Where to stay in Malton, Yorkshire: The Talbot Hotel

Continuing my series on Where to Stay on your travels, today we’re taking a mini break, heading north from London to Malton, Yorkshire.

The Talbot Hotel was originally built in the early 17th century as a hunting lodge and has traded as an inn since 1740. It was completely restored in 2011. Here’s why you should stay there.

The location

Set in the heart of the historic market town of Malton with its myriad shops and great food, it’s also only 10 miles from the North York Moors and 18 miles from the city of York. I love that you get the mix of country living – fresh air, peace and open spaces – as well as a bustling little town with great food shopping and a cookery school. Read more about what I saw in Malton here.

The views

Quintessentially English with green, rolling countryside as far as the eye can see. The hotel is set on a hill so you get a wonderful perspective on your surroundings and the rural world around you.

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Yes, it really was this green, the English countryside at its best

The rooms

The beautifully decorated rooms are generous in size with a large, extremely comfortable bed, desk, separate seating area and lovely ensuite. I particularly loved the huge shower and its striking black and white tiles.

There’s a kettle and a range of coffee and tea including a lot of herbal brews – a refreshing cup of tea in the comfort of your room is always welcome.

Oh and the wi-fi’s really good – fast and reliable.

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The breakfast

One of the absolute best things about staying in a hotel has to be breakfast time. I’m not usually much of a breakfast eater. I know, it’s the most important meal of the day, I just can’t manage it – unless I’m in a hotel, that is, and options are literally presented to me on a plate.

There’s a buffet offering of fruit, cereal and pastries and a menu of delights, too. The first morning I tucked into poached eggs and avocado on toast – heavenly.

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I love the combo of avocado and egg

On morning two I wrestled with my choices, ultimately abandoning one of my favourite breakfast treats – eggs benedict – for the delights of a full English. Thought I’d better sample the local bacon, sausage and black pudding and I wasn’t disappointed. I liked the fact that it wasn’t stupidly huge like they sometimes are and I managed to polish off the whole plate.

Okay, I admit it, I must be a breakfast eater, just not if I’m making it myself.

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The full English Talbot-style

The Cookery School

Not only can you shop for and eat amazing food in Malton, you can learn how to cook it too. The Malton Cookery School is allied to the hotel and is just down the road. We did a Yorkshire lamb workshop, which you can read about here. There’s a wide range of courses all held in a kitchen with fantastic facilities and knowledgeable, professional teachers. A really fun and educational way to spend a morning and you’ll come away inspired with new ideas to try at home. I promise.

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The spacious kitchen is a pleasure to work in

The Wentworth Restaurant

We had a delightful dinner in the hotel’s Wentworth restaurant (there’s also the more informal Malton Brasserie which I didn’t have the chance to try out). The menu showcases local products and offered some intriguing choices.

Like this cheese and pickle starter. Smoked Ribblesdale mousse was served with pickled golden vegetables and mustard granola. One of the prettiest starters in a long time and great in flavour, too, with its soft cheesiness, crispy veg and crunchy granola.

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A different take on a classic English combo

I opted for some local scallops which were served with pork belly, black pudding, carrot and blood orange. I’ve experienced the scallop/black pudding thing before and it’s quite amazingly good. The small slivers of pork belly were tender and flavoursome and the carrot puree sweet and delicious.

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Scallop heaven partnered with black pudding

The fish main course option was roast North Sea halibut which was served with mussels, braised fennel, Jeera (cumin) sauce and coconut. The sweetest of fish with an elegant and subtle cumin-flavoured coconut sauce.

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Fish with a touch of the Asian flavours

As we’d spent the morning cooking and eating lamb I had a rare desire for a vegetarian dinner. Lucky for me there was the perfect dish on the menu. The fried potato gnocchi came with woodland mushrooms, peas and broad beans and a silken truffle cream sauce. The little towers of gnocchi were beautifully browned and slightly crispy – just the way I like them, and the pea, bean and pea shoot added greenness and sweetness. The perfect dinner dish after a meat-filled day.

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A delightful plate of indulgent gnocchi

Tonight we were going big – so dessert was on the cards. The options were too good to resist. The Valrhona Manjari chocolate marquise came with cherries in kirsch, cherry sorbet and pistachios. The perfect pudding in shades of purple.

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Who could resist this chocolate/cherry combination

Being not much of a dessert person I took on the responsibility of trying the local cheeses with this substantial artisan selection served with yummy sloe berry chutney, poached grapes and biscuits. All good stuff – and as for the poached grapes.

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Yorkshire is definitely for cheese lovers

The service 

From the warm and efficient welcome at reception to the friendly greetings and smiles from staff, great dinner service and the chatty barman in the cosy bar, everyone is clearly doing their best to make sure you’re happy. And they seem to be enjoying it too.

I felt at home at The Talbot from the moment I walked through the door. It has a warmth and comfort about it and is the perfect base for exploring this beautiful and delicious part of Yorkshire.

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Looking up towards the lovely hotel


What to eat and where to shop in Malton, Yorkshire

Today we’re up in beautiful North Yorkshire in what is known as Yorkshire’s food capital – the lovely country town of Malton. It’s famous for its food festival, monthly food market, Malton Cookery School, traditional food shops and Made in Malton artisan producers. It’s also James Martin’s home town. So you can tell there’s a lot of foodie stuff going on here – simply the perfect place for me to visit. You can read about my fantastic Cooking with Yorkshire Lamb workshop by clicking here.

Malton has a population of around 13,000 and is kind of halfway between York and the seaside resort of Scarborough. A pleasant train ride from London and we were ready for some Yorkshire foodie discovery. As we say in South Africa local is lekker (good).

And it’s all certainly all local ingredients at the The Talbot Yard Food Court where the shops produce everything they sell on site.

The fabulous butchery Food2Remember is aptly named – I certainly won’t forget it in a hurry. Especially as I was offered some warm boerewors to try as I stepped through the door – well impressed with his recipe for my favourite South African sausage. In Yorkshire – who’d have thought?! As well as great local meat, there was also a cabinet of delectable pastry snacks.

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Freshly made pies, pasties and scotch eggs

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An amazing array of meat and home-made sausages

Groovy Moo is a cafe and gelataria – heavenly for ice cream lovers with all your favourite flavours and more. I loved the jammy dodger ice cream (how I love those little jammy biscuits).

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Passione Della Pasta makes pasta daily and also had a fabulous array of local fruit vinegars on tap. I bought a bottle of the lovely raspberry and rhubarb – what a simple way to transform any salad.

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Authentic pasta made fresh daily

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Local vinegar in fruity flavours

There’s no shortage of bakeries in Malton, the aroma of baking floods the streets and there are plenty of tempting window displays. It’s a mouth-watering town to walk around.  Costello‘s in the market square is a family-run business with the motto: “We make our own and we do it all by hand”. The family history dates back generations with Fred Costello opening up his first shop after the war in 1945. Costello’s Malton is a more recent addition, having opened in 2014.

The range of pies available in  is mind-blowing!  And there are plenty of sweet treats to choose from and wonderful coffee, too.

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A marvellous selection of pie fillings

After much deliberation I chose this amazing barbecued pulled pork pie – love that there are contemporary options as well as the traditional offers.

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Meaty and luscious barbecue pulled pork

These are my favourite shopping discoveries in this wonderful foodie town. You can read more about it and where to shop at maltonyorkshire.co.uk.

THE LOCAL PUB

Even in these days of pubs closing at way too rapid a rate, Malton has a drinking few options. For dinner we visited The New Malton in the market square. It’s laid out over two rooms with a little bar and a warm welcome. The traditional menu offers plenty of local specialities.

Like the pork and herb sausage toad-in-the-hole with onion gravy. Well, you have to sample the Yorkshire pudding when in Yorkshire, don’t you?

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When in Yorkshire: traditional toad-in-the-hole

I love a good burger and couldn’t resist this steak burger with pancetta, Swiss cheese, dill pickle, coleslaw and home made chips. Made with top quality steak it had all the ingredients I love for a wonderful combination of flavours and textures.

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Or a burger made with best Yorkshire beef

What a wonderful foodie break in such a quintessentially English setting. And the reason I went there was because my recipe for tasty lamb koftas won first prize in the #lovelambchallenge. Click here for my two tasty lamb mince recipes.

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We stayed at The Talbot Hotel in Malton. Read all about it in the next in my series of Where to Stay, coming soon.

Cooking with tasty Yorkshire lamb in Malton

So back in May I entered a couple of my new lamb mince recipes in the Lamb Recipe Challenge and my tasty lamb koftas won first prize! How fabulous is that! My prize was a trip to the foodie town of Malton in Yorkshire for a Cooking with Yorkshire lamb workshop.

Try the recipe for my delicious award-winning lamb koftas.

Sweet and spiced lamb koftas to savour

Sweet and spiced lamb koftas to savour

LAMB BADGE

And then it was time to discover more secrets about cooking lamb. In October we hopped on the train from London, heading for the lovely Yorkshire town of Malton. It’s described as the foodie capital of Yorkshire and despite being relatively small it’s packed with individual shops including three butchers, a raft of bakeries, fruit and veg sellers and a monthly market, among other things. You can read all about the town and what to do there in a later post.

Today we’re heading for the Malton Cookery School for some butchery know-how with lamb, starting off preparing the cuts we’re going to use and then making a range of tasty dishes. We were presented with an impressive array of meat and under the careful eye of our teacher Gilly began to slice and trim, using every bit of the lamb on offer.

I’m sharing a couple of simple recipes we cooked on our course which are perfect lamb accompaniments.

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These are the cuts we started with

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After our skilled butchering we were left with these

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The class focusses on their tasks

Lamb cutlets were trimmed, flash fried and served with a simple and amazingly simple and tasty soubise sauce which I had to share the recipe for with you. This sauce is great with all types of meat.

Soubise sauce

30g butter

225g onion, chopped very fine

4 tbsp double cream

For the béchamel sauce

20g butter

20g plain flour

300g milk

Make the bechamel sauce by stirring the flour into the melted butter, adding the milk and stirring until smooth.

Soften the onions in the butter until very soft but with no colour. Add the cream and the béchamel sauce. Blend in a blender until smooth and serve with the lamb cutlets.

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A luscious lamb lollipop with creamy dipping sauce

We used the shoulder cuts to make a rich, satisfying tagine.

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A comforting bowl of lamb tagine

We also prepared a chunky ratatouille to serve with the king of our cuts – the lamb fillet. I love this recipe as it’s not mushy like ratatouille can be, rather a bed of colourful vegetables topped with a tomato sauce makes the perfect bed for the lamb.

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A rainbow of crunchy vegetables

Lamb fillet with crunchy ratatouille

Serves 4

For the tomato sauce

1kg ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

For the ratatouille

Large knob of butter

1 red onion, chopped

1 red pepper, skinned and chopped

1 courgette, chopped into small dice

1 small aubergine, diced

1 plum tomato, skinned and diced

For the meat

2 cuts of best end of neck

1 tbsp oil

To make the sauce

Cook the tomatoes, onions and garlic in a splash of oil until very soft. Blend until smooth.

Cook the diced vegetables in the butter in the following order: onion, pepper, courgette, aubergine and tomato. Make sure they still have a good bite to them, we don’t want mushy veg!

For the meat

Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a pan and seal the lamb on all sides, cooking for about 10 mins. Set aside to rest while you dish up the ratatouille.

Reheat the tomato sauce and spoon onto the plates, top with the diced veg and slice the rested lamb fillet into noisettes. Arrange on the vegetables and serve.

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Rare and tender sliced fillet of lamb

Find out about the range of courses at Malton Cookery School. There’s plenty to choose from including cooking with seafood, game, meat and even baking.

It’s a really enjoyable, fun and informational experience and I came away with plenty of ideas and inspiration for new lamb feasts. Bring on the next #LoveLambChallenge