23 June 2010

Posted by DMC on 23 June 2010 in Diary |

Despite the late night, we found it hard to break our normal habit of waking up and having tea at around 6.00 a.m. After breakfast I worked on my laptop until we were picked up at 10.45 by Victoria. This was the prelude to an exciting lunch at the world-famous Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, at Padstow, very generously hosted by Granny.

We all piled into to a large people carrier with some difficulty, eased, levered, shooved and lifted in by an extremely helpful and sympathetic driver,  Mike, with me  causing more trouble than the other two inambulents, put together, due the height of the step into the vehicle.

With our three walking frames we must have been quite a sight when we arrived at the restaurant. Thank goodness the great man himself was not in evidence, however Chalky, his famous terrier – now sadly three years hence having gone to a better place  – standing guard outside, despite being carved in stone, looked menacingly at the steel frames as they went by, one by one,

The restaurant was not quite what I expected although I certainly was not disappointed. I thought it might be more rustic, more fisherman-like instead of the typical smart starched, white tableclothd, London style restaurant. Neither was I disappointed by the food or the ambience, although, I confess, I was glad I was not picking up the bill! For those gastronomes who are interested I will briefly describe what we had to eat. Mother-in-law and ‘my lovely’ she had a large bowl of Seafood soup and what seem to me to be superior fish and chips, beautifully prepared, but fish and chips never the less, lovingly described on the menu as Local Hake, Chips and Tartare Sauce, Deep-Fried in dripping,  served with thick chips and mushy pea . (Did you know that the first mention of fish and chips was by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist?) Tor, started with  Ragout of Turbot and Scallops with Vouvray and Basil. This she followed with Grilled Fillets of John Dory with Girelle Mushrooms Sauteed in Olive Oil. Served with rocket and sun-dried tomatoes. Lol, being exceedingly fond of oysters, had half a dozen, mixed local and foreign ones followed, I believe by a double portion,  of what I consider to be raw fish. or more correctly is Japanese  Shasimi comprising Scallops, Sea Bass and Kingfish with wasabi – Japanese horseradish, pickled ginger and soy dipping sauce. Being totally non-adventurous and adoring scallops, that’s what I started with, Seared Scallops with  Serrano Ham, ( similar to Parma ham and I believe from Spain, rather than Italy, no doubt. ‘discovered’ by Rick Stein on one of his Spanish gastronomic tours.) served with salad leaves and sherry vinegar dressing. I followed this with lobster Thermidor, which the chef kindly de-shelled and mixed  with rice,  into a sort of risotto. It was delicious but I was a little surprised at how creamy it was rather then cheesy. Maybe it is because as the menu says’, we used to sell lobster Thermidor 20 years ago but fashion changed. Now there has been a renaissance of classical French seafood dishes, I’ve made it lighter and more fragrant and it’s rather good .We washed down this scrummy food with a rather good white burgundy, chosen by my knowledgeable brother-in-law. None of us had pudding as I think we were under a certain amount of pressure to leave by 3.30. Whether Mick, the driver, had an urgent desire to see the closing stages of England versus Slovenia in the World Cup, or whether he had another driving engagement. we never quite found out, although we did seem to return to LAF at break neck speed.

There we are. I have done it.  I have broken my resolve to keep this blog a football free zone during the World Cup. However, I suppose I would be churlish not to mention England’s rather unconvincing win over Slovenia which enables them to participate in the final 16. I suppose it is just as well, otherwise we could have witnessed mass suicides amongst the tens of thousands of fanatical fans, who have spent their all and trooped out to South Africa to support, what to me, who knows nothing of the game, appears to be a rather unimpressive collection of very highly overpaid prima donna footballers, incapable of functioning as an effective team.

The afternoon was spent happily dozing in a high backed chair facing the afternoon sun with the other two walking framers in deep sleep in their respective burrows. A very welcome additional member to the group appeared in the late afternoon. Augusta (Gussi) the only daughter of the family, a highflyer at the Eden Project, who is currently using her great expertise in plants by changing a small part of the Maldives into a garden paradise for some celebration or other.

It was lovely seeing Gussi looking so bonny, happy and the picture of health,  obviously enjoying the very interesting work undertaken by this world-famous Eden Project in which, I understand she now plays an important role.  I gather that this project  now numbers fifth in  tourist destinations, in this country, attracting, over a million visitors every year. I am ashamed to say ‘my lovely’ and  I have yet to make a visit.

Dear Tor, with her characteristic ability to multitask, between ministering to her to charges, made us the most delicious cheese soufflé for supper, which was about all we could really cope with after our splendid lunch,

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