Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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Norfolk Fare

I forgot to include these lovely looking fruit and nuts in my last foodie post of our travels in Norfolk.

I hear it has been a spectacular year for blueberries.

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And I wouldn’t have a clue what to do with a wet walnut

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But I thought Hugh Fearnly-Eat-it-All might be the man to ask

Wet walnuts are a true seasonal treat, available for just a few weeks each autumn. They sound a bit messy, but don’t worry, their hard, usually slightly grubby (because unpolished) shells are quite dry – on the outside. It’s the inside that’s “wet” – still juicy and fresh, in its just-picked state. The pale blond kernels are firm but yielding, without the brittle crispness of a dried nut. And the flavour is mild, milky and sweet, with just a hint of that tannic edge that makes walnuts the sophisticate of nuts.

 

And cob nuts,  ouch £9 a punnet! By my estimation that’s about a pound a nut…

cob nuts_

Waitrose tell me they are stocking them in store this autumn and at a more thrifty price.


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A Feast For The Eyes

Mrs Ogg and I  may have had a busy programme of sight seeing on our weekend away in Norfolk. But refuelling stops were taken very seriously.

Morning coffee

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afternoon tea

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Other foodie highlights were at and a very pleasant evening meal at Balthazar wine bar in Holt and a delicious Sunday breakfast of smoked salmon and poached egg croissant at  Byfords.  I loved Byfords, not only for its food, but for its warren of  higgled-piggledy rooms each telling a tale of previous use and lives. Fascinating, right up my street.


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Selling Snake Oil

A bit of a rant to start with; really Waitrose (the supermarket subsidiary of John Lewis, they of the heart warming adverts) we expect better of the company that likes to pitch its self, as a cut above the rest, the favoured store for the middle classes .

 

The label on this jar of sundried tomatoes (I told you we were talking middle class) is sneaky, contains more weasel words than it does extra virgin olive oil

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Yes folks, a measly 3% extra virgin olive oil. Read the label on the back

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And you can see those sun kissed tomatoes are dunked in 47% sunflower oil, not luxuriating in a bath of extra virgin olive oil, as a quick glance of the label might suggest. (Waitrose artichoke hearts and sliced peppers share the same sunflower fate and  label pretensions). I wonder if the food boffins at Waitrose could convince us that 3% extra virgin olive oil brings anything to this product other that the words to the label?

 

I found an all together more genuine product, in the form of ancient bottle of  oil of eucalyptus when sorting mums house,  by the age of it, I suspect she and dad had themselves acquired it from a previous house clearance of an elderly aunt.

Pugh Buxton

I thought I’d see if it had retained its qualities, Sadly I broke the cork in the process (see I was right to be cautious of bottle tops)  but I didn’t need to go any further, it does still pack a punch of eucalyptus.

Pugh Buxton 2 

The dispensing chemist, Edgar Pugh of Buxton was mayor of Buxton in 1927 and the beautiful shop (which really needs to be photographed for this blog some day) is still a dispensing chemist, the historic shop and interior are listed, so thankfully haven’t suffered the same fate as Finlay McKinlay.


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Mothering Sunday

The title Mothering Sunday, rather than Mothers’ day is a nod to my late mother in law. She’d no time for the latter as  for as far as she was concerned, it has it roots in commerce not religion.

 

As you might imagine, its been a bit of a melancholy one for me. But is has been a beautiful spring day.

 

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Joe knows what he thinks of Mothering Sunday, he ‘pot washes’ at the village pub at the weekend. Today he and his shift mate washed up for four chefs and 110 covers.


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Vintage Years

We finished emptying Mum’s house this week,it goes without saying that it was emotional work, but there was laughter as well as tears. Here is a photo I found, that Mum had taken in  July 1997, the garden in full bloom.

Pride and Joy

It all looks a lot sunnier than it did on Tuesday.

There many discoveries, of lost childhood memorabilia, forgotten heirlooms (notably, a spectacularly hideous antique plate that had been waiting for its moment to shine, for over five decades, hidden away in the back of a cupboard, as I lifted it out, the bag it was in disintegrated, the plate fell to the floor, smashed beyond repair. My brother who’d recently seen a similar plate on a TV antiques programme, refuses to tell me just how much it was worth).

In the cupboard under the stairs, I found six crates of my Dad’s home brew, dating back as far as 1989.

 

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Some of it looked very dodgy, and alarmingly it was in screw top bottles.

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After a dynamic risk assessment, I decided a little eye protection wouldn’t go amiss before moving it.

home brew


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Sending…

On Saturday one of Mr Uphilldowndale’s running buddies (I’ll  not publish his name, I’ll just call him ‘G’) was seriously injured when he was in a road traffic collision whilst out on his bike. We’re all sending  our thought’s, love, good wishes, prayers or what ever we have to give, to G, his family and those who care for him. Worrying times and we feel impotent, we wish we could do more.

 

I came across G a while back here.

Change in the  weather 4-1 

 

We were both on our  way to work, he had stopped to admire the view,  whilst I more likely, had stopped to catch my breath. We chatted, he was in reflective mood. I told how  him how Mr Uhdd was frustrated at not being race fit and was niggled by minor injuries. G offered this advice. ‘Tell him to eat more pies, he thinks he need to keep his weight down but he doesn’t, he need to eat more pies; I know I’ve done it myself.’

 

So I’m sending pies, or at least the metaphorical health giving properties of pies, its all I can do.

 

Heather x

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