Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Seabass with chorizo and sweet red onions....

This is the last of my blogs about Arty Williams' Fish Masterclass at The Cove in Falmouth.
I learnt a lot in the two hours and have already eaten a lot more fish since. I'd like to thank the people at Cornwall Food and Drink who arrange for me to go on the course as part of Spring Feast Fortnight.

Seabass with chorizo and sweet red onions....(serves 2)

2 seabass fillets (make sure the fishmonger pin bones them)
a little oil
2 red onions
150ml red wine
3/4 tbsp redcurrant jelly
1 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp brown sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
4 slices chorizo.

Preheat the oven to 180'c. First make the red onions. Slice the onions thinly. Put all the ingredients except the onions in a saucepan. Reduce the liquid until syrupy and sticky. Add the red onions and turn the heat to low. Stir well and cover. After 10 minutes remove the lid and cook until the mixture is sticky and sweet. Put aside.

Heat a pan with a little oil. Place the fillets skin side down. Cook for a few minutes and then pop in the oven for a few minutes more. While the fish is in the oven, fry the chorizo.

Serve the fish with the warm onions and chorizo.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Crustacean Celebration......

There are some foods which just scream spring to me. Crab is one of them. There's nothing like that first crab sandwich of the year. Thick white bread with yellow mayonnaise spread across it and just a dusting of sea salt. Although the last week has seen everyone in Cornwall raiding their cupboards for flip flops the evenings are still biting cold and a sandwich won't cut the mustard.

Arty Williams at The Cove made us a crab soup at his Spring Feast Fortnight Fish Masterclass. It was garlicky and hot with lumps of sweet crab and lobster. He swirled a brown crab brandy cream on the top and floated a fish mousse dumpling in the middle but that is a step to far for my cooking abilities. Anyway the healthy broth alone will make those springtime shorts a little more bearable!

Crab Soup (serves 6-8)

200g white crab meat (Arty picked his. I cheated as I had some already.)
olive oil
1 onion
1 carrot
1 celery
1 leek
1 fennel
1 parsnip
1 potato
1 bulb of garlic
4 tomatoes blanched and de-seeded
1 chilli
a handful of mixed herbs

For the stock:

2 crab shells (I simply went to the fishmongers and asked for some shells. They were happy to give me a bag full. Thanks to Seabourne Fish in Penryn.)
1 carrot
a quarter of a white cabbage
2 stalks broccoli
half a red onion
(I don't think it matters what vegetables you use- as long as they don't fall apart- but I'd put onion in there whatever the combination)

First make the stock. Preheat the oven to 180'c and roast the crab shells for about 10-15 minutes. Pop them in a large pan (mine wasn't big enough!) and pour enough cold water just to cover them. Add the vegetables and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes (making sure you skim off any scum).
Drain through a colander and then through a sieve. Set aside. Discard the shells and vegetables.

Chop the garlic bulb in half horizontally and brush with oil. Pop in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until the garlic is soft.

Chop all the vegetables into small pieces. In a really large pan on a low heat fry all the vegetables except the potato and tomato. Let it fry for about 15 minutes making sure it doesn't catch.

(This photo is just to show you the stock- it makes a lot more than this!) Pop the garlic cloves out of their shells and mash with the back of a knife. Add to the vegetables.

Add the potato and continue to fry until the potato is soft enough to eat. Pour the stock in and cook through. Add the crab and tomato and let it warm through then add the herbs and serve.

Take part in Cornwall Spring Feast Fortnight by clicking here. You can eat out at some of Cornwall's best restaurants for fantastic prices. There are also various courses- like The Coves'- to take part in.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

My stomach is grumbling. Loud angry grumbles that force the people around me to stare awkwardly. I'm at The Cove's Fish Masterclass., organised as part of Cornwall Food and Drink's Spring Feast Fortnight. It's 6.30pm and it's still warm at Maenporth. Barefoot children are dancing around a jumping dog while the Cove's customers watch them with chilled glasses of wine in hand. There could be no better week to launch the Spring Feast Fortnight. It's balmy and warm and everyone at the Masterclass is up for learning how to prepare and cook Cornwall's fish superstars.

We learn how to pick a crab with our senses. It was Arty's use of sound I found most fascinating. He cut the crab by listening to the sound of the knife against its shell. Later he sliced fat scallops and marinated them for us to eat raw. I couldn't wait to get home and make them.

Scallop Ceviche....(serves 4)

12 scallops
1 garlic clove crushed
half a chilli finely chopped
1 heaped tsp palm sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 and a bit tsp nut oil
half a tsp finely chopped ginger
1 and half limes
1 and a half tbsp olive oil

Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Make sure the sugar has dissolved. Slice the scallops horizontally into three thin slices. Pop in the marinade and leave for a couple of minutes. Share out between four plates and serve.

There were so many good tips and recipes that I'm going to have to blog about the course in three parts. The Cove does courses like this throughout the season and Arty will convince even the biggest fishaphobe to start filleting!

Take part in Cornwall Spring Feast Fortnight by clicking here. You can eat out at some of Cornwall's best restaurants for fantastic prices. There are also various courses- like The Coves'- to take part in.

If you want more information about The Cove call 01326 251136 or read this blog post.

Pandora Fire....

So sorry to hear about the Pandora burning down. It's a bit of a Cornish institution and great for a post row drink. I walked down to Point Quay earlier and the smoke was drifting up the creek.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Scarlet Wines.....

Every time we pass Scarlet Wines at Lelant my face is pressed up against the car window. My voice gets a bit winier as I asked for the twentieth time 'Can we go there soon?'

'Yeah', the other half answers knowing I'll be distracted soon by somewhere else I want to visit. But I haven't forgotten yet. I still want to go there. (Please take notes...) Now it's got a new tapas menu and I'm hoping that that might be enough to get him there. Spanish food made with Cornish ingredients....seriously good.

At the moment you can have roasted beetroot and blue cheese dip, cheddar fritters, pheasant croquettes with tomato and orange chutney and mussels with pancetta, capers, olives and herbs. Convinced yet other half?

Scarlet Wines, Lelant 01736 753696

Monday, 7 March 2011

Flipping out.....

We had a heated debate this morning, my boss and I. It was all over pancakes. She doesn't seem to like them and seemed completely non plussed by Pancake Day tomorrow. (Or should I say Shrove Tuesday?) Whereas I get excited by any event. Valentine's Day, St Piran's Day, Christmas all fill me with excitement. I even look forward to giving foods up for Lent because it means trying new things. (This year I'm being brutal- goodbye ice cream, puddings, booze). So as I wave farewell to puddings I made these yummy pancakes in the true spirit of Shrove Tuesday using up Christmas leftovers.

Brandy Butter Pancakes (serves 4)

4oz self raising flour (this makes fluffier pancakes, if you want thinner ones use plain flour)
1 egg
225ml milk
pinch of Cornish Sea Salt
vegetable oil
1 jar leftover brandy butter

Sieve the flour and salt. Add the egg and milk and whisk until you have a creamy batter. Pour a little oil in a frying pan (you only need a very small amount.) When warm add 1/8 of the mixture and swirl the pan to cover the base. Leave for a minute of two until the batter has dried. Use a fish slice to flip it over. (Don't even attempt to flip- I have the burns and the greasy stains to prove it's a bad idea.) Put the pancakes somewhere warm.

Put the frying pan back on the heat. Wait until it's really hot then and add 4tbsp brandy butter. It will sizzle and quickly turn into a sticky toffee. Stir to make sure it doesn't burn.

Pour over the warm pancakes.

Friday, 4 March 2011

St Piran's Day....

Happy St Piran's Day!

Tomorrow is the saint's day of St Piran- the patron saint of tin miners. Don't the the story? He is said to have landed at Perranporth in the 6th Century having floated on a stone from Ireland. He is said to have brought Christianity to Cornwall and discovered tin mining. The Cornish flag reflects the tin discovery. So this weekend eat pasties, drink ale and celebrate with the Cornish. (Or just visit some of Cornwall's amazing restaurants/food producers).

St Piran's Day Events/Celebrations:

St Piran's Day march in Bodmin from 1030am on Friday.

The Crown at Penzance is cooking up a traditional Cornish raw fry on Saturday 5th for St Piran's Day. Raw fry is a traditional dish containing swede, onion, potato and bacon and it's delicious! Have a bowl and a pint of Cornish ale for just £6. Cornish shanties are encouraged!
Langmans Restaurant in Callington is holding a St Piran's Day dinner tonight and on Saturday.
It's a six course tasting menu which will be a feast of fresh produce.

There's a fun day at Redruth Rugby Ground from 11am tomorrow (Saturday). There will be stalls, go karts, music, a bar, music and food from 11am.

Get the best Cornish Produce at Truro Farmers Market on Saturday. It's on Lemon Quay on Monday. There will also be a St Piran's Day Parade.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

All's fair....(Fairtrade Fortnight)

I feel I'm a bit schizophrenic about my food ethics. I always try to buy local, I try to buy organic but fair trade isn't something that I have given much thought to. I buy fair trade bananas because I remember watching a documentary when I was 18 about banana pickers and I vowed never to buy another non fair trade banana again. But that has been the extent of my involvement.

But I suppose fair trade is similar to buying local. It's all about better prices for people, local sustainability and making people pay fair prices for food.

I've heard a lot about the Cornish Tea and Coffee Company. They are based in Pannier Market in Truro. Someone recently bought me some fair trade coffee from there. Although I don't drink coffee I love the taste so made this lovely cake as fairly as I could....

Fairtrade coffee and hazelnut cake....(makes 8-10 slices)

4 free range eggs
8oz/250g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
8oz/250g fairtrade brown caster sugar
8oz/250g butter
1 dsp fairtrade coffee with a big splash of water (sieve into a bowl)
2 tbsp toasted hazelnuts

For the icing...

4oz/125g butter
8oz/250g sieved fairtrade icing sugar
2tsps fairtrade coffee with a medium splash of water (sieve into a bowl)

Preheat the oven to 180'c. Grease and line two 8 inch cake tins. In a bowl mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs. Mix until fluffy. Add the coffee liquid and mix through the batter.

Split the mix in two and spoon into the two lined cake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool completely.

In another bowl put the butter (that you have left to soften for a while) the icing sugar and the coffee. Mix until completely combined. Place on cake on a plate. Spread a little of the icing on top. Then place the other cake on top. Paint the rest of the icing on with a palette knife or flat knife. Toast the hazelnuts (if not toasted already) and sprinkle on top.

Eat with a cup of steaming hot tea...(fairtrade of course...)