Benugo, St Pancras International, London, March 2018

It’s another in the “quick post” series. After a late breakfast this morning (more like brunch) we weren’t starving at lunchtime, so delayed our lunch plans until we got back to the station. After the freezing cold weather, we wanted something warm, so headed to Benugo for some toasted sandwiches.

The “New Yorker” is apparently the most popular sandwich, consisting of shaved turkey breast, crispy bacon, Gruyère, sliced tomato, iceberg lettuce and Dijon mayo on dark caraway ciabatta.

It certainly makes for a tasty sandwich, although the iceberg lettuce didn’t really need to be in there, as it didn’t add anything worthwhile to the sandwich.

There are various dining options at St Pancras, Benugo is not a bad choice.

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Siskins Cafe, Whinlatter forest, Cumbria, December 2017

Another in the long line of “quick lunchtime posts”. We are out and about once more, exploring the fells around the Whinlatter forest. If you’re going to pay the Forestry Commission’s eye-watering car park charges (8 quid a day, hence the credit card machine attached to the parking meter) then you really need to spend as much time here as possible to get your money’s worth.

Too cold for a picnic on a day like today, so a spot of lunch was in order. There’s a good size cafe on site (tables outside for the warmer months too) and they are of course fully geared up for dealing with muddy walkers and mountain bikers, so muddy boots are no problem. They are open from 10-5 pretty much every day.

A decent selection of cafe style food on the menu, the usual sandwiches and panini, jacket potatoes, pies, quiches etc.

I had the festive panino special, turkey, brie, bacon and cranberry and it was rather delicious. And what an interesting and varied salad selection. A few thin slices of melon, a little bit of pasta salad, a little bit of rice salad, a little bit of coleslaw, a little bit of mediterranean veg, a little bit of cous cous salad, some carrot, some cress and just to let the side down, sad iceberg. Overall though, a very interesting bit on the side.

Mrs MOFAD had similar with her tuna mayo jacket potato:-

A great place to stop for some lunch, nicely priced and very well presented. Good service too. It’s nice that although they’ve got a captive audience they’ve made a lot of effort to do some decent food.

The Lazy Trout, Meerbrook, April 2017 #2

The second of our three visits. We had booked in for each night, as this was the best pub that was close to our camp site. We had wondered if this was a bit of a gamble, but the food and drink were great last night so it was looking very much like a winning bet.

Tonight I started out with a Wojtek from Beartown Brewery, a beer named after a bear who was officially drafted into the Polish army during World War 2. A very interesting story (Google it) and a very easy drinking golden ale.

My turn for pie tonight. It was a cracking pie again, simply served with chips and veg. Delicious.

Mrs MOFAD also had another tasty dinner, topped off with a nice crisp piece of bacon.

I accompanied my dinner with this Corke’s IPA, which was a decent ale but absolutely not an IPA.

After a good day of walking, we treated ourself to this rather tasty meringue nest. A bit early in the season for English strawberries, but this was a sweet and tasty pudding.

Another lovely visit to The Lazy Trout – very happy that we’re coming back again tomorrow night!

The Otter, Kegworth, December 2016

The Otter in Kegworth is now my team’s traditional team Xmas dinner venue. Every year I take my team out for Xmas lunch, a small token of appreciation for another year of hard work. I think it’s now 5 out of 7 years that we’ve been here. We tried a couple of other places, and they were nowhere near as good. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it, as The Fresh Prince wisely advised us.

The Otter in Kegworth is always warm and inviting, perfect for cold December days. Although, just like last year, this was not one of those. It was about 12C outside, which is welcome but still feels wrong. The canal-side location is great in summer but also looks nice on a sunny day like this.

It’s still a Vintage Inn and not much has changed in the last 12 months. They still have an excellent online booking system which makes sorting out your reservation a doddle.

So let’s get on to today’s lunch. Pretty much the usual selection of ales. I did want the Purity IPA but it was off so it was Sharp’s Atlantic again, a good pale ale that is much better coming from a pump than a bottle.

A good selection of starters to choose from as usual, between us we had spiced roast carrot soup, pork & fig terrine, prawn & lobster cocktail and my choice was oven-baked button and portobello mushrooms in a garlic & mature cheddar sauce with a parsley & chestnut crust. It was very tasty.

If you think it looks familiar, that’s because it does. This was last year’s:-

Next up, the main course. Five things to choose from this year, but no-one went for the nut roast (lazy vegetarian cop out) or the sea bass (which looked tempting). We had the traditional turkey, with some of the trimmings, a sirloin steak , and a couple of slow-cooked short ribs of beef, with mash and a spiced vegetable fritter.

The beef was lovely and tender, falling off the bone and crisp and caramelised on the outside. Delicious. The spiced vegetable fritter was a good addition, although a little sneaky as it contained a slice of sprout. It was hidden by the spices but you could tell that evil was lurking.

Once again, if you think it looks familiar, that’s because I had pretty much the same thing last year. It was really tasty, which is why I had it again.

So finally, to dessert. Christmas pudding was of course available, as was a spiced plum and rhubarb crumble pie/tart. It has to be chocolate for me, chocolate orange torte with chocolate sauce, cream and strawberry. Full of chocolate and orange goodness, a dense texture although slightly crunchy/crispy.

Are you ready for last year’s? Yes, chocolate torte it was. Sometimes different is good, sometimes the same is what you want.

We all had a great time as usual and enjoyed the food. A great pub for your festive dining, and a great pub all year round!

The special seasonal sandwich has arrived…

The day is upon us. The special sandwich that you can only buy for a couple of months in shops has arrived. This is the Ginsters example, but there are many others. What is the logic behind this? Why wouldn’t I want to enjoy these flavours at other times of the year? I do want that. I love a turkey sandwich. But I will have to make my own for the other ten months of the year, as it appears that a turkey-based sandwich is only commercially viable during November and December.

Apart from the obvious association with Christmas dinner, turkey isn’t exactly a wintry food. Lean, white meat is not really something to get you through the colder months. A hearty beef stew or some kind of thick and chunky soup, perhaps. But turkey should really be something you have all through the year. It seems that the corporations that provide pre-packaged foods don’t subscribe to that theory.

Enjoy your mass-produced turkey sandwich while you can.