Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Nook On The Square

In March last year I was one of many to watch a very interesting series of programmes called The Restaurant Man where chef Russell Norman followed the journeys of people who packed in their day jobs to follow their dreams of opening a restaurant, despite having no catering experience.
For me, having been in the trade since leaving school 30 years ago, it was a very interesting set of programmes, especially as the final episode was a new cafe opening just 12 mins drive from my home.
Sisters Kate and Alex had a dream of transforming the ground floor of Kates house in the small village of Dunchurch, Rugby into a quaint, shabby chic cafe - The Nook On The Square.
In the program we saw the sisters taken to a top London hotel to learn about the etiquette of afternoon tea service, and to a transport cafe to experience the pressure of fast paced service and finally to France to be shown how to create beautiful square quiches.
Russell felt that being in a quiet village The Nook needed a signature dish to bring in regular customers and the quiches would be that such dish.

The Nook On The Square, Dunchurch, Rugby
 
Word spread about the cafe and it's involvement with the BBC 2 series and, on opening day, there was a queue down the street of inquisitive customers. A couple of months later the program aired and custom again went through the roof. It was far busier than either of the sisters ever envisaged.
Alex eventually left to return to nursing and a new manager was employed, along with several more staff.
And me? Well out of the blue last August I spotted an advert for a head chef for The Nook On The Square and, having been very unsettled with my job at The Red Lion for quite a while, I had no hesitation in applying for the job!
On August 28th, 2014 my new journey began!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

What To Do With Left Over Shortcrust Pastry?

What do you do with your leftover shortcrust pastry?

If you ask most home cooks they will probably say make jam tarts, lemon curd tarts or something similar.
 I was quite interested to see a good idea appear on my facebook news feed a couple of weeks ago for pastry biscuits with leftovers. Such a simple idea but a great new one for us at The Old Red Lion to serve complimentary to our customers, with a dip, whilst they peruse the menu.
So what do you do? Well as i said, simple! Roll out your pastry. Cut out some circles, or other shapes if you prefer, with cutters. Place on a baking sheet and top with salt and pepper. You can add other toppings if you fancy. I sprinkled poppy seeds on some and sesame seeds on others. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.


Shortcrust Pastry Biscuits Ready To Bake In The Oven
 
When cooled serve with your favourite dips!
I put my first batch with red onion marmalade.

Shortcrust Pastry Biscuits With Red Onion Marmalade Dip
And for the second batch I made a garlic, red onion, red pepper and ricotta dip. Easily made in the food processor!
Seemed to go down very well with tonights customers.
Shortcrust Pastry Biscuits With Red Onion, Red Pepper, Garlic & Ricotta Dip
 
So what do you do with your leftover pastry??

Monday, 9 June 2014

Summer Wedding

This Saturday saw The Old Red Lion play host to a high tea wedding reception.
Fortunately the heavy lunchtime downpour of rain turned into an afternoon of hot sunny weather, perfect for afternoon tea!
Food was fiddly, and time consuming to make, but well worth the effort when it was all put together and a perfect end result achieved.
Unfortunately we were too busy to be able to take as many photos as we would have liked but below is a small selection.

Restaurant at The Old Red Lion laid up for high tea.

Pretty bunting

Table arrangemennts

Mis match of crockery gives a great effect

table decorations

Bride and groom initials

Champagne reception


Smoked salmon& cream cheese blinis

Canapes.
Mushroom and tarragon crostini.
 Mini yorkshires with beef and horseradish
Smoked salmon & cream cheese blinis

Mini fruit and custard tarts

Close up of fruit tarts



Thursday, 13 March 2014

Cookies n Cream Pie

Do American recipes make you feel frustrated?
Always insearch of new ideas I came across a gorgeous photo the other day of a cookies n creme pie made with oreo biscuits. Looked fab so I started googling recipes.
Every recipe seemed to be American and included "chocolate pudding mix" and "cool whip", both of which are not on the UK supermarket shelves.
So I did a bit more googling and came up with my own plan for a recipe.
I bought large oreo bisuits as well as snack size, cookies,butter, cream, chocolate philadelphia and then chocolate flavoured angel delight and dream topping.

I crushed the large oreos and added 30g melted butter and divided them into individual cake tins and pressed down and chilled.
Following packet instructions I made up the angel delight and dream topping and mixed it altogether with the cream cheese and added broken up cookies and small oreos. Dollops were placed on the chilled biscuits base and then I piped cream on top and finished with a mini oreo.
Cookies n Cream Oreo dessert

My son tested them this evening and gave them a thumbs up tho did say the cream probably wasn't needed on top as the 2 textures were the same and also that they didn't need to be any bigger as might be too much. For me I don't think I like the angel delight in the mixture, I was never a big fan!

Cookies n Cream Dessert

And if you fancy making the dessert a bit more portable then it looks great in this small glass jar!
Cookies n Cream Pie in a Jar





Wednesday, 11 December 2013

More Christmas Cake Designs

Last batch of christmas cakes for Radmore Farm Shop!
Now to start on the mince pies!!
Snowflake and Star design christmas cake

Snowman design christmas cake

Holly wreath design christmas cake

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Homemade Christmas Cakes


It's that time of year again for mince pies, christmas pud and traditional christmas cake.
Vicky made the cakes and gave me the task of icing and decorating. This task was right up my street!!
Lots of research on the net first at christmas cake images for ideas. Then I went to a local cook shop looking for cutters. Then, armed with creative ideas, I set to work!
Below are my first 8 designs on the smaller cakes.


Simply white with snowflakes and bow

Christmas tree and snowflakes



Holly, berries and merry christmas

Christmas wreath and white bow

Christmas wreath and white bow

Christmas tree and presents

Christmas tree, presents and stars

Simply snowflakes

Christmas tree and snowflakes


Christmas tree and snowflakes
 
What's your favourite?






Christmas Party

Last Thursday saw the first of our christmas parties.
The local bell ringers joined us at The Old Red Lion for an evening of fun and gorgeous christmas fayre.
Very successful evening and I managed to capture a few shots of the food.


Smoked salmon, red onion marmalade and cream cheese tart

Parsnip,apple and chestnut soup

Basil roulade

Stilton mushrooms and ciabatta

 

Baked ham and roast vegetables
Chocolate and chestnut torte

Pear and ameretto cheesecake