Fish and Friend Tales U’pt North

Seems to have been a busy weekend for the ‘Troffers’ with diners spread across the county. We visited our old friends David and Suzanne in the not too snowy Teeside area over the weekend. Our journey started with a trip up the A19 and a lunch stop at the Crab and Lobster (click for link) in Asenby. Any excuse for lunch at this favourite is not needed and with the credit crunch taking its toll an excellent two course menu for a wallet friendly £13.00 per head was well received. A shared appetiser of Fishcakes of codling, haddock & oak-roast salmon with creamed greens and poached egg was excellent. Main courses of Fillet of wild sea bass, risotto of cured fish, peas and baby spinach for me and for Linda twice baked leek and Swaledale cheese soufflé with a salad of orange braised carrot ribbons and toasted pine nuts. All washed down with an Argentinian Chardonnay and a pint of Theakston’s finest bitter. Desert was again shared and we opted for a slate of British farmhouse cheeses, fruit bread, chutney, grapes and celery. The little touches make the difference and on the bar kept warm were a selection of complimentary sticky sausages which accompanied  the Theakston’s bitter to perfection. With drinks (Linda also had a G&T on arrival) the total bill came to under £20 per head and for this quality of food and drink was fantastic value. We will definitely return. One last thing if you do visit gentlemen, check out the homage to Norma Jean in M’lords room?

After leaving Asenby we continued up’t north and stopped at Northallerton a great market town. This is another regular stop and for two excellent reasons, ‘Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms’ (click for link) and ‘Lewis and Cooper’ (click for link) two of the best food produce shops you will find. Betty’s a northern treasure needs no introduction for those from around these parts, but suffice to say cakes, bread and confectionery are of the highest quality. Lewis and Cooper is just equally a brilliant find for practically everything else foodie with some of the best cheese and preserve selections going. Supplies were purchased at both just in case we got snowed in.

We then carried on to stay with David and Suzanne who always make us welcome with their extended family of Albert and Victoria, two wire haired fox terriers with limitless energy. D & S have always made some of the most fantastic meals for us and I commented earlier in January at the quality of the home produced food we have enjoyed over the year and this is always at the top of the list. Dinner was taken reasonably early after a prosseco reception and started with a cream of brussel sprout soup with parmesan wafer and a selection of home baked breads. What suggested an unusual combination had a subtle flavour and was delicious. The main course was a comfort chicken casserole with root vegetables and winter dumplings, a hearty and tasty twist of winters fare. Desert was the highlight for me with a creme brulee decorated with a toffee sliver washed down with a Brown Bros. late harvest desert wine. As always a welcoming and enjoyable evening in excellent company.

Early to rise with a pot of tea and Betty’s curd tart followed by a frosty four mile walk with the dogs around the local woodland area. Back for a Champagne breakfast with toasted bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon (definitely getting spoiled!!). As commented on before the ability to source, produce and enjoy high quality food in your own home is both rewarding for provider and recipient and on this weekend the bar as always was set high. A big thank you to David and Suzanne and hopefully we behaved well enough to be invited back again.

J&L.

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