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Heavy Cake

To celebrate Saint Pirans Day, we’ve a treat for you this month by way of a truly Cornish recipe and one of our favourites, Heavy Cake.  Heavy Cake is a rich, fruit pastry rather than a traditional cake texture and as the name suggests contains no raising agents. Fruit is a popular ingredient in many traditional Cornish recipes such as yeast buns and saffron buns and may hark back to the time when the Phoenicians visited the county. A nation of great seafarers and traders, they visited Cornwall over 2000 years ago to export tin. It is thought that they may have been one of the nations to introduce rich fruits and spices including saffron to the county. There are many different versions of this recipe, some include peel, some include sultanas as well as currants and some use only plain flour. This version has been tried and tested in Granny Spears family for over 50 years and we think it’s a pretty tasty one!


¼ lb (100g) Self-raising flour

¾ lb (350g) Plain flour

½lb (225g) Lard

¼ lb (100g) Granulated sugar

4-5oz Currants (to taste)

1 Egg, beaten

A little milk

Baking sheet covered with silicone paper (baking parchment)


Place all of the flour into a bowl and roughly rub in the lard. Do not rub in too finely, leave some lumps.

Mix in the sugar and then add the currents.

Mix in the beaten egg and then add enough milk to form a dough. Do not let the dough get too wet as you need to be able to roll it out. It should resemble pastry.

Split the mixture into two, and shape each half into a rough oval.

Roll out each half into a round or oval shape (whichever you prefer), no less than ½ inch thick. The thicker the dough, the less dry the cake will be.

Place onto a baking sheet that has been lined with silicone paper. Make a criss-cross pattern across the top using a knife, to resemble a fishing net.

Brush with a little milk & sprinkle over a little granulated sugar.

Cook in a pre-heated oven on gas mark 6, 200c (180c fan), for half an hour. The cake should still be slightly moist in the middle.

Saint Pirans Day

This weekend, folks all over Cornwall will be donning black, white and gold and taking part in celebrations around the county in honour of Saint Pirans Day which takes place on Sunday.

Legend has it that Saint Piran (a 6th century  abbot and Saint) floated across the Irish sea to Cornwall having been cast out by the ‘Heathen Irish’ by order of the Irish King who was suspicious of his miraculous healing powers.

According to legend, he was tied to a mill-stone and rolled over the edge of a cliff into stormy seas which immediately calmed, before floating all the way to Cornwall coming ashore at Perranporth. Having made Cornwall his new home, according to legend, he accidentally rediscovered tin-smelting when the ore hearthstone (which contained tin) on his fireplace got so hot it caused a white cross to appear on the surface. For this discovery, he was bestowed the honour of being named ‘Patron Saint of Tinners’ (tin-miners), mining being the backbone of Cornwall at this time. The discovery was also the basis for the Saint Piran flag which is a white cross on a black background  (denoting the hot white tin cross on the black hearthstone background).

Not long after landing in Cornwall, Saint Piran also established an Oratory or, small chapel (the remains of which are visible today after on-going excavation project) on Penhale Sands, close to Perranporth. Every year on St Pirans Day (5th March) a Grand Procession takes place where folks dressed in black, white and gold, the colours of Cornwall, cross the dunes to Penhale Sands, the site of Saint Piran’s cross and also the site of his Oratory. Other celebrations of Cornish music and song are also held throughout the county to view a list of many of them, click here…


48 hours in the Roseland

We are delighted to be featured in an article in this months edition of Food Magazine. Titled ’48 Hours in the Roseland Peninsula’ the article highlights many of the fantastic places to stay, visit and eat in this beautiful part of the world.

To read the full article, click here… Select the March edition of the magazine. The article commences on page 32


Competitive Cooking and Fiddly Focaccia!

We recently welcomed Stef from luxury holiday cottage agency, Boutique Retreats, to the Cookery School to experience our Beginner Bread course. Hear what Stef thought of her day at Philleigh Way, including her competitive side, and how she coped with taming the infamous slippery focaccia dough!

“I try desperately to push away my cookery competitiveness and the notion that I’m in Cornwall’s version of the Bake Off…”

When a space became available on the Beginner’s Bread course at Philleigh Way cookery school, I jumped at the chance. Being a keen cook, I love trying my hand at most things, but had shied away from bread as the last few attempts in the kitchen ended up as being of more use as a house brick than in a sandwich.

The school itself is tucked away in the pretty village of Philleigh, close to the King Harry Ferry and easily found between The Roseland Inn and the micro brewery. It’s situated on Court Farm, which chef George (our teacher for the day) tells us over coffee and homemade cake has been in his family for over five generations. It’s a tranquil, idyllic setting with horses being led past throughout the day and inquisitive pheasants peering in at us through the glass.

All in all it’s a laid back welcome for the day, and Georges’ quiet confidence dissipates any nervousness amongst the students, which today includes a B & B owner and someone who’s been given the course as a birthday present from his wife.

George runs through the bread we’re making today, which includes a standard white loaf, a sourdough loaf and focaccia. He’ll also demonstrate how to make naan and yeast-free soda bread.  He runs through the fundamentals of bread making, including the main ingredients and the benefits of the different types, such as strong plain flour versus spelt and fresh yeast versus quick action yeast. We’ve each been given a clip board with all of the recipes we’ll be attempting  – printed so we can take them home with us at the end of the day.

After being shown how to create the first loaf, we each scuttle off to our work space to have a go ourselves and I try desperately to push away my cookery competitiveness and the notion that I’m in Cornwall’s version of the Bake Off. In fact, it’s wonderfully chummy and laid back – we’re all chatting with each other as we weigh out ingredients and knead away for ten minutes’ or so (and boy did my arms feel it at the end of the day after kneading three loaves).

Next up is the mythic sourdough and how to make a starter mix, which George tells us consists of feeding a paste of flour and water every day for a week until its fermented and bubbling, like a pint of beer with a frothy head. Bakers covert their starter mixes so much that they have to be babysat whenever they go on holiday, very much like a dog or a cat, but less hairy.

Whilst our sourdough is rising, we’ve prepped our first loaves for the oven, slicing across the plump floury dough with a razor blade and slid directly onto the oven shelf. Timers are set and breaths held, as we watch our bread babies cook in the oven.

Sensing the trepidation, we’re treated to a glass of bubbly and a slice or two of cheesy, beery Cornish rarebit that George produces out of nowhere– delicious and much needed after all the kneading and pummelling. Crispy and light, the rarebit showcases locally produced cheese and lighter-than-air bread made on site – just heavenly…

To read Stef’s full report of the course – click here 


This quick and simple dessert will be a sure winner with your loved one this Valentines Day



Serves 2

1 egg (separated)

25g caster sugar

110g mascarpone cheese

2 tsp ground coffee

Coffee sponge cut into rings

2 tsp liquor (ie Baileys, Cornish Lust or Marsala)

20g grated dark chocolate


Dilute the coffee with a three tablespoon of boiling water and add liquor. Leave to cool.

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy then fold in the mascarpone cheese.

Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.

Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.

Soak the sponge in the coffee/liquor mixture for about ten seconds on each side.

In a metal food ring (approximately 7cm in diameter) place a layer of sponge, followed by the cheese then a layer of grated chocolate, continue until the ring is full and finish with a layer of the cheese mixture

Refrigerate for 30 minutes then quickly blow torch the outside of the metal ring and remove.

Dust with a layer of cocoa powder or grated chocolate and serve with some honeycomb, fresh mint and raspberry coulis

(Alternatively, present you Tiramisu in a glass tumbler/wine glass for a sophisticated touch!)

Griddled Mackerel with Tomato Salad

We know how precious time is and how difficult it can be to find inspiration for quick, healthy meals every day. This griddled mackerel dish is we think, a sure winner, as it’s quick to prepare and only takes around 5 minutes to cook once you’ve done the prep.

We highly recommend befriending your local fishmonger or looking into getting fresh fish delivered (our friends at Wing, The Cornish Fishmonger, offer a nationwide fresh fish delivery service) as it’s such a healthy and versatile, quick to cook ingredient to cook with and include in your weekly meal planning.

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Serves 2 as a starter


2 fresh mackerel fillets (bone free)

2 tomatoes (diced)

½ red onion (finely diced)

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp. fresh coriander

½ green chilli (finely diced)

1 tsp. diced fresh ginger (finely diced)

Pinch caster sugar

Splash of rapeseed oil

Sea salt to taste


Place all of the ingredients, except the mackerel, into a bowl and leave at room temperature for half an hour

Heat a griddle pan for at least ten minutes until smoking hot. Rub oil and a little salt over the mackerel fillets and fry, skin side down, until almost cooked. Flip over and cook for a further 10 seconds on the flesh side of the fillet, then remove and keep warm.

Divide the salad between two bowls, top with the mackerel and finish with a little more fresh coriander.

Stollen Muffins

With Christmas just around the corner, why not treat your family and friends to our twist a traditional stollen.

These light and fruity muffins are perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon whilst you put your feet up to watch a festive film or enjoy a peaceful five minutes amidst all the chaos!

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200g Plain flour

50g Ground almonds

1 tsp Baking powder

1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp Ground Cinnamon

100g Golden Caster Sugar

100g Marzipan, diced

25g Pistachio Nuts, roughly chopped

50g Toasted flaked almonds

25g Sultanas or raisins

50g Glace Cherries or Cranberries

50g Dried Apricots

2 Large eggs

100g Unsalted butter, melted and cooled

125ml Full fat natural yoghurt

1 tsp Almond extract

2 tbsp Icing sugar


Heat oven to 220C, gas mark 7. Put paper cases into a 12 hole muffin tin. Mix the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarb, 1/4tsp cinnamon, sugar, marzipan, nuts and dried fruit in a mixing bowl. Whisk together the eggs, melted butter, yogurt and almond extract, then pour over the dry ingredients and very quickly mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture has just come together – the most important thing is not to over-mix – don’t worry if there are still a few floury bits.

Quickly divide the mix between the cases and put in the oven on the top shelf. Bake for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to 180C, gas mark 4, and bake for 15 minutes more until they are risen, golden, and a skewer inserted into the middle of them comes out clean.

Once they have cooled a little and are firm enough to handle, lift out of the tin onto a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes. Mix the icing sugar and remaining ¼ tsp cinnamon and sieve over the muffins. Best served warm. The muffins will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container or alternatively, free and take out in the morning if you have guests arriving that day. Simply warm through in the oven for a few minutes before serving.

If you plan to serve these on Christmas morning, cut down on prep time by weighing and mixing all the dry ingredients the day before. Serve warm dusted with icing sugar and a dollop of Cornish clotted cream if feeling particularly decadent!

Pan Fried Venison Loin with Chocolate and Chilli Sauce

Make the most of the game season with this delicious venison dish.

Perfect for winter night’s in, this dish is quick to prepare and only requires a few ingredients.

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Serves 2 


Venison loin (around 300g in weight)

1 small red chilli – deseeded

1 clove of garlic

Oil for frying

100g chopped tomatoes

150ml beef stock

80ml port

1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly

1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder


Seal the loin in a frying pan and then oven roast for approximately 5 minutes at 200o. Set aside to rest.

Finely chop the chilli and garlic and sweat off with the oil in the same frying pan.

Add the port and reduce. Add the stock and tomatoes and cook out until a sauce consistency is reached.

Stir in the redcurrant jelly.

Add the coca powder (sieved) and season.

Slice loin into medallions 1cm thick and present on serving plate and cover with the sauce.

Serving Suggestions – serve with fresh bread for a simple starter or, with seasonal greens and spiced cous cous for a hearty main.

Food Magazine Reader Awards

Voting is now open in for Food Magazine, Food Reader awards and we’d love it if you’d vote for us in the Best Cookery School category. You can vote in as many categories as you like but if you want to, you can just vote for us and submit your entry. Fingers crossed! Click here to vote..


Satisfied customer

We always love to hear feedback from students (or their family if it was a gift that was purchased), it was super to receive this email last month from Karina who had booked her husband onto our Argentinian Asado course for his birthday.

“Hi Lindsey, I have been meaning to contact you.

My husband Stu had an amazing time on the Asado course. It was a birthday present and I was a bit worried that it would not match up to expectations. I have always bought him adrenaline experiences but, now he has taken up sky diving as a hobby, he is not interested in anything else so I was a bit stuck for ideas this year.  I was so pleased when I stumbled across your course ( I was actually looking for asado restaurants as I  was not aware that this kind of course even existed. Thankfully it ticked every box so I got loads of brownie points.  He had a really fabulous day and Dave was so kind and helpful and inspiring. Stu used to be a chef, has a passion for cooking and has been obsessed by the idea of  cooking asado for the last 3 years. I was therefore a bit worried that the course might not provide what he wanted as he had done so much research. However he was very happy and got loads out of it. His dad has recently built him an amazing grill,  which can easily lift our 11 old daughter up  – not that we plan on cooking her (just yet!).  Once he has got that set up he is looking forward to putting all his new found knowledge into practise. I will be on duty to provide the side dishes so thanks for all the recipes that were sent after the event. We are looking forward to a feast – although not sure how the 2 lots of vegetarian neighbours will cope!

Many thanks again.  Karina B”

(a very satisfied customer)

Our Argentinian Asado course takes students on an odyssey into grilling the Argentinian Way. Lighting fires and grilling beef is a way of life from the Glaciers of Tierra del Fuego to the northern peaks of the Andes.

Student’s will learn many techniques including Parrilla (cooking on a wood grill), horno de barro (wood oven), to his boldest method Asador Criolla, in which flanks of beef or butterflied whole lambs are fastened to an iron cross where they cooks for hours in the glow of live coals. Students will also be shown the correct way to build and light fires, the stages of fire and temperature control.

This day is all about fire and meat and the hunger that inspires us to improvise and innovate. If there is wood or charcoal to burn and local ingredients at hand we can find a way of making something delicious! Suitable for absolute beginners or well seasoned grillers.

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