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My philosophy

This blog is dedicated to my love of eating, cooking, writing and reading about food. In it you'll find recipes, book reviews, restaurant reviews and various other food related bits and pieces.

Friday, 30 October 2009

A Cornish Culinary Adventure- Part 3

Today, we promised to meet with my great aunt, who lives in a rather remote area of Cornwall, Portscatho. We took the King Harry Ferry across the water to avoid a long road trip around the peninsular. Upon recommendation from various friends and locals, we endeavoured to find the elusive Smugglers Inn which my mother repeatedly said was a ‘16th century inn, with a great

reputation’, which is all well and good, if you can actually find the place!

We did however, drive past a very interesting pub called the Roseland Inn. With an outside seating area and pergola with vines creeping up the sides, this pub was a real find. Never mind gastro-pub, this was a fine dining experience. The proprietors pride themselves on sourcing local ingredients, and plan to hold art and craft workshops for local children in the very near future.

After ordering from the specials board, we were informed that three of our orders needed to be made again, as they’d run out of the steak and ale pie. Very disappointing indeed. Especially considering the ‘High as a kite’ ale in the pie was made within the microbrewery in the pub itself.

I decided to go for the fish and chips with homemade tartar sauce, and mushy peas. Upon talking to the one of the friendly owners in the adjoiing farm shop, I was informed that the resident chef had previously worked in a three rosette kitchen not far from the location itself.

That would explain the ‘nouvelle cuisine’ style menu, the starters of wood pigeon and goats cheese, stunning, but small in stature, complete with towers and drizzles. Not the kind of thing you’d expect in a country pub.

The fish itself was beautifully cooked, although a little greasy, the chips were nicely cooked and the peas had a good texture to them, with chunks of onion breaking up the green puree. The tartar sauce was fresh and zingy, with crunchy capers breaking through the herby dill.

My mother and I decided to share a dessert, chocolate delice with mandarin sorbet and honeycomb. It was simply delightful, rather like a posh jaffa cake!

Presented in a similar style to the starters, the delice was surrounded with a swirl of orange syrup which offset the deep brown chocolate of the dessert. Very rich and dense, the sharp tang of the orange cutting through the bitter pudding beautifully. The crisp, bubbly honeycomb brought some more textures to the table as we raised our spoons to fight for the last mouthful.

So, if you don't mind going a bit off the beaten track, this place is definately worth a visit. Get there early to avoid dissappoinment and do try some of their in-house real ale!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

A Cornish Culinary Adventure- Part 2

After a great nights sleep, the promise of a shopping trip to Truro prepared me for the day ahead. I met with an old friend, and we convened for lunch in Fodders, Truro.

Located above the city's Pannier Market, there's a little trek up a windy metal staircase, so by the time you reach the front door, you've worked up quite the appetite!

Renowned locally for their extensive vegetarian, vegan wholefood and gluten free options, Fodders tick all the boxes when it comes to local produce, variety and price.

Laid out in a casual canteen style, the unassuming decor plays host to a wide selection of in-house specials- including the white, fluffy whipped mound of meringue, piled high on a dense lemon curd and biscuit base on their dessert counter! But needs must- I needed some lunch, not a sweet fix...

I'm an indecisive person at heart. But since moving away from Cornwall, I always find myself longing for fresh shellfish and seafood... So on that note, I was unable to resist the crab sandwich on the specials board.

After a tedious wait, my modest meal arrived, with a meager offering of leaf salad on the side. As expected, my meal was slightly more expensive than the other dishes on offer, but the fresh Newlyn crab was a wonderful shade of pink, with that fresh, unmistakable taste of the ocean.

The complex fibres of the crustacean came unaccompanied by any sauce or dressing, a simple seasoning and a squeeze of lemon was enough to complement the filling of a seemingly dull looking, but vibrantly flavorsome sandwich.

So my advice- no need to book it- it's a walk in walk out kinda place. But definitely go there- especially if you're sick of the sight of pasties!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A Cornish Culinary Adventure- Part 1

After a short flight down to Newquay, I was greeted with an overwhelming urge to eat something healthy. I tend to gorge on junk when travelling, and often feel the consequences when I arrive at my destination.

Luckily, my mother who seems to thrive on anything organic, additive free or gluten free had something fitting in mind.

After a nice cup of tea, we began the somewhat mammoth task of preparing various elements for the meal she had in mind: Stuffed Portobello mushrooms with broccoli, corn on the cob and crushed potatoes.

After adding my own spin on her improvised recipe, I was glad to taste the fruits of our labour. By adding chilli seeds to the mushroom stuffing, it gave them a good kick, contrasting nicely with the creamy goats cheese.

My mother’s garden is always brimming with various seasonal fruits, so for dessert we had home grown apple and sultana crumble with clotted cream. The apples were sweet and barely tart, which meant they didn’t need any sugaring or pre-cooking, adding a nice tang to the dish which is sometimes overpowered by the crystallised sugar granules.

Despite this meal being heavily lagged in salt, pepper, sugar, cream and anything else I could get my hands on, I got my 5 a day- that's for sure!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

It ain't over till the slighty fatter lady sings!

Alas, tonight is my last night in Cornwall with my family. I have traveled the length of the county, feasted on many different dishes, baked a birthday cake and made Christmas pudding- and all in the space of seven days.

This was supposed to be a holiday, but I've felt myself learning loads, with the urge to work, but simply not having the time to! So alas, my 7 hour train journey tomorrow will be committed to the writing up of this culinary adventure! Ahoy hoy!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Home to roost...

Apologies food fans. It's been a while since my last post- but I won't dwell on it.The point is, I'M BACK!

After travelling hundreds of miles to the beloved South-West (Cornwall to be precise),

I immediately immersed myself in ideas for features i'm going to write whilst i'm here at home.

I'm going to share with you the influences, the flavours, the landscapes that have shaped
my passions for poetry and food, and the historical implications associated with traditions such as the cream tea and of course- the Pasty.

But alas, I must rest. I'm full of apple crumble and clotted cream, fit to burst, so prepare for a
rich, nostalgic week, full of seafood and real ale!

Friday, 9 October 2009

October's Blog of the month

This months blog of the month is by a girl after my own heart. Famed for the fact that she 'always orders dessert', I feel a certain kinship with this sweet lady.

Teamed with sophisticated imagery, so tasty it'll make you drool, is a tasty site that will make you want to skip the main course and head for those colourful macaroons in the banner.
Writer and self-professed foodie,
Alejandra Ramos made the bold move of relocating to Florence for a period to indulge her culinary senses.

Headstrong, and determined to succeed, Alejandra begged, borr
owed and stole in order to complete her ambitious journey. Despite hard times, she rose above it and focused on the positive aspects, her passion for food, for one.... So maybe I should consider living on the breadline, relocating to the south of France, existing on a diet of cheese, brioche and red wine... a romantic idea, the reality is, I'd be a fat, penniless drunk ...

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Review: An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage

For my birthday, way back in July, I received An Edible History of Humanity from my mother. She recommended it to me, and mentioned that it featured in New Scientist magazine. So was it written by an educated man, a food writer, a historian, a scientist, perhaps? I pondered...

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't expecting a flowery book all about how Marianne Toinette may or may not have been misquoted about proclaiming; "let them eat cake". Or how something completely facile reminded the author of a certain dish that his grandma used to make him, way back when. I knew there had to be more substance to this book, just from scanning the co

My fascination with anthropology has been fuelled by this book, containing stark tales of people being scalped for growing certain crops and spices, about how the stubbornness of political leaders and generals led to the starvation of millions. And how we actually have food stored away within the icy realms of the Arctic, should nuclear war break out and civilisation need to start again.

This is food in relation to survival, in relation to the intrinsic shaping of societies. In coherence with the fall of one tribe, and the success of another.

Author Standage proclaims, this book is about everything but food. He speaks of its growth, production, refinement, distribution. Of how it is used as a weapon to control your enemies and strike while their defences are down, and their soldiers weak.

Standage, voices with some regret, our savage history, and how we as a nation gained position and power through the slave trade exploitation, import and export.

This book has so many facets to it, each one so wide and varied, you could easily get lost in it. This is the reason I didn't want to finish this book. This is also the reason why I want to continue reading his other works.

So raise your glasses to Mr Standage, and spare a thought for your ancestors the next time you raid the kitchen cupboard.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

It's all coming together

Just a quick note to say how excited I am of late. I'm featured in next months issue of Liverpool Lifestyle Magazine and am starting my work experience with The Mercury Press tomorrow- it's all go, go, go!

The Stables Pub & Eatery

After many enquiries as to where to get a decent Sunday roast, I followed the advice of two fellow foodies, and chose to venture to The Stables Pub & Eatery, in Garston Village.

Not your usual trip down the road to your local pub for a run of the mill meal, this expedition required special forward planning, as I was advised to book a table, and a taxi...

Neatly tucked away between shops and bookies, The Stables is unassuming from the outside, but houses a clean, classy interior. The staff are friendly, but not overbearing, much like the laid back live music being strummed by the duo in the corner.

Luckily there weren't too many choices to be made as far as the Sunday set menu was concerned, a simple choice between soup of the day, ham hock terrine and some asparagus dish with a poached egg on top.

I obviously went for the terrine- which came with home made piccalilli (not really a great fan of this usually, but this wasn't a bad effort at all- not too vinegary, which is good) and warm bread. After cleansing my palate with a swill of the house red, I awaited my roast chicken.

Although is breaks with tradition, I was disappointed that my meal was served without a Yorkshire pudding (or a sauce of any description, apart from the gravy). My co-diners both ordered the beef and had a golden fluffy pud, perched on the side of their plates brimming with gravy.

My mother was kind enough (as she's allergic to gluten) to donate her Yorkie to my worthy cause.
The crisp skin of the chicken softened slightly with the rich, meaty gravy and contrasted well with the al dente vegetables- courgette, green beans and carrot. The roast potatoes and parsnips weren't the best I've ever had, but to me, the meat was the star of the show anyway!

After struggling to finish this rich meal, I reached the difficult decision not to have a dessert- very unusual for me. The first time, in a long time that I've been defeated by a meal! So my advice- book it! It's reasonably priced at £13.95 for two courses and quite a family friendly place on a Sunday afternoon, so beware of small children running underfoot!