Scrumptious Summer Desserts

elderflower cordial

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t normally do this. Post something which isn’t Cornish. But in a moment of weakness – and I’m a sucker for delicious summer deserts.

So here’s some, featuring cordials by Belvoir Fruit Farm from Lincolnshire that capture the very essence of summertime…

But feel free to supplement with good Cornish alternatives! Continue reading

Chef’s Special: Bustophers Bar Bistro, Truro

Balsamic Poached Cornish Strawberry Mille Feuille with Spun Sugar

Recipe by: Dale McIntosh, Head Chef, Bustophers Bar Bistro.

When General Manager Tom Hancock and his wife Vicky approached Dale McIntosh to take over as Head Chef at Bustophers, he wasn’t to know how lucky an opportunity it would be. “Bustophers is about creating a whole dining experience. People like to be able to linger, dink at the bar and take time over dinner,” said Dale, adding, “It felt right. I can spend more time over the food, plus Tom and Vicky aim to win awards for their food and service as much I do.”

Continue reading

The new look for Cornwall’s glorious cream

Mmmm…..Rodda’s clotted:  an institutional Cornish favourite used to crown a proper cream tea and unchanged for more than a century. Sold for as long as I can remember, in little creamy coloured pots, and packaging with Rodda’s name in gorgeous red. I’ve worshipped the sight of it in supermarket chiller cabinets, the golden glow has given them an irresistible aura.

So imagine my surprise, being invited to see the unveiling of the new Rodda’s branding, to see not red but blue?
I must have taken a sharp intake of breath, an involuntary gasp. My heart cried: Oh what have you done? My head wanted to embrace the new logic…Blue? It looks like Deft ware, is that a good thing?

Continue reading

Sampling the art of Nicky Grant, Patisssiere and Chocolatier

Romantic Infusion

Nicky Grant is a seductress.

One bite of her ‘Great Taste’ gold award-winning Cornish seasalt caramel truffles and I’m smitten!

It might be the quick snap sensation of the dark chocolate shell breaking apart under my teeth, followed by the oozing creamy-rich, sweet caramel centre on my tongue that transports a feeling of rapture straight from my head to my toes; or possibly the guilty memento of sin touched with smudges of cocoa powder left on my fingertips to lick? However, what sets these caramels apart, and my taste buds spiralling into bliss, is the barely discernible flavour of sea salt. Don’t ask me why or how, but salt appears to add something quite remarkable.  It turns a nod of approval into the tenderest proposal: ‘my heart is putty. I adore you’

All of this is a world away from Nicky’s previous life. Until 2001 she was a Corporate Identity Manager for BAA, a blue chip company in London, where her most of her life was spent in airports designing public spaces. Moving from corporate life to a farmhouse in west Cornwall might seem like a far cry from the sublime to the ordinary. Her husband Tom admitted, “I was a little nervous how she might react on meeting my large and almost overwhelming Cornish family.” However, for Nicky, it gave her the perfect opportunity to fine-tune a passion for another artistic design form completely. Continue reading

Crab and Parmesan Tarts and Clotted Cream Truffles!

At last! Something delicious and savoury to use up my over-buy of Rodda’s cream this Christmas as I can’t bear it going to waste.

This tart is full of the flavours of the British Seaside. If you are off for a picnic make 6 individual tarts.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes plus chilling time Cooking Time: 20 minutes Serves: 6

375g pack ready-rolled short crust pastry For the filling: 100g watercress, stems removed and finely chopped

250g mixed crabmeat, fresh or defrosted 3 eggs 113g Rodda’s Cornish Clotted Cream 113g Rodda’s Cornish crème fraiche

1⁄4tsp dried chilli flakes 1 tbsp lemon juice 100g freshly grated Parmesan seasoning

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C, 400°F/Gas 6 and very lightly grease a 22cm loose bottom flan tin. Place the tin onto a baking tray.

Roll out the pastry until it’s big enough to generously fit the tin. Ease the pastry into the corners of the dish leaving excess pastry falling over the sides – don’t trim at this stage. Prick the base with a fork. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Trim the excess pastry using a sharp knife. Bake the pastry case blind for about 15 minutes – remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Continue reading

The Flavour Weekly: Chocolate Truffles and a Stollen Cake.

Well, it’s Christmas!

So the naughty  indulgence of loading myself with lots of rich, sweet, delicious and frankly dangerously indulgent foods seems almost righteous.  Eat like this every day and  I’ll die happy.

Nicky Grant is a seductress.

One bite of her ‘Great Taste’ gold award winning Cornish seasalt caramel truffles and I’m smitten!

It might be the quick snap sensation of the dark chocolate shell breaking apart under my teeth, followed by the oozing creamy-rich, sweet caramel centre on my tongue that transports a feeling of rapture straight from my head to my toes; or possibly the guilty memento of sin touched with smudges of cocoa powder left on my fingertips to lick? However, what sets these caramels apart, and my taste buds spiralling into bliss, is the barely discernible flavour of sea salt. Don’t ask me why or how, but salt appears to add something quite remarkable.  It turns a nod of approval into the tenderest proposal: ‘my heart is putty. I adore you’.

I met Nicky first at the Cornwall Food & Drink festival last September. Temptation brought me to her stand. She proffered a bowl of mouth-watering caramels in my general direction and I was irresistibly drawn in like a proverbial ‘carrot to the donkey’. Since then, like a ‘chocoholic’ possessed, I’ve not been able to get them out of my mind. In her home kitchen a few months later, I was treated to some of the most divine chocolates I have ever eaten. With coffee and conversation (meanwhile salivating over, sampling, ruminating and cogitating on half a dozen exquisite samples of Nicky’s beautiful chocolates) it took me literally hours to learn what it is to be a Chocolatier… and, believe me, to rush these things is to do them a terrible injustice! Continue reading

Festive ‘Eden’ in a Hamper

A GARDEN OF EDEN IN A CHRISTMAS HAMPER

The Eden Project in Cornwall is passionate about plants, people and working towards a sustainable future. To celebrate the season of goodwill, the team at Eden has sourced a number of Christmas hampers and gift sets that showcase the very best of food, drink and plant life – much of which comes from local producers in Cornwall.  All you need to do is buy, try and   enjoy!

There’s also a fairly good chance this kind of question might turn up in a Christmas Cracker a a Trivia fact between the corny joke and the paper crown.

Did you know?  Best known as being Cornwall’s top garden and eco tourist attraction, the Eden Project is also home to the world’s  biggest rainforest  in captivity.

However, if you are like me and dislike being given anything for Christmas unless you can eat it…here are some very tasty suggestions. Continue reading