Tag Archives: lobster

The Harbour Brewing Company opens for business making craft beer in Cornwall

You have to admire the bravery of anyone setting up a food and drink business in the “current economic climate” – the only climate getting colder.

So news of a new brewery being set up in Cornwall is welcome. I haven’t had time to visit the Harbour Brewing Company yet or sample their ales, so will save comment for then and I look forward to doing so.

The brewery, set up by Rhys Powell and Eddie Lofthouse, officially opens for business today.

In the meantime, here’s what they themselves are saying about their operation.

Rhys Powell and Eddie Lofthouse have set up the Harbour Brewing Company


Two Cornish brewers have made their dream a reality and are launching a new craft brewery in North Cornwall.

The official opening of The Harbour Brewing Company will take place on 20th January 2012, where Dan Rogerson MP and Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Beer Group will officiate.

Brewer Rhys Powell and Eddie Lofthouse turned their dream in to reality in early 2011 by setting up the Harbour Brewing Company from scratch, based on the ethos of creating a craft brewing process and brand.

They apply a progressive and innovative approach to their beer style and brewing technique, whilst honouring traditional and proven methods to produce a range of full flavoured, balanced and creative beers.

Eddie said: “We are committed to making beers that are contemporary and deliver an uncompromising taste experience. We use pure Cornish spring water sourced on the hillside next to the brewery, and only the finest raw materials. We believe this is the only way to deliver a premium quality product.”

Starting with an installation of a brewery system which allows the brewing to be as creative as possible, their business took format their premises near Bodmin. The 10 British brewers barrel (bbl) system was designed in California and built in Hungary by the American firm Bavarian Brewing Technologies.

Rhys, who studied brewing and distilling at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, explained their unconventional equipment choice: “We chose a combined mash lauter tun, rather than a separate mash tun and a lauter tun, as it gives us all round flexibility with process control and use of adjuncts. It’s more efficient than a traditional British set up.

“We’ve also gone for sealed cyclindroconical fermentation vessels rather than traditional open vessels as it is more hygienic, allows faster fermentation, and ease of yeast harvesting.”

The business partners’ aim is to create a quality, great tasting product, which is different to other Cornish Beers in both taste and branding.

Speaking about the inspiration for the Harbour Brewing Co, Eddie said: “Mass-market bland beer aimed at gaining a market share is not what we are all about. We are all about taste and creativity.

“Beers from all over the world inspire us. The craft beer scene in the USA is an obvious place to draw inspiration and ideas, but there are great breweries and beers from all over the world.

“We are a product-focused business and for us it’s not all about profit, we have set out to make great beers that people enjoy drinking.”

Harbour Brewing Co have a starting range of four different beers including: Harbour India Pale Ale, their strongest beer made using a blend of six British and American hop varieties; malt driven Harbour Amber Ale; Harbour Light Ale; and the Czech-inspired pilsner Harbour Lager. All of the range will be available on draft and in bottles.

They are also working on speciality beers for their Harbour Special range, which will push the boundaries and incorporate some quirky ingredients including cassia bark, bog myrtle, rhubarb and chilli.

Competition for the Cornish lager market

Pie time, winter in the city…

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 http://www.foodfromcornwall.co.uk, priced at 6 pies: £6.50, 12 pies: £7.50 and for 18 pies: £10.00.

Christmas party food anyone?

Plumming the Depths of Procrastination

By Eleanor Gaskarth

I have a dissertation to write. Twenty thousand horrible words, due this time next month. So… time to bury the nose in the books and get diligently writing, right? Nope.

Whilst staring morosely out of the window pondering the inefficacy of my brain, I noticed our plum tree was laden. Birds and wasps were greedily gorging and – I reasoned – in a day or two it would be too late. And fruit is good for the brain (particularly if covered in buttery, sweet crumble and marooned in a sea of custard).

Lovely ripe plums

So if I fail the course, bring shame upon my family and render the last two years obsolete, at least I’ll know the satisfaction of baking and serving something plucked from my own tree. I’ll plum for that (sorry – couldn’t resist).

This is my mother’s marvelously simple recipe:

– Pick and wash fruit, removing any stones (in addition to plums, we added some raspberries and a cooking apple that offered itself from another branch)
– Slice the plums in half and lay all of the fruit at the bottom of a big dish.
– Sprinkle with sugar and add a splash of lemon juice and half a glass of water.
– In a large bowl, make the crumble with a pat of butter, flour, sugar and a pinch of salt. Crumb it with your fingers until it is the right consistency.
– Scatter the crumble over the fruit and bake at around 180C for half an hour (or until the crumble is brown and the sticky fruit juice is ruining the bottom of your oven)
– Argue over what to serve it with – Cream? Ice cream? Custard?

A summer squid and chorizo salad courtesy of Mr Murdoch

Well, not strictly speaking from the old Aussie guy with the ninja wife, but shamelessly ripped from the website of the Times (£) so you don’t have to pay. Ha!

(In order to keep his legion of feral lawyers moderately happy, the original recipe can be found here.)

Photo: TheTimes.co.uk

I made this for my girlfriend yesterday and rather like me on my guitar it hit all the right notes. Unlike me on a guitar it hit them in the right order.

Don’t bother with baby squid, adult squid worked fine. The South West seaports land some excellent squid, I remember a journalist friend telling me once her fisherman boyfriend bringing back a hell of a lot. And you can, of course, get “local” chorizo thanks to people like the Bath Pig. If you don’t want that, why not experiment with any other dried port products you can get locally, some herby, spicy sausages, fried up with the squid perhaps?

The recipe in the Times said this “serves four”. It would serve four if all the quartet were anorexic supermodels with their mouths sewn up. Realistically this amount serves two, with some crusty bread on the side and a glass of crisp French white.

Bon appetit.

350g baby squid, cleaned
2 tbsp olive oil
100g chorizo, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime
140g pitted black olives, roughly chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 large handfuls parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and cut into fine strips
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

1 Slice the squid into rings, keeping the tentacles whole.
2 Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add the chorizo. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the chorizo starts to turn golden and crispy, stirring occasionally. Scatter the squid into the same pan and stir thoroughly. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the squid is pale and cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat, add the lime juice and set aside until you are ready to eat.
3 To assemble the salad, put the squid, chorizo and their juices into a serving bowl. Add the olives, onion, parsley and red chilli and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Toss everything together so that the lovely spicy red chorizo and fresh lime juices coat all the other ingredients. Serve immediately.

Bath and West banger

A unique sausage creation entitled ‘The Beast’ – a West Country pork sausage featuring Devon farmhouse cheddar, sweet caramelised onions and smooth Dark Bath Stout, which was created by a food lover from Devon – has won a national competition to go into production in celebration of the Bath & West Show in June.

After being put to the taste test by an esteemed judging panel including some of the region’s leading foodies, ‘The Beast’ beat off competition from over 300 innovative entries to the ‘Bath & West banger’, a competition that gave the public the chance to create a limited edition sausage flavour for this year’s Bath & West Show, which they felt best encapsulated the strong food and drink heritage of the West Country.

Award-winning West Country sausage manufacturer Westaways, who are now developing and producing The Beast sausage, are using ingredients from some of the region’s most celebrated food producers in the winning recipe, including prime cuts of pork from Farm Assured West Country Farms, Extra Mature Farmhouse Cheddar from renowned Devon cheese makes Quickes and an impressively smooth Dark Side Stout from one of the region’s leading independent Brewers and Publicans, Bath Ales.

‘The Beast’ will be available to buy from 1st May from selected retailers including many participating Spar, Londis and Costcutters* throughout Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Gloucestershire and parts of South Wales. It will also be available to buy at the Royal Bath & West Show in June.

Cath Burley from Woodbury in Devon, who created ‘The Beast’ flavour, says ‘I am thrilled that my sausage has been chosen to be the Bath and West banger. I’ve always loved food and am a big fan of local produce from the South-West. I am excited about The Beast going into production and can’t wait to see it at the Bath & West Show this June!”

Bath & West Show Manager and competition judge, Alan Lyons says: “Thousands of food lovers descend on our show each year to taste produce from the West Country and beyond, visit the National Cheese Awards or experience the UK’s biggest cider competition. The response to the Bath & West banger competition has been fantastic and sausage-lovers at this year’s show will be in for a real treat with the Beast.”

John Sheaves, Chief Executive of Taste of the West and fellow competition judge added, “I was really impressed by the many innovative ideas the public came up with, which demonstrated the passion people have about the food and drink heritage of the West Country. The Beast is a well-deserved winner and not only tastes delicious, but truly illustrates the wealth of regional ingredients available in the South West.”

Charles Baughan, owner and Managing Director of Westaways, says “A legendary show deserves a legendary sausage and I am therefore delighted to be producing this recipe that not only tastes fantastic but encapsulates the full diversity of this wonderful part of England.”

The Royal Bath & West Show will be held between Wednesday 1 and Saturday 4 June 2011 at the Showground, Shepton Mallet. Advance tickets are available to buy now.
For tickets and show information visit http://www.bathandwest.com.

For more information about the competition, visit http://www.bathandwest.com/banger

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

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.

A new hare for March…in April

If only I’d written this when I planned it, the whole “March hare” pun thing would have worked brilliantly. But meh, I was busy.

I wrote a while back about Badger’s Hopping Hare beer and how it had undergone a bit of a marketing exercise to rebrand this beer, essentially to make it stand out on the shelves to fickle customers. And why not, the real ale market, though the sales figures look somewhat tricky nationwide (if my memory is correct) there are certainly more on supermarket shelves, including many from even the smallest local microbrewery.

What Dorset’s Badger and its design agency BrandOpus have done is visually reverse the aging process.

The new Hare
The old Hare


Gone is the old brown bottle and in comes a new clear bottle, which makes a lot of sense if you have a beer the colour of Hopping Hare. If you have a fine-looking beer, why hide it behind coloured glass?

First brewed in 2006, the label has this year undergone a rapid de-aging more akin to a regenerating Timelord. It makes it, in my opinion, far more friendly to the younger ale drinker, which might be more swayed by the look of the bottle than the seasoned red nose. Will the older drinker be put off by the new label? Well it is possible, but most older drinkers will probably be more guided by taste.

Budweiser could change their famous label and I’d still know that it tasted like piss.

Which leads me conveniently to the taste. Well, it is as it looks, now. It’s a fresh hoppy ale, at 4.5% per cent, an excellent thirst-quencher. I’d be hard-pressed to say it was truly memorable but then I could say that about a lot of beers. certainly worth trying at least.

Of course, the answer to whether it has worked for the brewery is its sales. If they do well I dare say a few more badger beers could undergo a facelift.