Monday, 31 October 2011

Tales from the centre

Well I can't believe that its two weeks since my last blog. Life has been very busy juggling home life and work and we managed a few days off in the middle with the children which was truely fun with a lot of giggles.

I was lucky enough to attend Flintshire Business Awards dinner two weeks ago, it was a very good night and great to see so many fantastic businesses that exist here in Flintshire. Split the Difference - Vintage VW camper van company won best Tourism business, such a cute and delightful company. We are very pleased for them and will continue to enjoy all their news on facebook. Well done.
Adrian and I have been a fabulous book - cooking cakes with vegetables, no fat and less sugar. Poor Adrian hasn't really seen a look in yet!!.  So far we've made the Lemon and Almond cake with courgettes and the Carrot cake which really should be called a carrot and Orange cake. They are delicious. Light, full of flavour and moist.  Can't wait to try some more and really hope they go down well in the restaurant.  The first two have been a real hit.
Watch this space for more cakes!!
Carrot and Orange Cake - seriously tasty. Cake without the guilt, heaven .....


Lemon and Almond Cake - so light and moist its simply scrummy.

Up in the Antiques department we have been busy as always, resorting pieces, bringing them back to their former beauty and giving them a new life. Antiques and Vintage stock always amazes me, how these items have had a previous life or lives and are still here. Some in perfect condition and some with a little added characture along the way. Gail and Sharon have been working really hard on some silver ware and oil lamps, returning them to a gleaming state.

Before and After, with a lot of elbow power, wire wool and brasso

Restored with love and hard work. Each and every piece is hand picked, checked and worked on before it is ready for sale.
This late vitorian  Walnut chest needed a little loving also, but its a fantastic piece of furniture, and look at all that storage spcae. Finally a Punch bowl and cups. This is just perfect for the party season ahead, with 14 cups and a bowl that is big enough for a lot of punch.....

Gosh we have a lot happening over the next month with Craft workshop demonstrations on most days.  We are very lucky to have such a lot of local talented craft people, from stitch work, patch and felt work, silk painting, hand carved love spoons and wooden items, painting on canvas and many other crafts. To keep up to date with our events please check our website and look on events.

Well I really  hope you have enjoyed our news and getting to know us a little more.

Janet, Adrian and all the team xx 

Monday, 17 October 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas

 Wow its the middle of October already and Christmas is really on its way... We've been busy getting ready behind the scenes for months now, ordering the stock, planning the displays and now its here. Time put it all together.  We had such fun rearranging  the shop, Adrian and the Girls have done a fantastic job.

A real Christmas Nook, full of some gorgeous ornaments and decorations

Paper chains, so delightful, fun to do with the children and you get 4 long lenghts to make.

Had some fab plaques in

More Kate Hamilton-Hunter Jewellery arrived this week. We are delighted to support local business and have stocked Kate's wonderful jewellery for a number of years now. 

So cute! I just love Christmas

Christmas is a time for family and Friends, a time to show you care, good food, wine and lots of giggles

 As a child Christmas was always so magical, with stockings at the end off the bed, Father Christmas leaving such wonderful gifts and the time we spend together. Although life is different now, the magic of Christmas is still with us and we try to give this to our children. Traditions are past down to our children and the magic lives on.  For me giving gifts is a pleasure, they always have to be thought about, sometimes funny, sometimes useful and some times thoughtful - which ever they are it has to be right.  Through our search for stock in the shop Adrian and I always kept this in mind. It doesn't have to be expensive or even big but just perfect.

Hope you have enjoyed getting to know us a little better here in the centre and join us again next time.
Janet, Adrian and all the team xx

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Life in the Restaurant

As aways Restaurant life has been busy. We have a fantastic team of staff many who have been with us for a good number of years - in fact without such a team life would be very difficult. Bethan who is a total super hero works in both the restaurant and kitchen, she has been with us now for over 19years. A whole life time of changes and growing up together. James our head Chef  has been with us for nearly 15 years ( although he had a few years break in the middle) and Dave our other chef is nearly into his eight year with us. 
The restaurant staff are just as vital and stability in a team is very important to us. Luckily we have a core team who work with Adrian and I, and know their job inside out.  Jody and Gill make a great team and work very happily together in the restaurant looking after all our lovely customers. Lastly we have a wonderful team of younger members that join us for weekends and holidays and usually stay with us until uni or school life is over.
Gradually I will introduce the team so you can get to know us a little better.
But for now this week as ever we have been busy with a new menu change and finalising the Christmas menu. Planning the new menu always takes a lot of thinking, balancing the dishes and keeping on a few favourites. We are delighted to be using fresh local sausages from Morgans Powri Gwych in Caerwys, Trout from the local fish farm in Bodfari and as much local produce as we can. I had more local apples again this week, which I love. So many crumbles and pies to make.....

This year for our Christmas menu we have decided to keep it simple but great. Adding in old favourites like Prawn cocktail , a lovely light melon dish with some gorgeous blackcurrant sorbet,  Braised Welsh Beef in red wine with redcurrant jelly & dumplings, Poached Haddock with a delightful smoked salmon cream sauce are just a few to choose from. All a little bit like comfort foods, delicious great dishes, - and pudding well pudding will be a tricky choice, do you have the golden baked meringues with raspberries or the brown sugar Double chocolate pudding with hot chocolate fudge sauce or maybe just keep it traditional with Christmas pudding & rum sauce.   Christmas is a time for friends and family to remember each other and spend time together enjoying each others company. The sound of the restaurant busy with chatter and laughter is always nice but has a special feel at Christmas time.

Back to  baking, as always we have been busy in this department  and the carrot cake is quickly becoming a great favourite.

This one is ready for an order, waiting to be collected and eaten with friends......

Along with the sweet side of baking we have been making our very popular quiche and truly special sausage rolls. I learnt how to make these as a child from my mum, plenty of good sausage meat and not too much pastry. In fact my love for cooking came from my mum.

Plenty of good sausage meat and not too much pastry!!

Baking and home cooking was simply a way of life for us as we grew up. Mixed with a busy house and plenty of people to feed, I guess looking after people and catering just really came naturally to me and has turned into a job that I love and feel very passionate about. I have to add the best bit of all is I found someone that just as dedicated and caring to share this with and work with everyday. Adrian my hubby.