As well as the joys of celebrating a very special day and spending time with family and friends in Wales and England, we ate very well indeed while we were away. While we were in York we had lunch at the fantastic Le Lenghe Italian restaurant where the beams were lined with panettone:
In Cardiff we shopped for ingredients for Sunday lunch at the Riverside farmers’ market, almost underneath the imposing Millennium rugby stadium.
There are so many different flavours here, including a stall selling elderflower cordial to warm us on a cold morning, Taste of Persia baklava, and a meat stall where we bought a delicious farmyard chicken – ‘like the chicken of thirty years ago’, said the stallholder (and it reminded us of the best chicken still available in the Languedoc today as well). There were cheeses – the wonderful Teifi Cheese, made near where we used to live in the Teifi Valley and still going strong, luckily, and Cothi Valley goats’ cheeses that were as good as those from Mas Rolland even!
And there was a very varied range of vegetarian and vegan burgers and pies, including very pretty round balls of beetroot which tempted even me, and I don’t like beetroot much.
And, while still in Cardiff, I must mention the tasting menu we all enjoyed so much at Bully’s restaurant to celebrate our daughter’s wedding. I can’t really do justice to the experience here in a few words, but apart from the joyous occasion it was a gastronomic experience unlike any other I’ve had, with each course accompanied by a different carefully chosen wine and an unpretentious explanation from the owner, Russell Bullimore. Most of the dishes would be too complicated for us even to think of making at home (this is the sign of a special meal for me) but something we will try is their way with goats’ cheese which came as part of the cheese course. A fairly fresh goats’ cheese had been dressed with black pepper, olive oil and honey and then a sprig of rosemary which was then burnt with a blow torch just before serving. It gave the cheese a wonderful smokey flavour.
We spent the last night of our trip with our son in Fulham and once again were amazed by the variety of foods and flavours available just at the end of his road. One delight was this wall of spices:
Even though our bags were already full, we managed to fit in some packets of spices that are hard to find in the Languedoc. And for our last supper on that side of the Channel we found Palestinian felafel, merguez sausages, little aubergines and green peppers, ful medames, Turkish grape syrup to mix with tahini, and more, and flat breads to dip into it all. It’s nice to be home again, but we certainly haven’t missed good food while we’ve been away!