An Angelic Weekend in Abergavenny

Looking for the perfect weekend getaway? Award winning afternoon tea, castles, great food, wonderful nature walks, a bit of apres ski fun? Don’t head to Switzerland, book into the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny for the perfect winter getaway.

Regarded as one of the most exciting hotels in the UK, in 2016 the Angel Hotel won the ‘AA Hotel of the Year Wales 2016/2017’ award. The Angel Hotel, a former coaching inn built in 1829, is located at the heart of the historic market town of Abergavenny. This smart hotel now has 34 beautifully appointed guest rooms, The Oak Room restaurant, the Foxhunter bar, and during the winter season the quirky and fun pop-up Après Ski Bar.

Angel Hotel Bedroom

Located in the heart of Abergavenny, The Angel Hotel is a great base for exploring this quaint market town which has a bustling market Tuesday through Saturday and lots of charming independent shops to explore.

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If you are a foodie, do not miss Marches Delicatessen on Nevil Street for some of the finest cheeses, charcuteries and pantry items. Just a few doors up you will appropriately find Cooks Galley, a family run cookware shop stocking a wide selection of kitchen gadgets and cookware. Whilst exploring the town, do not miss a visit to The Chapel, a sister property of The Angel, for a really good coffee or lite bite. The Chapel, located behind the market,  is open from 9 to 5 and offers a local and seasonal breakfast, lunch and lite bite menu. Not only does it have great food, but it also is a gallery and gift shop. The perfect place for a pit-stop during your wander around Abergavenny.

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Enjoy a good walk? Just on the outskirts of Abergavenny is The Blorenge,  a prominent hill which overlooks the valley of the River Usk situated in the southeastern corner of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

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Also, Abergavenny is located in Monmouthshire which some call the food capital of Wales.  3 miles from The Angel Hotel is one of my favourite restaurants, The Walnut Tree, a Michelin Starred restaurant, with chef patron Shaun Hill, a legend in British cookery, at its helm.  But if you don’t even have to leave The Angel Hotel for an award winning meal. The Angel Hotel is a member of the prestigious UK Tea Guild having held an ‘Award of Excellence’ since 2008. I highly recommend the High Tea priced at £27.80 per person and includes a selection of warm savoury pastries, sandwiches, cakes and pastries. The warm savoury pastries I had were to die for and included prunes wrapped in bacon, ham & onion quiche, beef & mushroom choux buns, pea, ham & mint spring rolls, coronation chicken tartlets and salmon mousse cups with gherkins. The cakes and pastries were equally delicious and to top it all off, there is a selection of over 40 teas, a selection of coffees and a list of sparkling wine and champagne if you want a bit of bubbly with your tea. This tea has been named the best afternoon tea outside of London and once you experience it, you will know why. A not to miss treat during your visit!

High Tea

For a fun evening, head to the Après Ski Bar, a pop-up bar bringing the atmosphere of an Alpin Ski Lodge to Abergavenny. Enjoy the well-stocked bar which includes a variety of German beers as well as signature cocktails and mocktails. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you can enjoy a 3-course meal of charcuterie, Swiss fondue and German style apple cake. And yes, the staff do dress up in Lederhosen and Dirndls!

 

With rooms from £85 per night,  The Angel Hotel is the perfect place for a getaway!  Great food, beautiful market town, fabulous places to explore…an angelic break!

The Angel Hotel, 15 Cross St, Abergavenny NP7 5EN Phone:01873 857121

 

I was invited to The Angel Hotel and as such the room and all food was complimentary.

 

Vibrant Sunday Lunch at Etc…. Penarth

I do enjoy going out for a good traditional Sunday Lunch, but I like finding places that serve a Sunday lunch with flair. If you are looking for a Sunday lunch with style and a delicious twist, do try Etc… in Penarth. Etc… is a modern restaurant and cocktail bar with a menu that has global influences. You will find flavours from Japan, India, South Africa, Thailand, Italy as well as modern British Cuisine. The atmosphere at Etc… is as vibrant and lively as its menu!

Sunday lunch is popular at Etc… There is an extensive choice of creative cocktails and mocktails followed by a Sunday lunch menu and that has some traditional elements but is inspired by world flavours. For starters, Mr A had Quack, duck and mango spring rolls with regional dips.

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I had Holy Smoke – grilled paprika king prawn in lemon butter, Nasturtium Blue Pepe and whisky smoke.

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Both dishes were beautifully prepared. The king prawn was succulent and sweet. The whisky smoke made a pretty effect when served but the dish is not overpowered by whisky flavour. The lemon butter sauce was quite decadent…you may wish to ask for some bread to mop it up! The spring rolls were full of flavour and accompanied by 3 very tasty sauces – tamarind, sweet chilli and yoghurt sauce.

For mains, Mr A opted for “Dad’s Cooked Dinner” which consisted of slow roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, seasonal vegetables.  The beef was so tender that you could cut it with a spoon!  Mr A would certainly order this tasty dish again.

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I chose “Over reacting Salmon” – wild crispy pan-fried salmon with powdered beetroot and spinach, 24-carat gold leaf served on a bed of salad.  This was a nice piece of salmon and was beautifully cooked and presented but the salad did need a vinaigrette.  The chef missed a trick by not creating a unique one for this dish. They will bring you oil and vinegar if you ask.   If you are not a fan of beef or salmon, there is also lamb with red current and port, traditional chicken and a vegetarian option to choose from.

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If you are looking for a Sunday lunch that is a bit different but very tasty, friendly and efficient service and a really vibrant atmosphere then do book Sunday lunch at Etc… 2 course costs £18.99, 3 costs £22.95 and children eat for £9.99.

Etc… is also offering some special menus during the holiday season. Check out their Taster Tuesday at £36.99 per person which includes a glass of sparkling wine with rose petals, a selection of starters, main course and dessert. If you just want to pop in for a drink, enjoy a signature cocktail and choose from a selection of small plates.  Of  course, they are also open for lunch or dinner and have an exciting a la carte menu. Do call in advance because with its unique menu and lively vibe, Etc… is a popular spot!

Etc… is located at 1 Royal Buildings, Stanwell Road, Penarth, CF64 3EB. Click here to check out their website.

We were invited to Etc… and as such all food was complimentary.

Lamb Cutlets, Burgers and Sausages from Bodnant Welsh Food

I have a file of places that are food related that I would like to visit. There’s the famous La Boqueria Market in Barcelona, Ver-o-peso Market in Brazil which showcases the foods found in the Amazon, Castries Market in St Lucia, known for its spices, and the Mercado Central in Santiago Chile. Closer to home is Bodnant Welsh Food Centre in Conwy. The centre is overlooking the River Conwy with a B&B in a restored 18th century farmhouse.

Bodnant has a butchery which carries an award winning range of meats, many of them sourced from neighbouring farms and the locality. They stock Welsh Black Beef dry-aged on the bone for 28 days for the best flavour, salt marsh lamb, rare breed pork, game and more. They make all of their burgers and sausages on site.

Since I have yet to visit Bodnant, they kindly sent us 3 of their butchery products to sample and review: Aberwen Melts, Salt Marsh Lamb Cutlets, and Beef, Horseradish and Wild Mushroom Sausages.

Corpulent Capers: Bodnant Aberwen Melt

Aberwen Melt

Aberwen Melts are burgers made from Welsh Black beef, minced in their butchery, with an Aberwen cheese centre. This cheese was awarded a bronze in the World Cheese awards in 2014 and is made in their state of the art dairy.

This was a very tasty burger. The meat was well seasoned, the cheese nicely melted in the middle of the burger and only oozed out when the burger was cut. This is a tasty 8 ounce burger with only herbs and spices added to the beef.

We also sampled the Beef Horseradish and Wild Mushroom Sausages. Again, because of the quality of the meat, the sausages were very tasty. I however could not taste the horseradish.

Corpulent Capers: Bodnant Salt Marsh Lamb Cutlet

Salt Marsh Lamb Cutlet

Finally, we sampled the salt marsh lamb cutlets. This was some of the best lamb that I have tasted. This delectable flavour is due to the lambs being able to graze freely on the salt marshes of Porthmadog which contain an abundance of samphire, sorrel, sea lavender and other natural herbs. Lambs that graze on salt marshes produce a quality meat that has a flavour, colour and texture that is like no other.

I am still hoping to visit Bodnant next year. But whilst I am waiting for that opportune time to visit, I know that I can buy some of their award winning food and drink products through their on line shop.

Bodnant Welsh Food Centre
Furnace Farm
Tal-y-cafn
Conwy
LL28 5RP

Tel: 01492 651931
Email: retail@bodnant-welshfood.co.uk

 

New Website Porc.Wales Will Promote Welsh Pork

pigShoppers looking for quality, local pork can now find it through a new website.

Porc.Wales will tell the story of the Welsh pork industry and what makes the pork it produces so special. Welsh consumers will be encouraged to eat more high quality, locally produced pork products as well as helping them to find a supplier to support local farmers and producers and cook up a storm in the kitchen with a range of new recipes.

Porc.Wales, created by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), showcases the finest pig farmers and premier porcine producers from around the country and includes a directory of regional stockists to link consumers directly with pork producers and butchers – enabling them to source pork produce locally. With a growing innovative pork industry, the Porc.Wales website includes interviews with farmers, butchers and chefs who describe why pork produced in Wales is so unique.

Other highlights of the new website include recipes and features which explore how to use different cuts of pork.

Melanie Hughes, HCC Market Development Officer said: “Wales is well known for producing top quality Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef but this shouldn’t overshadow the nation’s pork offering. The profile of the Welsh pork industry is growing and it has a fantastic story to tell which we can all be very proud of.

“We believe that the pork that is produced in Wales stands out for many reasons; the climate and the landscape, not to mention the expertise and knowledge of the pig farmers which has been handed down through the ages. The sector is also innovative and has a new generation of passionate artisan producers who make award-winning products.

“This new website will inform foodies about the wonderful producers and the products we have in this sector of the meat industry in Wales, and will encourage consumers to buy good quality, locally produced pork. We’re confident that once they’ve tried it, they’ll be discerning about any future purchases.”

Welsh Pork: Oxford Sandy and Black Pigs

Oxford Sandy and Black Pigs

We were asked by Porc Wales to create 2 recipes featuring Welsh Pork. The breed of pork was Oxford Sandy and Black (OSB) and was supplied by Mary Benfield, Teyrdan Hall Farm, Llanelian, Colwyn Bay via Bodnant Welsh Food Centre. The OSB is one of the oldest British pig breeds, having existed for around 200 – 300 years. It is believed to have developed in Oxfordshire. Oxford Sandy and Black are a rare breed pig. They are in the Slow Food Ark of Taste as their numbers are still low. Extinction was a real possibility in the 1980’s but thankfully there are more farmers breeding this pig across the UK.

They are slow growing breed but time does equal flavour! Although flavoursome, OSB is a tender and delicate tasting pork and it makes excellent bacon and ham.

I was inspired by my Bahamian heritage and created a Bahamian recipe using the tenderloin of pork. You should be able to get a copy of the recipe here very soon.

For my second recipe, I was inspired by the fact that this is a rare and old breed pork and I wanted to make a dish using another ingredient that is not as popular today as it was a few hundred years ago: the quince. Quince belongs in the same family as apples and pears and so is a fabulous pairing with pork. I bought the quinces for this recipe at The Riverside Farmers market in Cardiff. I do know I am giving a recipe with an ingredient that is not as easy to find but I am on a little crusade to reintroduce to our plates ingredients that used to be very popular in the UK. If we don’t start using again these traditional ingredients, they will become lost to us.

Rolled Pork Shoulder with Quince
 
A succulent pork recipe using quince instead of apples,
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: British
Ingredients
  • 2 pound pork shoulder boned and rolled with skin scored for the crackling
For the rub
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Fresh rosemary leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried
For the Vegetable Ragu
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 3 small parsnips chopped
  • 3 large quinces peeled and cored with each cut into 8 wedges (see tips)
  • 5 large garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
  • 1 teaspoon of honey, rowan jelly or red current jelly
  • 1 cup of water (you may need to top up during cooking) (you can use white wine, cider, or chicken stock)
  • Fresh rosemary (2 sprigs)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Juice of half of a lemon
Equipment
  • A deep roasting pan large enough to take the pork, but small enough that the vegetables form a thick layer on the bottom or they will burn,
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 220ºc (200ºc fan) / 425ºf / Gas Mark 7
  2. Mix the ingredients together for the spice rub.
  3. Spread mixture all over the shoulder including the skin. Set aside.
  4. Add the chopped vegetables (excluding quince) to the roasting pan.
  5. Add the liquid, herbs, honey/jelly and stir.
  6. Put the quinces on top ensuring the bottoms are in the liquid.
  7. Place the pork on top.
  8. To get a good crackling, rub the skin with some sea salt and place on top of the veg in the roasting pan.
  9. Place in the hot oven for 30 minutes. This initial high heat and salt on the skin will give you nice crisp crackling.
  10. After 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 190ºc (185ºc fan assisted) / 375ºf / Gas Mark 5.
  11. Check the liquid in the pot and top up if it has evaporated.
  12. Cook the roast for 35 minutes per pound
Notes
There are a few ways to tell if the meat is cooked:

• Insert a skewer in the thickest part and the juices that run out should be absolutely clear without any trace of pinkness.
• Use an instant read meat thermometer. Take the temperature at the thickest part of the roast. When temperature is 62ºC the meat is cooked.

When the pork is cooked, remove from the pot and allow to rest. The vegetables and quince should be nice and tender and the liquid reduced to a nice gravy. Stir in the juice of the half lemon.

To serve

Slice the pork and serve with the vegetables and quinces. Steamed broccoli or cabbage would be a good side dish.

Pork Shoulder with Quince

Tips: Quinces are very hard when raw and can be tricky to cut and core. I freeze the quinces which makes it easier to peel, cut and core. The freezing does not change the taste and will have the same texture after braised.

If you’d like to learn more about Welsh Pork, ‘nose to tail eating’, the importance of ingredients and even gain some basic butchery skills then pop over to Food Adventure and check out our Learn How to Make Pâté, Faggots and Black Pudding course led by Illtud Llyr Dunsford, founder of the award winning Charcutier Ltd.

Pop Up 4 Lunch! New Street Food Menu at Purple Poppadom

If you love street food, you must head over to Purple Poppadom for their new Street Food Pop Up 4 Lunch Menu. Chef Anand George and his team has have explored India’s exciting urban food scene to bring you authentic dishes inspired by the very latest in Indian street food.

We have always loved the food at Purple Poppadom. Chef Anand is one of the most exciting chefs in Wales creating vibrant, visually beautiful, and delicious food. We were delighted to be invited to Purple Poppadom to sample his new menu.

If you want to have a quick “sandwich”, you must try a Bombay Frankie Roll (£4.95) a popular Mumbai street food. Their authentic Frankie Roll is made from their homemade wholemeal flat bread and then coated with egg omelette. You have a choice of fillings: Keralan Beef, Tandoori Chicken Tikka and Tandoori Paneer Tikka. This is then topped with green chutney, pickled cucumber.

Corpulent Capers: 12hr Keralan Beef Frankie Roll

12hr Keralan Beef Frankie Roll

We sampled the Keralan beef and Paneer which were both delicious. The beef was melt in the mouth amazing as it was marinated for over 12 hours and then slow cooked for over 12 hours. This may be fast street food but a lot of time and love went into this beef. The paneer was light and flavourful, even Mr A who is not a fan of paneer really enjoyed it.

Corpulent Capers: Paneer Frankie Roll

Paneer Frankie Roll

The menu also has a selection of Thali Platters (£7.95 – £8.95). These come with a snack starter, rice, homemade flatbread, and then a little bowl of a vegetable dish and a “curry”. There is a choice of prawn, chicken, lamb, or vegetable.

Corpulent Capers: Thali Platter

Thali Platter

Also on the menu are a variety of street food snacks. These are light bites. 2 to 3 would be a light lunch or if you are hungry, have one of these before your Frankie Roll. We tried the Venison Pao which was minced venison cooked with spices, topped with a fried egg and served on a homemade soft roll (pao). The Pao Bhaji was a flavourful potato and vegetable mash served with a zingy relish on a pao.  We also sampled the Kerala Calamari, crispy spice batters squid served on a refreshing nest of tangy salad.

Corpulent Capers: Venison Pao

Venison Pao

Corpulent Capers: Pao Bhaji

Pao Bhaji

Corpulent Capers: Kerala Calamari

Kerala Calamari

You simply cannot go wrong with anything that is on this Street Food Pop Up 4 lunch menu or any of the evening menus. Purple Poppadom is a multi-award winning restaurant serving vibrant and exciting traditional Indian cuisine with a modern twist. We have always had a delicious meal with friendly and professional service. 10 out 10 from me.