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Essentially England News, March 2009 - Between Cheesy Steves and the Boat Race
March 26, 2009

Between Cheesy Steves and the Boat Race

A cheerful welcome to everyone who subscribed to Essentially England News during the last month! Here you'll find England news, site news, travel tips, reviews and our Recipe of the Month, all in one easy-to-digest email.

Spring has finally arrived in England Ö despite the snow showers forecast for later this week. Daffodils are out, the first tulips are braving the weather and forsythia makes lovely bright yellow splashes against the often still grey skies.

The first part of the month was madly busy, but then we had a wonderful week in Devon, exploring historical sites, taking loads of photos and fitting in some lovely relaxing walks. Devon is only 120 miles south of us, but due to its balmy climate spring is much further along. I could not believe my eyes when I saw flowering camellias, magnolias and even rhododendron. Mine wonít come out to play until early May!

What's New at Essentially England?

Iím starting to fill in the holiday section. Northumberland has acquired some additional pages, amongst them one of my favourite bike rides.

Norfolk and Suffolk are still growing and Iíve finally managed to start a Pictures of England section. Since Iím being asked about this quite a lot, and I'm not the world's greatest photographer, Iíve set it up so that all site visitors can share their best pics if they like to.

So if you have any England pictures that deserve a wider audience, please share them with us!

Iíve made a start with my favourite sunset picture. Enjoy!

Travel Tips and Reviews

Now that it gets lighter and warmer, we aim to be out and about a bit more. Iím pleased to report that most rail companies are still running their Go By Rail promotions, which lets you claim 2 for 1 entry to a number of popular attractions simply by downloading the voucher and showing your train ticket.

This can save you £16 on a ticket to the Zoo, £13.25 on a ticket for the London Aquarium or £20 on a ticket to the London Dungeon. Same for entry to the Roman Baths and the Costume Museum in Bath Ė which is where Iím headed one of these weekends. The deals are available all round the country, so just google your local rail operator and print out the vouchers before you go.

Hotels are also extremely competitive at the moment, with some real good deals to be had. If you love city breaks, then check out this offer from Radisson Edwardian. If you book (and pay) at least 10 days ahead, you can save 20% on your stay. Ends 31st of August 2009.

Fairs, Festivals and Things to Do

If youíre looking for fun days out without spending any money, then you should check out one of Londonís top sporting events: The Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race. There are big screens along the course if you donít find a place on the riverbank and the carnival atmosphere of the event must be experienced to be believed. Great fun!

Recipe of the Month - Cheesy Steves

Devon has a reputation for excellent fresh food, but the Devonians also love to bake. Devon Scones anyone?

This treat, though, is something very different: A crispy, cheesy nibble with just a hint of mustard to provide an edge. I found these in Gayís Deli in Dawlish and simply had to try and re-create them when I got back home. I only wish I had asked where they got their very unusual name! Maybe thatís what the chefís calledÖ.

To make my version of Cheesy Steves you need some leftover potato, flour, salt, English mustard and cheese. And a very very hot oven!

Start with getting the oven hot. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil and paint lightly with olive oil. Then put it in the oven to get hot.

Meanwhile mash the potatoes and weigh them. Mix one quantity of potato with half a quantity of flour and half a quantity of grated cheese. A good strong cheddar is nice.

Add salt and a teaspoon of Colmanís mustard powder and mix in. (English mustard is eye-wateringly hot, so a little goes a long way. If you canít come by the bright yellow stuff, use your regular mustard, but I would suggest you double the quantity.)

Work into a stiff dough. If your potatoes are on the sticky side, add a little more flour.

Take small portions of the dough and roll it out VERY thinly on a floured board. The thinner you make the cheesy steves, the crispier they get. If you like your nibbles orderly, use a pastry cutter to make shapes.

Take the hot baking sheet from the oven and carefully place the cheesy steves onto it. Top with more grated cheese, then pop back into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until beautifully golden brown. (If you rolled out your mixture a little thicker, you may need to bake it a bit longer Ö go by nose and eyes, but keep in mind that cheese burns very quickly!)

Your kitchen will smell delicious and you will want to taste your creations immediately Ö but wait! Donít eat them all straight away. Cheesy Steves go crispier as they cool and they are simply divine with a glass of red wine!

And Next Month Ö

Our break in Devon has yielded loads of beautiful photos Ö so look out for pages about Dartmouth, Merrivale, Grimspound and Agatha Christieís home Greenway.

Until next month, keep well and think of EnglandÖ

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