Living for the weekend

October 2, 2011

Some weekends really make you feel that, despite everything, it really is worth perservering through this vale of tears. This has been one such.

It started on Friday evening with a cold drink with former colleagues in Manahttan 34, a welcome addition to the bar scene in in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter.  Then I helped win 2nd prize in a pub quiz at Leicestershire Tennis Club. An auspicious start I’m sure you’ll agree.

Saturday, with the temperature rising to extraordinary highs for the end of September,  I took a lovely drive through the Leicestershire countryside to the East Midlands Food Festival in Melton – an annual highlight that gives an opportunity to renew acquaintances and check out new businesses. My peronal highlights included refreshing blush-pink apple juice from Discovery appples, a big slab of wild boar belly, some nose-blasting horseradish and habanero relish, a plum and gooseberry pastry from a little business called the pantry in Kettleby,  and Du Pain Frier (right), a delicious piece of Mauritian streetfood  – deep fried chickpea bread with green herbs and spices and a tomato salsa.

Then it was back to Leicester and a sun-drenched, glorious 4-0 defeat of Derby County, celebrated duly with a fine pint of Landlord. And then on to Sunday, with the weather still being more like July, and a four mile hike around classic English countryside in Rutland complete with a 12th century church. We finished up fortuitously at a stylish dining pub in the shape of Braunston’s Blue Ball – the oldest pub in the county and a nice mix of cosy nooks and crannies without the clutter and tutt.

The food was really rather good too. It’s a serious restaurant and we found the starters all showed deft touches in cooking and presentation and qaulity ingredients. Home cured juniper and citrus salmon ( left top) came with a delicious, refreshing cucumber sorbet, while fat seared scallops (left middle) perched on Grasmere farm black pudding withe a lemon beurre blanc dressing and my spinach and ricotta tortellini (left below) sat on a fricasee of wild mushrooms and a fantastic parmesan crisp. High quality posh pub grub this.

Mains didn’t really come out in the picures but imagine big satisfying plates of roasted loin of venison with a lentil and herb cassoulet, honey glazed duck, topside of beef and roasted leg of lamb from nearby Launde. My lamb had a marvellous flaovur though it was slathered in a fairly undistinguished gravy, but few pubs – even ones this good  – seem to get that right in my experience.

Our deserts included a very good sticky toffee pudding, a selection of superior ice-creams which were restrained in flavour (honeycombe, ammaretto and coffee) but beautifully creamy. Sadly a  creme brulee disappointed with it grainy texture – a big cross against that but it didn’t spoil our sense of well-being.  Service had been helpful and the atmosphere was jollied along by  sounds of a great hotjazz duo drifting in from the bar to our little alcove. The Blue Ball has long been a destination pub but has had it ups and downs over the years. On this showing I wouldn’t mind going again.

And then it was home to contemplate the rain, wind and darkness that will settle on us for the next six months. A memorable weekend to help carry me through, though.

Edit: having now reread this post I feel compelled to add the following link:


2 Responses to “Living for the weekend”

  1. […] Living for the weekend Some weekends really make you feel that, despite everything, it really is worth perservering through this vale of tears. This has been one such. It started on Friday evening with a cold dri… Source: […]


  2. Charlotte said

    *sigh* about all of this. Parentals reported buying Wollpans at the festival again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: