Eating Out: the Hop Pole, revisited

As we had such an amazing meal last time (see previous post) we decided to dine here again for dad’s birthday last weekend, and again it was amazing. I’ll keep this post/ review brief as my last one pretty much covered all the bases but I just couldn’t not share these beaut food pics with you..

Trio of pork: roast fillet, slow roasted belly and pulled hock croquet with mini toffee apples, baby leeks and roasted beetroot. Each part of the trio had a character of it’s own but all married together nicely and went lovely with a big glug of Hendersons. It felt like there was half a pig on my plate but I managed to plough through it.


Rabbit and black pudding Wellington with roasted carrots, parsnips and a rich jus. Lovely and moist and full of flavour.


And… The biggest steak and ale pie I have ever seen, served with chips. Naturally. Lovely tender beef and tasty boozy gravy. mmmm gravy.


On another note, I know this is supposed to be all about food but I couldn’t resist sharing  a picture of this she-wee contraption, speechless.


Recipe: Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes/ Chocolate and Cream Cupcakes

Last weekend it was birthday time, which means…. Cake time!!!!! Or cupcake time in this instance. For my dad’s birthday I decided on cupcakes but to go down a classic Victoria sponge route, then I couldn’t decide on strawberry or chocolate, strawberry or chocolate, strawberry or chocolate. Cue brainwave….. I’ll do both.

This recipe makes 24 cupcakes, 12 strawberry and 12 chocolate. After all, when there’s your family and a cake fiend boyfriend to feed there can never be too much.


You will need:

  • 350g Self Raising Flour
  • 350g Butter
  • 350g Caster Sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 3 tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 500ml Double Cream
  • 12 heaped teaspoons Strawberry Jam
  • 12 Strawberries
  • 12 heaped teaspoons Nutella
  • 12 chunks of Chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon Icing Sugar



  1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. One by one mix in the eggs until thoroughly mixed in. Add the vanilla essence and mix.
  4. Fold in the flour and baking powder until a thick cake mix is formed.
  5. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases.
  6. for the strawberry, add a heaped teaspoon of cake mix to each of the cases, then add a heaped teaspoon on strawberry jam on top of the mix, then add another heaped teaspoons of cake mix to top it all off.
  7. Bake the cupcakes for 20 mins until golden and the cakes spring back up when lightly pressed.
  8. for the chocolate, repeat the same process as the strawberry except use Nutella in the place of strawberry jam.
  9. When the cakes are cooled its time to decorate. Whip up the double cream and icing sugar until stiff and forms peaks. Using a piping bags pipe the cream onto each of the cupcakes.
  10. Top each one with a strawberry or chunk of chocolate and enjoy!!


You will notice that these cupcakes use fresh cream and strawberries so won’t last as long as other cupcakes, not that we ever have a problem I’m our house.



Bruges: My chocolate and beer heaven

After visiting Bruges last month, a very appreciated birthday present from my parents, im still mesmerised by the beer, frites, chocolate and waffles. It’s left me with a taste for more (my mouth is watering at just the thought).

After arriving and having all the faf of finding the hotel (apparently I’m not the best map reader) we were starving and set out to find lunch. We ate at one of the many restaurants in the main Markt square, I’d normally go for something a bit more ‘off the beaten track’ but as we were only there for a couple of days I felt we should have the full feel. It was club sandwiches all round which to be honest were not great for the 14euro price tag but they filled a hole and the view of the bell tower was worth it.

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Next, my favourite part one word: beer. We tried a few places but for a day beer a definite try is the duvel cafe which is just upstairs in the museum on the main Markt square. The duvel is reasonable and the surroundings are amazing, the outside area looks right over the square. Great for me as I could partake in my favourite activity, people watching.

Looking around I had definite beer envy of other drinkers beer tasting boards. We just had to come back the next day to have one ourselves which definitely did not disappoint.


Then came the waffles, well you can’t come to Belgium and not have a one. We had one topped with caramel and one with chocolate and cream which we shared. Oh my christ, they were amazing.

In the evening we ate just off the square; after much indecisiveness between the Bruges beef stew in pale ale and mussles in white wine sauce I decided on the mussles. Looking round and seeing everyone gorging on these giant saucepans full of them I couldn’t miss out. And I didn’t, I ate nearly all of them (which was a lot) and left very satisfied. The boyfriend went for steak (for a change) which was also a delight.


We had after dinner mojitos the craving for beer set in and we set off on a beer mission, well when in belgium. After, traipsing round in search for a typical beer cafe my boyfriend noticed by chance a place down a side street. The pub- the place to be were offering over 100 beers, we were in. Were chose about 6 different beers between us throughout the night and shared all. The favourites were pajais and mango beer, which I’ll be trying to track down at home.


With bellies full of beer I only had one thing in mind, frites and that was it my heart was set on it. We visited a frites shop which look like your typical fast food place but that it wasn’t. For one everything was made to order which was just making me hungry and impatient!! But we waited and can I say, it was well worth it. My food highlight of the whole weekend!

The next day was home time, gutted. After another day of beer and frites (yes, round 2) there was only more thing to do, chocolate shopping. There was only one thing, I didnt bloody buy enough.


So there it is my little foodie trip of bruges. It is definitely one of the most amazing places I have ever been I recommend everyone to go, I can’t wait to go back. It has left my craving more. I need to find beer, frites, chocolate and waffles this good at home!

Oh and just a couple of pictures from our canal tour, a definite must.