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Since I was berating smugly photographed cookery books last week, I’ve been having a little email debate with my good friend and prolific blogger Emma Balch over at Doble M Design in Hay-on-Wye about the value of the “lifestyle cookbook”. She said she begs to differ and loves a good lifestyle cookbook with inspiring photography. And actually, when I came to think about it again, I often do too – as long as a) I believe the lifestyle in question is real (ie not when chef is standing in chinos and brogues pretending to have landed a huge fish) and/or b) I am interested in attaining the lifestyle in question.

Today’s lifestyle cookbook definitely falls into the latter category. It is roughly two parts lifestyle to one part recipes but I don’t seem to mind nearly as much because ultimately I am into the lifestyle it paints: living and eating outdoors on the British coast (with accompanying checked wool blanket and wild flowers).

The book is Martin Dorey’s Camper Van Coast. I am something of a canvas camping purist tbh, so even though I get the appeal of the VW porn, it isn’t the main lure for me – it’s all about the 100 recipes designed for cooking on a two-ring stove, something I intend to be doing again before long in my camp kitchen, y’know just as soon as the central heating goes off for the season.

I’m basically never happier than under canvas, fiddling about making tricky cups of tea on a Pocket Rocket stove and planning camp desserts such as bonfire-baked banana with dulce de leche. I am outraged to see that Martin Dorey has upstaged this dish by adding marshmallows and digestives and called it Rocky Road – these luxury-chasing campervanners, eh?

Out now, published by Saltyard Books, priced £16.99. www.martindorey.com

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It’s a strange coincidence that I was going to write a post today about my very un-Newquay holiday near Newquay last week when into my inbox landed an email about a new video promoting a more positive image of the much-maligned seaside town. Fair enough – but ‘the British California’!? Come on, let’s not get carried away. Well, perhaps, but only through lack of other contenders.

Think of Newquay and we all think: surf, first, then projectile vomiting, stag dos and vile clubs. At night, it’s a war zone.

But the thing about NQY that no one can take away is that it Read the rest of this entry »

I’d like to share with you the “interesting” results of a fishing and sushi-making escapade on the coast of South Devon at the weekend. When it comes to sushi, pollock and wrasse aren’t the first fish that spring to mind – nor for that matter are crudely cut pieces of fish served on plastic plates on a distinctly unminimalist camping table but that’s by the by. When the fish has come straight out of the water, anything is fair game. Very fresh fish is almost odour-free (the fishy smell comes as it decomposes) and fine to eat raw.

So, with a few wrasse and pollock duly reeled in off the rocks, we filleted it and sliced it up, and served it ceremoniously with wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce.

Here’s how it unfolded in pictures. In words, the verdicts were variously: ‘mmm… lovely’, ‘a little mushy in texture’, ‘oooh much nicer than I expected’, ‘I prefer salmon’, ‘the presentation needs work’, ‘you can’t just chop up a fish, serve it up and call it sushi’.

I’ve been looking for a reason to air my pictures of a particularly quirky weekend last ‘summer’ that I spent in a classic 1950s caravan on an iron age fort on the Lizard. And I think I’ve found one: Lovelane Caravans, the hosts in question, are imminently opening (post-Easter) their own little Love Lane Campsite in a field over at Roskilly’s, near St Keverne on the Lizard.

Lovelane lady Anna, an ex lingerie designer, Read the rest of this entry »

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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