A weekend at Lancrigg, Grasmere.

We have just returned from a relaxing weekend at Lancrigg Hotel & Kitchen in Grasmere, Cumbria. The hotel is situated in an idyllic place with beautiful views of the mountainous area. We had no idea of the secrets this place holds. In the lounge where you can sit and relax with a glass of wine or read in the quiet surroundings there is a laminated print out telling the fascinating story of the house and the unbelievable amount of famous historical names that has passed through it. The artist William Heaton Cooper described Lancrigg as ‘a perfect example of a gracious country house in precisely the right place’. 

The name ‘Lancrigg’ is a Norse word that means ‘Long Crag’ and built in the 1600’s used to be a small farmhouse, now a country hotel boosting a history littered with famous names many of whom are considered national treasures and all have a connection to or have passed through the property.

The interest begins in 1840 when a wealthy lady named Elizabeth Fletcher, who was the wife of a well known Edinburgh attorney, asked her friend William Wordsworth if he knew of a place she could purchase for her ‘Summer refreshment’. He found Lancrigg which suited perfectly and he assisted in the purchasing, extending and refurbishing the house taking care to maintain its character. In particular the round chimney pots which add to the architectural design.

Elizabeth Fletcher, a very well connected woman, was active in current affairs of the time and passionate about social issues of the day such as; prison reform, education, womens rights and the emancipation of slaves. With her political interests leaning towards the Left, she was a fan of Revolutions and became a benefactor for her friend Giuseppe Mazzini who was a famous Italian politician, journalist and activist playing a huge part (larger than Giuseppe Garibaldi) in the unification of Italy. By organising riots and revolts and creating new political movements such as La giovine Italia (“Young Italy”). Some say he spearheaded the Italian revolutionary movement helping bring to fruition the creation of an independent and unified Italy. Unsurprisingly, Mazzini was ahead of his time and was an early advocate of a ‘United States of Europe’ many years before the European Union even began to form. He felt that European unification was ‘a logical continuation of Italian unification’. Elizabeth also gave her support to other revolutions; namely Byron’s Greek revolt, both the American & French Revolutions, even the Hungarian uprising. She was one feisty lady. As well as being a friend of Wordsworth, Elizabeth’s other famous poet friends include; Sir Walter Scott the Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet. Also Alfred Tennyson, who was a Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria’s reign and remains one of the most popular British poets and Robert Southey an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-named ‘Lake Poets’, and Poet Laureate for 30 years. Amazing to think of these famous literati visiting Lancrigg and taking inspiration from the often breathtaking surroundings. 

The famous visitors don’t end there. Elizabeth’s son Angus Fletcher was a good friend of Charles Dickens and he would often stay with them along with William ‘Wilkie’ Collins the English novelist, playwright, and short story writer.

After Elizabeth’s death in the 1860’s her daughter, Mary moved into the house with her husband Sir John Richardson, a surgeon. Sir John had grown up with the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns who was also a frequent visitor to the house adding to the long list of poet connections. In 1819 John Richardson joined Sir John Franklin (a British Royal Navy officer and Arctic explorer) on the 1st of 2 expeditions to the Arctic to discover the North West Passage. After a traumatic trip both returned to England as National Heros. Sir John Franklin stayed at Lancrigg before his final trip to the Arctic from which he never returned. 5 years John later led a trip in an attempt to discover the outcome Franklin’s fate but frustratingly was unable to.

John was also the best friend of the English biologist Charles Robert Darwin, a naturalist and geologist best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. Darwin brought samples of plants and trees from all over the world, many of which he & John planted in the woods, grounds and gardens of Lancrigg. 

Later John became Cheif Medical Officer of Naval Hospitals and as a result became close friends with no less than Florence Nightingale herself.

In 1972 Lancrigg became a nursing home. What a fabulous and exquisite place to spend your later years in absolute peace and tranquillity. Learning about the amazing history this house has to tell.

Lancrigg has been a 10 bedroom hotel since 1985. A very popular base for walkers as there are many mapped out routes for varying levels all around, then you can return to the homely comfort of the hotel with the fire lit you can sit soaking up the views. We were unfortunately unable to do any walking as the weather was particularly characteristic of the region so we just had to partake in trying the alcoholic beverages whilst watching the rain batter the stoic old windows. It is very dog friendly and currently serves vegetarian and vegan cuisine exclusively, although I’m not sure how long that will continue as they are thinking of introducing some meat/fish dishes. The bar is stocked with some organic beers, ales and wines. To the delight of my husband they served some of his favourite ales. All the staff go out of their way to make your stay feel special. Including 5 star service for the dogs! The food was sublime, I just wish our stay could have been longer. Lancrigg is a very welcoming place, even in the rain.

Their website is here; 

http://www.lancrigg.co.uk/

We had the 8 course tasting menu;-

Canapés

Amuse Bouche

Slow Cooked Egg, Jerusalem Artichoke, Pea, January King
Roasted Crapaudine Beetroots, Blood Orange, Pomegranate, Red Endive.
Roasted Cauliflower, Caper, Mint, Picked Grapes, Spiced Giant Couscous
King Oyster, Celeriac, Cavolo Nero, Dark Speckled Lentils
New Season Yorkshire Rhubarb, Buttermilk and Nasturtium
Lavender Honey Panna cotta, Picked Blueberry, Honeycomb
Coffee & Petit Fours sup
£49.95 per person but must be taken by the whole table.
Here are some of our photos;-

#vegetarian #vegan #hotel #relaxingweekend 

The Imitation Game – European premier

Fandango Groovers Movie Blog

Last night I attended the European premier of The Imitation Game.  This isn’t entirely true, the European premier at The Odeon Leicester Square doubled as the opening film the 58th BFI London Film Festival.  It was simultaneously screened across the country at 30 cinemas.  While the stars squelched down the red carpet in pouring rain I was sat 120 miles away in the comfort of Cineworld Birmingham.  Given the absence of a large film festival anywhere in the UK outside London and Edinburgh I jumped at the chance of seeing the film over a month before its general release.The Imitation Game European premier

By way of introduction, Alan Turing was a British mathematician and computer scientist. An early pioneer of the concepts of “algorithm” and “computation” he is regarded as the farther of computing, his “Turing machine” is considered a forerunner of what we now know as a computer.  During World War II he…

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Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Icing

Please note to make this cake like the photo you need to double the ingredients and bake it in 2 tins.
Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Icing

INGREDIENTS
115g butter, room temperature
210g self raising flour,
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp baking powder
300g brown/golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
225g canned Pumpkin Puree
120ml warm milk
Brown Butter Icing (see recipe below)
Pecan Halves (for decoration)

DIRECTIONS
Heat the oven to Gas 4/180c/fan 160c. Grease and line a 9″ by 2″ round cake tin.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice, baking powder & set aside.
Beat together sugar & butter until light & fluffy. Add eggs, and beat until combined. Add pumpkin puree and milk, mix well. Add flour mixture, fold in until just combined.
Pour cake mix into prepared tin, and bake until a sharp knife comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool. Let cake rest 20 minutes.
Remove cake from tin, decorate when cooled.

Brown Butter Icing
Browning the butter gives this icing a nutty flavour. The consistency should be thin enough to spread but not runny.

INGREDIENTS
60g tablespoons butter
125g sifted icing sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

DIRECTIONS
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until nut-brown in colour, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.
Add sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk; stir until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add the remaining tablespoon milk, a little at a time, until consistency is spreadable. Let cool 5 minutes. Use immediately.

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Food for thought evening…

sunshine and celandines

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To raise money to send two scouts, Tom and Charlie , to the 23rd World scout Jamboree in Japan next year, St Pauls Church in Clitheroe held a fund raising evening on saturday night. As the footy was on later I thought it would be a good way of getting the girls ( and their little girls 🙂 ) together for a few drinks and some family fun.

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The evening consisted of a delicious vegetarian two course meal that my friend Janet thought up and cooked, as well as children’s games, a tombola, live music, a quiz and an auction of some amazing looking prize hampers.

The food I must say was absolutely yummy. Compliments to the chefs! Although I’m not a vegetarian I love veggie food and the menu did not disappoint. 🙂

Clear Japanese vegetable soup. Clear Japanese vegetable soup.

Spinach and lentil hot pot. Spinach and lentil hot pot.

The kids enjoyed veggie hot dogs,pretzels, veggies and dips. The kids enjoyed veggie hot dogs,pretzels, veggies…

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Friday Letters and Daily Diaries: 19–25 April 2014

Confuzzledom

There were no Friday letters or Daily Diaries last week because I decided to start my Easter long weekend by being lazy and not doing anything… including walking to the other room to switch on the commputer! We then ended up spontaneously having friends over to watch films in the evening, so I didn’t do any blogging then either. But today I’m linking up with Kate again.

Letters

Dear nails. I don’t know what your problem is, but I wish you would stop splitting and breaking all the time! Not only do I find it very unfair that most of you are now shorter than when I used to bite them… your sharp edges and rough bits are ruining all my tights! Please stop it.

Dear Deutsche Bahn. Thank you sooo much for sending a train with one carriage missing on a Friday when loads of people who are…

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Sticky Toffee Apple Muffins

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Every Thursday in the salon it’s Cake Day. We each take it in turns to bake, as there are 4 of us we each bake roughly once a month. This week is my turn and I’ve made these scrumptious muffins that are very popular in my house and I’m hoping my work colleagues will love them to 🙂

Ingredients
100g butter, melted & cooled
2 eggs, beaten
100ml milk
150ml soured cream
300g plain flour
100g golden caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300g Jar Apple sauce
50g pecans, roughly chopped
100g soft toffees, chopped into very small cubes
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Cooking Instructions
1. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and line your muffin tins.
2. Mix together all the dry ingredients EXCEPT the toffee, then mix the butter, eggs, milk and soured cream together then stir quickly into the dry ingredients with the apples. (Don’t overmix)
3. Divide between the cases and sprinkle the chopped toffee evenly pushing it down just under the top of the mixture.
4. Bake for 25 minutes until risen and golden and a sharp knife comes out clean.20140423-230009.jpg
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Whole Wheat Cous Cous Cakes

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This recipe uses whole wheat cous cous. Whole grains offer more fibre, vitamins & minerals than processed grains. Regularly consuming whole grains has been associated with reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, & Type 2 Diabetes, as well as helping with weight loss & maintenance because their high fibre content keeps you feeling fuller, longer. Finding myself in possession of a packet of organic whole wheat cous cous I felt it a waste to serve it up in the usual way. So I scoured the internet for some alternative ideas. I found a recipe from an American blogger, so I had to work on it to adjust measurements. It’s a very tasty, healthy way of serving cous cous and it’s Vegan so everybody can eat it! You make these up ahead & have them ready in the fridge to cook, they are lovely served hot straight out of the pan with seasoned mushrooms & asparagus or have them cold with salad. A great dinner party starter.

Ingredients (makes 5 cakes 8cm wide)

125g Organic whole wheat cous cous
45g chopped broccoli florets
(you need to chop the broccoli as tiny as possible, pea sized or smaller)
1/2 pint veg stock
110g of hummus
100g potatoes (boiled & mashed)
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for frying

Method
1. Cook the cous cous by placing it in a saucepan and cover with the stock. Simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed. When ready place it in a large bowl and add the mashed potatoes.
2.Then add all the rest of the ingredients including the seasoning and mix together.
3. With your hands work and all of the ingredients together until it becomes almost like doe.
4. Take a handful of mixture & press it into a round 8cm wide biscuit cutter, really pressing it into the shape making sure that they’re even thickness so that they will cook evenly. Cover & chill for a few hours.
5. To cook gently pan fry them until they have a delicious golden crispy coating, taking care to keep their shape, serve.

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