Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Today was Father’s Day. I always feel a bit sad on Father’s Day now that my own Dad is gone. I regret we didn’t spend more Father’s Days together. Falling as it does on the third Sunday in June, it was not during the school holidays, so we were rarely, if ever, together - although there were a few occasions when he was here with us. I cannot complain however as we had so many lovely visits with my parents, and I am blessed to have been able to travel to see them as much as I did.

I’m very grateful to have such a wonderful husband to celebrate Father’s Day with, and so grateful that we have such a brilliant son together. Father’s Day was the perfect opportunity to show him how much we appreciate him. So we gave him a few little presents and cards, and decided that it would be nice to treat him to a long, lovely lunch by the Thames.

We headed for the wonderful Boathouse at The Beetle and Wedge in Moulsford. The Boathouse is just that, a converted boathouse. Upstairs the light and airy décor is enhanced by floor to ceiling windows overlooking the River Thames. Downstairs is cosier, with the open grill ablaze. You can watch the chef cook all manner of things there, right before your eyes.

I always like it better upstairs, particularly in the warmer weather, and I had asked for a table by the window as it was a special occasion. Although the Thames has a reputation of being an urban river, filthy from the city, it is actually quite beautiful in many places, flowing through miles and miles of countryside. It is a river people swim, sail and play in outside of London. W saw gorgeous boats, from tiny traditional launches to yachts cruising past the window. It was also fun watching people learn to sail and kayak right before our eyes. One little boy, out in a canoe with his parents, sat in the middle of the vessel, clinging furiously to both sides. It was so cute - clearly he had been told to sit very still! There was lots of wildlife to keep us entertained as well, from coots and ducks to Canada Geese.

The food is amazing at The Boathouse. They specialize in things cooked on its wonderful grill, including some fantastic seafood, but the menu offers a huge array of choices for everyone, from vegetarians to meat eaters alike. From entrees to main courses and desserts, the choices are brilliant. Food is creatively prepared and the combinations of ingredients are fresh and delicious.

I started with a honey roast fig and parma ham salad, served with rocket and parmesan cheese. It was stunning, richly flavored and delicious. Our son always starts with the same thing, shredded duck served on a ginger risotto cake . It is his absolute favourite. And for my husband there are nearly always mussels in a beautiful cream sauce on offer.

For my main course, I tend to have seafood when I go to the Boathouse at The Beetle and Wedge as it is so fresh and cooked so beautifully. Today I enjoyed a roast loin of cod with mango salsa, served alongside a rosti potato cake. My side dish was a multi-colored cherry tomato and shallot salad that was utterly refreshing and delicious. Our son chose steak as always, served this time in a piquant peppercorn sauce, and my husband had beautifully cooked liver and bacon. He often chooses that dish as it is something I refuse to cook at home. Sadly I’m one of those folks who believe that offal is awful.

The desserts at the Beetle and Wedge Boathouse are not to be missed. Our son chose an incredible profiterole dessert, served with chocolate ice cream and flaked almonds. My husband and I had steamed citrus pudding. British steamed puddings are like a heavy cake and are traditionally very stodgy. However, steamed puddings at the Beetle and Wedge are light and delicious. This one was served with an amazing citrus sauce and lovely light vanilla custard.

We chatted throughout the meal, which lasted over two hours, relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. (The service is not fast at The Boathouse as in some places, but over a relaxed Sunday lunch, fast service is not always what you want!)

It was a lovely afternoon and a super celebration of the wonderful man who is my husband and our son’s father. I’m so grateful for family times like these.

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