Rick Stein’s Cornwall is back on our TV screens. With a new series on BBC 2, we are treated to more of his interesting travels around the county.
As well as food and drink highlights, we are also drawn into his adventures uncovering history, art and culture. As a result, we get to take a peek into hidden characters and places we might never discover otherwise.
I wonder who will come under the spotlight in this series?
The Rick Stein Restaurant Empire
Padstow and The Seafood Restaurant is where it all began some 46 years ago, and is still the flagship restaurant for the group today. With a short hop and a skip across the road, fresh fish is landed daily, weather permitting, allowing for the shortest of journeys to their final destination. Rick Stein’s kitchen!
It is this special combination of the freshest of seafood coupled with the finest cooking that set the scene for (probably) the most well-known of the Cornish celebrity chefs.
Indeed, it was Rick Stein himself who inspired the rash of Cornish chefs vying for his mantle of top gourmet. Chefs such as Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw have flourished in the wake of the Stein family business.
Whilst Rick is filming in Cornwall, he concocts his dishes in the kitchen of the beautiful Tresillian House. Using produce from the stunning walled Victorian kitchen garden to supplement his creations, Rick introduces us to head gardener, John Harris.
John brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to produce top-quality organic crops by way of moon gardening. In other words, planting certain crops in particular moon phases is highly beneficial. And it unquestionably shows!
Recipes, Reminiscence and Rick Stein Magic
As you would expect, fish features in 3 of the 5 dishes in this week, along with ham and lamb.
My favourite of the fish dishes is classic fish pie. It is homely, simple and easy to make – the sort of comfort food that gets us through the dark days of winter.
Using fresh Pollock fished in the waters off Sennen Cove, this unctuous dish will have you queuing up for second helpings quicker than you can say “Oliver!”
Here at Cornish Foodie, we have our own fish pie recipe, using salmon and haddock. Rather than parsley, we use dill for seasoning. In addition, prawns add another layer to raise the dish to a luxurious level.
However, the art is in using the cooking liquor from poaching the fish initially to make the base of your sauce. A smooth, velvety richness is the best compliment a cook can pay to the fish.
Lamb Lovers Rejoice
Likewise, the wonderful lamb dish. Rick uses spring lamb in his Lamb Navarin, sourced from chef-turned-farmer Dan Cox of Melilot Farm. As a chef, Dan ensures flavour and eating experience is controlled from farm to plate.
Raising his sheep with similar attention to detail as the grass-fed retired dairy beef cows of Homage to the Bovine, Dan ensures his pasture is lush and filled with nutrition.
As he explains to Rick, it is the grazing on quality pastures, along with careful cross-breeding of his stock that determines the character of the meat on your plate.
Rick uses a shoulder of lamb in a Navarin, a type of French stew or casserole, including carrots, turnips and French green beans. Another easy recipe, cooked in one pot, making the most of fresh ingredients to produce an excellent dish. It is thought the name Navarin comes from the French word for turnips – navet.
Rick Stein’s Cornwall
Along with food, Rick Stein goes in search of the quintessential Cornwall. Those little backstreet, off-the-beaten-track clues to what has shaped this evocative county.
This week it’s the turn of a fisherman-turned painter, Alfred Wallis, who lived and worked in St Ives. Aged 65, Alfred only started painting after his wife died to ease his loneliness. Using whatever came to hand, he often painted his pictures of the sea straight onto the plaster walls of his home.
At one time townswomen of my grandmother’s era used to cook for him. In an effort to keep him fed, they took offerings round to his little cottage behind Porthmeor beach. Yet despite local help, sadly, Alfred died in poverty.
What’s on Offer Next Week?
Tune in on Monday evening, BBC 2 at 6.30pm.
Here at Cornish Foodie we can’t wait for the next episode!