Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Bateman Arms, “Mangelwurzels” and Strawberry Hill Gothic ...


To the border country, diagonally across middle England, my trusty steed of four wheels took me ... before Bateman’s Arms in Herefordshire welcomed me to stay awhile ...
The Bateman Arms


The Inn has recently been taken over by a local couple and is already thriving ... it helps having a social outlook with good contacts ... the pub had been allowed to drift downwards ... so was ripe for some rejuvenation.


A cousin of my mother’s lives nearby and is not able to travel, hence my visit to see her ... having not been up since last year, when I picked Jenny up (another cousin of theirs) to drive her down to Cornwall for the Memorial Service.

The Coach House - bedrooms


I recognised “my garage” in Leominster – and from then on the spiral of tiny lanes made sure I lost my way numerous times ... “that garage” constantly appeared to at least give me a handle that I was still in the right vicinity!


The bar's fireplace
The pub was very welcoming ... and had very good food – so much so ... that I was able to arrange a private room for my cousin and I to have a quiet lunch ... courgette soup with a parmesan crisp and home-made bread, followed by mushroom and tomato risotto, with a side salad – plenty for small eaters ...

The somewhat dumb waiter ... and glass stand


As befits an architect (not me!) a copy of Pevsner’s Guide to Herefordshire appeared and we thought a quick visit to Shobdon Church warranted a walk ... this was unrealistic as it happened being considerably further than anticipated and thought not prudent in the circumstances of elderliness ... 


I know that we would both love to see the Church, as it has recently been refurbished to its previous amazing glory.  Strawberry Hill Rococo Gothic style church it certainly is ... it calls me for another visit sooner rather than later!

Shobdon Church pulpit
Church website

The Strawberry Hill type of architecture came about for the church style here at Shobdon, as Lord Bateman was great friends with Horace Walpole, of Strawberry Hill House fame at Twickenham – a place that was in the process of being refurbished (2010) ... and now that needs a visit ...  


To get back to The Bateman Arms ... Lord Bateman’s history will need to be told another day ... it is woven into English history – that at times I despair of ... so convoluted! 

Monkland Blue cheese
Suffice to say ... talking about 
  • a salad of Monkland blue (cheese), poached pear and candied walnuts, or 
  • Ham Hock and white bean terrine with home-made piccalilli, or 
  • “Mac’s” whitebait – which I decided on ... taking me back a few decades ... as a starter – delights me far more – less taxing on my brain!


My "Mac's" whitebait ...
Or ... sharing platters for two could be had – this seems to be the trend in this country ... mix and match ... 

  • marinated baby artichokes, scorched peppers, blush tomatoes, olives and mozzarella with a dressed salad, oil and bread; or 
  • flakes of poached salmon, home-cured mackerel, crayfish tails, smoked salmon, smoked prawns served with aioli, tartar dressing, salads and bread, or 
  • how about a platter of Trealy Farm charcuterie, home-made piccalilli, chilli and balsamic oils with warm bread and a salad ... now I’m hungry!

 
Trealy Farm charcuterie for sale

... then for the mains there was plenty of choice ... pies and mash: vegetarian, fish, chicken or beef; a slow-cooked lamb shank with mash, honey roasted carrots and parsnips and a tasty herby gravy ...

My beefburger ... 

... home-made lasagne, steaks various – depending on your appetite, all served with field mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and heaps of triple cooked chips!


I had the homemade Herefordshire beef burger ... without the bap (remember: the same large soft roll I mentioned during my Gospel Burger post), coleslaw, home-made tomato chutney, garnish of salads and a basket of fries ... positively delicious!


as it says on the label
Desserts ... Lemon Tart, Cheesecake or ice-creams were on the menu, as well as home-made apple pie ... and coffee ... this section I didn’t partake in ... but I did have a cider or two, couldn’t miss out on some Herefordshire ‘zider’!!


“Mac’s” whitebait were requested to be added to the menu by Tracy’s son, 7 or 8 ... discerning taste-buds in the offing ... they were very good Mac – so thank you for suggesting that addition to Chef Jim for his menu ...

Potato trailer ... 


To tie all this in ... chuntering along in my trusty steed behind great trailers of potatoes ... reminded me of “mangelwurzels” ... and the Wurzel’s song “Combine Harvester” ... potatoes were dropping and bouncing all along the lanes ... 


Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham

Thankfully that garage at Leominster regularly turned up and I managed to find my way back to the Arms of Bateman ... in the village of Shobdon, with its Strawberry Fields Rococo style church ...



It was a good stay - thank you Tracy and Simon – I then went on and met up with a couple of blogging friends, one from the States ... more to follow ...


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

40 comments:

Jo said...

Ooh aah, mangelwurzels. I am jealous, I haven't had whitebait for years. That's how I like a burger, when I have one, without the bread.

Dropping potatoes made me think of dropping cotton in the South. Great truck loads are carried away from the fields and the roads are lined with cotton.

I wondered about your cheesecake. My mother used to love a cheesecake which sh bought regularly in Lincolnshire, but it wasn't remotely like the cheesecake we get these days. More like a custardy cheese tart.

Sorry, I do not like cider. Matt's oldest daughter loves it.

Janie Junebug said...

Everything looks and sounds so good.

Love,
Janie

Rhonda Albom said...

Sounds like a wonderful day, with a lot of food. I am hungry now for some of the options (although I didn't know what all of them were.)

Susan Scheid said...

Well, this trip is off to a flying start! I look forward to future installments.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like they have a slew of good food now. Too bad the walk was too great to see the church.

Lynn said...

What a lovely and delicious trip! That blue cheese looks so good.

L.G. Smith said...

That food sounds wonderful. And I loved traveling in the Herefordshire countryside while there. I too got lost near Leominster, but all roads seemed to converge eventually in the general direction I was going. :)

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Hilary
I haven't heard of half those dishes. Makes me want to try them all. If I ever write a book that has an English chef in it, I will ask for your advice.

Cheers,
Nancy

Friko said...

You didn’t tell me about all these wonderful dishes on offer.

No wonder you couldn’t manage much in the way of teatime treats.

Sorry to hear about getting lost, I think I know the Leominster garage you mean.

I might mention a blogging friend’s visit soon; unfortunately, I took no photos. How very silly of me. We must have been too busy chatting.

Chatty Crone said...

I think this was great and the food too - although to be quite honest with I am picky eater - I am not sure how much of that I would like! hehehe

Denise Covey said...

I love old, traditional English pubs. I have fond memories of the Wheatsheaf (I think it's name is) in Kent, where Geo and I used to go when we were staying near Hever Castle. The brews and meals were great, but you couldn't beat the open fires, the old black timbers and the friendly folk. They were very lovely and all said they either wanted to move to France or Australia - just like me, lol!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jo .. well thanks for acknowledging mangelwurzels! And so pleased you 'can see' what I'm describing ..

... those potatoes just went bob bobbing along .. and sound like your cotton - except there's more substance to a potato than there is to a cotton boll ..

I didn't try the cheesecake - there used to be two sorts when I was still making them .. the cooked variety on a sponge base, which I didn't like! Or the Philadelphia cheese mix on a crushed digestive base ... so I'm not sure. Custardy tarts have been around over each generation ...

Now the cider was good!

@ Janie - thanks it was very good ..

@ Rhonda - difficult to explain everything! But I'm sure you'd love the food it is delicious ..

@ Susan - now you've been to the area, you can visualise those tiny lanes and the pubs .. next instalment coming up ..

@ Alex - sadly aged illness precluded us from doing more - but at least I was able to get up.

@ Lynn - it was fun to find such a happy pub, which is going places .. and yes I might have had the pear dish if I'd seen the blue cheese- but whitebait called!

@ Luanne - well that's good a fellow traveller who knows the spirals of Herefordshire lanes .. they are lovely to drive around in though - so picturesque .. and eventually we find our way!

@ Nancy - all the dishes I'm sure were delicious .. I need another visit to check more out!

That's a pleasure .. it'd be an honour to help out with food advice ...

@ Friko - sorry! Life was a food weekend and your cake was delicious .. that post coming up.

Might you mention a certain blogging friend's visit soon .. I think America is gearing that way too - though a cold bug has descended after her flight ..

I have garden photos I believe and a back-end of a dog!

@ Sandie - thankfully (or not perhaps!) I'm not a picky eater .. and just enjoyed the food ...

@ Denise - the Wheatsheaf is a familiar name for a pub .. lots around. I can hear the banter in your pub round that huge log fire, the black timbers, with rosy faced drinkers or diners ...

Well you moved off to Australia and I expect you haven't regretted it .. one day I shall get down under ..

Cheers everyone .. it's still benign weatherwise here ... Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

So many epicurean delights! I'm sure that your cousin enjoyed the visit Hilary!

Julie

Suzanne Furness said...

You're making me hungary, Hilary! Sounds like a wonderful pub, so glad you enjoyed your trip. Meeting more blogging friends, I wonder who that was?

Julia Hones said...

Hilary, I really enjoyed this post. Thank your for transporting us to this place. You have the skill to make us feel that we are right there... some parts of your writing sound like a poem.
Thank you for the food, too. It was delicious!

Patsy said...

Will you please stop it - you're making me very hungry. I wonder if I could make parmesan crisps, I'll have to look up the recipe. It all sounds good though. Glad you had an enjoyable trip.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - my mother's cousin is always pleased to catch up - it's a long way .. but worth the pleasure ..

@ Suzanne - sorry about the hunger .. and the pub was very good and enjoyable.

More blogging friends ... well two I met and a third you know .. coming up ..

@ Julia - poetry and me: many thanks, but I really don't think so - but if you say so - then I'll agree! Just happy I can take you on my journeys and visits and you feel you're right alongside me ..

The food was very good - could do with some of it now ..

@ Patsy - bloggers who blog about food, should be curtailed occasionally .. I don't do it that often - do I?

Parmesan crisps .. I'm sure you could - they're very easy ... but note bene: burn very quickly!! I used to do some with tomato pieces in them .. and I've made them with hard goats' cheese and they were very good ..

Cheers to you all - Hilary

Talli Roland said...

Looks like a fantastic stay! And lemon tart . . . delicious.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Whitebait, Monkland Blue cheese, my mouth is watering.... Sounds like a fantastic trip.

Sorry for the lack of blogs and visits, so much to do here in the garden, and lots of bottling and preserving; very time consuming!

Take care Diane

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Nice to know they have vegetarian dishes. Those were hard to find when I visited in 1999.

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha Hilary,

Oh my gosh... you had me at the mention of Ye olde English Pub, but when I read you had partaken of a few pints of good ol' cider, I had to stop drooling :)

Hawaii is, of course, wonderful, but you do such a great job in reminding me how wonderful were the three years that I lived in Blighty :)

Happy continued travels and weaving of tasty tales :)

Donna Hole said...

Ah what fun; beautiful scenery, good food, family and friends. i'm envious of your vacation.

.....dhole

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Talli - the pub was a good find .. and lemon tart would have very good I'm sure .. I went elsewhere for tea!

@ Diane - you picked two of my favourites .. but know that you've been busy bottling and freezing getting ready with your winter reserves .. it's a wonderful year for fruit and veg ...

@ Diane - there are vegetarian dishes around and I must say some of these sound so good .. I prefer those sorts of dishes - but the burger sounded too good to miss out on - and it was ...

@ Mark - there's lots here too - but a stretch by the beach with a few good books, would make me very happy! Yet - the log fires in the pubs are always so wonderful to find.

As you say more to follow ..

Cheers to you all -have good weeks - Hilary

juliet said...

Mmm, all rather mouth-watering. Sounds like you found a good pub.

Davina said...

Hi Hilary.

Wow, this banquet of foot sounds delicious! I especially thought so of the salad of Monkland blue cheese, poached pear and candied walnuts. Complementary mixture of ingredients that lends to a variety of textures and flavours.

You would make a great travel writer; do you know that?

Stephen Tremp said...

Wow! This menu of amazing dishes sure beats the homemade turkey and garden vegetable soup I'm eating right now.

I really need to expand my culinary horizons.

Glad you could see your mom's cousin who is not able to travel. I'm sure they appreciated your visit very much.

Milo James Fowler said...

Mmmm...home-made bread!

Julie Flanders said...

This looks like such a wonderful place to visit. I'd love to go to a pub like this. And the Strawberry Hill House is just gorgeous.
Glad you had such a nice time!

Nick Wilford said...

I love a nice authentic pub with great food. Definitely hungry now!

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Hilary! Sounds like such a wonderful place to visit. And the different foods you talked about. Something for everyone's taste buds. Thank you for sharing about your trip. : )

~Sia McKye~ said...

I LOVE cured mackerel! I think I'd have gone for Mac's whitebait too. Yum. Mains...Lamb and mash...lemon tart, no, wait...cheesecake, no, no, maybe apple pie. hmm, Okay, I'd have had to look and then decide.

Okay, I KNOW I'd love this pub and your burger and chips looks good too.

Now, I'm eager to see who you met up with. :-)

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Donna - it was very rushed .. but as you say even so I crammed it all in, and definitely makes a change.

@ Juliet - the pub find was lucky I think .. they were very welcoming and helpful

@ Davina - doesn't the salad sound so good .. makes me want to go back soon! Travel writer now too?! I think I could do that!

@ Stephen - well your turkey and vegetable soup sounds rather good ... and trying new dishes is fun ...

Yes seeing my mother's cousin was a pleasure .. I'm glad I made the journey ..

@ Milo - the bread was very good ..

@ Julie - the area is so interesting - while the pub helped as a good rest stop .. and Strawberry Hill is on the list for the Spring! I really want to see the Church too ...

@ Nick - I agree a good pub is an essential when travelling .. but the delicious food is more important!! Hope you've slept your hunger off!

@ Susanne - yes the menu covered all the bases ... something for everyone. Even my mother's cousin usually has a starter and a dessert - but this time opted for starter and the risotto .. makes a change for her.

@ Sia - I needed a few more days staying there to sample all the delicious foods ... and next time I'd definitely try the mackerel ... but they all sounded so good ...

The big reveal is coming up!!

Cheers to you all - we're into the season of good pubs with roaring fires .. and the weather is closing in too ... having had a warm summer - Autumn has arrived. Hilary

Patricia said...

what a yummy post - more to add to my next visit - tastes and sites

We are off to make homemade cider from our apples on the 19th. With our strange weather I hope we will have enough remaining.

Thank you for sharing

loverofwords said...

The cheese sounds wonderful. Wonder if you can get it here. I will have to try. We don't have real pubs here in the States. The bars are filled with young people, very loud music and "everyone does not know your name." But love your posts so I can vicariously visit these places as well.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Patricia .. it's a wonderful part of the world to visit - with lots of history too.

That's excellent you're taking your apples to make cider - sounds a great idea - and fun too. I guess the trick there is to leave a few behind, so they at least can't go into the press!

@ Tasha - I imagine the cheese is delicious - I suspect it won't travel to the States ... not being made in huge quantities ...

Our drinking holes are also full of youngsters, but it's always good to visit a pub that is still a pub .. but, sadly, more and more are closing .. just happy you enjoy being here ..

Cheers to you both - Hilary

mail4rosey said...

Such wonderful visiting it sounds like!! Thoughtful, nice people make the world go around.

I had to look up 'husbandry skills' to remember what they were, from the beginning of your post. :)

I love the words you ended your post with here.

Have a great weekend!

Tina said...

I think I would have gone for the starter with the salmon, mackarel, and crawfish tails. That sounds amazing. Your burger plate looks just scrumptious!
I wish there was a garage turning up to lead me where I needed to go...sounds so convenient as I do tend to get lost. A lot. Sense of directions is not one of my gifts...
Tina @ Life is Good

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rosey - so glad you enjoyed reading about life on the Herefordshire borders! So pleased you looked up the phrase .. "husbandry skills" - I don't like to dumb everything down .. the English language is so rich.

It can be tricky ending posts - I try to find a way of tying it all together ..

@ Tina - that fishy starter makes sense for a Swede!! I'd have had that too - and will do next time ... or the pear! The burger was very good indeed ...

I'm usually very good - but haven't quite got my travel instincts back yet ... now at least I can find my way around Leominster!

Cheers to you both - lovely comments - thank you .. Hilary

Coral Wild said...

wow! I read this soon after having breakfast (a nice healthy one of chopped apple & naartjie, cornflakes and soy milk)and I still felt hungry again reading of your meals and menu options.
In Zimbabwe a common "starter" or sundowner snack was crispy fried kapenta (those small fresh water sardines introduced to Lake Kariba)- very similar to your whitebait....
Oh, just the thought.... makes me yearn for those trips on the lake...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. and I forgot to come over for this one too - thanks .. naartjies sound so good - love that word!

Oh yes I remember reading your comment .. I haven't heard about the kapenta - I bet they're good - fresh fish in Zimbabwe is a real treat .. and probably just like our whitebait.

A lake trip - something I couldn't do in those war days of the late 70s ... but Africa is just fine in many other ways ..

Cheers Hilary