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Pop-out, Pop-up

It’s been a while since I blogged – so some catching up to do. Let’s start with a playlist for those with Spotify – Click Here

This post is in three stages:

  • The Fantastic Truffle Pig Pop-Up in Brandeston
  • How do I give feed back when asked – “is everything OK for you” and whilst OK it’s not great
  • Why detox anyway?

The Truffle Pig Pop-Up

Way before Christmas, the delightful @suzannewilliams started mentioning the idea of a Pop-Up restaurant to be held at Brandeston Queen’s Head for one weekend only. I liked the idea; but from mid-January to mid-February I like to detox. For me that means no meat, wheat, dairy, fish, tea, coffee or alcohol. Now Suzanne’s other half is a great cook, I know because he has influenced the food at Brandeston Queen for some time now in his role as consultant, so I was rather sad to think I might forego the pleasure. However, quick as a very fast cheffy knife, they came back with ‘so? We’ll take you on, tell us what to avoid,’ thus a cunning plan was born.

A group of tweeting friends and other halves, six of us in all including @adrianmelrose, @fiswaff and @spudballoo decided to book. In the meantime Adrian experienced an epiphany (if that’s not too strong a word for it) and decided to become a vegan too, having read Eat to Live. Did Truffle Pig rise to the challenge? – You bet they did.

The aim with Truffle Pig was for Suzanne and David to run the show in their way, putting their stamp on everything from the food, suppliers to service and publicity. This is importantly different from acting as a consultant where you are influencing, advising and supporting others to develop their ideas. What a sign of a truly professional relationship though that the host location for this Pop-Up was Brandeston Queen’s Head who are current consultancy clients.

From the moment we walked through the door, coats were taken by attentive staff and we were directed to our table. The meat eaters had menus to select from but the detox two had each course introduced with due ceremony. To start was cucumber jelly with apple sauce and salad, delicate, colourful little roundels of jelly perfectly set and light on the palate. The main course included golden beetroot in a vegan consommé, rosti potato, with pak choi and tight spinach bundles. Desert was a trio of red fruit delicacies. For meat eaters there were such spectacular delights as pig’s head starter, pig’s trotters or blade steak for main course these of course were anything but ordinary. Every course created with the accent on flavour and beauty.

This was an evening to savour a long, leisurely meal with some absolute wow factors built-in. As if to prove that I’m not a food blogger, I failed to photograph anything as I went along; so many thanks to Suzanne for the photographs.

The extra good news is they are about to Pop-Up again. Follow @trufflepigpopup and register at their website to receive more information.

So half way through the detox and I was being treated like a queen – all good. Then came the end – time for a blow out meal but…

How do I give feed back when asked – “is everything OK for you” and whilst OK its not great

At the end of detox month, time for a meal out. I shan’t name the place (but if you think it’s you, ask). I have always said I’ll post the positives here and if there are negatives I’ll give feedback direct. First meat in a month, first wine etc, etc. I don’t think it was my palate being askew, if anything it should have been heightened and relishing good food. So how do I, or should I even, give feedback when food is OK, as in nothing to complain about (which I would do) but just uninspiring; the location hollow and empty and the whole experience leaving a feeling of – well we’ve tried it and now we know not to go back again? “Fine”. I would genuinely welcome your views. Since that meal another impromptu lunch date was totally unspectacular too – I swear, what gave the appearance of freezer sausages in freezer stew-pack veg with some watery stock does not constitute a sausage casserole in my book – “interesting”.

However I refuse to end on a down note – today I went to Marlesford Farm Cafe, squashed goat pie, mash and mushy peas – simple, fabulous in a deservedly busy, carefree atmosphere. p.s. no goats were squashed in the making of the pie, it is goat cheese and squash. When asked I was happy to say -“it was great thanks!”

Why detox anyway?

I promised Niamh a fuller response to her tweet to me (above). My version of detox might be more appropriately called a month’s rest. It is not intended to be a whole life change, but just to get me back on track after the Christmas excess, before you ask, I know I should just be less excessive over Christmas. It also is linked to dropping a few pounds in weight and getting out and active once again, fit and ready for the spring. It works for me. Basically I just eat super healthily for a month and then slide back into eating other stuff gently with the aim of being better with my self control thereafter. I am not trying to remove weird and wonderful substances from my body in weirder and wonder-fuller ways. I am more than happy to post Ben’s YouTube clip below, I don’t disagree with what he says, there is far too much hype about products etc., not sure that this clip is any more scientific than some of the things it is commenting on though. Many cultures, for many years, have had some period of abstinence, often fitting with religious festivals or timing that neatly fits with seasonal shortages or periods when eating certain foods might be more dangerous due to climate. None of this is new, a period of rest, a little pause, regroup and then off we go again.

One final comment:

RIP Broadhouse Hotel. Catering and hospitality is a difficult world. The Broadhouse Hotel recently announced its closure. It was a great place to stay. Sadly staff, customers, investors and suppliers will all have been impacted – it is such a pity, I can’t begin to understand the economics of it all, I hope others can and good will come of it in the long run.

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Day 7 detox, day 26 Janathon

Today I swam 1020 metres, Janathon is nearing it’s close but I still have a way to go to be ready for the Great East Swim and the Dunwich Dynamo – this level of exercise has to be maintained and increased. I’m sleeping a lot, detoxing does that. Tonight was cold, the image above is my sofa blanket; just looks like an endoscopy image.

Catching up….

Just back from Devon.  We had a lovely stay at the Passage House Hotel, near Newton Abbot in Devon.  We have stayed there before and  have known it since it was just a little pub.  I have to say the staff on this trip were spot on, great service and the upgrade to a room overlooking the river was really welcome.

I visited Hannah’s at Seale Hayne, on a tip-off from @KToogie who has a workshop there.  It is an inspiring and beautiful place.  The art is fantastic and it is a great spot to shop or have coffee as well as strolling around the studio, workshops and grounds.

So now the exercise confessions; there is a pool and gym at the Passage House but the pool is a bit bijou so although I did exercise it was not my normal standard.

Today I have made up for it though: bike 12.21 miles as Easy (session 18).  Swim 1020 metres (session 10), plus badminton tonight.

On the route home we also had the pleasure of going to the Thatched Cottage Inn at Shepton Mallet, a great dining pub. The new owners have no previous experience in the business, but are making a really good job of it. The 17 hour cooked beef looked and smelled fantastic.  Sadly they don’t seem to have a website up and running yet so no link at this stage.

If you are wondering how the detox is faring with the hotel and eating out – jacket potatoes and risotto have featured heavily.  But I have managed to keep it up without wavering.  The headache has gone; but I have had four solid days of back ache, this happened last time so I think it is my kidneys complaining about the change.  It will pass, so I will keep going.

Pedal, pedal – fast detox

Today I lengthened my commute home, to make the most of the lengthening day and to take in a supermarket for last treats before the annual detox starts tomorrow.

The stats: 12.1 miles when commute to work included.  Plus 1 mile dog walk.  The bike plan stated Mixed – Negative Split: Easy/Moderate (50) so I chose a route that was more downhill out and up hill back.

 

As for the detox – should you be cooking for me in the next four weeks the ‘rules’ are simple:

No: Meat, wheat, dairy, fish, coffee, tea, refined sugar or alcohol – but as much as everything else as I fancy.

 

Honest, I haven’t fallen down the plughole

The downside of my new found enthusiasm for getting fit is that I have been around less to blog/tweet and leaving the best camera on the other side of the country means only iphone photos.  However, I have taken out the old Sony Cyber shot and dusted it off.  I was certainly glad to have it with me yesterday for the sunset; which was blood red, filling the landscape.

I won’t do a list of the detox food each day as I did in the first week as people will have got the basic idea by now.  However, I will try and photograph the odd dish or put the recipe down in a bit more detail occasionally.

The bike is now back in regular use which means at least 3 days of about 7.5 miles; as the evenings become lighter I hope to come home on longer routes to maximise the exercise.  The swimming remains ‘interesting’.  I am still using the take to the streets training room schedules; but floundering badly when it comes to breathing in the crawl.  I am pleased tonight’s schedule is about arms and keeping the face up so I can see what I am doing.

After my blog on Saturday ‘Guilty not Innocent’ I couldn’t resist this competition on Innocent’s web site and entered with “If I’m lying in a ditch and you’re reading this – Take me home”.

Detox Day 6 and 7 – Second Coached Swim – Questions for Quiz

#f450 swift update……

Good news; the session on the Wii fit proved to me that the back pain was a strain from badminton.  I admit resorting to the brufen but even better news the pain has now gone, so the yoga session probably helped pull things back into their rightful place. Yesterday was a lazy day exercise wise, just dog walking and housework.  Food yesterday; breakfast the usual porridge and honey, lunch was home made leek and potato soup and for supper I actually used a recipe book.  I concoted a ‘bake’ with veggies in the base and a topping which is basically a hummus of chick peas, tahini, garlic, herbs and lemon.  The end result looks suspiciously like a pie when cooked but actually I didn’t find the combination of textures that pleasing.  I think I would rather have kept everything raw and just dipped the veg in the hummus; saved on the electricity and the wait.  Today I made watercress soup, which I love.  I haven’t worked out what to do for supper; some kind of chilli I reckon.

Today I went back to Stradbroke for my second swim as part of a group with a coach.  I am still very much the newbie amongst a group of experienced swimmers.  If I can just master swimming and breathing in crawl this could all come together yet – otherwise I will be a drowned thing in June.

Now back to the question setting for the next quiz at Saxtead, 29th, 7.30pm – book in advance on 01728 685 064

Detox Day 5 – Tossers – Guilty not Innocent

Day 5 of detox has passed and I am beginning to feel like I am in the groove.  It was a home day for me, which would normally mean fridge raiding for cheese and as many cups of tea as I care to make.  Instead I had the usual porridge breakfast, left over Thai soup for lunch and made a curry of sag aloo, bombay aloo and a mushroom dahl; all served with rice.  I also managed the dog walking and an hour of yoga/aerobics and fun on the wii.

Whilst on the subject of dog walking; my pet peave is rubbish slung from cars.  Every few weeks I pick the darn stuff up; but seriously if people can drive a car surely they can drive their bloomin rubbish home or to the nearest bin and not sling it out of the window of the car.

Detox Day 4 – Third Training Swim

Framlingham College has a large pool which allows public access via Framlingham Swimming Club. Their website explains that the college is taking over the standing orders side of things; I hope the basic times and other arrangements will not change too much as this all fits well with the training plan I have set through take to the streets.  Yesterday the plan required me to do a total of 400m as a warm up, then a focus on technique and then a cool down.  The advantage of the college pool over Stradbroke is it is closer to home and longer.  The disadvantage is no coach there to tell you if you are doing things right.  I am sure the others must wonder what I’m doing as I keep stopping to rest per the plan and don’t swim neatly as each length you focus on some skill.  This time it was trying to do crawl not letting the stretched hand drop until the swimming hand has touched it. – Remember I had not attempted crawl until last week so I must look like one of those wind up bath toys.

Food – Porridge and honey as normal; Lunch: salad, oat cakes with pesto, fresh pineapple, almonds.  Supper: Thai style noodle soup; mushrooms, sweet potato, bean sprouts, carrots, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, rice noodles.

Detox Day 3 – Palm Oil

Day 3 – the back pain continues and then there’s the ethics…..

One of the considerations in this detox is the ethics.  I am tending to eat more foods than usual that are out of season eg salads and imported fruits; but January is rather like that at the best of times.  Then there is the palm oil issue.  This stuff turns up in the unlikeliest of places; like oat cakes.  Finally I have found some made with olive oil and stocked by our local co-op so much happier about that.

Food:  Porridge and honey again.

Lunch was quinoa with the remains of the chickpea casserole stirred through and cucumber and fresh tomatoes added.

Supper was a stonking great risotto with sweet potato,  aubergine, tomato and leeks.

Managed 2 miles of walking, 7.54 on the bike and 14 lengths of swim training.

#f450 – Detox Day 2 – Late Night

Yesterday was a low exercise day, just two miles with the dog.

Food was much the same as yesterday but for supper it was crispy roasted potatoes and parsnips with chickpea creole casserole and cabbage.

The headache is now properly gone but all day my lower back ached, was this from the badminton or is it my Bowman’s capsules telling my kidneys ‘things have changed’?  I may never know which but I hope it will go away today.  The ache did make getting to sleep harder, but that could also have been because I was out late at a meeting, so my head was spinning.  Still managed a good six and a half hours uninterrupted tough.

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