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England Trip Report


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You should be able to find "Branston pickle" in the US i think to replicate the cheese and pickle sandwich for Mr Kim - it was the only thing i asked my parents to bring me when they visited me from the UK. I add some crunchy iceberg lettuce to my cheese and pickle too.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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SO enjoying your England trip report, Kim. :smile:

I loved the full English breakfast, and trying to replicate it back home is just not the same...Even the cress that I grow from seeds I brought back doesn't taste the same. Must be the air... :rolleyes:

Looking forward to more!

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Thanks for the info about the rape/canola. And we have found Branston Pickle – at our local Kroger, no less! Good thing, too, since my FIL has become addicted also!

Thanks, also, for the encouragement. I know that this is taking forever, but LIFE happens and I appreciate so much that you are all interested still!

Days 7& 8 Avebury, Stonehenge and Salisbury

Stonehenge was a must, of course – one can’t possibly be near it on one’s first trip to England and not go. But I’d ferretted out Avebury in some book and knew that it was a similar, but much more ‘up close and personal’ type of experience.

Avebury is a charming little village with a pub – The Red Lion – and not much more, as far as food goes:

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20-48k3 by ozisforme, on Flickr

We’d been snacking on those lovely tomatoes and strawberries and our stash of candy on the drive down and weren’t really hungry, so we passed, but were tempted by the menu of pub food: ham and eggs, Ploughman’s, various meat pies (I adore meat pies - they are what I always request when I go to visit my parents - even in weather like this).

Our hotel that night was the Red Lion in Salisbury. Very near the Cathedral and right in town – convenient for wandering. It had a lovely courtyard where we had drinks that night:

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20-106m2 by ozisforme, on Flickr

We wandered a little in the Cathedral Close – saving our real touring for the next morning. Finally hungry, we straggled through town looking for something that appealed. The Ox Row Inn looked good:

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20-177k by ozisforme, on Flickr

But had a sign requesting ‘Proper Attire’ and we were in jeans, so we started to wander on. An older fellow who was at an outside table drinking a pint and having a cigarette said, “Oh, yer dressed just fine. If I can go in, you can.” He said the food was good and that they had ‘real ale’. This is a very important and complicated (to me) designation that we heard over and over. It has to do with the ale/beer being brewed in the traditional way. There is a big ‘real ale’ campaign in Britain (and a similar ‘real beer’ one over here, I’ve learned) that goes along with promoting ‘free houses’ – independent pubs. We followed him in and discovered that he was right – we fit right in and the food and drink were quite good:

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20-173k by ozisforme, on Flickr

We started with some very good onion rings – tempura-style:

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20-174k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Light and crackly batter and very sweet onions.

Mr. Kim had the fish and chips:

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20-176k by ozisforme, on Flickr

And I had a GIGANTIC burger with Cheddar and bacon:

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20-175k by ozisforme, on Flickr

More of that lovely ‘salad garnish’ on each plate. I have to say that, as much as I adore English bacon, I believe that ‘streaky’ bacon goes better on a burger. You need the fatty crunch – otherwise it’s like having a slice of ham on a burger.

We did some more strolling, coming across Patisserie Valerie on Butcher Row:

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20-178k by ozisforme, on Flickr

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20-179k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Unfortunately closed by then. But we had planned ahead and bought some goodies at Reeve the Baker:

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20-166k by ozisforme, on Flickr

I was so mesmerized by all of the offerings that I’d been reading about for years – buns, rolls, lardy cakes, tarts – that it was hard to chose.

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20-166m1 by ozisforme, on Flickr

On the right is a little treacle tart – my final choice. Sweet and gooey, it reminded me of what my mother used to say about the English – that they loved their afters so much that you could serve them ANYTHING for dinner, as long as they knew something sweet was coming (this was in the bad old days of British cuisine). My stepdad, Ted, would put up with any manner of odd American cooking if he knew Momma had some Bird’s custard to pour over tinned fruit! I thought the tart was similar to a chess pie – only with a deeper, richer flavor and a wonderful short pastry-type crust. The one on the left is Mr. Kim’s choice – Jap Cake a lovely combination of cake (very light) and apricot jam covered with a fluffy, sweet icing. In the back of the picture, you can see a bottle of my beloved Mt. Dew, which I was lucky enough to find all over the place. Since soft drinks are my caffeine of choice, I was thrilled.

The Red Lion was our first experience with hotel breakfasts in England and we found them basically the same at all three hotels we stayed at – a cold buffet with cereals/granola, cold cuts and cheeses, juices, fruits, pastries and breads to toast. You could also order a hot breakfast off the menu. By and large, the quality was very good.

We started almost every hotel day with this:

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21-1k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Fruit and yogurt. Or this variation:

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21-1k2 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Yogurt and granola. The yogurt was excellent, without exception. I found myself craving yogurt, granola and honey every morning. More:

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21-1k1 by ozisforme, on Flickr

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21-1k3 by ozisforme, on Flickr

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21-1k4 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Beautiful dining room.

We toured the breathtakingly lovely Salisbury Cathedral and hit the road for Dorchester and the coast!

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Interesting seeing England from an outsiders perspective. Shame you couldn't sample more of Oxford..!

Oh, I agree, Tim! Oxford was lovely and we wished we had budgeted more time there. Other than lunch, our entire time in Oxford was spent on the tour. As good as it was, we really would have liked some wandering time.

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Days 4-6 Oxford & the Cotswolds

Tuesday, May 17th

I had another wonderful meal (you’re going to get tired of hearing that) – Beef & Abbot Ale pie with chive mashed potatoes and braised red cabbage:

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17-6k6 by ozisforme, on Flickr

With lashings of really good gravy.

Look at that pastry:

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17-6k7 by ozisforme, on Flickr

I'll be honest, I think that pastry looks awful and more than likely is a frozen pie lid that is used by so many pubs these days, not a pie at all, just a piece of frozen puff pastry made with vegetable fat, baked seperately and then balanced on top of the meat. One of my biggest annoyances when eating in pubs these days. :hmmm:

Frozen pie lids

Edited by Matthew Grant (log)

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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You may right Matthew - and I generally agree with how nasty they can be - but the main pie also seems to have puff pasty so it may be the genuine thing. The pub pie lid normally just sits on top of meat, or a ceramic pot. Would you make a "proper pie" and then buy in the lid?

If I'm to have any whinge about pub beef pies, it's that they're almost always puff and not shortcrust.

John Hartley

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Kim!!

I cannot wait to read this whole write-up.

OMG that marzipan fruit is amazing. I've never seen anything like that.

LOVE the "foods of America" isle. I am cracking up over it, actually. What are the cowboy items on the bottom shelf?

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That lid was baked seperately, look at the top of the shell, it's brown, if the lid had been on it would have been white. You can buy shells as well. I'm almost certain that is frozen pastry, if you make your own you have far more neater layers instead of the mass of air in that one.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Yum, Kim. Your report is making me nostalgic and hungry.

Did you get to try cream donuts? (Cream, not 'creme'.) Black pudding? Sausage rolls?

All that, and you cooked too!

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Thanks for writing this up Kim, brings back a lot of memories. In 1983 when we travelled to England for the first time, I picked up a copy of the latest GOURMET magazine at the airport. Those were the days when they published detailed travel articles, & to my surprise this particular issue featured small English villages. I already had with me a copy of the since defunct CUISINE magazine containing an article & maps of southern England to use a guide, so between the two, we searched out places we'd never have found on our own. The Red Lion Pub was one of many on the list, & I remember we enjoyed our pub lunch there.

Our driving experiences were very similar to Mr. Kim's!

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Matthew – It may very well have been a frozen pie lid. But if I could purchase puff pastry that got that airy and light, I’d buy it. And it might also have been made with vegetable fat rather than butter – I go out of my way to find puff pastry made with butter and it just tasted like butter-made to me. I can’t be sure of that, of course. The bottom crust was like short pastry – not puff.

Shelby – I think that the cowboy things are some sort of BBQ sauce, maybe? To the left are little men wearing sombreros – that is salsa. And in trying to look at my picture and zooming in to try to read the label, I noticed for the first time that the box to the left of the cowboys is obviously supposed to be an outhouse!! I have NO idea what’s in that one.

KA – no cream doughnuts – I’m not even sure what they are. Black pudding – stay tuned. Sausage rolls – no, because I’m not a fan of English sausage, but I make them at home all the time.

Jay – that trip sounds wonderful. I think that we liked the wandering and surprises and discoveries best of all.

Kit – I’ve been homesick for England since we stepped on the train at St. Pancras station. And it was the first time I’d ever been!

I’m trying to put together another segment – hoping to post it tonight, but it’s already almost 9pm, so we’ll see. Thank you all for reading and responding. Reliving it is so much fun and I love that it’s appreciated!

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Days 8&9 Dorchester and the Coast!

After our LONG, LONG tour of Salisbury Cathedral we drove to Dorchester. I’m not sure of the route that Jeeves (GPS) took us, but it was gorgeously scenic. Not a lot of places to eat, though. We are both diabetics (mine is diet controlled since having the gastric bypass) and we were desperate for lunch. And we needed gas. Here’s my half confession/half revelation. We ate at a One-Stop. This was JUST EXACTLY like a 7-11. Except not. We were thinking that we could get some crackers and cheese or maybe some hard boiled eggs. Any kind of protein and carb. We perused the sandwich selection, full of hope but not very optimistic. They were the typical convenience store packages – triangular shaped hard plastic with a sheet of cellophane to cover. But they looked different….kind of good. And we were starving. So we took a chance. And they were different – and good. Really SURPRISINGLY good. Mr. Kim got the ham, Cheddar and pickle (British pickle, remember) baguette. Mine was the most ordinary sandwich in the world – egg salad and ham – on white bread. But the egg salad tasted really fresh, the ham was REAL (not slimy deli ham), and the bread was firm and actually tasted of bread. Another interesting thing is that there was egg salad and sliced hard boiled eggs on the sandwich – I’ve never seen that before and I’ve been having my egg salad sandwiches like that at home lately. It seems ridiculous to go on and on like this about convenience store sandwiches. They weren’t the most amazing sandwiches ever. But they were good – if 7-11 had sandwiches like that, I’d probably have them once a week for workday lunches.

We checked into our Dorchester hotel, The Kings Arms:

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22-1k6 by ozisforme, on Flickr

And headed right back out to explore some of the shore area. We were stunned by Weymouth – the white cliffs and views for miles up and down the coast. I was SO tempted:

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21-117k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Seaside fish and chips and ice cream cornets – the stuff of juvenile dreams for me. But cooler heads and still full lunch tummies prevailed. I mean, it was probably awful, right? RIGHT???

We drove along the coast road, catching sight of the sea, then losing it – through Abbotsbury (another impossibly charming and gorgeous village) surmounting a hill so high, with a view so sweeping that we felt sure we should have been able to see France. We dipped back down to drive into Chideock – out of view of the sea, but still near. This was another favorite village. It didn’t feel touristy at all – it was lovely (we had a postprandial walk and were charmed), but we didn’t see any provisions for vacationers – though it is so close to the sea. We had dinner at the Clock House Inn – a 16th century Free House:

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21-208k by ozisforme, on Flickr

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21-179k by ozisforme, on Flickr

We were the only non-locals there – everyone else was called by their names by the host. One couple had their well-behaved border collie sitting beside their table. This was the first time that Mr. Kim tried “And pull one for yourself” in lieu of tipping and it was well received! Very surprised and gratified response – big grin. There are all kinds of trophies for darts and skittle competitions and even a little lending library in one corner. I loved the Pringles machine:

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21-182k by ozisforme, on Flickr

We started off with:

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21-178k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Guinness for Mr. Kim and Thatcher’s Gold cider for me.

Mr. Kim had shepherd’s pie:

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21-183k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Really good – gooey cheesy potatoes. His potato-topped pie came with….potatoes. Anyone who has followed me on the dinner thread can imagine how heavenly I found the British propensity for serving double or even triple carbs in one meal!

My dinner was fantastic:

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21-184k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Meltingly tender lamb shank. With a rich, winey gravy. The lamb was so flavorful – unlike anything I’ve tasted in years. Almost gamey. As you can see, though we both got potatoes, they were different. Mine were the chips and his were the new potatoes – but they certainly weren’t steamed. They MIGHT have been roasted, but I suspect they were fried, too.

During our walk, I noticed this sign:

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21-188k by ozisforme, on Flickr

I just loved that this little village’s Women’s Institute was making sushi! I cannot imagine the ladies of my grandmother’s little church in NC even knowing what sushi is!

Breakfast was at the hotel – very similar to what we had at Salisbury. No pictures. We made our way to Charmouth to walk along the beach and then to Lyme Regis. Lyme Regis is VERY touristy and crowded, but I loved it all the same. We took the road less traveled a few times and found some lovely gardens and sea views. Since I knew that a cream tea was in our near future, we shared a small lunch from Mulberry Manor:

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22-50k1 by ozisforme, on Flickr

It is a small bakeshop on the main drag in Lyme Regis. All kinds of ready goodies – including pasties, salads and desserts. Mr. Kim liked these cheese stuffed peppers:

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22-51k by ozisforme, on Flickr

We also had a really good cheese straw:

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22-52k by ozisforme, on Flickr

LOADED with cheese and poppy seeds – this was super crisp and flakey.

We shared a beef and bleu cheese pasty:

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22-53k by ozisforme, on Flickr

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22-54k by ozisforme, on Flickr

You know, you’d think that this was the kind of thing that should be served piping hot, but it was just barely warmer than room temperature and it was great. Is it common to serve pasties like that?

Next up was Beer (the village, not the drink) where my aunt lives. Unfortunately, she happened to be in the States (we didn’t coordinate our trips very well). We met one of her neighbors, who recommended the cream tea at the Captain’s Cottage:

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captains cottage beer by ozisforme, on Flickr

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22-64k1a by ozisforme, on Flickr

I was dying to try a crab sandwich, but knew I wouldn’t have room for that and a cream tea and I was determined not to leave Devon without a cream tea! So, tea it was:

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22-64k5 by ozisforme, on Flickr

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22-64k6 by ozisforme, on Flickr

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22-64k7 by ozisforme, on Flickr

We were very happy:

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22-64m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Dinner that night was (I blush) another convenience store sandwich. We were exhausted and on our way to Winchester the next morning and, like I said they were pretty good.

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Kim, I'm really enjoying your trip.

Scones, cream and jam - oh yes!

Keep 'em coming. I'm making notes for when I'm in London (39 days and counting), and I'm busting to hear how you got on in France.

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

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Kim your enthusiasm and love of dear old blighty is bursting from the page. Even though I live here, i'm enjoying your trip immensely.

I too second cream first on your scone, it's like putting on butter first. Unless you're actually using butter, then it's butter first then cream then jam! Yum yum.

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Jam first here - in the Cornish way. None of this new fangled Devonish stuff for me.

Oh, nearly forgot. Actually butter first. Then jam.

And it goes on a skon not a scown.

John Hartley

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Kim, I'm really enjoying your trip.

Scones, cream and jam - oh yes!

Keep 'em coming. I'm making notes for when I'm in London (39 days and counting), and I'm busting to hear how you got on in France.

It won't be long now - just a couple of days left in England :sad: . Hope you'll be reporting on your London trip!

Glad to see you put the cream on first (though you didn't use enough :laugh: )

Actually, there is more cream on there than it looks like from the picture - really piled up on the back side. I kept urging Mr. Kim - "that's cream, not butter - PILE it on!"

Kim your enthusiasm and love of dear old blighty is bursting from the page. Even though I live here, i'm enjoying your trip immensely.

I too second cream first on your scone, it's like putting on butter first. Unless you're actually using butter, then it's butter first then cream then jam! Yum yum.

Thanks so much, Prawn - that means so much coming from a native!

Jam first here - in the Cornish way. None of this new fangled Devonish stuff for me.

Oh, nearly forgot. Actually butter first. Then jam.

And it goes on a skon not a scown.

Yep, 'skon' - I was raised with that pronunciation!

:shock: A Pringles vending machine??????? Be still my beating heart!

Must

Find

One

My husband would adore potatoes with a side of potatoes. :laugh:

And that butter...no tea for me, but I'Ohll take a bowl of butter and a spoon please.

Oh, yes - tell me why the bars in the US haven't glommed on to a Pringles machine??? And it's not butter, Shelby - even better the thickest, richest cream you can imagine. You can actually make it at home with good (pasteurized, not ultra pasteurized heavy cream). You need to try this.

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They were the typical convenience store packages – triangular shaped hard plastic with a sheet of cellophane to cover. But they looked different….kind of good. And we were starving. So we took a chance. And they were different – and good. Really SURPRISINGLY good. Mr. Kim got the ham, Cheddar and pickle (British pickle, remember) baguette. Mine was the most ordinary sandwich in the world – egg salad and ham – on white bread. But the egg salad tasted really fresh, the ham was REAL (not slimy deli ham), and the bread was firm and actually tasted of bread. Another interesting thing is that there was egg salad and sliced hard boiled eggs on the sandwich – I’ve never seen that before and I’ve been having my egg salad sandwiches like that at home lately. It seems ridiculous to go on and on like this about convenience store sandwiches. They weren’t the most amazing sandwiches ever. But they were good – if 7-11 had sandwiches like that, I’d probably have them once a week for workday lunches.

I DREAM about British convenience store sandwiches in the triangular plastic molds. They are so ridiculously good compared to anything you can get over here. Cheese and pickle, egg and tomato, ham and cheese, egg and cress, you name it. Just fantastic fast food.

5989469660_ce9f118da8.jpg

Clotted cream to die for. So jealous.

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