Sunday, February 01, 2015


On Saturday evening we went to Chef Claude Bosi's restaurant for dinner to celebrate a little anniversary. It was everything one would expect from a two Michelin starred establishment with several extra delicious surprises among our six course surprise tasting dinner along with matching wines.

Along with a glass of champagne we were served cashew and peanuts with sea salt and vinegar powder, but before we had too many, some canapés arrived - choux pastries filled with oozing cheese, and savoury biscuits and little cups filled with tasty creams.
Then came a tiny biscuit cone filled with truffle ice-cream sprinkled with crushed sesame and topped with a sherry reduction. Just a little taste, but intense.
This was our menu, which was only given to us as we left - so every course was a complete surprise before it was served.  One course missing from the images is the Goosnargh Duck, which was eaten before I realised we hadn't taken a photo! Also missing is the little shot glass filled with Meadowsweet Panna Cotta topped with a Golden Delicious apple jelly.

Cabbage Royale, coconut and curry en cocotte

Norwegian King Crab, Smoked Haddock, Granny Smith Apple

Scottish Scallop, Black Radish, Almond and Truffle

Line caught Sea Bass "à la Grenobloise"

Roasted Adour Foie Gras, Nashi Pear and Liquorice

Goosnargh Duck, Pumpkin and Passion Fruit

Chocolate Millefeuilles, Indonesian Basil Ice Cream, Star Anise.

Nougat with pistachio, cranberry, carrot and beetroot

Hibiscus Restaurant, Mayfair, London

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Benares is the Michelin starred restaurant of  Indian Chef Atul Kochhar. It was to celebrate my birthday that we went along to taste the delicious food of this remarkable chef - the first ever Indian chef to receive the accolade of a Michelin star. We were welcomed and taken upstairs to the restaurant and bar, being shown straight to our table. A glass of fizz and a peruse of the menu, and we soon decided to go with the tasting menu with matching wines. and so the fun began. Seven courses and five different wines - all superb, of course, and impeccably served. 

First here are two views of the restaurant:

Our nibbles with a glass of champagne.
Spinach and Apricot Tikka

Crispy Soft Shell Crab, Apple Relish,
Scottish White Crab Meat and Coronation Slaw
Baked Organic Salmon, Spiced Vermicelli,
Hand-picked Scottish Crab Croquette,
Coconut and Curry Leaf Sauce


Chutney Grilled Fillet,
Tandoori Spring Onion and Saffron Supreme,
Crispy Wing from Free Range Chicken

Nimbu Pani Sorbet
Roasted Rump of English Lamb,
Baby Spinach and Chickpea Masala,
Minced Shoulder Samosa
Mint tea with Petit Fours
Rose and Raspberry Bhapa Doi, Pistachio Burfi

The five matching wines were:
2012 Viognier, Clay Station, Lodi, California, USA
2012 Sequillo Eben Sadie, Malmesbury, South Africa
2009 Gewürztraminer Atul’s Signature, Jean Claude Gueth, Alsace, France
2012 Pinot Noir Muddy Water, Waipara, New Zealand
2009 Chenin Blanc Les 4 Villages, Domaine FL Coteaux du Layon, Loire, France

Monday, August 04, 2014

In Flanders Fields

Creative Moments
Designed by Phillipa England

The Creative Moments Craft Group teamed up with local volunteers to create this textile artwork featuring a mass of poppies commemorating the century of WW1.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

June in New Orleans

Just a few images of New Orleans during our last week or so. It was mostly family things including visiting French Quarter and Magazine Street, not to mention a rather splendid afternoon tea at the Windsor Court Hotel, complete with pretty ballerina who wandered about chatting to the participants. We rounded off our stay with a trip to the open air screening of Frozen at the Audubon Zoo.

Café du Monde
La Boulangerie
Windsor Court Hotel
Breads on Oak
Audubon Zoo

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Our May Dining experiences in New Orleans included breakfast at 'Another Broken Egg',  quatre-heures at 'Sucré' and a birthday dinner at 'R'evolution'. All wonderful and different venues.

Another Broken Egg

Monday, May 26, 2014

Natchez weekend

We spent the weekend discovering Natchez and the Natchez Trace. Natchez Trace is a trail of 444miles (about 720km) from Natchez to Nashville and is thought to be in existence around 10,000 years. It bisected the traditional homelands of the Natchez, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations. Later on, maybe a century or two ago, traders floated their goods on wooden palettes down the Mississippi to Natchez and even as far as New Orleans, before returning home, walking the trail, instead of struggling against the currents of the river. They would have sold their wooden boats as lumber, and maybe had a horse or two to help them on their way. Because of this traffic, stands or inns sprang up along the way to provide food and basic lodging for the travellers. We visited one of these inns, Mount Locust Inn and Plantation. This is the description from the National Parks website:
'Mount Locust is one of the oldest structures still standing in an area known for historic homes. John Blommart began what would become Mount Locust by 1780, but his stay was short. After leading a failed rebellion against the Spanish, he was jailed, forfeiting his fortune and Mount Locust. Blommart’s former business associate, William Ferguson, and his wife Paulina purchased Mount Locust in 1784 and operated the farm until William’s death in 1801. A short time later Paulina married James Chamberlain, an overseer at Mount Locust, and they continued to build the growing farm. Mount Locust was home to five generations of Chamberlains, with the last leaving in 1944. The National Park Service began restoration in 1954, returning the historic home to its 1820 appearance.'
You can read more by clicking the link below.
We also walked along several parts of the Trace, including the Sunken Trail, where centuries of use has created a dip in the landscape where thousands of feet have worn away the land.
We stayed at The Briars,which was very quaint, but also a little run down. Were we too early in the season? I don't know. But the staff were so kind and attentive that we had a great stay and enjoyed walking in the garden and up to their spectacular view out across the Mississippi. We had a couple of delicious dinners in town the first at Magnolia Grill on Silver St. and then a rather 'posh' dinner at the Castle Restaurant, which was in a castle folly in the grounds of Dunleith Plantation.

NPS Natchez Trace, Natchez to Jackson
Mount Locust Inn
The Briars
Magnolia Grill
The Castle Restaurant

Monday, May 19, 2014

Our last day in Chicago and we decided we would go and look at Bloomingdales home and furniture store, just around the corner from the hotel. It is a very interesting building and tells quite a story. It is built in the Moorish Revival architecture style and was commissioned in 1912 by the Shriner's Society as an auditorium, the Medinah Temple, seating over 4,000 people. Chicago Symphony Orchestra made many of their finest recordings here, with, among others Sir Georg Solti.

In late 2000, the building began a period of restoration and its insides were gutted to make way for retail space and in 2003, Bloomingdales opened their furniture and home store within the famous walls. We could see the old proscenium arch, domes and stained glass windows as well as some other features in this extraordinary building. It became a Chicago Landmark in 2001. It is really stunning and we really enjoyed looking around, much to the amusement of the staff - but they probably get lots of visitors.
From here we walked down to the Loop area and looked for Printing House Row and eventually The Dearborn Station from where some of the famous long-distance trains ran - the Santa Fe Railway, trains to Hollywood, Grand Trunk Rairoad to name just a few. It has now been redeveloped as office and retail space, serving the loft-style apartments of Printing House Row. Interesting, but very quiet with only a few of the retail areas occupied. On our way back to the north, we took a walk into Millennium Park and saw the fountain and Lake Michigan, with a sailing ship making its way out of the little harbour. The route took us over the bridge and up passed the Aqua Tower, the incredible building with curving balconies and a wave-like appearance externally, designed by Jeanne Gang.

And that was our last day in Chicago as we are off to New Orleans in the morning. We did manage another great dinner, though, walking just down from the hotel to the Weber Grill - Weber as in the famous barbecues, and in fact there was one enormous one hanging on the corner of the building housing the restaurant. We would have to wait forty minutes for a table inside, but they could take us straight away outside. So outside it was! Delicious steaks, of course and a glass of red wine.

Bloomingdales Home and Furniture, Chicago
Printing House Row
Dearborn Station
Weber Grill