In memory of Marty. We will remember you often, especially when good food and red wine are around. You are, and always will be, missed enormously by us both.
We got a lovely invite from my cousin Katrina (Treen) and her husband to go up to Wales to where his parents live for the Easter long weekend. So on Good Friday we caught a couple of trains to Reading and were met by Katrina at the station and drove to their house. They are both amazing cooks and she started a lamb curry when we got there and she and Olivia cracked the first of what would be three bottles of bubbly whilst she threw the ingredients together.
Martin was at work and so the three of us enjoyed a few drinks and waited for diner to cook. The smell in the kitchen was divine and little did we know that this was a sign of things to come for the rest of the weekend. When Martin finally got home we ate and it was well worth the wait. The curry was incredible and went down a treat. He had to work in the morning and we picked him up after lunch and headed off for the valleys of Wales. There had been really intermittent weather that week in England and it continued on our drive too. For a while there it was snowing really hard which was really exciting and we all hoped that there would be heaps of snow when we got to Wales too. We arrived at Martin’s parents place that afternoon and sat down for some home made cheese sticks and Treen's big bottle of Champagne! Martin had warned us that his mother spoils them whenever they go there and he was so right. She had cooked up a huge roast leg of ham and chicken with all the trimmings with probably the best cauliflower cheese either of us had ever had. To cap things off she had also made an enormous trifle that was also delectable.After the amazing dinner we played a game called ‘Deal or No Deal’. Martin’s family got the game on another holiday but nobody could be bothered to figure out how to play it so we persevered and finally sussed it out. We had a great night to say the least. On Easter Sunday Martin’s father took us for a drive up into the surrounding hills and countryside. It was so stark and beautiful and Martin and Olivia took their fair share of photos whilst the rest of us stayed put in the car. When we got back to the house Martin, Treen, Olivia and I went to the pub across the road for a quick pint before we all left for Easter lunch at a favourite local restaurant of theirs called ‘The Griffin’. We had no idea of how much of a treat we were in for. The food was amazing and the wine list extensive. When we had finished eating Martin’s parents went home and left us at the pub. Treen had bought us an Easter egg each that you decorated yourself. So we asked the other people that were waiting for a table and the waiting staff to judge whose egg they thought was decorated the best. We put a 10-minute limit on the decoration time and set to it. It was so much fun and the results were hilarious. We finally called it quits and caught a local cab back to the house and started another session of ‘Deal or No Deal’. After a ‘few’ nightcaps we finally headed off to bed for a well earned sleep.
The next morning we had a huge breakfast and then hit the road for the journey home. The first stop were the ruins of an ancient Priory. It was bitterly cold there but was well worth it as it was such an incredible setting and beautiful. From there Martin and Treen were keen to take us to this little village they had been to years before for some extra special bangers and mash but when we got there the kitchen was closed and there was no food at all. We tried pickled eggs but they weren’t anything special. So we continued on and were all getting really hungry by now when we came across a famous local restaurant called ‘The Bell at Skinfrith’. Treen suggested that we try in there and Martin insisted that there was no way on Easter Monday that you could just rock on up and get a table at this of all places. He was sure that we would need a booking. So she went in and minutes later came out with a triumphant smile on her face and said, “I told you so. We have to wait a few minutes for a table for four!” It was well worth the wait also. The food was once again sublime and the red wine that went with it superb. Our final meal capped off an incredible weekend of gastronomic wonders, great company and beautiful landscapes. It was almost a relief to get on the train at Reading and head for home to rest after all that feasting.
Arohanui Livi and Tama xx