Not quite a Premier Dinner

If you are looking for a cheap hotel, that isn’t Travelodge, then I am usually quite pleased with Premier Inn. I’ve felt that Premier Inn, which is generally not that much more expensive than the Travelodge have nicer rooms and definitely much nicer breakfasts. On a recent trip to Cambridge I stayed at the Premier Inn near to the A14. Knowing that I was arriving late on a Sunday, I decided to take advantage of their £22 meal deal.

Enjoy a delicious three course evening meal from our Meal Deal menu featuring specially selected dishes, plus a drink of your choice. Then the next day, eat as much as you like of our freshly prepared Premier breakfast, all for just £22.

As breakfast on its own costs £8.25 I thought that wasn’t such a bad deal.

Having arrived ordered a pint of bitter (part of the deal) and looked over the menu.

For the starter I went with the classic Prawn Cocktail, served on crisp salad leaves with tomato, cucumber, a classic Marie Rose sauce and buttered brown bread.

rawn Cocktail, served on crisp salad leaves with tomato, cucumber, a classic Marie Rose sauce and buttered brown bread.

Interestingly the menu you download from the web site says that this can’t be chosen as part of the meal deal, whereas the menu at the hotel says it can be. There were similar inconsistencies across other items too. As for the prawn cocktail, well I was surprised to see large prawns, I was expecting the smaller prawns you normally find in prawn cocktails. It was apparent that the Marie Rose sauce was from a bottle and there was slightly too much paprika! Alas the prawns lacked flavour and were too chilled and so were overpowered by the sauce. The salad was fresh and crisp and the lemon was a nice touch.

For my main I went with the 10oz rump steak that according to the menu, came with a grilled tomato, peas, a flat mushoom and chips, which was described on the menu as firm, meaty and flavoursome. I think they meant to say tough, chewy and bland! Okay it’s a rump steak and in terms of cuts of meat that is not a tender melt in the mouth option, it normally is firm and chewy. I thought it lacked flavour, which is normally the reason for chewing, sorry choosing the rump cut.

10oz rump steak that according to the menu, came with a grilled tomato, peas, a flat mushoom and chips, which was described on the menu as firm, meaty and flavoursome.

As you can see from the photograph I didn’t get a grilled flat mushroom, I guess the kitchen had run out.

For desert I made a mistake and went with the Caramel Apple Crumble. This was an apple crumble smothered with sweet, sticky caramel served with custard.

Caramel Apple Crumble

This was way too sweet and the sticky caramel sauce was horrible, it clung to the top of my mouth and stayed there. I didn’t finish the dish and left most of it.

So as the blog title says this was not premier dining and for the price I don’t think you can expect it to be. However in terms of value for money and convenience it wasn’t too bad, but I wouldn’t have the crumble again…

Not Apple Crumble

Crumble, I think

A pot of Ambrosia Apple Crumble.

Why we bought this, I have no idea…

Why I ate it, I have even less of an idea…

Basically custard with apple and a crumble topping. The kind of dessert you can put in a lunch box.

And yes it was actually the sort of dessert you could put straight in the bin…

The custard was okay, as prepared custard often is, the apple was just tasteless chunks and as for the crumble… well I hoped that would be the bit that made this nice, no luck there! Wasn’t even proper tasting crumble, it was over sweety powdery crunchy stuff.

Won’t be buying that again!

Roast Pork

Though relatively cheap, a joint of pork loin still makes for a nice Sunday roast.

Cooking lunch

I did manage to get very crispy crackling and a tender moist joint.

One thing I do about 30 minutes before the pork has finished cooking is to add some sliced apple to the roasting dish. I also add other stuff like onions, mushrooms, courgette and bread, however the apple is there as a kind of apple sauce. I do though have been known to cook the apples separately but sometimes for speed and to save on washing up I will roast the apple with the pork.

Cooking Apples

Whenever I cook pork (and if I have time) I like to cook some apple to serve alongside. This is not apple sauce, this is cooking apples.

Cooking Apples

If I have more time I do peel the apples, but this isn’t strictly necessary.

In a large frying pan, like the one you cooked the pork in, add some butter and place the apples in the pan. I then sprinkle a teaspoon of icing sugar. This helps to caramelise the apple and add a little sweetness. It is best to serve straight away once they have finished cooked and are browned.

Pork leg steaks with a spiced apple stuffing

Most of the supermarkets now have a “cook at home” food, Waitrose is no exception and they have their “Easy to Cook” range.

We recently tried the pork leg steaks with a spiced apple stuffing.

Described as “succulent English pork leg steaks with a spiced apple stuffing, topped with apple butter and wrapped in English bacon” they looked really nice and sounded delicious.

It did sound tempting.

After cooking the pork according to the instructions, I sliced the steaks and they appeared to be quite tender.

The problem was the flavour or to be more specific the lack of flavour. Now most pork you buy doesn’t have much flavour, outdoor reared or free range generally does. These steaks lacked any depth of flavour. Not a problem, the spiced apple should enhance the pork as should the apple butter. Hmmm, well they didn’t the apple flavour was also missing and the spice though there, was so subtle you quite easily missed it.

It was a pity as this did some a really nice dish, but the lack of flavour and general blandness of the finished dish was very disappointing. Next time I think I will make it myself.