Oyster Catcher Catering

As part of our ‘Winter Recaps’ we can’t wait to gush about our invitation to a fabulous tasting event by Oyster Catcher Catering. I am not food blogger (though we do seem to talk about food, and local food, a lot on here) so I will let the starters speak for themselves!

Heritage beetroot salad with grilled goats cheese and toasted nuts and seeds
Canapes: Goats cheese wrapped in cured ham with oven dried tomato and pesto, cucumber cups with Cromer crab and radish salad, polenta cakes with pickled mushrooms truffel mayo and broad bean

Polenta cakes with pickled mushrooms, truffle mayo, and broad bean

They are as delicious as they are beautiful. 

Wherever possible they provide food and ingredients from the Norfolk area. And of course living in some of the best arable farmland in the UK, great ingredients combined with Chef Jackson Campbell’s imagination and skill leads to an amazing meal. While it is pretty, this is real food. Healthy, filling, local. 

Enough of me, here’s some more…

Seared sea bass with celeriac mash, braised fennel, and prawn bisque

Sea bream ceviche with citrus, herb puree and rocket cress
  

Jerusalem artichoke ‘lasagne’ with blistered tomatoes and balsamic
   

Apple tarte Tatin, vanilla icecream

So many courses! But we had to have it all! On display at the event was a selection of things offered in their Welcome Packs. (which we may have also tried.) What a great idea! When you spend all day trying to get out of the Big Smoke, and arrive late and hungry, what better thing to have waiting for you than delicious local food? I can distinctly remember when we moved to Blakeney and by the time we unloaded the van the only thing being served at the local pub was dessert and a cheese board. If only….

  

So to summarise, catering, meals delivered, and welcome packs. Amazing. 

  

Photography by George Gould and Fiona Diamond

A photo essay of Norfolk seasons by the sea: summer

We’ve been living by the sea in Norfolk for two and a bit years. This is the first in a series of four photo essays documenting each of the seasons on this coast. With the glorious summer of 2014 just passing, it seemed the right place to start.

The photographs were mainly shot on camera phones, a discipline with its own challenges.

Summer night sky over Blakeney Cut

I returned home to Blakeney Quay after kayaking the harbour on a warm, still July evening. Turning to look back north and west, the quiet glow of the summer night sky continued long after the sun went down. We see this rainbow of the dusk each night from May to July as we walk up to bed, looking out from the staircase window and framed by the gables of old houses. In June it is still there at midnight.

Picnic at Burnham Deepdale

Purslane and muddy sand, the bright colours of mooring buoys and the blue expanse of the Norfolk sky. Taken as we sat for a quick picnic at Burnham Deepdale, on our way to collect weekend house guests from Kings Lynn station – a recurring theme of summer when your family realises you live in a house by the sea with spare bedrooms!

Mucky paws

Ankle deep in squelching mud from a walk down the harbour at low tide. It’s always fun to see how visitors from the city react to what our little nephew calls ‘The Blakeney Blurgie’.

Black bream

Taken at Cley Beach, cooking locally caught fish over a charcoal grill. Light the barbecue, dive into the waves and swim as the smell of the fire drifts over the water. By the time you’re out, the coals are ready to cook. We love it best on a Sunday evening, when the coast empties of weekenders and there’s still time for an evening on the beach before the working week.

Samphire is at its most tender in early summer. We always pickle some to stow away in jars and eat at Christmas. I love to go early on a summer’s morning to cut a few tips for a breakfast of scrambled eggs and samphire on sour dough bread.

WP_20140510_10_52_30_Pro.jpg

The summer of 2014 will be remembered for the endless bounty of strawberries. These were some of our own and, once we’d picked all those, we had them for several months from neighbouring Wiveton Hall and Sharrington, a few miles inland.

Picnicking in the church yard at Cley under an impossibly blue sky.

WP_20130728_004

Taken in the Glaven Valley, between the ford at Glanford and Bayfield Hall. It is a staggeringly beautiful spot and sometimes I’ll just stand on the bridge looking South down the valley, drinking it all in.

2013_07_19_15_26_09_ProShot

It was one of those special days when the summer sun is high in a blue sky, but little patches of coastal fog hung beside the sea. This was taken at Kelling Quag, a remote pond you pass on the way down a long lane to the deserted beach at Kelling Hard.

It is impossible to sit on one of Norfolk’s pebble beaches and not play with the stones: to throw or collect or build. Cley, after a swim.

Sunset through the fishing pots at Cley

The sun sets over the water at Cley Beach throughout the summer. We will often sit in the lee of an old fishing boat, between the sea and the pots, keeping warm by the charcoal barbecue after an evening swim.

Babcia tea & a taste of Eastern Europe at Lituanica in Kings Lynn

image

Whenever I’m taking the train to London from Kings Lynn, I try to allow extra time to stop at Lituanica, a wonderful Eastern European supermarket.  It has an extraordinary range of fresh meat, vegetables, bakery and cakes – as well as jars and frozen food for the store cupboards.

There is Polish heritage in my family, but even without this connection, it makes for a great shopping experience. You’ll find produce you just can’t get in traditional British supermarkets and in a store that is beautifully quiet and clean.

The butchers, fresh bread and cakes are particular highlights. I also use it to stock up on herbal teas – Babcia brand! ‘Babcia’ in Polish is Grandma and it reminds me of my own Babcia, still going strong at nearly 90.  I recommend the Apple Mint and Pear varieties.

The store opened a café recently, complete with exactly the sort of dark wood furniture and floral prints you’ll find in any Eastern European café or household of a certain era.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the value too. Cappuccino and a weighty slice of cake (it is sold by the gram) set me back the princely sum of £2.48. This extends to the shop goods as well – if you’re used to shopping at Tesco, Waitrose, Asda et al, you’ll be blown away by the value here.

Go and buy some random stuff you don’t recognise and enjoy a taste of Eastern Europe in Norfolk!

Stiffkey Red Lion to the rescue!

20130316-191102.jpg

Today was a day of Highs and Lows. I won’t bore you with the details, but we may have ended up with a flat tire during a trip to what had started out as a lovely shop. This quickly turned sour when we were asked in no uncertain terms to move the car from the parking lot while we waited for help to arrive. The “get off me land” approach may have soiled the experience a little. They shall remain nameless. Anyway, we vacated the area and headed, instead, to the lovely Stiffkey Red Lion. Our heroes! Now, we have been to this great little pub a few times, and it is one of our favourite coastal pubs. To have this little oasis on a cloudy, windy, and mildly inconvenient day, was a real blessing.

The pub is a real ‘olde world’ style place with beams, crooked walls and ceilings, and loads of fire places. The dog is welcome and Green King ales are on tap, including ‘Stewkey Brew’. There is also a beer garden which will be lovely come summer, a summer room extension, and tv viewing room for sports at the back.

Aside from the fires, the real draw of the place is the food. Today, as I warmed myself, I enjoyed a burger and chips which was excellent, and washed it down with my favourite, Aspall cider.

What is your favourite coastal pub? Be sure to include a link!

20130316-191050.jpg

20130316-191416.jpg

20130316-191822.jpg

20130316-192250.jpg