The Yorkshire Dales…(do I work for the tourist board?!)

As you may have gathered, we are on holiday, back at ‘home’ in the Yorkshire Dales, we normally stay here

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which is the family farm I grew up on, just outside Bolton Abbey, as you can see from the second shot it’s a little isolated although very beautiful.  On this trip, we are staying in the next village down, Burnsall, in my sister’s newly done up cottage which I made these blinds for a while ago.  It’s lovely, no cleaning, no real cooking, rather too much eating but plenty of walking to make up for it.

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The cottage has some lovely finishing touches such as this lampshade, can’t find who the designer is but I’ll add it later.  (UPDATE: Thanks to Karen and Flora, the lampshade is by Lush Designs, thanks ladies!)

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Burnsall is the village my Gran lived in, I still think of her sitting at the window in the living room every time we pass ‘her’ house, she loved to watch the world go by.  I highly recommend Burnsall as a holiday venue if you fancy a trip to the Dales, it’s a quiet village but has a splendid shop (Shop on the Green) selling all the basics and some very lovely homemade cakes with a cafe along side.  There is the Red Lion and The Devonshire Fell to eat and stay at and I believe you can get take away pizza at the RL.  Really the rest is about beautiful countryside, even in the rain which is has pretty much done since we arrived as you can see from this shot taken from a single pane of the kitchen window.

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One of the nice things about the cottage is the bits and pieces that were made by Gran, if you squint closely at the photo of the living room you can see a needlepoint calender hanging on the RHS.  I remember her stitching this, in fact I now have the pattern.  Two of the months look like this

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If you fancy somewhere a bit more lively, Grassington is the next village along, all my Mother’s family live here so we will be doing a number of visits.  Grassington is a larger village with quite a few shops and eating places, it hosts Grassington Festival and also one of the original Dickensian weekends and is, of course surrounded by amazing countryside and walks.

Now, I am one of those people who has a bit of a food obsession in that I love growing, cooking and eating.  I love the memories that food evokes and there are a few must haves for me on a visit to Yorkshire.

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Yorkshire mixture, which is basically a mix of boiled sweets.  I am not really a boiled sweet person, but I like these just for the memory and the lollies above are exactly as we had as children.  You canbuy these pretty much every where.

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Fat Rascals (a sort of mix of scone and rock cake) fresh from Bettys.  If you have ever been to the Dales you may have heard of Bettys, it’s a famous small chain (Harrogate, Ilkley, Northallerton and York) of cafes that serve a mix of traditional English (with a Continental influence, especially in the chocolates) food in a Victorian style.  They are big on cakes and afternoon tea, the prize being the Fat Rascal as above.  They sell on-line at Bettys by Post, if I could recommend one thing to order online it would be their Italian Ricciarelli Biscuit Tray which aren’t cheap but are oh so amazing.  Oh, should mention, there is nearly always a wait for a table at busy times so come early or take out.

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My final food photo is of Whitakers Chocolates from Skipton.  We bought the chocolate mint wafers every year for Mother’s day for my Gran.  I was a bit disappointed as they didn’t have chocolate cherries or stem ginger, but I think we bought enough.

Right, best go walk off all that eating!

I love Sundays…

M is away.  He goes quite a lot and I always have mixed feelings, not sure if it’s just me but I get a lot done when he is gone, it makes me realise he is rather messy and it’s not just the kids I clear up after.  The flip side is I am on my own with the boys 24-7 which can be very, very tiring.  For those who read this blog a bit you will know I have early risers, the average is 6 am but it is quite often earlier and both our boys tend to wake during the night, however this morning it was 7.30 – hurrah!  and I feel goooooood.  Must admit didn’t sleep great as spent night panicking about not getting enough sleep (as you do) but 7.30 am is pretty amazing for our two.

In the back of such a good start, I feel determined to make the most of Sunday.  The ‘Shopping Man’ is due any moment with our food delivery, which I only booked yesterday (I LOVE Ocado).  We have a chicken on it’s way to roast this afternoon, I have been back reading the ‘52 Weeks, 52 Chickens’ posts at Distracted Gourmet which are great, I haven’t been swayed into Jamie’s ‘Chicken in Milk’ but I have always wondered if it’s any good and I will try some of the other recipes.  I am desperate to get old style Sunday lunch a fixture in our house, M is resisting, he hates how food oriented I can be but I was brought up in a foodie family, we ate quite exotic food and I was surrounded by great cooks.  I really want the boys to grow up with the ceremony of a big family sit down on Sundays, walks in the afternoon, relaxing together, all of that.

The shopping man came whilst I was writing, so it’s 9.53am and I have ‘done’ the weekly shop, put a load of washing on, made up a half batch of Delia’s Mincemeat to steep overnight, tidied the kitchen, fed and cuddled up with the boys; the Sun is shining and I really do feel great!

Before some photos to liven this rather ‘chatty’ post you will probably realise from my happiness that the builders are not here today.  It’s our first day builder free for weeks and we now have windows and a single radiator in the back so it’s not like walking into a dusty freezer, which is a major break through.

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I find cooking very relaxing and I love making jams/pickles etc, it’s a perfect Sunday pottering kind of project.  Above is stage one of Delia’s mincemeat recipe which is filling the Kitchen with lovely aromas.  Last year I made ‘Pear and Ginger suet free mincemeat’ from the River Cottage Preserves Handbook (No 2) which was great but I was inspired by my new book to go back to Delia this year.

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Finally, yesterday’s work bench.  First glance at my Christmas Fairies which I have been working on for a while.  I have managed to get some general photos taken of new shop products so I’ll blog later with the details.

Right, onwards and upwards!