Week 5

Trials and tribulations were about the only things in abundance this week, as I faced a few difficult decisions in the Great Cornish Food Book Challenge.

Firstly, what do you do when one of the county’s most celebrated seafood chefs suggests – nay, demands – that the scallops you use are, and I quote, “The freshest, plumpest, juiciest Cornish scallops” you can find? You obey, that’s what you do. I picked the worst (read: stormiest) week to try and find these gems of the seafood world, as I realised having been tutted out the door by the local fisherman down the road, who reliably informed me that if I found any scallops, they’d’ve been frozen and defrosted beforehand. Not ideal when you’re essentially eating them raw.

On top of that, my hopeful plans to pick my own mussels off the rocks at St Agnes (following my shameful purchase of Scottish salmon last week) were dashed when I realised the tides were only out during the hours of darkness. ‘Oh, bother’, was my general exclamation (I may have changed one or two letters there).

Still, onwards and upwards. And really, would you honestly want to read about a cookery challenge that was entirely plain sailing? No, neither would I.

Recipe 15
Woods Cafe Carrot Cake
Time taken: 1 hour, plus cooling time
Perfect for: Weekend indulgence

I firmly believe that everyone should have a killer carrot cake recipe up their sleeve, and this has just become mine. Buttery flavours (and be warned, you will be using ALL the butter in the fridge), a perfect balance of spices struck through with a lovely autumnal hit of grated orange – I can see why this is one of the most popular cakes with walkers and cyclists coming in from the rain at Woods Cafe. There’s also something very therapeutic about a one-mix cake, too; probably something to do with the minimal washing up afterwards.
Anyway, two people live in my house, and this cake was gone within 24 hours. The CFD office team didn’t even get a look-in. Sorry, guys.

This amazing Carrot Cake recipe by Lara Spurrell of the Woods Cafe in Bodmin is on page 59 of the Great Cornish Food Book

Recipe 16
Boscastle Farm Shop’s Egg and Bacon Pie
Time taken: 1 hour
Perfect for: A winter picnic up Rough Tor

This was meant to be next week’s recipe but on reflection, the swap worked really well – we’d planned a Sunday stomp to the top of Rough Tor to time with watching millions of starlings fly in at sunset (a winter highlight if you haven’t been up there – it’s absolutely stunning to witness), and this pie was perfect fuel. I was initially worried because it is a very simple mix of ingredients, but you can’t fight the magical harmony of egg, bacon and pastry, so I went with it and it was amazing. Eggs from St Ewe, bacon from the pigs at Mount Hawke just up the road, seasoned with Cornish seasalt and ground black pepper, all wrapped up in Trewithen all-butter pastry. I really couldn’t have Chosen Cornish more if I’d tried.

Jacky Haddy’s recipe for Boscastle Farm Shop Egg & Bacon Pie is on page 63

Recipe 17
Beef Stroganoff with Rodda’s Clotted Cream
Time taken: 15 minutes, literally
Perfect for: Cold winter nights by the fire (I don’t have a fire, but if I did it’s where I would’ve eaten it)

The speed of this recipe took me by surprise a bit – I had considered stroganoff to be lumped in with the slow-cooked stews I used to detest as a child, but this was swift and effortless, and tasted really good. One confession – I was slightly in shock at just how much clotted cream you’re meant to use, so halved it in an effort to stave off a premature heart attack. This was a MISTAKE! To hell with your health, go crazy with the cream, and I promise you will not be sorry – in fact likely as not, you’ll be sneaking back to the pan with a teaspoon to collect every last bit. Clearly, this recipe is an occasional indulgence, not an every weeknight staple, so I think it definitely calls for using the best quality beef you can find from somewhere like Nancarrow Farm or Philip Warren, and teaming it with home-made pasta. I didn’t use home-made pasta (not since an ill-fated experiment having let Jamie Oliver tell me how easy it was). I used quinoa, which was naughty of me, mainly because it’s not Cornish in any shape or form, but especially because it is literally impossible to take a nice photo of cooked quinoa. My picture this week – like most of my pictures, really – does not do this recipe justice.

Neil Haydock is Executive Chef at Watergate Bay – his recipe for Stroganoff with Rodda’s Cream is on page 98 of the Great Cornish Food Book

Next week:

The Chough Bakery’s Cornish Splits
Nathan Outlaw’s Scallop Tartare
The Flying Fish Restaurant’s Mussels in Cider Brandy

 

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