Friday, 9 July 2010

Cornish eatings

A blissful week in Cornwall, the weather was incredible, makes me wonder why people holiday abroad, our week away was a bit like being on the French riviera!

Boat trips with Amie and James from their private access to the river leading to the sea were wonderful, bombing down in a four by four through the farms fields to the boat were pretty bumpy, but once we were on the boat and sailing down the river to the fairytale building that is Smugglers Cottage, it was like being on the amazon, I kid you not.

Needless to say, as well as lovely scenery and great company, the food we ate whilst away was all pretty special, and getting to hold a chicken and try their fresh eggs was a really lovely first - thanks Amie's mum!

Hotel Tresanton - Firmdale Hotel styling, gorgeous, glamorous and elegant, truly like being in some kind of premium Orange County country club, surrounded by staff who look like they've come out of a Ralph Lauren ad - not the kind of place I usually hang out!
The food didn't disappoint either, monkfish cheeks with langoustine was a delicate and delicious starter, as was the terrine, followed by pan fried turbot with samphire and a miniature crab cake, and finally, an assiette of unpasteurised cheeses with fig and almond torte on the side - an alternative take on a sweet quince jelly, it really brought out the flavours of the cheeses.
But it wasn't all fine dining fanciness, we ate in too, and ate our way around some other great places.

Porthminster Beach Cafe at St Ives was divine, we loved it and its vibe so much that we went back there twice. Their crab cake has to be the best one I think I've ever eaten, it seemed to have minced crayfish tails in it too, which enhanced the sweetness of the crab, and the shredded cucumber, spring onion and red chilli salad in rice vinegar on the side was the perfect accompaniment.

They also did a brilliant chilli and baby squid dish, and the unusual dipping sauce of what tasted like passion fruit, lemon juice, lime juice, nam pla and palm sugar was just divine.

But sadly, even two visits to St Ives and two excellent meals weren't enough to convince Mathew that we 'needed' to buy a beautiful painting by Simon Pooley. Oh well, perhaps next time I'll have more luck. We still got to enjoy the art St Ives had to offer, the Barbara Hepworth garden was glorious, she's a favourite of mine so it was great to see some of her creations in the garden of her old house.

Sams at Fowey was also very good and not at all what we were expecting - 50's diner meets punk pub, crossed with seaside and surf vibe made for a really interesting interior, and the food was just as good - if a little large on the portion size. Red mullet tempura with a red pesto relish was very fresh and tasty, light and crispy batter housing perfectly cooked fish, and the fat, juicy scallops marinated in corriander oil were divine, tasting so fresh and of the sea.

Then there was a night at at the wine/tapas bar on the Mylor harbour side, Castaways. Plump and juicy pan fried Cornish scallops with lovely yolk coloured roes, accompanied crispy black pudding and wild herbs and salad leaves. Not only did it taste excellent, but there were enough of those beautiful, juicy scallops to feed two on my plate alone, and the tuna steak didn't look too shabby either - but I was too full to stuff any more food in by that point.

A particularly great meal was a genuine Cornish pasty. Amie asked her granny to make some for us, and as an expert pastry maker and lady who'd been cooking pasties for decades, I knew we'd be in for a treat. They looked incredible, golden and ginormous with the flakiest pastry encasing beef, carrots and turnip. We ate them hot, accompanied by some cornish cider we bought at the Eden Project, delicious.

The last night out was down in the woods at 'le shed' (the most glam and well equip shed I've ever seen, it's got a boiler, hot running water and a proper toilet!) We packed up Lucindas car with food and wine and headed over the fields. The ride was a little ropey but we got there in the end with the car in once piece, then we sat back taking in the scenery, the view over the river, the evening sunset, and enjoyed it all over lots of wine and barbie food. Homemade highlights included the dill, lemon and red onion stuffed Cornish mackerel, and the bananas cooked with Mars bars, lots of ummm's and ahhh's all round for those!

Our next adventure with the lovely Amie and James takes us to the Edinburgh Fringe. We're staying in a serviced apartment but are intending to explore the Edinburgh restaurant scene fully while we're there - of course any noodle bars, sashimi restaurants or anything that's oriental and excellent will be of great interest (especially to Amie and I of course :-)


  1. Loving the holiday snaps! Looks like you had a fantastic time - and great weather too. The food looks fantastic - we definitely need to get together for some foodie treats!

  2. We do indeed my lovely!

    Am currently perfecting a samosa recipe that I reckon you'd really like, perhaps we should have an indian themed evening with lots of lovely food?

    Let me know and we'll sort a date x x x

  3. The Good Life suits you! Excellent chicken shot.