Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Dreaming of Treen...

Pack your bags. Pack your bags now and head for Treen in West Cornwall. Book into the campsite. Wear sturdy shoes...

Clamber down the cliffs. Wear sun cream. Blush at the naked people (clothing is optional there!!)

Swim in the sea. Eat cheese that's become fondue in the heat. Read "A Year in Provence". Head back to the campsite. Drink wine. Eat brie and tomatoes. Go to sleep with the sound of the Minnack in the distance.

And enjoy a blissful weekend. This is what I'm doing and I'm loving every day of it.

PS. Back next week x

Friday, 25 June 2010

License to grill....

I'm on holiday. A week's blissful holiday. And it's the first proper one I think I've ever had in Cornwall. I'm usually rushing off to Scilly or heading up country to see family. We're following the mentality that "west is best" and we're probably heading down to Treen for a camping/surfing trip. (This is about the most westerly photo I have!)

Its likely that we'll be eating from the barbecue one hundred per cent of the time. I saw these fellas at the St Ives Food and Drink Festival.....

They looked yummy but I was overloaded with smoked mackerel and soft fruits. So I decided to make my own.

Herb Burgers.... (makes six small burgers)

1lb/450g minced beef
1 handful fresh thyme leaves
1 handful fresh oregano leaves
1 handful fresh chopped chives
salt and pepper

Put an the ingredients in a bowl and mix through with your hands....

Separate into six and mould into six burger shapes.

Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Spray with a little oil and place on a hot barbecue. Barbecue for about 7 minutes on each side or until cooked through (our barbecue was quite small, it might be quicker on a hotter gas barbecue.)

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Sounds fishy....

I hate conflict. I can't deal with complaints. I always say sorry when something isn't my fault. But I'm a Libran. I like to think I am perfectly balanced can see both sides of an argument. There are some foods that just need something else to transport them into the world of deliciousness. A medjool date and a piece of cheese or a tomato and a pinch of salt. But some foods are sacred and chefs are always shouting that they should be messed around a perfectly bland crab sandwich.

But I'm not a chef. And I only ever cook things I like. So I'm not afraid to say it...My names Issy Taylor and I like cooking with clotted cream. If I mention it people gasp a little especially if it's linked with something savoury but it's a brilliant ingredient. I'll admit it's best eaten at room temperature with a finger dunked in the tub. But it's also great with seafood

Clotted Cream and Smoked Mackerel Bake (Serves 2)

1 large smoked mackerel fillet
3 large tbsp clotted cream
3 dsp milk
2 oz Parmesan

Bread to serve

Preheat the oven to 200'c. In a bowl mix the cream, cheese and milk until running. Flake the fish into large chunks and stir into the cream.

Pour into two small heatproof bowls or one medium sized one.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden.

Serve with some crusty bread of some peppery rocket.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Simple spuds....

I've got two random tan lines down my back like someones got mad with a stick of chalk. I wore a dress (with straps) and wellies while we cleared a massive patch of weeds in the allotment. My allotment is by far the messiest there. Everybody else has perfectly symmetrical lines of strawberries and lettuces while mine go at mad angles as if I three year old's been let loose with a crayon.

At least I got the sweetcorn and onions in (in diagonal lines). I've still got loads of space left and if it wasn't for a certain football match I'd be at Fentongollan buying plugs (I'll do that tomorrow.) I want butternut squashes and loads more fruit. But after clearing weeds for a couple of hours I got bored. I decided to have a go at digging up the potato plants to see if anything was there. And this is what I found...eleven golf ball sized potatoes.

I scrubbed them roughly getting rid of the dust. Then boiled them for about ten minutes.

A bit of pepper and olive oil and that's it. We ate them all sticky and soft. Although a bowl of garlic mayonnaise might have been nice....

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Grill Thrill...

My hair still smells of smoke. I keep getting wafts of it as I sit typing at my desk. It's a constant reminder of last night. There's nothing better than sitting on the beach, digging your toes into the warm sand waiting for your barbecue to warm up. Of course I'm romanticising it. There was a lot of smoke in my face and I managed to drop my grilled halloumi in the sand right at the crucial tasting moment.

But that's the beauty of summer. You constantly are rewriting it. Despite the fact I know that the last two summers have been raining and cold I know I'll still remember it like yesterday. Hot and sunny with my toes buried in the sand eating pork chops with my fingers and not at all sandy halloumi...

Pork Chops with Oregano and Garlic.....(serves 2)

2 large pork chops
1 small garlic bulb
1 handful oregano
1 tbsp sea salt
olive oil
Place the pork chops in a ceramic tray. Slice down the side of the fat vertically so it makes little cubes of fat about 2cm across. Rub with the salt, pushing the salt down into the fat. Crush the garlic roughly with the back of a wooden spoon. Rub over the meat. Rip up the herbs and add them. Pour some olive oil over the top and add the pepper.

Leave to marinate for as long as you like. Head to the beach and light your barbecue. Once the flames have died right down place your chops on top with all the marinade.

Bake for 15 minutes on each side.

Leave to cool for a couple of minutes and eat with your fingers.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Raspberry Berr"a"y....

The allotment's looking very green. There's nothing wrong with that it's just that I would like to see a bit of colour.

When the rainbow chard flourishes, I expect to see indigo and violet patches...

Occasionally I get a flash of ruby among a patch of sea sick looking strawberries but as quick as I see it it's gone. In my mouth. At the weekend we cleared another massive patch and I hope I can plant a lot more strawberries and raspberries so next year some fruit with make it home. Luckily I bought two punnets of raspberries at St Ives yesterday. Tonight we're off to the north coast for a barbecue and I'll be taking a big glass bottle of raspberry cordial to wash the pork chops down...

Raspberry Cordial (makes 4 small glasses)

200g raspberries
125g caster sugar
one and a half pints boiling water

In a heavy based pan put the fruit and sugar. Put it over a low heat. Leave for 15 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.

Take off the heat and mash with a potato masher.

Strain through a sieve.

Discard the pulpy seeds. Add the water and stir through.

Pour into a jug and chill.

Serve chilled.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

St Ives Food and Drink Festival....

I've just come back from an amazing day at St Ives Food and Drink Festival......

We ate smoked mackerel pate for lunch with jumbo prawns and garlic mayonnaise. I've come home with smoked mackerel, raspberries and gooseberries and a very red sun burnt face.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Sweet tart...

If you travel on the the boat between Scilly and the mainland on a flat day, it's magical. The Scillonian has a bad reputation which I think is unfair. The amount of times I've seen people wolfing down pasties declaring they never get sea sick only to be seen staggering around the main deck twenty minutes later a moss shade of green. You are travelling thirty miles into the Atlantic for goodness sake.

There's a technique to it. You have two options. One: stay on deck and don't move. If you're doing this, wrap up warm and wear a lot of sun lotion. Option two: go downstairs and keep going. There is a little room at the bottom with beds, blankets and pillows. Take sea sickness tablets and go to sleep...preferably for 2 hours and 40 minutes and wake up on the mainland.

When I leave the islands I'm generally taken on board crying and holding on to the ankles of my family. I go straight downstairs so I don't have to see myself leaving Scilly. But occasionally I wake up in time to watch the voyage along the south coast of Cornwall......

Last night mum and dad came over and I drove down to meet them in Penzance....

We went for dinner at The Navy Inn. I had Monkfish with Mushroom Risotto. It's just a stone's throw from Newlyn the best fishing port in the world and the monkfish was fantastic. Mental note: must cook more fish....

We had a bit of a wait before they docked so we sat crossed legged on the harbour eating these....

Strawberry and Clotted Cream Shortcakes.....(Makes 15 to 20 depending on how thin you like the shortbread)

150g plain flour
100g cornflour
70g caster sugar
125g salted butter
1 big pinch Cornish sea salt
150g strawberry jam
1 large punnet of strawberries (with about 10 strawberries in it)
1 200g tub clotted cream

Put the flour, cornflour, sugar, butter and salt in a food processor and whizz together.

Pull the mix together with your hands until it becomes a dough. Roll out until it's about the thickness of a one pound coin. Cut into circles about the size of a jam jar lid.

You should have preheated the oven now by the way to 180'c. Grease a bun tin and place the circles in each hole. Prick with a fork. (I have no idea why you do this. I do it because it's been drummed into me. If you know..tell me!)

Bake for about 15 minutes until light brown. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes. Run a knife around them just to make sure they haven't stuck to the tins. Put a small tsp of good quality strawberry jam on each shortcake and pop back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Take out of the oven and leave to completely cool. Top with a small scoop of clotted cream and half a strawberry.