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nathan outlaw book

Chef Nathan Outlaw’s star continues in the ascendant with the imminent publication of his first cookery book entitled Nathan Outlaw’s British Seafood – it’s out in May but I got my mitts on a preview copy and can report that it’s a beautiful blue hard-back tome with full-colour, full-page pictures of every dish.

Refreshingly free from the lifestyle shots and smug backstory that have become part and parcel of the celebrity chef cookbook (do I need a full-size picture of your daughter/you on a boat with that turbot recipe? Without meaning to be harsh, no, I’m afraid I don’t), it focuses with precision on the food – how, when and where to source British seafood, and methods of preparation and cooking.

The recipes are divided pragmatically and usefully into fish type – flat white fish, round white fish, oily fish, smoked fish and shellfish – and are characterised by Outlaw’s trademark lightness of touch and clever simplicity. Tempting for summer are the cured brill with pistachio dressing, pink grapefruit and pickled chicory – his take on ceviche – the cured mackerel and gooseberry jam roll, and a mussel and saffron quiche with fennel and rocket salad.

The foreword by Rick Stein, who employed Outlaw in his younger cheffing days, pays tribute to the honesty and simplicity of his food, and the “utterly charming, self-effacing man who seems somewhat perplexed about the fact that he has two Michelin stars because he says it’s only simple cooking.”

Nathan really is Cornwall’s favourite adopted son.

Published 10 May by Quadrille, £25. www.nathan-outlaw.com

Despite being a fisherman’s daughter – there again, maybe because of that – my fish filleting skills are often a pitiful sight involving gut-spattered youtube videos and too much fresh Newlyn fish flesh in the bin. Still, the situation has improved recently – mainly thanks to a commission to write an article for coast magazine about a course at the Rick Stein Cookery School in Padstow, combined with use of Mitch Tonks’ ingenious iPhone fish app.

I attended the classic one-day Seafood Cookery course and it was the business – a highly intensive course introducing beginners/improvers to all elements of seafood preparation and cooking.

The snag is that it is pricey (£175 for the day), which might explain why there was only one other Cornish resident on my course. But should you chose to splash out, that does include about five lunches and wine throughout the afternoon, and access to the minds and tips of some of Britain’s finest dedicated seafood chefs for a whole day. And obviously – this being Stein – Read the rest of this entry »

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Today’s post comes from über-coffee-maker Dave Jones, Origin coffee’s head barista trainer, pictured in green above. I attended one of Origin’s coffee courses (newly available to the public) at their geek-chic coffee lab in Helston last week and was bowled over by the complexities of brewing coffee but most of all by Dave’s amazingly detailist approach.

There are all sorts of things to think about like brew ratios, over-extraction, under-extraction, grind size, immersion time, saturation, freshness of beans… Ah, so that’ll be why there is so much poor coffee sloshing about, often even when the cafe has superb coffee beans to start with (talking of which, try smooth-talking Finca Los Altos by Origin, my new fave).

Don’t know about you but I’ve had enough limp lattes to last a lifetime, so without further ado, here’s Dave’s good coffee guide to Cornwall: Read the rest of this entry »

seafood restaurant stein

Writing about incredible food you’ve eaten is a difficult thing to do without sounding insufferably smug. ‘The organic, free-to-roam, hand-reared, home-matured beef with foam of expensive stuff and sprinkled with more expensive stuff, was quite simply divine!’. But with that caveat out of the way, I’m going to do it anyway.

I got an invite to last night’s Magnificent Seven, the opening night of the Cornwall Food & Drink Festival – a many-coursed meal prepared and presented by Cornwall’s seven top chefs. Was I free to attend? Oh, I think so.

There were endless courses and canapes so I’ll just do highlights (pics above):

• In at number one, seabass caught that morning served with delicate vanilla butter prepared by Breton chef Stephane Delourme, head chef at Stein’s Seafood Restaurant
Nathan Outlaw‘s tender circles of sirloin – gorgeous
• Chris Eden of the Driftwood‘s posh mini doughnuts dipped in cinnamon sugar with creme caramel

I chatted to he-of-superb-surname Nathan Outlaw afterwards and he seemed every bit as laid-back as he comes across on telly, despite awaiting January 2011 with baited breath to find out if he has managed to secure two Michelin stars for his new restaurant in Rock. He told me the restaurant has had five anonymous Michelin visits in the last few months, and knew there were more to come any day. God, pressure! Oh and he’s working on his first cookery book for next season – you heard it at p&c first :-)

And finally a video of Paul Ripley and Nathan Outlaw bantering about food in Cornwall. OK, in the cold light of day it turns out this is very out of focus – sorry about that, it was shot during the port course.

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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