The Sultan of Keswick, January 2019

It’s the end of our Lakes holiday. The weather has been very kind to us, seven walks and seven more Wainwrights added to our total, which now stands at 123, with 91 to go. We’ve completed book 6, the North Western Fells.

As it’s a Friday night, we’re having curry as usual, and treating ourselves to a takeaway. Regular readers will know that we very rarely eat in at a curry house as they just don’t have anything that we would like to drink. The beer and cider that we have bought from local shops is way better than what’s on offer here, so our #tryanuary adventure is continuing at home tonight after a couple of nights out down the pub.

In keeping with the spirit of #tryanuary, we’re trying a new curry house, The Sultan of Keswick. We usually go to Lakeland Spice Cuisine, so we decided to take a chance on this one. The first thing you notice is that the price is much higher than everywhere else in town, even with a 20% discount for takeaways.

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 a curry sauce, but tonight there was an enormous lack of fruit, although plenty of chicken. And lots of spiciness, probably the spiciest shatkora that I’ve ever had.

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It was accompanied by a lovely naan bread. Overall, it was not bad, but I don’t think it’s better than our usual haunt.

On to that #tryanuary bit. I like a spot of IPA with my curry, and this Eden River Brew Co “Yakama” was full of dry and fruity bitterness, lovely west coast stylings. Very tasty stuff, one of their best, up with Amber Rocket.

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If you think that Eden River Brew Co sound a bit familiar, it’s because until last summer they were known as “Eden Brewery”, changing to something more “craft-oriented” (their words) to get them recognised outside of Cumbria. I’ve been drinking their beer before they were trendy 🙂

BBC Good Food Show Winter, The NEC, November 2018

So here we are again, the annual visit to the Good Food Show. A compressed trip this year, as we had a discounted ticket which meant you couldn’t get in before 11am, and Mrs MOFAD had an appointment with an aircraft this afternoon (off to Munich for work).

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Luckily, the show was smaller this year, so we managed to do everything in 4 hours. There seems to be a trend towards shrinking over the last few years, and there were so many producers missing. No Port of Lancaster smokehouse, no Dean’s Shortbread, no Geeta’s, no Debbie & Andrew’s. No White’s, no Wild, no Saucy Fish, no Yorkshire Provender.

The most startling thing was the lack of breweries. I think 2016 was probably the high point for this, whilst this year there were only 5 or 6. Barely any cider makers this year too. Still lots of gin dominating the drinks village. Good to see our friends at the Curry Sauce Co back again (and they are now available in Ocado too!)

I met some fellow ministers:-

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and as usual we sampled some good food and drink, the standard random selection of beer, cheese, apples, gin, chocolate, sausages, pears, biscuits, chutneys, sauces and chicken teryaki. Definitely a much smaller show this year, but we still returned with a decent haul (some items not pictured for reasons).

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Hey you, up in the sky…

Not the first appearance of plane food in these pages. That was back during the New Zealand adventure in 2016, when Air New Zealand earned the MOFAD seal of approval. Today’s BA flight to Denver was less impressive, with a token curry (chicken tikka-ish type thing), and a chicken mayonnaise sandwich just before we landed. Another one that required a saladectomy to remove

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There was a tasty bonus in the middle of the night/flight (depending on which timezone you imagine this happening in). A mid-air Magnum!

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A nice cooling snack to enjoy between films. I managed three on today’s flight, Deadpool 2, Avengers : Infinity War and Solo : A Star Wars Story. The films were better than the food. At this point I’ve been awake for 17 hours…

M’s Spice, Ingleton, July 2018

Got a bit wet today. After a lovely trip up Pen-y-Ghent (our second ascent of one of Yorkshire’s three peaks), we had completed most of our descent and then the rain set in. All the way back down to the car. So when we got back to the camp site, a lovely hot shower was required, followed by a nice hot curry to warm the chilled bones.

That came from M’s Spice, down in the village. They deliver to the camp site, and in fact they delivered directly to our pitch, which was perfect. I opted for one of my occasional regular dishes, chicken dhansak.

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This was a spciy delight. I was expecting more lentils in the sauce, and some kind of vegetable matter. Pineapple is often found in British interpretations, although a squash is more usual. A lovely curry and a good fluffy naan (not pictured).

Cafe le Raj, Chipping Norton, July 2018

Hello future camping selves. This is your reminder that Cafe le Raj in Chipping Norton is the right curry house to choose when you are camping at Merryweather. I say this, because we looked back to 2017’s post to check which curry house to go to. It was this one.

I asked past me what I should have, and he said “chicken dhansak again” because it was very tasty the last two times that I had it.

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He was right, very tasty again, nicely spicy and sour with good texture from the lentils. This year I even managed to get a photo of it so future me can check what it looks like.

It was very convenient, Steve sorted out the order online, they rung us back later to confirm, and then it was delivered to the camp site. Perfect for hungry campers in the middle of their own home made beer festival.

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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Dog & Gun, Keswick, January 2018

What am I doing in a Greene King pub for #tryanuary? Visits to Greene King pubs during last year’s #tryanuary ended up with lime and soda, because they had no decent beer on.  A sad affair indeed.

No such problems here. The Dog & Gun is a Keswick institution. Mention its name, and you’ll always get one word back. Goulash. Despite the recent refit and refurb, it has retained some of its former character but it’s not quite what it was.

Thankfully, they still have good beer and not just Greene King “IPA”. First up was Wai-iti from Allendale Brewery in Northumberland. This was a cracking cask pale ale with a lovely little hop profile.

Dinner next, and no goulash for me tonight. The rest of the menu is pretty standard pub fare, and lasagne with garlice bread and salad is now part of that definition, since you’ll find it in so many pubs nowadays.

It was pretty standard stuff, nothing earth shattering but enough to make a pleasant meal. It was accompanied by a pint of Monumental from Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery, a simple blonde ale that hits the spot.

A pleasant pub trip but it’s not what it once was, and it’s in no way the best pub in Keswick nowadays. That honour definitely goes to The Wainwright.

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.