A Meal With a View

Review of The Kitchen at Lusty Glaze beach near Newquay

If you live in London you would be forgiven for not going around Britain with a fork. There is are lot of bars and restaurants to try out in the metropolis. But you would miss out big time.
Last week-end past , he & I loosened our belts a couple of notches and took the night train direction: Cornwall and the sea. I was seduced by a call, not that of the sirens but of the mobile phone company Orange which named the popular "The Kitchen" beach bar and restaurant at Lusty Glaze Beach near Newquay as one of Europe's top finest ten.

All booked for 19.00 with high expectations of a spectacular sunset, we started up on a 20 minutes lovely walk from our Newquay hotel across greens and along the coastal path, down 133 steps, beneath a cliff to a horse-shoe shape cove to get to the restaurant which is located right on the beach.
I was almost blown over by the beauty of the location. A spectacular sunset was at our rendez-vous and with a pre-diner drink in hand, we sat down next to couple of chimeneas chatting away with the Lusty Glaze first aider and co as we had known one another for decades. My first impression was that this whole place is certainly very cool.

The restaurant was full but did not feel crammed nor crowed in anyways. Recently refurbished, inside most of the tables are near the window so most diners can take in the spectacular views while eating.
The menu makes the most of local products featuring moules, crabs as expected but also duck and steak. There is a wide range of prices to accommodate all budgets. You can shell out £2.95 for a salad or £15.45 for a steak.

For starters, he chose oven-baked Camembert in its box with caramelized red onion and garlic bread and I went for Cornish Crab on a garlic bruschetta with mixed leaves.
When in the South of France and 19, I went on regular crab-fishing expeditions in the dead of night. These involved a bucket, a fork, a torch and a lot of laughter. clambering on wet rocks, the idea was to flash the torch at any cancroid shapes to startle the "beasts" so that they stopped dead in their tracks. That was the moment we chose to impale the marine crustaceans with the fork and quickly through them in the bucket. My friend Monique worked her magic immediately on return so the next day, lunch was a fresh and zingy crab concoction of which I can still remember the taste but have never experienced again until Saturday at The Kitchen.

The restaurant buys crabs from a local fisherman, I did not asked if he too went on night-expeditions but when I enquired about the crabs, the waitress smiled widely joined her 2 thumbs together, did the same with her indexes to show me how big the spider-crabs are.
This is what I liked about the place, it is not pretentious, there is a laid back atmosphere, you can feel that everybody is working hard and working together in an unobtrusive manner, focused on one aim: to make the guests feel good.
For main course, we went with the recommendation one steak -well-done- and chips & one sea-bass on a bed of risotto with dried tomatoes.

His steak was slightly too cooked but he (who is a bit of a steak expert) thought that the meat was really good and the fact that he did not put his fork down one minute, all the while his plate had something on it, says a lot.
The sea-bass was perfectly cooked, personally I would have put it on a bed of "just" rice, in my opinion the risotto didn't add very much to it but still this was a good main course. The price per head would have been just under £20 + drinks which is really good value for money as the portions are no-nonsense, generous portions.

On the way back we were so contented that we forgot all about giving our nice experience a grade but definitely my recommendation is: when in Newquay, make sure you pay a visit to The Kitchen : http://www.lustyglaze.co.uk/restaurant.html
As well as The Kitchen bar and restaurant, the beach is home to The Adventure Centre which provides many exciting activities for visitors including surfing, coasteering, rock climbing, zip wire rides and jetski safaris.

Product Tasting : Dr Oetker's Casa di Mama Pizzas

Dr Oetker's Casa di Mama Pizzas : Quatro Formaggi (picture) & Diavola

Tasting a product for review is an exercise which can get a little complicated. Last Dr Oetker's product I tasted, a fruity mousse, I did not like that at all. I found it too engineered, not spontaneous enough and indeed with 4000 tasters going through the testing lab, the company puts a lot of emphasis on giving the public exactly what they like.

But could I resist pizza, no! Let me explain, I don't like pizzas very much however he makes the best pizzas in the world added to that, I never bought a frozen pizza in my life so this was the opportunity to give it a go. I had to call on my very own and very special testing team to make for my like of likes.

Here they are:
The team arrived promptly at 19.00, I had not started yet as I thought that I just had to slide the pizzas (without the cardboard box) in the oven. I was in for a surprise: The pizza which promised to be ‘just as good as any homemade pizza ‘Mama used to make’ has a fresh dough base which needs a hot baking tray for the dough to rise before your eyes.
That small technical detail sorted we moved on to the tasting.

First, team inspects and smells:
Then, team eats
Finally, team grades Now for the scientific bit:

  • 238 000 tonnes of frozen pizzas were consumed in 2008 throughout the world
  • Dr Oetker produces 400 million pizzas a year that's 1.7 million a day
  • Each country has its preferences, in Italy the house pizza is a salami pizza, in Germany it is a variant of the salami which is the favorite, in Poland the best buy is a rather heavy pizza with a thick mushroom stuffing instead of the light tomato paste, as for the Brits, Restaurante mozzarella comes up top.
  • It is a Norway that the most pizzas are sold.

Our verdict:

Casa di Mama's Diavola with Calabrese salami, 2 cheeses, red onions and hot chillies scored 6.5 out of 10- the base was light and crispy. It was described as better than the other frozen kinds but may be not as good as the good corner shop's.

Quatro Fromaggi scored 7 out of 10, edam, mozzarella, emmental and blue cheese were judged a tasty combo and remember these are connoisseurs of very few words.

Going by the reaction, I would get them again but I had problems to locate a supermarket which stores them, only 1 out of the 3 I visited, carried the brand and not the toppings which were my first choice.

Week-End Pictures : Jane Austen Country

Pursuing "la semaine des 4 jeudis", we found ourselves in Jane Austen Country, mostly on an impulse. However if you wanted to bring Austen's work to life Chawton House Library, now National Trust property but at the time the authoress' brother's manor and the place where she wrote Pride and Prejudice is the place to visit. About an hour's drive away is the little harbour of Christchurch (Dorset). Just on the outskirts, in one of the little bays the sunset are spectacular, and , the beach huts are fun with in the background the view of the Isle of Wright needles are but avoid the pub grub though beer is good.

Curious Ingredient Revisited - Paneer -

As Pebble Soup attracts more and more interest, I get to pick and choose foodie events which I think will make a good read. Clawson Panneer Exclusive Paneer lunch was one of them. Hadn't I been suffering from mild Dyscalculia I would have got to the Good House Keeping Institute on time. As it were it took me a while and a phone call to realise that 27 was really 72 and when I eventually push the door, there was no mistake, the smell of spices, the smiles and the mounting anticipation were all signs that something special was about to happen.

Clawson has teemed up with one of Britain's most interesting Indian chef, the very engaging Anjum Anand. Most of her recipes are very tasty, easy enough to rustle up at home after a day's work, she always gives plenty of ingredients alternatives which indicates that she is a cook as well as a chef.

Paneer is ever so versatile as Anjum demonstrated in the course of the lunch by cooking paneer with noodles, in Fajitas, grilled as in tandoori, tikka masala, spinach curry and wait for it.............
a Layered Berry and Paneer Cheesecake.

As pictures speak thousand words have a look at the video and see if you can spot me

  • Clawson produces Paneer in England, the process is straight forward, Paneer is an unaged, acid-set, non melting chees made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice or another food acid, the making of paneer does not involve rennet making it good for vegetarians.
  • Paneer means cheese in Indian.
  • it is a good source of calcium and very rich in protein.
  • One of the few types of cheese originated from the subcontinent.
  • Personnally, I would have thought that Paneer was one of this ingredient that people look at but don't buy, well, I was wrong as the press pack told me that 2 packs of paneer are sold every minute totting this up to 1,000,000 kilos and yes! that is the correct number of 0.

Let's not forget the recipes

This unique dish is a quick nutritious, filling and really satisfying one pot meal. You can use lots of vegetables in this recipe. Anjum suggests aubergines, broccoli, peas or even mango and lychees if you like fruitiness in your curries - but you can use whatever you have at home.

Anjum gives her top tip for making this curry: “The staple food in this dish is Clawson Paneer cheese, but if you buy a good quality red curry paste and coconut milk, the rest is easy. You can also make the curry without the noodles and serve with Jasmine rice.”

Serves 3-4

3 tbs. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 packet Clawson Paneer cheese, boiled for 20 minutes and cut into 1½cm cubes
3 tbs. red Thai curry paste
400ml creamy coconut milk
8 baby tomatoes, halved
2¼ tsp. sugar or to taste
3 fresh or dried Kaffir lime leaves
1½-13/4 tsp. lime/lemon juice or to taste
Good handful mange tout, washed
150g rice or egg-noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
1-2 tbs. coconut cream (optional for added richness)
Handful of fresh coriander or Thai Holy Basil leaves

Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the onion and sauté until golden. Add the red Thai paste and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the paneer, coconut milk, tomatoes, sugar and lime leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Boil your noodles according to the packet instructions or until just done (I use the same water as the paneer). Drain and reserve 100ml of the water.
Add the noodles to your pot along with your beans, lemon juice, basil or coriander and the coconut cream, if using. Add most of the reserved water and simmer for another minute.
Taste and adjust seasoning, sugar and lemon juice to taste, add a little more water if you like the curry thinner, and serve with some extra lime/lemon wedges of the side.

To find all of Anjum's recipes click here

Eggs Royale

Egg Royal Holandaise sauce

Eggs royale, a breakfast dish which really makes One feels special. On the other hand One has to be presented with the dish in order to avoid angst at the idea of tackling a hollandaise sauce before breakfast. Admittedly it is is not very often that breakfast is cooked for One by a professional chef. On the other, other, hand, this dish would really work well as a light supper.
Egg Royal Holandaise sauce
So, to make somebody feel special without too much trouble. let's turn to Delia who famously told the nation how to boil an egg and not so famously how to
poach an egg.

Then we need to turn our attention to the hollandaise sauce.
Hollandaise sauce is a thick, yellow buttery sauce. It is an emulsion, which means that it is a combination of two liquids, in this case lemon juice and butter, that is held together and stabilised by a third agent, egg yolks, to form a rich and thick sauce.
It has a reputation to be tricky because of the whisking but that was before the food processor. I made it once and couldn't fathom why it had such a bad reputation

2 large egg yolks
1 dessertspoon lemon juice
1 dessertspoon white wine vinegar
4 oz (110 g) butter
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Place the eggs in a food processor with salt & pepper and blend for about 1 minute at low speed.
Heat the lemon juice and white wine vinegar in a small saucepan until the mixture starts to bubble and simmer for a minute.
Return to the food processor, switch on at low speed, and pour the liquid slowly
Melt the butter over a gentle heat, in the same sauce pan, being very careful not to let it brown. When the butter is foaming, do the same thing as prior, slow steady trickle in the food processor.
That's it.
I have not lost sight of the eggs royale
you will need

2 muffins
a couple of slices of smoked salmon
4 eggs
Start with slicing the muffins and warming them up, meanwhile poach your eggs and do the hollandaise.
Stack all the components starting with the half muffins, smoked salmon, eggs top with hollandaise
Same recipe applies for eggs Benedict, substitute the salmon with warm cooked ham

Week-End Pictures : Norfolk + Best Variety Potato for.....

Click on the collage to get a bigger view

In French we call it "la semaine des 4 jeudis" in reference to the school day off : Jeudi ( in the old days, nowdays it is mercredi) and this is exactly what September will be about, taking time off to enjoy the Indian Summer.
The beautiful North Coast of Norfolk has always been one of my favorite between Wells on Sea and Cromer, the sea is cold, the light is bright, towns and villages have a remote feel to them which is ever so enjoyable as a visitor, I am not sure if you are a native....
After racing through small country lanes to only miss the boat, we sat down with a home-made potato salad to contemplate the little Morston bay and wait for the next boat.
Now for the food bit. Potato varieties tend to be confusing, which type is the best for.......here is your answer and you are going to love your little Pebble Soup for it.
If there is a party of you the tipis and yurts at Deepdale farm are definitely a good option. Our double room, what I think is a converted barn, was so so, nice view though. Deepdale farm is an eco friendly working farm and in the morning the only noises you can hear are these of the tractor going about its business.

Wye Bakery

Where would You really, really like to go on your birthday? You bound to have thought about it? This year a lot of cerebrations went into my birthday celebration.

Just one hour drive away south of Greenwich, the village of Wye is being rightly promoted as "good food" destination. There, on my birthday I stepped into one of my favorite shop : a real bakery.

Nestled in a tiny space on the site of the long gone original village bakery, Mary and Nigel have worked very hard to open with great success a small independent bakery.

As we walked it, customers were queuing in the long corridor which leads to a simple but effective presentation of complex loafs and gorgeous looking pastries. Here, no "chi-chi" nor plastic wrappers, good old straw baskets, clear labelling. It was eleven on Saturday morning and all the croissants had long flown out of the shop. Mary was busy at the back shaping square rolls for a local pub order. I never paid much attention to rolls, but I can tell you that trendy rolls are square.

I also learnt a lot about flour, these 2 dedicated bakers cross the channel regularly, on their flour round-trip to the north of France where millers are producing high quality flour. Flour is very likely the secret behind the French bakeries' success. When their English counterparts are being booted our of the high streets, French bakeries are not only found in the middle of town but also in commercial centers at supermarkets doorstep . Ironically some of the Wye bakery baguettes cross the channel, as it has been known that French expats living in the area shop before taking the ferry for the week-end.
As we left the shop, I was left hoping that real bread would soon rise in traditional bakeries such as this one in every English town and village.
Wye Bakery is located at
22 Church Street
TN25 5BJ
Tel: 01233 811577
Use the Real Bead finder to locate a traditional bakery near you

Shrikhand and A Greek Yogurt Mountain

Shrikhand is a classic Indian dessert which I love. It is made with strained yogurt so when, a couple of month ago, the good people at Total Greek Yogurt offered to supply me with samples to experiment with and report, I jumped at the opportunity.

I knew that their product was strained yogurt and further more I anticipated to receive a few 0% pots, good for the waist line and a possible contender to replace cream in my Cuisine Lyonnaise.

What I was not expected was to receive fourteen pots of Greek Yogurts. I was now faced with the prospect of shifting a Greek Yogurt Mountain but far from being an Herculean task, though it took a bit of time and research, it was a lot of fun.

I found out that heating the 0% fat does not work well, the yogurt separates, but I am told that for cooking on high heat the original which contains 10% fat is much better.

Shrikhand recipe

500g Greek yogurt
170g of sugar or less
1 tbs of warm milk
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tbs slice almonds
1 tbs chopped or sliced pistachios and a few slices of mango or strawberries to decorate
1. Drain the yogurt over a bowl making sure you don't squeeze out the yogurt. Until Yogurt becomes thick in consistency
2. Traditionally this is done by putting a muslin over a strainer, pouring the yogurt over the muslin and leave to drain in the fridge for an hour. I just squeeze the water as hard as I can using the paper in the pot.
3. Dissolve the saffron in warm milk until the milk turns yellowish orange.
4. Add sugar, cardamon and saffron milk to yogurt and beat well till sugar dissolves. It can be done in the mixer
5. Mix in most of the almonds and pistachios to the yogurt and sprinkle the rest on the top for decoration, add slices of mango or strawberries if at hand.

Here is for the scientific bit:
Total Greek yogurts at 0% are made of pasteurised skimmed cows' milk, live active yoghurt culture

Nutritional information per 100g:
Energy 52kcal
Protein 9g
Carbohydrates* 4g
Fat 0g
Of which saturates 0g
Calcium 80mg
Sodium 37mg
Cholesterol 0mg

Picture credit: Channel four -food recipes-



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