Thursday, 30 September 2010


Its been a stressful week.
The Sensible One has been settling in Halls at university.Its been quite strange without him,not unexpected since he's been hanging around for eighteen years now.
Having checked in via phone the first couple of days I was then curtly informed:
'Mum you don't need to ring me EVERY day'
So I havent.
Yesterday,he rang me.He's only been gone one week and in direct contravention of his name and now dwindling reputation he has managed to lose:

His driving license
His bank cards
His card swipe for his room

Actually his reputation is in tatters.
By the time he called me he had organised a replacement room key which cost him 20 quid.Bank cards had been cancelled and new ones ordered,which were to be posted out to our home address.Hence the reviled but necessary call to me-he requires them posted on asap.

Clearly all mislaid on a quiet night out,following which after lengthy negotiations with the security guard he had managed to secure himself an uncomfortable couple of hours in the communal social seating area until morning.Also sporting some impressive *UDI's which comfortingly had gone down well with his peers at morning lecture.
Consolation indeed.

So I've been worrying a bit and confided in Chef this morning.To which he retorted:
His only mistake was to take out his wallet,what he should have done was taken out the amount of cash he was prepared to spend on evening social activities. What are you worrying about??he's gone to university and got drunk.That's what he's meant to be doing.Just let him get on with it..

Which was of no comfort but true..

Meanwhile back at the ranch,Only Daughter has dyed her hair.Brown.
Now this may not seem controversial to you,I mean its not blood red,electric blue or peroxide white,no that would have been far too predictable a route. Only Daughter has beautiful natural blonde hair which is regularly admired and many would pay fortunes to emulate,so I'm a bit puzzled as to why she would prefer it a nondescript and fetching shade of TURD.
Foolishly I confided that I preferred her hair its natural colour tactfully(I thought)complementing the colour and how fortuitous it was to possess such attractive natural blonde hair.I was met with the expected raised eyebrow,disgusted leer accompanied by:

'well,actually its my hair and I prefer it brown'.

Have I mentioned that Only Daughter fancies a career in law/criminology?

At fifteen she managed to secure herself a coveted place at the Law Courts in Newcastle for two weeks work experience.Impressively, she organised this herself,making contact personally and then attending an interview. She was informed that places were highly sought after and not to be disappointed if unsuccessful-only eight places are offered each year and hundreds apply.Unsurprisingly she was quite pleased with herself when she was selected.
It emerges afternoons glued to Diagnosis Murder and Murder She Wrote were not spent in vain.
She was delighted to experience time in various departments including sitting in on a court case.
A particularly enjoyable couple of days were spent in the District Judges office,Only Daughter was allowed to man the reception desk and chaperone and announce appointments to the judge.We were treated to a demonstration at home:

*Knock on door,Enter office, Your Honour, your 2 o 'clock is here*.

Also serving tea and refreshments which obviously she was very adept at due to a wealth of relevant experience in the pub.
Seemingly quite a lot of time was spent chatting to judges and barristers in chambers which Only Daughter very much enjoyed being quite the busy body.By the end of the week she knew where they lived, what their hobbies were and how many children they had..actually what she didn't know wasn't worth knowing.
Given that Only Daughter's existing wardrobe failed spectacularly in meeting the required 'appropriate clothing' clause even the humiliation of the Dorothy Perkins polyester black trews purchased especially to fulfil this criteria(I hope no one wearing hairspray comes close to me in these things or they'll go up in a blue light) was forgotten.

Now that was two years ago.This week Only Daughter had organised an afternoon attendance at Newcastle University for a 'Meet the Jury' event.Gone are the days when achieving entry to your chosen course at university is dependant solely on your actual exam results. Associated activities and proof of relevant interest are now also a required element.The 'Meet the Jury' event was identified by Only Daughter as perfect for inclusion on her CV.The afternoon would encompass a talk about the relevant courses on offer and also involvement in a mock trial and verdict.The event chaired by an actual judge.

As the attendees filed into the lecture hall and took their seats,Only Daughter was spotted in the crowd and singled out by the judge.He addressed her by name and enquired how she was getting on and expressed pleasure that she continued to pursue an interest in law.Only Daughter basked in the reflected glory as ninety nine sets of envious eyes looked on.

As this tale was related to us later at home we were amazed, What???he remembered you and your name after two years?? Amongst that crowd of people????

Only Daughter:You see Mum, some of us don't actually need blonde hair to stand out from the crowd.....

Methinks pride cometh before a fall........

(*Unidentified drinking injury)

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Am I a food snob?

Am I a food snob?

I don't think so, but I know that in the area we live its not easy finding pubs serving decent food.

The other day I voiced this opinion and the response "If that's the case were all fecked" got me thinking.
Maybe I'm not as open minded as I should be, from a food point of view.

So this week looking for a suitable venue for the Sensible One's last supper prior to his University departure, we decided to book somewhere completely different.I asked Only Daughter to ring and place the booking.She found the number on line.

Only Daughter:Mum do you know this place isn't a proper restaurant?
Self:What do you mean?
Only Daughter:Well its not a proper restaurant,its a chain place.

Conclusive proof,I've passed my prejudices on to her.
We had to go.

Gusto is situated on the hot spot quayside area of Newcastle in sight of the Millennium bridge.A trendy area in the heart of the business district and law courts.The restaurant boasts the obligatory outside eating area with wall to ceiling windows inside taking advantage of the stunning river views.

We were greeted warmly and taken to our booth seating on the first floor accessed via a staircase in the centre of the room.Though Monday night the restaurant was already busy and had a nice buzz.
Drinks order promptly and efficiently taken we settled down to study the menu.
An Italian style menu with the usual,pizza,pastas,risottos together with meat and seafood options.
We ordered some olives and garlic bread to start.

It wasnt long before the food arrived.
Wheels chose an 'Italian' Burger with pesto and mozzarella.

Various pizza varieties for everyone else.

Apart from me(due to my gluten allergy).Wanting to keep some semblance of going with the Italian flow I asked for the Pork Cutlet Saltimbocca.It wasnt to be, I was informed that it was "off".I'm hoping not available, not literally..
I settled for the flattened rump steak with chilli and garlic.Served with rocket and Parmigiana.

The general consensus was that the pizzas were good, nice plentiful topping and crispy base,Wheels enjoyed his burger.My steak was tasty if a little spicy due to the liberal sprinkling of dried chilli flakes which I didnt expect.The chips were frozen,but they were crispy and golden and good quality.I would rather have eaten these than a badly cooked fresh chip.
Chef ordered a tomato and mozzarella salad to go with his pizza,which I tasted after Id finished my meal.

I found it a bit dry,Chef was surprised.We realised it had dried out under the huge hanging light which was directly over the table similar to an operating theatre fitting.I put my hand under,it was hot,maybe it was a ploy to keep the food warm.A bad idea.

Wheels and I always have a pudd.He chose a 'Nutella and mascarpone Calzone' but was discouraged from having this as the 'kitchen were too busy'.Im struggling with the conflict this statement provokes:

a. why would you put something on the menu which it was impossible to cook if you happened to be busy?
b.why would you open a restaurant if you expected not to be busy?

Its a 'no brainer' isn't it?Never mind,he settled for a Tiramisu instead which he proclaimed was the 'best he'd ever eaten'.I wouldn't take this literally though as the last thing he's eaten is frequently the best thing he's ever eaten.Oh the optimism of youth,its a nice sentiment though.

I tried the chocolate and orange mousse which tasted exactly like Terry's chocolate orange.Chef suspected it may in fact have been made with that product.Quite a good idea actually.

Whilst the food wasn't fantastic, there was nothing actually wrong with it,the service was very good,an example of a well implemented company standard( Standards Of Procedure Manual as known in the trade).We were glad we went.

At this point BG excused himself to go outside to have a look at the river fag..

As we sat around the table Chef reminisced about his first job out of college.
He was given his first taste of professional cooking at the oldest established Italian restaurant in the city.Pascal the owner was a real character.It was a good learning curve with everything cooked properly from scratch,butchery was done on site and nothing wasted.
All the trimmings from the whole fillets and striploins were frozen until there was enough to cook slowly overnight on huge trays,until the fat was rendered down and the meat beautifully tender.This was then used as the base for various pasta sauces.
Chef is adamant the lasagne and bolognese are still the best he's ever tasted.

The restaurant was noted for the Veal Saltimbocca.One of the most popular dishes.
Chef remembers painstakingly de-sinewing bucket upon bucket of turkey legs(if you've ever tried this you'll know what a goddamn awful task this is)which were then batted out and served as veal...No one ever questioned this.

It was one of those places which was open and serving food until after midnight.After service when all the diners had left, Pascal would open a bottle of wine(always red) and insist all the kitchen staff sat down together and ate.He chose what, but made sure they were all fed.Afterwards in his strong Italian accent he would say 'Now we make the pasta.' There was a family atmosphere but Chef suspected Pascal didn't much like going home himself.
They were usually in the kitchens making something or other until 5am.After which Pascal would drive them all home in his battered estate car.Sometimes he would allow Chef to drive despite the inconsequential lack of a license.They were back at work at 10am.Small wonder the reliance in the industry for artificial stimulants..

Italian food is delicious.Chef has always fancied opening an authentic Italian restaurant serving simple pastas,pizzas and salads.Made properly(no veal dishes).Not a pseudo trendy one, a bog standard wooden table candle in the bottle retro type place.There isn't a one in our local town.Tonight's excursion reignited the enthusiasm and we both like the challenge of a new venture.
Do you think it would go?
Or would people still want the 'Peking pizza with Roasted crispy duck on a hoi sin base with spring onion and cucumber'?
I'm not sure..

Thursday, 16 September 2010

What I didn't eat yesterday.

I love Autumn.Crisp fresh mornings,the colours,the settling back into some semblance of a routine after the summer madness and a thankfully cooler working environment.
Most of all I love the food.Hearty stews,game dishes,foraged food,nursery puddings.
Comfort food at its best.Bliss.
Just as I was easing into the more comfortable and predictable work pace,Chef dropped an unexpected bombshell.

He wants us to adopt a healthy lifestyle "so that we're rejuvenated and ready to cope with the Christmas rush."

Now you may think that working in a food environment we would eat well.Not so,its probably the most unhealthy of professions.Most of the time there just isn't time to eat.Weekdays aren't too bad as I described here,but weekends are comprised of a repeating cycle of coffee,Red Bull,chocolate,beer,wine,late night snacks(crisps,nuts and porky scratchings..)Along with the constant grazing on chips and tasting of sauces etc.

This week though in line with the new regime, our main meal of the day has consisted of a protein item(steak,lamb chops,duck leg or the like)accompanied by a simple salad and boiled potatoes.

So,in direct contravention to my previous post(What I ate yesterday)may I proudly present:

What I didn't eat Yesterday.

No North Sea Coley..

... lamb chops with peas and smoked bacon..

no confit duck leg with Daupinoise ptotates..

...steak and chips...


Rib of beef a definite no no...

as was bread and butter pudding..

and Bakewell tart..

well maybe just a bit in the interests of quality control..

I can cope with the reformed eating program,and the weekday alcohol embargo,but the final suggestion has me feeling like this.

I wouldn't say I was unfit,inactive or unsportsmanlike,being a former county hockey and 100 metres runner,(though admittedly this was in ones school days),since then I confess I haven't partaken of any structured sporting activity,however, being on one's feet for 14 hours plus every day kind of compensates.I lift a fair amount of weight around(apart from my own),I lug casks daily and have devised an ingenious way of flipping them onto the racking system which avoids unnecessary lifting and cleverly enables me to do this single handedly.Various dray-men have been suitably impressed by this skill.

I'm harbouring a big fat secret-I have never been to a gym before.I'm frightened.All those complicated machines and the Lycra clad bodies who know exactly how to work them.I don't know the protocol and it fills me with fear and dread.

As I was pondering possible excuses for not fulfilling this part of the new ethos my mobile rang:

Unknown caller:Who's that?
Self:Who's that?
Unknown Caller: Oh I think I must have the wrong number
Self:Yes you must
Unknown Caller:Oh OK sorry Bye
Self:OK Goodbye

A couple of minutes later I received the following text:

'I know you might think this is forward,but may I take you out to dinner?You sound naughty.'

With the knowledge that my 16 year old son BG often borrows my phone to text friends, a situation enforced due to his poor money managements skills and the resultant absence of credit on his phone.Being aware also of his hectic social calendar and extended circle of friends raging in age 16-20yrs,I have a fair idea that the mystery caller will have been one of his mates.Sending texts from ones mothers phone without alerting ones friends to this fact will invariably result in a reply call or text to the same phone at some point.

This occurrence was the cause of much hilarity in the kitchen and amongst the waiting staff.Chef laughed a little too heartily at the folly of it for my liking.

I believe the sudden enthusiasm for the new clean living regime has less to do with any fear of us beginning to resemble our role model:

(now there's a guy who appreciates a good feed)
and more to do with Chefs fast approaching birthday,transition into the fourth decade and accompanying intimations of mortality.

Methinks I shall be giving the gym a wide berth,besides,I have my potential toyboy secret admirer to fall back on now...

No,instead I've helpfully stuck a timely reminder on the fridge door:

'Fridge Pickers have bigger knickers'

Much more my style..

Friday, 10 September 2010

Eggs en Cocotte

Thought I might just show you one of the dishes we served using the glut of Ceps which we stumbled upon here.

Eggs en Cocotte is a classic French dish,the name coming from the small oven proof pots which the eggs are baked in,usually with a knob of butter and perhaps some cream.

Escoffier lists variations on the original,some using different sauces such as Bechamel,or the addition of tomatoes or Asparagus.

Which gave us an idea...

Wild Mushroom and Duck Egg Pots


Duck eggs
Mushrooms(we used Ceps but use any type will do they don't have to be wild)
Gruyère Cheese
White wine

Thickly sliced white bread to toast


Dice the leeks and slice your mushrooms.I haven't given quantities-we never weigh anything but work on about equal quantities.
Place in a pan,season with salt and pepper and sweat in butter until soft.

At this point the mixture can be cooled and stored in the fridge until needed.

Place some large ramekins on a tray and heat in the oven.

Meanwhile place a large tablespoon per pot of the mushroom mix into a small saucepan.Heat gently.
Next add a splash of white wine and some double cream and allow the mixture to bubble and reduce until the cream has thickened.

Remove the pots from the oven and fill with the mushroom mix to about half full.
Next crack a duck egg into each pot,grate some Gruyère cheese on top and return to the oven until the white has cooked and the yolk is still runny.
About 20 minutes.

Serve with toast soldiers.

Cough..I have a confession to make.
Cooking in a commercial kitchen isn't always as straightforward as the scenario I've described above.
In practice we found that the duck eggs being quite large took too long to cook to order in the oven.
In addition the outside of the white was overcooked whilst the inside was still way too liquid.
(If you were to use hens eggs you probably wouldn't encounter this problem)

As you can see...white still partially gloopy.

So,what we actually did was poach the duck eggs (whilst the mushroom pots were heating in the oven),then add them to the pots(grating some Gruyère on top)before finishing them off under a hot grill .

On Friday night these were flying out,were in fact sold out before 8pm.
Perfect,and at £5 per portion that's not going to do our GP any harm.

Apparently we're going 'shrooming again tomorrow, so any further recipe ideas gratefully accepted..

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Look at the size of my Boletus.

Our constitutional Monday walk with The Chap was more welcome than usual this week.
Desperate for some fresh air and an escape from the kitchen(having foregone our usual Monday off due to the August Bank Holiday)we headed out to one of the many a nearby forests.

Parked up and dressed appropriately, we had strolled along a dirt track for about 20 minutes when something at the periphery of the treeline caught our eyes.
We both spotted it at the same time.
Visible at the perimeter of the trees just to the side of the path was this amazing specimen.

The most perfectly formed Bay Boletus I have ever set eyes on.
A highly prized item.

Looking under the tree line I spied several more,not all the same but undoubtedly variations of one of the most highly regarded fungi in the culinary world: Ceps or Porcini mushrooms.

As you can see the forestation was dense to say the least.Ceps grow favourably close to pine trees,the branches providing compact and close coverage almost to ground level.Yours truly(being conveniently smaller) compliantly crawled underneath and was able to extract this amazing 'shroom which Chef is kindly modelling.

It was agreed that Chef would return to the car and obtain a receptacle in order for us to collect these fortuitous discoveries.A twenty minute trip back to the car became a forty minute round trip.Meanwhile,I waited in the quiet under the impenetrable canopy of trees.It was quiet.Very quiet.Strangely no bird sounds nor any sign of the usual plentiful rabbits or other small rodents and definitely no humans.Perfectly still and deadly quiet.Quite an odd but not unenjoyable experience.
I looked around.The ground was soft and mossy and gave to the touch.I took a couple of photos.There were fungi everywhere.

I have never seen so many varieties in one spot.You can see two Ceps in this photo along with many others which I wouldn't be confident about naming.The photo also doesn't give the sense of (or lack of)space .This was taken quite close to the ground,I couldn't stand in the space.It was also much darker than this picture appears.
There were lots of these attractive little chaps ,Fly agaric.

(Later, on returning home and consulting our trusty fungi manual we learnt that these grow alongside Boletus.A good piece of information to know)

Chef returned(not before time)I was getting a little edgy on my own in the enchanted forest.I was able to plunder two large carrier bags full.I was choosy,discarding the ones that were just starting to over ripen and turn yellowish under the cap.Still OK to use though.Around 3 kilos.Chef reckoned around ninety quids worth.Not bad for half an hours work.

Further along the track we spied what we thought were hedgehog mushrooms,shaggy ink caps and lots of these,which we thought werepuffballs,but weren't entirely sure....didn't think they were meant to have a noticeable stem.They did have the texture though and no gills.

In honesty the only ones we were confident to pick and take home were the Ceps.More examples.

As we smiled self indulgently at our not insignificant haul, I noticed Chef eyeing me quite curiously as we walked back to the car.Granted,I was moderately dishevelled having crawled commando style along the forest floor, face and clothing whipped by stray forestation.Furthermore,I cant claim to be consistently the most immaculately groomed of females.There was something else....

Self:What's up?
Self:What's up I can see you looking at me funny..
Chef:Well,what's that on your face????(pointing tentatively and keeping at a safe distance)

As my hand reached up the reality of my long forgotten and aggressive allergy to pine trees came back and smacked me right in the face.
I had indeed a face like a slapped arse.With teeth.

Following an emergency appointment with the Piriton tablets,a selection of our harvest at home.

The Chap was most inquisitive.

Chef ever the practical one, has ordered a handy pocket sized 'shroom identification book courtesy of Amazon today.Looks like that's the next few Mondays taken care of..

Personally I was hoping for one of these.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Curioser and curioser.

Have you noticed how absurdly pretentious menu descriptions have become lately?

Chef is a straightforward kind of a guy,hence his menus reflect that.
In his own words he wants: 'no floated, boated,moated,kissed,caressed or pillowed'(and yes we have seen each of these words incorporated into menus to describe dishes).

The current craze is to name the provenance of every ingredient on your menu.With our menus we've always simply stated what each particular dish is, then another blackboard denotes which farms the days various meats have originated.All quite low key,like us....

We began doing this with our previous business(a small restaurant) and in those days it hadn't really been seen very much.
It even gained us a mention on the local radio station.

Since those days, its become very trendy and (dare I say it) in many cases more of a marketing tool,than a commitment to support the local economy or any desire to reduce one's carbon footprint..

Whilst its important to let your customers know that you are supporting local suppliers and buying quality seasonal ingredients,in some instances I think things have become a bit silly.

For any would be restaurateur wishing to adopt this nature of menu here is the blueprint for a typical menu item:
(You can substitute your own particular geographic references as necessary)

(Insert: Farmers /Farm name)(insert: breed of pork)sausages,with(insert: Variety)mash,(insert: village name)onion and(insert:village name)sage gravy.

Thus,'Sausage and mash with onion gravy' becomes:

Farmer Bells Mill Vale Farm Gloucester Old Spot Sausages,Heritage Pentland Dell mash,Buttsfield onion and Buttsfield sage gravy.

Its all a bit daft isn't it?

Similarly I've noticed a growing popularity for the phrase 'Salad of'
The following example observed in a nearby eaterie:

'Salad of Country ham with Sunny Hill Farm soft boiled free range hen egg'.
I suppose 'country' as opposed to 'city'? and 'Hen egg' WTF??
What a bloody pompous description for a simple Ham and Egg salad.
I predict the next development will be to name the breed of hen.

Now for pudding(and the one which annoys me the most):

'Northumbria Burnt cream'

I mean visit any pub/restaurant ANYWHERE in Northumberland and its highly unlikely that their milk/cream will be coming from outside the county whether they care about provenance or not.
Lets just call a Crème Brûlée a Crème Brûlée and be done with it.

I'm also a bit suspicious of the motives of a menu written in this manner,I'm not convinced of its sincerity.It smacks of keeping to the marketing plan at all costs.I can just imagine the token packs of local produce displayed in the fridge whilst the catering butcher pulls up at the back door..

An acquaintance of chefs(also a chef)dropped by a few weeks ago and noted that we had raspberries on the pudding menu.Noting that there was a pick your own farm nearby Acquaintance chef enquired why didn't we have 'Insert:Pick your own farm name raspberries' on the menu.
Because they're Scottish, advised Chef.
Acquaintance chuckled..well all you do is keep one punnet of pick your own rasps in the fridge and Bobs your uncle.Jobs a good 'un.
Chef shook his head in despair.

Lately though, I'm afraid some of the naming stuff has crept onto our own menu.What were once simply Lamb chops have now become 'Picton Farm lamb chops'.Just in case we sell ourselves short don't you know,people are regrettably impressed with spiel.Its caused a little friction in paradise due to Chefs less than enthusiastic support,but the important point is to keep the balance right without appearing to be a raving lunatic.We've agreed that the main item only can be referenced, if appropriate.I think its a good compromise.
We also refrain from listing every single component of each dish.

So now Coley becomes 'North Sea Coley'
Rib of Beef -'Northumbria rib of beef'

Let consider chips.Chef's pet hate is the phrase 'hand cut chips' These items are invariably evil,perfectly oblong shaped abominations which are piled up into a cube like fence,reminiscent of a sheep fold.Usually dark brown, soggy and raw in the middle,the fact that they are hand cut is of no consolation.Personally the idea that some individual has handled every chip and painstakingly built the cube is enough to put me off.Whenever we see this phrase we usually request frites.
On our own menu wherever chips are included(be they a humble bowl or a steak accompaniment)they are all randomly hand cut and properly cooked.There's no special price or mention on the menu.
Recently though, I overheard a diner commenting to her companion:these are real chips!
I mentioned this to Chef and suggested that we might want to list them as 'real chips' on the menu.

Chef:What???What other sort is there ?? Fake chips???There is no way that is going on the menu.

He was right of course.Better to let the punters order and be pleasantly surprised that they were actually made from potatoes.

Keeping the menu as simple as possible also helps avoid confusion.Diners are easily confused.
I wish I had a pound for every time a diner points out the blackboard and asks: Is that the menu.....?

Last week a diner asked: Is the North Sea Coley a fish...? Well pigs might fly but I sure ain't seen one that can swim yet..

Similarly, from another diner: What are the scallops?
Diner:Yes but scallops of what?
Diner:But what of?
Waitress:Scallops-little shellfish things(breast stroke arm movements-Fawlty style) that swim in the water...

Then another:
What is the Coley?
Waitress:Its a white fish
Diner:Yes but is it white or is it grey....?

Last week we had a diner refuse to pay for the kipper because there were BONES IN IT.

I could go on.
Perhaps just one more then.

Our butcher asked us to take a surplus of Chicken Livers which we made into pâté.Chef knocked up some onion marmalade to serve with it,not hugely exciting but ideal as a starter or light lunch and always a good seller.Obviously served with toast.

Yesterday a party of six ladies(county set sorts) arrived for lunch.Orders were taken and the meals prepared.
When the food was sent the waitress returned with one pâté portion:This wasn't ordered.
Chef:Yes it was,there it is on the order
Waitress:Well there's only one lady with no food and she's adamant she hasn't ordered the pâté.
Chef:Well go back and ask her what she did order then.

A couple of minutes later waitress returned bent over double with hands over her face.

Waitress:She says she ordered the ONION MARMALADE AND TOAST..
Waitress:Yes that's what she said
Chef:Well go and take her the bloody pâté out and tell her it comes free with the onion marmalade and toast
Waitress:Nooooo..I can''ll be so embarrassing for her....I'm embarrassed for her..
Chef:JUST DO IT...Bloody hell if Id known I could get five bleeping quid for bleeping bloody toast and bleeping jam...

Now I guess you're wondering how this toe-curling incident could have happened,well actually its all my fault.
This is how I transcribed the item on the blackboard:

Chicken Liver and Cognac pâté,
onion marmalade and toast £5

whereas this would have been much less confusing:

Chicken Liver and Cognac pâté,onion marmalade and toast £5

In a weirdly synchronistic case of mistaken identity,yesterday a letter arrived in the post containing a sample of speciality tea bags.
This is how it was addressed:

Sadly, Biff Wellington isn't actually my name,but it does rhyme with my name (it has a certain 'Je ne sais quoi' doesn't it?),so we presumed this was just a case of someone geting confused.

However, today this arrived in the post,fortunately this is not my name(neither is it an invitation..):

Containing this:

Might get Chef to test them out later.

I wait with bated breath to see what the treats the postman brings tomorrow!

A Bientôt!

Biff x

PS. A while back we had a mention in The Week.Last night a regular brought us in a copy.Shall we frame it and hang it on the wall in a prominent position,then leave it there until it fades to an attractive sepia tone(provincial pub style)?
Methinks not.
Lets just put it out with the daily papers,hopefully a couple of customers will have the chance to notice it before someone lifts it.....


  You know what I’m unexpectedly missing in this weirdest of all runs up to Christmas? The drop ins from friends ,family, suppliers, custom...

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