Author: Creative Steam

Although it’s looking a little bit brighter outside, we’re definitely still feeling the cold. What better way to warm up than with simple homemade frik soup!

Here we have a “Rupert Recipe”, a Philleigh Way version of Algerian frik soup, usually made with lamb or beef and cracked green wheat, we have made this ‘everyone friendly’ with no meat, just veg, and bulghar wheat.


1 Medium Red Onion
2 garlic cloves
Thumb sized piece of ginger
400g tinned toms
1 cup Chickpeas from water
Fresh Coriander handful chopped
Fresh Mint handful chopped
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Coriander ground
1 tbsp Tomato Puree
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
4 tbsp Fine Brown Bulgur wheat
Dukkah to finish


Chop onion, garlic and ginger. Place it in the large pot over medium heat with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Season. Then sweat for 7-9 minutes.

Add paprika, coriander, tomato paste, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sweat for a further 5 minutes. Add the vinegar.

Add chickpeas and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Follow with the tomatoes and add hot water just to cover all of the veggies, then add the bulgar wheat. Season.

Make sure all the ingredients are covered with water (add more if necessary). Let it cook for a further 15 minutes on a medium heat.

Roughly chop fresh coriander & mint, add and stir through. Serve, sprinkle with dukkah and enjoy with flatbreads (find our flatbreads recipe here).

The simple addition of truffle has the power to transform dishes across the culinary spectrum. I recently teamed up with the team at Truffle Hunter to develop a series of beautiful truffle recipes for you and your guests to enjoy.

This latest recipe is a truffle twist on cacio e pepe, a simple and highly celebrated dish in Italy and beyond.
Buon appetito!


200g bucatini or spaghetti
40g Truffle Hunter Black Truffle Butter
2 tsp whole black peppercorns, ground, or 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Truffle Hunter White Truffle Oil
50g pecorino or parmesan, finely grated

drizzling white truffle oil over pasta


Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, for 2 minutes less than the pack instructions state. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium frying pan over a low heat, then add the ground black pepper and toast for a few minutes.
Drain the pasta, keeping 200ml of the pasta water. Tip the pasta and 100ml of the pasta water into the pan with the butter and pepper.
Toss briefly, then scatter over the parmesan evenly, but don’t stir – wait for the cheese to melt for 30 seconds. Once melted, toss everything well, and stir together and keep cooking. Add a splash more pasta water if you need to, to loosen the sauce and coat the pasta.
Serve immediately with a good grating of black pepper, drizzle of truffle oil, and more parmesan.
(Optional) For an extra special touch, shave some fresh truffles over the cacio e pepe just before serving.

cacio e pepe

If you’re after hearty and warming food for the winter months, then look no further than Scandinavia. When you think of Scandinavian food, you probably think of three things – “fika” or “sweet treats” like cinnamon rolls and semlor buns, rollmop herrings, and…. the meatballs made famous by a certain Swedish furniture store. On a stormy night in the depths of winter, or on the rare occasion that it snows here, there is nothing better than a bowl of fluffy mash topped with juicy, lightly spiced Swedish meatballs and covered in creamy gravy.

plate of swedish meatballs and mashed potato

Here’s how to make your own, and if you fancy getting even more familiar with the amazing and celebrated regional cuisine of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, then join us on our next Scandinavian Cookery Course.


300g pork mince

300g beef mince

15g butter

1 tbsp plain flour

½ tsp allspice

200ml chicken stock

175ml cream

A squeeze of lemon juice

A splash of Worcestershire sauce

Pinch of salt and ground black pepper

Small handful fresh dill, chopped

Potatoes for mashing (russets are a good choice)


1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 tbsp white sugar

1 tsp salt

125ml cider or white wine vinegar

chef rupert cooper at philleigh way cookery school teaching a scandinavian cookery course


To Make Pickled Red Onion

Combine 1 tablespoon of white sugar with 1 teaspoon of salt in a bowl with 125ml cider vinegar and 250ml water. Mix until dissolved. Place the thinly sliced red onion in a mason or kilner jar, pour the liquid over, then seal and leave to stand for 1 hour.

To Make Swedish Meatballs

Peel your potatoes and put in a pan of boiling water to cook for 12-15 minutes until easily pierced with a knife.

Meanwhile, combine the pork and beef mince in a bowl, season, and work together well with your hands to break down and combine the mince. Roll into small balls about the size of a golf or squash ball.

making meatballs

Heat a glug of olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan (one with a lid, for later) over a medium-high heat, and brown the meatballs all over. Colour equals flavour! Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Turn down the heat to low-medium, add 15g butter to the pan and whisk until melted. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of plain flour and the allspice, then cook until it starts to smell toasty.

Gradually add the chicken stock and cream (although you can add the cream later if you like), whisking all the time, until smooth.

scandinavian cookery course at philleigh way cookery school

Return the meatballs to the pan, cover and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through. Season with a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper.

Mash your potatoes with a splash of cream until smooth.

mashed potatoes

To plate up, spoon mashed potato onto your plate then place meatballs and a drizzle of the creamy sauce on top. Add some pickled red onion and sprinkle with a small handful of chopped fresh dill.

sprinkling fresh dill over a plate of swedish meatballs

Join us on our next Scandinavian Cookery Course to cook and eat dishes just like this.

Winter is soup season, particularly the first few months of the new year when we get back into routines (and perhaps with a renewed focus on healthy eating) after the Christmas and New Year’s festivities. Whether for lunch or a lighter evening meal, soups are varied and versatile. Rather than buying or relying on tinned or carton soups, making your own is more rewarding, tastier, and a great way to save money or use up leftovers. Here are four Philleigh Way favourite soup recipes to try out over the coming weeks:

Cornish fish soup

Cornish Fish Soup

*Click here to download and print the recipe

1 onion
2 sticks celery
1 carrot
1 fennel bulb
2 cloves garlic
¼ Leek
1 red chilli , deseeded
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 Star anise
2 tbsp brandy/cognac (or red wine vinegar or small glass white wine)
Sprinkle of saffron (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil , plus extra for drizzling
800 g chopped plum tomatoes
½ butternut squash or potatoes, peeled and finely cubed
500 ml organic fish stock
300g fish (skinned) from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger

Finely chop the onion, fennel, celery, carrot , garlic, star anise, saffron and chilli. Peel the potato/squash and dice.
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the veg and sweat gently until soft. Season.
Add the wine/brandy/vinegar, tomatoes, squash and stock and bring to the boil.
Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Season and gently break up the tomatoes.
Roughly chop the fish and add to the pan simmer for 5 minutes or until just cooked. Blitz.
Taste the soup and season it again with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon if necessary.
Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with the chopped parsley

chopping veg for a soup

Traditional Italian Soup

*Click here to download and print the recipe

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil , plus extra to serve
1 onion , finely chopped
1 celery stick , cut into chunks
750g pumpkin or squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into small chunks
1 carrot , peeled and cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves , chopped
3 tbsp tomato purée
1.2l chicken stock or vegetable stock
75g farro or peal barley
50-80g parmesan rinds or vegetarian alternative (optional), plus a few shavings to serve
400g can cannellini beans , drained
2 handfuls baby spinach
2 tbsp chopped parsley or 8 whole sage leaves

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the onion, celery, pumpkin or squash and carrot and cook until the vegetables have some colour. Add a splash of water and some seasoning, then cover the pan and let the vegetables cook over a very low heat for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for another couple of mins, then add the tomato purée, stock, mixed grains, parmesan rinds, if using, and some seasoning. Simmer for about 15 mins (or until the grains are cooked), adding the beans for the final 5 mins. In the last few mins, add the spinach, then taste for seasoning.
If you want to use sage, fry the leaves whole in a little olive oil before adding to the soup. If you prefer to use parsley, you can just add it directly to the soup. Serve with shavings of parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top of each bowlful. Remove the parmesan rinds and serve.

Vietnamese Pho

*Click here to download and print the recipe

Two Cinnamon sticks
3 whole cloves
2 star anise
1 large white onion, peeled and quartered 3 garlic cloves 1 red chilli 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 vegetable stock or broth
4 cups water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 large handful rice noodles
1 tablespoon sesame oil
5 mushrooms
Rice wine vinegar
Asian Paste (optional)
Mung bean sprouts
Sprigs of fresh basil (use Thai basil if you can find it) or coriander
Sprigs of fresh mint
Thinly sliced spring onions
1 Carrot (julienne)
1 Courgette (julienne)

Warm a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise and toast until fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion, chill, garlic ginger, vegetable stock, water and soy. Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes to give the flavours time to meld.
In the meantime, prepare your rice noodles by cooking them according to package directions. Set them aside.
To prepare the mushrooms, warm the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and a few dashes of salt. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, about 4 to 6 minutes, then set them aside. Julienne your veg.
Once the broth is done cooking, strain out the onions, ginger and spices (this is easiest with a small metal sieve, but you can also strain the mixture through a colander into another large bowl). Season it to taste with extra tamari and/or salt until the flavours of the spices really shine.
Ladle the broth into bowls, add cooked noodles and mushrooms, and fresh garnishes to your heart’s content. Serve immediately, with chopsticks and soup spoon

Smoked Celeriac Soup

*Click here to download and print the recipe

1 large celeriac
2 onions
4 garlic cloves
Veg or chicken stock cube
70ml double cream (or creme fraiche)

Peel the celeriac, then par boil until it can take a knife. Then light your BBQ and have coals and one log fired up. Smoke the celeriac indirectly at 180-200C for 45 minutes to an hour.
While that is smoking…. Dice the onions and garlic, then sweat off in a deep pan and season.
Once the celeriac has been smoked to your liking, dice and add to the pan along with the stock and then top up with boiling water just above the line of the veg.
Simmer until everything is soft. Then blitz and add the cream. Season to taste and serve with crusty bread and butter.

The festive period revolves around eating and drinking, and whilst we all love to cook it’s sometimes nice to let somebody else do the hard work and simply savour the food.
If you’re planning to eat out over this Christmas and New Year, whether that’s lunch with colleagues before you finish work for the year, dinner and drinks with friends, or an all-out “let somebody else take the strain” celebration on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve, here are our recommendations for the best places to eat out in Cornwall:

cove cafe on the beach above st ives bay, cornwall

The Cove Cafe

Riviere Towans, Hayle

We couldn’t start with anywhere other than our own Cove Cafe. With sea views overlooking St Ives Bay (it’s an amazing place to sit and watch if it’s stormy outside), a suitably seasonal lunch menu, regular feast nights and plenty of space, you need look no further! There’ll be a special lunch menu on Christmas Eve, and a long-lunch on New Year’s Eve. Just a few steps from the door there are miles of sand dunes and the beach (at low tide) for a winter walk to either work up an appetite or walk off your lunch, too!

onda restaurant in wadebridge



Our friend Ben Ambridge’s new Italian-inspired eatery in the heart of Wadebridge is not to be missed. Indulge in the heartwarming traditions of Italy this festive season with their special Christmas menu (three-course set menu £45 per person) or welcome in 2024 there and enjoy a five course chef’s menu for £75 per person.

christmas at the st enodoc hotel in rock

St Enodoc Hotel


St Enodoc Hotel has two restaurants, both with incredible views over the Camel Esturay and open to non-residents as well as hotel guests. Open from December 20th through the Christmas and New Year period, the Brasserie (pictured) is open 12-2pm for lunch and 6 – 8.45pm for dinner, whilst 3 AA Rosette fine dining restaurant Karrek is open Thursdays to Sundays with bookings between 6.30 – 7.45pm. They still have places for both residents and non residents at their New Year’s Eve three-course dinner in the Brasserie and availability if you fancy New Year’s Eve away with their two-night NYE package.

the thomas daniell pub in truro in the snow at christmas time

The Thomas Daniell


Recently re-opened under new management and with a fantastic Head Chef, The Thomas Daniell Eating & Drinking House is just a short walk from Truro city centre and has a menu and atmosphere as fantastic as its Christmas decorations. The menu focuses on British and European cuisine, blending traditional pub favourites and innovative dishes.

the barley sheaf at gorran

The Barley Sheaf


Cornwall Pub of The year in 2022, The Barley Sheaf at Gorran (near Mevagissey) is a classic pub with an amazing team in the kitchen headed up by chef/owner Tim Kendle and Head Chef Dan Hyams. They are open throughout the festive period and have a great looking Christmas Eve menu with three courses for £45 or two courses for £39 between 12 – 6pm.

Good food should always be accompanied by good drink. And sometimes, good drink is a thing on its own. These next few weeks in the run-up to Christmas and New Years are peak party season, and whether you’re hosting a big group of friends and neighbours, or you’ve just got a few friends and family stopping in, the first thing you’ll do is probably offer them a drink. Nobody wants to have to dash out to the shops or garage to stock up at the last minute, so get yourself well set for this year and many more to come. A thoughtfully stocked cocktail cabinet or drinks trolley needn’t cost a great deal (it can be cheaper than a night out), and you can replenish or upgrade elements of it over time. It is an investment, and a work-in-progress, that with a few basic cocktail recipes will delight your guests and pay you back time and time again.

selection of bottles of spirits in a home bar
A very well stocked bar – you can start small and work up to this!

Home Bar – What and Why

You don’t need to be a bow-tied barman to mix a good cocktail. Most classic cocktails are remarkably simple, requiring very few ingredients and very little skill to mix. Commit a couple to memory or have the recipes written out in a kitchen drawer, and you’re good to go. I’d suggest offering your guests the following as a starter for 10:



G&T (alc or non-alc)



Old Fashioned

French 75

To make a Negroni, mix 25ml each of gin, Campari and vermouth rosso, pour over ice and garnish with orange.

Home Bar Basics – Alcohol

Just as with food, the quality of your ingredients is really important. That’s why less is more in terms of the spirits that you stock and what you offer. A decent bottle of juniper-forward gin (more versatile for cocktails) is essential; there are hundreds to choose from these days but I’d suggest a Cornish classic like Tarquin’s. It’s nice to cater for drivers and non-drinkers properly too, so a botanical non-alcoholic spirit such as Pentire (another Cornish brand) means you can offer a 0% G&T rather than a regular soft drink.

pentire non alcoholic spirit and tonic
Pentire and tonics for the drivers and non–drinkers.

A bottle of decent bourbon whiskey and a small bottle of bitters will allow you to offer Old Fashioneds, whilst a bottle of Campari and a nice vermouth rosso (check out Cornish vineyard Knightor’s fantastic vermouth) will put the ever-popular Negroni on your Christmas party cocktail menu.

bottle of angostura bitters
Angostura Bitters: A cocktail cabinet essential, just as salt is in the kitchen.

Home Bar Basics – Mixers, Garnishes and Ice

Ice is essential. I always say to make best use of your freezer by using it to store high value items, not filling it up with cheap bulky items like bread and ice and then spending all that money on electricity. But when it comes to Christmas parties, you don’t want to run out of ice. A bag of ice is a good idea if your party is planned, but for some cocktails it’s a great idea to make oversized ice-cubes by freezing water in old yoghurt pots (or similar).

When it comes to mixers, buying small cans or bottles of tonic water is a more expensive way of doing it than getting in big bottles, but big bottles go flat quickly and if you don’t need all of it then some wil go to waste compared to individual serves.

A couple of limes and lemons for garnisihing G&Ts and gin-based cocktails is a sensible addition to your fridge, as is an orange or two – sliced to serve in a Negroni, or a slither of peel as a garnish for an Old Fashioned.

French 75 cocktail
The French 75 is a Champagne cocktail that kicks like a canon: mix 15ml lemon juice and 30ml gin with a dash of sugar syrup over ice, strain into a chilled glass and top with 60ml Champagne.

Home Bar Basics – Equipment and Glassware

You don’t need a massive collection of fancy glassware, but you also don’t want to be serving drinks in a  random assortment of tumblers and mugs. Basic glassware like wine glasses, champagne flutes, high balls and short rocks tumblers are all available in supermakrets andhomewares stores for reasonable prices. If it’s a big party, then consider hiring!

You’ll need a sharp paring knife and choping board for preparing garnishes. You can buy a cocktail kit if you want to, but a long-handled teaspoon will make a perfeectly good substitute for a bar spoon, you can use a mason jar or jug instead of a Boston glass or tin (or cocktail shaker) and a small seive or tea strainer instead of a hawthorn strainer. Lots of cocktails can be mixed in the glass, such as a Negroni or Old Fashioned. What matters is the end-result, but you’re not a hotel bar and nobody will criticise a person who hands them a drink!

The great thing about having a properly stocked and ready-to-go home bar set-up is that it doesn’t expire. Once you’ve got yourself started, after that initial outlay, you can maintain and add to it for very little as your cocktail repertoire grows, and it will be there to delight next December, and the December after that, and on any occasion in between. Enjoy!

*If you don’t want to serve a solely liquid diet, then our recipe for Festive Bar Nuts will come in handy. They’ll keep in a sealed jar, although it’s unlikely they’ll last that long.

If you’re looking for ideas for Christmas gifts for foodie friends or family, or if you’ve got a large group of people who you want to give Christmas gifts to, such as colleagues or team members, then biscotti is the perfect answer. Biscotti are twice baked almond biscuits that are dry and crunchy, often served with sweet wine or coffee to dunk in. They’re popular as a Christmas gift because of their festive flavours and the fact that they keep well for up to a month after baking. Biscotti originate from the Tuscan city of Prato (back in the 14th century), and the name means “twice baked”, but in Italy these biscuits are also often known as “cantuccini”. The dough is first baked as a log and then sliced up to make the oval biscuits, that are baked again to make them crunchy.
Whether included as part of a festive hamper or given as small gifts to colleagues, nothing shows that you care like baking, and nothing’s easier to bake and gift at this time of year than biscotti. Give it a go, and get ahead for Christmas!



350g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
250g golden caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 orange, coarsely zested
85g sultanas
50g blanched almonds
50g your choice of other nuts

chef rupert cooper demonstrating how to make biscotti during a tuscan cookery course at philleigh way cookery school


Heat your oven to 180C, 160C fan or gas mark 4, and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and sugar.
Stir in the eggs and zest until the mixture starts forming clumps, then bring the dough together with your hands – it will seem dry at first but keep kneading until no floury patches remain.
Add the fruit and nuts, then work them into the dough until evenly distributed throughout.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into four pieces.Roll each piece into a thick sausage about 30cm long. Place two on each tray, spaced well apart as they will increase in size as they bake.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the dough has risen and spread, and feels firm. It should still look pale. Remove from the oven and turn it down to 140C, and place the baked dough on a wire rack until cool enough to handle.
Use a bread knife to cut the dough on the diagonal into 1cm thick slices, then lay the slices flat on the baking sheets.
Bake for another 30 minutes, turning them over half way through, until dry and golden. Remove from the oven and tip out on to a wire rack to cool completely, then bundle up and gift wrap, or enjoy a few yourself with a coffee or glass of desert wine to dunk in.

laying slices of biscotti on a baking tray for the second bake

If you’re a meat-eater or flexitarian, then a good case can be made for switching out farmed meat for wild game. Eating wild game can be better for our health than eating regular farmed meat (it is very low in fat and cholesterol) and can be better for the environment. It can also offer great value for money and is often more flavourful. The punchier flavours of many game meats matches perfectly with winter and the heartier dishes that many of us gravitate towards at this time of year – which also coincides with open season on the majority of game species and therefore its availability to us consumers.

two braces of pheasants

What Counts as Wild Game?

Gamebirds such as pheasant, partridge and grouse (to name a few), waterfowl like ducks and geese, and rabbits, hare and the various species of deer (‘ground’ or ‘fur’ game’ – the mammals) all count as game. It is legal to shoot these species in the UK, but many of them have closed seasons when it is illegal to shoot them to allow them to breed, raise young, and migrate between their breeding and over-wintering grounds. The open season is the period of time within which they can be shot, and this is when wild game is most readily available. Some game species are farmed either directly for consumption (venison) or for organised shoots (gamebirds) – this is game meat, but not wild game and so whilst it may well carry the same flavour, eating it does not have the lower environmental impact that wild game does.

When Is Wild Game Available?

In England and Wales, the majority of gamebirds and waterfowl (certainly the most popular and readily available) have an open season from between the 1st of September or the 1st of October, and the end of January. There are some exceptions, and you can see the full table here. There is technically no closed season on rabbits and brown hare on private land in England and Wales, however there are date restrictions on moorland and in any instance it is only legal to shoot them between December 11th and March 31st which effectively creates a season for these ground game species.

The open season for wild venison depends upon the species and differs for male deer (stags or bucks) and female (hinds or does). In Scotland, stags or bucks can be taken year-round. Through winter and into early spring from November 1st through to March 31st, is open season for hinds and does. Roe deer bucks can then be taken between April 1st and October 31st creating a year-round season for roe deer. For red, sika and fallow deer, the stags or bucks have an open season from August 1st through April 30th, so for these species there is a closed season through late spring and into summer.

The British Association of Shooting and Conservation has tables showing the open season for all wild game in different nations of the United Kingdom on their website. In short though, if it’s winter then wild game will almost certainly available.

Where Can I Buy Wild Game Meat?

You can ask your local butcher about wild game meat, although be sure to specify wild rather than farmed if that is important to you. In Cornwall we are fortunate to have suppliers such as Duchy Game (at Pelean Cross, just outside Ponsanooth) or you can look online for a supplier local to you or who sells online.

roast partridge and apple with creamed cauliflower

Game Recipes

If you are interested in learning how to prepare and cook game animals, then our Game Workshop (the next one takes place on Thursday November 23rd) is a great course to give yo the confidence, skills and recipes to add wild meat to your winter repertoire. Over the years, several game recipes have been shared on our Foodie Blog, from game terrine to “posh” venison kebabs. Take your pick from the links below, and give wild game a go this winter!

Roast Partridge And Apple With Creamed Cauliflower

“Posh” Venison Kebabs

Pan Fried Venison Loin With Chocolate And Chilli Sauce

Game Terrine

posh venison kebab

Do Bay Leaves Actually Make A Difference To A Dish?

Lots of recipes, particularly stews, sauces, stocks and soups, include the addition of a bay leaf, and most of us will have a packet of dusty old dried bay leaves at the back of a kitchen cabinet somewhere. But, what’s the point of using bay leaves, and do they make a difference to a dish?

chef rupert cooper holding up a twig of bay leaves

What Are Bay Leaves?

Bay leaves are a Mediterranean herb that can be used fresh or dried, and that are most often used whole in a recipe. They are the foliage of the bay laurel tree (Laurus nobilis, also known as sweet bay and roman laurel), which thanks to its historic association with the ancient god Apollo led to victorious athletes being crowned with a laurel wreath, then later poets and those who have achieved great things (laureates). Bay trees are popular ornamental evergreen shrubs, so you may well have one in a pot on your patio. The leaves are quite hardy and waxy, so when used in cooking they remain stiff and don’t break up which is helpful because in most recipes that use them, you are asked to remove the bay leaf before serving.

What Do Bay Leaves Taste Like?

Bay leaves impart a subtle flavour similar to oregano or thyme when used in slow-cooked dishes. If it’s subtle, you may well ask “what’s the point?”, and plenty of people do. The point is that they add a supporting background flavour that amplifies and deepens a dish. They aren’t mission ciritical, so you can get away without adding them, but if you happen to have a bay tree stood on your patio or a sealed pack or jar of dried bay leaves in your cupboard that aren’t so old that you’ve moved house with six times, then you have nothing to lose (and something to gain) from chucking in one or two.

The leaves of the bay laurel tree contain more than 50 essential oils and aromatic compounds including eucalyptol, terpenes, and methyleugenol. When they’re fresh or only cooked for a short time they can have a noticeable eucalyptus and menthol flavour, but the longer they are cooked for the more those harsher notes tone down and the aroma and flavour softens and becomes fuller and more herbal and tea-like. The aromatic compounds in hardier or woody Mediterranean herbs (which have evolved to try to retain as much moisture as possible in the often arid conditions they grow in) are far less volatile, so they won’t evaporate as the leaves dry and therefore when dried they retain almost as much flavour as fresh – as long as they are stored correctly!

pickling liquor with bay leaves in it

Using Bay Leaves In Cooking

If you are cooking something slowly, such as a stew, casserole, a ragu or bolognaise, or similar, then adding a bay leaf or two and leaving it in for as long as possible will enhance the final dish. That’s why they appear in recipes. But if you don’t have any to hand, it’s not a total disaster. For most recipes, use one or maybe (at most) two leaves and keep them whole; the flavours will be released by the leaves and spread throughout the dish, and they are much easier to remove when left entire. There is no need to leave a whole leaf in your dish for serving – its job is done. If using fresh bay leaves then be sure to allow them to cook for long enough for the flavours to mellow. If using dried, they will store well for a couple of years if kept in a sealed container in a dark place; that often leads to them getting lost at the back of a kitchen cabinet for far longer than that though, so if you’re in any doubt about the age and origin of those dusty old bay leaves you’ve found, consider buying a new pack.

The weather may be suggesting otherwise, but we are firmly in autumn now, and autumn is mushroom season. I’ve been working with our friends at Truffle Hunter recently, the UK’s leading supplier of fresh truffle and truffle products, developing some recipes with their range of oils and condiments. This recipe for truffled mushrooms and lentils is a suitably hearty seasonal recipe (and it’s vegan, too).

truffle hunter minced black truffle


1 tsp TruffleHunter Black or White Truffle Oil
1 tsp TruffleHunter Minced Black Truffle
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 celery stick
1 carrot
Handful of mixed fresh mushrooms
500g raw puy or green lentils (or pre cooked)
1 bay leaf
1 large glass red wine
1 vegetable stock cube
Handful of fresh parsley

truffle hunter white truffle oil


Add the TruffleHunter Truffle Oil to a pan and then finely dice the vegetables. Add these to the saucepan along with the bay leaf on a medium heat. Finely chop half the mushrooms and add to the pan. Season the pan well.
After gently sweating the vegetables for 8 minutes, add the lentils, TruffleHunter Minced Black Truffle and stock cube. Next, add the red wine. Cook off the wine and then pour 1.5 litres of hot water into the pan. Gently simmer with the lid on until the lentils are soft. If using pre-cooked lentils, add a little liquid and cook until your desired consistency.
Just before the lentils are cooked, roughly chop the rest of the mushrooms, heat another frying pan and toast the mushrooms in a little truffle oil and then serve on top of the lentils. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy with a glass of red wine!

truffled mushrooms and lentils by rupert cooper for truffle hunter

Whether you call them cinnamon twists, rolls, scrolls or buns, the one thing that we can all agree on is that they’re delicious and one is never enough.

Our recipe for cinnamon twists is always a really popular addition to our Scandinavian Cookery or Baking courses. Rather than creating loads of really thin laminations to create a croissant or “cro-nut” style pastry, our version is less energy and time intensive, so you can get them in the oven (and onto your plate) sooner. Here’s a step-by step guide to folding and plaiting them to create those delicious little knots.

cinnamon twist ready to bake

Once you have rolled out your enriched dough (to about the size of a piece of A3 paper) and spread the cinnamon paste over it (see recipe here), take one of the long edges and fold it 1/3 over. Then fold the other 1/3 with exposed paste over on top of the doubled-up layer, so that you have a long, thin rectangle. Slice this into 24 strips, approximately 3.5cm wide.

cutting enriched dough to make cinnamon twists

Use a sharp knife to cut two lines down each strip to create three strands, starting 1-1.5cm from the top

Plait the three strands together by taking one outer strand and crossing it over top of the middle one, then repeating from the other side, and alternating.

plaiting cinnamon twists

Roll the plaited dough up into a ball and place in a greased muffin tray, then repeat until you have plaited all 24 twists.

shaping cinnammon twists

Having manipulated your dough so much, you then need to leave it to prove again for fifteen minutes to half an hour before baking, so that the dough can relax and expand into its new shape. Then bake!

loading a muffin tray with cinnamon twists ready to bake

Over the weekend of September 16th & 17th I got to cook with the most amazing backdrops and local produce on the Isles of Scilly for the 2023 Taste of Scilly Festival.

On Saturday I had my toes in the sand on Porthmellon Beach, cooking smoked Moroccan beef and spiced chicken thighs served with flat breads, pickled cabbage, garlic mayo, romseco and za’tar. Then on Sunday we set up the Drumbecues on the slipway at The Mermaid Inn on the harbourside in Hugh Town where I cooked Lebanon style lamb leg with anchovy dressing, and pulled pork with smoked paprika (served again on flatbreads with pickled cabbage, garlic mayo, romseco and za’tar).

It was an incredible weekend and amazing getting to spend some time on these beautiful islands just 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall. Thanks so much to Visit Isles of Scilly, Victoria Bond and Anna Mahoney for inviting me over to be a part of Taste of Scilly.

Autumn is apple season. That’s come around quickly, huh! Some apple varieties are ready to harvest in August, but September and October are when the action really ramps up in the UK. But whilst we’re still also clinging on to the remains of summer, I’ve got a recipe for you that combines your barbecue with the first of the new season’s apples. And, if it’s raining, you can use your oven instead of your barbecue. You can make most of the elements of this dessert a day or two in advance too, so all you need to do when the time comes is cook your apples and assemble. Give it a go, and let me know what you think!

cooking apples on a barbecue


200g plain flour
125g cold butter, cubed
100g golden caster sugar
100g Lotus biscuits, roughly broken up
80g Biscoff spread, melted
100g mixed nuts

Preheat the oven to 200°C (180ºC fan).
Lightly butter a deep baking dish. Add the Biscoff spread to a small pan and gently heat until runny. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
Put the flour, butter and a pinch of salt to a medium sized mixing bowl and rub together with your fingers until resembling breadcrumbs. Stir through the sugar and broken biscuits and nuts. Then add the melted biscoff.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until the crumble is golden brown. If preparing in advance, transfer to an airtight containter and refrigerate.


100ml clotted cream
100ml double cream
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Whip together the two creams until combined and forming soft peaks then add vanilla and sugar. Put to the side or store in the fridge if preparing in advance.


2 shots espresso (or 1 tbsp instant coffee)
120g double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g caster sugar
85g unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add sugar and salt and cover with coffee, topping up with water as required. Bring to a simmer, stirring every so often until sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Increase heat to medium-high and cook until deeply golden, without stirring, (4 to 5 minutes more).
Once the caramel is a deep copper colour, turn off the heat and immediately stir in the cream and butter. The mixture will bubble up so be careful! Let it cool slightly in pan, then transfer to a container to cool completely.

home made sesame brittle


*or you can use shop-bought Sesame Snaps

200g sesame seeds
200g granulated sugar
50g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup

Preheat the oven to 180°C
Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium for a few minutes until they turn golden brown, giving the pan a shake every now and then so they don’t catch. Set aside to cool.
Put the sugar, butter, golden syrup, and vanilla extract in a pan and heat over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved. Don’t let it boil! Then take the saucepan off the heat and tip in the toasted sesame seeds and mix well.
Pour the mixture out onto the lined baking tray and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon or spatula, pressing it down as you go. Pop that in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges are starting to brown and crisp up. Remove from the oven and place the tray on a cooling rack. If you want uniform pieces then once it’s cooled a bit score the brittle so that you can break it along those lines later, or just leave it to cool thoroughly and then snap into random shapes. You can sotre your sesame brittle in an airtight container in a cupboard for a week or two if you need to .

All of above can be done few days before you want to serve.

cooking apples in a barbecue


Either fire up the BBQ or pre heat your oven to 190°C. Cut your apples in half, removing the seeds, and roast or bbq until golden brown and softened. You’ll probably want one eating apple per person.
Put two halves of cooked apple and a dollop of the cream on each plate, sprinkle some crumble mixture over, stick a couple of bits of sesame brittle in the cream and then drizzle syrup over it all. Serve, and enjoy!

plate of barbecued Apple, Sesame Brittle, Biscoff Crumble & Coffee Caramel dessert

‘Healthy seas supporting productive fisheries’

As an island nation we’re fortunate to have access to some great fish and seafood, particularly here in Cornwall in particular where we are surrounded by the sea on three sides and have a well-managed fishing industry.

Because of the importance of Cornish-caught fish to the local economy (both the fishers who work our waters and the fish merchants and restaurants and cafes that sell and serve their catch), and the fragility of harvesting wild fish and seafood from the ocean, it’s important that all of us make well-informed and sustainable decisions about what we eat. At various points in the past fish stocks of certain species or particular areas have been overfished or damaging methods used, and stocks have critically declined or collapsed. It happened with the Cornish pilchard and herring fisheries through the early decades of the 20th century, and with mackerel in the mid 1980s (in 1989 the European Economic Community introduced the 6,7000km2 ‘Mackerel Box’ covering the waters around Southwest England and Southwest Wales in which there is a ban on targeted fishing for mackerel by trawlers and purse seiners, and where a hand-line fishery operates with a separate quota allocation). It’s important that we don’t let these sorts of collapses happen again, for the sake of the marine environment and the livelihoods of people who work in the fishing industry, many of whom in Cornwall fish inshore from small boats using inherently sustainable methods. So that’s not to say that we can’t eat fish and shellfish at all, we just need to make informed decisions that are environmentally and economically sustainable.

That’s where the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide comes in.

“The Cornish fishing industry is something we should all be proud of, but knowing what fish to buy is a complicated issue. The Cornwall Good Seafood Guide is an incredible resource that is constantly updated so that consumers as well as those in the fishing and food industries can plainly see what’s best and most sustainable to eat.”

Matt Slater, Marine Awareness Officer & Project Lead, Cornwall Wildlife Trust
fisherman holding a freshly caught pollack on his boat

Launched in 2015 and led by Cornwall Wildlife Trust in partnership with representatives from Cornwall’s fishing industry, the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide aims to help us consumers to eat more sustainable and locally caught seafood. It uses the Marine Conservation Society’s sustainable seafood rating system that is known nationwide, and applies it to fish and shellfish available in Cornwall using local data about fisheries’ health to promote or protect certain species.
Alongside their rating system, fishers, fish-sellers and restaurants can apply to be supporters of the Cornwall Good Seafood guide meaning they have taken a pledge to highlight sustainable Cornish seafood and to offer it to their customers. Philleigh Way Cookery School are supporters and we are proud to be helping spread the word about this vital and important project.

We recently caught up with Oscar Miller, Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Fisheries Liaison and Marine Business Advisor, to find out more about how Cornwall Good Seafood Guide came to be, how it’s developed, and what’s in store for the scheme.

fishing boat in hgarbour with colourful buoys hanging over the side

What was it that prompted the creation of a sustainable seafood guide specific to Cornwall?

For years the members of Cornwall Wildlife Trust were asking for information on seafood – what to eat and what not to eat. We found it was very difficult to find information on the subject, and hard for experts let alone members of the public to make well-informed choices. We decided to work to bring together information on all of Cornwall’s fishing industry into one place where the public could get unbiased information on sustainability. We wanted to rate seafood on its sustainability but rather than create our own system for doing that we decided to work with an existing system – the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide – to provide clear, detailed information on the sustainability of Cornwall’s seafood. The aim is to help businesses and consumers make well informed choices and to help incentivise and steer the fishing industry in a more sustainable direction for the long-term benefit of fishers and our amazing marine environment and its wildlife. Well-managed fisheries provide the most efficient way to provide high quality protein, however poorly managed fisheries result in over fishing and depleted fish populations meaning that fishers and the marine environment are worse off. It’s in everyone’s interest to get fishing right – using the methods with the lowest impact and managing effort to ensure that fish populations are allowed to recover and stay high. This makes the system far more productive and yields the best possible annual catches without risking overfishing.

small inshore fishing day boat returning to port in porthleven, cornwall, followed by a flock 
of gulls

How has the project developed over the last eight years?

We now have a huge amount of traffic to our website, with over 10,000 visitors each month. We have noticed a real improvement in understanding of the industry, and increased awareness from businesses and the public about what to eat and the need for good fisheries management to prevent unsustainable fishing.

How have the fishing industry, hospitality industry, and consumers responded?

Many businesses have changed their menus and have offered local sustainable seafood to their customers. The public are definitely asking businesses and seafood sellers more questions. We have seen a big increase in the number of people buying seafood online, particularly since COVID, and many fish sellers now use our logo to highlight sustainable Cornish options to their customers. Consumers are now far better informed, which is positive. Prices for sustainable seafood are responding well, so fishers are being rewarded for fishing well. Many large buyers of seafood will avoid species with poor ratings so the information is definitely having an impact and incentivising improved fishing management.

chef tutor christian sharpe preparing sole at philleigh way cookery school

Does the project have an end goal or is it ever evolving and reactive to circumstances?

The fishing industry is always changing – at the moment the management of fishing is massively changing due to our leaving the EU, and we are now faced with an opportunity to get fisheries management right for the long term benefit of the fishing industry and the marine environment. It is vital that the public are kept well informed and that we continue to realise the importance of good management of fisheries. Climate change is also creating massive changes in the distribution of fish species across the Atlantic Ocean and over future years we are likely to see warm water species continue to thrive while cool water species decline. The situation is constantly changing and our website and ratings respond to these changes.
We hope to continue providing information to consumers and businesses for many years to come and see our project as being vital in the long term to help influence the fishing industry positively.

If you had one piece of advice for readers about consuming fish, what would it be?

Ask questions! How was it caught? Is it Cornish? Get to know your local fishers and fish sellers and ask for sustainable seafood. Visit our website to check which species and capture methods are on our recommended list. Making sure that you only eat seafood from local well managed fisheries and avoid seafood that has been transported from other areas of the world (with the associated high carbon footprint and often poorer fisheries management) is one of the best ways you can help our oceans.

freshly caught lobster and pollack in a box onboard a fishing boat next to a coiled rope

You can check out the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide here to see their list of recommended fish and shellfish, and recipes from local chefs for how to best enjoy them. If you’re buying fish or ordering it in a restaurant, look out for their logo or ask before you buy!

Cast iron cookware is a fantastic addition to your kitchen cabinet, particularly if you regularly cook outside and barbecue over the summer months. Cast iron pots and pans (often called skillets in the States) are heavy, and they hold and distribute heat really well. They also last FOREVER with the right care and upkeep. Compared to a set of cheap pans that may have hotspots or warp with heat so that they wobble on your hob, cast iron is solid, dependable, and super versatile.

Whether you bought a pre-seasoned cast iron pan from a shop or online, or found a vintage gem at a car boot sale, it will need seasoning every now and then and there are a few golden rules.

Cleaning A Cast Iron Pan

After use, clean your cast iron in hot water with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth, using a wooden spatula to scrape off any stuck-on bits. You can use a small amount of washing up liquid although many people advise against this as it can remove the seasoning on the cooking surface. If food is really stuck on then you can use coarse rock salt as an abrasive to help remove it. Dry the pan thoroughly with a dry tea towel, and you can even put it back on the heat or in a warm oven to dry completely. It’s really important that you pan is absolutely dry before you store it away, so that there is no moisture left on it that might trigger rust. Whatever you do, do not put your cast iron in the dishwasher or leave it in a bowl of water. Once dry, add a teaspoon of neutral cooking oil, such as rapeseed oil, and wipe around and all over using a piece of kitchen paper.

Restoring A Cast Iron Pan

restoring a rusty cast iron dutch oven lid

Just like tools, they don’t make them like they used to. Or, when they do, they’re expensive. If you manage to get your hands on some old cast iron cookware from a car boot sale or the like, or if perhaps you left your Dutch oven with all of your camping stuff in the shed or garage over the winter, then nit might need a bit of restoration.
Remove any surface rust using an abrasive sponge or a wire scourer in hot or hot and soapy water. This will almost certainly affect or remove the layers of seasoning that have built up on the surface, so once free-from-rust, clean and thoroughly dry, you will need to re-season it.

Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware

seasoning a cast iron skillet

The seasoning on cast iron cookware is simply layers of polymerized cooking oil, which means that the oil has been heated to the point where it naturally hardens and creates a blackened, almost non-stick coating. To re-season a pan, you are simply rebuilding these layers of hardened oil. I’d suggest using rapeseed oil, although you can use other neutral cooking oils with high-smoke points (don’t use olive oil). You can either add some oil to you pan and heat it on the hob until it begins to smoke, then turn off the heat and allow to cool before discarding any excess oil and carefully using a clean cloth or piece of kitchen paper to wipe the warm oil around the pan, or you can wipe oil all over your pan and then put it in your oven upside down. Heat your oven to 220, with your extractor hood turned on or a window open in case it creates any smoke. Leave for up to an hour and then turn off and allow to cool thoroughly before removing from the oven. We use our large outdoor pizza oven for this job! Repeating this step (hob or oven) several times will build up layers of seasoning (it should end up looking shiny, like it’s been varnished) and increase the non-stick-ness of your pan.
If you frequently cook fatty food in your pan, such as bacon or steaks, then this will continue to add to the seasoning.
You ought to do this re-seasoning process a couple of times each year, if you’re cooking with your cast iron regularly. Perhaps that means at the end of the summer after a season of barbecues and campfire cooking, and then again in late spring when you take it out of storage before a summer of use, if you primarily use them for outdoor cooking. However, I’d encourage you to use it throughout the year in your kitchen, as they’re such good bits of kit.

Some Tips For Cooking With Cast Iron Pans

Always pre-heat a cast iron pan before cooking with it – if you try to cook from cold your food will likely stick to it, regardless of how much you’ve built up the seasoning! Because they’re solid and heavy, it’s best to preheat for longer and on a slightly lower heat than with other types of pots and pans.
Only occasionally cook acidic foods, such as tomato sauces, citrus fruits and the like in your cast iron pan, because the acids can reduce the seasoning.
“Respect the first touch” as live-fire chef Francis Mallmann famously said – that means put your food in a hot pan and leave it – don’t be tempted to move it around too soon, or too much!
Clean your cookware as soon as possible after use, and dry it thoroughly – I can’t emphasise that enough!

a collection of new and old cast iron cookware

Cooking with cast iron pots and pans may seem like a lot of effort, when you could just use any old cookware. But believe me, it is worth it – for minimal effort (you wash your pans anyway, right?!) you get a great cooking experience and a pan that can cook most things, on the stove top or in the oven, or both for the same dish. If you see an old pan for sale on your travels, pick it up, clean it up, re-season it and enjoy many years of good cooking with it.

Known in Greece as “xoriatiki” (or “horiatiki”), which translates as “rural”, this salad is best kept simple and as intended. Super fresh in-season ingredients, tangy creamy feta cheese, and a simple dressing, it’s got texture and flavour by the bucket-load.


Cherry tomatoes (good handful, or 3-4 large tomatoes
Red onion (medium sized)
Kalamata olives
Feta cheese (200g-ish block)
Oregano (fresh or dried)
Extra virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
(you can add a green pepper too if you like)


Halve the cherry tomatoes or cut regular sized tomaotoes into wedges, in the salad bowl so that the juices collect at the bottom. Cut the cucmber into thick quarters, and slice the red onion into thin rings. Add to the bowl with the olives, then add a good glug or two of olive oil and about a tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Gently stir and toss it all together to coat.
The feta can be placed on top whole or in large slabs depending on how many people you’re feeding (quite traditional) or cut into large cubes. Just because feta crumbles doesn’t mean you crumble it into this salad – cut cubes are better! Incidentally, if you have a colleague or team mate, who crumbles under pressure but retains a decent sense of humour, feta makes for a great nickname 😉
Garnish with a sprinkling of dried oregano and one last drizzle of olive oil, and get stuck in.

Fancy mixing things up a bit? Try adding chunks of watermelon to this salad! You won’t regret it.

If you’re having this as a light lunch then a piece of crusty bread to mop up the dressing is borderline essential. It also goes great as a side with lamb koftas (recipe here).

plate of horiatiki greek salad on a marble table

If there’s one thing that unites us in the UK, it’s a love for drizzling or dolloping sauces over and alongside our meals. In fact, a poll commissioned by Waitrose last summer found that over a third of us have 5-6 jars or bottles of different condiments in their fridge.

a handful of scotch bonnet chillies

As we hit peak summer, lots of us are also trying to find ways to utilise the crops from our veg patches and greenhouses. Last year a friend and I developed a recipe for an absolutely banging smoked chilli sauce that you can buy bottles of from the cookery school or Cove Café. We’re talking Cornish chillis that have been fermented for a fortnight, local apple cider vinegar, confit garlic, and smoking peppers, onions and tomatoes over cherry and oak wood. We went deep on this one!

harvesting chillies in a greenhouse

If you can’t get your hands on a bottle before it all sells out, and if you’ve been growing chillies at home this year like our friend Matt (pictured), then I’ve got a simpler recipe for you to try so that you can put the fruits of your greenhouse or windowsill to good use and cook up a batch of this smokey chilli sauce. It’s incredible poured over…. absolutely everything.

bottles of chilli sauce at philleigh way cookery school


Sterilising your jars or bottles
Wash your jars and lids in warm soapy water and leave to dry on a draining rack – don’t touch the insides! You can dry the lids with a clean, dry, tea towel.
Place the jars and lids in a preheated oven at 180c/160c fan/gas 4 for fifteen minutes.
Remove, allow to cool, and use!

See here for how to make a biscuit tin smoker to put on your barbecue.


500g Chillis (a couple of handfuls, or about 20 chillis, but go steady if you grew Scotch Bonnets like Matt)
1 red onion
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 vine of cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger (grated)
300g castor sugar
250ml apple cider vinegar
1 – 1.5l water (you can use half and half cloudy apple juice if you like)
1 bay leaf
Rosemary – sprig
Thyme – small bunch

charring red peppers on a barbecue


Whether you have a biscuit tin smoker that you can pop on your barbecue (see here for how to make one yourself) an offset smoker, or are keeping it as simple as a barbecue with a lid, smoke the chillis and garlic for an hour or two. If you have any fruit wood or shavings (apple or cherry) that’d be ideal. Whilst your barbecue is lit, char the peppers, onions and tomatoes.
Remove the skin from the charred veg, and roughly chop with the smoked chillis. Put it all into a large pot or casserole, add the rest of the ingredients going easy on the water or diluted apple juice (start with a litre and add more later if required) and bring up to the boil.
Simmer for an hour over a low heat. Season and taste to check – you can adjust the water, vinegar and sugar to get the balance you’re after.
Blend it with a stick-blender or in batches in a food processor – you can keep it fairly rough or blitz it for a while and then push it through a sieve with the back of a spoon if you want a super smooth sauce. It’s up to you!
Check the seasoning and balance one last time, allow to cool, then decant into your sterilised jars or bottles.Store in a cool cupboard for up to a couple of months, and once opened keep it in the fridge and use it with a week or two. Which won’t be hard.

philleigh way chilli sauce splashed over a marble work top

This is another fantastic recipe for our friends at Wild Cornwall that you can cook at any time of year, but that’s particularly good to cook over fire in the summer months – whether that’s a barbecue, or a campfire for a bit of cowboy authenticity!

For this chilli con carne recipe Rupert picked the Hunter’s BBQ Sauce and Fragrant Rosemary Sunflower Oil from their range of seasonal foraged and home-grown condiments, oils, vinegars, relishes and rubs. The BBQ sauce is deliciously smoky and rich, with sweetness from the raw Trelonk honey balanced with the earthy savouriness from their wild alexanders sea salt.

beef shin chilli con carne with wild cornwall bbq sauce, cooking on a barbecue

You can of course cook this chilli con carne inside using your hob and oven, but we like to cook it on the barbecue, sealing and browning the beef shin on the grill over the embers and creating the chilli con carne in a cast iron pot or Dutch oven, using the lid of the barbecue to add a bit of smoky flavour to the dish. Here’s how to make it:


3 tbsp Wild Cornwall Hunter’s BBQ Sauce
Wild Cornwall Fragrant Rosemary Sunflower Oil
3 Red Onions
500-600g Beef Shin (could use skirt, chuck, braising steak etc)
2 Peppers
2 sticks of celery
1-2 carrots
Half a Chilli – orangey green one
1 tin of beans (kidney beans, cannellini beans, etc)
Bay Leaves
Spice Mix – smoked paprika, cumin, cumin seeds, coriander, oregano
Sherry vinegar
Beef stock

For the dressings:

Small bunch coriander
Small bunch parsley
2 cloves garlic,
Sherry vinegar
Wild Cornwall Fragrant Rosemary Sunflower Oil

Jar mint sauce
Pot Greek yoghurt


Start by seasoning the shin of beef with salt all over. Keep it whole, then chop down into diced cubes later on after initial sealing and browning to go into pan.
Put it straight onto a hot barbecue to get loads of colour on it.

Whilst that is happening, prep the veg:
Chop the onions into large chunks and dice the carrots and celery a bit smaller into 1cm cubes. Chop the peppers into big chunks.
Put a large cast iron pot or casserole on the bbq to warm up. Add a slug of Wild Cornwall’s rosemary infused sunflower oil and when it’s hot add the veg to the pan with the bay leaves. Season with salt, and put it back onto the barbecue or hob
Sweat down the veg whilst the beef finishes colouring (turn it so that it’s coloured on all sides)
Add the spices in and 3-4 tablespoons of barbecue sauce, with a glug of vinegar.
This will create a sweet/sour paste in bottom. Add brown sugar if want to sweeten it more.
Take the beef off the grill and dice into large cubes.
Add to the pan and top up with beef stock, to around half way or just covering the ingredients. From this point it could take take 2-3 hours cooking it low and slow in the oven (150-170 degrees C) to break down all the collagen and ligaments, or slightly less time over the heat of the barbecue.
Leave the lid OFF the pot, but put the lid ON the barbecue.
If you want a punchy smoky flavour then place a piece of fragrant wood (apple, cherry, beech etc) that’s been soaked in water onto the grill rack off the barbecue off to one side.
Come back to it after 45 minutes to 1 hour, and put the lid on the pot for the remaining cooking time.
Add beans at this point, roughly half way through the cooking time.
You’re looking for the beef shin to pull apart and be nice and soft. Top up the pot with beef stock if needed, or put a bit of baking paper over it (called a cartouche) to stop the steam from escaping and the chilli from drying out too much.

Make green dressing with coriander, parsley and garlic, vinegar and rosemary oil. Finely chop a couple of cloves of garlic. Season with a touch of salt, and add a glug of vinegar. This recipe uses parsley and coriander, but any soft green herb will do. Chop roughly. Add Rosemary oil. Mix.

The Mint dressing is simply a jar of mint sauce mixed with Greek yoghurt ad seasoned with salt.

beef shin chilli con carne with wild cornwall bbq sauce

Serve with white rice – basmati or long grain. You could put more beans or root veg in to reduce or replace the beef. It’d also be great served with tacos.
Top with green dressing and mint yoghurt, and enjoy!

Duchy Opera returned to Park House on the outskirts of Truro on the first weekend in July for another year of the wonderful Park House Opera. This year the performance was a double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana (the incredibly moving and dramatic Italian opera that featured in the final Godfather film) and Trial by Jury (another entertaining and comic Gilbert and Sullivan opera) and we were delighted to cook for the Gala nights on Friday and Saturday. We planned and served a seasonal Italian menu, and really enjoyed another year of being involved with this fantastic, atmospheric and entertaining evening in Cornwall’s summer calendar.

gala night dinner by philleigh way at park house opera 2023



Lemon arancini – truffle mayo
Goats cheese Cannoli – red onion chutney
Pickled sardines – pine nuts, orange & raisins
Pesto Trapanese bruschetta
Stuffed courgette with chilli & garlic



Rolled pork loin stuffed with orange, fennel & pancetta served with polenta with roasted green salsa

Caponata served with same sides




If you missed out this year, then plan ahead to get a ticket for next summer’s performance of Die Fledermaus, a rumbustious drunken tale of the shenanigans at a Viennese costume ball. Early Bird tickets will go on sale before Christmas, and you can find out more about Park House Opera here.

If a BBQ seafood feast on a secluded beach on the south coast takes your fancy, then join me at this unique dining experience on the beach at Hotel Meudon next week.

On Wednesday 28th June I will be cooking a seafood banquet of locally caught lobster and fresh fish over open fire. Teaming up with the beautiful Hotel Meudon, we will be transforming Bream Cove on Cornwall’s south coast into a magical open-air restaurant for one night only.

bream cove

It’s a relaxed affair – think beach blankets, sand between your toes, the sound of the ocean, and the delicious smoky smell of the day’s catch cooking.

Tickets start from £39 and are available to purchase from the link below.

The evening will begin at Hotel Meudon as you enjoy a welcome drink and canapé starter prepared by the hotel’s new Head Chef David Waters, before making your way down through the sub-tropical leafy gardens to the beach. Unroll your picnic blanket and watch me prepare a main course feast of catch of the day, half lobster, grilled asparagus, fennel salad, garlic mids, focaccia and aioli, cooked over fire on our drumbecues.

cooking lobster on a barbecue

Drinks will be available to purchase throughout the evening from the Bream Box, and dessert will be served on the beach courtesy of Hotel Meudon before strolling back through the gardens for optional nightcaps at Freddie’s Bar.

This unmissable pop-up event will officially mark the launch of Hotel Meudon’s Feast Series – a collection of unique dining experiences in picturesque locations, celebrating the culinary expertise of brilliant local guest chefs. I’m honoured to be kicking off the season for them!

Wednesday 28th June 2023 – Arrival at 6.30pm | £39 per person + £15 lobster supplement

BBQ “catch of the day”, shellfish – chermoula

Half lobster – dill & garlic butter (£15 supplement)

Grilled asparagus – truffle oil

Persian fennel salad

Garlic mids



(subject to seasonal and supply)

*This is a relaxed dining event, and guests are asked to please bring their own blankets/cushions/chairs for the beach plus plates and cutlery for the open-fire feast. Please note that we will not be able to provide these on the night.


Tomahawk Steak with Mechouia Salad

St Ives Food Festival is always such a great weekend. Taking place in mid-May, this food festival on Porthminster Beach has the most incredible backdrop for the chefs lucky enough to be invited to demonstrate a recipe on the Asado Fire Pit stage.

On Sunday 14th Rupert shared with the crowd how to make mechouia salad, a fantastic traditional Tunisian dish of grilled Mediterranean vegetables that goes incredibly with barbecued meats or works as a stand-alone dish. It’s a frequent favourite at our Wooodfired Cooking courses!

tomahawk steak and mechouia salad

Mechouia (also known as slata mechouia in Tunisian Arabic) has a base of char-grilled tomatoes, onions, peppers, chillis and garlic, which are coarsely chopped and seasoned before being dressed with olive oil. Rupert cooked a tomahawk steak over the coals, serving it medium-rare, sliced over the mechouia.

Cook your steak to your preference, remembering to oil your steak (whether or not you use a pan) and, once placed on the grill, not to move it until you come to turn it. And, of course, rest it before slicing and serving!

rupert cooper demonstrating how to cook a tomahawk steak at st ives food festival

Here’s how to make the mechouia to serve it on:


4 Medium Tomatoes

2 Red Peppers

2 Large Jalapeno Peppers

2 Small Onions, the outer paper leaves removed

1 Teaspoon Caraway Seeds

½ Teaspoon Coriander Seeds

2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon red wine Vinegar

Salt and Pepper to Taste


Using either a grill or BBQ fire, char the outsides of the tomato, peppers, and onions until they’re completely blackened and blistered, turning frequently to char all sides. You can put the onions directly into the coals of the fire. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap to allow them to steam in their own heat for 15 minutes.

Peel the char off of the vegetables, coarsely chop them and place them in a bowl.

Toast the caraway and coriander seeds in a dry pan for a few minutes until they become fragrant. Grind them into a powder in a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle.

Add the spices with the olive oil and vinegar to the chopped vegetables and stir well. Salt and pepper to taste.

Header image by Nik Read, article images by Sam Buckle. Thanks to both for sharing their work with us.

We recently welcomed the team from our Roseland near-neighbours Wild Cornwall to Philleigh Way, to work on some summer recipes utilising their range of seasonal foraged and homegrown condiments, oils, vinegars, relishes and rubs. First up, spatchcock sweet chilli chicken!

chef rupert cooper checking a chicken on the barbecue

This dish of whole barbecued sweet chilli chicken, wedges and coleslaw is perfect for cooking and eating outside now that the sun’s come out, but you can just as easily make it in your kitchen (then carry it outside to eat). It uses Wild Cornwall’s punchy Rambler’s Sweet Chilli Sauce that features Calendula flowers for an earthy flavour to add balance and depth, and foraged water pepper (Arsesmart) for a hot and peppery punch.


Wild Cornwall Rambler’s sweet chilli sauce
Whole medium chicken
White potatoes
Half red onion
Half a white cabbage
Half a red cabbage
Vinegar (red or white wine vinegar)
Plain natural yoghurt
Coriander leaves (optional)
Spring onions (optional)


For The Coleslaw
Finely slice half a red onion
Season with salt and pepper
Add some vinegar to reduce the acidity of the onions
Slice the red and white cabbage
Add Wild Cornwall Rambler’s Sweet Chilli sauce
Add the yogurt and mayo
Give it a mix and that’s your coleslaw done
Here you could add coriander or spring onions as extras.

To spatchcock the chicken with a pair of scissors or secateurs for reduced cooking time, cut alongside the back bone from one end to the other and the same on the other side.
Turn it over
Give it a push down
Season with salt
Brush on wild Cornwall sweet chilli sauce
Put the chicken in a barbecue with a lid, or the oven
Leave to cook for an hour and a half to two hours
Keep basting with the sweet chilli sauce

To check the chicken is done either use a thermometer or check the juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife in the thigh.

Cut the potatoes in wedges and par boil for 10-15 minutes. Drain and give them a little shake to rough up the outsides. Preheat a roasting tray with a slug of oil, then spreads out the wedges and put in the barbecue or oven to cook and crisp up.

spatchcock sweet chilli chicken with wedges and coleslaw

Monday marks the start of British Tomato Fortnight 2023, which runs from May 29 through to June 11th to coincide with peak tomato season in the UK. And now that the sun’s out and summer seems to have arrived, it’s salad season and this classic from last week’s Taste of Tuscany course is simple, delicious and filling. Enjoy!

growing tomatoes in a greenhouse


  • 200g stale (unsliced) bread
  • 600 g ripe mixed tomatoes,roughly chopped
  • 1 handful small capers, drained
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and very finely sliced
  • 8 anchovy fillets in oil (optional), drained and finely sliced
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Bunch of fresh basil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
heritage tomatoes for sale


Tear the bread into rough 3cm pieces and place on a tray. Leave aside in a warm place for around 30 minutes – this helps to dry it out.
Place the tomatoes in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Rinse the capers, squeezing out any excess liquid and add to the bowl, along with the onion, ciabatta and anchovies, if using. Toss the mixture together with your hands, then stir in 2 tablespoons of vinegar and about 3 times as much extra virgin olive oil. Taste and add a little more salt, pepper, vinegar or oil, if needed.
Tear in the basil leaves, stir together and serve. Delicious with barbecued meats or roast chicken.

panzanella salad made on a taste of tuscany cookery course at philleigh way

As part of last week’s Roseland Festival, Rupert had the pleasure of teaming up with Roseland Market Garden to host a long-table garden supper in their polytunnel for forty lucky diners on Thursday May 4th. The menu consisted of Roseland Market Garden’s spring seasonal vegetables and delicious home-reared, grass-fed hogget from the farm, all enjoyed sat at a table laid down the centre of their polytunnel in the heart of their veg patch.

produce in wooden crates at roseland market garden

“The mission: to connect our guests with the finest of produce, reared and grown in the very fields we are dining in. A truly beautiful and unique concept. Mission accomplished.”

Jamie Hext, Roseland Market Garden
garden supper srved on a long table laid in a polytunnel at roseland market garden for the roseland festival

“What an amazing and unique experience Everything looked lovely and the food was fantastic, especially that lemon posset pudding!”

Josh Hoole, Roseland Festival Vice Chair, Publicity & Events Co-Ordinator
main dishes at the philleigh way and roseland market garden polytunnel garden supper event

Whipped feta crostini – dukka
Baba ganoush flatbread


Griddled mangetout – olive oil – smoked paprika
Anchovies, orange, raisins & pine nuts
Carwarthen spinach saag aloo & pickled ginger


Smoked hogget, cavolo salsa verde served with sprouting garlic & roasted onions/squash


Lemon posset, ginger crumble & black fruit sauce

We are really excited to announce that, alongside the cookery school, Rupert has also taken over the ownership and running of Cove Cafe overlooking St Ives Bay at Riviere Towans, Hayle. It’s such a fabulous location and spot, nestled into the rocks just above the sand with a view across the bay towards St Ives.

cove cafe at Riviere Towans, Hayle

We’re looking forward to offering simple and great tasting dishes such as Cornish fish soup, mushroom fricassee and mussels with ‘nduja and mascarpone. We’ll also be continuing our ethos of working with local suppliers, such as Trevaskis Farm, Primrose Herd, Dodo Bakery and Homage to Bovine and using seasonal ingredients. The menu will change regularly with something for everyone.

mackerel pate on toast

“Taking on Cove Cafe is actually something I’ve wanted to do for over five years – the timing was never right, so now everything has aligned, I’m really excited to get started. My vision is for Cove to become a near-enough 12-month beach café with a simple offering, welcoming both locals, and visitors to enjoy wholesome food, incredible scenery and great hospitality.”

Rupert Cooper

Aside from the daytime offering, we’re looking to continue and expand the legacy of evening events, which promises to be exciting. Cove Cafe opens on Wednesday 3rd May and will then be open Wednesday – Sunday from 9.30am to 3.30pm with no booking needed.

cove cafe

We’ve have some work to do getting the space set up, re-branded and ready to open and it’s been a busy few weeks to say the least, but now that the paint’s dry (just!) we want to welcome you to a little opening party this Sunday, May 7th. Four courses of goodness and plenty of fantastic wine and beer on offer (It’s a bank holiday after all!) We have 30 tickets available for inside, but if you want to gamble on the day and sit outside then let us know. Menu and the link to book are below:

“Fit For A King” Lunch Menu

“Canapes for a King”
Cove fish soup, Cornish Yarg crostini & dill
Smoked striploin of beef, roasted onions, horseradish sour cream, confit garlic mids served with burnt lettuce & wild garlic salsa
Sticky ginger pudding, clotted cream and rum sauce


On the weekend of the 21st-23rd April, the small harbour town of Porthleven on the south coast of Cornwall once again played host to an epic food festival. For one weekend in April every year, the harbourside and the park at the centre of the small town are taken over by marquees, stages and stalls, and food lovers from across the country arrive for a weekend of inspiring food and drink featuring the best chefs and producers from Cornwall and beyond. Philleigh Way’s Rupert Cooper had the honour of compering the festival’s Chef’s Theatre stage alongside the festival’s chef patron Jude Kereama on Friday, introducing the presenting chefs, talking the crowd through their recipes and lending an extra pair of hands when needed.

looking down on porthleven and the harbour during the food festival

The big ticket event for Porthleven Food Festival this year however was the Feasts At The Net Loft, hosted by Rupert. He had a busy weekend! Held in the beautiful and characterful old Net Loft on the harbourside with views out across the fishing boats, Rupert hosted a three-course feast on the Friday and Saturday nights and then a special Sunday lunch. The Friday feasts featured dishes from friends and acclaimed chefs Jude Kereama, Guy Owen, and Andrew Tuck (who’ve all competed on the hit BBC Two TV programme Great British Menu) paired with a wine flight selected by sommelier Elly Owen, and on Sunday it was all about the seasonal roast.

long table laid for feast at the net loft by rupert cooper at porthleven food festival

Friday & Saturday Feast Nights

Black & blue onglet, parmesan, pickled jalapenos, watercress – Andy Tuck
Slow cooked Catalan style charred octopus
Grilled asparagus with Cornish yarg dressing (v)
Wild pesto & sourdough crackers (v)
Bread – trufle butter – dips (v)
Kota Kai Pork Char Sui with grilled Asian greens – Jude Kereama
Spring vegetable orzo – mojo verde with smoked onions (v)
BBQ Hispi cabbage with feta & onion – Guy Owen (v)
Roasted potatoes with confit garlic (v)
Rhubarb & Cornish fairing cheesecake, roasted rhubarb with stem ginger & Cornish Gin (v)

sharing starters at a net loft feast at porthleven food festival

Sunday Lunch

Spring minestrone (v)

Smoked & roasted Cornish Pork served with traditional roasted vegetables, stuffing & cider gravy
Veggie Pie served with traditional roasted vegetables, stuffing & veggie gravy (v)
Rhubarb & seasonal fruit crumble, served with Rossa’s clotted cream (v)

evening stalls and food tents at porthleven food festival

Images by Here Now Films for Porthleven Food Festival.

Cooking with children is a great way to help them to develop a healthy relationship with food. When they’re young they don’t have to be involved from start to finish – just the fun messy bits that they’ll enjoy! This recipe for lentil and beef meatballs with pasta is a healthy one pan meal that the kids can help make, and that the whole family can enjoy. Give it a go!

lentil and beef meatballs with orzo pasta


400g can green lentils, drained
400g good quality beef mince
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
400g chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
400g small pasta shapes, like orzo or macaroni
30g Parmesan or other hard cheese
(Optional) fresh parsley to serve


Start by chopping all of the vegetables before making your meatballs.

In a bowl add the mince, lentils, mixed herbs and season. Then squash and combine the mixture (get the kids involved! They can’t break it!) until it become smoother. You want to really work the mixture to mash it all together so that the meatballs don’t break apart when cooking.

Form meatballs the size of a ping pong ball and add to a large high sided cold casserole pan. Once they have all been shaped, put the pan onto a medium high heat, and brown the meatballs on 2/3 sides. You may need to cook them in batches. Don’t move them too quickly!

When they have coloured nicely remove from the pan to a plate, turn the heat down to medium and add the veggies. Gently sweat off for 4-6 mins, then add the tomato puree. Add the chopped toms, rinse out the can and fill with hot water and add to the mixture. Stir in the pasta and then add the meatballs back in.

Simmer with the lid on gently for 12-15 mins or until the orzo is cooked ( you can top up with water if needed).

Serve with a generous grating of cheese and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

young child making meatballs for dinner

One billion people around the world rely on fish and seafood as their primary source of protein, with 3.3 billion getting at least 20% of their animal protein from fish. Fish and seafood are incredibly important not only for people’s diets but also for many people’s livelihoods, however the scales of sustainability aren’t always balanced and so sources and stocks need to be carefully managed and we need to consume consciously if we are to avoid catastrophic collapses. This recipe is all about helping you to do that – it’s a quick and delicious meal using tinned sardines that ticks the boxes for great value, sustainable and local fish.

Cornish Sardines and Pilchards

Cornwall has a long history of fishing for pilchards – small silver fish that we now call sardines that are caught as shoals in inshore waters. Historically, fishing boats would row out and lay a large wall of netting around a shoal of fish and then draw it in. The catch was then pressed for oil and the fish salted and laid in barrels for transport in the fish cellars that can be found in so many of Cornwall’s old fishing villages. These days fishing boats encircle the shoals with a ring net (a modern take on a purse seine net). How sustainable sardines are depends on where they are caught, but one of the most sustainable fisheries where fish stocks are actually increasing, is the Cornish fishery that catches fish in the Celtic Sea and English Channel. According to Cornwall Good Seafood Guide there are
14 vessels (all under 15m) fishing for sardines in Cornish waters. All of these boats belong to an organisation called the Cornwall Sardine Management Group and through this the Marine Stewardship Council has accredited the fishery. CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) carries out a survey every year and stock levels of sardines in our area appear to be healthy and improving.

tin of cornish sardines

The Benefits of Tinned Fish

Fish, particularly oily fish such as sardines, are a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein. Tinned or canned fish provide just the same amount of these and have the same nutritional values as fresh fish. The benefit of canning fish is that they have a really long shelf life. The fish are processed then sealed in an airtight can, sometimes in a sauce, and the can is heated to make it sterile which also cooks the fish. Tinned fish can have a shelf life of anywhere between 1-5 years and can be eaten straight of of the tin or used in a recipe like this.

tinned sardine and tomato pici

Tinned Sardine & Tomato Pici Pasta


200g semolina flour
100ml warm water


Pici pasta (or any string pasta)

1 tin of Cornish Sardines (or any MSC certified tinned oily fish)
Handful of cherry tomatoes
1 pinch of chilli flakes
3 cloves of garlic
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Fresh basil

Pangrattato (optional)


You can use shop-bought dried linguini or spaghetti. But if you want to make the pici, in a bowl weigh 200g semolina flour, add a pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil then pour in 100ml of warm water. Combine and then begin to knead until pliable and soft like playdough. Wrap and put into the fridge for at least 30mins. Without adding any extra flour, roll the dough out into a 1cm thick round. Next, cut the dough into ¼ inch thick strips. Make the Pici – One at a time, roll each strip out on a clean work surface to resemble thick spaghetti. The pasta needs enough grip to roll so don’t add any flour or you won’t be able to roll it out. Place each piece of rolled out pici on a tray or separate area dusted with flour or semolina to stop them sticking

Heat a saucepan or high sided frying pan. Then with a little veg/rapeseed oil put the cherry tomatoes in. You’re looking to blister and burn them! Don’t be shy. While they are frying, finely chop the garlic
When the tomatoes are nicely charred and beginning to break, turn the heat down, drizle a little olive and add the garlic. Season.
Add the tinned sardines, oregano and vinegar. Gently simmer for 7-10mins. Season with black pepper and the chilli flakes. The sardines will provide enough saltiness.
Boil your pasta until al-dente then add that to the “sauce” with a little pasta water. Cook and incorporate.
Serve with torn basil leafs and pangrattato. Enjoy!

tinned sardine and tomato pici with pangratata

In our Store Cupboard Essentials series we’ve dived into the details of which cooking oils and vinegars you should always have to hand when cooking, or the differences between the various types of paprika, for example. But, I’ve not yet shared my list of the staple items that I suggest you keep your store cupboard or pantry* stocked with. Whether you’re starting afresh or having a spring clear out of your kitchen cupboards and getting rid of all of those tins and jars that are waaay past their best-before date, I hope that this helps.

the contents of a kitchen cupboard with branded tins, bottles and jars



Olive oil
Sunflower/rapeseed oil
Sesame oil

cooking oils on a shelf at philleigh way cookery school


Red wine vinegar
Cider vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
White wine or Sherry vinegar
Rice wine vinegar

a collection of essential vinegars from the store cupboard at Philleigh Way cookery school in cornwall


Dijon or wholegrain mustard
Soy sauce
Fish sauce


Cajun/all purpose seasoning
Ground coriander
Garam masala/curry powder
Chilli flakes
Smoked paprika
Mixed herbs
Black pepper

contents of a kitchen spice drawer

Jars and Bottles

Tomato paste
Vegetable/chicken/beef stock


Tinned tomatoes
Tinned cannellini/butter beans – ANY BEANS!!

Dry Goods

Lentils/split peas
Strong bread flour
Self raising

*Few people have a pantry in their homes, but pantry or larder cupboards are popular in larger modern kitchens. Historically a larder was a cool cupboard or room built into the north or west side of a house (because those walls get less sun) with stone shelving built into the walls so that the whole space is below ambient room temperature; they were used to store perishables such as butter, milk, cheese and eggs, and the name comes from a time when they were used to store meat that had been covered in a layer of lard to further help in preserving it. A pantry is a similar large walk-in cupboard or small room dating back to medieval times used as additional storage for a kitchen, used to store bread originally but that over time became a general dry goods and crockery store.

When it comes to eating well, there are a number of different ways to look at it; here at Philleigh Way we try to cover them all. Eating well for the planet and environment is something that more and more people are taking into consideration these days. It is a nuanced topic full of debate, and it’s easy to get distracted by the arguments and side-taking. There are a few things that each of us can do, and for meat-eaters and flexitarians, eating wild game or replacing farmed meat with wild game, particularly replacing beef with venison, is one of them.

Venison is nutrient rich, and is the result of deer grazing the grass, plants and trees that we can’t eat directly. Deer no longer have any natural predators in the British Isles and as a result their population booms with disastrous consequences. They often end up having a negative impact on biodiversity within forests and woodlands, damage and destroy crops, and there are often cases of starvation and death amongst deer populations when their population outstrips their food supply. Every year in the UK, around 350,000 deer are culled to keep their numbers under control so that they don’t outgrow their food sources or become a nuisance to farmers. There is also a net benefit to the smaller wildlife and birds that would be outcompeted by deer. In short, by controlling wild deer populations, nature wins and we get nutrient and mineral rich, lean, organic meat that has none or only a fraction of the carbon footprint of farmed red meat. You certainly couldn’t meet the nation’s appetite for red meat with wild venison, but at the moment it’s under utilized and we could and should be eating more of it.

We recently caught up with Scott Martin of wild game supplier Duchy Game at Pelean Cross, just outside Ponsanooth, to find out more about wild game in Cornwall.

Scott started out hunting rabbits. “I used to go out with lurchers, because farmers liked it because you weren’t taking guns on the land with livestock, and the lurchers were stock trained so they wouldn’t touch the stock but they would pick up rabbits.” He tells us. “I was getting 100-150 in a night which was really good. I was earning way more money doing that than from my day job! I was aware I had to be sustainable. I had an end use for what we were catching.”

Now he supplies wild rabbits and pigeons shot on his family’s farm, with wild venison from Tregothnan Estate making up the majority of the wild “fur” game meat that he sells (rather than feathered game). He’s one of a dozen or so people who regularly hunt at Tregothnan, the seat of Viscount Falmouth and the ancestral stately home of the Boscawen family just outside Truro (they have lived there since 1334). The estate is estimated to be almost twice the size of The Duchy of Cornwall’s holdings.
“In the early 1900s, fallow deer were seen as a good parkland deer. The stately home at Tregothnan has a 300-acre park that surrounds it. Other places like Powderham Castle near Exeter have a lot of deer, or Prideaux Place in Padstow. In Richmond Park up in London there’s a big herd of fallows and reds, they coexist together up there. At Tregothnan over the years some deer have escaped from the parkland into the greater estate. They’re famously good at jumping fences! The greater estate over there is massive – it covers thousands of acres.” Scott says that around 400-550 deer are culled there every year to keep the numbers down for grazing purposes and so that the deer don’t end up going hungry (which for wild game meat would result in a poor quality carcass), and that only around 100 of those come from the park itself. The rest come from the greater estate. “There’s been reports of them over the other side of Tregony and Gerrans on the Roseland. During the shooting season the more they cull, the further the deer will spread. In the 3-4 months in the summer when they’re not being culled they all wander back towards Tregothnan as it’s quieter and there are more bucks in the park.”

One condition of sourcing from Tregothnan is that the meat can only be sold within Cornwall, but there is a benefit that it all comes from a single traceable source. Wild game is not farming, however. “I can only sell what’s been shot.” Scott says. “I can’t go and pull an animal out of the field – with livestock farming you gauge, you know your numbers, you know your stock, you know the busier times and quieter times of year it terms of demand and all that sort of thing. Game is a bit different because it’s weather dependent, light dependent, and so on. There are loads of different factors that come into it.” He goes on to explain that if it’s really stormy or windy weather then the deer tend to stay in the woods and during those periods he doesn’t tend to hunt as much. “The last few weeks have been lovely and normally it’s unheard of to shoot 20-30 in February for the whole month, but they’ve shot that in around 10 days this year because the weather has been so good and they are able to hit them.”

There are legal seasons for shooting different deer, as well as the weather and hunting conditions to consider. Most of the venison that Scott shoots, butchers and sells is from fallow deer. Roe deer are the small deer that most people see occasionally in fields and on the edges of woodlands, in ones and twos; they don’t really move in herds. Fallow deer stay in herds from six individuals up to perhaps 90 or 100 animals. Because of the smaller size of roe bucks, which are in season during the summer, Scott doesn’t tend to take them. “I can’t get a high enough meat yield on the roe, I can’t get good haunch steaks.” He says as we tour his on-site butchery. “These legs are quiet small-ish fallows, but still I can just about get the three main muscle groups out of the legs. With roe I don’t, I just sell it whole on the bone. They are too small. Financially it doesn’t make much sense. I do shoot a few roe at Tregothnan but 98-99% of what we shoot are fallow deer.”

Scott’s views are that the animals that we eat should be treated with respect, and that waste should be avoided. “My personal view is that an animal should be killed in it’s own environment instead of being put on a trailer and dragged around everywhere.” He says. “Working with Tregothnan they are very good, because they are more interested in making sure the meat is processed properly for the food chain, which is another reason I don’t want or need to take venison from anywhere else because I know how it’s been treated. If you’ve got someone purely thinking of financially gain they don’t always treat the carcass with respect. They are just thinking about what they’re going to get paid for it.” Scott cites the varying demand for wild game and particular cuts of venison, and how it doesn’t necessarily lead to some people utilising the whole beast. “All the restaurants wanted at Christmas was loin. If I could have been getting five saddles off every deer I would have been quids in, but that isn’t the case!”

Scott tries to send the hides off to be tanned, however because they are wild deer only about 60% are good enough to be sold because the deer skins had been damaged from rutting and snagging. The ones that couldn’t be sold whole are turned into cushion covers – all efforts to use the whole animal and get the best return on investment, particularly considering the cost of disposing of waste properly.

When it comes to the meat itself, Scott sells direct to the public from his farm shop at Pelean Cross, between Ponsanooth and Perranwell, and supplies restaurants in the county. “The restaurants seem to like the fallow deer down here, which tends to be slightly fattier, for wild flavour. Red can be very strong. Only 5-10% of people in the UK eat game regularly, whereas in Europe, like France and Germany, it’s up to 70-80%. If you’re trying to introduce people to it then, as with almost all foods, you want the milder version so as not to put people off.”

Our final question to Scott, as we browsed the fridge in the converted vintage lorry that acts as his farm shop in the roadside food court that he’s developing, was if he were going to take his pick for dinner out the fridge what would he have and how would he cook it?
“My favourite cut of game is venison shank. Slow cooked because it’s sort of like a pulled venison. There’s loads of flavour because it’s got the marrow as well. Put that in the slow cooker, a lamb shank would melt away but this stays the same size and it would feed three of you comfortably. It’s a bit different to the standard answer – lots of people come in looking for diced venison for stews, or sausages or burgers.”

You can purchase wild, traceable Cornish game meat from Duchy Game online from their website or by visiting their farm shop at Pelean Produce, Lyndhurst, Pelean cross, Ponsanooth, Truro TR3 7JF.

If you get hold of some of Scott’s diced wild venison, or diced venison from any other source for that matter, then why not give Rupert’s venison kebabs (pictured above) a go – here’s a link to his recipe that he demonstrated on the beach at last year’s St Ives Food and Drink Festival.

Keep an eye out here for our next Game Workshop cookery course to learn how to make the most of the varied game meats that we have available to us here in the UK.

The hospitality industry in the UK is feeling the impact of a serious staffing crisis. And yet, food is an essential and unifying thing for us humans, and we’re lucky in this country to have an economy and society where eating out is available as a treat. Feeding people is a privilege and there are some incredible jobs and career paths in the in the hospitality industry. You only have to look to some of our nation’s best-loved celebrities who are chefs, and their stories, to see what is possible. Here in Cornwall, thanks to our vibrant tourism sector and the incredible produce grown, caught and reared in the Duchy, there are even more of those opportunities.

But despite this, last summer there were a reported 176,000 job vacancies in pubs, hotels and restaurants around the UK – 13% of all job vacancies in the country at the time. At the start of this year, 94% of hospitality businesses were struggling to recruit. Perhaps this is down to the perception of commercial kitchens as shouty, stressful environments, the split shifts and different working hours (often termed ”antisocial”) common in the industry, or a lack of interest in food and cooking amongst school and college leavers. Whatever it is, I’m out to tackle all three and ensure that more young people consider cooking as not just an essential life skill, but an enjoyable and rewarding career.

Truro and Penwith College ‘Employer Week’

A few weeks ago I joined chefs, owners and experts from Cornwall’s hospitality sector at Truro and Penwith College’s annual ‘Employer Week’. Organised by the college’s Hospitality department and Hospitality Table Cornwall (part of the ESF Business Clusters project, which is part funded by the European Social Fund), the week is designed to inspire students, increase awareness of the variety of career opportunities in the sector, and raise their aspirations as they get to learn from and “rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in the industry” (their words, not mine!)

“This week will help give our students the time to interact with future employers and learn different styles of hospitality.”

Tony Duce, Hospitality Course Coordinator at Truro and Penwith College

Year 10 Experience Days

Towards the end of 2022 we welcomed eight Year 10 students from Richard Lander School in Truro to Philleigh Way for a part-day “Access To Hospitality” course, with a view to then offering this to other Cornish schools, colleges, and academies. Our aim is to offer a unique and vocationally focused opportunity to students who are interested in a career in food. Cornwall has a large and prosperous hospitality industry, and attracting, nurturing and retaining young talent is something that many of us in the industry are working to improve. Throughout the day we offered insights, tips and practical skills acquisition that students can take with them through further studies and vocational training, all whilst they cooked lunch for themselves and their accompanying teachers. Taking food lessons out of the school classroom can provide a memorable experience for these students that I hope will deepen their interest in pursuing a career in the industry.

“We had the pleasure of taking some of our GCSE students over to Philleigh Way Cookery School in December.

The students had a fantastic time. Rupert is a great teacher and someone who really inspires the younger generation of future chefs! Our students came away with better knowledge of how to knead a bread dough, how to combine flavours to create a range of dishes and used some fantastic knife skills. This benefits our students by giving them key skills that they can use in the classroom, preparing them for when they are choosing the dishes that they wish to create for their practical exam.
Philleigh Way really is special, and the work that Rupert is doing here, is at the heart of it all – he not only inspires the future generation of hospitality stars in Cornwall, but also their teachers – we all learnt a lot from the day, and this has ultimately helped change and mould the way we teach in the classroom – what could be better?

We would thoroughly recommend booking onto one of the courses with your students.”

Lynsey Toms, Head of Design & Technology (Fd/Tx/Cd/H&SC), Richard Lander School

We’re putting together the final touches to this offering before we make it available to other schools, but in the meantime if you are a teacher, school governor or parent who would like to find out about how we an do it for your school, please drop us an email.

February 1st is the last day of the partridge shooting season in England, Scotland and Wales, so that being today it’s a great opportunity to share this recipe so that you can make the most of this wonderful game bird before it’s off the menu for another six months.

Partridge isn’t just for The Twelve Days of Christmas, and this delicate tasting game bird offers a great introduction to cooking and eating wild game. They are small so a single partridge is perfect for feeding one to two people (which looks great when cooking for friends or family) and their pale flesh and delicate flavour isn’t a million miles away from chicken – they’re certainly not as punchy as other game birds. In this recipe, I use a spice rub to flavour the bird, and pair it with the sweetness of roast apples and creamed cauliflower. It’s a great seasonal Sunday roast for the winter months, so visit your butcher this week or next whilst they’re still available!

chef rupert cooper cooking partridge at philleigh way cookery school in cornwall


1 x partridge (½ pp)
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
½ smoked paprika
1 tsp sumac
1 x apple
1 x cauliflower
50g butter
25g double cream
25g milk
2 tbsp Dukka
Olive oil

partridge with spice rub about to be roasted


Pre heat your oven to 190 c. For the cauliflower puree, For the cauliflower purée,
melt the butter in a large pan over a low to medium heat and add the cauliflower
florets. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly until they are just beginning to

Add the milk and cream, season well with salt and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid
and simmer gently for 8-12 minutes, depending on their size, or until the cauliflower
is really soft. Season and blender with a hand blender. Put it to the side.

Then start by heating up a frying pan with a little oil and then brown the bird all over,
then season with the spices and salt generously. Put the partridge onto a baking tray,
and into the oven. 12-15 minutes.

Core and cut the apple into wedges, then in the same pan as the partridge was
coloured in. Add the apple quarters with a dash of oil and salt until golden brown,
transfer on the baking with the partridge for 2 mins.

When the partridge is cooked, warm up the puree and plate up. Sprinkle the dukka
on top to finish the dish.

roast partridge and apple with creamed cauliflower

For more recipes like this and to learn more about the wonderful world of game cookery, join us on our next Game Workshop course on Thursday March 9th.

Menu planning has never been more important, or necessary. Sure, in winter we all spend more evenings at home and each January many of us make commitments to eat better or scrutinise and experiment with our lifestyles, but as we start 2023 with a cost of living crisis, it’s a great way to eat well, for less.

As with the one week meal plans that I prepared and shared at the start of each of the three COVID19 lockdowns, this menu carries ingredients and leftovers from meal to meal to minimise food waste and maximise value for money. Ingredients with short shelf lives such as meat and fish are used in the first half of the menu so that those of you who do a single weekly shop don’t have to worry about expensive ingredients ticking over their use-by dates.

For our vegetarian, vegan, dairy and gluten-free followers or those with other dietary needs, I apologise that not all of these dishes will work for you however I hope that you can still perhaps adapt some of these meals to your requirements or take inspiration from the core concept of carrying over key ingredients or leftovers into other meals. Feel free to replace or omit ingredients and to play around with the recipes and the menu to suit your dietary requirements.

Please click each link to be taken through to the web page with ingredients and instructions.

Sunday – Peri-Peri Roast Chicken

Serve with roast potatoes and corn-on-the-cob. Roast a tray of root veg at the same time to make use of the hot oven, for the winter frittata.

peri peri roast chicken

Monday – Nigella Lawson’s Sunday Night Chicken Noodle Soup (On a Monday)

Use leftover chicken (you can really strip the carcass and use all the bits for the soup) for this classic comfort food meal. Vegetarians and vegans, omit the meat and replace with additional oriental greens, and swap chicken stock for veg stock. Take leftovers to work for lunch.

Nigella Lawson's chicken noodle soup

Tuesday – Winter Frittata

Leftover winter veg and a few eggs is amazing served with cavalo nero salsa. Vegans can make bubble and squeak with leftover roast veg. Take leftovers to work for lunch.

waitrose winter frittata

Wednesday – Smoked Haddock Rarebit

It is said that cheese and fish don’t go together, but I’d say there are a couple of exceptions: fish pie, and this recipe. This dish is a cross between a kedgeree and a classic rarebit. It’s simple, full of flavour, and amazing for a light midweek dinner.

smoked haddock rarebit

Thursday – Fennel Gratin

Another great light and easy midweek dinner, and if this menu is a bit light on meat for your liking then you can always pair it with sausages or similar. Use veg stock instead of chicken stock and cream to make this vegan.

fennel gratin

Friday – Tarka Dhal

Lentils are a great and versatile source of cheap protein, and if you want to reduce your impact on the planet then they are absolutely the way to go. Dhal is a lentil dish that is then tempered with a spiced oil (the tarka). Dhal is almost infinitely adaptable, easy to make and a great source of leftovers for lunches.

tarka dhal recipe by sainsbury's

Saturday – Tomato Bean Stew With Roasted Aubergine

A warming dish for a winter weekend that I prepared for our friends at Rodda’s this autumn. Make it vegan by leaving out the cream.

tomato and bean stew with roast aubergines for rodda's clotted cream

We teach elements of menu planning and how to make the most of all of your ingredients through all of our cookery courses. Our upcoming Eat Well For Less cookery course is now fully booked, but keep an eye out as we’ll be running it again in 2023.

Parsnips are a great winter vegetable – their flavour improves and they become sweeter following frosts, so they’re at their best right now, in mid to late winter. This parsnip risotto recipe is from our recent Italian Christmas course, but isn’t just for Christmas – it’s fantastic right through the winter months. If you buy locally grown vegetables then it’s local, seasonal, and if you have a roast chicken on a Sunday and make a stock with the carcass, it’s a great way to utilise that. Give it a go and let us know what you think!


2 parsnips
Parmesan cheese, for grating
2 pints stock (chicken, fish, or vegetable, as appropriate)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tbsp of butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ a head of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 cups risotto/Arborio rice
1 glass of white wine or vermouth
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp crème fraîche
Pangrattato to serve
Truffle oil to serve


Peel and cut the woody bit from the parsnips (keep the peels) then dice into cubes
Gently fry the parsnips with finely chopped garlic and butter, then add the stock and simmer until parsnip is soft. Then blitz with a hand blender. This will become your risotto stock.
Preheat your oven to 180.
Heat the stock. Put the olive oil and butter into a separate pan, add the onion, and celery, and cook very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. This is called a ‘soffrito’.
Meanwhile, put your parsnip peels in a bowl and toss with some olive oil then roast in the oven until they crisp up – around 20-25 minutes.
When the vegetables in your pan have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.
The rice will now begin to slightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring.
Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding stock a ladle at a time, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes.
Taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully.
Remove from the heat and add the cream and Parmesan. Stir well.
Drizzle over truffle oil and sprinkle with pangrattato (recipe here), then arrange some of your parsnip peel crisps on top and dig in!

bowl of parsnip risotto

Photos by Eaton Photography

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On Friday November 4th, the evening before Bonfire Night, we lit fires of our own at Knightor Winery to cook a Bonfire Feast. It was a fantastic evening and it felt like a great way to welcome winter – outside, around fires, with warming glasses of smokey mulled wine before retiring into the Winery barn to sit at long tables and share plates of seasonal food.

smokey mulled wine at an event at knightor winery

Here’s a gallery of some photos from the night, and for those of you who missed and it want to torture yourself, the menu that we served. If you’re interested in hosting a similar event this winter and you’d like to have us entertain and cook for your guests, or if you like the idea of your staff Christmas party looking like this, then drop us a line to discuss what we can do for you.

chef rupert cooper of philleigh way cookery school cooking a bonfire night feast over fire at knightor winery


Smokey mulled wine
Autumnal canapés
Smoked pork shoulder, woodfired apples dauphinoise served with Knightor gravy and pangrattato
Stuffed squash cooked over coals with pearl barley and cavalo nero salsa verde (vegan)
Knightor Vermouth polenta cake with smokey plum syrup and nut brittle with vanilla crème fraîche

chef rupert cooper of philleigh way cookery school cooking a bonfire night feast over fire at knightor winery
canapes on bonfire night
chef rupert cooper cooking apples over fire at a bonfire night feast at knightor winery
fireside wine at knightor winery
chef rupert cooper of philleigh way cookery school cooking a bonfire night feast over fire at knightor winery
chef rupert cooper and the philleigh way events team plating up dishes in the kitchen
diners sat at long tables at knightor winery for the bonfire feast night with Philleigh Way
bonfire feast night menu at knightor winery
guests serving themselves from sharing plates at the philleigh way bonfire feast night at knightor winery
guests serving themselves from sharing plates at the philleigh way bonfire feast night at knightor winery
long tables and sharing plates at knightor winery bonfire feast night with philleigh way
wine bottle and dessert at the philleigh way feast night at knightor winery

Get in touch (contact details in the footer of this web page) if you’d like to speak to us about cooking at your event, or to find out when and where we’re cooking next, sign-up to our fortnightly newsletter by clicking here.

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