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Award Success for Strong Adolfos

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Strong Adolfos cafe recently won the south west’s prestigious Food Reader Awards. We caught up with John Friström Eldridge who with his wife Mathilda are the team behind the popular roadside cafe.

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Strong Adolfo’s, a trendy roadside café where great food is served alongside lashings of surf and motorcycle culture. The menu is a mix of classic café food with more adventurous specials inspired by dishes from all around the world and the mouth-watering cakes are legendary.

John, congratulations on winning your recent award, has the journey been a smooth ride or was it harder than you thought?

It’s definitely been a lot more intensive than we expected due to the fact that we have been open 7 days a since week 2. There have been highs and lows but all of them worth it. We’ve grown a lot as a business and also as business owners.

What’s been the best thing at Strong Adolfos?

There is no one best thing and perhaps we will be a little bias anyway. We think perhaps the variety of food and also there is nearly always something new on the menu on a daily basis.

What would you put your success down to?

I think I would say that it is down to sticking to what we believe in and creating a place that we would be stoked to discover and visit as a customer.

What do you think about the Cornish food scene in Cornwall these days?

The food scene in Cornwall is great, it has been strong for a long time but it seems over the last few years it really has gone from strength to strength and also become more diverse with new and exciting places opening up. We love it when we have the chance to go and explore what is going on here and find new places to go out.

How has it changed from when you were growing up here?

My passion for food and drink has blossomed over the last 5-6 years and prior to that I wasn’t really noticing too much what was going on. Although my dad and stepmother briefly owned and ran Pizzas at Rojanos in Padstow when I was around 12, so I did see a little of the behind the scenes back then. There has definitely been a change over the last 30 years but there would be anywhere I guess. I think the biggest change happening now is culturally, with inspiration coming from the big cities and travel, especially as a new generation of coffee and food lovers are settling down and opening their own places.

Most importantly do you still get time to surf?

Oh yes, not as much as I used to but yeah I still get my fair share. Although as I get older the burning desire to just get in there when its average is not so strong. I kind of save it for the good days now.

Find Strong Adolfos at Hawksfield’s new cultural hub on the Atlantic Highway (the A39) just outside of Wadebridge, where you can tuck into artisan food, browse local art and get your hands on retro and vintage design. You can find Mathilda’s recipe for her luscious Raspberry and Meringue Cake in the Saltwater Kitchen Cookbook.

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Meet: Charles Inkin

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Meet Charles Inkin who runs the Gurnards Head, a gorgeous dining pub on the beautiful, unspoilt West Penwith coastline. And across the moor The Old Coastguard a cosy seaside hotel overlooking St Michael’s Mount in the quaint fishing village of Mousehole.
Charles, describe your average day?
Wake up to the dawn chorus in Cot Valley, the finest view in Cornwall. Breakfast with Otto (my 2 year old); drop him off to school ASAP. On to The Gurnards Head for 9am, where I tend to see those guests who have stayed the previous evening. A quick round of ‘Good Mornings’ to the team in the kitchen & FOH, then to my desk and a catch up with Belinda who looks after our bookings and daily figures. Strong shot of coffee at 10 and time for a few phone calls, usually a catch up with Edmund, who runs the business.  By lunchtime I’m heading over to our other site in Mousehole. The Old Coastguard to see how things are there. Sometimes a quick lunch with a guest or up to my desk where I get on with the afternoon business. A catch up with all the teams there, kitchen, marketing & FOH. By 1800hrs it’s time for a pint with a one of our regulars. Home by 1930 to see Otto to bed & read him a story or two. Then to the stoves to get supper on, the wife can’t/won’t cook. To bed after the news.
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What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?
It really depends on the season. When there’s game available, then I could live of it……pheasant, red cabbage etc. In the Spring I adore asparagus and am a child in toy shop when it first becomes available. We are so fortunate to have a tip top butcher in St Just, McFadden’s; their lamb is sublime, so at least once a week we have different cuts. Obviously fish is part of our staple diet; I will often swing by Trelawney’s in Newlyn and pick something up.
What inspires you about living in Cornwall?
The communities, the produce, the views, the history & the lack of traffic.
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 The rugged and stunning West Penwith coastline. Photo: Mike Searle 
What do you think about the Poldark influence good or bad?
Can do nothing but good for the county.
What’s your favourite season?
Spring and autumn.
Where’s your favourite beach?
Portheras, Morvah.
When you’re not working where do you like to hang out?
At home or in Wales (my real home).
Who would be on your dinner party wish list?
Keith Floyd, John Le Carre, Darina Allen, Alice Walters, Marco Pierre White, Augustus Escoffier.

The Gurnards Head www.gurnardshead.co.uk

The Old Coastguard www.oldcoastguardhotel.co.uk

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A Great Review

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“Inspirational” was how Martin Desp described the Saltwater Kitchen Cookbook. We were stoked with his review in this weekend’s Western Morning News as, “a book heralding a new age of food and drink west of the Tamar.”

Martin describes the once ubiquitous “cheap-fat-fryer” food scene of Cornwall’s past and the rapid change it’s undergone in the past decade. And evidence of the change from this ‘money-grabbing philosophy’ of yesteryear is the Saltwater Kitchen Cookbook, “it’s nothing short of inspirational”. Nowadays instead of fat-fryers, there’s “cookery schools with attitude, pub cooks who go the extra shoreline mile, wood-fired pizza purveyors working out of old vans, and street-food chefs inspired by their Far East travels.”

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This is what we wanted to capture in the Saltwater Kitchen Cookbook, the passion of the exciting food scene and people doing amazing things in Cornwall., “The theme here seems to be imagination and flare married firmly to Cornish ingredients” which doesn’t mean celebrated chefs in hotels and restaurants but a “new breed of foodie-folk who have chosen Cornwall as their home for the lifestyle the place offers”.  And our lifestyles are linked inevitably to the sea and for everyone who is in the book or who worked on the book, it’s the common connection which ties everything together.

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Martin said the recipes were “inspirational” – great praise indeed for everyone in the book! And he picked a couple which grabbed his attention, Confit Rabbit Legs with buttered sea greens and peppered blackberry sauce by Thom Hunt and Matt Vernon at 7th Rise on the River Fal and Harissa Smoked Pheasant with Pork Belly by Scott Eggleton at Wood Fired Food in Mawgan Porth.

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The Cookbook Stockists

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We’re spreading the word around Cornwall and you can now get hold of Saltwater Kitchen Cookbook in these lovely establishments. So call in, sit down have a coffee/plate of fish/gin & tonic and while away a pleasant hour or two. You’re in Cornwall…

North Cornwall
Bush Pepper, Newquay
Fistral Surf Co., Newquay
Jam Jar, Newquay
Laid Back Coffee, Porth, Newquay
MWM at Revolver, Newquay
No. 4 Bistro, St Agnes

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Scott and Babs, Wood Fired Food, Retorrick
Strong Adolfos Hawksfield, A39, Wadebridge
Tarquins Gin, Wadebridge
The Arc Hawksfield A39, Wadebridge
The Fish House, Fistral Beach
Trebarwith Strand Cafe, Trebarwith Strand, Tintagel
Watergate Bay Hotel, Watergate
Watershed, Newquay
Waterstones, Truro
Wild Bake, Wadebridge

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South Cornwall
Brew House, Porthleven
Earthworks, St Ives
Fat Hen, St Buryan, Nr Penzance
Good Vibes Cafe, Falmouth
Gurnards Head, Nr Zennor
Moomaid of Zennor Ice Cream, St Ives
The Old Coastguard, Mousehole
Seadrift Kitchen and Cafe, Porthleven

Photos by Mike Searle Photography

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Meet: Nola From No. 4

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Above: Adam and Nola at the door of No. 4. Photo: Kirstin Prisk
Nola Kinna runs No.4 located in the heart of Aggie’s tight knit surfing community with her partner Adam Vasey. The restaurant has attracted a huge following so it seemed right to find out more about the face behind the success story.
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Above: The sign over the door of No. 4. Photo: Nola Kinna
Nola, what inspired you to set up No.4?
We had been thinking about setting up a restaurant for sometime. When the Aggie surf shop became available for lease it seemed like the perfect place, so we moved home from London and cracked on.
Describe your average day?
We get up about 7:30/8am, quick shower and cuppa then Adam goes down to No.4 prepping from about 8:30am. Our menu takes a lot of work so there’s always something boiling away on the stove or in the oven. I sort the laundry from the night before and join him down here about 9:30. If we’re doing lunch that day we’ll prep together for a few hours, set up for lunch. We try to get half an hour to sit down and think about new dishes but that’s fairly rare! Marky (our other chef) gets in about 3pm and the rest of the gang at 5:30pm. I’ll try and get an hour in the office to sort through invoices, answer emails etc – then home to get changed for the evening. Service kicks off at 7pm so by 6:30 we’re all set up and ready to go. We generally finish here about 12am – home, quick bite to eat and glass of wine and whatever series we’re watching to wind down, then bed about 1:30/2am – start again tomorrow.
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Above: Inside No. 4. Photo: Nola Kinna
What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?
Something easy! Proper roast chicken and new potato salad, or ‘leftovers’ risotto. Last week I made sweetbread, asparagus & wild garlic risotto!
What inspires you about living in Cornwall?
Everything! We both grew up here so it’s easy to take the Cornish way of life a little for granted – but we also spent 8 years living in London so when you’re away for that long I think you appreciate it all the more. We’re so lucky with the produce that grows around us all year round – the fish we get comes straight from the sea, there’s very few food miles here!
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 Above: Straight from the sea to the kitchen at No. 4. Photo: Nola Kinna
Which your favourite season?
Autumn because Spring and Summer are exciting in terms of what you start to get growing but by September you get everything you’ve been waiting for. I love the calm September brings as well after a manic summer, the air smells different.
What’s on the up food wise?
People are far more aware now of where their food comes from, and how it got to their plate. We try and get our produce from suppliers with as few steps from the ingredient as possible. For example, our pork comes from Primrose Herd, from their pigs, on their land.
Who would be on your dinner party wish list?
Keith Floyd, Anthony Bourdain, Fred & Joe from Joe Beef, Fergus & Margot Henderson, Josh Holme & David Bowie.
And the motto you try to live by?
In the words of David from Joe Beef, “Art goes in your eye – food goes in your mouth.”
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Above: The glorious Cornish countryside. Photo: Nola Kinna
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Mussels at the Beach Hut

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We love this mussels recipe by Neil Haydock, executive chef The Beach Hut and Watergate Bay Hotel, it’s simply awesome!

Seaside Mussels with Pasta, Chilli and Lemon

This dish is a real crowd pleaser, so give it a try!

Serves 4
• 400g (14oz) pasta
• 1kg (2lbs) mussels, cleaned
• 400ml (14fl oz) dry white wine
• 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• 2 medium red chillies, finely sliced into rings
• 200g (7oz) unsalted butter, diced
• 100g (3½oz) washed flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
• 1 un-waxed lemon

1. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil.
2. Cook the pasta, drain and put to one side. Drizzle with a bit of oil to prevent sticking.
3. Place the pan back onto the heat and when hot add the mussels, white wine, garlic, chilli and butter.
4. Place a lid on the pot immediately to stop the steam escaping.
5. Shake the pot every 30 seconds or so for 2 minutes, before adding the chopped parsley and grating in half of the lemon zest.
6. Pop the lid back on and cook for a further minute.
7. Remove the lid and add the pasta.
8. Mix the pasta through the mussels and sauce to reheat and to absorb the flavours.
Serve immediately. Just ensure the mussel shells have opened during the cooking process and discard any which haven’t.

www.the-beach-hut.co.uk

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Nature’s Seaside Larder

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Based in Cornwall’s wild west at the very tip of the county, Caroline Davey runs the Fat Hen wild cookery school and uses her nearest beach as a natural larder. The name Fat Hen comes from the name of a wild edible green that was one of Britains staple crops about 2,000 years ago, and it still flourishes here in Cornwall. Taking people out foraging along the shoreline one of the most productive places for wild food Caroline typically gathers the likes of sea lettuce, pepper dulce, nettles, Alexanders and samphire. I love being outside foraging. Being out and having a connection with the landscape and food feels so good and so right. When you get down to the beach everything feels alright with life.

Caroline suggested a recipe to try that incorporate all that’s good in the natural environment. Seaweed is prolific and can be used in all sorts of ways, and don’t be scared of the nettles – just wear gloves to pick them! 

Photos by Tom Young

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Hake wrapped in kelp & steamed on seaweed with nettle gnocchi, alexanders & pepper dulse sauce

Serves 4

FOR THE HAKE
• 4 sheets of kelp fresh or dried soaked in cold water for 30 mins approx. 10 cm in length.
• 1 side of hake fillet (400g approx.)
• Selection of seaweeds to cover the base of the pan to sit fish on e.g dulse, serrated wrack, carragheen.

PEPPER DULSE BEURRE BLANC SAUCE
• Makes 8 fl.oz 225 ml
• Serve 2-3 tablespoons per person
• 3 tablespoons vermouth or white wine
• 3 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
• 3 tablespoons poaching/steaming liquor from fish
• 1 tablespoon of finely chopped shallot/red onion
• Salt and pepper
• 1 tablespoon cream
• 6oz unsalted butter
• Lemon juice
• Two tablespoons of fresh pepper dulse or one of dried rehydrated in cold water.

Cut hake into 4 portions and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the hake in kelp and place on top of seaweeds in a shallow pan with about 3cm depth of water. Place on the lid and bring to the boil. 

Turn down the heat and steam from approx ten minutes. Check the fish for firmness and turn off the heat while you make the sauce. 

Put the first 4 sauce ingredients (in list above) in a stainless steel pan, heat and reduce it down to 1 tbls. Add cream and reduce till the sauce thickens then whisk in the cold diced butter one piece at a time off the heat keeping the sauce warm. Add salt and pepper to taste, pepper dulse and a squeeze of lemon juice. Keep warm. 

Unwrap seaweed from fish and cover with two or three tablespoons of sauce.

Served with poached alexanders and nettle gnocchi.

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Nettle Gnocchi

Serves 6

• Just over 1 kg spuds (choose a floury variety such as King Edward or Maris piper).
• 
300 g plain flour
• 
2 eggs yolks
• 
A bunch of nettles
• 
50g Parmesan
• 
Salt 

Wash and blanch the nettles in salted boiling water for 1 minute. Drain, squeeze out as much excess water as you can from the nettles and chop them finely.

Boil the potatoes in their skins – until just cooked erring on the side of undercooked. Peel the skins and pass the potatoes through a potato ricer. Put the potato into a large bowl.

Add the flour, egg yolks, chopped nettles, grated parmesan and salt. 

Bring together all the ingredients with you hands to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured worktop and knead it bringing in plain flour to stop it sticking. 

Break off small balls of dough and roll out into a long sausage shape on the worktop. Cut pieces off the ‘sausage’ all the way along.

Roll each piece up the back of a fork using the back of a teaspoon. Roll it the alternate way to the knife cut to get the lines across the gnocchi. 

Blanch in boiling salted water, The gnocchi are ready when they float to the top of the pan.

Either sure now or if you want to use them later, put them straight into a bowl of cold water to stop them continuing to cook, drain and run through a further jug of cold water. Set aside.

If you want to store them, drain off the water and mix the gnocchi with some olive oil. You can store them like this overnight in an airtight container in the fridge.

When you want to serve the gnocchi, heat some butter and olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the gnocchi and sea each piece until golden, turning once during cooking. 

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