Ten Top Tips For Self-Catering In Cornwall During the Summer Holidays

Summer is a wonderful time to visit Cornwall and self catering gives both privacy and freedom. However, years of holidaying with children, relatives and friends has proved the following tips can make for a happy experience for everyone.

  1. Information is power: check out your venue’s website. This should help with everything from what you pack to planning days out. Our website has descriptions of the bedrooms so you can have the arguments to hand about which is best for you. The chief booker gets a handbook with information on all appliances and how to use them and it’s a good idea if someone in the party reads it before arrival. If there are any concerns, for example asthma and bedding, it is much better to email beforehand so special requests can be dealt with.
  2. Set off very early. Later the motorways are going to be jammed, literally, so shove the kids in their pyjamas in the back of the car at dawn and just go. With luck, they will sleep all the way and you can wake them for a late breakfast in Cornwall. In self catering, check in will be in the afternoon (ours is at 4pm) but this is a chance to explore near your accommodation. We recommend a relaxed wander around Heligan Gardens. You can feel extra smug as friends and relatives send text announcements about delays, engines over-heating and children rowing.
  3. For those who choose to leave later in the day, have some fun games for keeping the kids amused as they will be awake the entire way saying, ‘When are we going to be there?’ We used to play ‘Spot the caravan.’ How we laughed. It’s a good idea too to have bottled water for long delays on hot days and the empties are useful for small boys who are caught short between service stations.
  4. Take a map. Vital for when the SatNav breaks down and there’s a diversion on the motorway, particularly if the driver is male so it’s a point of honour to never, ever to stop and ask for directions. A map is also vital for your stay because there may be no mobile phone signal and SatNav will not show that the shortest route is down a narrow winding lane where your car’s paint work could suffer along with your nerves.
  5. Nothing leads to bad temper faster than hunger and low blood sugar, so have your first meal sorted. We are happy to take supermarket deliveries before guests’ arrival, so you are well stocked up, and welcome guests with a Cornish cream tea. Our Property Manager Amanda Craze does yummy ready to cook meals or there are delicious fish and chip takeaways in Mevagissey. A good supply of alcohol is also vital to sooth frazzled nerves. Do not plan a mega trip the next day for the children as the first night can turn into a party.
  6. While having the basics delivered from a supermarket is sensible, self catering is an opportunity to enjoy local produce. Not only will it be fresher, it will add to the experience of being somewhere different to home. In Cornwall, this can mean anything from bakery Cornish pasties and Kelly’s ice cream, to bbqs with farm shop meat and vegetables or visiting harbour fish stalls to pick your fish of the day. There are also plenty of local drinks to choose from, including Cornish Orchards juices and cider and the famous Camel Valley sparkling wine.
  7. To give the head chef a break, plan some meals out. Cornwall has wonderful restaurants, but if you want to get in at Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw or Paul Ainsworth, book well ahead. It can also be more relaxed to visit restaurants and pubs you can walk too. No worries about drink driving and if you are in a mixed age group, there’s also the flexibility of splitting if some want to head back to base while others enjoy another coffee or nightcap.
  8. Eating out can be expensive though and self catering is perfect for stepping back in time to the more frugal 1950s and taking a picnic for the beach. Those innocent Enid Blyton escapades can amuse even the most sophisticated teenager because of their novelty. Just be careful you pick a less popular beach so they don’t bump into their cool friends when they are rock pooling and have a total melt down. The less popular beaches do involve driving down narrow lanes or walking from the car park across fields but you’ll feel you deserve your picnic after the effort.

  9. Deciding what attractions you really want to see is good in terms of both finances and time management. A few carefully selected days out can heighten the holiday mood but no one wants to over spend or feel they are on a tread mill. Factor in distance, parking and pre-booking tickets for popular destinations like the Minack Theatre or Eden Project. It’s also a good idea to check their websites to see what’s on. We once set off at dawn to visit the St Ives Tate – four adults and five children – to arrive and find an obscure Japanese artist was being featured rather than Alfred Wallis. Not quite the Cornish experience we’d had in mind.
  10. Take a chill pill. You are meant to be on holiday so this is the time to turn off social media and ignore emails. If you feel you can’t, then select a once a day slot for checking out what’s happening and stick to it. Don’t fret about everyone being ‘together.’ Family time is precious, but it can be a shock to be 24/7 with your nearest and dearest. A little time apart can make it sweeter, whether it’s going for a solitary pint, indulging in a long, hot bath with your favourite author or couples heading off to make use of their National Trust membership. When you gather for meals there will be more news to exchange. And don’t forget to play some board and card games or do a jigsaw – nothing says holiday more than that.

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Amandasig

Wedding Photographer Toby Lowe’s ten top tips on loving having your photograph taken


Beautiful photographs from your wedding day are something to be treasured, but can be difficult to achieve if you loathe being photographed. Despite elegant clothes, a make-up and hair stylist and a stunning backdrop, awkward poses and rictus smiles can ruin the end result. Experienced wedding photographer Toby Lowe has generously shared his ten top tips to couples on how to put the demons to rest and model up before the camera.

  1. Forget the glossy magazine front covers and celebrity social media. Toby explains: ‘Hating being photographed is a common problem which is growing as more people are taking photos and sharing them to often unpleasant peer review. People really need to relax and remember a photograph is a time capsule of your life, not a photo shopped advert, but a true record of your wedding day. Obviously you want the photographs to bring out the best of you but it should be of you, not a touched up fantasy.’
  2. Getting those best photos of you, means you and the photographer getting to know each other as good photographs are based on trust. ‘Rather than just looking through a photographer’s website to see if you like their style, spend time with them at the booking stage,’ advises Toby. ‘Ideally this would mean meeting up but if distance is a problem, then skyping or facetime is a good idea. You will be spending up to 14 hours with the photographer on your wedding day so a personal relationship is key.’
  3. Talk to your photographer honestly about what makes you nervous about being photographed. Toby says, ‘A lot of people have a feature they hate, whether a double chin, crooked teeth or their nose. Often that hatred is not based on fact, rather an unkind remark that has stuck or the merciless teasing of a sibling, but if your photographer knows how you feel they can shoot from angles you feel more comfortable with and will not be trying to persuade you to do things you suspect highlight your flaw.’
  4. A very important point is to remember to breath. ‘If people are feeling tense, they start holding their breath and become stiff and that really shows in photographs particularly the ones of just the bride and groom,’ explains Toby. ‘I ask couples to take 3. They close their eyes, breath in slowly to the count of 1, 2, 3, hold the breath, then open their eyes as they expel the breath. That takes the tension away and is when I get a really great relaxed shot. I really recommend couples practice breathing in this way before the wedding day.’
  5. Another thing for couples to practice beforehand is how to pose in a way that looks natural and is also flattering. Toby provides some simply followed instruction on this, ‘Don’t stand with your legs apart like a guardsman, instead put one foot ahead of the other and about 5cm apart, creating an L shape. Then lean forward on the front foot. This means you lean into the camera so you are engaging with it and this focuses attention on your eyes. And don’t get confused with the catwalk strut where the model leans back, that’s designed to focus attention on the clothes and the attention should be on you.’
  6. Arms and wrists should also not hang straight down. Instead Toby suggests, ‘Arms and wrists crooked at a light angle always look more comfortable, that’s why celebrities on the red carpet often have one hand on a hip. You can use props likes glasses of champagne, but the best thing is if the couple are touching each other, but only lightly. This is a tender and passionate occasion and that’s what should be caught in the photos. No grabbing!’
  7. Remember hands too are a big part of pulling off a natural pose. ‘Hands tell us so much of how someone is feeling and you don’t want you wedding photographs to show you with tightly clenched hands,’ laughs Toby. ‘I also don’t like the holding a football pose. Hands should always look as if they are holding feathers. I also remind grooms that pockets are there for a purpose and they can always stick their thumbs in them. Brides have bouquets to hold onto which makes it easier but the best thing a bride and groom can do is hold hands.’
  8. Forget the big smiles. ‘I don’t know who thought of the instruction ‘Say cheese!’ but they are responsible for more bad photos than anything else,’ groans Toby. ‘Unless you are the type of person who looks in the mirror every day with a big grin, you just look totally unnatural and forced. Hopefully couples are feeling happy on their wedding day and they don’t need to play to the camera, that smile comes from the inside and will show in the photos. People are always saying the Mona Lisa isn’t smiling, but I think she looks perfectly happy.’
  9. A good way of practicing all these poses is having an engagement shoot with the photographer prior to the wedding. Toby says, ‘It gives the photographer a chance to pass on tips in a very unpressurised and unhurried environment when they are not worrying about other things. Hopefully as well, they will love the engagement photos, that will build rapport and also mean they feel more confident about having their photo taken on their wedding day.’
  10. However, do bear in mind an accurate record of your wedding day includes the other people attending. This also goes back to the important point of being honest with your photographer. ‘Families are very complicated,’ sighs Toby ‘but if there are some difficult relationships it’s best for if the photographer knows. I had one wedding where the groom and his father hadn’t spoken for some time, so an intimate man to man shot of them was not appropriate. Particularly in these times of so much divorce, there can be hard feelings and people who don’t want to be forced to stand next to a former partner.’ Ending on a happier note though, Toby recalls, ‘I’m divorced but get on well with my first wife and her new husband, so they came to my wedding to my beautiful wife Sylvia. It was very funny when people asked them how they knew us.’

Visit www.tobylowephotography.co.uk for more information on Toby.

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Amandasig

How to make pancakes more interesting

Pancake day, traditionally a day of feasting before the 40 days of Lent, has now also been adopted as a fun event – everyone can remember the childhood thrill of watching pancakes being tossed.

If you are making pancakes for the first time, there is the basic recipe below along with ten top tips from Proper Pancake’s expert Nicky. She has also created a special topping for us, making the most of Cornish apples from Polpier’s orchard.

Easy Pancake recipe


Ingredients

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil, plus a little extra for frying
  • lemon wedges, to serve (optional)
  • aster sugar, to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl or jug. Break the eggs into a small bowl to guarantee no egg shell pieces get into the mix, then add to the flour. Pour in the milk and add a pinch of salt, then whisk to a smooth batter. The batter can be affected by temperature of your kitchen, so if it seems rather thick add a little extra milk.
  2. Leave the batter on a counter top for 30 mins to rest.
  3. Wipe a medium frying pan or crêpe pan with oiled kitchen paper and place over a medium heat. When hot, cook your pancakes for 1 min on each side until golden – have a go at tossing them with a sharp flick of your wrist. If you don’t fancy pancakes on the ceiling, carefully flip over with a spatula.
  4. Keep the pancakes warm in a low oven until you have made the required number.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges and sugar, or your favourite filling.
  6. Once cold, you can layer the pancakes between baking parchment, then wrap in cling film and freeze for up to 2 months. When defrosted, gently reheat in a warm oven.


Nicky’s Top tips for making pancakes

  1. Always buy the best quality ingredients – Cornish free range eggs, Cornish milk and organic flour are essential to creating my fluffy pancakes.
  2. Never over stir your batter as this will result in chewy pancakes.
  3. Use a good, flat non-stick pan.
  4. Coconut oil is fantastic for cooking pancakes if you need oil, I always use Lucy Bee.
  5. Alternatively, cook your pancakes with butter to add a richness to their flavour.
  6. Cook the pancakes using a medium heat, never go hotter!
  7. Have fun and experiment with flavours.
  8. If you have guests, always make more than you think you will need to ensure you don’t miss out!
  9. Pancakes don’t always have to be sweet, there are some great savoury recipes out there. A favourite of mine is Otto lenghi’s green pancakes with lime butter, it’s delicious!
  10. Remember, pancakes are not just for pancake day – they’re great all year round and at any time of the day!


Caramelised Apples

This recipe has been tried and tested in the Proper Pancakes kitchen using the best apples in season and delicious Cornish butter.

Ingredients

  • 2 apples
  • 35g golden caster sugar
  • 35g soft brown sugar
  • 75g unsalted butter (I use Trewithen Farm)
  • Coconut oil

Method

  1. Heat a little coconut oil in a non-stick pan over a medium heat, then peel, core and chop two apples of your choice. Cut into thin slices, no bigger than half a centimetre thick. Add the apples to the pan and cook for approximately 5-8 minutes until softened and a golden colour has started to develop. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of slices and type of apple you choose.
  2. Add the butter and sugar, reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer gently for a further 3-4 minutes until the sugar and butter have combined, thickened and caramelised a little. Be careful not to overcook as you will end up with a slightly granular, chewy toffee like substance or burnt butter!
  3. Serve with pancakes and top with a good spoonful of Roddas clotted cream – if you’re feeling extra naughty, why not combine a little brandy with the cream?

Remember that you are dealing with a topping that contains hot sugar, so please be very careful when serving and allow to cool a little before eating.

Nicky is happy to bring her Proper Pancakes van to parties and events. Visit www.properpancakes.com for more information.

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Amandasig

How To Make A Floral Crown

Floral crowns are always popular at weddings, carnivals and festivals and great fun to make during a hen or children’s party. One of our most popular local florists, Jan Chew, showed us just how easy it is to make your own with lovely flowers from our garden.

  1. Decide on the mood, be it romantic, colourful or zany.
  2. Select the foliage and flowers at least two hours and preferably the day before needed so they can have a good drink in a bucket of cold water. Pick plenty as you don’t want to be hunting around for more when making the floral crown.
  3. Cut the stems on the diagonal to have maximum exposure to the water and woody stems should be smashed with a hammer against a wooden board to make it easier for them to absorb the water.
  4. Before starting make sure you have the correct equipment. You will need:
    • Florists’ wire
    • Florists’ stretchy stem tap
    • Narrow coloured ribbon
    • Scissors
  5. Take two lengths of the florists’ wire to fit a head and bind securely together with the stem tape. Wind the stem tape around all of the wire so it will be comfortable on the head.
  6. Cut the flowers and foliage to length, removing any dead leaves, stray stems and buds and, if using roses, the prickles from the stems.
  7. Lay out the flowers in your chosen design, thinking about colour and size with the larger blooms at the front of the floral crown. We had chosen pale pink and raspberry streaked peonies, pink star flowers, white flox, and lavender stems.
  8. Starting at one end of the wire tightly secure each stem with the ribbon, placing different flowers and foliage in your own preferred design. We placed the gorgeously blowsy peonies at the centre to make a focal point for the crown.
  9. When all the wire has been covered with the flowers, twist the end of the wire together, bind with the ribbon and, if wished, tie a bow.
  10. Enjoy trying on your floral crown and then, if needed for a later occasion, store in a cool dark place.

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Amandasig

Cornish stir fried fusion squid on roasted vegetables

Kerra from Kerra’s Catering is sharing one of her own recipes which makes the most of Cornwall’s wonderful produce. As well as being famous for fish, Cornwall has new potatoes that rival the Jersey for sweetness and being early in the season. Kerra says, ‘Here is a recipe for squid I have been playing with as it is soon to be more common in our local waters. It’s a fusion dish of local potatoes, but with a Thai influenced dressing.  It’s influenced by Mosimann, who was a great inspiration to me when I started as a chef 24 years ago.’

Ingredients:

  • 800g -1kg midi set skinned potatoes
  • Good pinch Cornish sea salt
  • 3 de seeded red chilli sliced
  • 1 small courgette – cut into sticks
  • 200g Asparagus
  • 200g Tender Stem Broccoli
  • Half a red pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic – sliced
  • 5 spring onions sliced
  • 20 Raw king prawns
  • 3 Squid tubes -split open, scored and cut into pieces
  • 100ml veg oil
  • 4 Tbs soy sauce
  • 4 dashes of fish sauce
  • 3 Tbs of olive oil
  • Small bunch of coriander chopped
  • 6 Tbs Corn flour – well seasoned with salt and pepper

 

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees (fan) adjust accordingly or use the Aga roasting oven.
  2. Thinly slice the potatoes on the diagonal.
  3. Scatter in a dish with 1tbs of olive oil, season.
  4. Place in the oven for 10 mins
  5. Add the garlic (3 cloves) chilli, broccoli, courgette, asparagus and red pepper to the potatoes. Put back in the oven for 12 minutes
  6. In a jug combine 2tbs olive oil, soy sauce and fish sauce.
  7. Warm the veg oil in a heavy duty frying pan.
  8. Dip the prawns and squid in the seasoned cornflour and fry in batches until cooked through and crispy.
  9. Drain any excess oil out of the frying pan, add the remaining sliced garlic and spring onion, fry for a minute. Return all the prawns and squid to the pan and toss in the coriander.
  10. Pour the soy sauce mix over the vegetables, stir thoroughly.
  11. Serve a good spoonful of potato and veg mix onto a plate and top with the squid and prawns.

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Amandasig

Rosie enjoys dog friendly accommodation in Cornwall

Rosie of Dog Friendly Cornwall adored her time at Polpier

Having planned our extended family pre-Christmas get together at Polpier for some weeks, we were all incredibly excited. The photographs and descriptions had revealed the beautiful house with its manicured lawns, two acres of landscaped gardens overlooking Mevagissey harbour and the sea beyond. We’d seen the beautiful and luxurious bedroom suites, the billiard room, library, hall which doubled as a dance floor. But upon arrival, there was one member of the family who was particularly excited. One member of the family, who is usually excluded from such incredible properties — Rosie, our Newfoundland dog.

Dogs are incredibly welcome at Polpier, and Rosie was as happy as a small puppy when she was able to trot through the hall, explore her very own very large bed and explore the gardens. Despite the luxury and the size, of Polpier it feels very much like a home from home, not least because you are able to enjoy your time there with your canine companion.

The house is of course, immaculate, not a pet hair to be seen, but the fact that Amanda and Richard Hines love dogs is evident in the beautiful paintings, the books (Andy Hughs’ I JackRussell sits in the living room) and a lovely huge dog bed in the kitchen. The gardens were what Rosie loved best. Each morning in the dawn light, we would go out together to explore the pathways around the nursery area, greenhouse and tennis courts. Then we would wend our way back up past the swimming pool and sit and watch the sun come up from the terrace beside the kitchen.

What was also lovely is that Mevagissey itself is very dog friendly. During our stay, we enjoyed a meal in The Sharksfin restaurant, a dog friendly establishment overlooking the harbour. The Ship Inn and Fountain Inn are also good, dog friendly pubs. Many shops had doggy inspired crafts and gifts and some had dog bowls outside. The Lost Gardens of Heligan are five minutes away this is a fascinating and beautiful garden to visit at any time of year. Dogs are welcome on leads and there is also a covered eating area so you can enjoy a dog friendly cream tea.

Watching Rosie playing happily on the lawn, my husband Adam commented that she was as happy and joyful as he had ever seen her.

We all in fact had the time of our lives at Polpier, and it was wonderful that the whole family was very welcome.

Viki, owner of Rosie and editor of DogFriendlyCornwall.net

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Amandasig

Christmas Biscuit Recipe

Homemade treats are particularly lovely at Christmas, either to enjoy with your family and friends or as gifts. Property Manager Amanda Craze has shared her favourite recipe for baking delicious vanilla flavoured biscuits. She uses a Lakeland star biscuit cutter as a festive design and, as an expert icer, they really shine in every way. For novices, Amanda has also shared her tips on icing. Making these biscuits is a great fun activity to do with children on a cold winter’s afternoon and they will love creating their own designs.

This recipe will make 24-32 biscuits
Oven temp 170 c, preheated
Baking trays lined with baking paper
Icing bag or squeeze bottle

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or
  • 1/2 teaspoon of natural vanilla paste
  • 350g plain flour
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 125g granulated sugar
  • 125g salted butter, diced
  • 125g golden syrup
  • 1 large egg

If you prefer you can use alternative flavourings instead of vanilla.

  • Nutmeg – add 1/2 tablespoon of grated nutmeg
  • Cinnamon and Orange – add the zest of 2 oranges and 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon.
  • Ginger – add 1 tablespoon ground ginger.

For icing:

  • 75ml cold water
  • 450g royal icing mix
  • Any food colourings you want to use
  • Any edible glitters, sparkling sugar and decorations
    you choose to use.

Method:

1. Lightly beat the egg and vanilla together (if you are using vanilla.)

2. Sift the flours together into a mixing bowl, add sugar and mix well.

3. Rub in the butter using your finger tips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you are using a different flavouring add now.

4. Add the syrup and the egg, mix all ingredients together, kneed lightly to form a dough.

5. Turn out onto a work surface, divide into two and shape into flat discs. (If you are not using dough immediately cover with clingfilm and chill, bring back to room temperature when ready to use.)

6. To roll the dough, place it between two sheets of parchment paper and roll until it is 5mm thick. Transfer the whole sheet of rolled dough still sandwiched between the paper to a baking tray and refrigerate for 20 – 25 minutes before cutting. Repeat for other disc of dough.

7. Cut the dough into required shapes using your chosen cutters. Place evenly on lined baking trays and cook for 14-18 minutes until they turn a golden colour. Remove from oven and carefully lift each biscuit off the tray onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool totally before icing.

Icing:

1. Combine icing mix to water, you are looking for a mix that resemble the appearance of toothpaste.

2. Add any colouring to icing you wish to use, or divide icing into bowls and add your chosen colours, mix well.

3. Place icing in an icing bag or squeeze bottle and decorate the biscuits as you wish.

Tips for icing:

When not using your icing cover the surface with clingfilm and refrigerate.

If you are using an icing bag, use one hand to squeeze on the bag and the other to guide the bag.

Practice makes perfect! Practice icing on to a piece of baking paper before you attempt piping on to your biscuits

Place any decorations you are using directly on to wet icing to ensure affix.

 

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Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas from the Polpier team.

Amandasig

How to make a Christmas Wreath

Three years ago Elisabeth Anderson combined her life long love of flowers, gardens and design to train as a florist and set up Amamini Flowers. The run up to Christmas is now one of her busiest times, creating beautiful wreaths and decorations for the celebrations as well as giving work shops for those who want to create their own displays.  She has taken time out though to share with us how to make a Christmas wreath.

1) The first step is to either make a wire ring using chicken wire or buy one form a florist supplier. Size is a personal matter, but Elisabeth says, ‘I do think having the door all around the wreath looks better proportionally.’  The wire ring then has to be covered with moss, binding the moss with wire onto the frame.

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2) Make assorted posies of your chosen foliage, berries and seed heads. Posies can be all one length or with longer elements within each posy, three to five stems should be enough for each posy.  Elisabeth used blue and Strobus pine, red oak leaves, blue eucalyptus, seeded rose hips and grain seed heads.  She recommends, ‘forage in your garden or the countryside and buy more unusual foliage, berries and seed heads from florists. You need to make at least 34 posies for a 12 inch ring and that is quite a bit of foliage! Look for evergreen ivy and fir type foliage that will last well when cut. Off cuts from your Christmas tree trimmings are a good source too.’  fullsizerender

3) Fix a small loop of sturdy wire to where you want the top of the wreath to be – this is where a ribbon for hanging will be attached. Elisabeth warns, ‘it needs to be very securely held in place, a wreath of moss and foliage is heavy. Then starting where your hanging loop is and in a clockwise direction bind the posies onto the moss frame, overlapping each posy end with another as you go around your wreath thinking about your overall design as you go, this is where creativity and your own personal style comes into play.’
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4) Elisabeth wires extra elements to the finished wreaths – below is a selection of three little windfall pomegranates dusted with gold spray. She explains, ‘I like to add elements personal to the client where possible. Cooks often like chilli peppers put into their wreaths or green oranges also look great in a wreath of greens and red details. Flowers can be added in tubes and hidden; I have put red roses for newly married couples. Pheasant feathers are lovely as well for wreaths for the country. When making your own wreath really think about being creative. I am not keen on ribbons and baubles, but there are no rights or wrongs.’

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5) Then it just remains to select your choice of coloured ribbon and to hang the wreath. Fortunately, at such a hectic time, they are very low maintenance. ‘I don’t spray foliage with protector,’ says Elisabeth. ‘You can mist wreaths, although I don’t. I have my Autumn wreath happily on my front door now for seven weeks and it looks pretty nice still. Moss keeps things well.’

img_9055Contact Elisabeth Anderson at Amamini Flowers.

Website: www.amaminiflowers.co.uk

Telephone: 07532 169295

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Amandasig

Korean Belly Pork and Peanut Brittle

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Peanut brittle is a real childhood favourite and this delicious recipe for Korean pork belly from Buttermilk and chef James Strawbridge is a new twist that everyone will enjoy on cold Autumn evenings. It makes use of one of the tastiest and most economical cuts of pork and we always buy local at Lobbs Farm Shop. Wonderful Cornish cabbage, thinly sliced and tossed in a wok with soy sauce and sesame seeds is also a tasty and healthy side dish.

Peanut brittle is a versatile ingredient to play with in the kitchen. In this dish James used it to add sweetness to a Korean style BBQ sauce and finish the pork belly with some crackling texture. The spring greens and fresh mint work well with a sweet butternut squash mayo and the sticky, spicy and sweet pork. We would also recommend trying this recipe with confit duck or brushed onto chicken wings.

Ingredients

For the Pork:

  • 600g Higher Welfare Pork Belly
  • 2 tbsp Cornish Honey
  • 3 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar or Mirin
  • 1 tbsp sliced Root Ginger
  • 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 50g Peanut Brittle (available from Buttermilk Kitchen)
  • 5 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Gochujang

For the Hot Salad:

  • 75g Sugar Snap Peas
  • 2 Spring Onions
  • 100g Pak Choi or Chinese Cabbage
  • 1 Garlic Clove – nely sliced
  • Juice of 1/2 Lime
  • 25g Peanut Brittle
  • 1 Red Chilli
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh Mint
  • Pinch of smoked Cornish Seasalt

Method:

  1. Prepare the pork belly by removing the rind and marinading the meat with soy sauce, gochujang, honey, root ginger, fennel seeds, and rice vinegar. Leave for at least 4 hours or overnight in a sealed container.
  2. Preheat your oven to 170 ̊C and place the pork in a roasting tin covered with foil, adding a cup of water and roast for 2-3 hours or until tender. Remove your pork from the oven and increase to 200 ̊C.
  3. Then blitz your Peanut Brittle and add to the sauce in a small saucepan, reducing until sticky. Brush the Peanut Brittle sauce back over the pork and roast uncovered for another 20 minutes until caramelised. 4. For the hot salad simply toss the ingredients together in a bowl and cook in hot sesame oil using a wok or large frying pan. Serve the sliced pork belly on a butternut puree and garnish with your salad and more Peanut Brittle crumb.

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Amandasig

Autumn in Cornwall

The departure of one million visitors means Autumn is time for the Cornish to take back their county again, while those of you who are holidaying here can savour the colours and mild temperature and enjoy the attractions more easily. No more having to plan when you travel and avoiding using a motorway on changeover days or worrying about finding a car parking space. Many of the beaches also relax their dog restrictions once the summer is over too.

Watergate Bay in Cornwall, England, UK

Our local attractions of the Lost Garden of Heligan, which you can walk to from Mevagissey, and The Eden Project still buzz with activities, but try exploring further afield. Trebah Garden at Mawnan Smith has a lovely walk through tropical gardens to a tiny beach. Dramatic rolling waves on North Cornwall beaches make a change from South Cornwall’s calmer waters. Fantastic if you are keen on surfing or fancy strolling along Watergate Bay, with breakfast at The Beach Hut or lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant, where tomorrow’s chefs are trained.

trebah

Lovely St Ives also has a swathe of golden beach, but it is most famous for its artistic heritage. Only about an hour away in Autumn, it is still vital to check websites before visiting. We turned up at Tate St Ives once anticipating fisherman painter Alfred Wallis, only to find an obscure Japanese artist on show. Not the celebration of Cornwall’s culture we were hoping for. Opening times for many places may also have been changed, as illustrated by Tate St Ives being closed until Spring with around town art tours substituted.

hepworth

Just down the road from Tate St Ives, The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is still very much open though. While in an intimate setting at her former home and studio, it is a world class collection of her work with a fascinating history of her life and tragic end. Like so many museums today, it is also family friendly with a Hepworth Family Activity Trail, a great idea which means today’s children have a happier introduction to the art world than those of us with memories of being dragged around galleries.

falmouth

Throughout Cornwall there is a fantastic collection of museums, including Helston Museum on social history – they also welcome dogs – The National Maritime Museum  at Falmouth and The Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro. They all work hard to provide interesting exhibitions and interactive events that make a first time visit fun and a return visit worthwhile. So no excuse for sad faces if the weather turns and beach time is not an option. Although they do say in Cornwall there is every type of weather every day and as the county with the longest coastline, there will be a beach near wherever you have a day trip.

Cornwall is also increasingly famous for its artisan food and drink producers and the Cornish Winter Fair in Wadebridge on Saturday 19th November is a great family day out. Taste samples at the array of foodie stalls and either treat yourself or start your Christmas shopping at the craft stalls stocked by talented artists of all types. There are plenty of farm animals, including the prime stock show, and you can have a go at milking a (mock) cow or grooming a pony. Entry is free, so you can go for as long or as short a time as suits you without feeling you have to get your money’s worth.

Every budget can be catered for at this time too for those who want to experience the creations of Cornwall’s exceptional chefs. It is easier to get reservations and there are special menus which explore seasonal produce and are very good value for money. In Padstow, Rick Stein’s St Petroc Bistro has three course charity lunches for £12.50, while Michelin starred Paul Ainsworth at No 6 has three course lunches for £26. Fans of Nathan Outlaw should sign up to his Grub Club on line before visiting his Port Isaac Fish Kitchen to find out about special offers and get ten per cent off meals.

Autumn really is a fabulous time here: truly accessible in every way.

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Amandasig

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