Discover the wild food of St Ives Bay

It’s the start of a new season at Porthminster, and we’re looking forward to rediscovering the wild food of the seashore and coastal path as nature comes to life this spring. No doubt as our understanding and knowledge of every inch of our surroundings is fine-tuned, we’ll be introducing new dishes inspired by our finds as the year progresses. We hope you’ll come and see what we’re creating!

The aptly-named Navelwort....

The aptly-named Navelwort….

Once again in 2014 we are offering the chance to join us and Caroline Davey of Fat Hen, local forager and ecologist, for a Forage and Feast experience. A day of exploration providing a unique insight into the wild food of St Ives Bay, these events start and finish at the Café, and involve a guided walk and a three course lunch featuring foraged ingredients.

Spring dates are as follows:

March 3rd

March 17th

Prices £50pp

Please book via the Fat Hen website.

Fat Hen pioneered foraging and cookery courses when it was launched more than 5 years ago.  Having recently returned from maternity leave, Caroline is relaunching with an impressive new cookery school at her renovated barn near Penzance. Specialist wild food courses in fish, game, seaweed & wild Italian cookery are on the curriculum. There will be a chance for everyone to get involved, including a fun foraging and cooking club for children, kayaking and cycling foraging routes, and gourmet wild food weekends.

Caroline has inspired many people to begin using foraged ingredients

Caroline has inspired many people to begin using foraged ingredients

However Caroline is also happy to be returning to work with the team at Porthminster for Forage and Feast 2014. “Porthminster is a stunning and inspiring location. Micheal and his team are dedicated wild food enthusiasts, keen to make the most of their unique surroundings. The food they create with the seasonal ingredients we find has really impressed me every time we have done an event together. It’s very creative but also refined.”

Michael Smith, Executive Chef at Porthminster added, “alot of the things that we forage along the seashore work inherently well with the delicious fresh fish and shellfish of St Ives Bay. Small touches can really enliven dishes, adding exciting colour and fresh flavours. These wild foodstuffs are out there waiting to be discovered and can easily be used at home.”

Please book early as spaces are filling up quickly. More Forage and Feast dates are planned for the autumn.

Searching for seaweed....

Searching for seaweed….

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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.

Sir Peter Blake in St Ives

Sir Peter Blake, often refered to as the ‘Godfather of British Pop Art’ is exhibiting for the first time in St Ives, at the Porthminster Gallery from 3rd August to 7th September. The exhibition will consist of signed silkscreen prints of recent work.

Sir Peter is most famous for his iconic album covers for the Beatles, including Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. He has also worked with The Who, Oasis, Paul Weller and Madness.

'Vintage Blake'

‘Vintage Blake’

His images “capture the effervescence and optimism of the Sixties, with the use of bold geometric patterns and primary colours” according to the gallery. The work also incorporates comic strips, advertising texts and photographs. Humourous and nostalgic, this is a must see show if you’re visiting St Ives this summer.

For more on the exhibition click here.

Porthminster Gallery is situated at Westcott’s Quay, which is a five minute walk from the restaurant in the direction of the harbour.

Visiting the show? Click here to make your table reservation with us before or after.

Porthminster Cook Book – The Launch!

Our brand new cook book was finally unveiled at a party at the restaurant on Friday 17th May. Regular diners celebrated alongside journalists and leading figures from the Cornish hospitality industry, hosted by Executive Chef Michael Smith and the team.

As well as a Foreword written by Nathan Outlaw, whose restaurant in Rock holds two Michelin Stars, the book has been further endorsed by Heston Blumenthal. Heston, whose restaurant The Fat Duck consistently receives the highest accolades in the whole of the UK, was pleased to recommend Porthminster as a “favourite holiday eating spot of mine,” going on to praise “inventive cooking and a gorgeous location.”

Preparing for a thirsty crowd

Preparing for a thirsty crowd

We would like to thank Champagne Louis Roederer, Polgoon and Matthew Stevens & Son Fish for their sponsorship on the night.

A first look at the recipe book of the summer!

A first look at the recipe book of the summer!

The book is now available to buy from the restaurant and online.

Parmesan Brulee with Asparagus & Parma Ham

Parmesan Brulee with Asparagus & Parma Ham

Guests were served a taste of various recipes from the book, as well as freshly shucked oysters.

The launch brought together all those involved with the restaurant's success

The launch brought together many of those involved with the restaurant’s success

It was a fantastic evening, thank you to all who came to help us celebrate. We hope you enjoy recreating these recipes at home!

Images courtesy of St Ives TV

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The St Ives Food and Drink Festival 2013

We are very excited at Porthminster Beach to be hosting this year’s St Ives Food and Drink Festival, taking place 18th and 19th May. Now in it’s fourth year, the festival is a fantastic celebration of St Ives’ unique location – a true mecca for local and seasonal food from both sea and land, as well as home to many passionate food personalities.

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During the weekend, visitors can meet chefs, producers, farmers, foragers, brewers and many more. The festival will be thoroughly interactive, going beyond the usual schedule of cooking demonstrations with mini cooking classes, encouraging young and old to get involved and get their hands dirty. The little ones can learn to make their own pasties, whilst grown-ups discover the rewards of foraging on the beach and coastal path with expert ecologist Caroline Davey of Fat Hen. Rory McPhee will show groups of enthusiasts how to collect seaweed and use it in their cooking, and there are even fishing trips planned from the beach, weather permitting.

In a marquee on the beach itself, you can taste the finest food and drink from St Ives and its surroundings.

“From wine, cider and beer producers, to chocolate and cheese makers, fruit and vegetable growers and meat, chutneys, curry and bread all produced in Cornwall, the food producers market at the St Ives Food and Drink festival is sure to delight the taste buds.”

As well as all this, Porthminster Beach Cafe will be running an Oyster and Champagne Bar during the festival, and there will be plenty of live music to encourage that festival atmosphere!

For more information, including travel and parking advice, visit www.stivesfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk and look out for our Exec Chef Michael Smith who is lined up for a cooking demo.

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The St Ives Food and Drink Festival is sponsored by Aspects Holidays and Tregenna Castle Hotel.

A Wild Adventure

Well done to all those brave souls who took part in our first Forage & Feast Day on the 11th March. The weather was remarkably cold, but the baltic temperatures didn’t deter this gathering of intrepid wild food enthusiasts, who joined ecologist Caroline Davey of Fat Hen for several hours foraging along the coast path and on the beach itself, gathering wild leaves, seaweed and other edibles. The group then returned to the café for a much-needed, warming four course meal, prepared by Executive Chef Michael Smith using various foraged ingredients.

The aptly-named Navelwort....

The aptly-named Navelwort….

Journalist and blogger Ismay Atkins, who has written a review of the day on her blog Pasties and Cream, described the collaboration between Fat Hen and Porthminster Beach Café as “an inspired partnership”. Caroline is the ultimate approachable expert, on hand with “all manner of information on her wild food walks, delivered with wit, historical context and ecological authority, and a peppering of cooking tips” whilst Michael’s “creative, fresh, delicate food” brings out the most of these wild flavours. You can read the full article here.

Searching for seaweed....

Searching for seaweed….

One more Forage & Feast Day is planned this spring, on the 25th March, with only two places still available. There are two more dates in the diary for a similar autumn experience – click here to find out more.

Forage & Feast At Porthminster This Spring

As those who frequent the coastal path and beach near to Porthminster Beach Café will know, not a day goes by without a foraging excursion by our merry band of chefs. Periodically they can be found scampering perilously over slippery rocks or disappearing into a prickly hedgerow in pursuit of edibles, occasionally alarming passers-by and certainly winning some perturbed looks.

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Despite the occasional scratch, sting and the odd broken ankle (!), it’s a rewarding task. The immediate area yields some great finds; leaves, flowers and herbs which enhance dishes with their vibrant, fresh flavours and contribute to the Cafe’s push for sustainability and task of nurturing it’s stunning surroundings.

 

Fat Hen 1This spring, you can learn more about what the chefs look for, where they find it and how they use it during two very special Forage & Feast days. In collaboration with ecologist and forager Caroline Davey of The Fat Hen, these courses will highlight the diversity of wild food available along the coast in springtime. Cookery demonstrations will show how Executive Chef Michael Smith uses this bounty in adventurous and innovative ways, and guests will enjoy a feast of fresh flavours in celebration of their day’s efforts.

Forage and Feast – 11th and 25th March from 10am. £50pp including coffee and pastries, a two hour forage and a three course lunch. To book, click here.

More Info:

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 on their daily ventures as they gather plants, herbs and seaweed from their immediate environment.

Fat Hen 2

“This will be a great time of year to really get to grips with what the coast path and the beach have to offer for the wild food enthusiast” says Caroline, who will be looking out for things like Alexanders, Navelwort, Sorrel and Japanese Knotweed. “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 foraged ingredients to transform the way they cook at home.” The courses have been timed for low-tide, so seaweed can be gathered and its uses explained.

Once back at the Beach Café, Michael will cook up a feast. Using the foraged ingredients to create a three course meal, participants will have the opportunity to see him in action, and learn about the techniques which bring those fresh flavours 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. “That knowledge of the local environment has transformed the way we cook and this, along with our policy of using sustainable fish, reflects our interaction with the stunning setting of St Ives Bay. The Feast and Forage courses will be giving some of our secrets away, about where to find fantastic wild ingredients and how we use them in our kitchen.”