Thursday, 15 July 2010

Back to the grind

Well, we're back after 6.5 glorious days holidaying on the Isle of Man; spent too much, ate too much, drank too much and just generally had a wonderful time relaxing and enjoying the Island. Enjoyed some very expensive and very lovely wine with Mr. Tarts' mother and ate some very wonderful meals. I don't photograph meals in restaurants as I think that's a bit bum to say the least, so you'll just have to take my word for it. This year's Manx restaurant winner for me was easily The Highlander Steakhouse in Greeba, probably the best steak I've ever had in a restaurant, with smokey BBQ ribs for a starter that could be eaten with a knife and fork as the meat just fell off the bones, and all rounded off with a wonderful sticky toffee pudding.
After a bit of hunting, we managed to track down the very popular manx Loaghtan (pronounced loch-tonne) lamb at Radcliffe Butchers in Castletown, and bought half a fillet so that we could sample it. I slow roasted it for about 3/4 hours, necessary as loaghtan is very lean, with some rosemary. We ate it with some crusty bread and it was incredibly tasty. It's very strong tasting, verging on gamey and was a delight. As soon as my bank balance recovers I intend to order a whole leg to roast and have a proper feast on this breed of lamb that nearly became extinct. Radcliffe butchers also stock an amazing range of their own handmade sausages in interesting flavours of which we tried three: cheese and oregano, honey and wholegrain mustard and apple and smoked bacon, all very delicious. Word to the wise, the sausages were HUGE, and you only need one. We were greedy and ate two each and felt like pigs after. I really wish I'd taken a pic of the butcher's window.
A field of Loaghtans at Cregneash
A Loaghtan giving me the ol' evil eye
A pair of very cute Loaghtan lambs in Cregneash.
As usual, we've come back with a hoard of things, which this year includes a selection of paintings/framed maps/engravings, 2 fridge magnets, 1 ashtray, a large bundt tin, a pretty pie dish, 2 mugs, a bag of manx soda bread flour, manx rapeseed oil, a vintage jelly mould, a jar of quince and rosemary jelly and yes, a cuddly toy. A Brucey Bonus is yours if you can guess which animal said cuddly toy is of. Please send your entries to the comments section.

Other than that, there was a lot of taking in lovely sights, driving around the island and enjoying the divine Davisons ice cream in Peel harbour (below).

Other assorted holiday pics:

Greedy donkeys at the island's Home of Rest for Old Horses

The view out of the cafe at Niarbyl

Dramatic scenery down at the Sound.

And finally a pic of Cregneash, a beautful little hamlet that's lost in time, really.

Of course the worst part of a lovely holiday is returning from it. Patience is key, as eventually Mr Tarts and myself will be buying a one way ticket.

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