A year on and back to Bembridge

BembridgeUnbelievably ‘lardersaga’ is a year old. Sometime in March 2012 I scrambled around some alien software, floundered, cursed, and finally set up this blog with wordpress. I then failed to write anything for a month, not really sure where to start or indeed what to say.  Time slipped by,  and a little like having an ‘elephant in the room’, I simply could not ignore it any longer, I just had to get going. Curiously, once you start it all just seems so effortless. I have a wealth of material to tap into, daily life provides that, the challenge is finding the incy wincy windows in my day to do it. Pathetic really, I mean after all I don’t work, but somehow writing this feels like a luxury and hence rarely gets air time in day light hours, confined instead to early mornings or late evenings when the ‘little people’ are slumbering deeply. (Wait a second -that does not apply to the mornings, no one slumbers a minute past 6am in this mad house). Regardless of when it is written, the ‘blog’ has become my new therapy. Hugely indulgent and incredibly selfish, I really do enjoy wibbling on about food, the ‘little people’, adventures and daily life. Frankly it is the closest I have ever come to keeping any kind of journal and for that reason alone I am  somewhat smug and indeed amazed that I have kept it up. The bottom line is, I just love food, I am very greedy and if I can’t cook for you, I just rather love sharing my culinary exploits through lardersaga with anyone who is prepared to read them.

Bembridge 2So much has happened since March 2012. The ‘little people’ are still little but have a lot more attitude. The female of the species is walking, talking and just trying to be bigger, better and bossier that the ‘blue one’. The ‘blue one’ is angelic to look at, but honestly should come with a ‘Health Warning’. Mr.P is as kind and generous as ever, to prove the point he has recently relented to 5 years of pestering and allowed me to bring home 6 fine hens and a rather handsome cockerel. 5 lambs have been added to our flock, Mr.P has transformed a barn into a playroom, built a fireplace and we have both sworn at the weather (alot). Having sold my business 2 years ago I have now decided it is time to get my fingers dirty again and am just beginning to put out tentative feelers as to where to get started. In the meantime I am currently on ‘holiday’, absurd I know but the blue one does go to nursery and hence the term does allegedly apply, in, don’t hold your breath, the Isle of Wight!

Aahh the glamour! ‘Bembridge’ to be precise, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I mean, who needs Mustique when you have days like today? Don’t kid yourself, but I do wonder, would my ‘little people’ actually notice the difference? Sand, sea, and sun (don’t mention the major temperature difference) the British seaside is pretty gripping and frankly it’s hard to beat Bembridge. That said the wind has been perishing and the welcome sanctuary offered at ‘The Beach Hut’ on Forelands bay, to escape the gusts that have been unleashed straight from Siberia, has not been lost of me. So please excuse me, this post is all about this little corner of the island, where to eat, where to buy and what’s on offer.

Bembridge 3The Beach Hut opened last March, if you recall that would be the March that was one of the sunniest and hottest on record. It now stands shivering at the end of a rather ugly concrete sea defence, but don’t let this put you off. It is utterly delightful, bedecked in Cath Kidson spots and vintage bunting, it is ‘dolls house’ in size and serves a fabulous array of naughty treats, cakes, scones, ice creams, and of course the quintessential Bembridge crab. Actually it seems to do a bit of everything, breakfast, lunch and tea, all wrapped up in bucket and spade charm. Having visited it twice in the last 2 days I can only sing its praises. The food is delicious, even innovative; breaded mackerel fillets being a complete hit with the ‘little people’ and more conventionally, hot crab ramekins, all served by caring, attentive staff, it is a very welcome addition to the Bembridge beach scene, do go!

Easter 2013 114The island has had a well established ‘foodie’ reputation for some time. It just happens that there are 3 noteworthy beach side establishments all within about 4 miles of each other and on days like today this knowledge is pretty useful. The LifeBoat View Cafe at Lanes End is great, don’t be put off by the plastic chairs and shabby chic look, the food is spot on. Perched next to the razzle, dazzle new lifeboat station, the menu is classic, ‘British Seaside’, fish and chips, with the added bonus of fresh lobster and crab also on offer, all super fresh, served in a speedy, unfussy way. The Baywatch Cafe, at St.Helens is also worth a trip, particularly as it is situated above a rather sort after sandy bay, actually it is probably worth booking, on both occassions I have been it has been heaving. However, if the cafe scene is not your bag, Bembridge is also a haven for foodies who want to cook. The high street, and there is only one, has some gorgeous shops from which to stock up your larder, take note.

Top of my list is the ‘Captain Stan’, a really impressive fish shop selling local crab and lobster along with plenty of fish and other delicacies. Next up is the ‘The Farm Shop’, run by the heavenly ‘Jane’, intelligently it also doubles up as the health food shop, so if you’re after weird and wonderful ingredients there is a pretty good chance they’ll have it. Check out the shelving, stunning oak boards apparently from an art room in an old school! ‘Lotties Cafe and Bakery’ stocks bread from the fabulously famous Island Bakers, try their doughnuts they are the best, along with their own ‘naughty but nice’ tray bakes, cakes, scones and other sweet delights, and ‘Woodford and Son’ is the much-loved local butchers. All in all there is an abundance of choice, the difficulty is choosing what to cook. Beachside bliss it really is whether eating in or out, and if you are hunting down a piece of old England, look no further. My ‘little people’ couldn’t be happier, I would be, if only someone could please turn the thermostat up, snowing here on the 3rd April is a bad and late April fools!

My Bembridge directory; where to eat and where to shop;

The Beach Hut, Forelands Beach, Bembridge; http://www.isleofwightbeachcafe.co.uk ; 07832 127737

The Lifeboat View Cafe, Lane End Rd, 01983 875 568

Baywatch on the Beach, St.Helens 01983 873 259

Captain Stans/ Bembridge Fish Store, 5 High St, Bembridge, 01983 875 572

The Farm Shop, 8 High St, Bembridge, 01983 874236

Lotties Cafe & Bakery, 33 High St, Bembridge 01983 872644

Woodford & Son, 26 High St, Bembridge, 01983 872717

About lardersaga

Joanna Preston is mother of the 'little people', 1 pink and 1 blue, and wife to saintly Mr.Patience! After a decade dedicated to cooking for others (Alps, Africa and founding 'Sugar & Spice') my attention is now solely in the home kitchen. We are a food obsessed family that adore growing, sourcing and cooking delectable feasts for friends and family!
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