Phew! What a busy couple of weeks.
In the past fortnight, I have been in Bordeaux, Cornwall, Yeovil, Dorchester, Henley-upon-Thames, Stevenage and finally home. To London. It has been pretty tiring and I'm slightly sick of eating out.
That actually sounds really spoilt, I know. It is just that I travel a lot for work and occasionally, after meal after meal of rich food, all you want is a simple bowl of soup at home!
But I'm not complaining too much. Along the way, there have been some pretty fabulous meals. The highlight was the opportunity to go to Jamie Oliver's Cornwall branch of his restaurant Fifteen.
The restaurant is suspended above the glorious sweep of sand and sea that is Watergate Bay. As you pad expectantly towards the entrance, you have to squeeze past sun-kissed surfers and their rippling six-packs. It was certainly enough to stir my appetite into action (!)
Once seated at our table, we gazed out to sea at the glorious view and then turned our attention to the mouth-watering menu.
I now have to confess that I am not Jamie Oliver's biggest fan. Don't get me wrong - I watch his shows, I have all his cookbooks. I just find myself squirming ever-so-slightly each time he mentions the word 'pukka', or starts talking about 'bashing' up potatoes with 'loadsa' herbs. I'm just a stick-in-the-mud for the Queen's English.
Anyway, I was initially concerned to find that the menu read in exactly the same way. The idea of 'Fifteen's amazing potato salad with Buttervilla funky leaves' just annoyed me slightly...
Luckily I got over this very quickly. A large glass of A Mano Fiano-Greco, 2007 with its 'amazingly floral' nose with 'heaps of lovely elderflower (...) and plenty of honeyed fruit in the mix' helped enormously. As did our very chirpy waitress who knew everything about each aspect and ingredient on the menu.
Three of us decided to share a most incredible platter of antipasti. It took pride of place in the centre of the table and groaned with melt-in-the-mouth meats, cheeses and marinated vegetables. And the best olives I think I've ever eaten.
Oh. And melon. And the best slow-roasted tomatoes ever. And 'loadsa' lovely bread. I was getting into the swing of it all.
Next up, I decided to go fishy. And boy was I glad I did. My pan fried Cornish pollock with cannellini beans, Zucca Farm sweetcorn, smoked haddock and oregano was truly scrumptious. The flavours were perfectly balanced and complimentary. Happy days.
One of the best things about the menu was that it wasn't too long. I don't like too much choice as I'm a terrible decision-maker. A choice of four desserts was all I needed. I plunked for the least photogenic but most delicious: Amber's Mum's amazing rhubarb and cinnamon cake with vanilla bean custard. It was heaven...
...and it didn't last long...
Good food, great service and rather pleasing rosemary-scented soap in the loo - what more could you ask for?
Don't forget, there is still time to enter the British Food Fortnight Challenge. I've had some great entries so far but there is always room for more! In case you are stuck for ideas, here are a few I haven't had so far... A traditional roast. Treacle tart. Shepherd's Pie. Scotch eggs. Fish pie. Welsh rarebit. Fish and chips. Jam roly poly. The possibilities are endless!