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Tea break over …………..

July 12, 2015

Our mini vacation trip turned out to be a great success if a tad pricey. We based ourselves in the hotel in Morston which was almost the most expensive place I have ever stayed; right up there with the five-stars in places like Tokyo. It was really good, the gourmet 7-course dinner, the accompanying wine menu and the accommodation and we really did manage to relax quite a bit. We took the North Norfolk Railway from Holt to Sheringham and walked along the promenade enjoying the sun and sea air. An enjoyable lunch in a beach-front café and some more walking – however my calf muscles knew it the next day! I really do need to get out and walk a bit more. Timetables and the weather conspired against us in being unable to make the sea trip to see the seals at Blakeney but we did go to Thurston on the way home to look at the traction engine and fairground organ displays – quite amazing.

The return to reality (!) was met with a heat wave and we lost no time in getting the BBQ’s and garden furniture out – with some mixed results. The gas BBQ decided to throw a wobbly and the side-burner grate broke so that was out of action. Rapidly fixed by Homebase who shipped a complete new one and, after I swapped out the broken part for a new one, they came & collected it again – great service. Then it got a tad windy and the umbrella blew over, thankfully not damaged but the concrete base I bought in France snapped clean in two – now also to be replaced by a larger, water filled one. Apart from that we have grilled dinner (or lunch) every day and plan on continuing to do so including a real cook-out on 4th July.

We have done a lot of experimenting with marinades and recipes which livens up the choice of things to eat but still having some fun in sourcing meat cuts. This is really weird as when we moved to California all the meat cuts were different and it took a while to get used to them. Now we are finding that the UK cuts look strange and working out which cuts we need for certain dishes is interesting to say the least. One difference I have noticed is that most joints of meat (beef, pork, lamb) are prepared by the butcher by deboning and rolling and tying. This was much rarer in CA, whole cuts were more common (and easier to carve) and they are easier to cook on a BBQ. Ribs have proved interesting, we have purchased three lots so far and none match the description of what we know as baby back ribs. Here they are spare ribs but they have been cut into individual ribs and I have to order them in advance to get a rack in one piece. No doubt my friend Nigel is cracking up at this point as he breeds rare pigs and has them butchered to order. We have cooked two racks of what the butcher says are baby-backs but they are very fatty so after further discussion he’s going to cut some from the loin – we’ll see next week how that works out.

Moving house is an interesting experience and not one we plan on repeating any time soon but we have noticed over the years that certain things disappear and mysteriously re-appear. This past week we seemed to have lost my summer shorts, some BBQ kebab skewers (flat metal ones) and a set of corn cob forks. No doubt they will all be found around Christmas. The oddest thing that ever happened was the disappearance of the vegetable brush we used for potatoes etc – it vanished on the move to the US in 1991 only to reappear (in its rightful place) two years later – moving gremlins no doubt.

Another visit to my health trainer revealed no weight loss (no gain either) so we discussed what was possibly giving me problems. Close examination of diet revealed we are not eating anything that could cause any real problems and having removed processed foods (pork pies etc) and added more salad and fruit there was not much left. So as an experiment I have given up all alcohol for a month, I’m not going to do anything else significant so it will be a good test.

We have decided that the guys who built the shed and the fences really were incompetent so rather than have them come back to correct things (and probably do it wrong again) we had our handy man Patrick help out. He has reset the leaning fence post and re-hung the gate so it opens inwards but the other way. This has given us easier access to the bins, water butts and the oil tank. Next up he’s going to re-felt the shed roof to get rid of the horrible creases. We’ll think about the patio slabs in the future, probably after the extension is finished. We have also initiated some professional help with the garden – just awaiting quotes and dates now but we know what we want to achieve.

All we need now is for the weather to settle and allow us to plan on sitting and eating outside regularly, having to cook a Sunday roast in July as it’s raining is a tad annoying.



David & June

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2015 13:05

    Happily settled back in to home life and enjoying the weather – good for you. Funny you should mention ribs, we bought some 2 weeks ago and they were OK but not great. Brian bought a rack today again so he will experiment a bit more to get the right flavor out of them. Enjoy your summer!

    • July 13, 2015 13:16

      Hi Jo,
      We used to get racks of baby-backs in Carrefour, just the same as the US. These UK ones are different! I always use a dry rub and try to cook very slowly for a couple of hours but again the local charcoal is making that a challenge.



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