Nadirah Indian Takeaway, Caistor, May 2018

The camping and takeaway theme continues. A lovely long walk today, so we didn’t really fancy another walk to the pub (and back), so we decided to order takeaway curry for delivery to the campsite. A decent menu of interesting things to choose from, and everyone found something to pique their interest.

I went for one of my usual selections when trying out a new curry house, chicken shatkora, a chicken curry with small pieces of a citrus fruit known sometimes as a wild orange. I love the sourness of this fruit with the richness of the curry sauce, and it was accompanied by a lovely naan bread. There was just enough time to capture an image for posterity.

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Star of Siam, Keswick, December 2017

The traditional New Year’s Eve takeaway. For the first time in a long time, we are not in Ambleside, and not going to Jade Garden, Lucky Dragon, China Cottage, Doi Intanon (on the rare year that it was open on NYE) or Jintana.

In Keswick, we turned to a familiar Thai restaurant, Star of Siam. We’ve been coming here for as long as we’ve been coming to Keswick, a lovely friendly Thai restaurant, and great for takeaways (as ever we like to drink our own beer rather than drink poor quality offerings in takeaway outlets).

Here is a case in point.

Thornbridge Serpent.

I encountered this beer for the first time on “Thornbridge night” at The Needle & Pin in December 2016. We deconstructed the beer that night, tasting a very sour and tannic Oliver’s cider, a sweet perry, and a meh bourbon. On that night, it tasted like the lees (the leftover bits from fermenting cider, yeasts, skins and whatever’s left) had really dominated this brew, a Belgian style golden ale.

A year on, and it’s even better. So much apple, the beer that’s not a beer.

On to dinner, which accompanied this fantastic beer that’s not beer. A classic starter, satay chicken with peanut chilli sauce. Just to be clear, the satay part is not the peanut bit that you like, that’s in the sauce. The satay part is usually made from lemongrass, shallots, garlic, chilli, ginger, turmeric, coriander, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and a few other bits.

The “slaw” bit might not be the most authentic, but it works here with the juicy chicken and tasty peanut chilli sauce.

On to the main event. Chicken gang massaman. The massaman is probably my favourite Thai curry, perhaps because of more peanut. It varies from place to place. I always used to have beef, but too many cheap cuts of steak have left me favouring chicken instead. A very simple one tonight, a few bits of carrot and some chunks of onion,

Simple, but very tasty, and a fantastic way to round out another lovely year of food and drink. Many great meals accompanied by many great beers. 2017 has been a good one.

Lakeland Spice Cuisine, Keswick, December 2017

Yes, I’m predictable. Achari chicken again, the exact same thing that I had in June 2016 and June 2015 – I really like this dish. Chicken cooked in pickling spices and some limes (although there could always be more limes). A nice piquancy and a good consistency of sauce.

This went well with a Cloudwater DDH IPA Nelson Sauvin Galaxy (lots of Southern hemisphere hops) and some To Øl Frost Bite, brewed with orange peel and pine needles. Athough I didn’t get any orange just some hints of pine.

Another good meal from Lakeland spice – see you in the summer!

The King’s Arms, Hathern, November 2017

A second visit to The King’s Arms in the MOFAD era, although somewhere that we’ve been to a few times, usually for get togethers with walking friends. The same applied tonight, although we didn’t find out about tonight’s gathering until Saturday, as it had somehow slipped under our collective radar.

When you’ve got 30 odd people descending on a pub, you need a certain type of pub that can cope with such things. The posher chain pub wants everyone to be eating, the micropub doesn’t have quite enough room. So this is the level you settle for, a Marston’s chain pub, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. A range of different food options and several beers from the Marston’s empire, including Ringwood and Jennings and a few others that look like they are not from the empire, but they are. With a permanent 2-4-1 deal on food, you need to go with a friend if you don’t want to pay twice as much as everyone else.

Tonight’s beer choice was this month’s seasonal offering from Jennings, Pie in the Sky. It is alleged to be “a robust full bodied beer with pale ale malt and the finest roasted malts combined with whole cone English Fuggle hops to deliver a robust flavour”.

It was just so bland. Before they were owned by the evil empire, I liked Jennings. Hops? Malts? Where? I’m not looking for Cloudwater levels of hoppiness in every pint, but just a decent pint of cask ale would do. It was just so meh.

The food was standard chain pub fodder, I opted for the pulled pork burger, which matched the beer because it was also surprisingly bland. The pulled pork was naked, no sauce, no flavourings, just nude pork (that will get some odd hits for this blog post). It was all ok, but just that. And look at that cheese, it hasn’t even melted in the slightest.

Mrs MOFAD opted for the curry (she does like a pub curry), which was more interesting, although the naan bread was more like a tiny saddle cover for a bicycle seat. Her cider was more interesting, which is not something I thought I would ever say about Bulmer’s.

This does come across as a bit snobby, and it’s not meant to, but this was another of those nights when the company was more important than the food and drink. Again, there was nothing bad, it was just fairly non-descript.

Out of India (takeaway), Shepshed, November 2017

A new curry house for us, yet one that we have passed countless times. The M1 seems to have created some kind of psychological barrier, since we’ve never been here for a curry or ordered a takeaway. Yet as the crow flies, it’s pretty much the same distance as many of the curry houses in town that we normally use.

Tonight we’d been out at a fireworks display, and due to some closed venue exits we decided to change our takeaway plans and nipped across the M1 to Out of India. There’s a big car park out the back, and plenty of room inside, as they are licensed for up to 70 people.

Just takeway tonight because as ever my beer selection is far better than their beer selection. Yes, that’s a humblebrag, but it is true. Do they have Geordie Pagoda II by Brinkburn Street brewery in Byker? No. Or Above the Clouds by Electric Bear from Bath? No. I had both of those beers tonight. Maybe they’ve got some beers from a local brewery? No, none of those either.

Anyway, enough moaning about beers in curry houses, that’s what takeaway is for. We ordeded our food and we were soon back home tucking in to tasty curry, with regular dining companions Karon & John.

My choice tonight was chicken shatkara (also spelt shatkora), a chicken curry with small pieces of a citrus fruit known sometimes as a wild orange. I love the sourness of this fruit with the richness of the curry sauce, and it was accompanied by a lovely naan bread.

Based on tonight alone, Out of India has become our new go to curry house for takeaways. We’ve even thrown out all of our other takeaway menus!

Dog and Duck, Shardlow, July 2017

Another pub trip where the company was more important than the food and drink. Just as well really, as this was another classic poor chain pub effort. A Marstons pub, the usual below average selection of beers from the empire, a few bottles, and some rubbish “ciders” like Strongbow and Old Mout. So, another night on the lime and soda. No biggie, I have great beers at home for another night.

Maybe the food could make up for this disappointment. Although “two for one, all day every day” doesn’t always insipre confidence. Mrs MOFAD opted for curry again, she does enjoy a pub curry. Chicken tikka masala is an easy pub option, and pubs always chuck in the full works, rice, naan, popadom and alleged mango chutney (it’s never any good).

My choice was the BBQ chicken burger, which sounded nice.  Crispy buttermilk chicken goujons topped with Monterey Jack cheese and BBQ sauce, served with chips and coleslaw.

The best word you could find to describe this would be fodder. That’s all that it was. Very average damp pub chips (lots of seasoning required), a pointless little dish of alleged coleslaw (way too much onion), and an awful bread roll that had probably been hanging around all day, and. It disintegrated a little bit more every time you picked it up. Processed cheese added insult to injury, and a pitiful amount of alleged BBQ sauce didn’t help. No additional sauces available to help out either.

Chain pub eating at its lowest ebb. Meh food, no decent drinks. Luckily there were plenty of laughs to be had with friends.

Cafe Le Raj, Chipping Norton, July 2017

Much like yesterday, this is another placeholder, because we’ve been here before and need documented evidence of our visit! We were slightly (a lot) more sober than when we had a curry from here last year, after the bit of a let down which was the Hook Norton beer festival. So this year we organised our own. There are two other posts about that.

Tonight, we ordered our curry before we started drinking, phoning our order in and then popping out to collect it. They do offer free delivery within a 3 mile radius (we were within 1.5 miles) but it was going to take an extra 40 minutes, so we decided to collect.

Everyone enjoyed their curries. My dhansak was nicely spicy and sour, and even Hazel’s korma had a little warmth to it. Mrs MOFAD enjoyed her chicken tikka rogan josh and we shared rice and a naan (I would have liked a little more of both).

So, future selves, this is the curry house to come to when camping in Chipping Norton.