Cambridge: an Insolite Stay & A Sinking Punt

You know what they say about the 60's, I could say the same about university. I am told that I was there but I can't remember a thing and if it was not for the notes, piled somewhere in the loft, in my best friend's handwriting, I'd probably be inclined to think that it never happened. One thing is for certain: I never lodged in a university until this summer.......

We stayed at St Catherine's College. Many universities open up their accommodations outside term-times.  The revenues are used to reduce students' rent and upgrade the rooms when necessary.

The rooms are clean, comfortable  without frills, with tea/coffee making facilities. Ours had a piano! all at a fraction of the cost in a central Cambridge hotel. 

Located right in the center of Cambridge,  founded in 1473, the St Catherine's College grew due to the generosity of a series of benefactors who are remembered with by their coats of arms etched within the window panels all around the college. 

St Catherine's had a checkered past too, though a most interesting one which the loveliest of  porters will tell you about between queries and errands. If he is not available, copies of the College history and postcards are available from his Lodge.

Between 7.00 and 9.00am, 9.30 at week-ends, breakfast is served in a The college great hall. Bacon, eggs and sausages are sourced locally. If I were asked to comment, I would say "perfectly acceptable but could do better". Revenge is a dish best eaten cold.

I know what follows is not very academically correct but enter the great hall and you can't help thinking Hogwart's. Impressive, with long varnished wood tables, gong at the ready, past and present masters presiding from their picture frames; I could have sworn, their eyes followed me all the way to the buffet and back.

Cambridge lay out is odd at best of times, being so central and able to walk to the Cam via the college's gardens through a gate for which B 'n B clients have the key is a plus. So we went punting.

Punts are flat bottom boats propelled by pushing with a pole on the bottom of the river. We opted for a guided tour which was probably wise considering what happened next. Travelling  through the Backs along the beautiful lenghths of the river, looking up at the magnificent and spectacular Cambridge buildings is an essential part of any Cambridge experience.

 A great experience enough for most people, unless if you are a member of a hen party which we were told demand their chauffeur to be topless.
 Punting is happening all year around. In the winter, people snuggle under a blanket and the bubbly is swapped for a glass of mulled wine or cider. On that day, the weather was warm and the Cam was busy,
and we witnessed an event which hardly ever happened before: a sunken punt

Our Insolite Stay and the punting tour were thoroughly enjoyable experiences I would recommend both whole heartily.

College rooms can be book via university accommodation service. Availability is mainly in the summer (July, August, September), Christmas and Easter (March, April) vacation periods, when students clear their rooms. Price for B 'n B ranges from £46 to £120. Punting guided tour £25/pp bookable in advance or on the spot.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank UniversityRooms funded both the punting and our college stay. No payment was exchanged, all the words and opinions expressed are my own.

Inheritance Recipes December Challenge : Eat Your Greens

Welcome to the December edition of Inheritance Recipes challenge. While Margot is busy getting The Festive Recipes round up together, I would like to introduce the theme for the December Challenge.
This month theme is Eat Your Greens – Three little words strung together, hammered in our psyche from childhood. Good or bad memories of vegetable dishes, we welcome them all. And as Christmas approaches we expect a lot of sprouts recipes but not only. Go for it. Make us fall in love with these vegetables all over again.
To say thank you for your recipes, we have asked Pyrex to sponsor the prize



Inheritance Recipes is a challenge that Margot as in Coffee and Vanilla and I have started to celebrate dishes food bloggers cherish.
Recipes which have been passed down by a family member, a friend, through an ancestral culture and dishes which you would like to bestow to future generations.

We will also add your recipe to the Inheritance Recipes Pinterest board and include your blog’s handle in our Inheritance Recipes list on Twitter (don’t forget to subscribe to them both), we will share your recipe via social media and include in the round-up at the end of the month and best of all we’ll give away a prize to the blogger whose recipe will have been chosen by a guest judge.


If possible, display one of the IR badges on your recipe post. (Click through to open one of the badges, right click to save it to your computer and then upload badge to your blog, please do not hotlink to images on our server.)
Add your recipe via linky below.
  • Up to 2 recipes accepted per blogger, as long as each one fits this month’s theme.

  • Feel free to link up to past posts but please, update them with links to the challenge pages to qualify.

  • Closing date is 27 December at 00.00.

  • The winner will be announced at the end of the month via Twitter and on the challenge round-up at the end of the month.

  • Entries from bloggers all around the World are accepted for the purpose of the round-up but unfortunately the prize can only be shipped within UK.

  • We can’t wait to see your Inheritance Recipes!

    Please note that entries that fail to follow “how to enter” instructions won’t be approved



    Make it Easy - Cook Book Review - with Roast Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese, Parma Ham, Walnuts Recipe

    It's said that we cook on average no more than 5 recipes out of any cookbook. Therefore when I received Make it Easy by Jane Lovett for review my jaw dropped: This book contains over 3/4 of the recipes, I cook regularly.
    This is a cookbook from a home cook for home cooks. The photography is beautiful, the recipes have a "solid feel" to them. Fool-proof, simple, not frightening are the words, on the cover used to describe this collection of 100 recipes.
    Jane works with fresh products from her kitchen garden and with local producers, a common thread with Pebble Soup HQ, though my kitchen garden is slightly grander as I rely on The Queen Orchard's in Greenwich Park where I volunteer.

    In the fullness of each season, she confronts the gluts conundrum: what to do with.... all this basil, for example : pesto. Her influences are cosmopolite leaning on Asian and Italian/French recipes. She talks about Tartiflette, readers may remember the Tommiflette.
    Made it Easy emphasizes getting much of the work done ahead of time which is a plus in the festive season. I am considering making her savoury Palmiers for Christmas evening do but to start with I tried my hand at Roast Butternut Squash with Blue Cheese, Parma Ham and Walnuts.

     Click here to watch the recipe explained step-by-step by the author herself.
    Disclaimer: words are my own, I was sent a complimentary copy of Make it Easy for review. RRP £12.99

    Give Away #32 : Hotel Chocolat - Advent Calendar For two - worth £26.00

    Together is better we all know that. As I was ready to write a tribute to the beauty and warmth of togetherness, it occurred to me that indeed there were rather to many exceptions to the rule. If together has its place, similarly, sharing can be very inconvenient.
    It's never been truer than when faced with an advent calendar. From Childhood we are told to share what is behind the small window, opened each morning with anticipation, but to be honest, it has never felt quite right to hand out the long awaited surprise to somebody else. 
    But things are looking up. Not long ago, advent calendars where kids stuff only. As an adult, it looked a  little odd when you announced that you "wanted one" too. Then, marketing caught up on the idea and appeared a number of advent calendars containing adult treats. 
    Great but how does one share each little goody?
    Hotel Chocolat came up with the perfect solution. An Advert Calendar for Two.
    And now, I am sharing it with you. Not my own calendar, you'll understand. That would be silly. No, you can have your own.

    Good luck


    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    What's New in the Kitchen #12 : Like, Love, Adore

    In the past few months, Pebble Soup HQ has received a few products for review.

    One I liked
    Having been crowned "Cook Like a Celebrity" champion boosted my baking confidence. Telling the world that I am a baking disaster is not appropriate any longer but I am still shaky on the cake and biscuits front and I like to play safe.
    The new Easy Bake Non-Stick Bacofoil paper, non-stick on both sides so there is no need to grease is a handy tool for a good result. I used it with the French Bread and Butter Pud: Le Pudding.

    One I loved

    We travel the Chablis route before. This is a reminder that wine pairing is as important as choosing a festive menu. If you are looking for a fresh and lively wine over the next couple of months for fish and poultry terrine or simply for a pre-dinner drink, with bottle of Chablis Appellation d'origine controlee nothing can go wrong.
    Be aware though The name "Chablis" has long been usurped and sometimes still is. There is only one true Chablis and it's from France.

    One I adored
    My favourite product this term.

    Since the demise of the much loved and used Tefal express. Looking for a replacement has not been easy. So it was with delight and a little apprehension that I tried one of the Microplane® Gourmet Series  

    It's an excellent grater which comes in three colours for all of us who are a little obsess by making sure that our gadgets look as good as they perform.

    It's fast and best of all it grates in both directions.
    For example take cheese instead of the normal grated cheese we know it produces curls of thin ribbons. There is a lot of science behind the series and it seems to work.
    The result is light and thin ribbons.

    As usual, I will be doing a Xmas round up so join me again 

    Roasting a Suckling Pig

    It's party time. About this time of the year, the clocks go back, I turn our mattress to the winter side and the bathroom scale is set back by 5 pounds. There will be no escape, we are going to feast  for the next couple of months.
    In fact at Pebble Soup HQ we have already succumbed. Having been lured into  the world of small producers and small family businesses, my research took me to an importer of products from Spain. A bit more about this in a minute.
    I was not looking for it to happen, it just did: a boneless suckling pig  found its way to my freezer. But what does one do with a little pig?

    It's a very good alternative to turkey but contrary to what the press would have us to believe we are still a way away from Christmas. However, a little pig is a little too large for two and certainly not adequate for friends who don't like fat on their meat (and I seem to have many of these).Having found the perfect companions for the occasion, I set myself to prepare a feast. But you know me, that was not without doing a bit of research on
    The advantages of roasting a suckling pig :
    • The obvious reason: boneless meat, easy to pick at, very similar to pulled pork so you don't have to watch your table manners. 
    • It is a real show stopper and a bit of an event in itself.
    • There is very little prep and as long as you oven is big enough, no cooking worries
    • It's rich, moist and tender and all the juices make the meat really sweet.
    My favourite bit: the crispy skin

    I borough the recipe from Basco Fine Food

  • 2.5 Kg Boneless Suckling Pig

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 Large Bulb of Garlic
  • 1 Carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 Onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 Stick of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 Leek, roughly chopped
  • 300ml Water or chicken stock

  • Method
    Pre-heat your oven to 250°C for 30 minutes.
    Cut the garlic bulb in half round its diameter and lightly rub the skin of the suckling pig.
    Place the suckling pig in a large roasting tin with the garlic and chopped vegetables, drizzle some good quality extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt.
    Roast joint for 20 minutes at 250°C top get the skin of the piglet going, turn the heat down to 200°C and roast for a further 50 minutes.
    Keep an eye on the garlic to make sure it does not burn. Increase the oven temperature to 250°C once again, remove the garlic, keeping it warm and roast for a final 25 to 30 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and crispy.
    Remove the piglet from the oven and take it out of the roasting tin onto a serving platter with the garlic.
    Drain the oil excess from the roasting tin, keeping the roasted vegetables inside and pour about 300ml of water or chicken stock into the roasting tin and return to the stove to deglaze the bottom of the pan with the liquid and make the sauce.
    Use a whisk to scrape all the caramelisation from the pan.
    Bring to gravy to the boil and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, pass through a fine sieve and serve with the roast suckling pig.

    All in all very simple, the only difficulty is to source the meat. Which brings me to Grey's Fine Foods. Their products are delicious. They are an importer of food and drinks from Spain and work with small producers and family business.

    For more info call 01937 845 767.
    Disclaimer: No money was exchanged for this post- I received a sample- all the words are my own



    Comfort Food Inheritance Recipes Round up & October Winner

    Thank you all who visited the Inheritance Recipes in October and to the lovely bloggers who linked up their comfort food recipes. Here is the round up and the winner's name who will received £30 delivery from Asda.

    The theme in October was comfort food - Let's start with the savoury recipes

     One word stood out SAUSAGES. Sausages are always popular when the cold starts to show its ugly head

    Starting at the center on the top row and in a clockwise motion

    From Farmers Girl Kitchen a classic sausage and bean casserole

    Apron Free Cooking shared her Grandma’s Lil Smokies Casserole  

    A recipe from From the Gluten Free Alchemist  her  mini sausage pasty 
    As it was curry week Bangers and Mash drew on her Malay inheritance with a Malaysian Lamb Curry
    Two recipes from myself a Chicken and Chorizo and a Simple Caramelised Onions
    And from Margot of Coffee and Vanilla two from her native Poland a Kasha: Roasted Buckwheat and Egg Dumplings used in a delicious veggie soup with dill
    And now for the desserts and preserve
    Starting with a classic comfort food, nothing soothes better than a classic Jam tart Tyn and Thyme's recipe

    From a regular of Inheritance Recipes De Tout Coeur Limousin a Sticky Toffee Pud and a French Rice pudding, un Gateau de Riz

    We always enjoy to see one of From Fab Food for All's recipe. Here is her inherited lemon curd

    A recipe which travelled a long way, passed down to generations is From Food Glorious Food a coffee tart from the Blue Mountain range, in Jamaica

    Last but not least what Apron Free Cooking describe as a Pink Fluff

    We called on ASDA which kindly offered the prize and ask their representative to pick a winner and the

    Many congratulations, we will be in touch soon.

    In November, Inheritance Recipes is hosted by Margot Coffee 'n Vanilla, head here to link your Festive Recipes. We'd love to see what you've concocted for  Thanks Giving, Christmas and al.


    Home sense kindly sponsored Inheritance Recipes with a £50 gift card  to spend in of their stores on festive decorations, gifts or other treasures you may find.

    Do join us and good luck



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