It was time to head back North for another year of university but, before surrendering myself to basic student life I was treated to a weekend in Northumbria and a stay at the newly renovated Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland. The hotel and pub are nestled in the heart of the quaint and peaceful twelfth century village with rooms sprawled across the various historical buildings. We were instantly welcomed by the warm crackle of the huge open fire and charming staff.
After a quick power nap to recover from the gruelling south to north journey we were ready for dinner. We were escorted up the grand stone steps to the warm candlelit hall.
The menu features honest, simple but creative and innovative British food from locally sourced produce.
To start I ordered the dressed Portland crab with brown crab mayonnaise. The white crab meat was naturally light, sweet and refreshing and threaded with the richer, smooth brown crab mayonnaise, dressed with a light tomato dressing.
We also ordered the creamed jerusalem artichoke soup with 'Greedy Pig' chorizo. The velvety, creamy soup was perfectly punctuated by the shavings of crisp and salty chorizo and artichoke.
The Lincolnshire onion tart with a poached egg and chicken livers was intensely rich and indulgent as the strong flavour of the chicken livers mellowed with the runny egg yolk and sweet, caramel onions.
Next was the roasted Weardale grouse with bread sauce, damson jam and game chips. The dish looked exciting and interesting was its various components. The grouse itself had an intense game flavour which was balanced by the simple and creamy bread sauce and the deliciously sugar-sweet damson jam. The jam also went perfectly with the little toast of punchy liver pate. All of this was effortlessly tied together with the moisture of the sumptuous grouse gravy and the crisp flakes of game chips.
The grilled 'pound' of brill with hollandaise sauce and fries was also delicious, simple and satisfying - a posh fish and chips.
Easily tempted by the dessert menu we ordered the date and almond pudding with a brown sugar cream, and the sea buckthorn posset to share.
The date pudding was a light and fluffy rendition of the traditional sticky toffee pudding. Its caramel syrup was complimented by the melting brown sugar cream.
And finally the sea buckthorn posset, made from locally scavenged wild berries. Its flavour was a cross between orange and physalis running through both the smooth a creamy posset and the tangy jelly topping.
The next morning, after waking up from my enormous food coma it was time to explore the village and the surrounding Northumberland coast and countryside. The hotel gives you the opportunity to rent bikes and offers recommendations of local countryside walks.
After a stroll around Blanchland we set off for Hadrian's Wall, and the best spot to view it - Housesteads. The former Roman fortification is now home to a museum and the settlement's remains, with panoramic views of the surrounding stunning countryside, rolling hills and hundreds and hundreds of sheep. From this hill top you can see for miles and walk along the iconic Hadrian's Wall.
Next it was on to the beach at Bamburgh Castle - even on a overcast autumnal afternoon the views were still so dramatic and beautiful.
And after a full day of walking it was back to my little student house...
I am an amateur cook blogging about the food I eat and cook, and my travels along the way.