Saturday, 18 August 2012

Saturday night with the Windsors

It's been a while hasn't it. I've not written on Tonight's Menu since the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.  I had no idea how I was going to follow up the Olympic Food Challenge but it turns out that I didn't need a new challenge, all I needed was a rest.  I said all the way through the challenge that it was only one meal a day, but it was more than that.  It turned into an obsession for me and one that brought out some of my worst emotions.

It was my baby, my challenge* and I was determined that I would hold up my end of the bargain.  I would cook and blog my way through nineteen countries in nineteen days.  Of course I had the added challenge of collating the blog-posts of the other challengers.  There were days when I only received a handful of posts from the other bloggers.  I knew after a couple of days in that we were never going to manage all 204 countries.  That started playing on my mind and I may have started to get a bit snappy, I only hope I didn't step on any toes.

After the final reckoning we were about forty dishes short, so because it's my game, I have decided to extend the challenge so that the end date is now the closing ceremony of the Paralympics, which is on the 9th September.  Usual service may well have resumed long before then.

To wind down from the blog-athon we have come on Holiday to Windsor, Z's home town.  We were scheduled to visit during the Olympics for Z's folks 25th wedding anniversary, but, due to the rowing at Eton Dorney, Windsor was a traffic lock-down and we had to stay at home**.

We always eat well when we take a trip to Windsor and this week was no exception.  Over the course of our visit we had a sausage and pepper stew, a huge barbeque, salmon fishcakes, pasta with homemade roast pepper and tomato sauce and a buffet on the day that more of the family turned up.  The Thai inspired salmon fishcakes were so good that we will be cooking them once we are back home.

Thai salmon fishcakes with sweet potato chips and stirfried vegetables

As an extra treat, on Saturday, we all took the train into London for a mooch around Borough Market.  I had never been before.  I was like a child on the night before Christmas as we were waiting at the station.  Our journey wasn't just for the fun of it, we had a mission.  We were shopping for our evening meal, a meal to mark our hosts silver wedding anniversary.  I had heard about the large number of quality butchers but was staggered firstly at the huge range of fruit and vegetables and then at the price***.

In the end we chose wild boar steaks from Sillfield Farm, along with some of their bacon, sausages and blackpudding for our breakfast on Sunday.  I found ruby chard (one of my favourites) and romanesco (a vegetable that I had never eaten before) and we happily left The City for Windsor.  The steaks were pan fried and finished off in a low oven whilst the vegetables were simply cooked so that we could all taste them****.  The whole lot was served with a white wine, cream and mushroom sauce and boiled new potatoes.

Usually, I long for home by the time the end of a holiday comes along, but not this time.  The break has been wonderful, helped by glorious weather, great company and good food.  The break from a daily food blog has also been nice.  I will be back to daily updates soon, just not for a couple of days while I'm still in holiday mode.

*my precious.
**this was a very good thing. I couldn't have coped with trying to complete the OFC whilst being in somebody else's house.
***6 flat peaches for £2.00 when I pay £1.00 for 10 of them on Leeds Market!
****Z's folks hadn't had chard before.

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