Hello again you lovely people,

There have been a couple of firsts for me since my last evening. This English meal is a first as I haven’t done one before. The other first is that I’ve actually been on holiday, abroad, with The Guest Chef from the Deep South. It was absolutely brilliant to be doing something “normal” but more on that later.

I’m not sure why I decided to do an English bistro. It’s been quite interesting coming up with the menu and I wondered if you might like to know how they materialise so here’s a little insight…. A sausage roll was always going to be in the mix somewhere for obvious reasons. It was originally going to be a very small one and part of a sharing platter. I kept saying to Steve that the menu didn’t quite look right and that there was something missing . He’d been saying for ages to make the soup. It’s his absolute favourite and I love it too and he thought it would be a good amuse-bouche. I’m not keen on a soup as part of a meal so I took some persuading but when I couldn’t get the sharing platter right it was a very last minute addition. I think you will agree that it’s more than an amuse-bouche and the ham is absolutely fabulous. I had already cut up the charcuterie by the time I had started to make the soup so that’s stayed. It’s absolute top quality and would be a shame to waste it so I have included it as a nibble rather than to have with your sausage roll as I think it would be lost having it that way. So I have ended up with nibbles and two starters, which was how I used to serve the meals in the hall. Of course it’s your meal so you will enjoy as you wish.

The main course was going to be something entirely different and I had actually bought the meat. I had a late ish booking and I knew that that lovely lady (In all the wonderful couples I have that “dine with me” 97% of the time it’s the lady who books it …. Useless fact of the day ) had mentioned a few years ago that she wasn’t that keen on what I was going to serve. Paula had been saving some amazing shin of beef for me and I thought of all the casseroles that dad used to make when I was young so that was that decision made. I’m pleased I made the switch because whilst what I was going to make is one of my favourites I’m not sure in reality how it would have translated to a meal served in this way.

You will notice the lack of bread. I was tempted to make some because I know you like it as much as I do . However it’s a very meat oriented meal and there’s not a lot of dippy things so I wasn’t really sure where it would actually sit in a menu if I was serving this in a bistro.  Enough of my thought processes and a little holiday story to end on…..

Steve and I have been to Crete …. Blue skies and seas and Gorges to walk …. Just our kind of thing. The gorges are quite spectacular and the scenery is to die for. Not sure that expression is appropriate especially as on one of our walking days there had been an earthquake in Crete only 70 kms away from where we were . We knew absolutely nothing about it when we set off on our hike and didn’t know until we got to the bottom of the gorge and Steve’s 92 year old mum rang to make sure we were OK ( the wonders of technology… we go to a REALLY quite remote place ) . Steve got off the phone and we both looked up to the sky and with the rocks stretching way up into it we both agreed that if there had been one whilst we were in there we wouldn’t have stood a chance but we liked that we’d have gone together (aren’t we sloppy).

Half an hour later as we are making our way through the bottom of the gorge to the sea I let out an almighty scream as I realised I had been stung by something. I had my rucksack on and whatever it was had got between it and my back so I wasn’t sure if the insect was still on me or not.  It’s a wonder I didn’t create our own mini earthquake when I told Steve what had happened and shouted so loudly “STEVE SUCK IT HARD AND SPIT IT OUT” it’s a wonder the earth didn’t move again.  Later he said he could have died had it been a poisonous sting. I said that’s why I’d told him to spit it out. 

He told me I couldn’t retell the story because it could have other connotations. He’ll not be happy if he finds out …. He’s not here today and is conveniently arriving up North tomorrow! (What’s that all about ). I have promised to save him some soup and I think he’ll be more bothered about whether there’s any left than my story but if you see him don’t let on I have told you . 

Cary xx

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