By popular demand – recipe from The Times 16/08/12

One of our latest creations – a dashi broth made from Cornish ingredients and served with line-caught mackerel – featured in The Times last week. For those who missed it, here’s the recipe, and some words on our exec chef Michael Smith:

“Chefs tend to be a peripatetic bunch, but Australian-born Michael Smith has stayed put for more than a decade. “It’s such a fantastic location. We have to pinch ourselves everyday when we look out the back door of the kitchen at this amazing vista of St Ives bay,” says Smith, who has won acclaim for putting an Asian and Mediterranean twist on Cornish ingredients.”

Line-caught mackerel with Cornish dashi broth

serves 4

INGREDIENTS

25g sun-dried sugar kelp or dried kombu seaweed

50g dried flaked mackerel (this is semi-cured, smoked and dehydrated fresh mackerel fillets. Dried bonito flakes can also be used)

2 litres pure fresh water

1 live lobster (approx 450g)

4 whole mackerel fillets, butterflied with tail leftintact (you can get your fishmonger to do this for you)

8 hand-dived Cornish scallops, shelled and cleaned

12 Fowey mussels

12 Palourde surf clams

200g egg noodles

1 small chilli, thinly sliced

1 tsp fresh ginger, pulped

1 head Cornish greens or bok choi

4 spring onions, finely sliced

METHOD:

Put the kelp or kombu in a pan with the water, simmer for 10 minutes then cool to 80C. Add the mackerel or bonito flakes and steep in the stock for 5-10 minutes until they fall to the bottom. Strain through a muslin cloth and return to the heat. Boil until reduced by a third or until the flavour is to your satisfaction. Set aside.

Place the lobster in the freezer for 10 minutes then plunge into boiling salted water for 8-9 minutes. When cooled shell the lobster tail and claw meat and slice into chunks, reserving the legs in the shell for garnish.

Season the mackerel and push a toothpick through both fillets at the head end to create a small boat-like shape with the tail sticking up in the air. Place on a tray with a small ladle of the dashi stock added to it and cook in the oven for 4-5 minutes at 190C/ gas mark 5.

In a saucepan add the scallops, mussels and clams with the remaining dashi and bring to the simmer, then add the noodles, chilli, greens and ginger and reserved lobster meat including the legs and continue to simmer for three minutes.

Divide the noodles and greens between four large bowls and place a mackerel tail-up on top of each bowl. Ladle the dashi around the fish, while keeping the skin crisp. Divide the clams, mussels, scallops and lobster meat equally between the bowls.

At the restaurant, the dish is enhanced with pork-belly won tons and foraged samphire.

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Reaping the rewards of sustainable fishing

In Cornwall, we have access to some of the best seafood in the world in terms of quality, freshness and diversity. And we’d like to keep it that way, which is why supporting sustainable fishing is so high on our agenda.

One company we work with is Wild Harbour, a family-owned business supplying 100% sustainable fish. Wild Harbour are part of the South West Hand Line Fisherman’s Association, which operates a scheme tracing fish back to the small vessel responsible for the catch. This pioneering supplier is also a member of the Responsible Fishing Scheme, and were first fish merchant to be approved by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Sustainability is about fishing methods (line-fishing has minimal environmental impact and waste) but also the species we choose to eat. For example cod has not featured on our menu for some time due to troubling stock levels.

“The simple explanation is that cod has been Europe’s favourite fish for 1,000 years. And it comes as no surprise that with modern technology, fishermen have become better, and more ruthless, at catching it.” – Rose Prince writing in the Daily Telegraph.

However here in the South West, we have one of the only cod stocks considered to be sustainable and we only use the hook and line method to catch them.

Sustainable cod on the menu this summer

Our head chef Tom Pryce came up with this summer special to do justice to Wild Harbour Line Caught Cod, featuring summer tomatoes, fennel, garden herbs and hand-dived scallops.

So if you’re visiting us soon you can enjoy the UKs most popular fish, knowing that it comes from a sustainable source.

Welcome to our new blog

Here we’ll be keeping you up to date with all that’s new and exciting from our bustling café by the beach. It’s a unique place in many ways; a theatre of flavour, creativity, and frenetic activity, where the shifting seascape provides a constantly changing backdrop to many a memorable meal.

You can expect to hear from our passionate team of chefs, who are never happy unless they’ve perfected a new dish, discovered an ingenious new method, or strived all day to be rewarded with great feedback from customers.

That end result is what we all work towards, and yet it begins a long way beyond these white-washed walls. Quality, locally sourced produce has become such a commonly rolled-out phrase, yet it is the simple imperative for fresh and flavoursome cooking.

Lobster Pot, near Zennor

Here you’ll discover how we take this mantra to new levels, pushing our own boundaries and often counting our food metres rather than miles. The kitchen garden is developing and surprising us with every season that passes, and foraging from our location offers exciting possibilities which motivate our chefs to explore the coastal path each day; risking life and limb in pursuit of pennywort. Finally our commitment to sustainable fishing grows, as the immensity of the decline in fish stocks is fully realised and the issue comes to the fore of conservation agendas worldwide.

Our location is unique, looking out over St Ives Bay towards Godrevy Lighthouse, a view which of course inspires great literature and art, as well as great cooking. So please indulge us whilst we also write about St Ives itself and (some of) what we get up to in this light-enhanced little town in Cornwall.