Delicious pizza and medicinal whiskey at The Stable, Falmouth

Taxidermy wall art at The Stable, Falmouth, CornwallLast Sunday I was feeling very sorry for myself, I had a really sore throat, my face was raining snot, and my voice and chest had gone all creaky and weird. So I couldn’t face cooking, and couldn’t really face eating much. At about 3 o’clock I knew I had to have something, so the Peeb kindly steered me into The Stable, the new pizza, pie and cider pub in the old custom house in Falmouth.

Beautiful pizzas at the Stable in Falmouth, Cornwall.

Minced beef, chorizo and ham.

Firstly let me state the Peeb’s two favourite things in the world sustenance-wise are pizza and cider. So he was very happy.

We went up to order, and the Peeb tried the whiskey barrell cider which was just amazing: smoky and strong. The stylish chica behind the bar made me a really lovely hot toddy, with whiskey, loads of lemon, hot water and brown sugar that I could mix myself. It really helped…

Pizza review of The Stable, Falmouth, Cornwall

Lamb roast pizza with sweet potato, and my little friend in the back – a perfect spinach and bacon number with a beautifully cooked egg in the middle.

Dad enjoyed an obligatory glass of vin rouge and we stuffed our faces with some weird / fantastically crisp and thin pizza. Mine was amazing – if anything there was TOO MUCH meat on it which is a better complaint than the god-awful place we went last week where the Peeb paid £1 extra for one micro-thin slice of salami chopped into whiskers on his oily, spongy manky pizza-mess in another Cornish establishment that will remain nameless.

Dad’s meat party was The Red Ruby Rustler £13.50 which he went into raptures over. I had The Pendennis Piggy £10 because I always have the pizza that comes with an egg on. (I love eggs.) The weirdness was the The Lamb Roast £10.50 pizza that the Peeb chose – only because you don’t usually see lamb and sweet potatoes on a pizza but believe me it worked.

Not only was the most important thing (food and drink) really good in this place – the service was ace too. Duckie the dog was so happy snuggled up on the beautiful polished concrete floor, with the log burner blazing and a handsome wild boar looking down at us. They’ve renovated the old building beautifully, and given the fact they also do pies, no doubt we’ll be back down there again before too long.

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Terror at the London Bridge Experience

Food and Terror: My London Hen Experience (Survived)

Greenwich hen weekendI’ve just been up to London for my hen party. I flew up from Newquay (cheaper to fly than train) and got to London Victoria and had to buy hand sanitiser (no offense Londoners, but I hadn’t seen so many people in ages). So slow…….. it took me about 20 mins to get my ticket for the tube. I rode the DLR round to Greenwich which is always fun – but arrived in a fluster,which was eased by stuffing sushi into my face. It was so good, I was becalmed and realised I was back in London and  everything was ok. That’s how good Ajiichiban is. We ate salmon nigiri and sashimi, spicy tuna rolls, prawn tempura rolls and crispy duck rolls. We drank sparkling sake and Asahi beers. Then we ordered the whole lot again. It was frikken amazing.

So anyway, after a Fire Tree in the pub (lit rum being poured down stacked glasses and a rum bottle) and several pints we retired, full of excitement for the next day when I would get to see all my wonderful friends and go out to play in the big city.

Warp speed 9 in the Shard lift

We began with a West Cornwall Pasty sitting outside London Bridge station, followed by a trip up the Shard. We flew up to the 69th floor and drank champagne overlooking the city. It was amazing, it made the Eye look teeny tiny and I loved it. The sky was grey, the city was grey, and the sun was making stripes through the clouds. The poppies outside the Tower of London were so bright, I could have stayed up there for ages just looking. I couldn’t spot my beloved Hampstead Heath but I know it was out there somewhere.  We had to get on, so dropped down out of the sky and had a mini pep talk from the stern security man about marriage, life and health on the way out. He beamed at me and my ‘Bride to Be’ badge. It was a lovely start to the day.

Instagram views from the Shard

We’d had a call from my sister while we were Sharding, which was very distorted but sounded like she was surrounded by hooligans… turns out the pub we’d chosen to meet at had about 500 chanting football fans and scores of police outside. Standing just next to them was my bewildered looking sister… we rescued her, collected everyone else, and made our way to the London Bridge Experience. The London Bridge Experience is a historical journey through 2000 years of life in the area. This isn’t really true but I can’t really say too much without giving away the surprise of how terrifying the experience is. We were in there for about an hour or so, and my face hurt from laughing and being terrified the whole way round. I was so, so sweaty.

Terror at the London Bridge Experience

Onward to the Thames Clipper boat, which sailed us down to beautiful Greenwich. Some of the girls hadn’t sailed on the boat before – or been to Greenwich so it was really special.

Thames Clipper to Greenwich

My friend is an incredibly clever and talented cake maker (she is also making my wedding cake so details on that will follow later), and she’d sorted us out with some snacks and cups of tea, and then taught us how to decorate cupcakes!

Supar paste creatures

There were a few willies but very delicate ones which suited our very demure and ladylike celebrations.

Delicate decorations on Hen cupcakesThe entries to the cupcake competition

We ate the beautiful cake, drank prosecco and got ready for our amazingly delicious meal in the Crows’ Nest at the Cutty Sark pub. Walking along the river to the pub was gorgeous – I think it’s the bit that sticks in my mind the most, it was the calm in the eye of the storm… I was just so happy strolling along with my friends in the still London air.

I had a huge burger for dinner which was tasty but I wasn’t really concentrating on the food, I was too busy talking. Everyone else loved their food, and the house red wine was really good too.

We finished our night with drinks in the garden at the Pelton Arms, having just missed their live music. It was an awesome night, it was so great to see everyone and it was brilliant that my oldest boy-mate turned up to collect his good lady wife so I got to see him too.

The next day I was introduced to proper pie and mash for the very first time. Two home made pies with mince inside, with beautiful pastry, perfect smooth mashed potato and liquor, which is like parsley sauce: the perfect hangover cure. We went to Goddards which has been around since 1890, and had prices from then too (double pie, mash and liquor for about £4.50). The trick with pie and mash (I learned) is the seasoning – you’ve got to be generous with the salt, pepper and chilli vinegar to get the best out of it. I felt a million times better after my lunch.Pie and mash hangover cure

After a nap in the afternoon, I set out to west London to visit my godmother (she’s in her 80s, she may not have enjoyed the proper hen bit!) and we went to her local pub the Havelock Tavern for a lovely supper to round off my hen weekend: the most delicious, light kedgeree with a  soft boiled egg nestled on top, with a few small drips of sweet chilli sauce.

I had a lovely weekend. I was in love with London again. On my way back to Cornwall my wheelie bag got in someone’s way at the tube station, so I said ‘sorry’ and tried to smile at him. The man snapped “F*** OFF” at me. Ha. I was trying to!

When I came out of the plane door at Newquay I was slapped in the face by stinging sideways rain and I wanted to cry with happiness that I was home, and sadness that the weekend was over. The next time I’ll see everyone will be at the wedding in 5 weeks’ time. Better get my shit together, eh?

Sunset on top of Carn Brea

The night I became a medieval princess at Carn Brea Castle.

Carn Brea Castle sunset

One night in August I had a surreal dining experience. When we left,  I said to the Peeb,  ‘did that really just happen?’.  You see,  we’d been up the ‘brea’ to the Carn Brea Castle restaurant.

In case you can’t guess,  the Carn Brea Castle Restaurant is a restaurant in a castle on the top of an enormous granite mountain called Carn Brea.

We’d been walking up there before and it was hard to believe the beautiful ancient Castle growing out of the rock in the middle of nowhere could function as a restaurant..  But with a petrol powered generator and some battery fairylights and candles anything is possible. Clambering up the tiny stairs to the roof in the pitch dark was the first part of the fun. (We were early so waited for our table out on the roof, as you do.) The view from up there is breathtaking, especially when the sun is setting. We were bold on the way back down to our table, where food was the incentive for the climb down.

IMAG3418

We sat by a single candle and a tiny window in the 2ft thick stone wall, overlooking the sea.  We saw the stars come out one by one and the sea fade to nothing in the distance. Over delicious home made hummus and warm bread, smoky baba ganoush and olives so good we shared the last one, we settled into this amazing place.

It was one of those unique and special experiences that don’t seem to be quite real. You know the ones I mean: where strangers smile at each other because it’s so weird and cool and everything is delicious. It’s pretty romantic there too,  and I imagine in the winter with the huge log fires ablaze it would be even more so.

We ate perfect grilled lamb chops, with delicious crispy edges. The salad tasted like Mediterranean salads of childhood holidays (lots of lemon juice), and rice.  I was in heaven. It reminded me a little of Beyti, the Turkish grill restaurant, on Newington Green Road near one of my places in London. I’d spied the other tables getting baklava petit fours so we swerved dessert and had coffee instead.  The Peeb doesn’t like baklava so I had four morsels to myself: coconut, chocolate, and pistachio flavours encased in the finest flaky filo pastry and a not-too-sweet or overly-sticky syrup.

When we left we stood in the darkness for a while, on a boulder on the edge to survey our kingdom and the lights of Redruth. I tried to take a picture of the stars (which didn’t work). On the way back to the car I really felt like I had been to a fairytale feast (albeit Jordanian in flavour) in a hunting lodge from an Arthurian legend.

One thing to think about was the owner’s suggestion that we hire the place at New Year, bring our friends, some sleeping bags,  and have the most atmospheric and unforgettable New Year’s Eve party of all time. I could just imagine settling down to sleep, listening to the wind howl as the candles got low,  and getting The Fear from ghost stories…

Price wise the meal was about £7 a starter, £16 a main, and a 250ml glass of wine was about a fiver. It’s not cheap but it’s totally romantic and unique. I’d love to go back..  But I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be all a dream.

Misty Carn Brea

Shepherd’s Hut Trip to the White Peak, Derbyshire

View from the New Hanson Shepherd's Hut

View from our Shepherd’s Hut at New Hanson Farm

Back when it was summer – remember that? Not very long ago anyway, we went on a romantic minibreak to the Peak District. I’ve not seen that much of the UK in my travels so far, I’ve always gone away rather than explored our very beautiful local land-mass. So I was beside myself with excitement to travel off up to Bristol, then onward to the ‘gateway’ to the peaks, Ashbourne. We drank an unexpectedly excellent coffee over looking the square, then went on a knee-tremblingly exciting trip around Waitrose. (I’m from Cornwall. It’s really really exciting ok? You should have seen me in Milton Keynes’ H&M last week, I was nearly in tears there was TOO MUCH CHOICE. I couldn’t decide, and didn’t buy anything.)

Lovely coffee in the square at Ashbourne

Ashbourne Square – a great place for coffee and watching the market being set up.

Anyway, back to the trip… saving up every day of holiday this year for our honeymoon in December has been tough (first world problems) so we took two days off and went off to stay in the middle of nowhere in a beautiful shepherd’s hut.

Staying in a Shepherd’s HutThe two shepherd huts

The New Hanson shepherd huts are traditional huts which have been refurbished and are super cosy. There’s no electricity but there’s a plug near the shower area where you can charge your phone if you like.

Cosy shepherd hut interior

There was a gas cooker (camping style but nice) and plenty of little LED lanterns to hang around the place in the evenings (fine for reading by). The log burning stove was teeny and so cute – I’m sure in the winter it would make the hut ridiculously toasty.

There was one other hut in the field there, of a similar size, but that one didn’t take doggies. So the field with just two huts and plenty of space for a couple of tents would be a great place to go with a group of walking friends, plus kids in tents.

A tiny dresser completes the interior

The showstopper of the shepherd hut experience was the breakfast basket, delivered to the door containing a thermos of strong coffee, a pretty china milk jug which I wanted to steal (but didn’t) TWO chunky bacon rolls each, sauces, and pretty embroidered napkins and lovely vintage-esque crockery. Such a treat. Unwrapping the goodies inside felt as exciting as  Christmas morning.
Sheep escaping after dinner at The George

 What we ate, where

Ducks gatecrashing our Tissington picnic

Watch out for ASBO ducks.

We were only there for two nights and as it was our main holiday this summer, we didn’t stay in and cook our meals, instead we ventured out to a pub which looked nice but Tripadvisor warned was expensive… It was. But it was top quality… really really excellent. I had bangers and mash and it was exactly what I needed after a long day’s walking. I realise now after my Ben’s Cornish Kitchen post I’m going to have to think of some more adjectives to illustrate how delicious, perfect and delicate morsels of fine food can be.

In fact the pub, The George at Alstonefield, was so good we returned the following night and ate three courses as well as the cheeseboard. We ate steaks and lamb chops and crispy brawn with langoustines and for dessert, the  “rhubarb Bakewell tart, custard, poached rhubarb, rhubarb sorbet”: I hate rhubard usually (too sour) but this was the best dessert I’d put in my face for a long time. It was the kind of dessert that makes the filthiness of sugar-overload desserts worth succumbing to.

Walking the Dovedale Ravine Walk

Dipping our toes in Dovedale Ravine

The rest of the time, when we weren’t eating at The George, we walked a fabulous walk to Dovedale Ravine. We left on foot from the shepherd’s hut and walked via the Dovedale river path, via Ilam Park (that’s i-lam, not 11am) and onto the Peveril of the Peak hotel where they gave us pints of cider and rang the only local cab driver to come and fetch us and drive us back to the hut.  We had walked several miles (5 or 6) so we were fine with not walking the whole way. It was a really hot day. And the cab driver was great fun, and we sang Beatles songs together… Feel free to mock our lack of stamina!

The peak district is ridiculously beautiful.

The best bits were the huge sandwiches we ate at the National Trust cafe at Ilam House, and dandling our hot tired toes in the icy water by the stepping stones at Dovedale Ravine.

Cycling the Tissington Trail

Happy on my hired bike

The next day, we were extremely dare-devil-like and adventurous and hired bikes from Ashbourne to cycle the Tissington Trail, which is a flat-ish bikes only trail from Ashbourne in the south up to Parsley Hay. We just went to Tissington and back, and ate our Waitrose feast on a lawn by the church in Tissington. Two greedy ducks came to steal a bit of lettuce.

Tissington has beautiful architecture

Tissington Hall

Greedy ducksThe highlight of the bike day was the amazing tunnel in Ashbourne, which we saved for the last bit of the bike trip. Having been directed from the bike hire shop by a very helpful man (who sounded so much like Dave (Craig Cash) from the Royle Family it was freaky), we sailed into the tunnel. We really enjoyed whooping and yelling with the incredible acoustics and were terrified by the steam train sounds that play in the dark, cavernous dripping tunnel. It was a great end to a great weekend, and I can’t wait to go back for some more hiking, and if I’m brave – some more cycling.The spooky tunnel at Ashbourne

Hen Day in Falmouth

All about my Falmouth hen do

Beautiful, elegant Hen Do.

The Mothers’ Hen was such a good day… it was laid-back and totally unstressful. I had a bit of help from my friends – lovely Cava was brought along and we set off on the good ship Princessa from the Prince of Wales Pier in Falmouth at 2pm. For two hours we bobbed on the water, out of the harbour and along to the Helford river, with calm, sunny weather all the way. We drank the Cava and ate a box of excellent pasties I’d ordered from Pasty Presto. They were hot, juicy and delicious, with really good pastry that isn’t rock hard. The box kept them warm, and also came with really pretty paper bags to use as plates and plenty of napkins. Really good for a party – and a box of ten was £26.50 which was ok price-wise (they’re more than that usually).

When they say ‘full commentary’ on the boat, it’s just enough to be quite interesting and but not at all overwhelming. We were busy chatting but there were a few interesting things along the way that helped the conversation (most people were meeting for the first time).

When we got back, we walked over to Gylly beach for a coffee and the conversation became a bit more ‘henny’ with tales of strippers with tomato sauce flavoured crisps stuffed into their leather posing pouches. With our minds opened we strolled home from the beach (we were meant to go in the sea, but couldn’t be arsed).

Back at home we got changed ready for our much anticipated meal at the Wheelhouse. Without doubt, my favourite restaurant in Falmouth, I talk about the Wheelhouse all the time and I was so pleased they had space for 10 of us – particularly as most of the girls hadn’t been there before.  (I booked four months ago). As we got ready at home there was a flurry of activity – Mum seemed to be stressing about something and there was a lot of whispering. The front door opened and shut a few times and I was suspicious that they were getting some horrific stripper in.. luckily it was just them panicking: Mum had picked up a couple of plastic tiaras, some sashes etc, but she’d only got 9 things because the bride’s veil/L plates combo was just too hideous. So they’d somehow ended up with nothing for me – cue running over the road and sourcing a beauuuuuutiful flower crown from our neighbour just as the taxis arrived. So I ended up looking like a happy flower child, resplendent under my flowery halo. I was just gutted I had to give it back the next day!

My favourite restaurant: mussels at the Wheelhouse Falmouth
Down we went to the Wheelhouse. They do just seafood, two ways (garlic or garlic/chilli/ginger/lime/coconut type flavours). I’d pre-ordered to help out the kitchen (it’s a tiny place) and so copper pans of mussels, prawns, scallops and crab flowed out of the kitchen, along with baskets of the best skinny chips. I didn’t order salads because salads have no place among all that deliciousness. Wheelhouse Tina as always was brilliant with everyone – we had such a good time. We talked and laughed and ate for 3 hours. Their white wine (house) is just so crisp and delicious. The night ended with a beer at Beerwolf Books followed by a 30 minute sway/bop in Mangos before going home to stuff our faces with cupcakes and tea.

The funniest bit of the night was when my Mum’s very sensible friend Jan questioned me about the Peeb, in the style of a Mr and Mrs quiz. Mum and Jan had got the Peeb’s answers completely wrong and kept reading out the answers at the same time as the questions by mistake, which was hilarious. In the end I somehow won all the prizes, the best one was a concierge type bell that had “ring for sex” written on it. Not at all what I expected Auntie Jan to pull out of her bag.

It was a great day, and didn’t cost us a great deal… £13 each for the boat ride & pasty, plus £30 for dinner… and now I can’t wait for the London version next month! Woop woop.

And the next day, we got all the doggies and some of the boys together for a walk and a beer at Porthtowan.. here’s a pic of all the doggies together. How gorgeous.

After the hen we walked the dogs at Porthtowan

Hen Dogs

Have you got a hen story you’d like to share? What do you think about having a separate Mother Hens do?