Category Archives: Food

Getting back to hiking, a trip to the Peak District

I have just come back from four months in Japan and one of the things I did whilst I was there was a couple of nice hikes near Mt Takao. This reminded me that a) I really like hiking and b) I have not done much hiking for years, especially point-to-point hiking with my kit on my back.

So, this weekend I have set out to rediscover hiking and to revisit the area where my love of hiking was honed as a teenager, in the Derbyshire Peak District.

After work today I packed 2 days of clothes, maps, wet weather gear and some essentials such as a computer in my rucksack and set off, helped by a lift from my brother Ian to Nottingham station. In just under an hour the train deposited me at Cromford, on the edge of the Peak District National Park.



Cromford has many links to the early days of the industrial revolution. For example, Richard Arkwright built his water-powered mill here in 1771, followed by many others, which led to rail and canal links.



On the walk from the station I was treated to wonderful views of the River Derwent and the terminus of the Cromford Canal.




A short walk, between 1 and 2 kilometres, took me to my stay for the night, the Greyhound Hotel in Cromford. I might also get back to camping, but I decided to break myself back in gently. The Greyhound Hotel was built in 1778 by Richard Arkwright for visitors to his mills.


The road sign in the picture was taken on my walk to Cromford and is in feet and inches and warns of the height of a low bridge. However, this sign is not only confusing because it uses feet and inches, but it also uses an old notation for them. The ‘ symbol means feet, and the “ symbol means inches.


At the Greyhound hotel I treated myself to a proper Northern dinner of meat and potato pie, followed by apple crumble.

The walk proper starts tomorrow morning. However, since this is not a business hotel, breakfast is served (on Saturdays) from 9 till 10, so it won’t be an early start.


Boxing Day Pie, one of my joys at Christmas

Lasagna dish

For the last decade or more, Christmas Day at the Poynter household has had a special treat to follow it, Boxing Day Pie. Our pie is a combination of family bonding, tradition, and yummy eating.

So, what is Boxing Day Pie? We take everything, well almost everything, left unserved from Christmas Day dinner and we put it in a pie! This year the pie had a short-crust base and a puff pastry top. Inside the pie we had, turkey, pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon), carrots, brussel sprouts, roasted parsnips, stuffing, potatoes, gravy and probably some things I can’t recall.

Why is the pie so great? Well firstly, the things going into the pie all taste good. They taste good for two reasons, a) they were good enough to serve on the plate of what for us is the most important meal of the year; b) they are loaded with all the fat, salt, and flavour used to cook the Christmas Dinner – remember, I didn’t say it was healthy, just really tasty.

However, the pie is more than just a taste experience, it is a family experience. When we are buying the food for Christmas Day we know that we can buy a little bit more than we need, without as much temptation to serve too much on the day – there is no temptation to try an eat everything on Christmas Day as we now that not eating things leads to a great pie. As we are tidying away the Christmas Dinner we are discussing which items will go in the pie (stuffing yes, cranberry jelly no, mashed potatoes no, roast potatoes yes).

On Boxing Day (or this year the 28th) we share up the tasks, making the crust, chopping things, making some more gravy, talking about the pie, cooking the pie, and then as a family sitting down again to eat a great pie, and being a family. This ritual probably makes the pie taste even better, there is plenty of evidence that rituals can make the taste of food even better, see Psychology Today post here.

We tend to make our pie in a very large lasagne dish, with pastry base and top, but try it, make yours the way you want to.