Yorkshire Day, A Country Pub Restaurant Review
and Sunday Lunch with Yorkshire Pudding!
Today, the 1st of August, is Yorkshire Day! Yorkshire Day is celebrated on the first day of August to promote the historic English county of Yorkshire. It was celebrated in 1975, by the Yorkshire Ridings Society, initially in Beverley, as “protest movement against the Local Government re-organisation of 1974”, The date alludes to the Battle of Minden, and also the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834, for which a Yorkshire MP, William Wilberforce, had campaigned. (Wikipedia) Today however, the date is not as political and is a way that the county can celebrate its unique achievements and promote its stunning scenery and landscape, food, festivals, sport (cricket!) and its people. For me it’s a day to promote and celebrate all that is Yorkshire and culinary – and it is SO much more than Yorkshire Pudding, nice though they may be. It’s also a day to remember that the county is divided into THREE RIDINGS, which are historical and enhance the identity of those who live in them. (West Riding, North Riding and East Riding – there is no South Riding)
My post today is also a restaurant review of my local pub in Weaverthorpe, The Star Inn, Country Pub and Restaurant, as well as a handy resource for some of my Yorkshire recipes on the blog. I will also be sharing a recipe for Fat Rascals, and talking about the history of this fiendishly delicious bake!
Let’s start with Sunday Lunch, and not just any Sunday Lunch, but a celebratory lunch that I treated my mum and dad to a few weeks ago, to celebrate dad’s 83rd birthday. Why bother to drive to a country pub when you have one on your doorstep; we are lucky in Weaverthorpe, which is a small Wolds village, as we have two pubs, although we only frequent The Star – it’s much friendlier than the Blue Bell. The pub is just across the road from us and is a traditional pub with adjoining restaurant as well as a Bed and Breakfast. It has a wonderful atmosphere and as I mentioned before, is warm and friendly. The Star Inn have several menus to choose from and also daily specials on the blackboard, which comprised seasonal summer salads and sounded lovely.
I had booked us in for the special Sunday Lunch menu, which was a remarkably reasonable £10 per person for 2 courses! The normal Sunday Lunch menu is equally reasonable at £9:95 for 1 course, £13:95 for 2 courses and £17:95 for 3 courses with a choice of starters, mains and desserts.
We had some pre-luncheon drinks in the cosy bar, where there were several local beers on tap, including beer from my favourite local brewery Wold Top Brewery. Mum and I shared a bottle of wine, and dad enjoyed a pint of draft Guinness. We were given the Sunday Special Menu and took out time to choose our meals, whilst chatting and enjoying the view out of the window overlooking the Gypsey Race (a small stream) and watching the lazy Sunday world go by. We all opted for a 2 course lunch with main course and a dessert and we were called in about half an hour later to dine. The dining room is a small but bright room with traditional wooden tables and chairs. Dad and I had picked traditional roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, whilst mum, who is a vegetarian, chose a vegetarian bean burger with the most amazing chunky chips and a salad garnish. There were a selection of fresh vegetables served on the side that included mashed potatoes, carrots, cabbage and broccoli; the roast potatoes were already served on the plate with our roast beef and Yorkshire puddings.
The food was served on hot plates, and the portions were generous. I am always impressed when a restaurant offers lots of vegetable accompaniments, and The Star did not disappoint. The beef was locally sourced, in fact all of the food is sourced locally, and was meltingly tender. The Yorkshire puddings were light and fluffy with an impressive rise to them! All of the vegetables were cooked “al dente”, not to soft and not all mushy, and were all fresh, NOT frozen. The roast potatoes were crispy on the outside and fluffy inside, just as they should be. Mum said that her veggie burger was delicious, with lots of seasoning and flavour, and dad and I BOTH stole one of her chunky chops, which were divine! Having made our way through the main meal, we were offered a choice of desserts from the blackboard, all freshly made. The choice that day was a Hazelnut and Chocolate Pavlova, Banoffee Slice and a local Cheese Board. We opted to take dessert with coffee in the bar, as well as to finish off the bottle of wine. Mum chose the pavlova, dad the banoffee slice and I decided to have the cheese board.
Both mum and dad proclaimed their desserts to be delicious, and I enjoyed the cheeseboard, which was served with fresh apple, home-made chutney, mixed salad leaves, butter, Cheddar cheese, Stilton and Wensleydale Cheese with Cranberries. The staff were attentive without being invasive and the whole meal experience left us with a warm glow of satisfaction. Although the two course £10 lunch special is not always on offer, I would happily have paid the usual price of £13:95 for the standard of food and service we had. All that remained for us to do, was to amble back across the road and have a postprandial snooze! Lavender and Lovage awards The Star in Weaverthorpe a very well deserved Five Stars, and recommends it without hesitation for delicious home-cooked food at reasonable prices. A BIG thanks to the owners, Will and Ali, who also had a birthday card ready to give to my dad, a nice touch I thought.
Leaving The Star pub now and on to another Yorkshire speciality – the Fat Rascal! 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the Fat Rascal being made at Bettys, another fine Yorkshire institution. The origin of the Bettys Fat Rascal as we know it today is said to be the Turf Cake, an old regional speciality. Thirty years ago this year, the Turf Cake was rediscovered by Jonathan Wild from the Bettys family, who added a few Bettys touches to create the now famous Fat Rascal. (Bettys) I also have a Fat Rascal recipe, and I will share it at the end of this post; but, when I am back in Yorkshire and in the vicinity of any Bettys tea room, I will always buy mine and don’t bother to bake them.
In honour of this momentous occasion, Ian McMillan, the ‘Bard of Barnsley’ has penned this unique ode to a traditional Yorkshire treat……..the ode is published on the Bettys website here: Celebrating 30 years of the Fat Rascal and I have copied it below for your reading pleasure here too!
Happy Birthday to the Fat Rascal
by Ian McMillan
This rascal’s turning thirty, so let’s all raise a glass
To a Yorkshire institution known across the world
That’s grown in fame and fortune as the decades slowly pass;
Raise your Rascal banners!Get your Bettys flag unfurled!
It started as a Turf Cake; now it’s got a cheeky face
Made from spreading almonds in a ‘gnarl’: a kind of grin,
It’s a super-scone so vast you can see it from outer space
So spread some butter on it, let it dribble down your chin.
Then taste it, feel the texture: it’s like Yorkshire on a plate:
Chew it, feel the flavour fill your mouth and lift your heart.
It’s like one of the family: this Fat Rascal’s your best mate
And if you’ve never had one, well now’s the time to start!
Fat Rascal: Happy Birthday from the Bard of Barnsley
Now let’s all enjoy one with a cup of Yorkshire Tea!
Talking of Yorkshire tea, here’s a link to my recipe for Yorkshire Tea Fruit Loaf: Yorkshire Tea, Tea Cosies and Yorkshire Tea Fruit Loaf for Afternoon Tea.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my Yorkshire Day post, obviously there is so much more to say and share about this beautiful county, but I simply haven’t got the room or time here! So, I will leave you with links to some of my Yorkshire Recipes and wish you a VERY HAPPY YORKSHIRE DAY! Karen
The Lavender and Lovage Yorkshire Cookbook:
Lavender and Lovage Fat Rascals Recipe:
1 medium free-range egg, lightly beaten
150g/6 oz plain flour, sieved
150g/6 oz self-raising flour, sieved
1 teaspoon baking powder
130g/5 oz cold butter, cubed
90g/3½ oz caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
150g/6 oz dried mixed fruit (try currants, raisins and sultanas in equal quantities)
50ml/1½ tablespoons milk
1 medium egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Glacé cherries and blanched almonds, to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
2. Sieve both flours and the baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, citrus zest, spices and dried fruit and mix well. Add the beaten egg and enough milk (about 50ml) to bring the mixture together into a soft dough. Form the mixture into 6 saucer-sized rounds, about 3/4″ or 2cm deep.
3. Mix the egg yolk and water together to make a glaze and brush this over the fat rascals. Decorate with the cherries and almonds ~ see photos. Transfer to a non-stick baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
You can order Fat Rascals from Bettys by Post here: Fat Rascals by Post