Food & Drink

The Fairfax Arms, Main Street, Gilling East

The Fairfax Arms, Main Street, Gilling EastAs the fields fill with lambs and the daffodils bursts into flower we know Spring is on the way.This is the time of year when we think about Spring cleaning.

The Fairfax Arms, well renown C17th country inn in Gilling East in Ryedale, has gone the extra mile and had a giant Spring clean too. After the Christmas flooding which affected their cellar, it has been all hands on deck as they prepare for Spring. The Fairfax Arms is now open again for business after the major refurbishment which has been taken recently.

Andrew Daly ,manager of the Fairfax Arms “ There has been a substantial investment made as we have had a full refurbishment of the cellar. It has been a very positive step to combat any future flooding like we saw on Boxing Day 2015 when the stream outside the pub flooded and over split into the cellar .  We are delighted that we are now able to offer a cellar holding a larger selections  of local and traditional ales such as Striding the Riding from local Helmsley Brewing Co just 6 miles away and  Ampleforth Abbey Cider from across the valley. Supporting other Yorkshire breweries such as Tetleys and Black Sheep from Masham with regularly changing guests ales from Yorkshire.”

We welcome locals and visitors from near and far. We already offer an excellent food menu which contains products from local suppliers and can now offer a wider choice local liquid refreshment too. tuborg lager  and Somersby Cider are two of our new drinks on offer. We are happy that with the new piping and cooling system we can now offer even more consistency than before. Local beer drinkers have already seen the beer improve . “ It is well worth travelling the distance to the Fairfax Arms to enjoy a really good pint of beer.  Already we have tasted a difference and it is grand".said regular Jack Peckitt.

Fairfax Arms, Main Street, Gilling East, Helmsley, YO62 4JH 

01439 788212

The Sugar Tax – A step in the right direction, or simply another way to hit the poor?

The Sugar Tax – A step in the right direction, or simply another way to hit the poor?In the budget last week the government announced the introduction of a tax on sugary soft drinks to be introduced in 2018. There are two tiers to the tax. Drinks under 5g per 100ml are exempt, whilst drinks with over 5g per 100ml with be taxed at one rate and those over 8g per 100ml at a second higher rate.

So will the tax actually effect the habits of those it is targeted at? Or is this another way for the government to penalise to poor? Obviously if you live week to week on the national minimum wage any increase in the cost of any item will be felt. But does this actually result in changing habits?

It has been suggested that a portion of the revenue will be used to combat childhood obesity, with part of the revenue raised going towards doubling funding for primary school sport. Which if we had a trustworthy government couldn't be regarded as anything but a good thing. But with no figures published, no actually ring-fenced funded sums provided and not even reliable estimates provided, it is difficult to feel confident that this is anything but a combination of a PR stunt and a surreptitious tax on the poorer in society.

Your thoughts?

The Blackamoor Selby - Town Centre Pub to re-open

Northern Living - The Blackamoor Selby - Town Centre Pub to re-openThe Blackamoor on Finkle Street Selby, North Yorkshire was a thriving town centre pub until the late 90's and into the early 2000's. Unfortunately the property changed hands between several pub property investment companies and eventually ended up under the tenancy of a series of landlords who allowed it's rapid and dramatic decline in both reputation and turnover. The Blackamoor closed it's doors late in 2015 and the property itself was put on the market by Punch Taverns, who owned it at the time.

Under other circumstances that might well have been the end of the story, with the property laying empty for years or converted for use as some other type of retail premises. But under a partnership between Mr. Campy of Campys Haulage of Selby ( and Stewart Stephenson of PCS Leisure ( ) The Blackamoor will undergo a complete refit over the next few months, but initially after a deep clean it is scheduled to reopen on Thursday 24th March 2016. In the following months planning permission will be sought for major structural alterations, including a multi-level outdoor area, the separation of what was previously a retail premises to the left of the main frontage, relocation of the island bar and the conversion of the numerous upstairs rooms into accommodation. By combining their joint experience this partnership will benefit not only the public house, but also the public of the area as a whole. The Blackamoor used to offer a warm relaxed welcome during the daytime and was a thriving nightlife venue in the evenings. Both of which will be the case again in the very near future with development plans already well advanced.

In these times of decline in the industry it is refreshing to see public houses which have been closed attracting inward investment and re-opening with a new least of life. We wish everybody concerned every success for the future.

6-8 Finkle St, Selby North Yorkshire. YO8 4DS

07792 171188

Bucking the trend – The Castle Inn at Cawood, North Yorkshire.

The Castle Inn at CawoodThe trend in the Public House sector all seems to be bad news at present. With many pubs struggling and several a week in any given region closing their doors, often never to reopen. It's good to see new publicans swimming against this tide and making a notable success in a very short period of time. 

The Castle Inn at Cawood has recently undergone a total refurbishment including all public areas, a complete kitchen refit and even the private living quarters, at the cost of £250000 The bar and restaurant areas were busy with a warm and friendly atmosphere when we arrive on Friday evening. There were a mix of regulars and local at the bar with accents from further a field noticable as we headed towards our destination, the kitchen. You get a real feel about a gasto pub or restarant if you are allowed behind the scenes. Although their accomplished head chef Daryl Salt was expecting us to drop in, by design we arrived exactly an hour early. A mildly devious trick, perhaps, but his kitchen was well presented, tidy and running like a well oiled machine. Even though we caught him off guard. To achieve that level of confident happy co-operation in a commercial kitchen is often beyond the abilities of a team, to achive it in less than a week is extraodinary.

So to the food. The dishes were presented with the sort of panash you might expect in a top London restaurant without the accomanying extortionate priceing. Not a small gastro pub in a village between York and Selby. Chef took the time to decorate each plate before assembling the dish. A balsamic glaze floral design on your steak plate, or perhaps a chocolate and fruit syrup palm tree beside your sweet. The portions were generous, without being excessive and the family sharing platter from the "Family Friday" menu look outstanding. We wish Kathy, Alan and all their staff every success in the future. I personally expect to be hearing a great deal of positive comment about this place.....

The Castle Inn 

7 Wistowgate, Cawood, Selby, North Yorkshire YO8 3SH

01757 268982

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A step beyond "Haggis, neeps & tatties"

Roast loin of venison with haggis ravioli and game consommé recipe


A step beyond For the consommé

500g/1lb 2oz venison trimmings

50g/1¾oz leeks, chopped

200g/7oz red onions, chopped

40g/1½oz celery chopped

175g/6oz carrots, chopped

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs thyme

5 garlic cloves, peeled

4 whole black cardamoms

5 free-range egg whites

1.5 litres/2½ pints strong brown venison stock

150ml/5fl oz Madeira wine

small handful fresh parsley, chopped

For the haggis ravioli

225g/8oz 00 flour, plus extra for flouring

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

2 free-range eggs

4 free-range egg yolks

small chieftain haggis

1 free-range egg, beaten for egg wash

For the venison loin

1 loin of venison

salt and freshly ground black pepper

rapeseed oil, for frying

knob of butter

To serve

1 turnip, diced into 1cm/½in pieces

3 tbsp sugar

25g/1oz butter

4 potatoes, diced into 1cm/½in pieces

Preparation method

(1) For the venison consommé, blend all the ingredients together in a food processor, apart from the stock, Madeira and parsley. Set aside.

(2) Place the cold stock and Madeira in a large stock pot, then whisk in the blended ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil as fast as you can, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and you will find that the whisked egg whites will start to rise to the top of the stock. This will form a thick crust over the stock. Cook for 45 minutes.

(3) Line a sieve with a piece of clean, unused muslin. Gently ladle the crust into the sieve and then slowly ladle the liquid over the crust. Allow time for the liquid to pass through the crust and sieve before adding any more. Avoid pushing the stock through the muslin.

(4) The liquid should be crystal clear and amber in colour. Pour the liquid into a clean pan and set aside.

(5) For the haggis ravioli, place the flour, salt, oil and eggs and egg yolks into a food processor and pulse until it forms small crumbs. Remove the mixture from the food processor and pull together to form a dough. Knead the dough lightly for 2-3 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

(6) Flour the pasta machine and turn it to the lowest (thickest) setting. Feed the dough through the machine, turning the handle with one hand and holding the dough as it comes through the machine with the other. Change the setting on the pasta machine to the next-thickest setting, flour it again and feed the pasta sheet through the machine again, as before. Repeat this process 3-4 more times, flouring the machine and changing the setting down each time - it helps to cut the pasta into smaller pieces as you work to prevent it drying out. Cover any pasta you are not working on with cling film. Set the pasta aside.

(7) Break up the haggis and roll into balls about 2.5cm/1in wide. Lay a sheet of pasta onto a lightly floured work surface and place the haggis balls along it, leaving a gap of about 6cm/2½in between them. Brush the pasta with egg wash and cover with another sheet of pasta. Cut out a circle around each ball of haggis using a biscuit cutter to make ravioli and press down around the edges to seal the layers of pasta together. Set aside until ready to cook.

(8) For the venison loin, heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 7. Season the venison with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat some rapeseed oil in a heavy-based oven-proof pan. Fry the loin on all sides, add a bit of butter, spoon it over to glaze the meat and transfer to the oven. Cook for about six minutes. Remove from the oven, cover and leave to rest in a warm place until you are ready to serve.

(9) To cook the ravioli, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and gently lower the ravioli into the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until they float to the top of the water. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Toss with a little olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper and keep warm.

(10) Boil the diced turnip in a pan of water with the sugar and butter. Boil until cooked through then drain.

(11) Cook the diced potatoes in a steamer until cooked.

(12) To finish the consommé, reheat it to hot, but not boiling. Stir in the chopped parsley.

(13) To serve, put a few ravioli onto each serving plate, top with a slice of venison, garnish with potatoes and turnips and pour over some of the consommé.



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