What's on the menu?

What's on the menu?

Monday, 31 August 2015

Having a Soft and Fluffy Summer Thanks to Roberts Bakery

We're contacted quite often with various press releases, offers of being part of projects and some rather random requests. At the start of summer we were offered the opportunity to be part of a project for Roberts Bakery to showcase our Soft & Fluffy Summer Moments and decided it could be a good project to be a part of. We've been filling a Kilner jar full of ideas and now is our time to share.

Our Soft & Fluffy Summer Moments and a Very Sporting Summer

Our summer has certainly been an eventful one. With lots of highlights and so far very few low-lights which has been a blessing since breaking my leg back in January. We've done a lot as a family and also as a couple. Summer has certainly been a very sporting one for us with myself now getting back into my cycling (and building up the kind of appetite a food blogger needs) and Jemma taking steps forward as an Obstacle Racer.

Here's a selection of our favourite summer moments

We started our summer down in Cornwall hoping for sunshine and some great food and we weren't disappointed at all. Our real highlight was lunch at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall with beautiful views out to the impressive Watergate Bay
Watergate Bay from inside Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall restaurant

One of the biggest things this summer has been myself (Liam) becoming an Uncle for the first time. Liffey Jayne is the new addition to the family and she's settled in well to the Hallam tradition of aiming to be early for everything. A month before her due detail she decided that she'd been in the dark for far too long. Her arrival is one of the softest and fluffiest things to happen in the Hallam family for a long time. Holding baby Liffey for the first time is a moment that will stay with me for a lifetime.

Liffey Jayne at a week old with Grandad

We've had a few adventures with Jemma's Niece Shanai too. June saw her first Spartan Race event. With Auntie Jemma competing in the 5km+ Sprint event in the morning and 10+ km Super events in the afternoon it was left to Liam to spend the morning with Shanai and help her through her first obstacle race.

Shanai at her first Spartan Race

After Shanai's race we took the camera out onto the course to capture some of the action with Shanai fascinated by taking photo's of all the racers. We might even have a future photographer in our midst.

Jemma tackling the high walls at Spartan Race in Manchester
Shanai loves parks and the forest so what better than a Friday evening trip to Sherwood Pines.

Shanai with the Gruffalo at Sherwood Pines Park

A Soft & Fluffy Sporting Summer

The summer has been very eventful for us in a sporting way. As a treat after recovery from my broken leg I bought my first proper Mountain Bike. Jemma will tell you just how much of a big kid I was when I got top play with her (a man rarely rides a male bike) at Cardinham Woods on the way to Newquay.

Testing the new Radon ZR Race at Cardinham Woods
Jemma' been getting the biking in too ready for the forthcoming Rat Race Coast 2 Coast event

Jemma's Summer highlight has to be finishing the tough endurance test that is the Fan Dance. Taking place in the Brecon Beacons and mimicking the route special forces soldiers use as part of their selection process the event is a tough 16 mile trek over the formidable Pen Y Fan- twice with a heavy weighted rucksack to add to the suffering. Out of a couple of hundred men doing the event the number of women went barely into double figures in the loaded category. It was a tough event and a real achievement for Jem. 

Jemma at the Fan Dance event in the Brecon Beacons

August saw my return to running events at the Dig Deep 12.12 in the Peak District to see how well my ankle has been healing. Easily described as a tough trail race the 12.12 featured a pretty heft 632 metres of ascent in the course which just shaded over 12 miles (Although my Garmin showed 12.5 miles). 51st out of 153 competitors was a real achievement even if it was nothing like what I would have expected pre-injury. After the stresses of getting my ankle back up to a level to be able to run again it was actually nice to be able to take things relatively steady even if every time I was on a technical or rocky section people were overtaking me. The main thing was getting through the event unscathed and my ankle held up well.

Liam at the Dig Deep 12.12 in the Peak District

Our Soft and Fluffy Blogging Moments

This summer has been a busy one for us here at the Nottingham Food Lovers Blog. We always try to get out as much as possible. We've had invites to a food festival and a number of restaurants across the city whilst sampling somethings we might not have tried. As well as pursing our own food choices.

One of our surprise food highlights on our food travels has been the Dovecote Inn out at Laxton. Having cycled past it many times and not really paying much attention it proved to be a really fantastic country pub which serves exceptionally good food. We'd not originally planned on going but issues at our first option disintegrated and I knew the Dovecote Inn was pretty much on the way home.

Our blogging find of summer 2015- The Dovecote at Laxton
Would you like to share your soft and fluffy summer moments for a chance to win £100? Head over to the Roberts Bakery Facebook page to share your summer moments. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

A Saturday Night Find- The Dovecote Inn at Laxton

Sometimes you stumble across a great place. We'd hoped to visit the renowned Fountain at Tuxford which we've been debating a visit to for months only to find that they we're serving food and were in the process of changing ownership. This prompted the "Where could we go" question being in the North of Nottinghamshire and not 100% sure on where would be a good option.

A cycling friend had previously remarked that they'd had a good experience at the Dovecote Inn a short distance away in Laxton. It seemed like a good opportunity to pop in, have a look at the menu and see what we thought. If we weren't sold we could always venture across to Bengal Cottage in Warsop for a curry. So off to the Dovecote Inn we went for an initial look

The Dovecote Inn at Laxton

On arrival at the Dovecote we could see a really well presented pub in a great location at the heart of the village. There's a tourist information centre next door too and just down the road is the Holocaust centre of Beth Shalom if you're looking for something different to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

On arrival at the Dovecote Inn we were impressed by a clean, friendly atmosphere. Even though we hadn't booked the team were extremely accommodating and whilst we were only a couple looking for that table for two they still went out of their way for us.

On tab were a small but targeted selection of four ales including Black Sheep, Everard's Tiger and Castle Rock's award winning Harvest Pale so there was plenty to tick the box of a real ale lover out for a nice meal.

Thyme Roasted Pork Loin Steak at The Dovecote Inn, Laxton

Food wise we opted for Thyme Roasted Pork Loin Steak which was served with Parmesan infused mashed potatoes, steamed seasonal vegetables and an apple salsa Verde for £12.95 and Lamb Tagine with slow braised tender lamb in a classic, lightly spiced Moroccan style tomato and chickpea sauce served with herb yogurt bread for £12.50.

Gorgeous Lamb Tagine at the Dovecote Inn

Our meal was fantastic, the Thyme Roasted Pork was a beautifully put together dish with a fantastic piece of meat and a nice tart apple salsa Verde that really complimented the pork. It was a dish that you'd happily eat as Sunday lunch and of a good size too.

The real highlight for us was the Lamb Tagine. Flavoursome slow cooked lamb in a lovely spiced sauce with chickpeas it was a real delight. Filling yet not heavy and exceptionally tasty.

We had a fantastic meal at the Dovecote Inn. We'd certainly go back with family at some point as we feel the varied menu and hearty food will satisfy plenty of grumbling stomachs or fussy eaters.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Saturday Night at Banyan Tree in Arnold

We love a good curry and after a hard day working up an appetite sorting out the garden it made sense that we'd earnt a nice reward on Saturday. After working up such an appetite a curry was really the only option. One of our favourite local curry houses is the Banyan Tree on Redhill Island on the A60 driving out of Arnold.It used to be a Little Chef a long time ago.

With a Bangladeshi influence and a range of curries that we either rarely seen elsewhere or have never ever seen on a menu we're always confident we'll be able to have something different.

Poppadoms and Pickle Tray at Banyan Tree
For our main meals we opted for the Special Mixed Grill which is a fantastic array of various different meats served sizzling over a bed of onions and the Malabari Prawn curry featuring four huge freshwater prawns the size of my clenched fist.

The Malabari Prawn curry at Bantan Tree was a delight. With mustard and curry leaves in a thick sauce the delicacy of the sauce worked well with the beautiful prawns.

We had our meals with Pilau Rice and a Peshwari Naan

The Banyan Tree is on the more refined end of Indian dining experiences. We love the food and it's local on the outskirts of Arnold too. Well worth a visit if you get chance

Malabari Prawn Curry and a Special Mixed Grill from Banyan Tree