Banbury’s Cornish Turkeys

They might not actually vote for Christmas but Banbury’s Cornish Turkeys certainly live the rural idyll, raised by three generations of the same farming family outside Padstow on the North Cornish Coast.

And this year for the first time Christmas diners across the land will get to savour the difference between these birds and their intensively reared relatives – via a new national delivery service from cornishfoodmarket.co.uk.

“We hand-rear free-range black and traditional white turkeys here at  Trembleathe Farm and they grow for much longer than mass produced birds so they develop that lovely deep turkey flavour,” says Richard Banbury whose parents  Fernley and  Nancy, wife Clare and little daughters Gracie Ann and Roseanna all play their part in the nurturing process.

“I think part of it is also that our natural environment is so clean and clear with fresh air off the Atlantic – we’re remote from roads and noise and commercial activity and the birds are raised as they should be – stress free.”

For nearly fifty years these turkeys have been enjoyed throughout Cornwall at Christmas time but now the Banbury family – like scores of the county’s best food and drink producers – are working with the team at cornishfoodmarket.co.uk to spread not just the word but the reality of best Cornish fare to the nation at large. Continue reading

Seriously? Cornish Whiskey?

The Cornish Whiskey Story 

Cornwall’s first whiskey in 300 years was born from a handshake between two independent family businesses; St Austell Brewery and Healey’s Cyder Farm which, incidentally, is also Cornwall’s only brandy distillery.

The idea was initially the inspiration of St Austell Brewery’s Head Brewer, Roger Ryman, who has nursed his passion for whiskey since cutting his teeth in the Scottish drinks business several decades ago. It’s a partnership that brings both expertises in brewing and distillation together for the first time in England. Continue reading

The first slice and a New Year

The intention was to share my Christmas cake recipe back in 2010.But truthfully, I don’t really follow any tried and tested recipe.

My mother made the best fruit Christmas cakes and she must have followed the same recipe when she made each of her three daughters’ wedding cakes as well. What I remember was that they were dense, dark, full of fruit and nuts, bound together with a little ‘cake’ and steeped with brandy.  So they were very, very moist.

Unsurprisingly, my desire is to try to replicate her cakes. I’ve no idea what recipe she followed so I borrow all the best ingredients from several recipe books at once. I want a cake to be loaded with fruit, candied peel, nuts and spice. For 2010’s Christmas cake I used cranberries instead of cherries just to see if it would make any difference. I soaked the fruit and nuts overnight with brandy and, after a month just before icing,  laced the cake again liberally with rum.

The end result is an intensely sweet and fruity hit, and since the cake is so solid thin slices are easy to cut. Just as well, really, as I can only really manage a little of this luxuriously mixture at a time. Perfect with a refreshing cut of tea after a long and bracing walk in the winter time, or pretty good when I’m tired after a late night and I need a ‘sugary’ boost to lift my energy levels. 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

Brandy Butter & Bread Sauce recipes with clotted cream.

In my opinion, there is only really one kind of cream clotted cream – everything else is ‘milk’ (slightly thicker milk, sour milk or milk with air)  in comparison.

Here’s some simple recipes from Rodda’s which I’ll be using over Christmas.

Luxurious bread sauce with Rodda’s clotted cream

Perfect with turkey, chicken and game birds.

Serves 6-8 Prep time 5 minutes plus 2-24 hours steeping time Cooking time 10 minutes Continue reading

I’m thinking lobster for Christmas…?

Fish For Thought selection box.

I’ve had superb fresh Cornish fish from Fish for Thought before, so I can thoroughly recommend both the quality of the fish and the service.

We are sharing Christmas this year with my vegetarian (but she does eat fish) sister-in-law and her two non-meat eating children.  So I’m seriously thinking that this year we should ditch the traditional turkey and have a royal feast of fish. We won’t even be in Cornwall this year, but I’m confident that it won’t make a jot of difference. Fish For Thought assure me that they can deliver freshly caught Cornish seafood direct to where ever I happen to be. So, if we chose to gather somewhere remote and unorthodox for the festivities, if shouldn’t be impossible at all.

Christmas feasting tends to go one of two ways: either it’s a massive over indulgence of food, which we groan at our stuffing or quickly regret; or it’s a taste treat of fine and special food. So, I’m tending towards the later, thinking of celebrating with Fish for Thought’s Cornish lobster, crab and scallops, to name just a few! 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