Da Bara Bakery

Da bara’, in Cornish, means ‘good bread’. (And dese are da brothers that make da good bread).

I can’t help it, my mind’s off on a tangent all of it’s own now. Perhaps it’s the smell of good bread all around that inspires almost poetic sentiment? There’s no refuting the wholesome fraternity between Ben, and his younger brother Tim. Only a few months ago they turned a long held hobby of bread making at home into a full-time bakery business.

Could it be that there’s some endearing nuttiness in such brotherly love?  Or why would they opt for six nights a week together, smothered in yeast, flour and sticky dough, right through the small hours while most people sleep? Long, nocturnal hours are however proving their worth; brothers Tim and Ben now supply the likes of Fifteen Cornwall, Hotel Tresanton and an expanding number of farm shops with their good bread.

We earn dough, break bread before the daily grind, and spend crusts on food to eat. Bread litters our language as much as it fills our stomachs; it’s so ordinary, but so necessary, and it can lift the human spirit. The final irony, as we despondently advance upon the weekly supermarket shop, is that our nose should be arrested by the warm, wafting smells of baking buns pumped to the front door to draw us in. I’m drawn irresistibly to the shelves of fresh bakes. Each one full of squidgy pledges that never deliver the flavour promised when I get them home. Most bread, as we know it now, has lost its taste and goodness and it’s a bloomer of a shame. Continue reading

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Clandestinely having my cake and eating it.

The rise (and rise) of home baking has a lot to answer for. Talk of such is everywhere. Across telly, in all kind of magazines, whole social groups brought together over cake recipes and sharing tips. In the chill of hard times ahead and the gloom of a deepening recession the waft of vanilla essence seeps into our daily life. Butter cream, chocolate, jam or cream cheese fillings wrap friendly arms of reassurance turning morning coffee time, plain cake and afternoon tea into comforting occasions. Brash muffins and cheeky cupcakes move over, the noble Victoria sponge has regained her top spot on the cake stand, graced on every side by numberless cakes of every invention.

My kitchen cupboard spills forth an assortment of baking tins and mixing bowls; a licked spoon, a scraped bowl and a spatula lie discarded in the sink; the work surface has been liberally messed by flour and sugar and smudges of buttery cake mixture have appeared on my kids’ faces. One tweet, a cyber whisper and the rumour’s out there: the first Clandestine Cake Club in Cornwall is about to happen but nobody knows where.

I’m curious. What is a cake club? Who goes, and why the big secret? Lynn Hill started the first Clandestine Cake Club, however her whereabouts in Britain, or who she is, remains unknown. The premise of a cake club, Lynn’s website reveals, is create opportunities for social interaction with cake loving strangers to bake, bring, eat, share and take slices of each other’s cakes home. Continue reading

Chef’s Special: Silks Bistro & Champagne Bar, Atlantic Hotel, Newquay

Slow cooked Gloucester Old Spot Belly of Pork and Pork Fillet, pea croquette with a black pudding crumb, pea rillette, sour apple coulis and pea salt.

Slow cooked Gloucester Old Spot

Aaron Janes

Recipe by: Aaron Janes, Head Chef, Silks Bistro & Champagne Bar, Atlantic Hotel, Newquay.

Aaron lives, breaths and dreams food, such is his passion for Silks restaurant that he helped to create back in 2004. His desire is to bring cooking in Cornwall, well and truly into the 21st century by creating classic British dishes with the very best Cornish ingredients.

“I like using only two simple ingredients and do something spectacular with them,” he explains. “As with the pea and pork – cooked in a variety of different ways with the added the element of delight and surprise so that people say, gosh that really tastes of peas!”

“The Gloucester Old Spot for this dish come from Ballardsfield Farm (practically next door to where I live), It’s great to see exactly where and how the pigs are raised. That’s the fantastic thing about Cornwall, sea and farmland is so close by and variety of produce is abundant and when there’s a glut of top quality something in season, I believe it’s best to grab it when you can!”

“The dish is really not as complicated to create as it sounds.  Every stage is really very simple. There are no complicated techniques, it’s just planning and having all the elements ready to use in advance,” Aaron reassures. “Using a water bath ensures that the meat is kept tender, full of flavour and melts in the mouth when you eat it. Having the meat perfectly cooked beforehand means it is instantly ready to be given the last stage of the cooking to order.” Continue reading

Cornwall’s finest ice creams: ‘first and last’.

To take a tour via all of Cornwall’s best-known ice cream producers, from west to east, would be a heavenly endeavour. Imagine how many scoops of lusciousness you’d be obliged to sample. Pop into Newlyn for a Jelberts, head to the Lizard for Roskilly’s, whip on up the county via Callestick and Kelly’s in Bodmin, onto Looe for Treleaven’s and then northbound for a Boscastle rendezvous with Helsett. Or start from the east, with your back to England, where’d be your first delicious lick in Cornwall? Or before you topple off the end, belly full, whose ice cream is the full stop in this trip of divine superlatives?

The most westerly, by a tiny fraction is Moomaid’s of Zennor. Robert Monies, aged 28, and his brother Nicky make their ice cream on Tremedda Farm which has been in the family for over 100 years. At the other extreme end near Bude, Sarah Redman, 38, makes Daisy’s on Hackthorne Farm. Not only are they the county’s newest ice cream producers they are also in a very real sense both the ‘First’ and the ‘Last’ in Cornwall. Continue reading

Taste of the Fairground

Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 Restaurant, Padstow

By the time you read this – and I had to wait until Cornwall Today who commissioned this published it first – they’ll be a long queue forming of diners at Paul Ainsworth’s door. Keen to try his celebratory dessert made up of raspberry curd-filled doughnuts, honeycomb lollipops, chocolate-y peanut popcorn, toffee apples and marshmallow kebabs. A pick and mix pudding, the ‘Taste of the Fairground’, is a clever twist on sweet spoils for kids.

BBC Two’s programme, The Great British Menu, inspired by the Eden Project’s Big Lunch, chose ‘cooking for the people’ for this year’s theme.  24 chefs from across Britain were invited to take part. The brief was to create awe-inspiring food that could be shared in ‘A People’s Banquet’ or the ultimate street party. “It’s all about breaking down barriers, sharing dishes and creating conversation,” explains Mathew Fort, one of the Menu’s three judges alongside Oliver Peyton and Prue Leith.

“I’ve Nathan Outlaw to thank,” Paul explains, “for my taking part. Nathan had taken part in a previous series of the programme and was invited again, however he was too busy so he put me forward.”

Paul’s story, his growing reputation, and his approval by his chef peers should inspire any young school leaver uncertain of their career choice and future.

“My background isn’t one of being inspired through cooking at home. The desire to be a chef happened by chance. Working in the Star Hotel was just one of my work experience options during school. If I’d ended up in the camping shop things might have been very differently,” Paul remarks, “The landlady, Mrs. Brown was a kind of ‘Peggy Mitchell’ character. She saw how keen I was to get a job at 16 and earn some money. I started as a kitchen boy, washing up in a blue boiler suit. Eventually, the chef would let me prep the food a bit, and then I was allowed to make the odd toasted sandwich too. My ultimate thrill was being in charge of a ‘Huntsman’: a steak baguette with mayonnaise. It led me onto catering college.”

Paul built his career through 8 years of working with London’s finest including Gary Rhodes, Gordon Ramsey’s Petrus and Marcus Waring. In 2005 he came to Cornwall to be head chef in Padstow’s ‘Number 6 Restaurant’. “The menu was an ambitious one, aiming towards the fine dining market with expensive and complex menus. We were cooking to impress with amuse-bouches and tasting menus. But”, Paul explains, “in Cornwall this is not really what dinners want. Even if used to eating in places like ‘The Fat Duck’, visitors relish a more relaxed style of dinning when they come to Cornwall.”

When Paul was offered sole leasehold of the restaurant in 2008. He rebranded the restaurant and changed the whole ethos of the menu, “although it can feel like putting your neck on the line,” he remarks, calling it ‘Paul Ainsworth at Number 6’. Offering 3 courses dinner and lunch menus at an affordable set price. “We provide children’s menus to make families feel welcome and we are just as happy when people just want to pop in for coffee and a dessert.”

Paul beat Michelin-starred André Garrett, Head Chef at the Hilton Park Lane Galvin restaurant, and John Hooker from Tavistock in the regional heats, making it to the final eight-chef showdown. Ultimately, it is his ‘Taste of the Fairground’ that triumphs to be paraded down the ancient cobbled streets of Leadenhall Market to grace the tables of 100 expectant guests. The competition required the chefs to think differently, think big, generously and theatrically, as well as gastronomically. It is good to know that ultimately ‘A Taste of the Fairground’ did just that.

Paul has just opened new venture, ‘Rojano’s’, in keeping with his belief that the only way to cook is with fresh, local, seasonal produce.  As a big Italian eatery in the heart of Padstow, it’ll surely ease the popular queue at ‘No.6’.

For Further information:

6, Middle Street, Padstow,Cornwall,
PL28 8AP

Tel: 01841 532 093

Email: enquiries@number6inpadstow.co.uk

www.number6inpadstow.co.uk

The Harbour Restaurant, Port Isaac

Taking the entire family out to a grown up restaurant is a calculated risk. At best the children won’t whine. At worst we will be asked to leave for causing such a rumpus and spoiling the other dinners’ intimate soirées. However, there comes a time, when the ‘little darlings’ have to be initiated, or no family would ever enjoy a bit of civilized dining out. I enquired cautiously on booking, “We’d like to bring our kids, would that be alright?”

“We do mostly fish,” came the warning. Fresh Port Isaac crab cakes, scallops, sardines, mackerel, lemon sole and sea trout: it makes perfect sense.  From the front door, the view is direct onto the Platt where fishermen still land their daily catch. “That’s Ok, they all like fish,” my fingers firmly crossed. My youngest has an expensive predilection for lobster. It’s just important to keep greenery off his plate. Luckily, owner and chef Emily Scott has children too so accommodating kids doesn’t faze her in the least. 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