Saturday, 27 November 2010


I have always quite enjoyed Saturdays in The Bay Tree, because Fridays are over. There is a lot of work to do on a Friday, and Saturdays are a bit more relaxed. It's hectic, but still a bit more relaxed. Today lots of things went machine broke down (it often does on a Saturday), superviser slept in, and the electricity went off for about 30 minutes at the height of the morning melee, so there was no till, no coffee machine, no microwave, no toaster, no heater, no lights......but yes a gas cooker, so we could still cook breakfasts. I think you have to quite enjoy a crisis to be a restaurant owner.....I love to find alternative ways, and am far too good at making do. I was nevertheless relieved when the lights came back on and things returned to normal. Lunch was quite quiet: everyone must be shopping elsewhere or be suffering from the cold. Thought I would have been able to leave during the afternoon, but tasks expanded to fill time available, and it was after 6 when I found my keys and defrosted the car windscreen. I'm working tomorrow lunch too, so not too much wine tonight.

Thursday, 25 November 2010


It has been a good week....I did lunch service with Kate and Jonny the head chef on Tuesday. It was steady and quite fun. Then a day off yesterday when I took my grandson out for the morning with a friend and her grandson. I must say that my grandson was much more easily managed than I remember my son to be! Maybe that will change.
Today I got a batch of sweetmince made in preparation for 24 days of mince pie making.I used the recipe from my Goodhousekeeping book and include it here:
1lb each of raisins, currants, sultanas and mixed peel, all chopped up together
1.5lb finely diced cooking apple
4oz chopped or flaked almonds
1lb soft brown sugar
2 lemons, rind and juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
8oz shredded suet
Just mix everything up together, and store it for a week or so before using.
The feedback I refer to in the title of today's post is  because a kind person rang us up this afternoon to say she felt moved to contact us because she had such a delicious meal last night! How nice was that? She had our coley dish which is one that I am particularly pleased with.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

new hazlenut dressing recipe

I am a great fan of Skye Gyngell having been to a cookery demonstration by her during the summer at Ballymaloe. I buy the Independent on Sunday because she writes in it, and today I had a Skye inspired salad on the menu. Here is the hazlenut dressing recipe:

100g/3.5 oz whole hazlenuts, toasted,skinned and pounded
2 anchovies
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs red wine vinegar
120ml/4fl oz extra virgin olive oil
and we added the grated rind of half an orange

Pound the anchovies and mustard together in a pestle and mortar, and add everything else. Season if necessary.
Our salad was of roasted beetroot, broccoli, Fivemiletown goats cheese and orange slices, with the hazlenut dressing, and, despite the cold weather, it was quite popular......well, I made about 5 out of the 70 orders we had, whatever percentage that is. My brain doesn't do percentages.
We aren't open on Tuesday nights for dinner, so Tuesday afternoon is kitchen scrubbing day when all the fridges are pulled out, the filter in the extractor fan is changed, and as much as possible is 'rationalised' and cleaned. I had planned to get my first batch of Christmas puddings in the oven at about 3pm, but only managed this at 6pm. I make individual puddings now, easier to make and easier to serve than the larger ones I used to battle with. I then made shortbread and wheatmeal biscuits for the week, and meringues for tomorrow, and left Mandy to take out the Christmas puds and meringues. I was rushing to get home for 8pm to go to a gig with Bridget and Jeremy. They were going to see The Tallest Man on Earth, but they mentioned that it would probably be that point, I ran out of steam, and knew I couldn't stand up for another 2 hours. I also realised that were I to be seated, I would probably fall asleep, so I stayed at home and had a glass of brandy.

Monday, 22 November 2010


I hope to use this blog as a diary and a means of helping to order my thoughts. I want to talk about the food of the moment at The Bay Tree, taste combinations I have found that work, new recipes, interesting cookery writers, teamwork in the kitchen (or not, as the case may be!)what I am teaching my cookery pupil.......and all sorts  of things like this.This week I must think about the definitive stirfry as my pupil (pupil P)wants to master this.