Posted tagged ‘Food’

Rick Stein and Nathan Outlaw lead line-up at Padstow Christmas Festival in Cornwall

November 19, 2014

Celebrity chefs Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth, Nathan Outlaw, Angela Hartnett, Mitch Tonks and Mark Hix will face the public as they perform their skills at this year’s Padstow Christmas Festival.


The four-day festive fiesta from December 4 – 7 sees chefs and local producers take over the streets around the town’s harbour for an event that includes 64 cookery demonstrations and workshops.

This year it includes a head-to-head cook-off between Phil Vickery and Brian Turner on Saturday December 6, presented by Fern Britton, aka Mrs Vickery.

Event organiser Tina Evans said: “This is our biggest event to date with more than 40,000 visitors expected to join us for the festival.

“Alongside a packed schedule of demos, we’ll have a spectacular fireworks display, lantern parade, Narnia-inspired grotto, activities for children, pop-up food stalls and live music.”

More information and a programme of events can be found at


Food magazine reader award winners 2013

January 9, 2013

Reach beyond the fact that Waitrose was named retailer of the year and the are some good names among the winners at the Food Magazine reader awards 2013.
In its second year, the food Reader Awards received thousands of votes as South West consumers flew the flag for the places where they love to eat, drink and shop across the region. From best-kept secrets to foodie household names, consumers named the best foodie pubs, cafes, retailers, restaurants, hotels, local drinks, local chefs and local food products as well as their local food hero.

Autumn Flavours: Mitch Tonks’ monkfish roasted with 50 cloves of garlic, olives and basil

October 5, 2012

When planning a Sunday lunch, fish doesn’t often get a look in amongst all the meat choices, largely I think through tradition but also because we aren’t familiar with serving a whole fish on the table.

It is a wonderful experience, a real sense of occasion and this dish is perfect for four or more people sharing lunch.

Don’t be put off by the 50 cloves of garlic, during the cooking the garlic loses its raw pungency and become incredibly sweet, part of the enjoyment of this dish is the squeezing out of the garlic cloves onto your plate.

It makes a wonderful combination with the monkfish and the warm oil takes on all the flavours of the dish and is lovely spooned over creamy mashed potatoes or mashed squash.

Serves 4


1 fennel bulb, very finely sliced
Small glass dry white wine
50 cloves of garlic, skin on
250 ml / 8 fl oz extra virgin olive oil
1 monkfish tail weighing about 1kg / 2.2 lb prepared as above
1 tsp fennel seeds finely ground
1 tbsp coriander seeds, lightly roasted and crushed
1 birds eye chilli
A handful of black olives
6 tomatoes, cut in half
A handful of basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

To make:

Pre heat the oven to 220c.

Take a roasting dish and spread out the fennel on the bottom, add the wine, olive oil and garlic cloves then sprinkle in the ground fennel and coriander, then crumble in the chilli and add the olives. Squeeze some juice from the tomatoes into the dish then add them.

Season the fish with salt and pepper and rub in a little ground fennel seed all over it then sit it in the oil on top of the vegetables. Roast for 30/35 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 4 or 5 minutes, there should be a white milky juice flowing from the fish as it rests, this is the protein in the fish naturally leaking out during cooking.

Stir in the basil, and after the oil has cooled slightly season to taste before serving whole at the table surrounded by the vegetables and with plenty of oil, olives, tomatoes and basil spooned over the top, a little lemon juice added to the oil sauce can be a good idea. You will find the fish comes easily away from the bone as everyone gets stuck in, it can be quite and occasion. I like to serve it with mashed potatoes and spinach or braised fennel.

Mitch Tonks is an award-winning food writer, restaurateur and fishmonger who runs RockFish Grill & Seafood Market in Bristol and The Seahorse and RockFish Seafood and Chips in Dartmouth.

Recipe taken from The Aga Seafood Cookbook by Mitch Tonks published by Absolute Press

Cornwall Food and Drink Festival

May 16, 2012

Cornwall food and drink festival preview PR release, good festival right in the heart of Truro, walking distance from station if you want to avoid exorbitant Truro car parking charges.

Anyway, I digress, pr follows:

The ninth Cornwall Food & Drink Festival will be returning to Truro on 28-30 September 2012 with a jam-packed timetable celebrating the cream of Cornish produce.

For food-lovers everywhere the festival promises a real taste of Cornwall: watch top chefs demonstrate succulent seafood and Cornish game; bite into a freshly baked pasty; savour the hoppy taste of a proper ale or treat yourself to a golden scone oozing with clotted cream and locally-made strawberry jam. The festival is destined to tantalise your tastebuds.

Ruth Huxley, director of Cornwall Food & Drink said: “Cornwall’s culinary repertoire boasts award-winning producers and world-class chefs, and the festival is very much about showcasing this.

“We have some new and exciting plans for this year including a series of exclusive one-off events for real food-lovers and a special festival menu celebrating Cornish ingredients. The fixed price menu will be running throughout the festival fortnight at selected restaurants across the county and will allow everyone the chance to get a real taste of Cornwall.”

Cornwall’s reputation for fantastic food has grown exponentially and it is now recognised as the number one food destination outside London. The Cornwall Food & Drink Festival has cemented itself as a must-visit entry on the nation’s foodie calendar, attracting in excess of 43,000 visitors in 2011.

In the Chefs’ Theatre, culinary stars will be demonstrating their talents and using Cornwall’s finest produce to cook up mouth-watering dishes. This year the theatre is sponsored by Good Energy and, embracing the eco-theme, chef Arthur Potts Dawson will be demonstrating low carbon cooking as well as some of his favourite recipes.

Two-starred Michelin chef Nathan Outlaw is the headline act and will be sharing his tips on how to create stunning dishes with the fresh seafood that is landed on Cornwall’s shores every day.

Located in the heart of Truro city centre on Lemon Quay, the festival marquee will be full of produce from across the county for visitors to taste and take home.

Cornwall Food & Drink Festival hasn’t forgotten about the kids either. There is plenty to keep children happy in their Funky Food Zone which is crammed with amazing food facts, quirky hands-on activities and all-out food fun.

Alan Goddard, managing director of Cornish Mutual, the South West rural insurer who is key sponsor of this year’s event, said: “The food and drink sector is big business – it is worth £1.4 billion to Cornwall’s economy and accounts for almost 30 per cent of employment, so you can see how vital it is for us to support and celebrate the industry.

“We’re really passionate about good quality, local food and drink and we’re frequently at livestock markets and agriculture shows throughout the South West seeing the great work being done. Many of our own members in Cornwall are food and drink producers, we work with them every day and understand their business, so there was no question about us supporting the Cornwall Food & Drink Festival – it is absolutely the right thing for us to do.”

Visitors will be able to relax and soak up the atmosphere in the Croust Bar; where they can sample local ales from St Austell Brewery; freshly made pasties from Simply Cornish and a whole host of other delicious locally produced treats, all whilst watching the masterclasses, demonstrations and talks on the Cornwall Food & Drink stage.

More information and festival updates can be found at

Everything you wanted to know about Cornish pasties but were afraid to ask

April 8, 2011

The latest addition to the collection of amusing books on your coffee table that you’ll never read has been launched in the form of The Little Book of the Pasty.

It has been launched by the The Cornish Pasty Association (CPA) to cash in….sorry celebrate the gaining of protected geographical indications (PGI) status for the humble pasty. This means to be called Cornish it has to be made in the duchy to a specific recipe, which I have written about before.

The book is, the CPA say, “full of tasty facts and the history of Cornwall’s most iconic food”. And they are right. This is a book seemingly solely aimed at tourists who enjoy the odd proper pasty on their annual visit to Cornwall and whose knowledge of what they are chomping is probably very limited.

Alan Adler, Chairman of the CPA, said: “After receiving PGI status, the CPA wanted to leave a legacy for the Cornish pasty. The Little Book of the Pasty is an absorbing account of the history of our region’s most famous food product and it truly demonstrates the Cornish passion for pasties. The book is full of quirky pasty facts and we hope it will be enjoyed by many Cornish pasty fans across the country.”

For the native eater (and me), most of the legends and facts may be old hat, but there are enough amusing and interesting old pictures in it to make it worth spending time thumbing through it. Not sure I’d buy it at £5.99 mind you, though that could just be because I am a massive cheapskate.

Only one other thing to note. The journalist in me noticed that while it was nicely written, it needed to be better proof-read as there were some noticeable punctuation errors and the like. I realise the irony of me pointing out such mistakes when this blog is littered with them of course.

Over all, I can see it gracing a few lounges in the South East and London as an object d’amuse. The press release mentioned the possibility of a second edition and I would advise the CPA, if a second edition is released, to have it proofed again. But enough of my bah, humbuggery.

The book is available to buy and order in independent bookstores and tourist attractions in Cornwall, on Amazon and in selected Waterstones. RRP is £5.99.

Manna From Devon’s Pear and Mincemeat Frangipane

December 18, 2010

A gorgeously indulgent Christmas pudding from David and Holly Jones of Manna From Devon

Ingredients (Makes one 23cm tart)
Pâte Sablée
• 200g plain four
• 70g icing sugar
• 130g butter
• 1 egg yolk
• Finely grated zest 1 orange

• 5tbsp good quality mincemeat
• 100g caster sugar
• 100g butter
• 100g ground almonds
• 2 eggs
• Few drops vanilla or almond extract

• 2-3 pears poached in red wine
• 2tbsp flaked almonds


Make the pastry by sifting together the flour and the icing sugar on the to the table top. Make into a ring. Cut the 130g butter into cubes and put in the middle of the ring of flour and sugar. Add the egg yolk and orange zest. Pinch together all the ingredients with your fingertips to get an amalgamated dough.

Form into a flattened circle of pastry dough and roll out into a 23cm tart tin. Chill the case in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200C/Gas 6 and bake the pastry case blind. Reduce the heat to 180C/Gas 4.

Put the butter, caster sugar, ground almonds, vanilla extract and eggs into the food processor and whizz together.

Spread the mincemeat into the pastry case. Cut the pears into wedges and arrange over the mincemeat.

Cover with the frangipane. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds and bake in the cooler oven until golden brown and firm about 40 minutes.

Cool, turn out of the tin, dust with icing sugar and cut into wedges.

Pears poached in red wine with cinnamon


• 6 pears
• 400ml red wine
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 100g caster sugar
• 1 orange


Take the peel off the orange and put in a saucepan with the sugar and the red wine and the cinnamon stick. Squeeze the orange juice and add to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer to dissolve the sugar.

Peel the pears but leave the stalks on. Cut out a pyramidal piece of core and flatten the bottom if necessary so they can stand up.

Put the pears in the pan and put the lid on. Poach gently turning from time to time so the pears get coloured by the red wine. When they are tender put the pears in a dish.

Turn the heat up and reduce the red wine mixture until syrupy. Discard the cinnamon stick and orange peelings and pour the syrup on and around the pears.

Serve at room temperature with some Mascarpone or clotted cream.

Flavour Fest – chillis, rain and foccacia

August 16, 2010

So Flavour Fest has come and gone for another year. Most of the feed back I have heard has been largely positive.

I could do a long and in-depth analysis here, but who wants to read that? I enjoyed every single stand that I visited (Manna from Devon’s foccacia) deserves a special mention.

So just a few choice comments and tweets from other people will suffice.  It is more about what other people thought.

Dartmoor Chilli Farm really sat on the fence. It was Kay and Phil Palmer’s  debut at a food festival and I think they enjoyed it. Tweets like “thank you very much for brilliant show. It’s the best market we’ve ever done. Will definitely do next year again!” are a subtle hint.

They also told me that they enjoyed “amazing” lemonade from Sanford Cider when they weren’t selling chillies.

Likewise the good people at Devonshire Tea were so busy it even stopped Gavin from Tweeting. Something I thought he did even in his sleep. Not only was it good sales-wise for stall-holders on the day, it was also good for those looking to pick up business.

One last thought from a member of the public, who visited. Constructive and informative.

“Yes I thought it was great. One thing that stood out was the amazing friendliness of all the stall holders – even in Sundays heat.

“I took my Dutch cousin because I wanted her to experience tasting some local foods. She loved it all, and filled her bag with chutney, Devonshire tea, and other goodies.

“The chefs kitchen worked well-although some more seating would have encouraged us to stay longer.

“Didier from Chloes restaurant was hilarious!”

See you next year.