Friday, 11 December 2009

Hastings Horns at the FILO

A big, jazzy sound in a relatively small venue but it worked well.
The crowd seemed quite music savvy and more sophisticated than the FILO's usual beer connoisseurs but a good night was had by all.

Another Lunch at Moonrakers

Another stunning lunch at Moonrakers, which is not only my favourite restaurant in Sussex, it's fast becoming one of my favourite restaurants in the UK.

We chose from the set menu, starting with juniper cured salmon with beetroot and basil jelly, not only delicious but a work of art too (see above).  TH (the husband) had honeyed venison carpaccio which was served at just the right temperature to bring out the full flavour of the meat.

To follow, I had turkey with all the usual trimmings (my first of the season) and TH had Hake with a generously salted crispy skin, served with a copious quantity of earthy wild mushrooms and caramelised sprouts.  He was thrilled with his choice and said so several times.

Cheese for TH and luscious carrot cake for me followed by espresso and then home.

Service was delightful too even though the waitress accidently knocked over 2/3 rds of our wine, it was cleaned up and replaced with a full bottle with minimum fuss.

I can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Wild Mushroom

Went to one of our favourites this weekend.  The Wild Mushroom near Westfield.  We had Shirley and Mark (our tennis pals) staying for the weekend so wanted to take them somewhere a bit special.

They all ate the aged fillet of beef with the wild mushroom sauce and I went for the duck.  The others loved their beef but my duck was only passable (a bit tough and a bit bland).  My starter of thai beef salad, however, was excellent - melt in the mouth beef with a kick of chillie, juxtaposed on a crunchy salad of carrots, onions, coriander, etc.  Steve and Shirley had scallops with cauliflower puree and thin slivers of cauliflower which they were very happy with and Mark had the pan fried salmon with mirin and beetroot risotto (as a fish lover he was delighted with the combination of flavours and freshness).

As always canapes, a flavourful amuse bouche (made with herrings - really kick started our taste buds) and wonderful petite fours were provided at the beginning and end of the meal.  Service too was attentive and fun.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Proposed Jerwood Gallery - Hastings

I know it's a very contentious subject but I, personally, am looking forward to the opening of the Jerwood Gallery near The Stade in Hastings.  I genuinely hope that no damage is done to the traditional fishing fleet and huts as they are part of our heritage and one of the joys of living in the area, but I believe that something which will help breathe fresh life and jobs into this beautiful area must be welcome.

The gallery will open in Summer 2011 and should include the following:
  • Gallery spaces for the Jerwood Art Collection of 20th and 21st century British art.
  • Gallery spaces for rotating temporary exhibitions from the Jerwood Visual Arts Programme and others specially created for the gallery and in partnership with local and national organisations.  
  • Sculpture courtyard.  
  • Education space for schools workshops, classes, seminars and community outreach work developed with local partners.
  • Small first-floor cafĂ© with terrace.
  • Research and archive facility.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Nobles in Battle

Went to Nobles in Battle for lunch today after meeting the chef in Bodiam several weeks earlier.

Horrible weather outside but welcoming atmosphere inside and real shame that we couldn't take advantage of the pretty courtyard terrace.

We had seasonal starters of twice baked souffle of stilton, walnuts and spinach and a goose foie gras and chicken liver terrine, which were very good and an auspicious start to our meal.

We both wanted to try the main course of wholemeal gnocchi with truffle oil and mushrooms but I capitulated and went instead for the sirloin and chunky chips, with roasted peppers and tomato.  This was served with a peppercorn sauce on the side which I, personally, didn't need as the sirloin was tasty enough. The gnocchi was very light on the truffle oil (in fact we couldn't discern any at all) but nonetheless tasty and came with sweet potato chips and a salad of tomato and rocket.  All this was supported by a well priced Malbec.

Complimentary and rich, home made dark chocolates were delivered with our rather weak espressos (I love my espressos to be almost viscous so I am a tough task master).

Not perfect but good and definitely worth another visit.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Richard Hawley at the De La Warr

Friday night 9.00 pm at the De La Warr, Richard Hawley and his band walk on stage.  We were looking forward to the concert but were blown away by how good it was.  Soaring sounds from the saw violin, wonderful guitar playing, and crystal clear lyrics. 

A delighted audience!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Hastings Seafood & Wine Festival 2009

The good weather on Saturday gave way to slightly more inclement weather on Sunday, yet the food festival remained well attended.  Here are my three favourite discoveries from this year.


Thrilli Foods "Making Chillies Friendly".  Delicious pickles and drizzles made with chilli.  From mild, through warming, to sizzling hot.


Stratta fruit vinegars and herb oils; flavoured sugars; spiced and preserved fruit.  The Elderflower and Lavender vinegars are two of my favourites. 

No. 3
Nut Knowle Farm pasteurised, vegetarian Goats cheese.  We tried a plain full fat, slightly tangy Wealden, one with Cranberry, and another with Herbs and Garlic.  All three were delicious, fresh and moreish.

Petrified Forest at Bulverhythe

Low tide peaks as the sun sets. View across to Bexhill from Bulverhythe

A bed of tiny mussels

Petrified tree roots - 3,500 to 4,000 years old. Part of an ancient forest now only exposed at very low tides.

The base of another ancient tree.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

August - Lisa and Jonathan come to stay

We took the boat down the Rother from Newenden to Bodiam Castle a journey of about 45 minutes,

A walk up to the castle followed by some Archery lessons (and Jonathan was rather successful)

Medieval Fair Day at Bodiam followed by a walk up the hill to The Curlew for lunch

Sunday we had a short walk along The Cuckmere and a lovely lunch in the garden at Moonrakers in Alfriston.

Moonrakers recently featured on the Hairy Bikers in East Sussex and has one of the most delightful views of any restaurant as it looks out over the village green and church which dates back to Saxon times. Venison and Truffle were clearly in season as I started with a delicious venison carpaccio with a drizzle of truffule oil, whilst the other three had a light as a feather pea moussse. The boys then had braised venison with roasted root vegetables, Lisa had cod with lentils and I had a vegetable dish of roasted salsify and artichokes (with slices of truffle this time). Yum!

The Moonrakers was named after the local smugglers who used to hide their booty in the dew pond and would come out at night and rake the pond to retrieve it.

Monday, 3 August 2009

At last I've painted the dining table and chairs

I'm quite pleased with the results considering the whole lot was a true bargain in a Hastings junk store (including the blue plate).

Sunday, 2 August 2009

The Curlew - Bodiam

We went to visit one of our favourite restaurants today, The Curlew, near Bodiam Castle, and turned up at lunch to find it was "under new management". We were a little bit concerned as the old management seemed absolutely fine to us but I am pleased to report that we had a truly excellent meal.

The whole place had been refurbished with a bigger car park and a new garden area set up for al fresco dining. The interior was a very elegant gray wood paneling with a white ceiling. Comfortable chairs with leather backs and plushly coloured upholstery added a touch of jauntiness.

We shared the potted mackerel to start which was light as a feather and topped with a refreshing dill and cucumber jelly. I followed this with lemon sole and a shrimp, caper and lemon butter served with delicious new potatoes and samphire (my favourite seasonal vegetable). My husband had the gurnard fillet with braised artichokes, fennel, baby courgettes and baby gem. He's not a vegetable lover by nature but he scoffed the lot with relish.

I then finished with a lovely Yorkshire cheese called Cotherstone - a descendant of Wenselydale - (the chefs I believe hale from that part of the world) served with a bite-sized fruit loaf and raisins soaked in something delicious and the 'husband' had a subtle lavender junket with raspberries and the shortest shortbread you could wish for.

We will definitely be back again, things had changed but in a good way.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Visitors June 2009 - Dee & Norrie

A walk along the Cuckmere

Followed by an excellent lunch at Moonrakers in Alfriston

Perfect weather for sitting in the herb garden

The White Horse

From Wikipeida: The creation of hill figures has been practised since prehistory and can include human (gigantotomy) and animal forms (cutting horses is known as "leucippotomy") as well as more abstract symbols. The White Horse probably held religious significance. The figures are usually created by the cutting away of the top layer of relatively poor soil on suitable hillsides to expose the chalk underneath.

The Kissing Gate trail

Dee, Norrie and Christine heading back toward Alfriston