Met up with Valerie and Norman, their daughter & her fiancé, for lunch at the James Figg pub in Thame. They had been attending a wedding at Notley Abbey nearby. We had never been to the James Figg, and to be honest we have not been to most of the pubs and restaurants in Thame. Steve frequents Costa when Rosemary is doing her round of charity shops.
The James Figg is themed on boxing, named after James Figg an English bare-knuckle boxer. He is widely recognized as the first English bare-knuckle boxing champion, reigning from 1719 to 1730. He was born in Thame. It’s a good pub, with a good choice or real ales, or is that cask ale, or the new trendy phrase of craft ale. In any case, it caters well for beers. Extensive menu, though we wanted to eat relatively lightly, so we all went for starters, each choosing three starters for £10. This was a kind of tapas meal.
Yes, I can quite recommend the James Figg, maybe Costa is going to see a lot less of me.
We departed for home, Norm and Vallerie driving over to our house for the weekend, while Rosemary and I quickly dropped into Waitrose to buy some more Monkfish. We had decided tonight’s menu was Monkfish. I was looking for a Kilo for the four of us. My first shop the previous day was Tesco in Bicester where they had one filet, just under 350 grams. I bought this, at the same time phoning Sainsburys in Bicester. They too had one small fillet in stock, so I reserved that and walked over there to buy their’s. Good thing I had reserved it because someone else wanted it. It was small, 250 grams.
Waitrose had masses of Monkfish, and large fillets. I bought 400 grams to make up my dish. So, Waitrose came up trumps, but a high premium. Sainsbury was £16 a kilo, Tesco was £20 a kilo and Waitrose £26. Quite a difference in price
We met up with Norman, Valerie, Viv and Bill to see the Degas to Picasso: Creating Modernism in France exhibition at the Ashmolean. Lovely sunny day with lunch at the cafe in the crypt of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Fabulous walk around the University Botanic garden where there was a brilliant display of tulips. While we were sitting admiring the pond we met Robot Wars judge Lucy, whom Rosemary knows from her exercise class and daughter knows from Toastmasters.
Hot sunny day on Saturday July 10th, we ventured forth to a sculpture exhibition nearby in Asthall Manor, Asthall, Burford, Oxfordshire, OX14 4HW. The exhibition was by various artists and can be seen on the site onformsculpture.co.uk. Not only was some of the sculpture impressive, so was the house. Setting the sculpture in a garden setting was a fantastic idea.
Food was not a success for the day, we had intended having lunch out. We spent too long in the gardens, only to find any decent eating places closed. Eventually had a cream tea in Woodstock.
Rosemary and I had a special meal out at Carluccios’s in Bicester Village. This is a chain of restaurants with the name of celebrity chef Antonio.
The meal was a themed Italian meal with selected wines. We started off with a glass of Prosecco and some excellent Canapes. The deep fried spinage was excellent.
The menu was.
Gamberi e Bianco
A Salad of prawns on marinated fennel
Accompanied by La Segreta Bianco Fresh and rich with a long slow finish. Made from a blend of Grecanico, Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon and Fiano grapes. Tropical fruit flavours, with a lingering dry finish.
Risotto al Vino Rosso Creamy red wine risotto
Filetto di Bue alla Griglia Fillet steak served with sauteed mushrooms and garlic and roasted Rosemary potatoes
Accompanied by Capello di Prete A rich red balanced red with mellow flavours of cocoa and cherries. Made from 100% Negroamaro grapes.
Crema di Noce con Cioccolata A delicious hazelnut panna cotta served with a chocolate sauce
Accompanied by Aleatico di Puglia An incredible red dessert wine, produced from Aglianico grapes. Medium sweet with spice and cherry flavours.
After the meal had an espresso and some grappa. Meal was good, especially liked the marinaded fennel. Marinaded in lemon juice and zest. Steak ordered rare and was served rare, excellent.
This weekend we went into Woodstock. Rosemary felt we had not been there for some years. Checkout out some expensive antique shops, you can tell where the market is aimed at when you see the newsagent selling the Herald Tribune.
Afterwards into Oxford to sit in traffic jams for a long time. Looking for more second hand shops, which we never found.
After visiting Woodstock and Oxford, we drove home across country. As we passed the National Trust Boarstall Tower we saw it was open. This is a superb gatehouse to Boarstall House, which was demolished in 1778. The owner had decided the house was evil. The tower is rented out to a tenant for over £4,500 a month, but is available for guided tours on Saturday. The tower is bounded by a moat on three sides. The fourth side had been filled in many years before.