I LOVE the sound of seagulls calling, squalling, squabbling and chasing each other for fun or a wriggly fish — it reminds me of holidays in Tramore as a child, ice-cream cones, sand buckets, little fishing nets, and picnics by the Metal Man.
I’m in Cornwall for a few days, staying in an enchanting little fishing village called Mousehole, which we quickly learned is pronounced ‘Mousel’ after we asked for directions to Mouse Hole and got the same sort of amused looks that tourists to these parts get when they ask for Cob (Cobh) or Yoo-gal (Youghal).Cornwall is an enchanting place. I love any excuse to meander through the narrow lanes, lie on the beaches or potter through the pretty villages. This time we were on a mission — to christen our part-Cornish grandson, now a feisty two-year-old.
Serves 10 – 121 jar of ginger conserve
450ml (16 fl oz) double cream
50g (2oz) dark chocolatePraline 50g (2oz) caster sugar
50g (2oz) flaked almondsChocolate Icing 100ml (3½ fl oz) double cream
100g (4oz) dark chocolate
2 litre pudding bowl and plastic bagCut open a large plastic food bag and use it to line the pudding basin. Tip a jar of ginger conserve into a bowl and stir to break it up a bit, then lightly whip the cream and chop 50g (2oz) dark chocolate. Gently fold both into the ginger conserve until the mixture is evenly flecked. Tip into the lined bowl and smooth over the top.
Serves 66 fresh mackerel fillets, pin-boned
18 spears asparagus, prepped
Extra virgin olive oil
Stems and flowers of three cornered leek (allium triquetrum)
Pennywort leaves (umbilicus rupestris), washedSeason each side of the mackerel with salt and place on a lightly oiled tray skin side up. Drizzle the top of the fish with a little olive oil and place under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes until the fish is just cooked and the skin has started to get crisp. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Meanwhile, cook the asparagus in boiling salted water until just tender. Remove the asparagus from the water and divide between six plates. Place the mackerel on top of the asparagus. Chop the three cornered leek (allium triquetrum) stalks into small batons and dress the plates with these, the flowers and the pennywort leaves (umbilicus rupestris), Drizzle the mackerel cooking juices around the plate and serve immediately. Bridget Hugh-Jones’ Bakewell Tart
Serves 875g (3oz) butter
175g (6oz) plain white flour
30g (1¼oz) caster sugar
1 beaten egg with a couple of tablespoons water mixed (you won’t need all the water)
4 to 6 tbsp of homemade raspberry jam
The weight of 3 eggs in caster sugar, butter, ground almonds
A few drops of almond extract
25g — 35g (1–1½oz) flaked almonds to scatter over the top
9 inch tart tin, preferably with removable baseFirst make the pastry. Sieve the flour and the sugar into a large bowl. Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour, rub in with the fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg with 2 teaspoons of cold water and add enough to bind the mixture. But do not make the pastry too wet — it should come away cleanly from the bowl. Flatten into a round, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll out thinly on a lightly-floured worktop and use it to line a 9in (23cm) tart tin. Line with kitchen or greaseproof paper and fill to the top with dried beans. Rest for 15 minutes in the fridge. Line the tart tin with shortcrust pastry and spread the base generously with raspberry jam. Cream the butter, add the caster sugar and continue to beat until soft and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs one at a time and then stir in the ground almonds and a few drops of almond extract. Spread this mixture evenly over the jam in the tart tin. Sprinkle the top with flaked almonds and bake in pre-heated oven at 180C/350F/Mark 4 for about 40 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then remove to a wire rack and serve with preferably Cornish clotted cream or softly whipped cream. Hot tips Spend the day at Corleggy Farm, Belturbet, Co Cavan, with Silke Cropp tomorrow. Learn the art of cheese-making and take home your very own kilo of cow’s milk cheese. Full day, including lunch, €150, or €250 for two people. Contact Silke at firstname.lastname@example.org to book. Learn how to make a long list of delicious dairy products including homemade butter, yoghurt, cottage cheese, coeur a la crème, labneh, paneer and a simple farmhouse cheese at the half-day course Homemade Butter, Yoghurt and Several Cheeses at Ballymaloe Cookery School on Wednesday, May 9, from 9.30am to 1.30pm. Cost €115 includes lunch. Book at 021-4646785. A Slow Food Celebration of Local Food takes place at Marco’s Pizzeria, Midleton on Tuesday, May 22, at 7.30pm. Dinner, €35. To book, phone 021-4633030. All proceeds to the East Cork Slow Food Educational Project. On Friday May 25 there’s a coffee morning at Ballymaloe Cookery School in aid of Self Help Africa hosted by Darina Allen; phone 021-4646785.