Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Guest blogger...

I'm not blogging here today because I'm a guest blogger over at Nora the Kitchen ' come and say hello......

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Cake Expectations.....

Last year I had to interview Cornish children and ask them where certain foods originated from. I thought bacon would be relatively easy and I got answers ranging from "a supermarket" to my favourite "eerrrrr Afghanistan?".

In my third year at school Home Economics changed and became "Food Technology". Instead of learning about how to cook and the science of food we learnt how to put a sandwich together in a sandwich factory and designing ready meals....

Gone were the apple crumbles and lasagnes. So here is my tribute to the first recipe we might look naff and scruffy but it still tastes as good as when I unwrapped it on the boat home and ate the lot!

Chocolate and Orange Whirl Cake......

1x 4 egg cake mix
2 tbsp cocoa
2 oranges


8oz icing sugar
3oz butter
1oz cocoa

Weigh the four eggs in their shells. Note how much they weigh and put the same amount of self raising flour, caster sugar, butter and the eggs (out of their shells!). Mix.

Put half the mix in another bowl and add the cocoa. Mix. In the other bowl add the rind of 2 oranges and the juice of half an orange. Mix.

Put big spoonfuls of each mix in a lined tin.
Drag a knife through the cake so you get a marbled look.

Bake in the oven for 25minutes. Cool. Melt the butter in a pan. Take off the heat. Add the cocoa and sieved icing sugar. Beat and top the cake.

Monday, 28 September 2009

A–maize–ing Taste.....

Does anyone else get quite excited by sweetcorn? It's the peeling back of the layers to find all those nuggets of summer huddled together. Now the veg garden is looking a bit sparse I've started getting an organic box delivered again. Last Thursday was a corker. As well as the usual spuds, carrots and onions I had cavallo nero and two heads of sweetcorn.

At the weekend I wilted the cavallo nero and served it with poached eggs on toast. The sweetcorn I have saved until today. For me, there is no better way to serve it than boiled for a few minutes and then dunked in hot, salty butter.

But for a boy that is not enough. He's had his eye on the sausages I bought back from the food festival. So tonight I roasted them and served them with sweetcorn fritters.

Sweetcorn Fritters (serves 2)

2 sweetcorn heads
1 egg
2oz flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 pinches dried chilli
salt and pepper
1 large spring onion

Take all the corn off both heads with the back of a knife.

Take half of the corn and blend in a mini chopper.
Put the paste in a bowl and add all the rest of the ingredients. Pop in the fridge for half an hour.

Put some vegetable oil in a pan. Spoon a couple teaspoons of the mix in the pan and press down. Fry on both sides. (Be careful, the corn pops and explodes a bit!)

Serve with sausages or bacon.

(This is based on Bill Granger's recipe)

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Phoenix from the ashes....

Two weeks ago I shared with you the triumph of the Truro Ladies A as they made it to the final of the County gig championships for the first time in ten years. Today I reluctantly got up early to watch the other half in the quarter finals of the men's event.

There was a blanket of slate grey clouds lingering over the harbour and a definate chill in the air as we walked down the steps towards the quay. And it seems it was an omen of what was to come. The boys were disqualified. Disqualified for trying not to hit another gig on a mark. If they had hit it they would have been disqualified. So they tried not to. Apparently that was the wrong decision. So there was many a gloomy face as we walked back to the car park two hours later.

We decided to go to the beach and have a picnic with one of my other half's crew. He drove us to a locals beach we had never been to. The sun came out, the temperature rose and we ate sausage pasta salad and ham rolls and everyone seemed a bit happier.....

Everytime I have a nice day at the beach I always pick up a shell or pebble to take home and put in a plant pot. It's a habit I've picked up and it makes me feel happier in the winter when it's too cold and wet to go out. Today ended up being a brilliant day so I took two home with me....

Yesterday I made jam. Making jams and chutneys is the only way to bottle the sunshine we are having at the moment. My fingers ended up bright purple because I kept dunking my fingers in....

Easy blackcurrant jam.....

2lbs blackcurrents
2lbs jam sugar
splash of water

Put all the ingredients in a heavy based pan......

Let it boil for about 20 minutes or so. Test if it's ready by putting a little bit on a saucer. Leave it for a minute and then drag a teaspoon through it. If it wrinkles, it's ready!

Put in pretty jars.....

Perfect on hot, buttered toast, scones or on fingers!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Festival Saturday....

I've stopped shaking now. It's one thing talking on the radio or telly but it's a whole different ball game when you have a room full of people looking at you.

I was compering at the Cornwall Food Festival. I was given Jude Kereama from Kota at Porthleven and Fiona Were from the Housel Bay Hotel on the Lizard.

Jude made a trio of venison dishes. A venison and Cornish ale pie, vension fillet and venison liver with pancetta and bacon. So good. So so good. Then he made a chocolate fondant...all within 45 minutes! Normally I head to Porthleven just for the fish but Kota is definately on the visiting list...

How perfect is this chocolate fondant made by sous chef Ross? (Served with espresso ice cream and cobnuts).

Fiona did duck three ways. Confit duck gizzard with bruschetta, devilled duck hearts and cured duck breast with blackberries and parsnip puree....I only got to try a tiny bit of the duck breast but it was fantastic....Roger from Terras Farm (the Cornish Duck Company) gave a bit of a speech about ducks. Apparently they are played Classic was the most cultured duck I have ever tasted. I buy a whole duck off him a few times a year and I will definately think more carefully about how I use the whole bird.

After the compering I wandered around the stall tasting the Cornish blue cheese, sipping fizzy Cornish wine and dipping crackers in various dips, jams, chutneys and sauces.....
This is what I came home with...

But it didn't take long before I opened them....This afternoon I'll make blackcurrant jam...

Friday, 25 September 2009

Festival Friday....

The Cornwall Food Festival 2009 started today. I am working there tomorrow and will be stocking up on everything I can to freeze and use over the winter. Especially 'Ansome Bangers.... the most amazing sausages ever.

I'll do some actual cooking tomorrow but here are a few preview pictures.....

I'm definately going to buy some fresh fish....

And some salami and chorizo to keep for when Team Taylor come to visit in October...

There is a really great recipe for crab pate on the BBC Cornwall homepage feature about the Food Festival. Maybe I'll make that.....

But I'll probably end up spending a fortune on cakes and puddings that need eating straight away....

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Blue cheese burgers.....

After work I popped into the butchers at Callenick to look for something for tea. He had big mounds of bright red, minced steak and large slabs of sirloin steak on special offer. So we decided to have a barbecue and watch the sunset at Loe Beach.

Fishermen were coming in as we lit the barbecue and they tried to sell us some mackerel. But I was already prepared!

I love this photo...a tiny bright moon with the sunset beside it.


8oz minced steak
1 small onion
1 egg yolk
Cornish sea salt and pepper
2oz Cornish Blue cheese

Finely chop the onion and add to the beef. Add the egg yolk and seasoning and mix with your hands.

Shape a quarter of the mix into a burger (I used a measuring cup) and top with a chunk of cheese. Add another quarter of the mix on top.

Repeat until you have two burgers. Try and get them the same size....mine were rubbish.

Put on a barbecue for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally.

Eat with salad, tomatoes and balsamic onions.....and a sunset!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Apple Brownies

The apples just keep coming and I can't offer them to people quick enough. I took a basket into work today and managed to get rid of one bag but I'm going to have to think of more recipes to get through them.

I had to throw four away today, brown and puffed up and flecked with mould snowflakes....

So I made chocolate and apple brownies and, although there were cries of protestation about the fruit in them, they were wolfed down pretty quickly.

(This is an adaptation on my full proof brownie recipe that I'll post another day.)


1x 25og bar Bournville chocolate
1x 250g bar of Dairy milk chocolate
8oz salted butter
1 tsp Cornish sea salt
10oz sugar
4 free range eggs
5oz plain flour
2 cooking apples

On a very low heat melt the butter and bournville chocolate in a pan, stiring every now and again....

Add the salt and put to one side. Beat the eggs and sugar together. Add to the chocolate mix and beat. Add the flour. In a lined tin add the chopped and cored apple and the chunks of dairy milk. (Don't break up the chocolate too much, otherwise it just melts away.)

Pour the mix over the apple and chocolate chunks. Bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Blue Cheese and Bacon Jackets....

I went down to the garden earlier to water the plants and feed the fish. The creek was completely still, the tide was out and all you could hear were the wasps buzzing around the fallen apples in the orchard.

I picked the last of the leaves, poking up among the weeds which have started to take over the plot.

But I'm just not in a salady mood. The weather may still be saying summer but today is equinox and to me that signals autumn is here. So I popped a couple of jacket potatoes in....


2 jacket potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
4oz (125g) blue cheese
4 strips crispy bacon
1oz butter
some chives

Preheat the oven to 180'c. Put the potatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with the oil and salt and bake in the oven for an hour.

Scoop out the potato into a bowl and add the butter. Mash until smooth. Add most of the crumbled cheese and the chopped up bacon. Scoop the flesh back into the potato skins and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for a further 7 minutes or so.

Serve with salad leaves.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Hen do, chocolate shots and scrambled egg...

I love finding new places to go in Cornwall. Yesterday I was on a hen do and we started the day at the Budock Vean Hotel just outside Falmouth. My wardrobe was a bit confused because I've got out my winter clothes only to be confronted by the sun making a late appearance. So gone were the body warmers and Uggs and on came the bikinis. We lay on sun loungers in the hot sunshine.

In between louging in the outside hot tub and being massaged with warm oil, we ate lunch. Pink, fat slices of roast beef with granary bread and burn your mouth horseradish sauce. I wish I had taken a's one of the hotel instead...

I'm definately going back there. In the evening we moved on to Mali Thai in Falmouth. The food is yummy and it's definately worth a visit....I ate chicken phad thai mali thai.

Then authentic* thai chocolate cake...((* not really)

We drank much pink fizz and the several shots and we all ended up staying at our Hawaiian friend's house at St Day.
This morning she cooked us scrambled egg Hawaiian style. She lightly fried some grated courgette (or zucchini as she calls it), onion and tomates. The scrambled egg through it with some parsley.
We ate it with bacon and toast with key plum jam. So good....

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Dips and dancing...

Is it possible to have a Strictly Come Dancing and garlic hangover? If it is, then I've got one. I went over to the girls house in Probus last night to watch the first in the series. We did our usual thing of each bringing a course and last night I was in charge of nibbles.

I decided to make a carrot dip I had made a couple of years ago. Except I couldn't remember how I'd made it...and it had to be low fat.

Carrot Dip:

5 medium carrots
1tbsp olive oil (I used spray oil instead)
1 tub 0% fat greek yoghurt
2 pinches sea salt
2 pinches dried chilli
2 pinches cumin

Peel and chop the carrots.

Boil in a pain of salted water for 2 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200'c. Drain the carrots and put in a baking tray with the oil drizzled over. Roast for 20 minutes.

Pop the carrots in a food processer and blitz until smooth. Add all the other ingredients. Blitz. Serve with chopped vegetables

It was pretty good.

(By the way if if you're wondering about the garlic, I also made a garlic mayo dip with one part mayo, one part low fat yoghurt and 3 garlic cloves....I think that was too many!)

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Pasta with garlic, prawns and yes you've guessed it...tomatoes

It's funny isn't it how some friendships are based around food? I came out of work squinting because I'd been stuck in a dark studio for hours and didn't notice the sunshine. I went for a stroll with my former housemate and her beautiful baby girl around Trellisick Gardens near Truro.

We sat and drank peppermint tea and talked about our colleague who is soon to interview Nigel Slater. Our hero. She told me we should tell him our who friendship is based around a mutual love of his Baked Chicken and Cous Cous recipe. And it is.
When I was 18 I went to Corfu with my best school friend. We spent the week lying in the sun, playing in the pool and eating pasta and tomato sauce. Every night. (I'll ignore the fateful pasta carbonara night which resulted in rampant food poisoning.)

And now whenever I make pasta and tomato sauce it always feels a bit more exotic than it actually is. So tonight I made some for tea...a tomato dish to match the autumn sunshine.

Ingredients: Serves 2

10 large tomatoes
1 tin tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
20 tiger prawns
2 onions
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp thyme
salt and pepper
Enough pasta for 2 people.

Chop the onions, garlic and tomatoes. Fry the onion and garlic in a large pan. When soft add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tin of tomatoes and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Toss in the prawns until they turn pink. Season with the herbs, salt and pepper.

Serve mixed through cooked pasta.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

My day which ended with fishcakes....

Got up. Showered. Went to work. Put my head in my hands. Carried on. Laughed a lot. Finished work. Visited garden. Watered plants. Picked more tomatoes. Picked a cucumber. Stripped the runner beans. Came home. Decided not to make a tomato dinner. Felt guilty and added tomatoes as a side.

Salmon and Cornish Mustard Fishcakes...(serves 2)


2 salmon fillets
2 large jacket potatoes
Skimmed milk
2 large tbsp Cornish mustard*
1 tsp capers
Good handul chopped herbs (whatever you've got that you like)

Preheat the oven to 180'c. Place the salmon in a dish and add a mug of milk. (I used skimmed milk as I am still dieting). Pop in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the milk and place in a bowl. With a fork, flake the salmon but try not to break it up to much, you don't want a paste. Add the mustard, capers and herbs and mix carefully.

Peel and chop the potatoes and boil in salty water for 20 minutes. In a bowl place the hot potatoes and half the poaching milk. Mash up with a fork and leave to cool. With the fork, mix in the fish and shape into cakes.

Fry in olive oil for 3 minutes or so on each side. Try not to move them too want a nice crust.

I served it with a garlic mayonaisse and, the real star of the show, some fiery peppery leaves from the garden. I planted them about a month ago and they have only just reared their heads.

* I bought the mustard at Launceston Show back in July and I can't recommend it enough. It's called Berrio Mill....I could eat it with a spoon....

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Turkey tikka....

I'm starting to struggle with making low fat yummy meals. Normally we have at least a couple of curries a week and I'm having withdrawal symtoms. So with a big bag of tomatos still looking at me pleadingly every time I open the fridge I decided to make a turkey tikka....and although it didn't have the creamy coconut comfort of a korma or the exotic sophistication of a beef penang it did taste good....


2 turkey breasts
5 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tsp tumeric
1tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 garlic clove
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 pinch salt
1 squirt fresh lime juice

Mix together marinade ingredients and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours....

Ingredients for the rest of the curry....

5 fresh tomatos
4 tbsp tomato puree
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
1 tsp fresh chopped ginger
1 mug water
4 tbsp natural yoghurt
fresh coriander...

Chop the veg. In a wok fry the onion, garlic and ginger. Add the tomatos and puree and spices.
Add the turkey and stir fry for 30 secs. Add the water and simmer on a low heat for 30 mins. Add the yoghurt and coriander and serve.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Apples and Tomatoes....

Today I went to visit my new project...a brand new spanking allotment at Carnon Downs. It's huge! We went along to try and decide whether to go for a small one or a big we chose the big one. I'm already drawing out plans of what to grow; blackberries, goosberries, rhubarb, french beans, sprouts...we might even get a shed!

Not that I'll neglect the vegetable patch. I think I will grow all the salad there and make the herb garden bigger. After a summer filled with salads and runner beans, cauliflower cheese and pea soups now the patch is being overshadowed by an orchard of bright apples. The wasps are burrowing into them and giving them brown spots. So my other half's mum has picked a massive bag for me. Now I have to try and think of enough recipes to use them prepared for an apple theme this week.

Apple Cake.....

1x basic sponge mix using 2 eggs (see previous sponge mixes)
2 apples de cored but not peeled
2 tsps cinnamon
4 tsps demara sugar

Make the sponge mix. Chops the apples into medium sized chunks and stir in. Put the mix in a lined tin and sprinkle with the spice and sugar. Baked in a 180'c oven for 20 mins.

We also have a glut of tomatoes, big ripe and juicy ones. They scream out to be roasted with garlic and olive oil and place on big chunks of toast. But this week I'm going to try to be creative.
Chilli Bean Feast....
1 tin mixed beans
1 tin tomatoes
4 tomatos (chopped)
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp cumin
1tsp dried chilli flakes
1 part baked baguette
olive oil
Fry the onion until soft. Add the tinned tomatoes, beans, tomatoes, 1 garlic cloves crushed, tomato puree and spices. Simmer for 25 mins. Put in a baking tray. Slice the baguette. Rub with garlic and olive oil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and serve with salad leaves.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Prawn Noodles...

Another hot and breezy day. After a couple of hours at Swanpool lying in the sun, we rushed up to Newquay because the Truro ladies A had made into the final. They had to race four times in two days before making the final and it's the first time in ten years they've been there. They came sixth over all and headed off to Truro to celebrate by eating lots of pizza.

I'm desperately trying to lose weight which is tricky when I constantly obsess about food. After last night's barbecue I decided to cook something plain and simple. It was quite bland but just what I needed...

Prawn Noodles:


1 handful of cooked rice noodles
10 tiger prawns
1 clove garlic
1 egg
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp mixed toasted nuts
1 big handful bean sprouts
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 pinch sugar
half lime
1 handful coriander

In a wok dry fry the chopped garlic and prawns. Add the beaten egg and cook as you would an onlette. When cooked take out and put in a bowl (in might look a bit like scrambled egg now.) Back in the wok fry the chilli, beansprouts and half the nuts. Add the fresh noodles and stir fry. After 2 minutes add the sauces.

Take off the heat and toss through the coriander and lime juice and serve with toasted nuts on top.