It may officially be the start of Spring but expect to feel the tail end of winter with cold winds blasting through. There’s no fresh home-grown veg yet but still time to enjoy the last of the root veg – leeks, swede, parsnips – sweetened by frost and so tasty and watch the spring flowers poking their way through the soil.
Related to garlic and onion, they are much subtler, sweeter and packed with anti-oxidants and vitamins, particularly vitamin C, to help stave off those colds.
Prepare: remove outer leaves and trim dark green tips and root ends – make horizontal slits down from the top so you can peel back leaves to rinse away any dirt.
Quick and versatile to use:
as a base for soups – vichyssoise, cock-a-leekie, stews or risotto, try Dan’s recipe for leek, parmesan & truffle risotto served with poached eggs, below
in a buttery sauce with fish,
roasted in oil and thyme and sprinkled with black olives,
steamed and served with vinaigrette,
cooked with potatoes and cheese for a comforting supper.
Café – Mother’s Day, 28th March
Dan, our head chef has created a special lunch menu for Mother’s Day which we are serving from 12 – 3.30pm. Please book your table to avoid disappointment – also please note that we don’t serve traditional afternoon teas on Sundays.
Branche d’Olive – these elegantly packaged home fragrances of reed diffusers and candles, hand stamped boxed soaps and luxurious bath lotions are available in feather, old rose and lemon verbena fragrances. Hand sourced mainly from local Provenḉale producers, famous for using the best raw materials and sustainable traditional methods, they are wonderfully luxurious for a perfect gift or why not a treat for yourself.
Ornamental Glassware from Grand Illusions – flower wine glasses in a variety of colours, tumblers, jugs, candlestick holders and the wire basket with 6 mini bottles are charming to display Spring flowers.
From Jo Downs, one of the world’s most respected fused glass designers, we’re now stocking a wider range of her delightful Cornish landscape inspired gifts with candle holders, coasters, soap and jewellery dishes and wishsticks.
Penny Lindop’s quirky, tactile cards make us smile. A local lass who is now up in Norfolk; Penny’s cards, sketched in ink and watercolours are inspired by dog walks, local places and every-day folk but hand-finished with rare sheep fleece gives a unique twist to her collection.
Easter – 14 -17 April
We rather like the old European tradition particularly from Germany and Austria of Easter Egg Trees where eggs, the ancient symbol of life are hung on branches both outside and inside houses.
We now have mock ‘trees’ in yellow and of pussy willow for you to create your own stylish design with beautiful eggs and ornaments – such as Gisela Graham’s (a German herself), charming blue & white china eggs, chickens and rabbits. For children, painting their own eggs will be a fun activity – a pack of 4 eggs includes a brush and paints.
You may like to decorate your home with colourful egg wreaths or use the chicken jugs and mugs or the cute eggs cups from Gisela Graham – so gorgeous, we’re tempted to eat a boiled egg daily!
Wouldn’t be Easter without all things chocolate – Lindt eggs and rabbits, Bonbon Gourmet finest chocolate hens, ducks and Belgian praline eggs.
Cheeses of the Month
We’ve four cheeses for you this month; three carry 20% discount and one 30%. Look out for the red star
Mrs Bells Blue (v):
One of the best award-winning sheep’s milk blue cheeses in Europe. Handmade in Yorkshire with locally sourced milk, it is matured for at least 10 weeks and develops a rich, soft, creamy and sweet flavour with a tang from the complex blue – comparable to Roquefort but less salty and creamier.
Rob our wine man from Corney & Barrow recommends the Vina Mar Chardonnay which has enough tropical, lightly sweeter notes to marry up and compare with a cheese of this character. Expect the soft vanillas on the wine’s back palate to play between the respective blanched & blued hues of this enchanting cheese and ambassador for God’s own county!
A hard cheese made by expert Beppino Occelli in Piedmont, Italy from cow’s milk and either goat or sheep milk depending what’s in season; it’s then aged for 18-24 months before being wrapped in chestnut leaves. An unusual cheese – tart and yoghurty with a soft parmesan like texture and sweet pineapple flavours and interesting fudgey breakdown just under the rind which has an almost boozy intensity.
Why not go with a Pinot Grigio, – C&B’s own Montevento. Awash with white flowers and gentle hints of nuttiness all of its own, this wine serves to pair well with slightly more complex, harder cheeses that work on several different levels in kind. Prepare to be pleasantly refreshed between gobfulls of this delicious Occelli!
Peppercorn Brie (v)
This double-cream soft-ripened cheese is made with pasteurised cow’s milk and whole green peppercorns which are soft, not crunchy. Creamy and mild, the peppercorns give a warm peppery flavour that’s not too strong.
Rob’s throwing in a change with this cheese and recommending a beer – the Lignum Vitae by Grain – he might well have suggested a chardonnay or champagne – perhaps slightly extravagant for this time of year! This strong old IPA will work well though, a great balanced bitterness (as opposed to acidity) and the lovely toasted citric notes pair well with the buttery texture of the cheese and tangy twist.
Quickes smoked cheddar- 30% discount.
This oak smoked cheddar is made on the family farm in Devon. The cheddar is matured slowly for 12-15 months, wrapped in muslin cloth to develop a real depth and complexity of flavour. The truckles are cut into 1.5 kg slices to ensure the flavour infuses through as the cheese is smoked over oak shavings.
Tempted as Rob is to recommend something nouveau or gauche, a Claret and Cheddar combination is traditional for good reason – super savoury and supremely delicious, the bight of the cheese’s maturity marry so well with the cab-led structuring (tannin and body) of the C&B Maison Sichel – enjoy!
Leek Parmesan and Truffle Risotto
500g leeks, sliced
500g aborio rice
1 pint hot vegetable stock
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
50g parmesan grated
1 tbsp crème fraiche
Handful flat parsley, chopped
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 duck eggs
Truffle oil to taste
Sauté the leeks, garlic and thyme in the butter until soft but not coloured.
Add the rice to the leek mixture and cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Keeping the heat low, start slowly adding ladlefuls of the hot stock, letting the rice soak up the stock before adding more, keep stirring and continue until the rice is cooked al dente. Rest for 5 minutes.
In a deep pan boil water with 4 tbsp of white wine vinegar. Crack the eggs, one by one into a ramekin and then gently slide into the simmering water and cook for 4 minutes. Remove.
Add the parsley, crème fraiche and parmesan to the risotto. Place the risotto into 4 bowls and put a poached duck egg on top and then drizzle over the truffle oil.