Plough and Sail

Sculpture at Thorpeness
Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Snape Maltings

Telephone: 01728 688413

It was a cold foggy evening in February that we ate at the Plough and Sail. Its in a complex with tea shops and the world famous Maltings Concert hall. The pub is a spacious place with a modern dining room. There was jolly crowd of locals at the bar and enough people in the restaurant to make it welcoming. The polished wood floors and pictures of the Maltings through history were quite inviting and there were some enticing specials on the boards. Seabass and other local fish dishes but on a cold night there were other temptations…
We ended up with Steak and kidney pie and I had Irish stew. The Irish stew was delicious, lovely tender lumps of meat offset with dumplings and vegetables. All washed down with a pint of southwold ale. We didn’t have room for puddings so had to leave it there and we headed off into the fog completely replete.


Walking at Otmoor

hen harrier flying

Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Otmoor Bird reserve near Oxford
From A34 take B4027 to Islip. Through Islip, continue along B4027 towards Wheatley. After four miles turn left to Horton-cum-Studley. Turn left to Beckley. After one mile, road drops down short steep hill. Turn right before Abingdon Arms. Turn sharp left into Otmoor Lane. Follow road to end, about one mile, left through reserve entrance. Car park is on your right. From A40 travelling west: at Headington roundabout, turn right, taking exit sign posted Crematorium, Beckley, Horton-cum-Studley, Headington. After two miles, turn right at junction onto B4027 then immediately left, signposted to Horton-cum-Studley. Follow directions to Beckley as above.

This is a delightful and wild fen area just near Oxford. It makes a good walk but to enjoy it to the full you need to be keen on birds. In one afternoon we saw a hen harrier and flocks of starlings coming in to roost. There are many waders as well as woodland birds along the fringes.
From the carpark follow the main track in to the reserve. After a few minutes you come to T junction. Turn left along a sign posted muddy track. After about a mile you reach another junction and see some lakes off to the left and right in front of you, Turn left here keeping an eye out towards the lakes. You then reach the first hide which is a good place to linger and look out over the reeds.
This is where we saw the hen harrier. If you want to see the amazing spectacle of large flocks of starlings you have to wait until dusk so bring a torch to see your way back.
There is a further hide on the track that continues from the first hide but it was so cold that we couldn’t make it so you are on your own from here on in. Good luck.

Ostrich steak


Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Ostrich is low in cholesterol and very tender and tasty. The ravenous rambler like to travel in Southern Africa where this is staple diet and can be found as road kill although not as easy to deal with as a pheasant! If you live in South Africa you will find it easily but in the Chilterns there is a supplier who goes to the farmers markets.
Just put some oil in a pan and heat, then flash fry the steaks for a few minutes either side. When done, add a little flour to the pan and stir, gradually add some red wine and cook for a few minutes until thickened.
I would serve with boiled potatoes and sprouting broccoli or vegetable of your choice.