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Posts Tagged ‘dining’

The Vicar and I had such a lovely lunch out today. An unexpected bonus after a breezy walk around the Clent Hills on the Vicar’s Day Off. I used my extensive Googling powers to find a pub near to where we would be walking and was extremely pleased to find a Good Pub Guide recommended place. And not just recommended, but the winner of 2010 National Pub of the Year: The Bell and Cross.

The pub's cosy Red Room

The pub seems to comprise about five small rooms, each about the size of an average living room and packed with dining tables and chairs. So it’s not the place to go with an enormous family party. We ate in the Red Room and were very cosy. The service was quick, polite and efficient. We didn’t want a large meal as the Engineer’s godmother is coming for dinner later. So we ordered from the Lunchtime Bites menu.

The Vicar very much enjoyed his Potted Farmhouse Chicken Rillette, Fruit Chutney, Leaves and Baguette. The potted rillette was very tasty, almost gamey and the chutney excellent. He could have done with a little more baguette, but we had cunningly ordered extra side orders of fries and green beans, so he ate some fries with rillette in a rather unorthodox manner.

My dish of Skewered King Prawns with a Catalan salad was fresh and zingy thanks to generous chunks of chorizo and a piquant dressing. Very tasty and light.

As we had an important Praise Assembly to attend (the Joker had an award for knowing his Spanish alphabet better than his form teacher), we didn’t stop for dessert. The price for the two of us, including a beer, a white wine and a single coffee: £28. Not exactly a weekly possibility on a clergy stipend, but a good price for an excellent meal. And only 20 minutes away from our inner city Vicarage. Just need to save up for next time…

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In our house, apart from at Sunday lunch, ‘pudding’ is nearly always fruit or yoghurt. Bor-ing. So I have recently developed a way of making dull weekday desserts seem exotic and elegant.

I love these glasses

It mainly involves some rather lovely tumblers from Ikea. Our parish is only 12 minutes (on a good day, when the M5/M6 junction isn’t blocked like a festival loo) from the Swedish superstore. Another advantage of West Midlands inner city ministry. Anyway, we have the tumblers in blue, and although they are obviously excellent for gin, we more often use them as pudding bowls. They are short and wide and a happy summery colour. Perfect for puds.

In them I place yoghurt or icecream, often some fresh fruit, perhaps a sweetie or sprinkles and a biscuit of some sort. Favourites are those Italian trifle sponge fingers with ‘Boudoir’ stamped on them. But yesterday we used some chocolate macaroons I’d made for my school mums coffee morning, using up some left-over egg whites. And if I’m feeling extra kind, the kids are also allowed to have umbrellas. I was feeling particularly munificent yesterday.

Leave one for me... (and don't look too closely at the mucky table)

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