I have been very interested in the concept of ‘hygge’ which I believe is pronounced ‘hoo-gah’ but I could well be wrong. So when I had no plans for this weekend I actually got quite excited and went about creating a hygge weekend. We are decorating the bedroom so instead of going hell for leather we have taken it in stages and done bit by bit with nice activities in between.
My Friday evening started by walking down into the village with the idea of trying the newly re-furbished pub. Greene King pubs have made it to Newton-le-Willows high street and naively I had high hopes. I had visions of a nice open fire, some good ales, nice gins and a lovely food menu to boot. Ok there are log burners so half a tick for that, ok ales and a good selection of gins…the food, well, as expected- chain food, menu too large, cheap!! And with all that in mind we still decided to give it a go only to be told they had ran out of food (8.30 on a Friday night- St Paddys night at that). So off to the local chippy it was- I went for scampi, chips and some mushy peas- delightful. The chips were fresh, nicely done and tasty- so no complaints from me. So another chain on the high street- when will someone do some decent pub grub in this village. At least we have the Firkin to keep us sane.
So my Saturday consisted of a bit of decorating with Radio 2 on in the background- must say I am enjoying Dermot’s Saturday mornings. Then I rewarded myself with a bit of recipe searching for my Saturday night guests. An important part of hygge is dining round a big table with good wholesome food and your friends and family. My cousin and fiancé came over for dinner so I decided on a Mexican help yourself feast I wrote my list and off I went to some of my favourite local stores. My meat from Redbank farm shop http://www.farmshopnorthwest.co.uk/ topped off with all my veg from Kenyon Hall Farm http://www.kenyonhall.co.uk. I am lucky enough to have these both within a couple of miles of my house and what I love about them is they make shopping a pleasure, no cues, no nosey/annoying check out girls, or worse- self checkouts! And both have tempting cafes as well- I personally prefer the café at Redbank as the menu is much more me so be sure to check them out. Mr W often grabs himself a take out flat white from Redbank as a ‘treat for doing the shopping’ his words not mine!
So the menu was Mexican slow cooked chicken, home made guac and salsa, Mexican potatoes and some sticky rice. I also had spicy skewered beef on my list but even us keen cooks have kitchen nightmares and my big chunks of succulent steak from Redbank were burnt to a crisp I even took picture evidence and even the baking tray went in the bin. Anyway I loved seeing my guests tuck into my sharing style dinner and washed down with a couple of bottles prosecco and some beers- great Saturday night.
Sunday usually is a day of cooking for me- either for the family coming round or for our week ahead. This Sunday I was doing the roast. As we were decorating our bedroom as well this weekend we had to have a trip to Ikea Sunday morning. Now I am an early bird so Sunday trading hours infuriate me- so to ease the annoyance and avoid having to eat the awful food at Ikea (I mean chicken balls, really what are they?) Mr W took me to breakfast so we ventured out to Harefield’s farm shop just off the 62. I love this place, the farm shop is ok but I obviously prefer my local Redbank, but the coffee barn is yum. Chilled out, laid back, relaxed and a good varied breaky menu, plus looking out on the alpacas is strangely hypnotic. I tucked into the eggs benedict, nice fresh eggs perfectly poached and Mr W opted for the Barn breakfast…he polished the plate and half of one of my muffins so no complaints there.
Now a lot of people find cooking a roast all day a faff but I have mastered it now and don’t need any recipes, no longer need to write down my timings etc. However, I threw myself off course and decided to do bangers and mash. I wanted to stick with my trimmings so I served up Redbanks pork and leek sausages, buttery mash (organic salted butter, only way to go), Yorkshires (I use this recipe but cook in goose fat not oil https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/9020/best-yorkshire-puddings) and I had a red cabbage needed using so I tried a braised red cabbage dish- I sort of just winged it so the recipe was my own as below,
Red cabbage (sliced thinly)
Red wine vinegar (I’d guess at 200ml)
Dark brown sugar (100g ish)
Half a red onion(sliced thinly)
Put it all in a big pan with some butter and bring to the boil, then I just popped the lid on and let it cook for a couple of hours. I used my cast iron pan from Linea at House of Fraser, I love it and the lid fits really tight which helps for braised dishes. The dinner got lots of compliments and the smell of the onion gravy and braised cabbage got the guests hungry. And to top it all off Harry (the 6 month old nephew) tried his first Yorkshire and his face when eating really was a pleasure- unlike the mess he left on the chair, however I have this little monster to do both neighbourhood watch and hoover up Yorkshire crumbs!!
And on that note guys I will leave that there, I highly recommend a hygge food weekend