Author Archive | Sally Craigen

Birds of Prey

Living by the coast and not far from Hadrian’s Wall there are lots of things to do and trips to take for a day out. Yesterday however I did something I have never done before and visited the Rising Sun farm for a birds of prey session. This is a local country park in Wallsend which was once the Rising Sun coal mine. At the farm is a Falconry and myself and a few friends had an hour and half session there holding different birds and flying them. I was a little anxious at first but it was an amazing experience. Derek the owner was vey knowledgeable telling us all sorts of interesting facts about his birds. After handling and stoking the birds we went out of the falconry to fly them. Wearing a falconry glove and holding some food in our hands we each took turns to entice the birds to fly onto our outstretched hands. What a sight to see an eagle owl swoop down off a pole, fly low along the ground and land on your hand to feed. Wow! Anyone can visit the farm and the falconry and it is an experience I would definitely recommend. Here’s me holding an eagle owl, just look at his eyes!

img_0255

Eating out locally

I am very fortunate to live in an area with some great restaurants including the Michellin star House of Tides in Newcastle and two of the runners up in the Observer Food Monthly best restaurant and best Sunday Dinner awards, The Staith House on North Shields Fish Quay and Peace and Loaf in Jesmond. I have eaten at all three of these restaurants and have had some amazing meals, all three deserve all the recognition they get. However Tynemouth and the surrounding area also has some great places to eat out providing a wide range of cuisines. Guests often ask me for reccommendations and so of course I need to try all the places and keep trying them to check for consistency! I love eating out and fortunately so does my partner.

My partner, Pete’s favourite local restaurant is The River Cafe on the Tyne on the fish quay where we always get a good meal at a reasonable price. In Tynemouth itself we are spoilt for choice. Longsands Fish Kitchen is always good both for dining in and take away. I recently had an amazing lobster, salad and chips as a take away from Longsands Fish Kitchen as part of their seafood week. Riley’s Fishshack on King Edwards Bay  is another good and quirky place to get some great fish, they even have fire pits on the beach and lots of coats, hats and scarfs to keep you warm. Barca Art Cafe, Ora, The Buddha Lounge, Davanti, Davanti Classico and Gulshans Indian restaurant are other places where we also enjoy eating locally. Below are just a few photos of food we have eaten from some of these restaurants.

Beer and Bait night at The River Cafe on the Tyne

Beer and Bait night at The River Cafe on the Tyne

 

House of tides

House of tides

House of tides

House of tides

Seafood platter at Longsands Fish Kitchen

Seafood platter at Longsands Fish

Grandchildren

I am so fortunate to be blessed with three gandchildren. Two of them live near me in Whitley Bay and I help with child care. My oldest grandchild is Camille who is four and has just started school. I have looked after Camiile three afternoons a week since she was four months old. Now she has started school I don’t see her as often so my Monday pick up from school and tea are so precious. Today as all of my guest were checked in by 4.15pm I decided to treat  Camille to her tea in a restaurant. Her favourite place at the moment is Longsands Fish Kitchen inTynemouth. It is so lovely to be  going out with a four year old who enjoys good food, eating and talking! This is her enjoying her fish and chips.

image

Baking Day

If you have stayed at Martineau before then you will know that I bake all the bread, pies and biscuits that you can taste during your stay. Today has been a baking day with some lovely spinach and feta pies and fruit scones all ready for a guest who will be having a Martineau packed lunch on her Hadrian’s Wall walk. Here they are out of the oven and cooling.

 

image

Charity Sunday Brunches

Have you ever wanted to try a Martineau breakfast but live locally and so don’t want to stay overnight? Well now you can as I will cook you and your friends a Sunday Brunch. My brunches are at 12noon for a minimum of 4 people and a maximum of 6. You will be able to choose a two course breakfast from Martineau’s extensive menu ending your brunch with our homemade organic toast and wonderful homemade jams and marmalades. It’s £15 per person with £5 of this going to a local charity fund Floppsie Cullen’s Tynemouth who support local charities including the Fishermen’s mission.

To book a Sunday Brunch call me at the guest house.

Below are a few of the brunches you could choose from.

DSC_0588

 

Smoked Haddock fishcake with poached egg and tomato – “This was my favourite breakfast” Guest comment

Smoked Haddock fishcake with poached egg and tomato – “This was my favourite breakfast” Guest comment

“Breakfast was superb, the best full English I have ever had.” Guest comment

“Breakfast was superb, the best full English I have ever had.” Guest comment

 

 

 

A Taste of the Sea cookery experience

I have just introduced a shorter version of my A Taste of the Sea weekends outlined below

A TASTE OF THE SEA EXPERIENCE
£80

This is an afternoon and evening preparing crab and fish. Recipes, instructions and all equipment is provided. You will learn, in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, how to …..
– prepare crab and make three different crab starters.
– make fish stock and use this to make a cream and chive sauce.
– prepare and cook local fish in two different ways.
Once all the prep is complete we go across to Longsands Fish Kitchen for a glass of Prosecco and some oysters.
Then back to the guest house to cook and enjoy the fruits of your labour at a sociable meal.
If you would like wine with your meal then please bring your own as the Guest house is not licensed.
Minimum of two people and maximum of four at any session.
Gift vouchers available

Below are some photos of the first of these sessions.

image image image image image image image

Jam making time

July and August are busy months at the guest house but since I started making my own jams and marmalades it is even busier as it is also when many of the fruits are ripe. Yesterday I spent a lovely morning with two of my grandchildren and my daughter at a local pick your own fruit farm. We were there for the raspberries and the children had great fun picking and eating the fruit. We filled two baskets and I have had a mammoth jam making session this morning? The house now smells of raspberry jam and I have the lovely memories of fruit picking with the grandchildren. Below are some photos from yesterday.

image image image image

 

 

New Kitchen Roof

As many of you who have stayed at the guest house know, the kitchen roof and doors were badly damaged and unsightly. Last week, after months of seeking listed building permission the roof was eventually replaced. The patio doors had been replaced a few weeks ago. What a difference this has made and we all think the roof and doors look very smart. It’s also great that the doors now open easily! The kitchen and dining area are lovely and sunny making breakfast an even more pleasurable experience.

If you click on the link below you will see a time lapse video of the roof going in.

 

VisitEngland Awards night

As I said in a previous blog I was shortlisted for the finals of the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. This prestigious event was held last night at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. It recognised excellence across the whole range of the tourist industry celebrating the fantastic work businesses do. I was in the Taste of England category and I was delighted to receive a Highly Commended award. It was a great achievement to be recognised as one of the top five in the country and to fly the flag for Tynemouth and the North East. Here’s me with my award last night.

 

image

 

 

Tynemouth Food Festival

Some of you may know that as well as running the guest house I am also the founding member and main organiser of Tynemouth Food Festival. I really enjoy this role and over the last five years I have met and becomes friends with some great foodie people. The festival takes a lot of organising and we start straight the process straight after each festival ends reviewing how the weekend has gone and noting anything we could improve on. This then forms the basis for the first planning meeting. This year the festival will be the biggest yet with even more live entertainment, workshops and children’s activities. The picture below shows all the market traders who will be at this year’s festival on May the 7th and 8th. It’s going to be a great weekend and I am really looking forward to catching up with people and tasting some fantastic food.

image