Sunday, 17 November 2013

A Bit of a Break

We decided to take ourselves away for the weekend. We didn't want to go far, just far enough to forget the housework so on Friday night we packed a bag and headed off to Winchester. We have a favourite haunt there called the Old Vine (
This 18th century Inn has everything we need for a weekend away. Shops, a great Saturday market, plenty of pubs serving good ale and food, lovely walks around the city that used to be the capital of England and has a history going back to about 150 BC. It reeks of history to the extent that stores like W H Smiths are located in beautiful listed buildings, in their case in the aptly named Parchment Street.
To add to the draw of this particular weekend, they hold an art and craft market in the main streets on the third Sunday of the month.
Having arrived. We took a quick trip down through the town before dinner to pick up a few Christmas gifts. returning to the Vine we were ready for a well kept pint of real ale before we popped up to our room (Zoffany) to get ready for dinner. The rooms here are wonderful. Each we have stayed in has a comfortable bed, a good TV, great coffee machine and so many extras (water, juice, fresh milk, ear plugs) that you just wish a few 4 and 5 star owners would try the place out to see what they are missing in their accommodation.
Refreshed and changed, we proceeded down to the restaurant for our evening meal. I tucked into a simple blue cheese and pear salad for a starter followed by perfectly cooked calves liver.A delicious winter berry pudding (a twist on summer pudding). Finally a platter of artisan cheeses topped off a very satisfying meal.
Now to the real reason for the Old Vine. Lunch and dinner are great here but there is nothing nicer than waking up. Opening the shutters to take in the view of the cathedral prior to sitting down, in your room, to a sumptuous breakfast served at table provided. A perfectly splendid way to start a day.
Fully relaxed, we returned home today to reality. Bulbs to be planted, cherry brandy to be made (more about this later) and dinner to be prepared. I did have the foresight to place a joint of beef in the sous vide on Friday at 49C to cook through ready for tonight. Perfectly rare and in need of just a sear in the skillet to finish it off before serving with a platter of roasted vegetables and sous vide asparagus made in the new sous vide (review later in the week when I have had a chance to put it through it's paces). I'll tell you about the dessert later in the week too :)
As to a photograph to jazz up the page. How about the beverage enjoyed during the bulb planting. There was a good fire in the fire pit so it seemed a shame not to throw a cast iron pan on the fire and warm through some mulled wine. A dash of Kirsch was all that was required to finish off this comforting little tipple. Well, why have winter drawing in if you can't enjoy the pleasures fire can bring :)

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