Nature Kitchen, St. Austell

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Nature Kitchen is certainly the most interesting and exciting shop in St. Austell. Step inside and you’re instantly transported into a fascinating emporium of  herbs, spices and all the ‘hard to find’ exotic ingredients you could imagine.

Frankly, I’ve just be overwhelmed by the array of colours, the sumptuous aromas and the thrill of endless flavour possibilities that were presently that I’m currently stumped for words. Therefore I’ll let the pictures speak for me.

Or you could pop in and sample it for yourself.

Ally Watkins is a bright and energetic lady, as vibrant as her shop. As a business idea, she has now started recruiting ‘spice merchants’ – almost like a franchise – it gives individuals anywhere across the UK a chance to start a small business selling herbs and spices themselves with the potential to earn £300 – £500 a week at single events and markets.

She is also the driving energy behind the town’s forthcoming Spring Fayre – ‘bringing plants, sunshine and laughter to St. Austell’s town centre’ on 28th & 29th April 2012. The plan is to make this an annual event.

Find out more: contact ally@naturekitchen.co.uk 

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

Keveral Farm Community of Growers’ Organic Veg Boxes and a whole lot more.

Micro herbs from Keveral

Mirco herbs and leaves

Sean O’Neill hands me a tiny, insignificant looking leaf.

“Try this,” he says.

I’m looking at the two pinched-out top leaves from a green sprout he has handed me. Or, perhaps it’s an insignificant baby shoot he’s weeded out to let the stronger plants have space to grow strength? All around me, there are endless trays stacked upon shelves, row upon row of intensely bright, yet rather uninspiring looking seedlings. Apparently these infantile plantlets are the crop; harvested just as they reach salad cress height. Does my scepticism show? Surely there can be no flavour to this?

My un-cued response to its fragility is to tentatively nibble a neat fraction – a half-leaf – and I’m gob-smacked!  It’s a surprisingly powerful punch of concentrated sweetness like a saccharine pillule is to a tablespoon of treacle.

“The sugar-plant,” Sean informs me and in an instant I’m a convert. He hands me more and more deliciously different micro-herbs to sample and each one owns a definite and distinctive taste that is unique from one another. Continue reading

The ‘Cornwall Food & Drink’ people

Alex Harris and Ruth Huxley

Cornwall Food & Drink is a new company recently set up with the sole aim of promoting the county’s fabulous food and drink to as wide a market as possible.

For a very long time, Ruth Huxley was a woman I kept hearing mention of, but actually never meeting. It might be a case of never actually being in the same place at the same time, but the more I heard her name mentioned, “Want to know anything at all about food in Cornwall? Ruth is the one to ask,” I was constantly told, and so the more I wanted to meet her.

What, in Cornwall, we used to sigh could possibly replace tin mines when the last one closed in March 1998? There was no obvious answer back then as thousands were thrown out of work in an already impoverished county. Remarkably, in just a single decade, Cornwall has reinvented itself as the British culinary destination after London. People who still think that Cornish food is really just the Cornish pasty are in for a surprise. It’s now easily possible to eat at great restaurants for lunch and dinner in Cornwall, everyday of the week, and still have new places to discover. 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