I like October. I like the golden hues, the pumpkin-spiced everything’s, the chilly starts, the jumpers. What I don’t like is the rain. Crikey, have we had rain? For the first two weeks, it rained cats and dogs. I love that saying. It does make me laugh. I imagine little fluffy cats and wet-nosed dogs hanging onto brightly coloured umbrellas gently falling from the grey sky above. Then as if by magic things changed. The autumnal days that I love making an appearance. Out came the pre-loved cashmere and all was right with the world.
October saw Tara’s Busy Kitchen HQ turn into a pumpkin recipe production line. Spiced Pumpkin Muffins, Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Rosemary and Walnuts as well as Spiced Pumpkin Mousse. I am pretty sure that those recipes will just keep on coming too, especially with my trip to New York imminently approaching. This time of year in the States it really is pumpkin spice anything and everything. Perhaps I am preparing myself for the trip just as an athlete does when training for a race. I am just making and devouring anything that contains pumpkin to get my body ready!
My annual trip in half term to Winchester didn’t disappoint. I stayed in two very different but equally great places and ate some rather delightful meals in some old favourites as well as discovering some new. A special mention for The Old vine. I had wanted to stop in so many times but had never had the time until now. I will definitely be back. They had a great wine list which included a local sparkling wine which pleased me greatly.
One of my favourite places to frequent in Winchester when visiting is The Wykeham Arms. I normally book in for supper as I love the atmosphere, faultless and friendly service and the food is always right up there in flavour. This time I had the pleasure of staying in one of the rooms which added to my overall enjoyment. It meant I could eat there twice. Breakfast and supper.
We were lucky enough to stay in The Bakehouse, one of their suites situated just across the street. Our rooms were lovely and decorated thoughtfully. The bathroom was dreamy. A roll-top bath complete with Bramley products and twin basins to eliminate the race for “who is going to clean their teeth first”? Steve loved the hi-tech tv that emerged from the end of the bed via remote control. Boys will be boys I guess.
I am in the process of writing a post on my stay so watch this space.
Saint George Tea Room
Just across the street from The Wykeham is the Saint George Tea Room. The businesses seem intertwined with staff moving comfortably between the two venues. Our waitress had served us the evening before at the bar in the pub before our dinner reservation.
It’s modern yet cosy interior is the perfect setting for a light lunch or afternoon tea. Steve and I found it a quiet little haven away from the hustle and bustle of Winchester’s High Street. Like any city, the main drag can be super busy and I always like to seek out the quieter side streets and what they may be hiding. More often than not you find an Interesting independent coffee shop, boutique or hidden gem like Saint George Tea Room.
Steve and I decided on trying their traditional afternoon tea. A quintessentially English selection of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and small cakes. It seemed very apt in one of England’s most historic and beautiful cities. Once again a full blog post will be following so I don’t want to give too much away other than we enjoyed it immensely. We even had a visit fro the chef which made it all the more special.
November sees me travel to The States with New York City being my destination. I have reservations secured in some of the most sort after restaurants both new and more established. I will be trying vegan Indian food at Night Music, Brunching on Mexican and Mayan cuisine at Gitano Jungle Room and mixing with the hoi palloi at Le Cou Cou and that is just scratching the surface. It’s going to be a culinary whirlwind that I can’t wait to be swept up in.
On top of all the eating and drinking, I also have access to all areas passes to see The Pineapple Thief, Steve’s band, play Sony Hall. They are off on tour for a month in and around North America, Mexico and Canada so I figured it would be fun to hop across the pond with my sister and my stepdad to catch the show.
Make sure you follow me on Instagram to have an insight into some of New York’s coolest and most exciting places to eat and drink. I am pretty sure my stories will be going crazy. It’s all very exciting.
Up until that point, I plan to keep things pretty quiet. I have a few recipes I am working on almost ready for release so if you fancy whipping up a batch of Butternut Squash & Sage Soup keep your eyes peeled. Why not sign up to my mailing list to keep up to date with all things Tara’s Busy Kitchen so you never miss out?
Have a fantastic November everybody.
Additional photographs: Chloe Upton
Disclaimer: This post contains gifted items. I was not paid for this post and all views are my own as always.