There’s always a story to be told whether behind the scenes, on the doorstep as I make my deliveries, or within the scroll of paper that goes out with every Bistro Meal. I am a bit late to the party of saving them (and the accompanying menus) for myself or publicising them for that matter, which seems a bit of a shame because if nothing else I hope that in years to come my granddaughters will read these and be very proud of their Mommar. I often wonder whether my guests read what I have to say but looking at the wonderful feedback I get I guess some of them do. So to rectify not saving them here’s the story and menu that went out with my Spanish meal a couple of weeks ago ….

I have started to feel a bit awkward about describing these meals as having six courses.  Once upon a time when things weren’t as they are now I used to hold my Bistro evenings in the Memorial Hall in Blyth. I wanted to do something different and being fully aware that I was starting from scratch and didn’t have a “shop window“ to attract people I thought that one of the ways forward would be to have six course meals. I wanted to attract people to my pop up bistro in what was in essence “the back room” of the hall  and that is what I did. It’s where it all started. They were great evenings and me and my guests (plus mum, Aunty Jean and The Guest Chef from The Deep South …. Who in the world away from Social Media goes by the name of Steve ) really enjoyed them. Looking back I can’t believe what we did.

My awkwardness particularly comes when I do my Spanish, Greek and Mezze meals. Why? …. Well in reality if you were eating in those countries you wouldn’t have a 6 course meal. Whilst they might have a few courses in all probability most of their meals would come as small plates for sharing. I sometimes wonder if people think what is she talking about …. I feel as though I should explain that the phrase originally came from trying to find a point of difference and get what some thought at the time was a crazy idea off the ground. Of course Covid changed the way I did things.

Steve and I were in Spain when they went into lockdown and we had to alter our plans to come back just before we went into ours. We are itching to get back. Whilst we are used to life with Covid we were reminiscing at a recent family gathering about the things we had to change when the pandemic started.  I can remember coming home from our holiday and thinking “I don’t think I can carry on with baRnby’s because I can’t buy any food. Plus if I could buy any am I allowed to trade?”  As far as suppliers go it was the best thing for me. I now hardly ever step inside a supermarket and have fabulous relationships with the businesses I get my produce from. It means so much to me that I know exactly where all my fresh produce comes from. I start with absolute top quality ingredients and I hope you can see how much they shine through in your meal tonight.

Covid has also changed holidays for lots of people and I am no exception. Whilst we are looking forward to one day going to Spain again Steve and I had the great privilege of having a fabulous holiday in Devon with my granddaughters, Averie and Eden. I’m not sure if holiday is the correct term for Steve as he actually lives there (a true staycation maybe?) and we were later joined by my daughter Laurel and her husband Pete. I am not sure we would have done this in previous years. 

Two of the best memories are barbecues on the beach. The first was just me, Steve and the girls. Totally ad hoc and spur of the moment …. Packet of sausages, bread rolls, couple of beers, bucket and spade at the end of the day. It was absolutely fabulous and we loved it. The second was planned. Laurel and Pete came and a lot more thought went into it. Food was prepared, salads made; that kind of thing. When we arrived the tide didn’t seem to be far out “It’s OK. It will be fine. This bit of sand never gets covered by water” said a certain Guest Chef when Laurel and I queried the state of affairs. Next thing we are legging it back up the steps (with water lapping round our ankles at the point) …. This was before he admitted he’d got the tide times totally wrong …. Not easy when you have a red hot barbecue to carry and 2 excited girls who want to see how high the waves go round their legs.

How we laughed …. Once we’d got everything off the beach. Laurel and I didn’t find it very funny at the time that’s for sure but after walking what felt like half a mile to the safety of a slipway we all agreed it was fabulous and we loved it. You would have thought a Devon boy born and bred would have thought to check the tide times wouldn’t you? He’s never going to hear the last of it that’s for sure.

Making memories with family …. Nothing beats it.

Cary Xx

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