The Sitting Room – Retro Charm in Sheringham, Norfolk

Situated just off Sheringham High Street, The Sitting Room is a café serving coffee, tea, breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas to local residents and tourists alike. The cafe shares its premises with the Westcliffe Art Gallery and browsing is actively encouraged.

Breakfast at The Sitting Room is a delightfully robust continental breakfast comprising a choice of pastries or toast with an impressive selection of marmalades, curds and jams, fresh fruit, continental cured meats and cheese. Each table has its own toaster so you can toast your bread exactly how you like it.

For people who prefer a light lunch, there is a choice of original house salads which may include the “Super Salad” with avocado and pomegranate or the “Italian”, with Parma ham, rocket and olives or you can create your own from an impressive array of ingredients. Those who like a heartier lunch can choose items including locally made quiches, savoury muffins, soups, hot sausage rolls, sandwiches and rolls.

The afternoon tea served on delicate mismatched vintage china is done exceptionally well: delicious cakes – including gluten-free choices – and patisserie such as millefeuilles, raspberry and white chocolate tart or macarons. You have to pre-book afternoon tea but this allows you to request a personalised experience according to taste.

There are various drinks to choose from including coffee, teas from the Nelson & Norfolk Tea Company, hot chocolate made with real – not powdered – milk, dark or plain chocolate.

On Friday evenings, The Sitting Room is open until 9pm where alongside the standard menu, customers can enjoy cheese or Mediterranean cured meat boards, dips, olives and artisan bread washed down with a glass or two of wine.

The owners Paul and Kristian and their staff are attentive without being intrusive, the food is of a high standard and the little touches and ambience at The Sitting Room will make you want to return very soon.

 

 

Address:       4 Augusta Street, Sheringham, Norfolk, NR26 8LA

Telephone:   01263 821 344

Facebook:     http://www.facebook.com/thesittingroomsheringham

 

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A Review – Henry’s Coffee & Tea Store, Cromer

Henrys Coffee Shop image

 

With a solid background in the hospitality industry where they designed and set up coffee shops, restaurants and hotels for other people, when Philip and Caroline Search opened Henry’s Coffee and Tea Store in Cromer in March 2016 it was bound to be a success.

Henry’s is open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week so you can call in for breakfast, a light lunch or an evening snack. Where possible, the food items are made in-house e.g. scones (the cheese ones are divine!),  cakes, pasties, quiches, sandwiches soups and stews (including many glute-free options) but at Henry’s you can also find local produce such as Brays Pork Pies, Candi’s Chutney, Gnaw chocolate and Ronaldo’s ice cream.

Customers enjoy “Henry’s Blend” coffee, created by Philip himself to taste really smooth with or without milk. Coming soon is “Henry’s Black” for people who appreciate a darker and richer blend. There is of course a choice of decaffeinated coffee, cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos and flat whites so the most dedicated coffee lover will always find something to appreciate.

Tea drinkers are also very well catered for with a range of 34 different hand-crafted teas from local producer the “Nelson & Norfolk Tea Company”. Customers can sample the light and fragrant “Trafalgar Blend” which is enhanced with subtle hints of citrus and smokiness, “Norfolk Earl Grey” and “Chai Spiced Tea” to name but three. When your pot of tea arrives, it’s accompanied by a little timer so it infuses for 3 minutes to ensure the best flavour possible.

In May 2017, Henry’s won Cromer’s “Best Crab Sandwich” award at the annual Crab and Lobster Festival. I couldn’t possibly reveal the “secret” ingredients but will say that if you are visiting Cromer, don’t leave without trying one!

Whether you are meeting friends, working on your laptop or simply watching the world go by, Henry’s provides a comfortable, relaxing environment with outstanding food and drink options.

 

Address: 2 Church Street, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 9ER

Facebook: www.facebook.com/HenrysCoffeeandTeaStore

Twitter: @Henrys4Coffee

How I Became a Food Blogger

I was off work last week due to minor surgery on my toe which was accompanied by a rotten cold so I was feeling rather miserable. However, sitting at home on the sofa with my foot elevated for a couple of days did allow for some time for contemplation.

I’m inherently quite a curious (alright, nosey) person and I love hearing about how people ended up doing the jobs they do or leading the lives they have. I then started to think about how I came to set up my blog because I find the history of such things fascinating. Bloggers all have different stories to tell about how they began so I thought I’d share mine.

Two and a half years ago, I was sitting on the same sofa with my leg elevated but for a far more serious reason. In March 2013, I was hit by a car as I was running across a road (after my dog which had scarpered during a walk in the park) and subsequently suffered a badly broken right leg and a head injury. I think the fact that I’m quite a generously proportioned lady of a certain age (!) and therefore quite robustly built was what ensured that I wasn’t killed (the driver must have been doing at least 50 mph in a 30 mph zone) because apparently I was thrown through the air and landed in the middle of a crossroads. I don’t remember the impact or the landing – as I was knocked unconscious and the next few days were a blur due to the vast amounts of morphine I was given. At least the dog was OK.

Only a few months before the accident I’d set up my small home baking business (to run alongside my day job in HR) having registered with my local Council, completed an online Food Hygiene course and given my new enterprise the name of ‘The Little Pink Kitchen’ because my kitchen is quite small and the walls are pink. I attended a cupcake decorating workshop run by the 2011 Great British Bake Off winner Jo Wheatley and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was the first time I’d really played around with cutters, moulds and sugar paste and I was hooked from the start. Orders were steadily coming in and I did a few bake sales and got my name out there locally. All things considered, I was feeling rather good about things at that time.

But then, the accident changed my life. I got over the head injury relatively quickly – although I must say that you do get quite a bad headache when your head comes into contact with a road from a great height! The leg took longer as initially I had a ‘tibial nail’ holding it together (basically a titanium rod from knee to ankle – with screws in) but the bone didn’t heal so after 6 months it was removed and I had a plate put in, which on the X-ray looked like a long piece of meccano. (If you are under the age of 40, you’ll probably have to google ‘meccano’.)

With these surgeries came a lengthy recuperation period involving crutches, no weight-bearing with no cast, then light weight-bearing with a cast (I had a pink one!) then an air boot all followed by months of physiotherapy learning how to walk again. It took almost two years for life to get back to a relative ‘normal’ state. My poor husband didn’t know whether he was coming or going as he had to look after me and the dog as well as trying to do his job. It was a very difficult and emotional time for both of us.

Although I couldn’t do any baking or cooking for several months, I kept my hand in with the cakey bakey world via Twitter (mostly) and other social media using my trusty iPad. Well, it was a better option than watching day time television – I think that really would have finished me off.

I was delighted to find such an active online baking community on Twitter. I made contact with a lot of home bakers and people who had started their own baking and cake businesses, both on a small and a large scale. I was surprised to find that people who wrote blogs could make serious money by doing it. I remember thinking that it must be wonderful to earn a living doing something you love. I work in HR dealing with the problematic side of people management, things like disciplinary hearings, poor performance and absence so a lot of what I deal with on a daily basis can be quite negative and it definitely drains you. Making cakes and pottering around the kitchen makes me happy and the worst thing for me about the accident was that I couldn’t do it for months.

As time went on, I got back into the kitchen and started baking again, just on a small scale for pleasure. I found baking to be very therapeutic: it took my mind off my troubles and there was something nice to eat at the end. At the same time, the thought of returning to my job was not making me feel particularly happy. It was a very large company with over 16,000 employees and there had been a lot of changes while I’d been away. I think my managers were wondering if I’d ever come back given the recovery time after the operations and I sensed that their sympathy was waning, which to be honest was quite hurtful. Anyway, an opportunity came for me to leave in mid 2014 when there was a restructure and I took it because financially it was worth it and it felt like a great relief.

Since then, I’ve found alternative HR work that I enjoy and I’m now baking and cooking much more often and feeling a lot happier. I’ve attended courses at Squires Kitchen and a celebration cake decorating course at Konditor and Cook at Borough Market and I highly recommend both. Late last year I started writing monthly articles and recipes for a local newspaper but this offered only limited opportunities going forward. It was at that point that I had a ‘light bulb moment’ when I realised that if I set up my own blog, I could write about anything I liked, with no limits.

So what did I like? Well, cakes and baking obviously but I also love trying out new kitchen gadgets, visiting food festivals, cake and baking shows, developing recipes, reviewing books, products, cafes, tea shops and so much more. So www.thelittlepinkkitchen.com was born earlier this year after a brief time writing under a WordPress heading.

Recently I’ve been actively making new foodie contacts and networking as although I write my blog for pleasure and don’t make any money from it (one day perhaps…..) I would like it to contain things that people really want to read about and find entertaining. I have some projects in the pipeline which I’m very excited about and have been sent some items to review so I’ll be getting around to that very soon.

What’s the selling point for my blog, I hear you ask. Well, I’m an all-round foodie (as my waistline makes only too clear) so I cover quite a range of topics which adds variety to my blog. I’ve received feedback that I have an engaging style of writing with a quirky sense of humour that comes through in my posts. I’m not paid to write posts so my opinions are my own which means I can be totally honest although I would never be unkind or malicious. (See my earlier post on ‘blogger blackmail’ for an insight of what can happen when bloggers are unreasonable.)

I’ll finish by saying that it’s been interesting for me to reflect on events over the last two years and I can honestly say that if the accident hadn’t happened, my blog probably wouldn’t exist and I wouldn’t have made friends with some wonderful people via Twitter, especially the Sunday Baking Club crowd.

You all know who you are. Thank you for your on-going friendship and support.

A Review of ‘Number 28’, Holt, Norfolk

Number 28 cafe

I had the good fortune to have lunch at the Number 28 café when I met some friends in Holt, Norfolk, earlier this year. There are quite a few eateries in Holt with a range of offerings and prices – some more reasonable than others although I have to say that Holt isn’t the sort of place you are likely to get a dodgy meal. Number 28 was appealing as it offered food made on the premises, the seating area was light and airy and the owners were very friendly.

The story behind the meet up is an interesting one. I belong to a Twitter based baking group called ‘The Sunday Baking Club’. During the week, a baking theme is announced and anyone who wants to take part bakes something the following weekend and posts a photo on Twitter. The ten best, most impressive bakes are then put up for a public vote, with the weekly winner being awarded a (virtual) Golden Spoon. The people who take part in this each week are a very friendly bunch from all over the UK and beyond. Not everyone is an experienced baker while some people are extremely talented and could easily outdo the professionals. I’ve made a lot of online friends through The Sunday Baking Club and last year some of us met up at Cake Shows in London and elsewhere and I also attended a ‘celebration cake making day’ at Konditor & Cook next to Borough Market in London with some of these new friends.

The meet up in Holt was just for three of us. I was on holiday visiting my parents who live nearby, while Cathy – who I’d previously met in London – and Kevin both live in Norfolk. It’s strange to think that if it hadn’t been for the Internet, many friendships just would not have happened. I’m delighted to have made friends with a diverse group of people who all came together due to a love of baking.

So, we chose our lunch at Number 28: Cathy had a craving for smoked salmon (as you do) and chose a filled baguette which came with salad and tortilla crisps. Kevin opted for a chicken and vegetable pie and accompaniments and I had a delicious leek and gruyere tart, which was served with a fresh coleslaw salad and tortilla crisps. The portion sizes were very good: substantial but not overwhelmingly so. The main course dishes got the thumbs up from all of us with clean plates all around. We didn’t have room for dessert which was a shame, but there’s always next time.

What I must comment on – and highly recommend – is the hot chocolate drink I had. This wasn’t any old hot chocolate but white chocolate that was smooth, rich and not too sweet. It was clearly a good quality white chocolate (trust me, I know these things) which easily surpassed another one I’d had elsewhere a few days previously.

Chris and Kelly, who own Number 28, said they’d taken it over in September 2014 and revamped the café to their own style. I thought it was a very relaxing atmosphere with so much light and space – and there was more seating upstairs. Kelly said that they will be increasing their range of cakes in the coming weeks so I’m hoping that when I next visit the area, Number 28 will be doing the most amazing cream teas to go with the morning coffees, light lunches, and so on. The address is: 28, High Street, Holt, Norfolk, NR25 6BH

 

 

 

My new and – hopefully – improved blog

image1 - Copy (9)Well hello there! Some readers may know that I had a blog previously which I didn’t get to work on too often due to things such as work, life and house selling getting in the way. Well those three things are still there (the house selling is the most frustrating of them all) but I’ve decided that I really need to get off my not insubstantial behind and do some writing. It’s something I really like doing and it’s cheaper than therapy so I really need to crack on with it. I don’t necessarily want to be ‘Blogger of the Year’ although it’s a nice feeling if someone enjoys your posts and makes a positive comment.

To start off, I’ll set out how I think my blog will look. Firstly, it’s going to be a very simple layout as I’m using the free bit of WordPress because I’m not a very technical person. My previous blog was set up by a chap who did a great job but required paying for his services! As I wasn’t finding the time to post regularly I thought it wasn’t cost effective to keep paying a monthly fee so that’s why now it’s just WordPress and me, finding our way together.

Secondly, although this will be mostly a food blog I will occasionally write about other things that I like. There are definitely things I like apart from food ………. Really, there are ……… So you may see things like book reviews (OK usually recipe books), reports on my visits to cake shows or foodie events, product or ingredients reviews (I have posted reviews and recipes for Sugar and Crumbs flavoured icing sugars and have received samples of Wrights Flours and Cake Mixes and posted about them previously). In the future, I hope to develop relationships with other suppliers who want to get their products ‘out there’. And I should say that I’m a very fair reviewer – even if I get products for free – because it helps nobody if feedback isn’t true. I always make an effort to review tea shops, cafes and restaurants that I’ve eaten in because good places should be praised and the poorer ones need to be given reasons to improve. I admire anyone who sets up his / her own cake or food business. It’s hard work and you have to be dedicated. I’ve seen a lot of people on Twitter or Facebook that I now call my friends transform from being good home bakers into foodie world ‘celebrities’ and I like to publicise their efforts whenever I can.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Tracy and I live in Wallington, Surrey, but we are hoping to move to Norfolk once we’ve sold our house. Which may not be in this lifetime the way it’s going. I work in HR for a local College, and I live with my husband Andrew and a cocker spaniel called Millie who we rescued from a puppy farm. My son is 29 and my daughter is nearly 26. They both have partners and flew the nest quite a while ago. They return occasionally for a roast dinner and cake. My love of baking and sweet treats has led to a teensy weensy weight problem (well, a big one really) and so I’m currently on a healthy eating regime and have lost over 2 stone since March 2015. My weight loss journey will feature from time to time on my blog but please shoot me if I become a diet bore.

The current logo for The Little Pink Kitchen will be changing in a couple of months as although I like it, I want one to reflect that this blog will not just be about cakes and bakes but also about savoury things including main meals and all sorts of other foods that I like. For example,  I’m currently enjoying simple, healthy Japanese recipes using the Itsu cookbook (almost every day) and the dishes I’ve been preparing are definitely helping me to win the battle of the bulge.

And if you were wondering how I happened to choose the name for my blog (and the small cake business I have as an occasional sideline), look at the photo that accompanies this post. Yes, my kitchen really is pink and it’s also quite small. I really didn’t have to think too hard about that, did I?

That’s all for now. I’ll be back as soon as I can with a new post. I hope you will enjoy my new blog.

Tracy x