Food cooking and eating – stories and ideas from a passionate foodie

Archive for August, 2014

The Ship Inn, Mawgan, Cornwall

Get yourself a map.  Any road map.  You will find Mawgan on the first page (usually).  It is on the Lizard peninsula.  Truro is the nearest big town – or maybe Penzance or maybe Falmouth.  Look, I’m just trying to show we are quite a long way away from anywhere that the usual suspects would review.  (Mr Giles Coren springs to mind.  Love him.  Did try to stay outside the M25 for a bit.  But the lure on London’s Lights became too much.)

Get th’self down to Mawgan.  But book.  The Ship Inn is justifiably popular.

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The local pub has a bit of a sideline in magnificent food, lovingly prepared from excellent local suppliers.  Enterprising as all the Cornish appear to be, they have a third line of business – booze, Michelin level food (honestly), and suppliers of Fresshh Food – hand crafted premium ready meals.  And they do take away fish and chips during each evening service too.

 

The food – interesting spin on normal menu pricing.  A la carte – 22 quid for three courses.  Set menu – no choice – 25 pounds for the three.  When you read it though, the ingredients are more extensive and ‘more expensive’, if you or I bought them.  Lets look at what Wendy and myself had: (yes, we also went to The Coastguard in Mousehole in the same visit! see two blogs ago…)

 

 

 

exciting startersP1000146

  • Pork rotolo with seared scallops, pickled apple and vanilla puree
  • Poached wild sea bass, with creamy leaked potato, foraged greens and lobster coral and samphire butter sauce
  • Iced Macadamia parfait with figs and a caramel sauce.

Aren’t you jealous and drooling yet?  Yes, as it always should, this was eaten in excited silence, with the occasional exclaimed whistle of exuberance.

Jane and Gus? Gazpacho (small, perfectly formed and loads of fresshhness !!), and Falmouth bay crab bound with creme fraiche, with pickled mackerel fillet and beetroot puree.  When starters satisfy this much, I’m sort of surprised that we were able to carry on. But we did.  Mains:  Pan seared sole with cornish potatoes and slow cooked pork belly with a sage mash roulade and a stunningly sweet cider sultana and apple sauce. And they had exciting puds – and  Jane’s was the belgian chocolate trio (finished with salted caramel truffle.  Wow.

Enticing starters

lovely mains...

lovely mains…

 

…and puds!

…and puds!

 

These guys just know ingredients, food, service and people.  Thank you Greg and the whole team.  You’ve got something pretty special going on here.

And if the place is just solidly booked – then at least Fresshh! can offer you a similar experience.  The Ship Inn will see us again!

University – 37th anniversary reunion!

We met up, those who were able, 37 years after graduating from Newcastle University. We were the Plant Science team from 1977. As an older person, 1977 does seem like yesterday. I now get people on courses who weren’t born when I had my first management development course in 1982. Some of them were born in the 1990’s…I know – it is wrong to let them out on their own so young!

Some of the gang

Back to it. Languid summer day. Malvern and The Malverns looked great from Chris & Helen’s richly stocked garden (which also contained a newt or two in the greenhouse – luckily we had enough animal expertise to recognise they were not lizards…).

People were arriving slowly and surely. Sue was already there having arrived the night before with her husband Peter. They now live in the South of France. I did recognise her after 27 years, but she only after a second glance!

What was lovely? Just chatting as if we had managed a reunion annually. Small talk and big talk (we got a bit scientific- when we were at college, The Greenhouse Effect was just being talked about seriously. And global CO 2 levels were about 270 ppm. They are now 400ppm). We did this so long ago that it wasn’t even called Global Warming! Chris and Helen – hosts and pullers together of we disparate troops, did a sterling job. Chris can still talk for England, and doesn’t appear to take breath. Helen is an extraordinary seamstress, and calm cook (salmon en croute for the main meal in the evening – and 5 ‘choices’ of pudding. Yes, you were allowed more than one!) Steve arrived in his VW camper van, and was resplendently garrulous as ever. Phill managed to regale us with school stories that made your hair stand on end and blood boil.

Salmon en Croute  And all our partners were splendid. Even when we went into ‘remember when’, they left us to it. Thank you all.

Paul arrived the next day. And we went for walks and talks and more food and more pudding (but less drink on Sunday because we were a bit full still from the night before (Armagnac and some strange green stuff from holiday and much beer and wine…)

 

..and superb puddings!

..and superb puddings!

And we toasted ourselves and absent friends…

 

It was special. It still feels special to have been to Uni (I wouldn’t go now, as a working class kid I couldn’t stomach the debt). It feels even more special to still know this group of thrust together strangers who are still now great friends.

The Old Coastguard, Mousehole Cornwall

Let’s start at the end. OK – near the end. “I couldn’t possibly eat a whole pudding, so I will just have a taste of Phil’s”. In the end, Jane squeezed in one scoop of ice cream – stunning, home made, sparklingly and deeply vanilla. And don’t you just want that in a pub restaurant? A bit of flexibility and understanding of a lack of space after a quite stunning lunch?

We were with our friends in Cornwall (you will meet Gus and Wendy again because I must tell you about their local which we went to last night). And we have already eaten royally. We continued to be spoilt…

 

Let’s take you through it. The men were indecisive enough to simplify life to the set lunch. So simple, we both had Ham terrine piccalilli and toast, followed by roasted beef, sautéed potatoes fried egg and pickles. The descriptions on a menu do offer as much help for the reader as when someone tells you their job title. (“I’m in sales…”. Could that be snake oil, arms dealing, the priesthood, or drug dealing? Do you see what I mean?). So let me try a little more…

Look at that terrine. It was madly moist, not salt at all, stunningly aromatic, light and airy. The piccalilli was strangely fresh – Scrummy terrine...as if it had just been marinated for the day? But it added such a punch and zing, I quite forgot to argue for the non-home made stuff!  I know – it’s the malt vinegar and mustard that I’m addicted to – it is remarkably sad!

The pickles continued into our rather unusual combination of main.Cold beef, sautéed potatoes, mild horseradish cream and a fried egg…sounds strange – but just look and be jealous! It was as good as it looks…

As was the crab mayonnaise starter (with broad beans and pea shoots – divine!).  And Lemon sole fillets, salt & vinegar potatoes with whitebait and tartare butter – a wonderfully fresh and fishy main (and you didn’t ever think ‘they are trying to re-invent fish and chips’.  You just ate it quietly and reverentially).

Look, the pictures do tell half the story.  The food completes it – nearly.  The staff make it…the place is full of people who love what they do.  It’s not rocket science.

Go.  It is a splendid place.

Crab Mayonnaise starter

Cold beef pickles - but different!

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