Fish Pie Recipe

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There can be nowhere better to make fish pie than Cornwall with the miles of coast line and fishing industry.  Rich with Cornish butter, milk and cream, It is also the perfect comfort food for cosy evenings or, if given an elegant piped potato topping, suitable for a dinner party. With no need for last minute attention, it is also great for larger parties, particularly if popped in ramekin dishes for individual servings. Our Property Manager Amanda Craze is sharing her own recipe of how to make this classic dish.

For the mashed potato.
1.5kg King Edward potatoes cut into small chunks
salt and white pepper
Butter to taste
splash of cream

Fish
750g white fish of your choice
250g smoked haddock
250g salmon
120g raw prawns

Sauce
150ml full fat milk
1 x small carrot, cut in half
1x small onion, cut in half
3 x peppercorns
1 x small bayleaf
75g butter
75g plain flour
A large bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 table spoon drained,rinsed and chopped capers
150ml double cream
100g grated strong cheddar cheese

Oven temp 180C – preheated                serves 6

1. Boil potatoes in a large pan of salted water for 15-20 mins until tender. Drain and mash with butter and cream, add salt and pepper to taste. Place to one side.

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2. Skin fish, if required , cut into bite size chunks, place in a wide deep sauté pan. Place the milk, carrot, onion, bay leaf and peppercorns into the pan and slowly bring to a simmering heat for about 4 mins until the fish is tender. Remove the fish and remove any bones, place in a shallow casserole dish along with the raw prawns. Leave the vegetables in the milk liquor for another 15mins to infuse. Remove vegetables, peppercorns and bayleaf after this time.

3. For the sauce, melt the butter in a sauce pan on a low heat, add the flour to make a paste, add the infused milk, a ladleful at a time and keep whisking until smooth. Add the parsley and capers, simmer for about 8-10 mins, do not let boil. Add cream and cheddar cheese, mix until you have  a smooth sauce.

4. Pour the sauce over the fish and top with mashed potatoes, either forking over or, for a prettier finish, piping on. For piping the mash needs to be very smooth and add a little more cream if it is looking dry. Leave the potato to cool before piping, using a large disposable piping bag with a large star nozzle. A scattering of parmesan can be added for those who prefer a stronger cheesy flavour.

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5. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25 mins, or until golden brown.

We serve with fresh green vegetables from the garden in summer and in other seasons frozen peas are the perfect accompaniment and very easy if you are catering for a large crowd.

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Amandasig

Khalile’s Top Ten Wedding Photography Tips

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Ten years ago, Khalile Siddiqui was running his own photo lab and doing studio work when he decided to become a wedding photographer. ‘Brides kept bursting into floods of tears about their dreadful wedding photos and it was heart breaking, so that, combined with a friend who wanted me to photograph their wedding, made me decide to branch out,’ he remembers. Now after photographing more than 200 weddings, Khalile is sharing his vital advice on what couples should do to make sure their wedding photographs successfully capture their special day.

  1. To find a photographer, ask friends for recommendations, explore websites and wedding fairs, but most importantly speak to the photographer. If meeting is not possible, then facetime or skype. Khalile explains, ‘As well as liking the photographer’s style, you must feel 100% comfortable with them. They will be in close proximity for a lot of your wedding day, often in intimate situations, so you must like them. ‘Khalile-Siddiqui13
  2. Check that they use correct protocol and procedure. A sign of that is whether they are not just a member but have a Licentiate (Licence) Associateship or Fellowship of a professional body. Khalile is a Licentiate of The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers which means the quality of his work has been approved by other professionals. Likewise, a photographer who has entered and won awards is showing both pride in their work and that they are good at it. The South West Wedding Award, which Khalile has won three times, has independent judges rather than an easily manipulated Facebook liking system.
  3. Check that the photographer has public liability and professional indemnity insurance. Khalile’s insurance means that should a couple’s wedding photographs be of bad quality they are entitled to have another wedding day paid for. Happily, he has never had a claim against him. ‘I understand that this is the most important day of their lives and the photos are sacred,’ said Khalile. ‘When my wife was due to give birth to our son Quais, I reassured the couple whose wedding I was doing I would be with them even if she went into labour. After all, they booked me before the pregnancy happened. Luckily the two dates didn’t overlap.’Khalile-Siddiqui15
  4. Check how the photographer safeguards your images. Khalile uses two memory cards simultaneously on the day and downloads the images to duel hard drives immediately after a wedding.
  5. Check whether the photographer does their own editing, as Khalile does. Some photographers farm out the images for editing which can result in poorer quality. Do remember though that the photographer can only do so much with editing, this may be an occasion when a professional makeup is a good idea. Khalile’s wife Tamsyn, as well as taking photographs on the wedding day too, is a makeup artist and she freshens up the bride’s makeup and subtly change it as the lighting changes. What looks good in the sunlight, is not the same as what looks good under the disco lights.Khalile-Siddiqui16
  6. Have a meeting with your photographer about a month before the wedding and make it at the venue if the photographer has not seen it. Khalile says, ‘This is when I am part wedding planner as well as photographer. We discuss the timing of the day, for example I am not a fan of photos of brides in their curlers, so that’s when I gather together the groom and his mates for a photo shoot, then I can be with the bride for the finishing touches, such as putting on the dress. I also suggest a visit to the local beach between the wedding breakfast and evening reception. It’s often a down time and it gives the couple a breather, as well as atmospheric photos.’
  7. Make lists of your family and friends and what groups you would like them photographed in – no one wants to find that a random plus one is star of the wedding photos while a much loved relative is missed out. Khalile says, ‘The shortest group list I’ve had was the bride and groom with her parents and his parents, but most of the time couples have many more people they want featured. I also like to know people’s names, it’s much friendlier on the day to be asking for Shelia rather than the mother-of-the-bride.‘Khalile-Siddiqui12
  8. Khalile also suggests setting out a photo booth style setting. He explains ‘I provide studio lights and the couple can provide fun props like photo frames, feather boas and glasses which are cheap on ebay and it really helps even the most camera shy guest relax. A bit of mischief, it’s fun and quirky.’
  9. But do not go too quirky in the style of the photographs. Khalile advises, ‘Go for a timeless style, not one where people can say ooooh I remember when everyone had their wedding photographs done in that way. For example, there was a fashion for black and white wedding photos with the balloons coloured. It looks dated now and also it’s not helpful in 40 years when your grandchildren are asking what colour the bridesmaid dresses were and you can’t remember because your photographer only supplied you photos that have been through filters or are black & white.’Polpier-and-Penpol-6.8-56-edit
  10. Make sure the photographer gets some photographs to you soon after the day. ‘I like to send a link to the couple of their wedding blog on our website a couple of days after their wedding day,’ says Khalile. ‘It reassures them that the job has been well done and they can go away and relax knowing when they return the full batch will be waiting for them to enjoy.’Khalile-Siddiqui20

You can view Khalile’s contact details on www.weddingphotographyincornwall.co.uk.

Amandasig

Melting Moments Biscuit Recipe

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We love a home made biscuit, whether with morning coffee or afternoon tea. Made with rich Cornish butter and free range egg, they are definitely worth the extra effort and we like to think the rolled oats in this recipe add a healthy element. These simple but delicious ones are also perfect with an early morning cuppa in bed or late night hot chocolate. Highly recommended to leave in Kilner jars in guests’ bedrooms in case they get the munchies. A bit of old fashioned hospitality which is still appreciated today.

This is also such a flexible biscuit when it comes to decoration. Some ideas for changes are substituting an almond, sugared violet or chocolate button for the cherry, but you can always try your own ideas to go with a themed coffee morning or tea party.

Melting Moments

Oven temp 180 c
Makes 18-20

40g Butter
65g Lard
75g castor sugar
half an egg
half tea spoon vanilla essence
150g S.R flour
rolled oat for coating
5 place cherries, quartered

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1. Pre heat oven. Grease 2 baking trays.
2.Cream butter, lard and sugar, slowly beat in egg and vanilla essence.
3. Stir in flour, then roll into 18-20 walnut size balls in your hands.
4. Spread the oats onto greaseproof paper and toss the balls in them until evenly coated.
5. Place the balls, slightly apart, on baking trays, place a piece of cherry on each. Bake for 15-20 mins until lightly browned. When cooked cool on trays for a few minutes then transfer to wire rack.

Be very careful not to leave the kitchen until they are safely stored in an airtight container – otherwise you might find they have mysteriously disappeared.

Amandasig

Summer Flower Arrangement

Flowers really make a home and we always have a display to welcome our guests. Now we have been lucky enough to have a private flower arranging lesson from florist Jan Chew and want to pass on all the information and secret tips of the trade. Jan walked around the garden with gardener Peter Thomas and she encouraged him to see it through new eyes. We have a beautiful cutting garden of flowers to use for the houses, but, particularly when it came to foliage, Jan pointed out we have so much more. The best example was her selection of privet – something we just think of as a rather boring hedge – for great greenery. Follow this step by step guide with Peter and you too will be able to create stunning flower displays in the new natural style described by Jan as, ‘flowers looking like they are growing.’

1) Think of the mood of the room you want the arrangement to go in, there may be particular colours or art that you want to reflect. Picture inspiration for flower arrangement

2) Select the container to be used before the flowers and foliage. Some of the contents will need to be two thirds as high as the container, or double the height if it is shallow.

3) Pick your foliage and flowers at least two hours before creating the arrangement and preferably the day before, so everything can have a long drink in a bucket of water.

4) Make sure you pick plenty of foliage and flowers, as you do not want to be going back to find more. Foliage and flowers with woody stems should be placed on a wooden board and smashed at the bottom with a hammer before putting in water to enable them to drink more.

5) Before starting the arrangement, make sure you have all your equipment ready. We had oasis, florists’ sticky tape, scissors and secateurs.

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6) The oasis holds the stems in place and also provides extra water. After cutting it to size, soak in the sink and then put in the container, holding it in place with sticky florist tape.

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7) A drop of bleach or flower food should also be put in the water to keep the arrangement fresh for longer.

8) Start by putting in the foliage at the back of the arrangement. We used privet, griselina and pittosporum from around the garden.

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9) Before placing each individual stem in, it should be neatly cut on a downward diagonal to making it easier to absorb water.

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10) Damaged leaves should be removed and any stray leaves and stems which are along the central stem which is going into the oasis.

11) After putting in foliage at the back and around the sides, stand back and assess how they the arrangement is coming together. Think about, colour, texture, harmony and space – both in the arrangement and around it.

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12) When you are happy with the basic shape, prepare your main flowers as before. Jan provided tall, sweet smelling stocks, and Peter also used Coral Charm peonies and Ali Baba roses from around the front lawn and Maxima Festiva peonies from the cutting garden. The roses also had their prickles cut off and the peony leaves which were removed were saved for filling in the arrangement – nothing is wasted. Two extra tips with peonies are to give them a shake to get rid of any ants attracted by the sticky sepals that cover the peony bud and to knock any closed bud against a hard surface to encourage it to open.

13) Continue building up the arrangement until you are happy with it. Remember it needs to be pleasing to you most of all, as Jan points out, ‘everyone will see an arrangement differently.’

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14) When you have finished, take a moment to admire your work. Peter was thrilled with his arrangement and is looking forward to creating more for our guests.

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Jan is happy to give private lessons for guests staying at Polpier and Penpol, whether on general flower arranging or wedding and party flowers.

Tel: 01208 832060
www.flowersbyfleuri.com

Amandasig

Asparagus Risotto Recipe

Polpier Asparagus

Polpier’s asparagus bed provides a generous harvest of this luxurious crop from mid April to mid June. Delicious eaten with melted Cornish butter and sea salt, it is also gorgeous in a risotto and our recipe guarantees every bit of the asparagus is used. Perfect as a main course for four people, it is also great to serve as a starter for larger groups, particularly in small bowls, because it can be easily eaten with just a fork even when standing up.

Aspargus risotto

Ingredients:
12 asparagus spears
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finally chopped
400g risotto rice
1000ml vegetable stock
Juice of one lemon
Grated pepper and Cornish sea salt
200g Parmesan grated

Method:
1. Prepare the asparagus. Bend each piece so the woody end snaps off and use these with one of the chopped onions to make the vegetable stock. The stem should be cut into bite size lengths to add to the cooking risotto and the heads separately steamed and refreshed in ice cold water so they keep their colour and shape to add as decoration to the finished dish.

2. For the risotto, heat the olive oil in a pan and sweat the onion and asparagus stems, making sure they do not brown. Add the rice and stir frequently to coat with oil for one minute, followed by the hot vegetable stock one ladleful at a time. Keep stirring for approximately 15 minutes at a gentle simmer until the liquid is absorbed, adding extra stock until the rice is tender and creamy.

3. Add the lemon juice, a good grating of pepper and a pinch of salt to taste but bear in mind the Parmesan is salty. Put the risotto into a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan. It can be kept warm for up to 15 minutes before serving, but only decorate with the asparagus spears at that point so they are beautifully bright green.

Hope you enjoy this yummy vegetarian dish.

Amandasig

Welcome to our blog

I am thrilled to start our blog by sharing some of our fantastic guests’ reviews. From family parties (www.independent.co.uk) to silver panthers (www.high50.com) and stylish trend setters (suitcasemag.com), they all found something to love about us and Cornwall.

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Based in the Cornish Riviera surrounded by miles of stunning beaches, I am looking forward to letting you know our news and highlighting the events and activities which make holidays here such fun – fun that includes dog guests. In addition, as it is a famous foodie county, I will be passing on recipes that make the most of our wonderful local produce.

Weddings and parties are also a big part of our life and, after several years’ experience, the team is happy to offer tips of the trade to help make such special events joyful. Every celebration is unique, but we know planning cuts the stress and makes all of them run more smoothly.

I would be delighted to get your feedback and suggestions on information for making your visit to Cornwall a great one. Leave a message on our Facebook or Instagram page and I will do my very best to feature your request in a future blog post.

 

Amandasig