Posted tagged ‘Justin Bieber’

When Foodies South West made Cornish pasties for the first time – with help from Paul Hollywood

January 14, 2013

To mark the opening of entries to the World Pasty Championships, a tale about my own first foray into the world of Cornish pasty-making.
You may have seen the picture below on the Foodies Facebook page as I was rather proud of them as a first effort.
Their genesis involved no blood, a lot of sweat and toil, almost some tears – and a lot of swearing.
You see, I decided to make the Cornish pasties on the best day possible to do experimental cooking…Christmas Eve!



Rock Oyster Festival in Cornwall announces 2013 dates

January 10, 2013

Organisers have announced that the fourth Rock Oyster Festival will return over the mid-summer weekend of Friday 21 to Sunday 23 June 2013.
Early bird tickets are now on sale for the family-friendly event which attracts thousands of visitors who come to enjoy the unique blend of food, music and arts.


A Meat Feast – Le Charcutier Anglais

January 8, 2012

January seems the most appropriate time to review a cook book that teaches you how to make your own black pudding.

As I see the same usual miserable people around me, gloomily chewing on salad leaves in the belief that a few weeks observance before returning to GluttonyVille is somehow good for them, I am busy working out whether, sharing a house with other people, I can get away with making the kitchen look like an abattoir.

Vegetarians look away now

My inspiration for this gristly plan, which probably contravenes the contract I signed with the landlord, is Le Charcutier Anglais by Marc Frederic, a Northerner who swapped the gloom of the British Isles for years on the continent in France and Germany learning the secrets that allow them to make so many brilliant taste sensations from the humble pig.

They called (well the French anyway) him Le Charcutier Anglais and today he is based in Devon and travels the UK and mainland Europe teaching others his craft.

Me at work on my victim at Westaways

It was Marc, real name Mark Berry, who ran a butchery course I did around this time last year at Westaways HQ in Newton Abbot, where he impressed us all with his knowledge, skills and above all, patience. He showed us how to take half a pig and turn it into various hams, bacon, sausages, ribs etc.

It isn’t your typical cook book; the first section gives guidance on how to butcher a pig carcass along the same lines as the lesson we were given, complete with tips on tools needed (including a bone saw). While not all readers, few even, will have the time, money or inclination to get into butchery on this scale it is an interesting look at the art of the professional butcher.

Where the book comes into its own is where he goes into how to use the various parts of the beastie you might have just dismembered.

From blood, through offal to pate and other preserved meats, the book is atreasure trove of methods and recipes that show how easy – though occasionally time consuming and/or messy) creating your own charcuterie products can be. The main focus is on pigs and dishes derived therefrom. But there are other meaty recipes on show as well.

What they show is that there really is no reason you cannot have a crack at doing these things yourself. Like me with my coppa ham you might bugger it up, but practice makes perfect!

When I finally found time to flick through the book it was one of those ones where you read a recipe and think: “I can do that. And that. And that. And that.”

With one eye as always on my wallet (the raison d’etre for launching this blog in the first place), while Marc places emphasis on using quality meats, many of the recipes call for cheaper cuts of meat.

My favourite part is the pages devoted to making your own black pudding, be it the traditional British version, the French Boudin Noir or the German Blutwurst. I love black pudding, but how many people would consider making it themselves? Yet it is very easy, as the basic recipe shows, albeit with a possibility that those living with you might think you have become a serial killer – should you be able to find a butcher who can sell you blood in the first place.

Marc Frederic aka Mark Berry

Intermixed with the recipes are helpful times and tales from Marc’s childhood and time working both in the UK and abroad, shot through with ribald and self-deprecating humour, which make the book as much fun to just sit back and read through as it is to use it to make recipes.

Now, off to find someone who will sell me six litres of pigs’ blood. And then I shall paint the kitchen red.

Bon appetite.

You can find Marc Frederic on Twitter or on his blog or at his company website

Pie time, winter in the city…

November 19, 2011

A few years ago, if a chef on TV suggested people make and eat a pie, the viewers would have had a coronary. You may as well have suggested they melt lard in a frying pan and then inject it intravenously into their bodies.


But it seems the humble pie (no pun intended) has been forgiven, rather like the biblical prodigal son.

Perhaps it is a backlash against people being told what to eat, perhaps it is about a relatively cheap yet filling meal during a time of economic shit/fan interfacing. Who knows.

Tacked onto this is the rise in popularity of pies as fast food. I’m not talking about Pukka Pies chomped as you slurp a bovril at the football, I’m talking pies that are being served at food festivals, with decent ingredients and local pedigree.

You may be familiar with Bristol behemoth Pieminister and Devon’s own Tom’s Pies – maker of an excellent vegetarian pie with mushrooms and spinach incidentally.

Now the Cornish have decided to get in on the act. Two self-proclaimed “grumpy old men” have launched a new range of savoury pies.

Grumpies of Cornwall was founded in January 2011 by Trevor Shea and Mark Carne at their bakery in Launceston and they launched their range at the Cornwall Show in June, with boxes adorned with their cartoonish alter-egos.

The pair already run the Cornish Patisserie, which supplies cakes, gateaux, and desserts to hospitality establishments across the UK.

According to their press spiel, the pair live by their ethos of “serious about food” and use the best Cornish ingredients including local vegetables, Cornish ale, and meat from Philip Warren’s, a prize-winning Launceston butcher.

The range of six pies also avoid artificial additives, preservatives and processed ingredients to “create products with a home cooked quality”.

So, have they succeeded?

Well, what is “home-cooked quality”? In my case it means the pastry is burned and the lid doesn’t fit the rest of the pie.

But the Grumpies pies are good, both as a party food or as a quick and easy supper on a Friday. Twenty minutes in the oven from chilled and they are done, served with a lie of mash the size of North Korea (mentioned only for the search engine hits from fruitloops).

The current range includes four meat options: steak and ale; lamb, mint and potato; chicken, gammon & leek; and pork, apple & cider.

There are also two vegetarian varieties: homity pie, an open pie topped with potato, mature cheddar, fresh parsley, leek, onion and garlic; and a blue cheese, mushroom and walnut pie with tangy lemon and a béchamel sauce.

Of the six, four stood out: the two veggie pies and the pork and chicken and gammon ones.

The blue cheese pie was tangy and well balanced and was a great example of non-dull veggie food. The homity pie gets a mention because it was good but also because it was great to see it in the range in the first place.

The pork pie, as it were, was also well balanced, not too overpoweringly appleish and the leek, gammon and leek was really very nice, merging all three flavours well.

As for the other two, there was nothing wrong with the steak and ale pie but perhaps I am just too fussy and eaten too many of them in the past, because I couldn’t get excited.

The lamb pie, sadly was a disappointment. I have to hold up my hands and say this is partly my fault as I hate mint sauce with my lamb. So you can work around that. But there was also the fact that a large chunk of the lamb in the pie was gristle, which was a shame as it rather put me off.

Overall though, a good addition to the range of pies being made by producers in the South West.

The pies are available from selected farm stores and delis across Cornwall and online at, priced at 6 pies: £6.50, 12 pies: £7.50 and for 18 pies: £10.00.

Christmas party food anyone?