Yes that’s right, two months has gone since my last review of my most recent greedy food antics. I do wonder if time secretly gangs up on us all and fast-forwards itself when we’re not looking.
So this blog is a double-whammy: How I’ve been stuffing my face over the last two months. And it seems that my tooth had a sweet craving, with just one of my best bites being savoury. Well I guess summer is a time for cake….and cocktails!
No, I haven’t decided to dabble in meteorology. My number one bite is a very naughty but nice Cornish tradition, recently recommended to me and my workmates. Obviously we were intrigued with this variation on the traditional cream tea and just had to give it a go.
For those who haven’t heard of Thunder and Lightening, you start by cutting a scone in half (although I should point out that the original recipe is with thick white bread) then spread a generous dollop of clotted cream on each half (sound familiar so far?). When it comes to the cream, for me just has to be Rodda’s, which is what I was dragged up on spending my summer holidays with my Grandparents in Newquay.
So not exactly groundbreaking so far, but here comes the surprise: Instead of topping with a mound of sticky sweet jam, you drizzle over golden syrup. This was a new one on me, but I did enjoy the taste combination.
I’m not sure I’d replace the traditional cream tea for good, but I’d recommend giving thunder and lightning a go for a change!
2. Breakfast at Bill’s
What a treat on a Saturday morning: To enjoy a delicious, well cooked breakfast which is full of flavour and served with a smile in a refreshing and vibrant setting. This was what me and my Mum lapped up when we went for breakfast at Bill’s.
Not only were my Eggs Royale full of flavour and perfectly cooked with a runny yolk to be proud of, but when I ordered a pot of tea, I got a PROPER pot of tea. I find it annoying that sometimes when you order a pot, you actually get a piddly little piece of pottery which barely holds more than one cup anyway. Well, not this bad boy.
My Mum opted for the Vegetarian Breakfast and her eyes nearly popped out of her head when it was delivered. It was a huge plate crammed with colours and textures, but there was no way that poor Mum could put that volume away.
She decided to sacrifice the soda toast, but refused to give up the guacamole or hummus which were spread on the two slices, and proceeded to delicately remove the topping from each. The Manager walked past and noticed her doing this, and subtly suggested to our waitress that she come and have a chat.
No, she didn’t ask Mum to stop playing with her food, she came to make sure that Mum was happy with her meal, or if she would like something else instead. Mum hastily reassured her that the food was lovely but just too much for her to eat. It struck me what good observational and subtle customer service skills the team at Bill’s has.
4. Mum’s cake fest
Speaking of my Mum, during the same visit she insisted on doing some baking to ‘top up’ my cake stocks. We’d dragged ourselves around the shops in town all day during the recent heat wave and frankly, I was good for nothing. She’s definitely made of stronger stuff than I am because as I sat cabbage-like on the couch, she efficiently yet lovingly whipped up a triple-layered Victoria sponge PLUS a handful of cute little butterfly cakes.
Apart from the obvious attraction of putting your feet up whilst someone makes you delicious sweet treats, it was a pleasure listening to Mum grafting away in the kitchen. I spent many happy hours as a child helping her bake and the sound of her singing as she worked brought back lots of lovely memories.
The icing and jam combo that she used was just delicious and everything was baked to perfection – something that I never seem to manage in my oven. That’s my theory of blaming the cooker for my baking failures out the window then – a bad workman, and all that…
5. Friday cocktails
So after all Mum’s slaving away, it was only right that I took her out for a treat in beautiful Exeter. There are loads of options, but I needed something special, somewhere stylish and aesthetically pleasing.
The solution? Cocktails at Southernhay House.
Although grand, the exterior is bright and welcoming and once inside, the beautiful decor makes you want to peak into every room. With difficulty, we controlled our nosey-ness and headed into the uber-smart bar, with its interesting decor and bottles of all shapes and colours just asking to be poured.
We chose our spot on the white and blue leather seats and proceeded to dribble over the menu, taking an age to decide what to go for. In the end, I opted for Kir Royal – Crème de Cassis with Champagne – and Mum ordered Tipu’s Temptation, which apparently is a classic old-fashioned cocktail that includes Grand Marnier and Champagne in its list of ingredients. We know how to live.
We watched in fascination as the bartender composed our drinks with precision and professional confidence, with just a hint of a smile at these two giddy ladies who clearly don’t get out much.
The cocktails tasted delicious, the sweetness of the Crème de Cassis evened out by the tang of the Champagne. Sipping away and putting the world to rights, the drinks soon began to disappear and it seemed a shame not to have one more – this time Mum chose Independence, made with sloe gin, lemon, sugar syrup and Prosecco. For me though, it was an opportunity for a cliché not to be missed. You’ve guessed it, my second cocktail was a nod to James Bond with a Vodka Martini. Not exactly his ‘Vesper‘ drink, shaken, not stirred, but close enough for me and boy did it pack a punch! After round two we were very merry and made for home.
What a brilliant few months and an excellent foodie start to the summer!