Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Tony's singular adventures - Bruce Castle

Its time for another post of a previous 'singular adventure'.
This one was an adventure into deepest darkest Tottenham, to discover the mysterious Bruce Castle.

'The Bruce Castle adventure:'

After leaving Delargo Towers. I took time to view the architectural merits of the lesser manor houses ( note the exquisite window hangings ) and gardens of the area.

Then off into the unknown.
Tottenham has a surprising amount of parks and green open spaces. My journey first took me through Lordship Recreation Ground.
It was here that I stumbled on the first bit of history of the day.
The sad little cross with the poppies marks the spot where in September 1940, 41 people lost their lives.
A packed air-raid shelter took a direct hit on the night of the 19th. The death toll would have been much higher if not for the bravery of the police rescue team and one man in particular.

'Inspector Newark quickly restored a situation fraught with grave danger. He organized the work of stretcher parties and, with his men, worked for nearly three hours during a heavy raid. It was largely due to the Inspector's leadership and organizing ability that one hundred persons trapped in the shelters were rescued.'

In 1941 Ernest Newark was awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) by King George VI for leadership and gallantry
Onwards to the park next door

Downhills park
The rose garden - worth a visit in the summer, methinks.

As I walked away from the parks in search of  Bruce Castle everything started to look a bit run down and shabby. Lovely (mainly Edwardian) houses let to go to rack and ruin.
Broadwater Farm Estate

 Things were not looking good. Thank you Google maps for the directions!

Just as I was giving up, there in front of me was...
Bruce Castle. 

...a Grade I listed 16th century manor house; one of the oldest surviving brick houses in England. It was remodelled in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Home to Sir William Compton, the Barons Coleraine and Sir Rowland Hill, among others,
it was converted into a museum exploring the history of the areas which constitute the present London Borough of Haringey and, on the strength of its connection with Sir Rowland Hill, the history of the Royal Mail.

Hence these in the court yard.
Sources disagree on the house's initial construction date, and no records survive of its construction. There is some archaeological evidence dating parts of the building to the 15th century.
The front may have formed part of a courtyard house of which the remainder has disappeared.
A detached, cylindrical Tudor tower stands immediately to the southeast of the house. Its considered to be the earliest part of the building
The tower is built of local red brick, and is 21 feet (6.4 m) tall, with walls 3 feet (0.91 m) thick.
In 2006, excavations revealed that it continues for some distance below the current ground level.
It was described in 1829 as being over a deep well, and being used as a dairy
North elevation.
 The Coleraine crest on the north pediment.

Well worth the trip I thought but of course the museum was closed that day!

With my journey all but complete I strode over to view the ancient parish church of Tottenham
It is one of the oldest buildings in the Borough of Haringey.
Built as All Saints Church in the 12th century. It was re-dedicated as All Hallows (all souls) in the 15th century.
The south porch is Tudor.

Unlike all my other adventures this one was completely on foot. Not a bad thing on a glorious, sunny, early Spring day but I was now starting to flag a bit. Pleased with finding Bruce Castle and it being worth the hike I set off to find a nice pint of bitter.
Then on the other side of these rather nice Art Deco flats I found the Drapers' Almshouses
And eventually...

The Elmhusrt. Now it is a Tottenham pub, and I did have second thoughts, but it looked nice and I was very thirsty!
It was in fact very pleasant, and had a very friendly barmaid but only John Smith's smooth on tap.
I sat in the beer garden in the sunshine and contemplated my day.

Tottenham is far more historic than I had thought and just like the curate's egg - very nice in parts.

Thence home by bus.
I will leave you with a couple of old prints.

Tottenham Church c1849
Oh and a map because we love maps
Tottenham 1844

T.T.F.N. Thanks for reading. comments and feed back always welcome.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Gardens of Delargo Towers

A quick tour through the gardens here at Delargo Towers from last August till now

We moved from the old Palace in august 2010

Delargo Towers August 2010

December 2010

Pruning - January 2011

February - Daffodils

March 2011 - Anemones

Now that you are up to date keep posted for the arrival of Spring and the Summer ahead


I was sure my first blog would have bored the tits off  everyone. But no! I had some really kind personal e-mails, so let's test the water with one of my real passions - Cooking and food history.

I have been a chef since I left Plymouth catering college in 1977 and I still have a passion for food
So where do I start on this one?

The individuals who are my personal Gods of cuisine, whether chefs or writers - these are the people who have inspired me and the British world of food.

Auguste Escoffier- "king of chefs and chef of kings"
His recipes are rather heavy and out dated now but many a modern Michelin star chef has got to where they are my doing a clever  escoffier 'remix'.
Alongside the recipes he recorded and invented, Escoffier's food was actually based on that of Antoine Carême His achievement was to simplify and modernize Carême.
Escoffier's greatest contribution to cooking was to elevate it to the status of a respected profession by introducing organised discipline to his kitchens. He organized his kitchens by the brigade de cuisine system,which is still used today.

Elizabeth David
Diva. Goddess. Words fail me. If you don't know who she is, find out. Its your loss if you don't!
Credited with introducing olive oil, garlic and flavour to British cooking, she is a blog all by herself...

Jane Grigson
A wonderful woman and writer. Her books helped the nation to not just learn how to cook things but to understand the ingredients, history, culture and joy of food.
Jane Grigson's books are for me the starting point and text books for information and recipes on mushrooms, fruit and veg and of course charcuterie. 
She is also a bloody good read:
  • Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery (1967)
  • Good Things (1971)
  • Fish Cookery (1973)
  • English Food 1974 -awarded  Cookery Writer of the Year
  • The Mushroom Feast: A Celebration of All Edible Fungi
  • The Vegetable Book (1978) - for which she received the Glenfiddich Writer of the Year Award)
  • Food with the Famous 1979
  • The Fruit Book (1982) - awarded the André Simon Memorial Fund Book Award
Oh and gave birth to Sophie Grigson in her spare time!

Delia Smith
Often unfairly criticised - but with her tried, tested and foolproof recipes she brought the country out of the dark ages and into the modern world!
A lot of her recipes came from the top chefs of the land and many of my star "signature dishes" were based on hers (no one ever knew). 

Marguerite Patten
A true war hero. While working for the Ministry of Food she created nourishing and inventive recipes, using the food that was availabe under rationing.
Rationing went on well after the War due to the punitive interest rates the Americans forced upon us - an exhausted Britain - to pay after it had stood alone defending Europe against Hitler. Both Germany and Japan got more support from the Americans.
My god  - bananas were on ration well into the late fifties!
Marguerite Patten was awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1991 and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours. She should have been made a full on proper Dame! She is still going today, at the age of 94... 

Keith Belt
Back in the early 90s I worked with Keith in the tiny kitchen in Billy Budd's Bistro Dartmouth. It was a very happy time for me.
I was inspired by Keith's passion, dedication, hard work, knowledge and skill. I still regard him as the best chef I have ever worked with or for.
Unfortunately I don't have a photo of Keith so here is one of his partner in the Bistro who ran the front of house the legendary Gilly Webb:

Gosh where to stop? As I said at the start, this was a personal list of Gods and Divas - each one should be a blog in itself. I shall be posting more on them. There is also a massive list of the fab mad and bad chefs / writers to follow as well.

Watch this space!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Tony's singular adventures - Woolwich Ferry

Well me dears, I have started a blog so we go!
Mostly I have my day of in the week while all my chums are working during the day which can be a bit dull so  occasionally I set off on a mission to explore the less obvious aspects of the wonderful city I live in, London.

Here is one such adventure from September last year: 'The Woolwich Ferry Adventure'!

After starting off on the Greenwich penisular and being rather underwhelmed by the dome I set off by bus to find a pub on my 'must visit London pub list' It didn't look promising. The area just got bleaker and bleaker.

In the foreground is a structure to give insects a place to live and the one behind people.
In a little oasis saved from the developers I found the Pilot Inn,. and  what a little gem it is.

After fortification in the garden I set of for Woolwich Arsenal.

Then on to the ferry:

It was Fab! Bracing but fab, and a great view of the barrier too, well worth the trip
I thought about going back under the Thames via the foot tunnel:

But it was getting late and cold so I set off by bus again and got totally lost

I didn't want to go to Beckton and never want to go there again.
The DLR got me back to civilisation and then home -

An adventure in deed