Holidays often feature food in a way that everyday life doesn’t quite manage.
We spend so much of our time running from one thing to another, juggling work, with friends, travel, children.
Even when we do eat well it’s often snatched meals, trusted favourites, rather than experimenting with new things, taking time to relax and enjoy the pleasures of a great meal.
That’s why holiday food is so good.
If you’re self catering and you have a good kitchen (for me so long as there are sharp knives, or good knives and a handy sharpener, and a pan then I’m away), then take your time and create. It can be a joy for you and the family.
In the far west we are lucky to have access to great produce. In St Just we have two superb butchers, McFaddens and Vivian Olds, and Stones the greengrocers, while in Penzance there’s another great butcher at Lenterns and all the great fish and shellfish in Newlyn.
Most of the cottages have a good range of cookbooks, and we’re about to add a little gem, a gift from a lovely friend Elaine Jones.
Favourite Cornish Recipes by June Kittow was published back in 1993, although it looks like it could be 30 years older than that, and contains simple recipes for some classics that I grew up with, yet didn’t particularly think of as Cornish.
Pasties lead. Obviously.
Next recipe is for Cornish splits. What a beauty. Bread gets called all sorts depending on where you live – in the north west I was pretty shocked to hear people ordering dinners in a barm, but eventually I got used to the huge flying saucer like rolls. Well, growing up down west we used to eat splits, or sometimes bread buns, but generally splits.
Part of the fun of the book is its straightforward honesty. No talking up the dish in question, what you might serve it with, or certainly not what you might want to drink – just a straight description of how to make it, and none of your fancy decimal measures or temperatures, despite being written 20 years after Britain supposedly went metric.
Some recipes are particular to a town – luncheon cake from Truro, and occasional variations are offered – saffron cake, or rich Cornish saffron cake, the latter seems just to have more of everything, in particular more sugar. ‘Ansom!
Sweet follows savoury follows sweet, no seeming order – why bother with categories when there’s an alphabet to help us?
Hevva Cake? (spell check didn’t like that, and not will your indigestion!). Star Gazey Pie?
They’re all in there. I think the book will have to start in Myn Tea and then take a sabbatical in New Forge – let me know what recipes you try!
Thanks Elaine. It’s a beauty.