Saturday, 18 February 2012

A home sweet home from home

Really? Do we have to? She's your mum, can't you just go?

These are the comments I understand some couples share when they visit their in-laws. Not me. For I am truly blessed with a genuinely generous (try saying that after a few glasses) mother-in-law who spoils us rotten with every visit.

The trip to North Yorkshire is a long one so regrettably visits are less frequent than desired. When we can make the trip though, it becomes a sense of occasion of almost state ceremony proportions.

In the week before our visit, we will be invited to submit our culinary requests, for which I am truly grateful.

For most of us during the week, breakfast is a rushed affair. An anaemic slice of toast, hastily consumed before the mad dash to catch the pre-dawn train, is considered a luxury.

To indulge in the time afforded by our leisurely latest visit, I requested berries (blues, rasps and blacks as my body was evidently crying out for anti-oxidants, rich in vitamin C, which blueberries are full of), croissants and M&S lemon curd yoghurt.

Ordinarily I detest yoghurt. In my youth, they were a barometer of my wellbeing, replenishing my stomach with 'good bacteria' after a sickness bug (I love you mum, I know you had my best interests at heart!). These memories, and the general texture, are enough to send my belly into convulsions. These velvety smooth, creamy pots of goodness have though managed to cure my dislike for yoghurt-kind, and looking at the nutritional value (or distinct lack of), I now realise why...crikey, good job these aren't a staple!

As well as our breakfast treats, the cupboards are full to bursting with temptation, spilling out onto our guest bed, where chocolate hearts from the famous Betty's Tea Rooms nestle on the pillows.

Lunches too are of course a delight.

This salmon dish serves four, for which you'll need:
  • 4 fresh salmon fillets (over the counter jobs)
  • 2 bunches of medium sized asparagus (quick tip: snap the asparagus first, and discard the woody bottom!)
  • 2 florets of broccoli
  • Heston's cheese sauce (senza i macaroni!)
  1. Season and grill the salmon skin side up for eight to 10 minutes (depending on how thick your fillets are.)
  2. Whip up the cheese sauce as per Heston's recipe
  3. Break off the broccoli florets into pieces as in the pic above and steam for six to eight minutes until tender.
  4. Saute the asparagus in a pan with a not so healthy knob of butter for five minutes, seasoning midway through. You want a bit of colour on these but still crunchy.
Arrange and serve on your most attractive plates, drizzling the sumptuous cheese sauce on top. Perfect.

I was enjoying this salad of roast beetroot, parsnip, red onion, goats cheese and dill so much that I forgot to snap it in its full glory. Testament to how delicious this feast was!

So it is with heavy hearts (and even heavier bellies) that we say farewell after an all too brief sojourn. Unlike those with the devil for a mother-in-law, I'm all too happy to say that I can't wait to visit again soon!

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