Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Food for Thought



The main news this week is that Tom and I went out for a meal. Ooh, big wow! Well, it is extraordinary because we so rarely eat out, (a) because we’ve shaken every piggy bank in the house to within an inch of its life (b) why would I want to eat something that has fallen off the Brake Brothers’ lorry and into a microwave – and pay for the privilege? (c) Tom is a really stonking cook so anything else seems a bit pants in comparison (consequently, I haven’t cooked for about a million years. Hurray!).

Anyway, Mrs & Mrs Next-Door have been telling us for ages that we really should try Cnapan (that’s the name of the restaurant, by the way, not some weird thing we do to pass the time in west Wales) and before we could fret about the cost, they booked a table. ‘It’s like your favourite granny’s country house,’ says Mr Next-Door. (Actually, I only had one granny who lived in a council house and wasn’t too keen on me. I suppose you can be a bit selective when you’ve got loads of grandchildren to choose from. Mind you, she wasn’t very fond of Ma either, although she did have a soft spot for my naughty ‘I’m-not-going-to-kiss-those-smelly-old-people’ little sister).

Thankfully, Cnapan was more like the fantasy granny house than the real granny house. In fact, it’s fab; a gorgeous Georgian building, plenty of squashy sofas to sink into, a sensible approach to pricing (£23 for two courses, £29 for three) and wonderful food. As far from the bottom of a freezer as you can get. My chocolate pud was totally brilliant, (so brilliant I refused to let anyone else have a swap – quit whilst you’re ahead, I say). With cooking that good it’s possible we may even eat out again.

And finally...
Stepson One is with us this week and we’re planning to get up early in the morning and head off to the mountains. Aran Fawddwy is the first choice, but that can be a right pig if it’s wet so we might just go up to Craig Cau on Cadair Idris instead. My half-marathon legs think that Cadair’s the better bet, at the moment... we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Oh, bum, Tom and Stepson One have just come in from the beach and where they saw a friend of ours with her new, nine-week old Patterdale terrier - and I missed it!! I love Patterdales; I shall have to hotfoot it round there and admire the new arrival.



The paintings, by Tom Tomos, are 'By The Cliff Edge' (top) and 'Craig Cau' (above).

22 comments:

Fennie said...

Wheeee! As the snail said when he went for a ride on the back of a tortoise - well everything is relative, isn't it? I am here first. Blank space, no one else 'hallo---oo!' Which makes up for being a week late last time. So here we go. Damn! I've forgotten what you wrote about. Memory like a sieve - yes, piggy banks and restaurants and Cnapan - which sounds as if it ought to be a form of sushi that you ate half way up Cadair Idris, or wherever it was. Mind you, at £11.50 per course, you expect the chocolate pud to be good.
Don't expect you saved any for us? No? Thought not. Cnapan, - handy word. Slightassertion of the negative about it. Sort of thing you might say if someone asked if there were any chocolate muffins left - "Cnapan,' she said, turning away and shaking her head. 'Cnapan, nichts, nada, nuffink - I've eaten them all!

Trust the legs have recovered. Fxx

Calico Kate said...

Reeeally wishing that Cnapan was a touch nearer here as I need inspiration for a venue to take B for his B'day on Saturday and we have done all the local hostelries.

Anyway so pleased you did well at the half marathon. No Mrs Clumpy to be seen.

Love Toms cliff painting.

Sorry you have missed the Paterdale too as you haven't taken it's picture - do share once you've met it.

Great to catch up & hope the lurgy has passed.
CKx

Preseli Mags said...

What ravishing paintings! Incidentally cnapan is a traditional west Wales sport - a football type of thing involving a pig's bladder and lots of violence. The food is so wonderful though - I've had chocolate puddings there in the past that have been truly sublime. And you deserved every single mouthful for facing up to some big hills so soon after Cardiff!

Brown Dog said...

Not sure I fancy the sound of a restaurant named after a sport involving a pig's bladder, mind you, something I might manage to overlook if it involved a chocolate pud of the ilk you describe. And can't imagine you not being any granny's favourite.

Absolutely agree with Mags about the gorgeous paintings, though. Very talented bloke, that Tom.

elizabethm said...

I do so know what you mean about eating out and it not being as good as it is at home. Lucky you having Tom cooking away! Your restuarant sounds like a real find, worth all the effort of going out in the dark.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

read all about Cnapan in Brian John's books, I think I have actually seen the restaurant when whizzing up from Pembroke> Hope the weather is kind to you on Cader Idris - on a clear day we can see it so give us a wave!

DOT said...

Oooh. We used to live just under Cadair Idris in a house called Bryn-y-Gwyn when I was a mere slip of a runt, and I remember going to that lake - there's some pub/hotel nearby, yes? - and while my parents imbibed, my brothers and I smashed light bulbs we found to listen to the echoes of their explosions across the still water. Happy pre-recycling glass days.

gaelikaa said...

Oh, there's nothing I like better than a nice meal out. It's better than....oh, better forget what I was going to say. I can't remember the last time I had a nice piece of chocolate pudding. In fact I could murder a bar of chocolate right now. I tend to buy it only for the kids. I'll slip out and get a chocolate fix before they come in from school, what do you think?

I just adore that artwork that appears on your blog, Chris. It's got this turbulent, deep quality that sort of draws you in.....quite an experience to just ponder over it. Well, there's a double reason to come here, greaat writing and great painting!

Cait O'Connor said...

LOVE By the Cliff Edge Chris.
Cnapan sounds really nice, I am fussy about eating out, same reasons as you really.
Congrats on the marathon and sorry I have not been by lately, it's just life that's been stopping me.

Frances said...

Hello Chris, and continued congratulations on the run.

As someone else who does not often go out for a meal, I can see how great it would be to dine in a fine restaurant.

As someone who often visits your site, let me again praise Tom's paintings ... today's two are exceptional.

See you again soon. xo

Edward said...

Cnapan sounds lovely - shame it's so far away (adding a taxi to the cost of the meal would be rather prohibitive). The paintings are to die for, too. And I know what you mean about half marathon legs - mine are still jelly from Stroud last Sunday.

Calico Kate said...

Thanks for dropping by, I am also doing the third part of a CW course run by Strathclyde Uni called Blaze, I'm on the novel writing bit and have just had a good review for the 3000wrd piece handed in on Sunday - phew. Now it's the TMA01 deadline on Friday and I'm only just starting - oh dear!!
CKx

Pondside said...

I'm with you on the eating out bit. I'd much rather stay home - even for eggs and toast - than have a second class meal in a fancy restaurant. It sounds as though you hit the jackpot, though, and I clicked on the link and drooled a little. Glad you had such a good time.

Debs said...

Loving the paintings.

I wish I lived closer, Cnapan looks, and sounds, glorious. I love eating out, especially when it turns out to be such good food.

Martha said...

Dining out is fun is the food is wonderful (and so often it isn't!) I'll have to go look up a patterson terrier -- I've never heard of one!

Martha said...

Oops -- patterdales terrier!

Flowerpot said...

Love the painting - and I so agree about going out. We rarelydo as Himself is an excellent cook. That place sounds great though!

Cottage Garden said...

Hope you enjoyed your mountain trek Chris - I admire your energy!

It's nice to go out for a meal every now but I agree, it has to be fine dining only or why bother, especialy when you have such a good chef at home! Off now to check the link to Cnapan!

Have a great week. Jeanne x

Arosebyanyothername said...

Ha! Well we have eaten several times in Cnapan and very good it is too. We have always love the homey feel about it and when we ate there all the family seemed to help out. A few years ago this was as Jim's ex partner lives in Narberth.
Sorry I was away when you ran the marathon, I always meant to go and watch. Congratulations anyway. Just thinking about running makes my legs ache.

ChrisH said...

Fennie, funny you should mention sushi, but more of that later. Save some?? You are joking!

Kate, happy birthday to B for Saturday. My first deadline is coming up too - you are very brave to do two courses. Well done!

Mags, let's forget coffee and have a game of cnapan instead. Do they sell pigs bladders in Cardigan?

Brown Dog, the pud was fab. Yes, Tom is a bit of an all-round Clever Clogs and it's a good job one of us cooks - I'm just grateful it's him!

Elizabeth, I know what you mean about not going out after dark - much easier to stay put round here.

SBS, it was rather a cloudy day - I'll tell you a bit more soon. Yes, you would have seen Cnapan, can't miss it really as it's sugar pink.

David, I'm glad it brought back memories of your misspent youth! See, now Mags and I have to arrange meetings to kick pig bladders rather than smashing glass - there's progress for you.

ChrisH said...

Gaelikaa, a chocolate fix is always a wise move - do it! Thanks very much to you (and everyone) for the lovely comments about Tom's paintings. He'll be delighted.

Cait, thank you for stopping by, I'll be over to visit yours too.

Frances, thank you for all your very kind comments.

Edward, a taxi fare would have finished us off too. It was well worth raiding the funds for the evening 'though. Well done with Stroud half - no wonder you've got jelly legs.

Pondside, I'm afraid it pushes me over the edge to go out and pay for rubbish food and surly staff. Fortunately Cnapan is the opposite in evey respect. A lovely place.

Debs, thanks very much - I know you're a fan of Tom's work and your comments are appreciated.

Martha, welcome and thank you for commenting - having looked at the fabulous settings on your blog you are lucky not to have us knocking on your door and inviting ourselves in!

Fp, another of those coincidences! It's lovely to be cooked for - well, it means we can get on with our writing too!

Jeanne, lovely to hear from you, I'm on my way to visit your beautiful blog.

Rosie, hello! How was France? Well, I'll find out soon, I hope. Lucky you to have been a regular at Cnapan - you must have had the opportunity to explore the menu.

Liane Spicer said...

Tom's work is beautiful! I'm in love with Craig Cau!