Would a mere sniff of chocolate suffice?

This might sound fairly off the wall, but you can now experience some of your favourite foods via sniff alone.

Writing at the Contributoria platform for independent writers, Rich McEachran explains:

Harvard professor and biomedical engineer, David Edwards — famed for his edible packaging technology — has invented a mobile messaging system that doubles as an olfactory food inhaler. The oPhone encourages users to take pictures of food, tag the images with scents (oNotes – there are over 300,000 combinations to choose from) and then send them to friends who can receive scented whiffs via a Bluetooth-connected device.

The first transatlantic smell message of chocolate and champagne was transmitted in June, and over the summer the team successfully raised nearly $50,000 to help crowdfund the beta launch of the device. From this month, the oPhone will be on display at the Cafe ArtScience which is opening up next to MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Customers will be able to try some oNotes that will immerse them in coffee aromas.

You can read the full article here.

Disclosure – I’m co-founder and editor at Contributoria.com.

Recipe: Fish pie with slices and veg

R442LFish pie is such a favourite, comforting family dinner. But this recipe is a bit different and dispenses with the big layer of mash on top and instead tops the creamy sauce with simple sliced potato as well as cramming a bit of extra veg portion in too.

Although still warming, it should be a bit lighter on the waistline than the cheesy mash that usually features. Let me know what you think.

The full recipe – and all the ingredients needed to make this – are on my Farmers’ Choice page right here.

Welcoming Dietician Without Borders

dwbThe latest addition to my Northern Food Bloggers map is a food blog with a difference – it concentrates on diet but from an informed position, not those faddy magazine types.

Dietitian without Borders looks at food through the eyes of dietician Gemma Critchley who is based in Liverpool where she settled after travelling from Australia via Africa.

She explains:

I’m passionate about practising what I preach, helping others to live healthier lives and helping clear up some of the confusion out there about nutrition by putting it into context and making sense of research and evidence.

Not your average Australian, I lived in Zambia for 6 years witnessing extreme hunger and malnutrition which sparked my interest in health and nutrition from an international perspective.

Having worked and travelled the globe the phrase Dietitian without Borders suits me perfectly! I’m passionate about eating well, keeping active and living a healthy happy life and want to share what I know, do and love with people around the world.

You can also follow her on Twitter @dietnoborders.

* If you belong on the map – drop me a line in the comments or by email to foodiesarahATme.com and tell me a little about your blog. A link back to the map would be appreciated as well.

Taking a break at Ox Pasture Hall

Tea
Time for tea? Always!

A proper afternoon tea. Is there anything quite so daftly English as an afternoon tea? With its tiny sandwiches and cake overload all laid out in a tower of tiers which doesn’t start at the top, or the bottom, but right there in the middle – it is deliciously ridiculous

There’s good reason why Lewis Carroll set the surreal adventures of Alice in Wonderland with a tea right at its heart – yes, there’s always time for tea and, done properly, tea can stop time.

oxpasturehallWe tucked into this example in the cosy lounge of Ox Pasture Hall. It’s a comfortable country inn where the food is plentiful and unpretentious, the service friendly and welcoming.

As the tradition dictates, sandwiches are very definitely NOT butties. These are finger sandwiches designed to be held aloft as one quaffs the beverage and considers the prospects of cakes to follow. Being a good Yorkshire inn, the choice was deliciously thick cuts of beef and mustard, generously spread cream cheese and cucumber (of course) and a strongly cured smoked salmon.

Of course there’s fruit scone with strawberry jam and cream and that top layer housed the first of the lemon related sweet things a sharp lemon drizzle cake with lemon icing

Then the dainties, and plenty of lemon infusion from a bite-size lemon meringue pie and a super light lemon cheesecake before the deeply rich chocolate and nut block and creamy fudge.

beach
Scarborough beach

After all that tea, it was back to reality and stop suspending time to explore. Being a typically English weekend, the weather wasn’t entirely kind but pleasant enough for a stroll along the beach. Despite being hidden away deep in woodland, Ox Pasture Hall is only about a 5 minute drive away from Scarborough’s north bay with its dramatic cliffs and quintessential seaside scene of beach huts.

It’s easy to pass an hour, or two, right there on the front, to be beside the seaside.

beachhutsBut ultimately, it’s time for dinner.

The dining room is a light and comfortable space and settled in for a view over one of the gardens – the Hall has some lovely landscaped grounds and also a courtyard with fountains surrounded by the traditional buildings.

A former country farmhouse surrounded by barns and out-buildings, it has been extended and restored in a very sympathetic way to make a comfortable stay.

It is apparently the only restaurant in Scarborough to have been awarded 2-rosettes, so we were ready to be impressed.

The first arrival at the table was something of a surprise – as an Amuse-bouche should be I guess – but we genuinely weren’t expecting an oversized fish finger in a cup. OK, it was announced as a ‘goujon of cod’ but you get the idea – someone had obviously had a sip from the ‘drink me’ bottle at Alice’s party earlier as it was a giant thing!

beetroot
Beetroot and orange salad

I started with the beetroot with orange. I’m always a fan of beetroot anyway and this pretty salad was an absolute triumph with the earthiness of a beetroot sorbet holding together the plate which includes an almost overly salty salted beetroot and carpaccio slices of sweeter beets.

lamb
Rack of lamb cuts

For my main course I went for the lamb and enjoyed two cuts off a rack of lamb which were cooked good and rare. The potato layered with shredded lamb was an interesting accompaniment as an intense contrast and the cubes of seasonal swede was a welcome vegetable too.

Himself took advantage of the pork options with a crumbly ham hock to start with the substantial belly pork, cabbage and mash going down a teat as well.

cheeseUnsurprisingly after all those cakes, a sweet seemed out of the question and so we shared the smaller of the chessboards on offer with three cheeses and chutneys – a smoked cheddar, a remarkable goats cheese and a smoked Wensleydale with apple sliced into the finest of circles.

It was a satisfying and interesting meal in a friendly and comfortable environment. If we’re ever that side of North Yorkshire again, it’ll definitely be on the itinerary.

Ox Pasture Hall Country House Hotel is at Lady Edith’s Drive, Scarborough, North York Moors National Park, North Yorkshire. YO12 5TD.

 

 

* Our overnight stay at the hall with dinner, tea and breakfast was provided free of charge for review purposes. Please note that I only ever accept such invitations on the understanding that I can write a true reflection of my opinion of the place for the review which is never provided to the venue for copy approval. The Sunday night offer we were treated to costs from £200. 

Recipe: Pan fried venison steaks with berry salad

venison
Pan fried venison with berries
Ok there’s a slight autumnal nip in the air but I really didn’t want to let the summer feeling fade just yet.

Pairing the tenderest of venison steaks – only lightly cooked – with some of the plentiful berry harvest of late summer seemed like a fresh way of wringing the last drops of the season.

I’ve posted the full recipe and instructions at Farmer’s Choice here.

When is a pea, a pea?

peaAs part of an occasional series we’ll just call ‘pretentious?moi?’, I offer you pea texture. Mushy, juice, sprouts or crushed are obviously so passé, the humble pea needs a new image and so here’s just the texture of pea rather then the whole vegetable to clutter up your plate with their devious little catch-me-if-you-can spheres.

Or maybe there’s a part of the sentence missing, perhaps it should read – ‘textures of pea, fragrance of hummingbird and speed of cheetah’ or some such?

Restauranteurs, I salute your ingenuity and offer a space to celebrate it here. Any other examples gratefully received and shared here – just drop me a comment, an email or a tweet.

The dish was actually extremely good, and inthe end it turned out they were just peas with some pea juice.
The rest of the meal at Leyburn’s Sandpiper Inn, was excellent, the service very professional and the whole effect very non-pretentious – a gastropub well worth a visit if you’re in the vicinity.