Hambleden shop Review

St Mary’s Church, Hambleden

Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Out on one of my bike rides, the Ravenous Rambler stopped at the Hambleden shop for tea. The village is one of those quintessential English villages. A dog sleeps in the middle of the road, there is a an old well by the tree in the centre of the village square and there are delightful old brick and flint cottages all at odd angles around the village. There is a little bridge over a stream from where you get a good view of the allotments that are a blaze of colour with flowers and vegetables growing together. The church and pub complete the scene. The place is a much used film location; 101 dalmations, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Midsomer Murders to name a few.
Just down the road is the River Thames and Hambleden Lock. Jerome K Jerome wrote “…the rather uninteresting river residence of my newsagent – a quiet unassuming old gentleman, who may be met with about these regions, during the summer months, sculling himself along in easy vigorous style, or chatting genially to some old lock-keeper, as he passes through”. He was writing about the owner of the large newsagent chain of WH Smith. The estate was owned by Henry Smith’s family since the 1870s but sold recently. The most notable resident was Lord Cardigan who was born in the manor house and led the famous Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimea.
There are seats just outside the shop and its a great place to take some time out and sit to have some tea or an ice-cream. They serve the tea in a china pot with milk in a jug on a silver tray. It was wonderful tea and I had some locally made carrot cake that was superb. The best thing about this shop is the locally sourced products. There is a good selection of meat and vegetables as well as all the usual provender of a local shop. There is a constant stream of locals, some with children stopping by for a chat and an ice-cream. Several builders and other tradesmen stopped by for some refreshment as well. You can sit and people watch all day. A delightful child was eating her ice-cream and asking her mummy questions like – “ Mummy, how are houses built?” and “Mummy, how are people made?” The latter question she cleverly avoided.
Hambleden is the centre of some of the best walks and cycle rides in the Chilterns so I do commend it as a refreshment place.
5 stars.


malt loaf

Malt loaf

Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

This is a great quick cake to make and sliced with butter it makes a very filling treat on a walk.
1 cup of all bran, 1 cup of sugar (slightly less for the health conscience), 1 cup of raisins and sultanas mixed. 1 cup of tea, 1 cup of sr flour. A grating of orange peel to flavour the mix.
Soak the fruit in a bowl with some cold tea left over from the last brew. Soak overnight preferably. Then just mix everything in a bowl, add the flour and a little more tea or milk to make a soft consistency and bake for about 25 min at about 150C.

Flap jack

I had some delicious flapjacks from Barrow House Youth Hostel when I was training some pupils on a Gold DoE. The flapjacks kept me going for four days on the hills over Easter. I can honestly say that they were the best flapjacks in the world so if you are staying in the Lake District it would be worth youth hostelling just for that. I made them myself when I worked for YHA but never managed to make them as well as those.

6oz butter or margarine, 8ox demerra sugar, 8oz rolled oats, 4 oz raisins.
Cream the fat until soft. Mix together the sugar, oats and a pinch of salt if you must. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish which has been greased. Cook for 25 min at about 150C. Leave to cool afterwards.

Don’t leave them in the oven too long otherwise they pull your teeth filings out. You want them soft so they melt in your mouth.