In the first week of March my sister and I went to Suffolk and Norfolk. We went on a bit of a gastronomic/church/walking/wildlife spotting/shopping three days. Although I technically didn’t bake anything for three days, we did eat some of the nicest food I’ve had in a while. We started off in Dedham on the Essex/Suffolk border and walked across to Flatford Mill to see the place where Constable painted The Hay Wain. And apart from the large class of privately educated school boys sat right in our view, it looked very much the same.
After the 30 minute walk back we were starving and had our lunch in a lovely 500 year old Essex Rose Tea House (after stopping off at Dedham art and craft centre) for a sandwich, soup and baked potato. We passed on the pudding here, although purchased some lovely Tiptree jams of Mulberry (the most expensive jam you can buy) and something else which I can’t remember now but is a bit like quince. We also went into the local church, St Mary’s, where I noted on a tomb stone that a lady was taken in her prime due to swallowing a needle. We continued our trip which took us to Snape Maltings for a nice cup of tea, a slice of cake and caramel slice which was very good indeed. Staying in Aldeburgh over night we ate at Regatta where I had some delicious smoked prawns and a good bowl of mussles. Sarah had oysters…and then a yummy fish pie. It’s awful to say but I can’t remember if we had pudding. Perhaps we shared the cheese plate? Anyway the following day we set off for Norfolk (stopping off at a local Suffolk brewery to buy some real ale) and went via Southwold which was picture perfect. We spent rather too long in the Serena Hall Gallery before finally stopping off for a cup of tea and a scone in a rather expensive kitchen shop. The scones were warmed before bringing to our table and came with plenty of jam and clotted cream. Lovely.
We continued into Norfolk and stayed in Cromer which is a bit less picturesque than some of the North Nofolk coast but it was a nice place to be on a windy, cold March evening. We managed to find the best restaurant in Cromer and practically had the place to ourselves. The Herb Garden is well worth a visit not just for the fantastic service and welcome we got but also the beautiful food. Sarah had local mackerel escabeche a kind of pickled fish ( a bit like a delicate soused herring) and I had scallops with chorizo. We followed this with rack of lamb and the slow roast apple stuffed pork belly which were both so amazing we ate half each and then swapped plates. For pudding I had the dark chocolate souffle and cherry coulis and Sarah had the cheese. The dark chocolate souffle was perfect, soft and light, goey in the middle and not at all sickly. Anyway, it’s really worth a visit.
On the way back home the following day we stopped off at Byfords in Holt which had been recommended to us. Next time I am definitely staying at Byfords for the poshest B&B I’ve ever seen. Not hungry enough for anything substantial we shared a lovely ham sandwich between us and a pot of tea. We bought some things in the shop to take home for the kids and Phil though – some amazing pasties, breads and cakes. I very much hope to be going back to Byfords very soon!
The whole point of our trip to Nofolk was to go to St Jude’s gallery to see some of the amazing prints by Angie Lewin, Mark Herald, Eric Ravillious and others. Unfortunately even though we made it to Itteringham (not an easy place to find for sat nav) the gallery was closed. Typical! We came back with so many Ravillious, Edward Bawden and Orlando the Marmalade Cat cards and postcards though it’s probably fortuitous that the gallery was closed.