Apologies for the delay in scheduling, hope you all had something to eat while you were waiting!
Day two rolled around and nothing gets the day going better than a classic with a twist. I haven't had maple syrup with my bacon since I was about ten years old, and I didn't like it. R and S have spent time in the States, and I have spent time in France, and we all now understand that the world of sucrée salée is a beautiful one, so it was time to give it another go. (Incidentally, I have a post on the way about 'first times' - keep your eyes open for this one!)
Needless to say, it was that good that we ate it too fast for pictures. Make sure you the pancakes are nice and thick, American style, that the bacon is British and welfare assured with a minimal water content, fried until crispy, and get the best quality maple syrup that you can afford. And then be generous with it.
Bellies full, we set off into the New Forest in search of a farm shop. We headed to Setley Ridge, a farm shop and vineyard in Brockenhurst, and saw lots of mini horses on the way. R and S have eaten horse so I didn't over-emphasise the fact that the French get their supplies from the New Forest... Once at the shop, we had a browse, a taste of the local wine and got supplies for the evening. On the way back we stopped for a proper cream tea, that is to say, in the words of N, 'a fat sandwich' - the order must be scone, (butter if available), jam and then clotted cream. With a pot of tea. We also had a savoury scone for good measure.
Dinner that evening was a mélange of meats: duck breast and venison, served on a potato rösti with asparagus (can you spot the leftovers? They were still prepared with love!) with port and shallots and five-spice peaches. Yes, we all imitated Michael McIntyre. The peaches were a Gordon Ramsay touch and brought the ensemble together. We drank local ginger wine which complemented the warmth and fruit of the peaches very well.
To round off the meal we enjoyed some local cheeses:
We had a New Forest blue and a Red Devil (which was really hot!) with fig crackers and a spiced carrot and pumpkin chutney. There was definitely coriander seed in the chutney, and I suspect star anise; it might be a nice one to try to make.
To cleanse the palate, we had made some raspberry sorbet. This is shockingly easy to make, dear reader, especially if, like me, you shamefully harboured an ice cream maker in a dusty cupboard at home blissfully unaware of the lack of effort needed to put it to use. Keep it in the freezer, and you're always ready to go!
Heat some frozen raspberries on the hob until they begin to break down and then lightly crush them. Strain this thoroughly through a sieve until you have extracted as much of the juice as possible. Add in a little sugar - about a quarter of the weight of fruit you have used - and any other flavouring you might want to try. I will add some freshly chopped mint next time, R and S often use rosewater. This mixture is then poured into an already-churning ice-cream maker and in no time, you have lovely sorbet!
And then, to end the evening we drank port and had yet more of yesterday's Intensément. Well, they both needed using up, so it was only right! We tasted some Original Beans chocolate as well, see S and R's blog for the tasting notes.
Breakfast the next morning was also designed to set us up for the day. We had venison, redcurrant and port sausages (which were just the right side of robust for breakfast) and served these up with oven-baked portobello mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, scrambled eggs and toasted bloomer bread. I would like to take this opportunity to heartily endorse adding jersey cream to your scrambled egg mixture. It worked.
The weekend ended on, yes you've guessed it, more chocolate cake. Too right!