This is all about one of my great loves-baking! Cupcakes are what I really love making,
however I enjoy all baking, anything from a simple Victoria Sponge, puddings, bread, biscuits
to Game Pies and a good old Sunday Roast!! I will share some of my baking experiences
with you; recipes that I think everyone should know about and some of my funny
and distastrous moments. This will not be restricted just to the kitchen!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Fabulous Suffolk Coast!!

One of the most lovely places for a day out, long weekend or even a holiday is Aldeburgh, in Suffolk.  If you have never had the pleasure of visitng this part of the UK, make it an absolute must!!  I have always loved this part of the east coast ever since I was a child.  We have visited for long lazy days out, child free weekends and fabulous family holidays, for as long as I can remember.  Living in Essex, the Suffolk coast is the natural place to gravitatate too; so much to offer, from quaint seaside towns, beautiful villages and picture perfect English countryside.

A quick whizz up the A12 from London, past Ipswich; follow your nose towards Aldeburgh.  You will come across Snape Maltings, which are definately worth stopping for.  You will find a concert hall that holds music events throughout the year,  galleries, antique shops, a couple of lovely places to eat, as well as a Farmer's Market.  If you visit between May and September you can take a boat trip along the estuary; this is a
lovely way to introduce yourself to the local flora and fauna. 

Having had a super time at the at the Maltings, make the short journey to Aldeburgh.  Park in the bustling High Street and head for the Blue Flag, shingle beach.  Aldeburgh has plenty of landmarks, among which the Martello Tower, 16th century Moot Hall and the somewhat controversial, but none the less striking scallop sculpture, errected as a tribute to the composer Benjamin Britton, are probably the most well known.

Fish and chips are synonymous with this little seaside town too; I have never visted and not seen a long, but patient queue, snaking its way down the pavement outside either of the towns two fish and chip eateries.  There are many other lovely places to eat too; one of my favorites is The Lighthouse, which is always a delight to visit, with wonderful service.

Slightly further up the coast and not to be missed, is the little village of Thorpeness; originally built as a holiday desination at the beginning of the last century.  This has always been popular with my boys ever since they were little.  The main attraction is the huge boating lake with a Peter Pan theme, complete with a crocodile!!  The beach is lovely and dogs are welcome on most of it too, (even in the summer months).  There are two nice cafe/restaurants, where, if you are eating outside you will have an attentive two legged audience!!

 The boating lake is teeming with swans, ducks, moorhens, geese and various other birds, all of whom are happy to be fed and many will feed from your hand.  You will have  to travel a long way to find a house as unusual as  "The House in the Clouds" , which dominates the skyline as you leave the village!! 
Futher down the track, that leads to this somewhat unusual dwelling is a windmill.  The windmill was used to pump water form a well, to the House in the Clouds, (which was was originally a water tower cunningly disguised as a house)!!  I will continue my travels further up the coast of Suffolk to encompass Southwold and various other lovely villages.

Today I have digressed somewhat from my cake theme.  However we all love this supper, so I thought I would share it with you all. This is a lovely recipe that everyone devours with gusto!!  It takes about 30 minutes to prepare and a further 30 minutes to cook.

Suffolk Pork Chops and Caramalised Apples
  • 4 x 200g/7oz Pork Chops
  • 4 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp  extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 150g/5oz smoked chopped bacon
  • 1 bouquest garni
  • 300g/10½oz button mushrooms
  • 300g/10½oz shallotts,  peeled, cooked for ten minutes, then drained and refreshed in cold water
  • 4 Cox's apples peeled, cores removed, quartered
  • 4 tbsp muscovado sugar
  • 500ml/17½fl oz Suffolk cider
  • 4 tsp Suffolk mustard
  • 400ml/14fl oz double cream

To Prepare:

  1. Roll the fat sides of the pork chops in the salt flakes.
  2. Heat a griddle pan until smoking. Sear the fat side of the pork chops in the pan for 1-2 minutes, using tongs to keep the pork chops upright in the pan. When the fat is golden-brown and crisp, lay the pork chops down flat and fry for 3-4 minutes on both sides, or until the pork chop has deep griddle marks all over. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion and bacon together for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is starting to colour. Add the bouquet garni, button mushrooms and shallots to the pan and cook over a medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Pour the cider into the pan and deglaze by scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, then bring to the boil. Add the pork chops and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through (the juices should run clear when the pork is pierced at the thickest part).
  5. Meanwhile, dust the apple pieces with the muscovado sugar. Place the griddle pan used to cook the pork back over the heat, then add the apples and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the apples are golden-brown and caramelised.
  6. Remove the pork chops from the pan and set aside to rest. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a rapid boil, then stir in the mustard and cream and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to a sauce consistency.
  7. To serve, spoon the caramelised apples onto serving plates and arrange a pork chop next to the apples, with the cooked carrots and mashed potatoes alongside. Spoon over the sauce and serve.
Even my fussy eaters like this!!  This will feed 4 people with ease!!  I serve with Nigella's  bread-sauce flavoured potao gratin (Feast) and seasonal vegetables.

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