Monthly Archives: July 2012

A break away in Cornwall

After a holiday in Cornwall I wanted to write a blog to summarise what I’d enjoyed and tasted over the few days away.

Fishing in Cornwall – The last time I went fishing was at the Jubilee weekend, it was chilly and nothing was caught. This time in St Mawes, Cornwall, it was different. The weather was considerably warmer, which I was told is prefered by mackerel as well as humans. Our fisherman, James Brown, welcomed us onto his boat. The results of our trip were amazing: First one in was a Gurnard, bright orange and beautiful, swiftly followed by a few mackerel, then two pollock caught at once, our catch continued like this for our hour at sea. The smaller fish caught were used as lobster bait, and some of our catch was released back out to sea.

Our break away was at Pollaughan Farm, the accommodation was beautiful and in a peaceful setting. the farm offered trips round the farm to feed the animals, which suited all children and adults. On the evening of our fishing trip, Tim the farmer brought us some of his homegrown potatoes and carrots, to accompany our main course, this was all arranged by the power of twitter earlier that day! We barbecued half of our catch for the group, this had to be the most satisfying dinner of the week.

Have lunch: at the Smugglers Tea bar of Tolverne
Down a narrow windy Cornish road near the King Harry Ferry we came across this pub and tearoom, which opened out into a lovely waterside patch with views over the river Fal. The food here was varied and catered for all, including large and light lunches, as well as some scrummy looking cream teas, which I didn’t have time to try. To drink as well as a large tea selection, there was Cornish Rattler and Oxford Gold on tap.
   

Newquay and Watergate Bay:  On a day out to Newquay we stopped at Watergate bay for a drink at The Beach Hut and a great view over the beach, had it been a little warmer in the morning, we would have gone prepared and stayed on that beach all day. After our refreshing stop we moved on to Newquay for a nose to see what was there, this wasn’t my favourite stop, as it felt pretty average walking down the high street, we could have been anywhere. By the seafront we stopped at The Chy Restaurant on Beach road for some chips. The terrace was glorious in the sunshine and we were hard pushed to get a table, it certainly blew its competition out of the water. We made sure that we picked up a Cornish pasty before leaving.

     

Dine out at The Watch House in St Mawes. So lovely that we went twice. This restaurant covered two floors and catered for adults & children, offering a lovely nosey view out to sea. The restaurant was fresh and smart with it’s blue and white decor, the staff were also friendly and happy to help our group order dishes to their requirements. The seafood linguine hit the spot for me, combining fresh fish with a rich tomato sauce and good seasoning. The Fish and chips were enjoyed, with the exception of the mushy peas, as they were a touch on the sweet side, either the mint or the peas were clearly very fresh! The Seabass was presented elegantly with green beans, olives and heritage tomatoes, one of which was green. I’m told that this was delicious, it must have been as sadly I didn’t get a bite.

   

I love this part of the world, I think it’s hard to go wrong in Cornwall. I wrote this to let others know what I had found, no doubt if you go to Cornwall you will find your own great spots, pubs and restaurants, but if you come across any that I’ve mentioned here, then you’ll know what to expect and enjoy.

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The Gardeners Arms, Plantation rd

Plantation Road sits in the heart of Jericho’s streets. It’s not a big road, and might be missed by a few, but for what you can find on it, it’s worth finding! 

On arrival I found a parking space right next to The Gardeners Arms pub, this often feels like a rare treat in Oxford. My space finding only got better, when I saw that there was nothing to pay and no time limits set – amazing!

I had called up before arriving to see about booking a table for 4. However no bookings are taken but I was told that I would have no issues getting a table. On arrival, I wasn’t convinced of this. All the tables, bar one very, very small table, were taken. Eek! With a little bit of patience a good square table came available near the window, I pounced, spreading my coat, handbag and drink over the table until my friends arrived. 

I had heard that this pub was totally vegetarian, so I was a little puzzled by the ‘v’ signs next to only some of the menu options, I soon discovered ‘v’ is for vegan!

The menu offered: Main dishes, Burgers, Burger wraps, Flat bread calzone and Hot Dogs. I had been told that the burgers were the best, so as this was my first time eating here, I made my decision fairly quickly, however I will now have to return to try the other dishes.

The food: The food orders can be taken up until 9pm so at 8.30 when we had all arrived and picked our dishes we placed our order. Unfortunately our food didn’t arrive until 9.40, so by this time we were pretty hungry. I suspect that the busy night might have taken them by surprise, the rain was out in force that evening, and The Garderners Arms appeared to be a good shelter for many people!

Two hot dogs – The hot dogs arrived in a basket with fries, and was enjoyed by both diners, apparently it was better than the average meat hot dog where you might not be certain what the contents are!

One veggie burger – I opted for sweet chilli sauce and jalapeno for my extra toppings, but there was a long list of choices to make your burger your own.  This was the burger I’d heard a lot about so my expectations were high. On first sight I wasn’t too sure what all the fuss was about, but the burger was good. Most veggie burgers taste of cardboard and are just used as a filler, and usually leave me feeling stuffed. Or if they have taste, they are usually bean based, and they fall apart as soon as you try to tackle them. This had taste, as well as moisture, which the usual cardboard variety can lack and I was able to move afterwards! 

One greek salad – The salad arrived and it looked great, it was accompanied with some wholemeal pitta bread, there were plenty of olives and feta, so no skimping on the salad option. The only criticism was that the dressing was very sharp and ment that the salad was not finished due to the dressings over powering strength. It may well have been our tastes, or a particularly sharp batch made that evening.

I was the only vegetarian in our group that evening,  but everyone enjoyed their meat free meals, despite some uncertainty at the start of the night.  So if you love your meat, maybe have a night off and try something different in a good veggie venue. I will happily return again, either for a burger or one of the other many options that were available. Our meals and averaged at £8.50 along with a drink and free parking this made for a cheap and enjoyable night out in Jericho.

Take a look at their website and menu: http://www.thegarden-oxford.co.uk/

Fruity meringue roulade

I don’t often make a pudding, but today I fancied making one! My OH had a mixture of home-grown berries: strawberries, redcurrants, and blackcurrants they needed eating and we had some cream, but somehow I wanted to ‘jazz’ it up!
So with a help from google, I found: Strawberry meringue roulade!

Ingredients:
5 egg whites
275g caster sugar
200g Greek yoghurt
150g cream
Berries! (I didn’t weigh them)

Set the oven to 200C (fan oven)
Whisk up the egg whites until they are very stiff, the recipe suggested an electric whisk, use it! Though my arm muscles felt the work out.
At this point add you sugar in, spoon by spoon and whisk as you go! I was mildly horrified how much sugar is needed, so i’ve shared this with friends!
Once the sugar is all in, spoon this out on to a greaseproof sheet or paper, now put the mix into the oven for 8mins. The meringue will colour but it will stay swishy. Lower the heat to 160C and leave the meringue in for 15mins.

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When the meringue is ready, it will be firm to touch. Remove from the oven 8. Remove the meringue from the oven and turn top-side down onto a sheet of non-stick baking paper.
Remove the greaseproof paper from the base of the cooked meringue and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

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While this cools, whip your cream and mix in the yoghurt. If you are using strawberries, chop them into quarters, now add in your fruit to the cream mix. Spread your mix over the cool meringue don’t take the filling too near the edge, it will only spill out when you roll it.
Roll up the meringue firmly, using the paper to help you, from the long end of the roulade. It is essential, but very tricky, to keep the roll very tight. I found an extra pair of hands here very useful!

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