Archive for the ‘Dinner Recap’ Category

Day 3: Shipley and Skipton

There are a few things that just scream England to me. Here are some:

1) Fish and Chips

2) Castles

I got to enjoy both of these very English things in the same day.

Holy Cow! Life is good.

I tempted you with the title  “England’s National Dish.” Here’s the question,  do you think one of these food items are considered England’s national dish?

Fish and Chips with Smashed Peas

Macaroni and Cheese

Fish Pie

Believe it or not, none of these dishes are considered England’s national dish! I knew the macaroni was a stretch, but hey, it looks kind of English in that picture.

England’s national dish is Chicken Tikka Masala.

Shipley has a large Indian population, so we had a chance to enjoy  a really yummy bowl of England’s National Dish (it even advertised it’s status on the menu). This brings to question, what is America’s national dish? Probably the hamburger, but wouldn’t that be cool if it was Chop Suey? This American creation has the same history as Chicken Tikki Marsala, both were adopted and altered to fit their new nations taste buds.

Now for the castle…

Skipton Castle is the second best maintained castle in all of England. It feels  like a very large, empty, drafty house that happens to have peek holes for arrows and other weapons. The medieval security system. I couldn’t shake the feeling we were at an open house and kept wondering where the realtor was…

The dining hall. It should be big enough for our next party…

Now you could cook some serious things in this hearth!

We did put an offer down on it, but I think the ghosts will out bid us.


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Day 2: Leeds

That night we visited Leed, a large city in between York and Shipley. We decided to catch a movie and dinner. We ended up dining at one of my favorite chef’s restaurants. I love Jamie Oliver. If you’ve never heard of Jamie you have to check out The Food Revolution that aired last year in America. Jamie worked hard to overhaul the school food system in England and has now set his sights on America. He’s a great defender of food that’s good and good for you, with a lot of respect for the plants and animals that provide it. 

Mushroom ravioli (mushrooms picked by Jamie’s friend Mike, I’m not kidding).

My favorite dessert, if not single best item I ate on the entire trip came from Jamie’s restaurant. It was  caramel ice cream with crushed honey comb on the top. Oh food Gods, I can’t thank you enough!

My sweetheart John has a strong sweet tooth, so despite having dessert at he restaurant he also had to get popcorn at the movie theater. Get ready for this people, here is a million-trillion-dollar idea: in England they have Kettle Korn at the movie theater. Yes, you read that right, Kettle Korn. They call it sweet corn, but it’s basically the same thing.

As your official food ambassador between our two nations I am happy to say “Brilliant!”

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Day 2: York

We decided to visit the ancient viking city of York. It’s a wonderful tourist town with a cathedral, a castle tower and a “scented” Viking ride/museum (Viking smells like wet fur by the way, not a real shocker, I know). We saw viking bones, viking shoes, and another tourist or two.

But the main reason we were in York was to have afternoon tea at Betty’s, a popular tea spot in the area. Kendra drinks Betty’s tea every morning and there’s a good reason for that — it’s very strong and very tasty. Betty’s is so popular that they have two locations in less than a mile of each other. Even with two spots we had to wait in line. There happened to some military in town that day. We ended up having tea time next to a burly British military man and another solider (not who I was expecting to have tea with!)

My mother loves to have tea parties and so do I. This was my first official English Tea in England and I was out of my skin excited about it. Kendra had to show me the English way of doing things.

We ate our towers of treats rather quickly. My favorite item, the egg salad sandwiches that had butter spread on them. God Bless the English and their love of putting butter on pretty much anything. I’m never eating egg salad without it again, cholesterol be damned.

My tower of tea. I ate it all.

John isn’t much of a tea drinker so he ordered ginger beer and a rarebit. We joke about this sandwich a lot because there’s an old comic that uses the sandwich as it’s punch line. This was our first time trying this melty-cheesy-herby-delight and it was yummy. Warmer and richer than a normal grilled cheese and of course, there were chips.

The last thing I had to eat at Betty’s was one of their own creations called the Fat Rascal.

 It’s basically a cinnamon scone with cherry eyes and almond teeth. I love food with pretend faces, so needless to say, we bonded.

Let me just say this, if you run into me and happen to call me a Fat Rascal I will not be offended, but answer with a hardy “TA” (the northern way of saying thank you).

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Tomato sauce is red, cheese is white…

Every year John and I order a heart-shaped pizza from Papa Johns to celebrate Valentines Day. This typically happens a couple of days before the holiday (we always go to our favorite restaurant Cascones on the actual day) and the past few years we’ve shared our cheesy valentine with friends.

This year Josh joined us for pizza-love and our current Friday night ritual, watching Twin Peaks.

Not the most Valentines Day themed show in the whole world, but Agent Cooper does love his pie!

What was your Valentine’s Day menu? Tell me about it! Comment or e-mail me at thepiesthatbind@gmail.com.




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Lately we’ve taken to dining on the sofa more than usual. Not the best habit in the whole wide world (I blame the unforgivable winter weather- we coped with a mix of food, TV, and sofa). Hopefully this nightly cushion dining will become a “treat not treatment” with the spring thaw!

Who was there:

The sweet, sweet sofa

•Veggie apple sausage
•Smashed roasted cauliflower
•Twice baked potatoes with three cheeses
•Diet Coke

The movie Amelie…a new Valentine’s tradition.
A few Favorite parts:
The tour de France
The gnome
Her pasta dinner
The bird seed arrows
The color red
The romance of photo-booths

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After interviewing Julie about her family’s Christmas ravioli extravaganza I was inspired. I love dough and pasta, then heck, I should make some ravioli’s too!

So it began.

For 2 weeks I made ravioli’s by myself. I made pumpkin which turned out a little too pumpkin-y and chicken sausage, which was good, but I was wearing out. Yes, as I should have learned from the interview, making lots of ravioli might require more hands. I called SOS and my trusty help came running. Thank you family.


Cheese filling.


Dad picked his own apron fyi.

Ravioli Exhaustion. I owe her yet again.



This was a BYOB party (Bring your own bowl). I did this partly to save on late night dishwashing and mostly because it was kind of fun to tell people. The party started at 5pm and lasted until 9pm. I wanted people to feel like they could drop by and weren’t committed to midnight.


Cheese Ravioli

Pumpkin Ravioli

Chicken Sausage Ravioli

Dad’s Spaghetti Sauce (with a little help from Paul Newman)

Dad’s meatballs

Garlic Butter Sauce


Garlic Butter

Plain Butter




Sparkling Cider

Diet Coke



Desserts: (another bowl friendly item)

Ice cream: Chocolate Fudge, Vanilla, Cookie Dough, and Peppermint

Toasts and celebrating every hour on the hour!

The party was a smash, at least I think so. The best thing about this experience was that I got to talk to almost everyone! This is usually not the case when I’m hosting. Since I decided to serve each person to order from the stove, I had the chance to chat with my guests. Yes, it was busy night boiling for me, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

We had so much fun. The pumpkin ravioli’s turned out to be the big hit! Who knew? Certainly not this hearty eater.

And then there were the toasts. Every hour until all the guests left. I thought people might tire of the toasting, but no one did. In fact I think people liked it even more as the night went on.

Each guest took home one or two individually wrapped cinnamon rolls. I made 60 in total! I love the idea of celebrating the sweetness of a new year with something yummy. (I stole this idea from a children’s book author that I like). For the recipe see my blog about my grandmother’s cinnamon rolls.

With one guest left we invited her to participate in our New Year’s ritual.

That night we received a message that one of younger guests was still requesting dad’s meatballs when he was tucked into bed. People did scrape the bowl looking for more.

Here’s the recipe so you can enjoy them too!

Dad’s Meatballs:

1/2 pound of Italian sausage

1/2 pound hamburger

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

garlic salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs

(dad also tossed in some black olives and chopped tomatoes in some of the meatballs)

Butter for frying (2 to 3 tablespoons)

How to:

Mix all ingredients together (except butter) in a large bowl.

Form golf ball sized meatballs and set aside on a plate.

Melt butter in a deep frying pan. Add meatballs.

Fry in pan until cooked through and brown on the outside.

Serves 10

What an excellent way to start the new year. All that work was so worth it!


Thank you Kendra for the use her pictures, Jennifer for helping out at the stove and Roger for answering the front door!

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Our first and, possibly only, Merry Mex-Mas!

Time: Noon

Table: Stephanie and John’s Dining Room Table and Den, but that’s later

Who gathered:







*Aunt Linda


The Menu:

Tacos: veggie crumbles and ground turkey with onions and cilantro (Steph)

Spanish Rice (Dad)

Pinto Beans (Dad)

Cumin Roasted Corn (Steph)

Cornbread (Grandma)

Chips (Linda)

Mango Salsa (Lynley)

Guacamole (Lynley)

Enchilada casserole (Lynley)

Tortilla Soup (Lynley)

Cheese Dip (John)

Pomegranate Margarita’s



Diet Coke



Peppermint Ice Cream with hot fudge

Vanilla Ice Cream

Lots and Lots of cookies

Dining Topics:

The endless cookies we all baked.

Guessing what Trish and Stan were probably doing in Florida.

The weather in Indiana.

Was our niece Lilly was excited for Santa?

How this Christmas is so much better than last Christmas.

Oops, I forgot to get the corn out of the oven.

Activities for after the feast:

Opening Presents–



Best gift ever! Posh English Chocolate. Thank you, honey!


Our long-standing tradition of White Elephant Bingo–

That’s when I lost the Betty White Calendar, but really, it was ok.

Feliz Navidad Everyone!

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