The Devon & Cornwall Scone Debate

Devon or Cornwall? That would normally be a debate for anyone planning their Cornwall holidays or a summer staycation in Devon. However the scone debate is all about one of the great traditions of these two great counties. The Great British cream tea. There is no doubting the quality of the ingredients. The scones, the clotted cream and the jam from both Devon and Cornwall, are of the finest quality you will find anywhere in the British Isles.

The real debate here is how the scone should be served. The first way is jam topped with clotted cream. The second way is clotted cream topped with jam. If you didn’t know already the Cornish way is to have clotted cream and then jam on top. The Devon way is to have the jam first and then clotted cream on top. This may seem like a trivial matter to some. But for the local people either side of the Tamar River. It has been a bone of contention for many centuries.

Queen Elizabeth II decides?…

A keen champion of the best of British traditions. Queen Elizabeth the second, according to one of here former chefs, preferred the jam on first. Darren McGrady, who worked for the royal family for nearly a decade wrote on his Twitter account.

“Jam first at Buckingham Palace garden parties!”

He went on to say…

“The Queen always had homemade Balmoral jam first,” the chef and author added in a subsequent tweet, “with clotted cream on top at Buckingham Palace garden parties in the royal tea tent and all royal tea parties.”

Does it really matter?

The difference between a Devon and Cornish scone doesn’t really matter. Just make sure your scone is topped with clotted cream from the West Country. Then a spoonful of jam from one of their fantastic producers. Whichever one comes first, cream or jam, it’s up to you!

The Ultimate Cornish Pasty

The cold winter months are a perfect time to enjoy one the finest foods to come from the county of Cornwall. This is our take on the ultimate Cornish pasty. Adding some sweetness of a butternut squash, herby sage leaves and a kick of chilli!

ultimate cornish pasty

The history of the Cornish pasty goes back to medieval times. But the modern version of the pasty is associated with the tin miners of Cornwall in the seventeenth & eighteenth centuries. Traditionally made with a skirt steak, the pasty had pleated edge or seam, which was used as a disposable handle.

  • 500g plain flour.
  • Sea & pepper salt to taste.
  • 100g of beef dripping.
  • 150g butter.
  • 1 egg.
  • 400g of steak, trimmed then cut into medium sized cubes.
  • 400g potatoes, cut into small cubes.
  • 200g butternut squash, cut into small cubes.
  • 4 chopped sage leaves.
  • 1 tablespoon of dried chilli flakes.
  • 2 medium sized chopped onions.
  • Salt & pepper to taste.
  1. For the pastry – combine the flour, salt, pepper and dripping in a bowl until until a crumb style texture is formed. Add 100-150ml cold water to bring the mixture together. Spend around five minutes kneading the pastry mix until it starts to become elastic.
  2. Wrap the pasty in cling film and chill for 2 hours in the fridge.
  3. Preheat your oven to 200c and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  4. Divide the pastry into six balls, then roll each one out to about 20cm in diameter.
  5. For the filling- heap the filling onto one side of each pastry circle, brush the border with beaten egg, then fold the pastry over the top and seal in a half-circle. Then simply crimp and twist the edge, tucking the ends beneath. Transfer to the baking tray and brush with the egg to glaze.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes at 200c. Then reduce the oven to 160c and bake for a further 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Leave the pasties to cool at least ten minutes before serving.

Padstow Christmas Festival

The Padstow Christmas Festival in Cornwall this year, runs from Thursday the 1st of December to Sunday 4th of December. After being postponed for the last few years due to Covid restrictions, it is back with a bang! There is a stellar line up of celebrity chefs scheduled to appear over the four days of the event. These chefs include some legendary British culinary icons. Such as Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw, Angela Hartnett, Paul Ainsworth, Phil Vickery, Glynn Purnell, Micheal Caines and Brian Turner.

The celebrity chefs will be appearing alongside with some of the hottest up and coming talent in the food industry. Giving you some inspiration on how to serve up the perfect Christmas feast for your family and friends. From party foods to the main event, all bases are covered. You can find a full timetable and can also purchase tickets for the festival here.

Alongside the celebrity chef demonstrations there will be a great selection of food market stalls. All dotted around Padstow’s picture postcard harbour side location. Showcasing the very best of West Country produce. From artisan bread and pastries, to chocolates, cheese, preserves & pickles. There will also be some of the finest craft beer, cider, gin, rum, vodka and brandy producers in the region on display.

After a long day sampling the very best artisan produce Cornwall has to offer. Padstow is the perfect place to wind down and relax for the evening. There is a superb collection of bars and restaurants surrounding the harbour to suit all tastes. Check out our guide to eating out in Padstow to see what you might fancy. If you are staying in the area for for all four days, why not sample more than one?

For arts and crafts enthusiasts, there is also a late night shopping slot. Featuring a range of local community stalls and vendors from across the South West. This will start at 5pm on Friday 2nd December.

Padstow Christmas Festival

Forage and Cook Cornish Mussels

Surround on three sides by the sea. The United Kingdom’s southern most county is a great place to forage and cook Cornish mussels.

Foraging Mussels

The abundance of rocks on Cornwall’s many tidal and clean beaches create a natural environment for mussels to grow in abundance. Mussels are also one of the most sustainable seafoods to source in the waters around the British Isles.  

When collecting mussels on Cornish beaches there are a few basic rules to follow:

  • Make a note of the tide times before you set off.
  • Check the water quality of the beach you are collecting the mussels on.
  • Only pick mussels that are over 5cm in length.
  • Only collect mussels when the month of the year has an ‘R’ in it.
  • Avoid foraging for mussels near harbours and areas of marine traffic.

Preparing Mussels

  • Throw away any cracked or open mussels.
  • Store them in a refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Cook within 1-2 days of picking.
  • Soak the mussels in cold salted water for around 15 minutes
  • Remove the beard and any sand, then rinse with cold water.
  • Dry each mussel off with kitchen towel.

Moules Marinières

There are many ingredients to cook with Mussels that all taste amazing! Our personal favourite is the classic Moules Marinières. Roughly translated as French Mussels in a white wine & garlic sauce. For this recipe maybe we can change the name to Moules Kernow! Preparation time is around 20 minutes and the cook time around 15 minutes.

  • 25-30 Mussels (serves 2 people)
  • Generous glass of dry white wine.
  • Knob of full fat butter.
  • 2 chopped shallots.
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves.
  • Sprig of chopped parsley.
  • Put the Mussels into a pan, pour in the wine and cover.
  • Bring to the boil then turn down to simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  • Remove the mussels and set to one side.
  • Discard any non opened mussels.
  • Pour the remaining cooking liquid into a jug and let it settle.
  • In a separate pan, melt the butter on a medium heat.
  • Add the shallots and garlic.
  • Filter the cooking liquid through a clean kitchen cloth into the pan.
  • Stir for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Pour the sauce over the mussels in a serving bowl.
  • Finish with chopped parsley sprinkled over the top.

A freshly baked hunk of crusty bread is the ideal accompaniment!

Forage and Cook Cornish Mussels

..and finally, some words of advice.

Mussels can occasionally contain some fairly nasty toxins and chemicals. Most can be easily removed by cooking. Others are much less common. But their impact can be much more severe and are almost impossible to remove in the cooking process.

If you are informed and careful about where you forage mussels from. Also how you prepare and cook them, then you will be fine.

Hidden Cornwall