Archive for the Derbyshire Category

Get to Chequers mate

Posted in Derbyshire, Froggatt, United Kingdom with tags , , , on February 13, 2011 by gannet39

The Chequers  (Intermediate A) Froggatt Edge, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S32 3ZJ (about 20 minutes by car from Sheffield), Tel: 01433 620 231

The Chequers has always been one of my favourite pubs for Sunday lunch, and after a short lapse, they seem to be back on top form. As it’s located in an isolated row of cottages on the road below Froggatt Edge  (usually a great place for a walk beforehand) you definitely need a car to get out here. Besides serving excellent food they have a garden with nice views out the back which is a great place to eat al fresco in the summer. Not on this February day though as the drizzle kept falling relentlessly. On the plus side it meant we didn’t bother reserving though it’s probably a good idea on better weather days.

The interior is typical English country pub with the only wall ornaments of exception inexplicably being a few old wooden plane propellers on the walls, perhaps the remains of some failed attempts at flight from the edge rising up behind the pub. There’s a fair choice of hand pull beers including Farmer’s Bitter and one of my favourite pale ales; Easy Rider from Kelham Island Brewery .

The main reason to come though is the food, and they take it very seriously here with locally-sourced, quality ingredients from a host of reputable suppliers. It’s not cheap (£12 for Sunday roasts) but it’s one of the best with only the Plough in Hathersage being a serious contender locally. I hadn’t eaten here for a while as the last time I went for the pork and was disappointed to receive two miniscule chops which hardly even began to satisfy. After a suitable period of boycott in protest (in my typical cut-of-your-nose-to-spite-your-face style) I returned with my tail between my legs and meekly asked for the beef please.

It had always been a winner in the past but I think on this occasion it even surpassed those previous great moments. Two hearty slabs of melt-in-your-mouth beef, on a foundation of succulent carrots, supported a hefty smear of delicious mash holding aloft a grotesquely bulbous Yorkshire pud, all surrounded by a moat of darkly flavoursome red wine gravy. On the side, a dish of lightly steamed courgette, mange tout and Savoy cabbage; bright green and glistening with butter. Everything cooked and presented perfectly.

Although I tried to put them off due to my previous experience, my dining companions brashly ignored my warnings and went for the pork. Thankfully their instincts were right and they received a much better showing than I did; two thick  shavings of flavoursome piggy, coquettishly crowned with a dinky Yorkie. The only criticism was the absence of any crackling, perhaps because we’d arrived a little late in the day. Although the pork was good (A-), the beef won out on this visit (A+). There are lots of other British and European options on the menu too, which I’m sure are great, but I’ve never been brave enough to break away from the classics.

The puddings (£5.75) are cracking as well of course. On different occasions I’ve had the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream (A), the Chocolate and Orange Brownie with Chocolate Sauce (A), the Drambuie Crème Brulee (A) and the Bakewell Pudding (B), and would happily order all but the last one again. Although sourced from The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop  the poor little pud just can’t quite compete with those other big hitters.

What else to mention? The service I’ve received from the youthful waiting staff has always been friendly although the manageress was a bit brusque this time. The pub is also a hotel and they have an outside catering company. And they’ve recently opened a sister establishment, the Sir William in Grindleford , which is where I’ll be heading for my next Sunday lunch.

Grumpy Grindleford

Posted in Derbyshire, Grindleford, United Kingdom with tags , , , on February 6, 2011 by gannet39



One of the great things about living in Sheffield is you can be in out in the countryside in just a few minutes.

Padley Gorge

 

One of the prettiest local beauty spots is Padley Gorge, which takes in a gentle walk beside a gushing stream, through woods of wind-twisted trees growing amongst moss covered boulders.

Padley Gorge mossy rocks

Bloomin Padley GorgeThe downstream path leads to Bole Hill Quarry where you can still see the signs of the old industry all around: abandoned millstones, fragmented rocks, piles of slag, all now overgrown.

MillstoneIn this interesting article about the history of the quarry there’s some old pictures showing how it once was. They show the machinery used to winch down the big blocks of stone (for building the nearby dams) to the railway in the valley below. Local photographer Phil Wostenholme has also taken some stunning pictures around here.

 

Grindleford cafe
A group of us took this walk for my brother Dan’s birthday walk, ending at the legendary (or is it infamous?)  Grindleford Station Cafe (Elementary B), a few seconds from the station and beside the mouth of Totley Tunnel.

Grindleford station

Birthday boyThe tunnel was the longest in the UK at 5.7km when it was completed in 1893, a major engineering feat at the time built at great human cost, in part due to the Duke of Devonshire who didn’t want too many air shafts on his grouse moor above!

If the weather is clement you can sit outside on picnic tables, next to the tunnel entrance although it feels very English to drink tea next to what looks like the gateway to hell.

Drinking tea by the devil's throat

 

It’s more cosy to sit inside though, near the roaring fire in the first room if you’re lucky or in the second room where you should just be grateful to get a table.

Grindleford  cafe interior
They brook no nonsense here as the signs on the walls will tell you (people come here just to read them!) “Uncontrollable children” and mobile phones are banned.

dont block the bloody fire

That's told ya

Apparently a Canadian visitor was once cuffed round the head for asking for Worcester sauce! (It’s Henderson’s Relish round here just so you know).  A bit unfair really as there’s no warning sign.

This is a walkers’ cafe and it’s set up to feed an army with the minimum of fuss.

An army marches on its belly
You pay for your food at the counter, get your number and wait till it’s called over the Tannoy. There’s no chance you’ll miss your turn as the volume is cranked up to max over the ancient crackling speakers. We wanted to stay until they called 180 but sadly had to leave at around 145. Make sure you clear your table for the next people or expect to be tutted.

Although the food gets good reviews on eggsbaconchipsandbeans  I would score it a C to be honest. It’s perfectly edible standard English fare, nothing to write home (or a blog?) about. But that’s not really the point of the place, it’s all about stoking you up cheaply for marching about in the elements. You’re here to be fed and fed you will be.
The portions are huge; a full English breakfast (£5.70 with a pint of tea) involves a pallid egg on soggy fried bread, buttressed with a stack of salty bacon, and separating two seas, one of beans the other of tinned tomatoes. The world’s longest ever Walls sausage defends two triangles of bread and marge on the side. You can’t argue with the drinks though (A). Complet anglaisTea, coffee, hot chocolate and Horlicks come in two sizes, half or full pint.

Pint or a half sir

Personally I’m glad I did my walking first as I wasn’t going anywhere after this.

The cafe also produces its own mineral water from the grounds.

Grindleford spring water

wot a beautyWhat better way to finish than with a picture cake! I’m duty bound to include this photo of my brother as it’s the most embarrassing one we could find. Happy Birthday Dan! x x x

Pilgrimage to Pilsley

Posted in Derbyshire, Pilsley, United Kingdom with tags , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2010 by gannet39

Six of us went to the Devonshire Arms in Pilsley for Sunday lunch on a lovely sunny day. Recently reopened after a half-million pound refurbishment, this is the sister pub of the other Devonshire Arms in Beeley, also owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and attached to the Chatsworth Estate.

Devonshire Arms

The new decor is modern but with a retro feel, I quite liked the pink wallpaper with the stag skull motif in the dining area. The food here is more down-to-earth and better value than in Beeley where we had felt rather ripped off on a previous visit. Couldn’t fault milord and lady here though.

pretty Pilsley

All of us had the Roast Beef which was cooked to perfection, beautifully pink, full of flavour and good value at £9.50. The Yorkshire puds were of monstrous proportions, crispy on the outside but with soft interiors hiding deep reservoirs of darkly delicious gravy, and perched on top of a quality dollop of mash and a scattering of roast potatoes.

single mindedness
The accompanying beans, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower were also done perfectly.

perfection on a plate

Nitpickers that we are, we were saddened by the absence of roast parsnips but otherwise this was a faultless performance, a new challenger for the Plough in Hathersage perhaps.

monster pud
Beer wise, there isn’t a big selection but they do have the excellent Jaipur from Thornbridge and Chatsworth Gold from Peak Ales, both fine draught tipples.

Chatsworth Gold

The puds were pretty good too. The champ was the Apple and Blackberry Pie with Vanilla Custard which triumphed on looks and flavour.

Apple and Blackberry pie

The Baked English Custard pot looked rather beige but was in fact wonderfully tasty, again.

Baked English Custard

The cheese board with chutney from the farm shop was a nice nibble too.

cheesyAs well as the daily specials there are lots of other good options on the a la carte menu. Starters start at £3.50 for soup and go up to £6.50 for Duck Salad with Romaine Lettuce, Orange and Pomegranate. Mains range from £8.50 for the Mushroom and Stilton Quiche to £12 for the formidable Mixed Grill. My only real criticism was the lack of vegetarian and other roast dinner options on the menu. So, a winner all round if your a meat eater but don’t bring any veggie friends.

The nearby Chatsworth Farm Shop is a good reason to come to Pilsley in itself. It’s only a five minute walk from the pub and the chefs try to use the shop’s produce as much as possible in their kitchen. It has a bit of a posh supermarket feel, with most things in packages and a rather disappointing bread section reminiscent of Waitrose but the meat counter is fantastic and all the meat, including venison, comes from the Estate. The sausages (I went for the Old English Pork with 96% meat content), pies and pasties are great too and there’s a good selection of cheeses. After tasting, I got some mature Gorge Cheddar and Stinking Bishop. Other things that went in the basket were quince jelly, honey combs  and a couple of haggis.

meat counterpiesscone baskethoneycomb

All in all a pretty good haul; a full stomach and a full rucksack.

You big pudding

Posted in Derbyshire, Rowsley, United Kingdom with tags , , , , on September 12, 2010 by gannet39

So good to be back in Sheffield for my first long break since February.

I’d been away so long that the pigeons had got into my flat and made a nest in my sitting room behind the sofa!

Considered an omelette but thought better of it…

pigeon

What I’d really been waiting for was a decent roast dinner after all that foreign muck.
Tried a new place with the family, The Peacock in Rowsley, Derbyshire.

peacock

Pint of Moonshine, roast beef with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. Sticky toffee pud with caramel sauce to finish.

Need I say more?

The food was brilliant, up there with the Plough in Hathersage, but its a high end place (waiters with white gloves, albeit with holes in) so you pay top whack for it.

Lovely period surroundings and a nice garden.

saladIt was also good to catch up with all my mates. Tim celebrated his birthday with a private party at his restaurant Buca.

The salads were amazing as you can see but the star was the huge slab of roast belly pork he levered out of the oven.

Talk about moist, melt-in-your-mouth meat, oh my God!

Was too busy eating to take pictures of it, sorry.

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