Saturday, 30 October 2010

Norfolk's Dartmoor

This week, King Canape had decided that he'd give walking a miss this week, so the Pie Master was going to pick up some canapés. But on his way to the Norwich Beer Festival, he received a call from Paul, who offered to bring canapés... After the beer festival, there was not time to procure pies. The seven hardcore walkers set off for one of the Walk Master's extreme walks. We parked at the Marsham Heath car park and set off south over Buxton Heath where the going was hampered by various obstacles: fences to climb, styles to cross and a rickety log bridge. We came upon a sign telling us that there were 10 Dartmoor ponies on the Heath, and then we spotted 4 of them. They must've felt at home, as the Heath resembled the bogs of Dartmoor. We came upon Church Lane and followed it a little way east before heading back north up a track, over a road and up Long Dick's Lane! Passing White House Farm, we were joined by a couple of very tame sheep as we walled towards Marsham parish church. They left us when we climbed a style to finish our journey over a ploughed field. Spotting the previously recorded scratch dial on the corner of All Saints church, we found the porch locked. As it was raining slightly, we walked on to the shelter by the Marsham village sign to consume our sandwiches. A short stroll up the A140 brought us to the Plough Inn for pints of Adnams. We then set off west along Fengate and Crane’s Lane eventually finding our way onto Marsham Heath and back to the cars. Here Paul presented Spicy lentil dip and Moroccan humous with crudities and Multigrain Ryvita.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Pickerings medium pies

Pies returned this week: medium pies from Pickerings, Norwich market stall (pitch 102 & 103) an old favourite, last sampled on Valentines Day. We were joined for our pre-pie perambulation, by Luna and her mum, Grace. We also had Bert & Harris accompanying us on what was to be an eventful walk from East Tuddenham Village Hall. We crossed the Norwich Road to take the footpath north that passes by All Saints church. Our next challenge was to cross the busy A47. Achieving this we continued north, the dogs enjoying being able to run free. Luna never straying far from mum, but Bert and Harris taking the opportunity to get through a hole in a fence and explore a wood at their leisure... When they eventually came back they were lead-bound for the remainder of the walk! Footpaths marked on maps failed to materialise, but after a couple of failed attempts, we found a route west. King Canape then had a bit of a funny turn – a slight dizzy spell, so had a sit down while it passed. After no time at all, the Canape King was on his feet and we continued west past noisy kennels, our three dogs not reacting. On reaching Heath Road, Charles, accompanied by the Pie Master & Liz, took the slightly shorter and easier going route to the pub via the road, while the rest of the party continued west by footpath and then south to Hockering parish church. On route, the threatening skies then unleashed a good dose of hail. The party taking the road made for the shelter of a conifer, but on reaching it, the intensity of the hailstorm increased to such an extent, most of the hail simply passed straight through our shelter. When the hail eased and we had Charles seated in the pub, we joined the remaining walkers at St. Michael’s church. Here we ate our sandwiches “on the hoof” - as the church was being renovated and surrounded by fencing. The remains of one scratch dial was visible, to add to our collection. We then made our way to join King Canape in the Victoria Inn. Here we consumed various beverages and Grace and Luna took advantage of the open fire. Suitably refreshed and warmed, it was time to head outside, Charles sensibly accepted the offer of being picked up and stayed in the pub. We made our way back to East Tuddenham, modifying the original route to utilise more quiet metalled roads, as the going was so wet. Don in his Wellingtons, made the most of the conditions; splashing his way through the puddles. We had seen numerous fungi on our walk, but as we neared the cars, Paul and I thought we’d struck lucky; spotting some fine looking mushrooms. On closer inspection they proved to be Yellow Stainers! The feasting began once Charles had been retrieved from the pub and started with his canapés of King prawns with Rosemarie sauce. Cutting the good looking pies released little aroma and revealed a nicely textured pink filling with a little jelly. The pies tasted good with a peppery after taste, scoring a spot on 8.5 with a standard deviation of 0.55902, slightly better than their last sampling.
But the munching was not over - for Grace had baked a huge carrot cake especially for us. The cake tasted good too, with several munchers giving it a score of 10 and suggesting we should have cake instead of pork pies!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Canapés on Swardeston Common

King Canape was globe trotting, so the Pie Master, rather pressed for time, purchased canapés locally this week. The Walk Master had devised a walk around East Carleton. We parked by Swardeston Common to start our anti-clockwise circular walk. First we took a mix of road and paths west, to Lower East Carleton, and then we followed a mile-long footpath to East Carleton. Here we examined the church of St. Mary for scratch dials, finding none. We could not go inside as the door was locked. Beside this church are the ruins of St. Peter – little remains as building materials were scavenged from the old church. We left the churches and headed further west a little way, passing the East Carleton village sign as we followed a section of Kett's Country walk for just under a mile, before heading east to Mulbarton. Here we ate our sandwiches on the common before examining the church of St. Mary Magdalen and finding two new scratch dials. We then made our way to the “Worlds End” where we sampled beers from the new range produced by Adnams. These were enjoyed in the beer garden, sitting on the substantial garden furniture. We returned to the church to follow the footpath east that runs beside it. Then we took the first footpath on our left, to head north to Swardeston. We made our way to the previously visited church of St. Mary with its splendid single scratch dial on its south east corner. The church was open and inside we were reminded that Edith Cavell came from Swardeston – her father being the vicar. Preparations were being made for Harvest Festival to which we were invited – but we had canapés and tea waiting... We returned to the common where Ana and Josie first played on the swings & tittermatorter. With our cups of tea we had a selection of canapés: slices spiced Spanish sausage, Belgian Duck & Port pâté and lemon & coriander Houmous with Scottish oatcakes. Highland shortbread fingers completed this weeks munching.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Cookie's at last!

At last we made it to Cookie's! Arriving at Salthouse green, someone thought it a good idea to book a table for 16:30 - in the past we always booked by phone when we were a couple of miles or so away. The Führer and Staci went and caught the "Coast Hopper" while the remaining six of us moved off in an eastwardly direction, then south through the churchyard of St. Nicholas. We had explored this large church many times previously, so just passed it by and continued up Bard Hill. We continued west over Gallows Hill along Pinfold Lane to go over Silverland Hill and Warborough Hill, coming into Kelling, by the school. Here we saw a smart wooden sculpture, depicting Kelling Beach – part of the Salthouse Sculpture Trail, before our final accent of Muckleburgh Hill. So much for Norfolk being flat! Here we had lunch among the grazing cows - Norfolk Highland Cattle? We would have been at an altitude of over 200 feet above sea level! After lunch we descended the hill, passing through woods and eventually emerging on to the shingle bank, that we walked along, back to Salthouse. Reaching the cars at 15:10, we had no tea to go with Don's dips; that were to be this week's canapés, so we went to the Dun Cow for pints of Wherry. Don made enquiries at Cookie’s and established that they could accommodate us sooner than booked. But the Führer and Staci both had their mobile phones switched off! So a search party was sent out and located them in Cley next the Sea, at a bus stop. A variety of fishy food was ordered, the Royal Salads being popular. The Pie Master & mawther plumped for the Crab and Salmon Royals.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Fungus Foray 2010

The first Sunday in October was our annual Fungus Foray, a little earlier than normal. Just nine mycologists, eight having just dined at the Plough Inn, went in search of fungus on Marsham Heath... This was a 200% increase in numbers from the previous year! And thankfully, King Canape, turned Mushroom Master, led us to a much-improved haul of fungus this year, including Stinkhorns that we have not found for several years. A huge boletus was also found, but not collected, as it was old and soggy. We found a few edible boletus, masses of Amethyst Deceivers and rather less Chanterelles. Our haul was taken back to the Trafford Arms where some of our finest specimens were displayed.
Debbie then cooked up a fabulous fungus feast with our edible haul for foragers and friends, all washed down with the superb range of beers on tap. Anyone interested in fungi should visit this site:
Pen drawings © David Atkinson