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Moveable Feast Part 1

I’m surprised we actually made it to Silecroft – the starting point for another epic moveable feast, this time up Cumbria’s glorious west coast.

Along the A590, the potential for culinary detours is nigh on impossible to ignore. Before we had even made it as far as Newby Bridge, temptations included the quirky Hat Trick Cafe at Yew Tree Barn (follow the signs from the A590 at the top of Lindale Hill); Aireys Butchers at Ayside; and Michael Hale’s bustling Bridge Cafe and Bistro. For the purposes of this journey, however, the plan was to stock up en route to Silecroft at Greenodd, and Broughton in Furness.

It says much for Greenodd’s tenacity in these retail-challenged times of ours, that the village’s butcher, baker and stores have survived the onslaught of the out-of-town supermarket.
Metropolis is but a short drive away, and yet people do indeed travel from miles around to support these particular shops.

Butcher Peter Hutchinson is right when he says that Greenodd – which is not much more than a street – has a French air about it, especially when it is bathed in the sunshine of early summer.

From Peter we buy his own-make pork and black pudding burgers. He also recommends plump pork steaks – I’ll be cooking these with a creamy mushroom and mustard sauce. And I simply can’t resist the baked-in-a-tray black pudding packed full of ‘jewels’ of fat, which is made for Peter by Andrew Denney at Levens (another A590 detour!).

A slice of this will make an impressive lunch, pan-fried and served with a duck egg on top, some lightly cooked English asparagus, and served with a blob of hollandaise sauce. 
At Greenodd Village Bakery across the road we purchase currant slice and flapjacks, before allowing ourselves an extra special treat.

Housed in the nearby former public loos is Crakeside fish and chip shop which has been doing a roaring trade since it opened just over a year ago. The lunchtime rush is supposed to be over – it was after one when we called – yet there’s still a steady stream of customers.

Our next ‘official’ port of call en route to Silecroft is Broughton in Furness – home of another butcher and baker.

Melville Tyson’s counter is a picture – but where to start ... quiches, pies and pates, cooked meats and salads fill one half; while the other includes a superb ready meal range and stacks of barbecue fodder. I go for a couple of huge Boerwors (South African-style sausage); smokey chipotle burgers (we are planning a barbecue on night two); and Melville’s own dry cure back bacon.

Also, to save me cooking on our first night – a cold platter will suffice - I choose a slice of Tysons tomato and basil quiche, a big bowl of celery, apple and sultana salad; some Cumbrian salami made by Woodalls of Waberthwaite; and a selection of cheeses from next door – Tysons also have a superb licensed greengrocers which is where we headed next.

As we are staying at Silecroft for three nights and don’t want to move the motorhome once we’ve got pitched, I stock up on plenty of fruit and veg. There’s an excellent choice and not run of the mill – on our visit there was fresh samphire and lemon grass available; golden kiwis and beautiful new season cherries.

Last but not least on the shopping list for Broughton was the cake counter at Broughton Village Bakery - ‘spoilt for choice’ has to be the understatement of the year! In the end I pick three divine ‘slices’ – raspberry and coconut; fruit and seeds; and Bakewell. That’s puddings sorted!

Perfect pitch at Silecroft.
We finally made it to the campsite at Silecroft and bagged the perfect pitch with views to the sea.

The site is mainly for static caravans – some of which are available for hire, but there is also a limited number of touring pitches. The facilities for tourers (loo block, dish wash/veg prep/laundry) are a little dated but clean which floats my boat over modernity any day. There is a small indoor swimming pool and a games room.

The beach is half a minute’s walk away; ten minutes’ walk back into Silecroft and you can enjoy a meal at The Miners Arms, as well as catch a train either north or south along the coast; there’s pony trekking up the road too. It’s a 40-minute cycle ride (we’re on the slow side) into Haverigg for the Sunday morning papers; or you can simply walk up and down the beach – we see stonechats inland, and gannets diving out at sea. This is my kind of heaven.

Food file:
Melville Tyson, butcher & greengrocer
Princes Street, Broughton in Furness, LA20 6HQ,
tel: 01229-716247

Peter Hutchinson, butcher
Fairview Shop, Main Street, Greenodd, tel: 01229-861236

Broughton Village Bakery
Princes Street, Broughton in Furness, LA20 6HQ, tel: 01229-716284

Greenodd Village Bakery
Main Street, Greenodd, LA12 7QZ, tel: 01229-861265

Crakeside fish and chip shop
Greenodd, LA12 7RE, proprietors Ken Burrows & Sue Jones
Mon – Thurs 11.30am-2pm, 4.30-8.30pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 11.30-8.30pm

The Miners Arms pub
Main Street, Silecroft, LA18 5LP, tel: 01229-772325

Beswicks Restaurant
Highly recommended.
Langholm House, The Square, Broughton in Furness, LA20 6JF, tel: 01229-716285

Wayside guest accommodation and whisky barn
Whitbeck, Millom, LA19 5UP

Perfect pitch:
Silecroft caravan park
Touring pitches and holiday homes for hire
Silecroft, near Whicham, LA18 4NX, tel: 01229-772659

Here’s something I made earlier:
Pan fried pork steaks with creamy honey mustard sauce, spinach, basil and mushrooms, served with steamed broccoli and cauliflower.
Ingredients (serves 2):
2 pork steaks
sliced mushrooms
washed spinach/chard/basil leaves (optional)
reduced fat crème fraiche
honey mustard (or your favourite Cumberland mustard eg: wholegrain, smooth etc)

To serve:
Broccoli/cauliflower, or your favourite green or seasonal veg

The secret, as in all campervan meals, is in the preparation ...
Pan-fry the steaks, browning on both sides, add the mushrooms, cook for a couple of minutes.
Stir in the crème fraiche and the mustard of your choice, simmer for a couple of minutes and then pile the spinach, basil leaves (if using, I had a plant at home on the windowsill which I didn’t want to throw away so brought it with us), on top of the meat mixture, and cover with a lid until the spinach has wilted. Stir gently into the sauce. Serve with the steamed vegetables.
(We didn’t have a carb with our meal. However, I would recommend rice, or boiled new potatoes, or creamy mash – if it’s winter!).

And for pudding?
An ice cream van visits the campsite at Silecroft every day so instead of Mr Whippy (which I loathe), I ask the driver to fill my plastic pot with double helpings of English Lakes Ice Cream (made in Kendal) raspberry ripple and double jersey vanilla.

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