My Shop Local Dilemma

Rodda’s, and I’ve no shame in saying it, is my favourite ‘local brand’.

This was last Christmas’ surprise  present from Rodda’s. It was as if they knew!

My Christmas pudding would have choices; local butter for the brandy butter, clotted cream which is in my opinion the perfect complement to its  sweet, rich stickyness or, Rodda’s newest product, custard.

photo[4] Rodda’s is not my favourite brand just because it is local (because its Cornish)  it’s my favourite because it is sooooo good!

I go out of my way to only buy Rodda’s milk – a by-product of their cream – which is premium because to make premium clotted cream Rodda’s choose their West Cornwall farms carefully. Right down to the quality of soil, the amount of rainfall, the richness of pasture, the husbandry of cows….

However, my favourite product is their crème fraîche.  I use it in much of cooking and prefer it to cream on many desserts. Or, I confess, I often have a  sneaky spoonful just on it own. If I get fat on it, well so be it, because I’ll get fat happy.

But in all the waxing happy about milk and cream and Cornishness there is on thing that makes me angrier than a wasp caught in a glass….

Every time I see the infuriating, and let’s face it,  fairly patronising message to “Shop Local, Support Local” I see red.

It hints at superiority and it insults the shopper who been valiantly trying to do those very things…

It’s an empty command, just like, “Have a Nice Day” with no real instruction. I’ve no idea how to go about a nice day especially when I’m frustrated by how  to “Shop Local”.

Would I be wrong if I thought it means buying things that have been produced locally, cutting down my food miles and supporting the local economy by buying from and supporting local businesses?

The Choose Cornish campaign was an excellent and really pro-active drive to Shop Local because it explains how it could be done and the difference it would make to the Cornish Economy.   Ruth Huxley, of Cornwall Food & Drink, and her husband’s Supermarket-free challenge was inspiring and I’d like nothing more that to be able to do there same…

However…..and this is like the big BUT that makes me furious…where I live it’s a vacuum of most things that are good and enrich the local area. For heaven’s sake, we live in area which is probably more abundant than any other park of the UK for the diversity and quality of fresh local food but in my town there is precious little local choice.

I want to be able to buy fresh fish caught in St. Austell Bay (St Austell mussels are fat, succulent and worthy of a mention) but I’m offered Iceland and 99p store instead :_( or make a special trip to Fowey or Mevagissey for a fishmonger.

I used to dream of opening a ‘local food’ shop as the ‘Farm Shop in town’ that would supply fresh locally produced and locally sourced. It works in Truro, it works in other towns and surely, since it can work in places that are way off the main routes, such as Padstow Farm Shop or  Trevaskis Farm Shop, near Hayle, because they become ‘destinations’ it could work in my town too?

But first there has to be sincerity to back those kind of ideas.  I doubt that St. Austell residents are any less keen to ‘Shop Locally’ in this town than they are to shop locally anywhere else.   There’s an appetite for it but no culture of enthusiasm to make it happen in the town centre.

In the meantime, thank goodness for the online shopping from Cornish Food Market and Cornish Food Box. I can sort of  ‘shop local’.  Just not how I want to be able to do it. Face to face with a shop keepers where I can select for myself the cut of local beef I like, where I can be told its breed and the farm it came from such as  the butchers, Philip Warren in Launceston.

But don’t get me wrong, St. Austell still has three pasty shops (I think there were seven not that long ago), we’ve an OK butcher and the two green grocers now long gone have been replaced by just one veg stall… It’s disappointingly little to draw me in to shop and support all the other shops  in a town centre that is meant to serve the biggest population in the whole of Cornwall!

We once had a Tesco in town, and although it was competition at the same time  it supported the independent shops by growing the footfall and flow around the town, but now if I want to buy the Cornish basics:  Rodda’s milk  or Davidstow Cheese,  I have to drive to Tesco, two miles from the Town Centre where I live.

There’s absolutely nothing more I’d rather do that shop in and support the place and the people where I live.

Nothing feels better than the money I spend going back into the local economy.

I’ve sat since Christmas with this post in my drafts file while I deliberated for a long time if it was right to post. Just because I feel very strongly about shopping locally doesn’t give me the right to shove it down people’s throats. In the end, shopper’s make their own choices and like to be incentivized to ‘choose’ not ‘preached to’ into feeling bad.

Please, don’t tell me to shop locally, I already do what I can, but if the ‘Local offer is not provided’ through local food shops, cafes and restaurants or it’s like being told to drink fresh spring water, because it’s good for you, in a pub.

Once there are local shops to visit regularly  for my daily needs, I’ll naturally start using the other local traders too for those less frequent purchases.

I just happen to think that facilitating that effort should not be placed on the shoulders of the customer. Shops have to provide the ‘local’ that ‘locals’ want to buy.

ChooseCornish from Cornwall Food & Drink on Vimeo.

 

Philleigh Way repeating

How does one give thanks properly (and sincerely) for gifts; especially those that unexpectedly go on giving?

A last minute invite from Philleigh Way, a relatively new cookery school located deep in south Cornwall’s beautiful Roseland, en route to the King Harry Ferry crossing, recently turned my hum-drum life on its head.

I can’t tell if it’s the tediousness of middle-aged tiredness, the relentless repetition of family meals or that I’ve simply become distracted by other things and different projects, but lately I’ve lost my mojo for ‘food’, ‘cookery’ and ‘blog writing’.

So, my first apprehension came from the fear that I wouldn’t be able to choose words to deliver the flavour. Plus, a whole day’s course ‘cooking with vegetables’ might…well… It really worried me what I might be letting myself in for.

I love vegetables (don’t get me wrong) but carrots, and the like, get their uninspired place alongside the meat and potatoes for the benefit of the ungracious teenagers, chemically at odds with their ‘greens’, I feed at home. The thought of unwelcome repetitions of oniony burps, cabbage farts, and unanticipated beetroot pink pee took the edge of my characteristic acceptance of this particular offer with normal spontaneity and glee.

In essence, I’ve become grumpy, but I forced myself to accept because it would have been ungracious and cowardly not to.

I’m really glad to say that I learnt many good lessons that day.

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Asparagus, Blue Cheese and Spinach Tart

Lesson 1:

As a self-taught cook, because I wouldn’t take on board what my mother had tried to teach me, I’d never understood the basic ‘half fat to flour’ in making pastry. Chef George Pascoe, fifth generation of his family at Court Farm in Philleigh, had us using butter for a vegetable tarte tartin recipe. He talked about the alternatives quoting his Cornish granny while he demonstrated. She’d always used lard and margarine as the fat for making pastry for pasties, “Because I’m not made of money, Georgie Boy!”

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Sherry, Three Corner Leek and Cornish Blue Cheese Linguine

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Beetroot Tarte Tartin

Lesson 2:

The first dish of the day was a Beetroot Tarte Tartin. I can tolerate beetroot’s earthy flavour in tiny quantities as crisps, baked in cakes or within chocolate brownies, otherwise it’s a vegetable I steer a wide berth of. So my heart sank, “What other vegetable might work?” I asked. George was upbeat and encouraging and suggested a fennel bulb as an idea because, if you don’t like what the recipe says, use a bit of imagination and make it something else. Others in the group who tried it afterwards, thought is tastier than the beetroot version.

Fennel Bulb Tarte Tartin (Serves 1 as a main)

Ingredients

  • 1 Fennel Bulb (sliced)
  • 20g butter
  • 20g brown sugar
  • 30ml white wine vinegar

For the Pastry

  • 100g strong flour
  • 50g cold butter (diced)
  • Enough cold water to bind

Method

  1. Put the butter with the flour and mix until the butter is completely covered to make a rough flakey style pastry.
  2. Add the salt then enough water to form a dough. Knead until smooth. Roll and fold back on itself 5 times then rest the pastry in the fridge.
  3. Place the butter, wine vinegar and sugar in a small 15cm pan and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the fennel slices, making sure the whole of the pan is filled and simmer for a couple of minutes
  5. Roll out the pastry to roughly the thickness of a pound coin and 15cm in diameter
  6. Place on top of the fennel and bake at 200 degrees centigrade for about 20 minutes.
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Fennel Tart Tatin (a variation on the Beetroot)

Lesson 3:
Making fresh pasta is quick, fun and easy (if you have a machine to roll it) and it certainly makes a difference in taste to anything you can buy in the shops. It’s actually something good to get kids involved in. Ultimately, although I was too full by that time to eat it all, the Sherry, three corner leek and Cornish Blue cheese linguine was may favourite dish of the day.

Lesson 4:
Forage and eat fresh. Each dish was liberally flavoured with fresh herbs picked from just outside the kitchen. Three corner leeks were readily available from the hedgerow opposite and the spicy pesto we made for our gnocchi came from watercress growing on the farm we collected during the lunch break. Picked on a bright day in the Spring sunshine, the pungency of flavours in new growth is worth having. Food without it seems bland.

Lesson 5:
A cooking course is, at the very least, a pleasant distraction from normal life. Or it can be good tonic for the soul and make you love cooking just a bit more. At it’s very best it will shift old habits and might completely change and attitude to food and the way you cook.

Vegetables have started to take pride of place on my plate as main course dishes in their own right. Meat is frequently relegated to ‘garnish’ and I’m more interested in cooking again. Bizarrely, the family hasn’t complained, their plates are clean and the smells are always fragrant.

This has been, for certain, a cooking experience with very welcome repetitions.

Philleigh Way’s Farmhouse Cookery style is inspired both by George Pascoe’s experience gained from working in some of the top kitchens in Cornwall and around the globe and from the family recipes handed down by the Pascoe generations.

The cookery school, sourcing fantastic local produce, borders the river Fal with the ocean a few miles away. It’s a balanced landscape of arable fields, pasture and ancient oak woodland making it an inspirational place to learn about food and its provenance.

 

For more information about other Philleigh Way Cookery Courses

Contact: 

Telephone: 01872 580893

Email: info@philleighway.co.uk

Philleigh Way Cookery School
Court Farm, Philleigh, Truro, Cornwall TR2 5NB

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Falafel, Flatbread and Tatziki

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George Pascoe making the gnocchi shapes

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Gnocchi, Roast Tomato Sauce, Watercress Pesto, Parmesan and Herbs.

 

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Philleigh Way Flowers

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Middleton’s Rapeseed Oil

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Pouring Mrs Middleton’s Oil onto Scallops

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Mrs Middleton’s Oil Pesto and Crusty Bread

Two sisters, who live 300 miles apart, have joined together to launch a cold-pressed rapeseed oil produced from the seed grown on the family farm. 

Whizz Middleton of Barton Hill Farm in Bedfordshire and her sister Ellie Michell who lives near Wadebridge, Cornwall, are collaborating to produce and distribute Mrs Middleton’s Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil

The rapeseed is grown on the 2,000 acre Barton Hill Farm, which surrounds the Barton Hills Nature Reserve in Bedfordshire. The farm boasts some of the best arable land in the country, producing top quality rapeseed, wheat and barley.

Whizz and Ellie grew up on the farm and are the daughters of Brian Shaw, whose family has been working the land on the border of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire since the 1890s.

The oil is named after Whizz Middleton, who is a partner of the T C Shaw and Sons family farm. She said: “The idea of producing our own cold-pressed rapeseed oil has been in the back of our minds for a few years and we decided that now was the ideal time to embark upon a new venture. I grow the crop and organise the production whilst Ellie handles the marketing and branding so it seemed like the perfect combination.

“We have been thrilled with the response we’ve had. We produced our first trial batch in December last year and it is already on the menus of some top restaurants from London to Cornwall.”

Cold-pressed rapeseed oil is becoming increasingly popular as chefs and home-cooks discover how healthy, tasty and versatile it can be. With only half the saturated fats of extra virgin olive oil and high levels of omegas 3, 6 and 9, essential fatty acids and vitamin E, it is an ideal British alternative to European olive oils.

The smoke point of cold-pressed rapeseed oil is approximately 40 degrees hotter than that of extra virgin olive oil, which means that it can be used at higher temperatures for frying, baking and roasting in addition to creating dressings and drizzles.

Partner Ellie Michell said: “We have tried and tested lots of recipes using our oil, many of which have been provided by chefs to appear on our website. The nutty flavour of the oil really enhances pesto and homemade mayonnaise, while it is also great in breads and cakes. I still think my favourite way of using the oil is to dunk some fresh bread into it – it’s so moreish.

“We’ve been so pleased with the feedback from chefs who have sampled the oil. It has been described as the “double cream of oil” due to its rich, creamy texture and complimented on its floral aroma and subtle nutty flavour.”

The oil is currently stocked at around 25 farm shops and delicatessens across the UK and is also on the menu at restaurants including Michelin-starred restaurant Paris House in Woburn, Bedfordshire; five-star hotel with a two AA rosette restaurant, Luton HooThe Clarendon in Chandler’s Cross; Angela Hartnett’s Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room in London; Tides in Rock, Cornwall and The Harbour in Port Isaac, Cornwall.

Mrs Middleton’s Cold-Pressed Rapeseed Oil is available in 500ml bottles priced at £6, 250ml bottles priced at £4 or five litre catering containers priced at £25. For trade prices please emailinfo@mrsmiddleton.co.uk. The oil can be purchased online from www.mrsmiddleton.co.uk or various stockists across the UK.

More information can be found at www.mrsmiddleton.co.uk. Follow Mrs Middleton’s on Twitter@MrsMiddletonOil or on Facebook/mrsmiddletons.Mrs-Middletons-Cold-Pressed-Rapeseed-Oil-Product-shots-Mrs-Middleton-Studio-Pack-Shots

Padstow Christmas Festival (Friday 7 – Sunday 9 December)

I interviewed Jack Stein recently.

One of the things we talked about was the Padstow Christmas Festival. Now in its fifth year, the festival brings together locals and visitors alike with a mixture of music, arts, food, drink, live cookery demonstrations and entertainment

However,  with an impressive  line up of chefs like this I’ll be hot footing it along to be sure….

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Read all about it in the latest press release from Barefoot Media:

Organisers of Padstow Christmas Festival have unveiled new additions to this year’s event with a second series of food forums and more celebrity chefs on stage.

Food hero Rick Stein, award-winning chef Brian Turner CBE, TV chef Phil Vickery, Michelin starred Angela Hartnett and restaurateur and food writer Mark Hix join a host of other culinary stars in the most impressive lineup yet at the three day event (Friday 7 – Sunday 9 December).

Set around the picturesque harbour of this North Cornish fishing town, the Padstow Christmas Festival attracts thousands of visitors who delight in the unique blend of family-friendly Christmas entertainment, live music and festive food.

Festival organiser Tina Evans said: “The festival is now in its fifth year and has continued to go from strength to strength. The timetable is jam packed for 2012 and the festivities are spread across the whole town, with many local businesses and restaurants running special offers.

“The support we have received from local chefs, in particular Rick (Stein) and The Seafood Restaurant, has been unbelievable. It is wonderful to have such big name chefs coming to Padstow to appear at our festival.”

Following their popular debut last year, a series of food forums will again feature at the festival. The forums will see some of the country’s leading industry professionals debate contemporary food issues in front of a live audience.

Originally the idea of Padstow’s resident chef Rick Stein, this year’s forums will look at topics such as the real price of milk, pop up restaurants and women in hospitality.

Rick Stein said: “The food forums always create lively debate. I am particularly looking forward to joining Brian Turner to discuss the real price of milk, which hit the headlines earlier this year. I’ll be along to see Elizabeth Carter, consultant editor of the Good Food Guide telling us what she thinks of Trip Advisor and similar websites.”


The food forums will take place throughout the weekend in the Chefs’ Theatre, sponsored bySharp’s Brewery. The heated marquee will also host demonstrations from over 18 acclaimed chefs, including five with Michelin stars, and chefs from five of the UK’s Top 100 Restaurants 2012 as voted by The Sunday Times.

The festival opens on Friday 7 December with a Christmas market, chef demonstrations and live music, and continues into the evening with a lantern parade, firework display, late night shopping, Santa’s grotto and festive workshops for children.

A traditional Christmas Market with over 40 local producers will be on hand to tempt festival-goers with tasty treats and Cornish crafts, selling everything from chutneys and chocolates to mulled cider and mince pies.

On ‘Super Saturday’ Phil Vickery from ITV’s This Morning will join Rick Stein OBE, Angela Hartnett, Mitch Tonks, Mark Hix, Jill Stein, Nathan Outlaw and Fifteen Cornwall’s Andy Appleton in an unmissable line up that puts Padstow firmly on the international food stage.

The Christmas spirit continues throughout the weekend, including the annual Santa Fun Runraising money for Cornwall Hospice Care on Saturday, and a live performance on Sunday from Cornwall’s Fisherman’s Friends, famous for their sea shanties.


This year organisers have also introduced a festival cook book brimming with recipes and tips from all the chefs involved. Available now and priced at £9.95 the book can be bought from Padstow Tourist Information Centre and various outlets in Padstow to raise funds for this not for profit event.



For more information or to see a full programme of events, visitwww.padstowchristmasfestival.co.uk.

Choose Cornish

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Organisers of Cornwall’s biggest celebration of food and drink have announced that the festival will be the launch pad for a new campaign – Choose Cornish – intended to generate millions of pounds for the local economy.Eagerly anticipated by food lovers, Cornwall Food & Drink Festival transforms Truro’s Lemon Quay into an annual hubbub of feasting and fun from 28 – 30 September.

With around 40 chefs and food experts giving a packed programme of masterclasses and demonstrations over the three days, the festival attracts over 40,000 people and provides a significant financial boost to the Cornish economy.

The hidden value of the festival is the benefit it generates for the local economy. Not just about the trade on the day, but the longer term business that it kick-starts.

All the restaurants that take part in the demonstrations and in our new fixed price Festival Menu feature, get exposure not just on Lemon Quay but also via our enormous publicity campaign that reaches millions of people and has an advertising value equivalent to more than £100k. We know too that the festival attracts thousands of visitors who plan their holiday or day trip to Cornwall around it.  Taking all this into account, we are confident that the festival is easily worth at least £1 million to Cornwall.”

Free to enter, the festival is a great place to discover new recipes and pick up tips galore from the professionals at work on the two stages.

Visitors will hear from renowned specialists at the top of their game such as Nathan Outlaw, whose two Michelin-starred restaurant at Rock is rated within the top five in the UK; or Dairy Crest’s chief cheese grader, Mark Pitts-Tucker, the man who perfects the hugely popular Davidstow cheddars.For those who prefer to shop, 60 exhibitors will be showing why the county has a reputation for such a wide range of top quality food and drink. From traditional favourites such as pasties, clotted cream and saffron cake to the contemporary style of designer chocolates, award-winning drinks, artisan charcuterie and breads, all tastes will be satisfied and all thirsts will be quenched.

Alongside all the fun, Cornwall Food & Drink are taking steps to prolong the beneficial impact of the festival with the launch of their new “Choose Cornish” campaign. The scheme is intended to reinvigorate people’s interest in using local suppliers.

Ruth Huxley, director of Cornwall Food & Drink, explains: “We all have choices about what we buy and where we buy it from; that’s why we’ve called it ‘Choose Cornish’. We want to encourage people to make an active decision to do just that. Very small changes by people or businesses individually can make a massive collective impact. For example, if everybody who lives in Cornwall spent just an extra 50p of their weekly grocery budget on local produce from a local supplier, it would deliver well over £10 million into Cornwall’s economy in a year.”

The campaign will launch in the stunning setting of Truro Cathedral on Thursday 27th September, when over 100 invited guests will enjoy a Cornish cream tea that also celebrates the start of the festival and supports the cathedral’s Inspire appeal.

The fact that even the tea itself can be sourced from Cornwall makes this a fitting occasion to convey the essence of this campaign.

To all intents and purposes, this is a ‘buy local’ campaign and that’s nothing new, however one of the effects of the current recession has been a shift of focus, away from all the well proven benefits of keeping business local to messages that are all about cheapness rather than real value for money. Kim Conchie, recently appointed Chief Executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce adds:“We want to rectify that, but we also want to make sure this campaign produces some quantifiable benefits and not just hot air, so we will be introducing some targets and measuring the impact of the campaign. We’re going to take a good look at actual prices too, because we’re certain that ‘local’ doesn’t have to mean ‘expensive’ at all.”

The Festival Marquee on Lemon Quay opens at 9.00 am on Friday 28th September. For full details of the festival, visit www.cornwallfoodanddrink.co.uk/festival2012.

The Choose Cornish campaign

The campaign is being launched at Cornwall Food & Drink Festival and will continue until Royal Cornwall Show 2013.  The campaign’s objectives are to:

  • Improve the impact of local business and consumer spending on the county’s economy.
  • Improve trade for Cornish businesses over the slow months.
  • Reduce the environmental impact of Cornwall’s business community.
  • Develop a mentality that chooses Cornish first.
  • Potentially make local businesses more competitive and more efficient by increasing their sales volumes to enable them to make economies of scale.

A range of initiatives and outputs are being devised by Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and Cornwall Food & Drink. Other partners are welcome to get involved too.

Rhubarb, rhubarb…or having my cake and plenty of it!

A what point does a cake become a pudding? I’ve been pondering this one for a week or so.

Let me explain. I stumbled upon this recipe on the internet a while back. I can’t remember where or how I found it and since I normally ignore these things. I can’t say why it sparked my interest this time,  except perhaps the combo. Rhubarb is now in season and I’d just bought a couple of stems from the green grocers. Oh, and I like almonds. Simple as that.

The first time I made it  my couple of stems amounted to just under half the required quantity for the recipe. So I chucked in (that’s so Jamie Oliver!) some chopped up bits of a rather soft looking apple from my fruit bowl.  The oranges, had also been loitering for too long, weren’t particularly juicy but they did well enough.

It was delicious. Definitely a cake. I could cut a slice and eat it with my hand.

Then I went out and bought the required amount of rhubarb, some juicy oranges and made it again. This time it was soft and richly soggy. It begged for cream and demanded, since it couldn’t support itself as a handsome slice, to eaten with a spoon. I’d call that a pud, wouldn’t you?

Either way, it is completely delicious and I have been making and eating it, almost constantly ever since. The toasted, sugary and orangey almond topping makes it.

I expect, that when rhubarb is no longer in season, that apple will work as well and I’m planning to try adding a some sliced ginger sometime. However, you make it, it is completely delicious.

So here’s the recipe. Enjoy! Continue reading

Shiny new kitchen….

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New house, new kitchen, new fancy steam oven that I’m trying to get to grips with…

So, I’ve given up evening telly-watching for evening oven-watching and showing off baking goodies.

Bite-size pizzas, grissini bread sticks to impress my friends. Sourdough loaves to feed the family and Cornish Ginger Fairings to celebrate the patron saint of Cornwall yesterday. “Happy St. Piran’s day” actually managed to trend on twitter above the likes of British Pie Week!

Happy me, for I’ve never had space in my old kitchen to cook like this before 🙂

British Food Fortnight from a Cornish perspective

Why you should Vote for Cornwall if you love good food. Just click here if you do 😉

I’m not a calorie counter or careful about what I eat. If I’m happy, I eat. If I’m bored I eat… but eating for the sake of it, on any old rubbish that comes to hand makes me desperately unhappy.

I like dollops of Cornish clotted cream on my puddings, in my cooking and sometimes – my guilty secret – I’ll take scoops of it on a spoon and eat it straight from the fridge. In the winter, nothing’s better than a warm Cornish pasty to warm my hands or hot toasted Saffron cake with lashings of yellow churned Cornish butter.

I eat fish whenever I eat out in a Cornish restaurant by the sea, or cook it at home fresh quickly fried in a pan. I’ll buy local Cornish food in preference every time over any alternative and since there is so much to try, my waistline is growing in appreciation of this good stuff. However, I’m generally a pretty mellow, laid back sort . Happy from the inside out.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the British Food Fortnight there is a sizzling campaign raging across the county to get us to vote for our favourite food location.

If Cornwall wins it will be good for everyone. The recognition will help to put Cornwall in the national spotlight for the food and drink we produce. It will help the small food producer, the farmers and fishermen. It will support our chefs, our restaurants and hotels and jobs in related industries for local people. It’ll also be something else to look forward to – the fantastic food – next time you come to Cornwall. Continue reading

Hovis Wholemeal Challenge – Part II

Potato chips

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Research suggests that the average British woman will devour 1,092 unhealthy snacks this year, from crisps, sweets and biscuits to cakes and chocolate, according to research released today by Hovis Wholemeal.  This of course is good news to snack producers!

The study, involving 2,000 British women, said that an average of over 129 packets of crisps, more than 127 chocolate bars, over 77 cakes and more than 133 biscuits will be consumed by every female in 2011 alone.

But I won’t be one of them.

I’m not a ‘holier-than-thou’ slim lettuce eater, don’t get me wrong, my halo isn’t without a little tarnish as crisps, chocolate, cakes and biscuits do pass my lips occasionally, but very rarely mid morning.

I reserve crisp eating for social evenings with a drink but mostly I’m home alone babysitting the kids. I have secret stash of chilli chocolate in my desk to nibble as the mid morning boost. But the kick is a warning in itself. Cake? Well I bake for birthdays and biscuits I rarely buy…so, somewhere, some poor woman is snacking more than the average just because I’m not! Continue reading

Hovis Wholemeal Challenge – Part 1

Just before Christmas I took part in the Hovis Wholemeal Challenge.

Hovis launched their Wholemeal Campaign in a bid to change consumer perception of Hovis Wholemeal from diet hindrance to diet help this January. The aim is challenge misconceptions around carbohydrates, which are often seen as the enemy for many dieters. The premise is that Hovis Wholemeal is rich in fibre and it keeps you fuller for longer and therefore help stop unhealthy snacking.

As part of the campaign, Hovis enlisted 50 (mostly female, I think) bloggers were to swap their usual breakfast for two slices of Hovis Wholemeal, trialling a range of healthy, quick and tasty recipes which are no more than 300 calories.

I agreed to give it a go because I’m actually a bit of a glutton and have never been known to refuse the offer of any kind of food.

But, I wish I’d known a little a bit more about what the challenge would entail beforehand so that I could have got my head round the task properly and put myself in genuine ‘guinea-pig’ mode.

I’d assumed I’d be trying lots of different Hovis products and I was really looking forward to seeing what tasty offering they have. Continue reading