Sunday, 30 December 2012

Mainland munchies....

Only 3 weeks left of our 10 week trip away. This week we're in Cornwall for New Year and then off to Thailand for a two week (very late) honeymoon. We start in Bangkok, then onto Cape Panwa and Koh Phi Phi. I am mostly looking forward to the Bangkok street food which everyone says is fantastic. I'd love any good food reccomendations for Thailand. Anyway here is some of what we've been eating in the last few weeks.....
Treacle Tart and Vanilla Salt at The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth.
Crab raviolo with Mylor prawn bisque, tarragon foam, rouille and crostini at The Scarlet. Probbl one of my food highlights.

Cocktails with bridesman Alex in London.

A chocolately delight at The Porthminster Beach Cafe, St Ives.

Japanese mackerel broth at The Porthminster Beach Cafe, St Ives.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Hubba hubba....

So we're in Truro. The B&B season on Scilly has finished and we have three months before it all starts again. To be honest I can't believe how fast it has gone and the FABULOUS people we have met and friends we have made. But we have various weddings and birthdays coming up over the winter that meant we had to be on the mainland. We decided instead of going back and forth we would spend ten weeks over here spending time with the friends and family we have missed so much this year.
The last couple of weeks we have been back in Truro and its been fantastic. It's great to bump into people whether you're shopping in town or on a semi empty beach. It's also been lovely to spend some time in Truro and appreciate it's stunning architecture and atmosphere which is easy to forget when you are living here.
On thing that's changed is The Hub's pop up restaurant on Lemon Quay. I bumped into one of my old work colleagues in the supermarket the other day and she said we had to go there as 'the burgers are the best in the world!'
We decided to go and get takeaway today and went for a kahuna burger with fries and winter slaw.
I love street food and it's great that this place has that kind of vibe. There was a lot of wide eyed mumbling when the other half was tucking in. Best burger in Cornwall? I think so. The most exciting new foodie place in Truro? Definitely.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Hat trick...

I've never really had to budget before. I've thought I have. When I was in my twenties and I lived in a little flat in Truro I was forever running out of money to put in the electricity meter. It was always half past seven on a Sunday night when the lights would go off and I would be left reading with a torch with my duvet up to my face (I also would never have enough money for heating!) But it was mainly because I'd spent all my money on gin and tonics the night before and magazines and takeaways. But now I share a bank account with the other half...a business account. Everything has to be recorded and checked and justified and we can't really justify a splurge at Topshop as a business expense. But I've actually enjoyed it. We hardly spend anything that isn't related to the business and I haven't really missed it. It's meant in January we can have our first holiday in 5 years (and it will be our delayed honeymoon.) To top it off we haven't had to pay to get to the mainland. Anyone who has ever visited Scilly will know the biggest expense is the flights to and from the islands. (The boat doesn't run in the winter.) At Bryher Fete this year we won flights and you have never seen two people more excited!

We also recently found out we won two nights and dinner at The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth which means we can finish our season here and go and enjoy two days of pampering in one of our favourite hotels. To top it off we won lunch for two at the Hell Bay Hotel in a coffee morning raffle so we went there to celebrate our luck and the end of our first season. 

Brown and white crab with passionfruit mousse and crusty bread.

Chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream.

Bouillabaisse. The best ever.

* Please excuse the fact the courses are mixed up...I can't work out this new blog thingy!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Tresco and Bryher Food Festival

These are just a few snapshots of the Tresco and Bryher Food and Drink Festival I helped to organise in September. Everyone on Bryher showcased just how great the food is here. Bryher is famous for its cakes but it has so much more to offer...delicious fish and chips, seafood, fudge, vegetables, fruit.

This is Bryher Shop's famous Tattie Cake. Prince Charles took some home with him when he visited the island in July. 

Bryher Shop has a fantastic bakery so we can get fresh bread everyday. 

These were the pain au chocolat and croissants we sold on the Samson Hill Cottage stall. 

Fraggle Rock Cafe showcased lots of their local drinks and amazing cakes and meringues (below).

There were lots of free samples of cheese and wines for people to try. 

And the Hell Bay Hotel made a constant supply of crab and lobster ravioli. It was the best I have ever had. 

The next Tresco and Bryher Food Festival will be on September 14th and 15th 2013. Come along and enjoy! 

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Autumn souper...

There's been a wierd fog around for the last few days. It rolls up the channel amoothering the sunshine and forcing the temperature to plummet. It is like autumn giving the last of our summer sunshine a sharp shove and reminding us it's just around the corner. As we walk to the vegetable stall in the morning our flip flops get sodden with the cold dew and we have to talk them off and brave the damp muddy pathways. The stall is at its best at this time of year. The summer vegetables I've missed for myself are still there. Ripe fat tomatoes, cucumbers as long as a ruler, bunches of bright green basil and shiny purple aubergines of all different sizes. But now there is the autumn crop as well. The jars of strawberry jam have appeared for us to stock up on and green and orange squashes.

Yesterday we did our changeovers at the B&B and still had two hours before our guests arrived on the boat. So I made an autumny soup with the leftover Kabocha squash in the fridge and we sat on the patio watching the fog roll in....

Roasted kabocha squash and nduja soup with herby crumbs.......(serves 3-4) 

1/2 a kabocha squash (about 14oz/455g)
olive oil
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
a tsp chopped fresh chilli
11/2 pints of chicken/vegetable stock
3oz nduja sausage
4tbsp herby crumbs (see below recipe) 

Preheat the oven to 200'c. Peel, deseed and chop the squash into rough pieces (not too small). Drizzle with oil and pop into the oven for about 30-45 mins until you push a knife through with no resistance. Put to one side.

In a large pan add a little oil and add the finely shopped onion and garlic on a medium heat. Allow to cook for about 5-7 minutes although don't let it brown. Add the squash and the stock. Let it simmer for 5 minutes then add the chopped chilli. (I do this right at the end so you still get a nice kick of chilli.) 

Put the crumbs in a baking dish and pop into the oven for 5-10 minutes to crisp and brown. 

Blitz with a hand blender carefully until smooth. Add more of less stock if you like it thinner or thicker. Season with salt. 

In a small pan add the nduja and a tbsp of olive oil and fry (mixing while you do) until you almost have a thick nduja dressing. Ladle the soup into a bowl and spoon the nduja and warm herby crumbs over the top. 

Herby crumbs.....

I use these a lot for stuffings for roast dinner and for stuffing mushrooms and they are a great way of using up stale bread.. They are also great on gratins and vegetable bakes so I keep a big bag in my freezer. 

1 small loaf of white bread
4 handfuls of herbs. (At the moment I am using parsley, fennel, sage, savoury, thyme and chives)

Rip up the bread into a food processor and blitz with the crumbs. Store in the freezer in a carrier bag. 

Friday, 17 August 2012

Catch up....

As I don't seem to be capable of sitting down and writing a blog post, I thought I would post a few pictures of what I have been cooking.....

These are some of the canapes we serve before dinner...Cornish honey roasted nuts with sea salt and Bryher cucumber with smoked salmon and wasabi. 

One of Samson Hill's most popular main courses...Fish crumble. 

We went shrimping and caught shrimps for a 1970's shrimp cocktail. 

I have learnt how to make croissants and pain au chocolat....

This was a herb garden stuffing for roast chicken. 

Some guests caught a fish and wanted it for breakfast.....

 These are my mum and dad's grapes they grew in their shed. They ended up on our breakfast table...

Panfried Cornish hake with a summer vegetable rissoto. I served this summery dish when it was a big storm outside and it felt anything but summery...

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Today we are having our photos taken for a magazine. It's a beautiful day and the tide is just right. So we sat in the sun at lunchtime and put our feet we look suitably relaxed in the photos!

Barbecued mackerel with new potato summer salad.

I am still here. Cleaning, dusting, making beds, ironing, cleaning windows, washing, shopping, walking, cooking, eating, enjoying the sunshine. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Sweet springtime...or summer...

Despite a warm start this week the sun seems to have given up today and I made the mistake of walking to the shop in flip flops. The other half was still clearing up from breakfast so I snuck into the bedroom and put winter socks and a hot water bottle on. It's like the season can't really make up its mind if it is spring or summer. One day we are eating lunch on the lawn in shorts and t-shirts planning boating trips the next lighting the wood burner desperately trying to warm the sitting room. Luckily the ingredients I can get on Bryher don't seem to mind the cold.

The vegetable stall up the road still has new potatoes the size of quail's eggs. Cooked with mint and dressed with butter they are a delicious meal in themselves. The eggs on Bryher are worth moving here alone. Poached eggs drop into sphere shapes as soon as they touch the simmering water they are so fresh. Leftovers are still a challenge. This week I had a glut of yogurt and made Simon Rimmer's marmalade and yogurt cake which was popular with our guests with a teaspoon of jam. 

The stall freezes it's glut vegetables including beautiful sunshine yellow corn on the cobs. I bought some this week for a breakfast special. It was as if they had come straight from the field....

Sweetcorn fritters.......(serves 4)

3 corn on the cobs with the corn removed. 
4oz/100g self raising flour 
1 egg
150ml milk 
pinch of chilli flakes
pinch of Cornish seasalt 
vegetable oil

Put the corn in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes and drain. 

Sieve the flour into a bowl. Add the chilli and salt. In a separate bowl whisk the egg and milk. Add to the flour mix and sweetcorn and fold.

In a frying pan put a couple of tbsps of vegetable oil. When it is hot and a tbsp of fritter mix per fritter. (You may have to do this in batches.) When it starts to bubble on top carefully flip over and cook for another couple of minutes.

Serve with crispy bacon, rocket, sweet chilli sauce and creme fraiche. 

Thursday, 10 May 2012

My breakfast: Homemade granola with peaches, sheep yoghurt and mint

A day on Samson...with pizza.

Yesterday we went to Samson. It's an uninhabited island just to the south of Bryher and is my favourite. On a hot day it's better than anywhere I have ever been abroad. 

We were the only ones there apart from the thousands of sea birds nesting there.

We motored over the Tresco, although we had to get out halfway and wade because the tide was so low.
We are in the process of building a woodfired pizza oven. The Ruin at Tresco is a brand new beach bar and has done the same thing so we wandered over there to check it out. The pizzas were crispy, smokey and delicious.