The soup du jour was the not unpleasing Spring Vegetable Soup. However, since we are now in November, I have an inkling that this may not have been freshly made. No matter. I remembered to wipe the spoon off once I'd finished as one only gets the one spoon to use for the soup and dessert courses. Forgetting to clean the spoon can bring a different taste to the first couple of mouthfuls of one's pudding, but that's not necessarily a bad thing depending on the unpleasantness of the dessert.
I could have ordered Cottage Pie for my main course (but frankly I've had more than enough cottage pies to build an entire Cotswold village since I've been here). I could have opted for the Egg Mayonnaise & Cress sandwich or the Red Leicester Ploughman's. For our overseas readers, I must explain that a ploughman's is short for ploughman's lunch. The origins of this venerable rustic English fayre appears to date back at least to the 1960s, when the Milk Marketing Board promoted the meal nationally to boost sales of cheese. It involves cheese, bread and pickle/relish and is usually to be avoided. So I chose the only other thing on the menu: Herb & Tomato Quiche.
Lovingly described as 'shortcrust pastry filled with egg custard, tomatoes and herbs'. You see how the NHS can put custard in almost anything? It was not pleasant, the crust was as hard and as thick as a nightclub bouncer. But to be honest, I'm very bad and far too fussy when it comes to quiche. The fault for not eating it must rest with me and my wife for making such an admirable quiche.
Given my history with swede I cannot for one moment imagine what flight of madness induced me to tick the box for this and the garden peas. I've eaten more peas since I've been here than Bird's Eye can harvest. And as for the mashed swede, eating it is like trying to swallow pulped garden mulch. This stuff is lethal and should be placed on the Class A list of banned substances. If you see any mashed swede, do not attempt to approach it. Simply dial the emergency services and tell them there has been a chemical spillage. They'll know what to do.
Finally, our little gastronomic tour must come to an end with dessert: Spiced Fruit Pudding & Custard. The NHS custard mountain must surely be diminishing by now. I'm not really sure how to describe spiced fruit pudding but the nearest I can manage is a cinnamon flavoured dry sponge with the odd raisin or sultana supplanted within. There's also a slight aroma of wet dog about it that really makes it most unpleasant on the palate. Once again I should have opted for the low-calorie, non-dairy, peach yogurt with gelatin and added probiotics. How stupid am I?