My Cornish Bouillabaisse is a twist on the French classic dish, created using the local catch of day. Experiment with what’s available at your local market or fishmonger. Instead of mussels and gurnard, consider using clams, cockles, and bream maybe? The choice is yours…
2 pounds mixed fish fillets (such as snapper, sea bass, gurnard), cut into chunks
1/2 pound mussels, scrubbed & de-bearded
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
4 cups fish or seafood stock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of saffron threads
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Crusty bread, for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, fennel, and red bell pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are softened.
Add the white wine and simmer for a few minutes until it has reduced slightly.
Add the diced tomatoes, fish or seafood stock, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, paprika, and saffron. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
Add the fish fillets to the pot and gently stir to combine. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the fish is almost cooked through.
Add the mussels, clams, and shrimp to the pot. Cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the shellfish have opened and the shrimp is cooked through.
Remove the pot from heat and discard any unopened shellfish. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Ladle the Bouillabaisse into bowls, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve with crusty bread on the side.
Here’s my recipe for Sea Bass with Ginger and Spring Onion. Cornwall is renowned for having a diverse marine ecosystem. It’s a great spot for catching sea bass. Sea bass thrive in the coastal seas around Cornwall .They are frequently spotted in the area’s rocky coves and estuaries.
Pat dry the sea bass fillets with paper towels and season them with salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the sea bass fillets to the skillet, skin side down. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the skin is crispy and golden brown. Flip the fillets and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until cooked through. Remove the fillets from the skillet and set them aside.
In the same skillet, add the minced ginger and sliced spring onions. Stir-fry for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant and the spring onions have softened slightly.
In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar until well combined.
Pour the sauce mixture into the skillet with the ginger and spring onions. Stir well and let it simmer for about 1 minute.
Return the sea bass fillets to the skillet and coat them with the sauce. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, allowing the fish to absorb the flavors of the sauce.
Once the sea bass is heated through, transfer the fillets to a serving plate. Spoon the ginger and spring onion sauce over the top of the fillets.
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves if desired.
Serve the Sea Bass with Ginger and Spring Onion immediately with steamed rice or your choice of side dishes.
Hake is a fish native to the waters around Cornwall. With its white flakey flesh, pan-fried Hake makes a great alternative to the more traditional Cod. This hake recipe idea is served with a side of mixed vegetables.
4 Cornish hake fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lemon, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons butter
For the roasted vegetables:
2 cups mixed vegetables (such as carrots, bell peppers, courgette & cherry tomatoes), chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pan Fried Hake
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
In a baking dish, place the mixed vegetables. Drizzle them with olive oil & season with salt, pepper & dried oregano. Toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Roast them in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are tender and slightly caramelised.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the hake fillets. Pat them dry with paper towels & season with salt and pepper on both sides.
Use a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the hake fillets, skin side down, & cook for about 3-4 minutes until the skin is crispy and golden brown. Flip the fillets & cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the fillets from the skillet and set them aside.
In the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium. Add minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add the butter, lemon slices, fresh parsley & thyme leaves to the skillet. Stir them together to combine.
Return the hake fillets to the skillet, placing them on top of the lemon slices and herbs. Spoon the butter mixture over the fillets.
Transfer the skillet to the oven & bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until the hake fillets are cooked through and easily flake with a fork.
Serve the Cornish hake fillets on a plate with roasted vegetables on the side. Drizzle any remaining butter sauce from the skillet over the fish. Garnish with additional fresh herbs if desired.
Paul Ainsworth is one of the most well known Cornish Chef’s and restaurateurs. Noted for his inventive & modern twist on traditional British food. He was born in Southampton, England, in 1979, but grew up in Cornwall. Ainsworth’s interest for cooking began at a young age. He began his professional culinary career in London, working for the legendary chef Gary Rhodes.
Paul Ainsworth then returned to Cornwall in 2004 to work at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. After obtaining valuable experience at a number of London’s premier fine dining restaurants. He quickly ascended the ranks, eventually becoming head chef in 2009. Ainsworth received a Michelin star during his tenure at the restaurant. For his inventive and imaginative approach to local seafood dishes.
He opened his own restaurant, No. 6, in Padstow in 2011 & it rapidly became known as one of the best in the UK. It currently holds a coveted Michelin star. Rojano’s in the Square, his second restaurant in the town, it opened in 2013. This eatery offers a more casual dining experience, with a big emphasis placed on Italian food.
Paul & Emma Ainsworth
Paul along with his wife Emma relaunched The Mariners pub in Rock, Cornwall, in May, 2019. This pub looks over Cornwall’s stunning Camel Estuary. The menu at The Mariners focuses on British pub classics, while championing the best of local produce.
Paul is also regular fixture now also on British television, in addition to running his restaurants. Appearing on programmes including: BBC’s Saturday Kitchen & MasterChef. “Paul Ainsworth’s Kitchen Secrets,” is a cookbook he also wrote, providing an inside peek at his culinary methods, inspiration & recipes.
He is renowned for his dedication to utilising seasonally grown ingredients. His menus frequently include classic Cornish recipes with a contemporary twist. All of Paul’s restaurants are also known for being great venues for chefs learn & hone culinary talents.
The Stargazy Pie Recipe is a traditional Cornish dish that originated in the small fishing community of Mousehole in the English county of Cornwall. It is a one of a kind visually stunning pie. Recognised for its peculiar design, which features fish heads emerging through the pastry casing.
The arrangement of fish, typically herrings, within the pie is the pie’s defining feature. The entire fish, including their heads, are positioned to look to be peering up through the pastry. The pie gets its name from this presentation, which is claimed to resemble stars in the night sky.
The pie is customarily served on Tom Bawcock’s Eve. Which is celebrated in Mousehole on December 23rd each year. Tom Bawcock, according to folklore, was a brave fisherman who ventured out during a powerful storm to catch fish. Ensuring the town had enough food during a time of great famine. The Stargazy Pie is thought to have been invented to honour his bravery.
1 pie crust
6-8 small whole herrings, cleaned and deboned
4-5 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
4-6 rashers of bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup fish stock (or vegetable stock as a substitute)
1/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
Roll out the pie crust and line a pie dish with it. Set aside.
In a large pan, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.
In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well to combine. Cook for about 1 minute to cook out the raw flour taste.
Slowly pour in the fish stock while stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Stir in the milk and continue cooking until the sauce thickens.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the herring fillets in the pie dish, making sure the heads poke out of the crust. Place the halved hard-boiled eggs between the herrings, yolk side up.
Pour the sauce over the fish and eggs, ensuring everything is evenly covered.
Place the bacon rashers on top of the sauce, leaving some of the heads exposed.
Cover the pie with the remaining pie crust, sealing the edges. Cut a few slits in the crust to allow steam to escape.
Bake the pie in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Once cooked, remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
Cornish honey is a delicious delicacy made by bees from the nectar of flowers found in the English county of Cornwall. Cornish honey has become a favourite among honey connoisseurs all over the world
The bees are kept in apiaries, which are spaces created exclusively for beekeeping. The majority of these apiaries are found in rural locations with a diverse range of flowers, plants, and trees for the bees to feed on. The nectar from the flowers is collected by the bees, who then break down the carbohydrates in it to create honey. Which they then store in their colonies.
The flavour of Cornish honey is one of its most distinguishing traits. The honey is noted for its delicate, flowery flavour with hints of heather, bramble, and clover. Cornish honey is also recognised for its rich, golden hue and thick, creamy texture.
Health Benefits of Honey
Cornish honey provides many health benefits in addition to its great taste. Honey has been known for centuries for its antibacterial properties. These can aid in infection prevention & overall wellness. It is also high in antioxidants. These help to protect the body from free radicals. Honey can also be used to treat seasonal allergies such as sore throats and coughs.
A number of beekeepers throughout Cornwall produce Cornish honey. These beekeepers work tirelessly to ensure that their bees are well-cared for. This ensures that the honey they produce is the very best quality. Many of these beekeepers now provide apiary tours, allowing visitors to learn more about beekeeping & the honey making process.
One of the best ways to enjoy Cornish honey is to simply drizzle it over toast, add to yogurt or porridge. It can also be used in baking as an alternative natural sweetener. Cornish honey is also a popular ingredient in mead, a fermented honey-based drink that has been enjoyed for centuries in the U.K.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
Wrap the pasty in cling film and chill for 2 hours in the fridge.
Preheat your oven to 200c and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Divide the pastry into six balls, then roll each one out to about 20cm in diameter.
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.
Bake for 15 minutes at 200c. Then reduce the oven to 160c and bake for a further 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
Leave the pasties to cool at least ten minutes before serving.
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.
Surround on three sides by the sea. The United Kingdom’s southern most county is a great place to forage and cook Cornish 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.
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.
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!
..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.