Autumn Cocktail – ‘The Ginger Tonka’

A recipe finely-tuned through the collaborative efforts of our own cocktail maestro Rowan (pictured below) and Exec Chef Michael Smith. The following is a great tipple to warm you from head to toe as the dark nights draw in.

*Tonka beans are an exotic seed. They are firm but a little wrinkley, and have a flavour similar to vanilla with subtle hints of spice and fruit. They are used sparingly to add unique undertones of flavour to dishes and drinks. You can buy the beans online or in good health food stores.

1. You’ll need to start by making an easy, flavoured sugar syrup. Add chopped ginger, a chopped chilli and a sprinkling of tonka beans to a warm solution of sugar and water. Leave this to infuse for 24 hours and then drain. Keep in the fridge.

2. When you’re ready to make the cocktail, pour 50ml of your syrup into a tall glass with lots of ice. Add 50ml whiskey, a dash of Cornish Orchards Cider and garnish with a slice of apple.

And that’s it – a brilliant seasonal cocktail with a unique flavour.

Do you have a winter cocktail for us to try? If you’ve created your own (and it tastes good) let us know and we’ll ask Rowan to road test it for the blog!

Rowan

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Autumn Forage & Feast Dates Announced

Last spring saw the introduction of our popular ‘Forage and Feast’ days at Porthminster Beach Café, in collaboration with ecologist and forager Caroline Davey of Fat Hen. The opportunity to discover the diverse wild food of St Ives Bay returns this autumn, as new dates have been announced.

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On the 4th and 18th November Caroline will once again be guiding small groups, exploring the hedgerows, footpaths and shoreline in the immediate vicinity of the Café. The route reflects the daily incursions of the Porthminster chefs, led by Michael Smith, as they harvest the bounty afforded by their unique location.

Participants will meet at the Café for coffee, before beginning their foray along the beach and coastal path. Botanical expert Caroline will guide the group through the secrets of harvesting delicious wild food full of flavour, whilst keen forager Michael will explain what his chefs look out for as they gather plants, herbs and seaweed from their immediate environment.

“Autumn provides a rewarding range of tastes and textures for the foraging enthusiast” says Caroline, who will be looking out for things like pennywort, sorrel, wood sorrel, nettles, pepper dulse, laver and cow parsley. “This day course is perfect for anyone keen to discover the amazing produce growing all around them, and how to use even just a small touch of these free ingredients to transform the way they cook at home.”

Once back at the Beach Café, Michael will cook up a feast. Using the results of the morning forage, he will create a three course meal. Participants will have the opportunity to see him in action, and learn about the techniques which bring those seasonal ingredients together. This late lunch will be served to the group in the café, overlooking the beach.

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“We forage daily around Porthminster Beach at all times of year,” explained Michael. “Each new season brings its rewards. At the onset of autumn our cooking turns towards warming, earthy flavours and foraging plays a key role in that seasonal shift. Harvesting food from our surroundings has become an integral part of what we do here at the beach and we’re keen to share our passion and give some of our secrets away.”

To book, visit www.fathen.org where you can find a booking form under ‘Courses and Events’.

Course dates – 4th and 18th November, meet at the Café at 10am.

£50pp including coffee and pastries, a two hour forage and a three course lunch.

Autumn Recipe – Cider-Braised Pork Cheeks

This is a fantastic recipe for when the nights start to draw in, with its warming earthy flavours of cider, Jerusalem artichoke and truffle. The following serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main course.

Ingredients

400g Pork Cheeks – fat removed (you can ask you butcher to do this)

200ml local cider

Good quality apple juice, to cover

1/2 apple

1/4 fennel bulb

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp toasted pine nuts

 

(Jerusalem Artichoke Puree)

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

25g butter

150ml cider sauce (see above)

10 small Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and diced

25ml double cream

A splash of truffle oil

1 tsp toasted pine nuts

Fresh oregano

Method

Add all the ingredients for the pork cheeks to a sauce pan, making sure the meat is well covered. Cover with a lid. Place on a very low heat and simmer for approximately one hour or until the meat is tender, keeping the lid slightly ajar.

Remove the cheeks from the pan and set aside for later. Strain the liquid through a sieve, return to the pan and reduce until it lightly coats the back of a spoon.

For the puree, melt the butter in a saucepan and sweat the shallot and garlic until soft. Add the Jerusalem artichokes, coat in the butter, and add 150ml of the cider sauce. Cook out the liquid until the artichokes are soft and then blitz them to a fine consistency. Add a splash of truffle oil and the cream, stirring well. Season to taste.

Place a small portion of the puree on each plate, top with the pork cheeks (slice if you prefer) and garnish with the toasted pine nuts and oregano leaves.

Cider-Braised Pork Cheeks

Cider-Braised Pork Cheeks

Launching our ‘Signatures Menu’

We’ve created a new way to enjoy eating at Porthminster for the autumn and winter season. Find out more below, and don’t forget it’s easy to book online, so why not come and see us in St Ives?

Our award-winning Fish and Chips

Our new Signatures Menu was created for lunch and early evening, inspiring you to enjoy St Ives in all its glory and have a delicious, great value meal before heading home. It’s also a chance to try some of our favourite dishes for less. Starters include hearty, warming soups and our favourite – Salt and Spice Squid, as well as vegetarian dishes featuring delicious seasonal ingredients. For mains, as well as our famous Fish and Chips, you can tuck into Sticky Pork, Seafood Linguine or Sumac Spiced Goats Cheese Tart. If you’re holding out for dessert, why not try our Naked Chocolate Crème Brulee or a new season Apple Crumble with Lemon and Chamomile Ice Cream.

Two courses are just £17.95. Running throughout the autumn and winter, the Signatures Menu is available at lunch Tues – Fri, and dinner Thursday & Friday for tables booked up to and including 7.00pm.

Don’t tell everyone, but St Ives is stunning out of season!

Call 01736 795352 to check details or to talk to one of our team about your reservation.

Autumn at Porthminster

The autumn months may be a little quieter as the hustle and bustle of summer in Cornwall subsides, but it’s also the time of year which gives the chefs in our kitchen new impetus. Fresh ideas inspired by the changing season are dreamed up and refined, whilst signature dishes are slowly perfected. Below our Executive Chef Michael Smith tells us more about what’s on the menu this autumn. 

Executive Chef Michael Smith is busy reworking menus

“Autumn is a great time for us chefs and we’re doing some exciting things at Porthminster this year. Firstly we have refined the menu a little to focus and perfect our signature dishes – those that really reflect our style and ethos. For example our fish and chips are now served with hand-cut chips, triple cooked in duck fat. Porthminster Fish & Chips has won many awards in the past, but we now think they’re better than ever! Seafood Linguine is back, heaped with Cornish crab, mussels, squid and prawns and of course our Monkfish curry is as good as ever.

Delicious red mullet is on the menu once again, landed by day boats at Cadgwith Cove on The Lizard Peninsula. Earlier in the year Monty Hall’s series The Fisherman’s Apprentice highlighted the importance of eating local, sustainably caught seasonal fish; an ethos which benefits global fish stocks, local fisherman and the consumer. This has long been at the heart of what we do here and it’s fantastic to see sustainable fishing high on the agenda. Our red mullet is poached in coconut milk and served with white crab, compressed cucumber and celery salad, with jasmine rice and lime.

Other favourites you’ll still find on the menu include Salt & Spice Squid, Sticky Pork Belly and our Dashi Broth. The latter is made entirely with ingredients from our immediate surroundings, including foraged kelp and mackerel caught just out in the bay.

There are some new, richer dishes to try as the cold nights draw in. Our Cornish White Fish Soup is hearty and warming and our mussels are now served with the earthier flavours of Cornish cider, wild sorrel, nettles and tomato. We’re also pretty happy with our take on that English classic, the apple crumble! It’s served with lemon and chamomile ice cream, and of course a scoop of clotted cream in a nod to tradition.

Availability of local fish depends on weather conditions

Refining the menu in this way also means we can concentrate more on daily specials which make the most of the freshest fish of the day. Being a little quieter means we can be ultra adaptable – if a local boat hauls a fantastic catch it can go straight on the menu that evening. However sometimes as the weather gets rough at this time of year the boats can’t get out, that just means we serve more red meat and game as specials: we don’t have to compromise on quality. I’m excited about getting some fantastic partridge, pheasant and venison in shortly.

It’s a stunning time of year to be in St Ives. We’ve been having bright, blustery days recently and the town and beach look at their best in many ways. I’m really envious of people visiting St Ives when it’s like this!”

Coming soon – eat out for less with the early diners menu, plus the exciting new Porthminster Tasting Menu will be available in early November. Watch this space!