Tidy Trio Triumph! Thumbs up for Marco!!

Starting with an explanation..always good to do! A very nice Welsh borrower came into the library where I work this week and called me and my colleagues “tidy girls”. Now, we decided to take this as a compliment. We weren’t sure whether he meant we were very nice or was in fact saying we kept a tidy well shelved library (he’s a bit of an aficionado, visiting libraries all over the country!) but we liked the term either way and decided that we would become the Tidy Trio, who would go on intrepid adventures and report back – either a Triumph or a Travesty.

Today we had our first adventure out! We visited the New York Italian Restaurant, Marco’s located next to the new Hampton by Hilton near Exeter Airport.  Here’s a sneaky peek….

Marco's Exeter

Lots of mean and moody pics of Marco Pierre White, dancing glitterballs and elegantly decorated tables. Take a look at their website for more photos and a menu.  http://www.marcosexeter.co.uk/

We were very pleased, on the whole, with the menu although there wasn’t a great deal of choice for vegetarians. Tidy Frances is a veggie and decided on Mushroom Risotto (nice but could have done with some greenery on top!), Tidy Linda is most definitely not a veggie and had Yellow Fin Tuna steak, which looked amazing and had an accompaniment of wonderful smelling new potatoes! I tried the Asparagus, Mint & Lemon Risotto, which was lovely and very filling.

Lemon Risotto

We did have room for dessert though, of course! We wouldn’t be doing our job properly if we didn’t, would we?!  I went for balsamic strawberries and icecream (delicious!), Tidy Frances had Double Chocolate Truffle Cake and Tidy Linda had Marco’s Tiramisu (lucky that he’s happy to share!)….didn’t realise until it arrived that it would match her outfit!

Tidy Linda!

A very good time was had by all Tidys and we voted it a good Triumph! The service was good and unhurried, leaving lots of time for chatting and daft photo taking (we kept the flash off, we weren’t TOTALLY embarrassing!). Would definitely recommend it and would love to go again (hint, hint!).

Just as an afterthought…..our only problem was finding the restaurant in the first place! No signposting whatsoever from what we could see, and we nearly ended up having lunch at a Kebap (yes, correct spelling!) van on a nearby estate in desperation! As we entered we said to the people behind us that we’d had trouble getting there and they said they’d had to stop and phone in for directions! So, handy hint, don’t let it put you off going, but google how to get there before you set off!

Woohoo! PANCAKES Ahoy!!

When I say I’m a pancake monster, fortunately I don’t mean this…..


….but how cool is that?! I’ll put up my hand and confess now…. we’ve never, ever, ever had fun making pancakes as a family before. I’ve always been soooo nervous about the whole flippin’ flipping thing that we’ve always had normal, everyday, singed around the edges pancakes …. until NOW!!!!  This year we decided to go for it in a big and FUN way! I’m not saying we didn’t have “ordinary” pancakes too. Our favourite normal pancakes this year were leek and goats cheese for a lovely lush and tasty savoury version and Choccie Philly (yes, we’re silly!) with mandarin oranges and ice cream (messy but LUSH) for sweet. Then things got a little crazy…..

My daughter’s just starting to enjoy cooking and we had lots of lovely left overs from cake pop making the other day, so we got decorating…and then found food dye, and madness just ensued! We used the standard recipe:-

  • 110g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml milk with 75ml water
  • 2tbsp butter

We sifted together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl (we did our best Mary Berry and held the sieve high (messy!) so that the flour was well aired (and very attractive it looked all over the cooker hob too!). Having made a well in the middle of the flour, we added the eggs then whisked. To this we added the milk and water mixture a little at a time – good job because we did have a little left over that we didn’t need (probably because of the hob top flour!). Now….what we did next, the first time around, was wrong – we added the butter without melting it first and ended up with little chunks floating in the mixture rather than ending up with the smoothness as we should have had. So, our TOP TIP is to make sure you do melt the butter! Once the pan was nice and hot we added the mixture a little at a time…

Hooooowwww cute?!

First off my daughter had a go at making a baby owl – relatively simple on the shaping of the pancake for this. We were going to add the wings into the pancake shape but then she had the idea of doing them in chocolate buttons and there was no dissuading her, naturally!

Crispy Duck Pancake (d'y'geddit?!)

Crispy Duck Pancake (d’y’geddit?!)

We then thought back to the fun meal we had at Chinese New Year and decided on a tongue in cheek….Crispy Duck Pancake pancake!  We had fun with left over squirty cream and food dye for the water, left over mandarin orange segments for the beak and wings and butterfly sprinkles in the sky. We had a good high five to celebrate our cheesiness at this one!

(blue insides!)

(blue insides!)

Then the now infamous Rainbow Fish! Who knew that blue food dye in pancake mixture would be so…..ummm….vivid?! Smarties, jelly tots, mandarin orange and banana all came in handy for this one! My daughter absolutely loved her creation. It’s a good job that the photos came out okay first time around because by the time I’d come back from checking them on the computer, Rainbow Fish was no more! I did do a quick “oh dear, her insides are now that colour!” but what the heck, it’s just once a year!

So, while she was finishing licking the plate after Rainbow Fish she happened to say “aren’t pancakes far more fun than ordinary cakes?”, which gave me an idea for the last little bit of mixture. So, here’s my pancake cupcake – as you can see, I was more impressed with myself than my teenage daughter, but that is going to be a great photo to show boyfriends in years to come – Kevin the teenager eat your heart out!!

Oh go on kid, give me a smile, pleeeease!!!