Monthly Archives: June 2012

The beetroot bake

I love beetroot, so whenever I can have it I will. This dish is a firm favourite of mine, I’m surprised I’ve not put this up sooner. I learnt this dish from my week at Orchards Cookery school in Worcestershire. It’s simple to make and takes about 1hr 10mins so ideal for a weekend dish or prepare this the night before.

450g fresh beetroots (medium in size)
425ml double cream or creme fraiche
3tbsp of Wholegrain mustard
3-4 garlic cloves
85g Grated cheddar cheese
Ovenproof dish

Boil water in a large pan and add your beetroot to the water, boil for 20 mins. Then remove and place into a bowl to cool for handling.

Pour your double cream into a jug, add your mustard and crush your garlic into the mix, whisk this together until you consider this mixed.

Grate your cheese onto a large plate, this is simply to make the layering process quick and simple

The Beetroot skin should come away easily, you will not even need a peeler. When you peel the beetroots with your hands you will undoubtedly stain your hands, so you might wish to wear gloves, or make sure you have some good hand wash in your kitchen.

Once peeled you need to chop the beetroot into slices approx 1/2cm thick. The main point here would be not to make slices too thin.

Now cover the base of your oven proof dish with beetroot slices, then pour over some of your cream mix, this should cover your beetroot, then sprinkle with cheese. Continue this layering process and then season with salt and pepper.

At this point if you are making it for another night, cover the dish and leave this is the fridge.

When you are ready, add the beetroot bake to your preheated oven (180C) and allow this to cook for 50mins. The cheese should be bubbling away and look rich in pink!

This is a great side to your Sunday roast, the colour in the beetroot makes for a bright side. The cream doesn’t make this dish the healthiest of dishes but it’s certainly a treat worth trying, for those of you that have children and want them to try new things this might do the trick!?


This week it’s a wrap

After the bank holiday and seemingly lots of various outings it’s time to wind in the spending and re introduce a health kick.

I don’t think I’ve done too badly on the healthy side of things, after all a lobster for a Sunday lunch can’t be too bad on the waistline. This weekend I headed to the supermarket and picked up some wraps, wraps are apparently a lighter alternative to your average bread loaf sandwich, and if that’s not the case, it’s at least something different! My plan is to have wraps  for the week, with a slightly different filling to keep things interesting, along with some fruit to keep me going!

A lesson learnt today: Only make the wraps in the morning unless you like the wrap soggy!

Monday wrap is TLT: 1/2 a tin of Tuna, some Lettuce and a chopped Tomato with a small addition of mayo.

Tuesday wrap will be the same but with a touch of reggae sauce instead of Mayo, to make lunch spicy.

Wednesday I have a work away day, involving being fed during the day, so there will be no need to create a wrap on Wednesday.

Thursday and Friday will be a mixed bean wrap using various tinned beans, again keeping this cheap, most likely cannellini beans and chick peas with some herbs and black pepper. 

This will save me spending approximately £4 a day on lunches in the canteen. At most it will be £4 for the week on lunches.

Brookes Supper Club at Gypsy Lane Campus

After my last supper club at Oxfork I had the bug to go to another, soon enough found another super club in Oxford at the Brookes Restaurant.

On arrival we were met by our hosts James and Sue. our coats were taken and we were offered a glass of wine, or fruit juice, a very good way of making us feel comfortable already.

The wine, fruit juice and coffee were kept on a table at the back of the restaurant along with an honesty list where guests could mark down what they had throughout the evening and pay at the end of night.

Once we were seated we waited a short while for the guest speaker to start. Homemade foccacia was served as a nibble, with oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping purposes.

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Our guest speaker was Ian Mitchell, who was talking to us about his experience as an Oxford tour guide, his new career after retirement. The customers at the Supper club had differernt levels of Oxford knowledge some of the diners shared myths, which Ian cleared up and others shared knowledge which Ian will no doubt be checking up on.

After Ian’s speech our main course was served. Risotto with chicken and seasonal vegetables for meat eaters and for the vegetarians we had the risotto topped with goats cheese, courgette, mushroom and aubergine along with seasonal vegetables. I have to say as the only veggie on the table it was served to me with no fuss, my table hadn’t realised that I’d had something different until I mentioned it. While I don’t hide my veggie-ness, I liked the way this service was done.

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Conversation increased, as the food was enjoyed and the wine was collected. Our dessert was Pear Frangipan and was served as a full tart to allow each table to self serve, making a ‘family friendly’ feel to the supper club.

The price for the night for two people was approx £25pp which included the supper club ticket at £18pp

The Oxford Brookes supper club happens on the 1st Thursday of every month. They have some bookings already for the 5th July but you should get moving before it’s too late. Augusts event will be a BBQ, a great way to spend an evening in the Oxfordshire summer, come rain or shine!

After attending two supper clubs I want to tell you three reasons why you should try a supper club in your area.

  • You’ll meet and talk with new people who live in or around your city
  • You’ll have a great meal which will most likely be well priced
  • You might try something you’ve never experienced before



This blog is based and written outside of Oxford, covering my holiday outings in the Isle of Wight.
Opposite the Pier pub sits a small restaurant, Murrays.

I say small, this is only from the outside. On entering the front room there was seating for about 20 people and a small bar, behind the bar was a further room which could hold a further 20-30. The paintings on the walls were beautiful all fish and seaside related, and the detail was incredible.
The restaurant was decorated in jubilee theme for the weekend, along with a jubilee set menu on offer, including a glass of fizz. On arrival at 19:30 there were 3 couples at their tables in the front room, there was no music and little conversation going. We sat down at our table, and waited for our menu, I was worried we’d made a mistake.
When our menu arrived my reaction was ‘wow I could eat all of this!’ I struggled to choose, there was: tuna, cod, lobster, seabass 2 ways, lemon sole, dover sole. And this didn’t include the starters. A group of 6 people arrived during our time with the menu, their chatter broke the quietness and other tables seemed to chatter more too. Phew!
My OH had steak, the cow variety, we were by the sea! but in fairness you should eat what you like, he doest eat steak at home much, so when he had the chance he took it! I opted for the grilled seabass, which came with potatoes and green beans. Our wine was Whitehaven Sauvignon and arrived at a very cold temperature which I enjoyed, but it was perhaps a little to cold.
By now another 2 groups had arrived and were seated in the back room, the restaurant was positively busy, with atmosphere! Clearly 8pm was the time to arrive.
When our food arrived I was impressed with my fish it had its own plate only to be shared with a slice or two of lemon, the veg came in its own bowl, clearly the fish was not to be messed with. My OH had his steak and we shared the large veg bowl. The spine of the fish came away easily, leaving very little bones left in the fish so I could enjoy my meal without fussing over a bone in each mouthful.
When our plates were clean the waitress cleared our table and brought back the dessert menu. For me I went for the royal strawberries and ice cream, delicious and a good holiday dessert! My OH had creme brûlée which was a large size and tasty, his comments are that he prefers more sugar on the glaze and a little longer in the setting process.
Our evening for two was £77 not at all bad for great food, atmosphere and good service.