Sunday, 20 May 2012

Brilliant weekend!

We went to Stratford on Avon with neighbours and much-loved drinking buddies, Lorna and Richard, for the weekend.  As has become our habit on these occasions, they had booked us tickets to a matinee performance, so we set out rather early on Saturday morning.  I googled the route and was surprised to see the best way was up the M1, not a route we've ever tried before.  Tick VG, and hour and three-quarters later we were there.  We'll stick to that route in future.  Lunch at Bistrot Pierre was rather mixed.  The rest of them had excellent omelettes and chips, but my chicken caesar salad hadn't been tossed at all, so there was a layer of rather thick parmesan shavings at the bottom.  I quite like parmesan, but not on its own!  And actually, I prefer some smoked bacon in my chicken caesar salad, though I know that's not in the proper recipe.

The play was The Tempest, and it was a magical production.  We laughed, we cried, and were completely riveted for the whole two and three-quarter hours.  We were buzzing as we emerged, and over a cup of tea in a local café kept running over favourite bits.  My only real criticism is that up in the gods, where we were sitting, there is no way of squeezing past other members of the audience to get to your seats without treading on their toes.  There is simply no space at all.  Once you're there, it's fine, but getting there can be..er..intimate!

In the evening Lorna had booked us into Lambs restaurant, one of several places where we've eaten in the past, and we had a most excellent meal.  They all had fish, so most of the wine was Austrian Grüner Veltliner, but I had a terrific steak, so had a couple of glasses of Rioja.  My sticky toffee pudding was excessively sweet, but Jenny's chocolate chip brioche and butter pudding was spot on.  I had to sample it, of course!

The B&B, Avonleigh, was excellent.  Very comfortable and friendly with a good breakfast, after which we drove to Kenilworth Castle, (sadly, the English Heritage website seems to be broken, but hopefully they'll notice soon) which we thoroughly recommend.  When my family came over from South Africa in the early sixties, we lived in Leamington Spa, and visited Kenilworth Castle, but of course then, there was no information about it at all.  Now you get a free audio guide, can buy guide books and there are useful signs and labels all over the place.  We spent several happy hours there before retiring to the Queen and Castle over the road for a spot of lunch, and very good that was, too.   I had a particularly nice merlot rosé from the Pays d'Oc.

Now we're home and about to stick a half leg of lamb in the oven.  As the new inner door for the oven arrived on Friday and took no time at all to fit, this roast will christen it.  I'm going to stick a whole garlic clove into the roasting tray with the meat so we can squidge the resulting paste out when we serve.  At least twice over the weekend we've been served whole roasted garlic cloves with bread, and it really is rather nice.  Yum!

1 comment:

ArcticFox said...

All sounds rather good to me.... apart from the leg of lamb bit, but then that's my choice..... I've only been to Stratford once and we went to see an Aphra Behn story called "The Rover" with Jeremy Irons and Imogen Stubbs in it.... great experience, thoroughly enjoyable - sounds like you've had a great weekend, like you said.... I hope your oven door holds out!!