito Misto' never falters and is seemingly a staple order for most tables when looking round the room. A pile of Squid, prawns and whitebait all perfectly cooked in a dry, crisp and light batter. Who can't love a plate of this stuff?! Just dress it, simply, in lemon and enjoy. 

Salmon tartar was a table winner due to it being a near perfect all-rounder. Wonderful texture was given by tiny cubes of cucumber hidden within and beautifully melt in your mouth fresh salmon. A horseradish side gave a good kick however, it was still super creamy and light. Served with the beautifully named 'carte di musica' AKA music sheet (thin) 'toast' - a perfectly balanced dish and one to definitely order, just don't mistake the horseradish for crab like some of us did!!

Go, eat to your hearts content and enjoy... 

Square Meal

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Chick Pea burgers

The last time I blogged was well over a week ago... personal life occasionally gets in the way and I simply don't have time to write. Recently I've been getting my cook on at home and trying (my best) to eat slightly healthier.

A weekend of indulging meant we were craving health and simplicity. A swift Google later we found a yummy 'Good Food' vegetarian dish that I adapted slightly and both of us approved of. Chick pea burgers it was... SO simple, ridiculously cheap, and yet, really filling we didn't miss having a juicy beef patty....much!

You will need to feed 4 hungry mouths:

  • 3-4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 100g/3½oz low fat hummus
  • 50g/2oz plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 50g/2oz cashews

  • To serve:
  • 8 pitta breads, warmed
  • Baby Gem lettuce 
  • 8 tbsp plain low fat yoghurt
  • Siracha sauce - or any other chilli sauce

Heat 1 tablespoon of your oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add onion and garlic and fry gently for 4-5 minutes, until softened and slightly browning. Stir in the spices and herbs and fry gently until aromatic. Remove from the heat and cool whilst you get on with the rest.

In a food processor, add half of the chickpeas and all of the hummus and flour. Season with salt and pepper. Blend to a rough paste - It will be stickier than you imagine!

Add the remaining chickpeas and the cashews. Pulse for a few seconds until the chickpeas and nuts have broken down but retain some texture. Season to taste.

Divide the chickpea mixture into 8 portions. Roll each into a ball, flatten between your palms into a burger shape approximately 1.5cm thick.

Heat the remaining oil in a large, non-stick frying pan. Add the burgers in batches and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown and crisp on both sides and heated through.

Serve in pitta breads stuffed with salad leaves, onions, I added cucumber for some added crunch with a dollop of yoghurt and chilli sauce alongside - DE-LISH!

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