Bread and Coffee and Millionaire’s Shortbread, oh my!
Arriving in Ipswich, UK, late one afternoon, I took a stroll around the town to take some pics and see what was going on down by the water. It is located on the estuary of the River Orwell, which feeds right into the sea. I then wandered over towards city center and while looking for a restaurant for dinner that evening, I stumbled on The Baker & Barista. Though already closed for the afternoon, I knew there was no way I would be having breakfast in a hotel the next morning, I would be cozying up in this cute little shop because there is nothing better than a warm coffee shop on a chilly morning and this one looked quite special and it turned out to be just that.
The Baker & Barista is a charming little place at 19 St. Peter’s Place. The two young women who run/own this shop were just delightful. They make all the goodies themselves and so it just smells fabulous when you walk through the door. I had a cappuccino, done to perfection, and a slice of their banana/cherry/nut bread, which was just delicious. I bought a Millionaire’s shortbread for later and it was incredible. (Let me just add, Millionaire’s shortbread is over the top deliciousness. Don’t know what it is? I found a recipe for you to try. Click here.) Just as we were leaving, they brought out some hot from the oven cheese scones. I drooled over them as we left the shop, but didn’t purchase. After walking through town, I could not get them out of my head and so went back to nab one before they were all gone. I was not disappointed. They were heavenly delicious.
Lots of sweet features in this shop!
If you’re ever in Ipswich, give the Baker and Barista a try. You won’t be disappointed! You can find them here on FB! And if you like this post, please share it with your friends!
Sometimes you have to hit the road to find a meal to remember!
Seems like yesterday I was here…
and then here…
Monday we hit the road again, but this time, I only had my little blue suitcase, the backpack and a tote. Yay!
Though many meals are just standard fare, we had a meal to remember before we took off Monday afternoon. Sunday night was by far the best meal of our trip and might actually be the best for the entire time we are in England. We ate at Hotel du Vin in Bristol, “A magnificently restored, 18th Century Sugar House,” and it was magnificent. We started with cocktails in the bar, which for me was a cosmopolitan, a drink I have not had in years, but was spot on! Then we were seated in the gorgeous dining room, where the sommelier suggested a light red wine for starters, but for dinner, because some were having beef and others fish, he suggested a different red for the beef eaters, which was a wine from Crasto Winery, so smooth, so velvety, so big, I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Yes, call me a wino, because I LOVE a good red wine and will remember this red for a long time.
Starter for me was a brioche with mushrooms, which was delicious…
and one of my dinner mates had the Onion soup
and another the scallops
Then for dinner, I could not resist…one of my all time favorite dishes…one I make very well myself, but have not had in many years…and not a food I have often, so yes, my friends, I had beef, and not just any beef, but big rich beautiful Beef Bourguignon…
and though this picture does not do it justice, this was heavenly! Far better than I have ever made. Braised beef short ribs, Portobello mushrooms, shallots and smoked pancetta with a thick, sticky sauce. It literally melted in my mouth and the roasted carrots were fab as well.
One of the other dishes at our table was the Lemon Sole and I did sample a little bite of it. Delicious!
Even the steak and frites was incredible. I nibbled a couple of the frites to be sure!
No meal like this would be complete without…drum roll please…
upside down chocolate pot! Oh, just kidding, at least about the upside down part…
(if you are viewing this on a phone or pad, the picture righted itself. Hmmm. Not so on my computer. Had to go in and turn it to get it right)
This little gem was perfect. Baked Valrhona Au Chocolat Pot with creme chantilly! Delicious does not even describe how good it was!
And the other dessert at our table…
lemon tart and raspberry sorbet. Both with just the right amount of tartness and sweetness.
The wine sommelier came back around as I was enjoying my pot of chocolat, possibly when I was licking the pot clean (not really, but I wanted to) and so I asked if he had a tawny Port. I am not a fan of a ruby port, but do love a tawny. He brought me a sample of a port that I must, let me restate that, MUST find. A tawny by Krohn, Port shippers since 1865, that was incredible. I have never tasted a Port like this, so smooth, so perfect a blend of flavors, not plummy tasting at all, as some Ports can be, just absolutely lovely. Sigh.
This was a special meal, the kind we rarely indulge in, but it was so worth it for one night!
Me and our friend, Martin, full and content after a very great meal.
So sorry the pictures are rather poor in quality. I did not have my camera and resorted to an iPhone and in this light, they did not do well.
There are more meals to come. And more of me coming home in three months. I think I’ve gained ten pounds already. Not good, but one must sacrifice for the greater good. Yes?
An American in England! Our adventure began on February 11, 2014, when our flight, which was to be on the 12th, was canceled. Rescheduled for the 14th, with three layovers instead of two, all went without a hitch and we landed in Bristol, England at 9:40 on the 15th. With five bags between us, 2 backpacks and a tote, we found a cart to haul it around and made our way to the taxi stand where our cabbie managed to cram it all in the back of his wee cab. Since we usually travel Europe, each with a carry-on size suitcase and a backpack, I was rather embarrassed to have so much luggage. We looked so…well…American. I found myself explaining to people how we are staying for three months. We don’t normally have this much luggage, yada, yada, yada…Anyway, here we are and after a day and half settling in to our flat in Bristol, we made our way to Birmingham for a trade show.
The Crown Plaza at the NEC in Birmingham, sits on Pendigo Lake. There are little platforms jutting into the lake on which fishermen sit every day. The lake is lovely, but were it not surrounded by large industrial pavilions and a major construction site for a CASINO, it would be better! Someone, someday, must explain to me the draw of a casino. I just don’t get it.
I walked around the lake this afternoon to capture the sun for the brief period it made itself known, and watched the honkers (what I know as Canadian Geese) feeding along the shore. Then as I rounded the far side, a pair were in hot pursuit of a fisherman finishing up for the day. He had dumped the rest of his bait into the water, and one of the pair was quite keen on scooping it up, while his mate honked along 20 yards behind him. Loved watching them.
So I am, I believe, almost adjusted to the time difference. I am planning to sleep well tonight. I just wanted to get this page set up on my site and check in with you all. So stay tuned for better posts and pictures. I am without my cord to hook up camera to computer, so will be next week before I can get pictures posted.
Looking forward to much adventure in buying, cooking and eating here in England. I’ll be back to fill you in on how that goes soon! XO
My mom, Neta Joyce McCulloch Thompson, died last Monday night, January 27th. Having been in pain most of her adult life, she is now released from that, but it doesn’t make it easy for her to be gone. I miss her. While getting ready for the memorial service on Saturday, something crossed my mind and I thought, “I have to remember to tell mother about that…” and in an instant it hit me, I couldn’t. No matter how prepared we think we are for a parent’s passing, when it happens, it is far harder than one can imagine.
My mom was a good cook. Her mom was too. When visiting mama McCulloch, for breakfast we would have homemade jam and fresh biscuits, ham, and sausage, and bacon and eggs. There was always some kind of cake, made from scratch of course, and cookies, and candies. Dinner time would have a table spread with any variety of meats and vegetables. She also would cook up anything my grandfather happened to shoot, like squirrel and dove. Though I only sampled the dove, my younger sister remembers well, getting up early one morning to see four legs sticking up out of the pan on the stove, a raccoon raiding the garage, my grandfather had shot. My mom learned from the best, though there was never any wild animals cooking in our kitchen, just the best fried chicken ever.
Mother was definitely a product of her generation of cooks. Though she cooked a lot of things from scratch, she took advantage of the quick products that showed up on the grocery shelf. Pillsbury was a prominent product in our lives, from the Orange Danish Rolls we had every Sunday morning for breakfast (seriously, we did) to the crescent rolls she wrapped around hotdogs with a little slice of cheese and mustard, our Pigs in a Blanket. Loved them. But the best Pillsbury recipe was her prize winning Colossal Crescent Cheeseburger.
She entered the Pillsbury BakeOff contest in 1973 and was selected as one of the 100 finalists, who were then flown to California to recreate their recipe for a panel of judges. Bob Barker was the MC for the contest, host of The Price is Right (which my mom watched every day of her life, even after Drew Carey became the host). She won a stand mixer and a range oven. Know what that is? A stove with two ovens. Fancy! She also won $100 and her flight to CA. Though she didn’t make it to the top five, she had a great time and was honored to have been part of the contest.
While going through pictures for my mom’s memorial, we found her notebook of memorabilia from the BakeOff. We found an article that ran in the local paper, we lived in Tullahoma, Tennessee at the time, in which she referred to herself as a “lazy cook.” Though my mom was far from lazy at anything in her life, I guess to her, using convenience products was a shortcut that got thrown into the lazy category. I know she didn’t love to cook, as she had so many other interests that kept her busy, but she had some standout dishes that I still remember well. She enjoyed having people for dinner and making something beyond the “lazy” category at those times.
Oddly, she never taught us to cook. My sisters and I all learned in Home Ec classes the basics of cooking. When I left home my signature dish, okay, the ONLY thing I could make, was chocolate chip cookies, but they were the best chocolate chip cookies around. However, I married young and out of necessity learned to cook far more than chocolate chip cookies. And unlike my mom, I do love to cook. I give her credit for this though, because cooking was such a part of our lives. From a grandmother who showed me the beauty of a big spread, to the times spent with extended family around the dinner table, and my mom’s incredible ability to make some fantastic dishes, I became a foodie. I think there is nothing better than a good meal with friends and family and wish that more people took the time to slow down and just enjoy the art of cooking.
I did teach my three sons to cook and they are the primary cooks in their families. I love that in today’s world that a man doesn’t have to be a chef to cook, but can cook for family and friends, just like mom’s always were expected to in the past. My younger sister turned out to be the best cook in our family and her daughter, Sierra, follows in her footsteps, as do my boys in mine. Here’s to the fourth generation of McCulloch cooks and here’s to my mom. And for you, her recipe for Colossal Crescent Cheeseburger.
Saute onions, if using; brown meat and add seasoning packet and optional chile powder; add optional green chile
I used this Penzeys Taco seasoning powder instead of a small package. I used 6 Tbs.
This is how your spokes will look
Place last four in middle
Press them out to look like this
Pile your meat and cheese in the middle; wrap spokes up around mixture
It will look like this
Seal it up; brush with milk or water and sprinkle with sesame seeds
And VOILA! Colossal Crescent Cheeseburger!
Below is the original recipe, however, I upgraded this when I cooked it this past Sunday for the Super Bowl gathering I attended. I used organic grass fed and finished bison, mild cheddar cheese, 1/2 a cup of sautéed onions, some green chile, about 1/4 of a cup, and 1/2 tsp of chile powder for good measure. Whichever way you make this, I hope you enjoy!
SEE BARS – Super Easy Energy Bars: This is my new fruit and nut bars with a bit of chocolate. Cut them in bars for a trail snack to keep your energy up, or cut bite size pieces for a small snack. However you roll, these bars are a perfect punch! SEE the difference in taste by using the best ingredients and making the bar yourself; SEE the savings in not buying prepackaged goods!
*Use natural cocoa, as it is higher in fat, tastes better, and will provide more energy. *Use a high quality 85% chocolate and no less than 70% *Look for juice sweetened dried fruit. Not absolutely necessary, but I think they taste better and you avoid processed sugar.
It’s Friday Foodie Time! It’s Friday Foodie Time! Let’s cook and have some wine, It’s Friday Foodie Time! (Some of you are old enough to know the tune this might be sung to. Everyone else, just make up your own.)
So here’s a super quick salad recipe my sister sent me from Azerbaijan. (Say what? A country that used to be part of the Soviet Union. Next to Turkey and Iran. She lives in Baku.)
This is super simple and can be eaten on it’s own or piled on some greens of some kind. I think it would be really great with arugula. Beans are highly nutritious, but get a bad rap because of their gas producing ways, but if you eat beans on a regular basis (one cup a day is what you should aim for) and keep your gut cleared out by eating plenty of healthy fiber, the gas will be little and the aroma non-exisistent. Really! What’s so great about beans? They are starch resistant, good for the heart and should be part of any diabetics diet. Dr. Joel Fuhrman explains it all here. So here’s your recipe. Enjoy!
Those of you who are regular readers might notice the new header on my blog: Buy, Cook, Eat. I am taking this blog in a bit of a new direction this year. I sort of dropped off the radar the last few months and wasn’t sure where I wanted this to go. You see, I love being a health coach and encouraging others to eat right, but I’ve discovered, most people don’t really want to change and that’s OK! Anyone who wants to get healthy has to decide for themselves to do this and just do it. I will still coach anyone who wants to sign up, but my true love is buying, cooking and eating food, so why not share that here. My most popular blogs are Friday Foodies so it only makes sense to do what I love and what others love as well. I will be back with my video blogs soon, but Apple went and changed iMovie so I have to figure out again, how it works. Why do they do this and give you no directions? Hmmm. Frustrating! So here we go….
Buying: Grocery stores are full of so many different products how do you ever know what to buy? Where are the best places to shop and how do you tackle a super sized store? Also, since I will be living in England for three months this year, I will share with you my adventures in shopping there!
Cooking: I had a grandmother and mom who were really great cooks, each in her own way, both definitely products of their environment. I taught myself to cook after I left home, venturing far from my early roots of Hamburger Helper and packaged taco seasoning, to fresh veggies, fruits, whole grains and all their possibilities. I’ve learned shortcuts that make the job faster and easier, but also know the joy of a meal that takes time and effort to cook.
Eating: I love to eat! Come on, who doesn’t? So there will be lots of talk here about eating. Eating real food. Healthy food and the occasional indulgence. I also believe in the importance of eating together. Make time to have meals with your family, friends, relatives. Share in the joy of eating, relaxing and visiting.
I hope you will continue to follow the blog. You can unsubscribe at any time, but I hope you’ll stay on board.
I’d love to make this a forum for asking questions and sharing your own buying, cooking, eating, tips! Let me know if you have a topic you would like me to cover and I will do my best to give you the ins and outs. I look forward to hearing from you!!
Every year, I am asked to share my book list. Goodreads has made that easier than ever with the ability to share on my FB page. You can find that here: JaneAnnThompson and see my full list of reads, but I thought I would share with you my favs for the year, out of the 54 read.
I know, I know, you don’t have time to read, but that’s a matter of opinion. Here is how I manage to read at least 52 books a year.
1. I always have some sort of spiritual or inspirational read going. I read from this book every morning. I do not watch television in the morning and I get up thirty minutes earlier than I would have to so I can drink my cup of tea and read. Try it. Your day will be better for it.
2. I take a book to work with me and read during my lunch. This is usually when I read non-fiction either for building my business or about health. I get at least 30 mins in usually. On days I work from home, I do the same, but allow myself an hour.
3. I read every night before bed. We do not have television in our house. We have a monitor on which we watch movies, and do watch something most evenings, but no matter, we still go to bed and read for at least thirty minutes each night. Though some nights I am so exhausted I can barely keep my eyes open, most nights I manage to get in at least 30 mins. Studies show that people who watch television in bed or stay on the computer until getting in bed do not fall asleep easily and do not sleep as well. Also, to my couples friends, having a television in the bedroom means that what should be happening in the bedroom is often times neglected. Move that television out of the bedroom and give it away. Same for your kids. READ!
Still not convinced? Time yourself and see how much time is wasted on Facebook and other social media. I’m as guilty as the next person, but try really hard most days to limit the time. Seth Godin has a really good blog on this today. Check it out!
So here’s my favs and find the entire list with reviews here.
The War of Art is not listed on my Goodreads summary for 2013 because technically I read it on New Year’s Eve, 2012, but I considered it my first read of the year because it was so impactful for my year. A small and concise inspirational read of completing your ART, no matter what that looks like for you. I have reread a couple of times, and because my copy got loaned out, I am ordering an extra to have on hand.
Read this on my Kindle when I went backpacking this year. Though she does some pretty stupid things (I suggest not following her lead for backpacking and get some expert help) this is a great read. I loved the adventure and the thought of being out on my own, though I was with a group of nine.
After reading Wild, I decided to read this book my Strayed also, and just loved it. She has some great advice for everyone. She wrote an anonymous advice column for sometime, and this is the best from the blog.
Diaz is one of my new favorite authors and I will read anything he writes in the future and actually read this year, everything he has written and there was not a bad one in the bunch. Originally from the Dominican, he writes of family and friends like no other.
Need a good laugh? This will do it. One of the funniest books ever, I read this while traveling in England and got strange looks every time I started guffawing (have never used this word before, but truly, there is no better way to describe the laughter this book induces) out loud. Short, sweet and hilarious!
Heard this was a best seller in Europe and decided to check it out. This novel pulls you in like no other and keeps you riveted to the end (well except for maybe a few pages here and there where the author digresses, but no biggie). It’s a story of the ocean and the men who went to sea and the women who stayed home.
Never saw the movie, had no desire to, but my sister told me she read it and liked it, so picked it up to take to the beach with me and could not put it down. Tells what happens as the world comes back from the zombie apocalypse. Great beach read!
I am a huge fan of writing about food writers. They were the last of an era and this book gives lots of the details of how their opinions and actions have affected us since the 1970′s. Has some weak points, but I just loved it.
Um, you don’t have to be on drugs. You don’t have to be unhealthy when you die. You could do like generations in the past and just get old and die in your sleep. Finished. Kapoot. The end. Read it. Live healthy till you die.
Who knew shame and perfection were so closely linked? Brene Brown’s research is so eye opening and this book gives you some easy ways to deal with it. Though simplistic in someways, I still enjoyed it and have learned a lot. I will reread again soon.
This is one of my all time favorite soup recipes, adapted from the Vegan Piggy, a blogspot that has been inactive for several years now. I changed up the amount of broth, the tomatoes and spices a bit. It is definitely a very tasty, easy to make, delicious soup.
One thing about my videos, I do them as they come. I don’t set a stage or anything like that. I’m cooking just like you are sometimes, in pajamas early in the morning (that would be in this video for sure), or in the evening, tired at the end of a long day. Life happens and taking time to cook, means you fit it in where you can. The great thing about soups, they are easy to do in the morning, as you can chop up everything, throw it in a pot and let it simmer while you dress for work. Ladle some up into a jar, throw the rest in the fridge for later, and you walk out the door with a great lunch. Add an apple and cut up veggies, and you are well fed. Then you have lunch for the week, or dinner the next night.
Here’s the video and the printable recipe is at the bottom.
If you like this video, please share it with your friends by clicking on the buttons below. Enjoy!