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Saturday, 26 November 2011


Each September Abergavenny is the centre of the foodiverse but it doesn’t stop there. Sure there is the Christmas Fair (December 11th this year) and talk of a spring event for 2012, but week in week out Abergavenny is a food destination.

Very good pubs and restaurants, several highly acclaimed Butchers (H J Edwards is my favourite) and an indoor market from which I usually source my (farmhouse) butter are all open year round and well worth a visit, particularly on Fridays when food is the key element of the market.

But it is the Abergavenny Farmers Market which drew me back this week. My employment as a Local Government Officer meant that Thursdays were difficult but my recent transformation to “Freelance Foodie” meant that I could now attend.

Pork and all things pig was the aim of the trip, my favourite meat, and well represented in the Market Hall.

First things first, a tour of the stalls, old favourites from Usk were there Elmtree pies and Burren Bakehouse, Ty Mawr Organics and Café Nativo, but the move just 10 miles or so up the road meant that the centre of gravity had changed and a number of producers from South Herefordshire and Powys were also there.

But back to the quest for pork, and ignoring the beautiful breads, charming cakes, verdant vegetables cracking chutneys and handsome honeys I concentrated an all things Pig.

I have been disappointed recently to discover that Elmtree had sold out of Pork Pies by the time that I hit their stall, but all that changed, and I was confronted by the last four pies and this just 15 minutes after the market opened.

The Elmtree Pork Pie is a work in progress. Collete has yet to settle on the perfect pie, all Lard or Lard and Butter crust? Jelly or no Jelly? Spicing?. The important thing here is the pies are really good and it is customer feedback that will determine the final outcome (or maybe a range?). The jelly question is largely self-answering, jelly makes for an extra depth of flavour and texture but the pies are so full of meat that there is very little room for any jelly to be added and, jelly lover though I am, a high meat content gives real value.

Mine did not contain any jelly though it honestly did not need it and good quality Pork delivered a good taste whilst the traditional all Lard pastry gave a crispness and crumbliness hard to beat. A good measure of Sage in with the meat completed a good pie enhanced by an organic tomato and Usk River’s Pearlilli on the side.

Pork Pie sourced I moved on to look for Ham Hocks. This most versatile cuts of meat allows for sandwiches and inclusion in classic recipes such as Ham Hock Terrine, Pea and Ham Soup and Chicken and Ham Pie. And, as a bonus, some highly jellified and flavour intense stock perfect for soups and gravies.

Glaisfer Uchaf Farm is located in Llangynidr between Crickhowell and Brecon, or just over the mountain from Ebbw Vale and they provided the Ham Hock. Just over 3lbs with a relatively low bone content this was an absolute bargain. Glaisfer have their own cutting rooms and welcome visitors to shop on the farm or try their product at Peterstone Court Restaurant.

Not far from Llangynidr is Talybont on Usk where Coity Bach have their farm. Again I was after Pork and from a wide range I chose sausage meat to make Mark Hix Meatloaf somewhere between a Scotch Egg and a mega sausage roll. Having made this with good free range eggs I wanted to get prime sausage meat for an improved dish. By choosing two types of meat I should be able to make a meatloaf which has depths of flavour and which offers a different bite each time.

Crossing the hall again I approached The Welsh Pig Company. Based just outside Raglan they offer snout to tail piggy perfection and process the meats into salami – the black peppercorn was epic!. It was the Smoked Belly Pork which caught my eye on this occasion, I love belly, especially slow roasted with a crisp crackling but haven’t cooked a smoked belly yet so this is an experience that I am really looking forward to.

There is another string to their bow, Coffee Roasting. From a small workshop they roast Columbian beans on a small but often basis providing extremely fresh coffee that shows in the taste just how fresh it is. Each bag has the date of roasting on it, not the “Best Before 2057” often found on supermarket offerings. Chef Wes Harris uses their coffee at The Charthouse restaurant and a bag is always in my cupboard, replenished regularly from Usk Farmers Market.

Finally one more producer.

I sometimes head for Ludlow, a great source of prime ingredients and a town which was the UK’s food destination before Abergavenny took the crown and induced Shaun Hill to abandon Ludlow for the Walnut Tree near Abergavenny!!
The butchers in Ludlow are my main reason for the visit, their product is always good and the shops tend to specialise in one type of meat ensuring that they sell the best Lamb or Pork, Beef or Game.

The Tudge family farm on the borders of Herefordshire and Shropshire raising free range chicken and Berkshire Pigs. They mainly sell through Famers Markets from Ludlow to Abergavenny and have an online presence too.
What I liked especially was the bits that you don’t always see in a butchers. Black Pudding from the pigs, large squares of perfectly set, deep golden jellied stock and squares of well fatted skin ready for roasting into crackling. I bought all of these and also some cocktail sausages in anticipation of snacky buffets as Christmas approaches.

Now for the Shaun Hill connection:
Shaun has used the Berkshire Pork from Tudges for years and the following recipe by him is taken from their website:

Loin of Pork with Whole Grain Mustard Sauce - for 4 persons

800g well-trimmed pork loin
1tbsp sunflower oil
1 pealed shallot
1 small stick celery
1 small carrot
1 tsp plain flour
1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
50ml. red wine
50 ml. water
1 tbsp. capers

Season the loin with salt and pepper, then brush with oil.
Heat a roasting tray, then place the vegetables and meat - fat side down - to sear. This may be a touch smoky, but the idea is to start crisping and caramelising the fat so that it is sweet and well done by the time the eye of the meat is just cooked.

Place the roasting tray in a moderate oven – 175C – cook until done – probably no more than 40 minutes.

Lift the meat onto a plate or rack to settle while you make the sauce. Pour off almost all the fat and, over a low flame, stir in the flour. Use a wooden spoon to dislodge any residues stuck to the roasting tray and then add wine and water. Bring back to the boil, stirring regularly and simmer for 2 minutes. Strain the gravy into a small saucepan and add the mustard and capers. Bring to the boil. Add any juices which may have seeped from the cooked pork and serve.

Overall a very good morning’s shopping and enough fresh ingredients to keep me busy for a few days yet.

Just one more stop, Rosin at Burren for a slice of her Porter Cake, made to her mother’s recipe but with a secret inclusion of her own. Just right to follow a Pork Pie for lunch!!

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Monday, 21 November 2011

Shop Local and Shop Well

Saturday meant a return to my local Farmers Market in Usk. We visit every other Saturday and manage to plan most of a week’s menu from that visit.

This time I had a specific agenda in mind before we set off.
One of my favourite stalls is James Swift’s Trealy Farm charcuterie, winners of countless True Taste Awards and plaudits from The Observer and other influential food commentators and industry experts.

Trealy do an amazing range of product, largely sourced from their own stock though they also process meats from good local producers. Having crossed Europe training with experts, before setting up, Trealy make some of the finest charcuterie in the UK.

Ballymaloe Cookery School uses the similarly great produce from Gubbeen in Schull, County Cork, though during my time there I sang the praises of Trealy and in December I shall have the chance to show how good it is to the current students.

So, I needed to sort a good range of meats with James.

As the Air Dried Lamb is unique and a multi award winner that was a straightforward choice, but with only 15 minutes to get the story over and give tastings I had to select those meats which James considered best represented Trealy.

Between us we settled on Smoked Air Dried Monmouthshire Ham, Smoked Air Dried Beef, Salami with Cracked Black Pepper, Fennel Salami, Venison and Wild Boar Salami and Sweet Chorizo. Monmouthshire on a plate, and great tastes for the discriminating students.

Just down the hall from James was Roisin from the Abergavenny based Burren Bakery.

Good Soda bread is Roisin’s stock in trade Having fallen in love with Soda years ago, and made lots and lots at Ballymaloe I can confirm that Burren make really good breads and the local Hotels and Restaurants that she supplies speak eloquent testimony to this. One of my favourites combines Figs and Walnuts to produce a sweet bread that is almost cakey in texture and certainly in taste. Similarly the fruit bread (Spotty Dog in Ireland) is rich and tasty, great for breakfast with marmalade or a good jam.

Cakes are also available, the Irish Apple Cake is my favourite, though some amazing crisp and moist Brownies caught Mrs K’s attention and demanded purchase.

A couple on their first visit were stunned to see Roisin and I swapping chutneys that we had made and exchanging Sticky Gingerbread for the aforementioned Brownies. Their amusement turned to pleasure as Roisin offered to swap bread for some of their Walnuts on their next visit. Every Little Helps and you don’t get that in your local megamart.

Sandwiched between James and Roisin was Sue Ryder of Wye Valley Cheese. Some weeks ago I blogged about The Perfect Ploughman’s and bemoaned not being able to find a Monmouthshire based Cheesemaker, the All Wales Ploughing Championships were being held in one of our villages. Had I but known about Wye Valley then.

The cheese is made from unpasteurised milk and is a sort of cross between Gloucester, just over the border, and Cheddar. It is pressed in traditional presses, some of which were last used over 100 years ago!
Mature at around three months, having been stored in a purpose built room dug into a bank with an earth roof to create the right temperature and humidity.

I prefer the Extra Mature and the date on my piece said that it had been made in January of this year so 10 months old when bought. If you don’t make it to the Farmers Market you can buy the cheese direct from Lower Gockett Farm Shop Monday to Saturday.

A little local gem well worth a try!

As ever we selected vegetables from Ty Mawr Organics which would be paired with the Organic Free Range Chicken from Tom Llewellin at Penucha'rplwyf farm. Not only are Tom’s chickens superb, and come with giblets, but he also gives carcasses for stock on a first come first served basis!

A couple of Elmtree pies, minted mutton for Mrs K, boozy beef for me meant that we would have a good, and light lunch whilst I started the stock from the carcass.

Finally a dash to the fish stall for dressed crab and Arbroath Smokies. The Smokies would be breakfast but the crab would be mixed with a white sauce and covered in buttered crumbs and browned for tea, A simple garlic mayonnaise would accompany some Soda Bread and a mixed leaf salad to set the tea off.

I started with collecting Trealy Farm charcuterie to take to Ballymaloe and the salad for the crab reminded me of Ballymaloe again. Ty Mawr’s mixed leaves included Mizuna, Mibuna, Bok Choi, Pak Choi and TatSoi amongst others. Part of the Mid Term and Final exams at Ballymaloe are Salad Leaf recognition tests and Ty Mawr could have set them judging by their great mix.

Usk Farmers Market…. Local and Great

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Sunday, 13 November 2011

Inn at theElm Tree

We had a manic day, driving to Aberystwyth to pick up some tickets, then down to Pembroke Dock to see how long it would take; we are seeing a band in Aber then getting the ferry to Rosslare for our pre-Christmas sourcing expedition. From Pembroke Dock it was a trip to Bridgend and then home.

Leaving home at 8:30 and still being on the Motorway at 6, and having missed lunch, I didn’t feel particularly like cooking but remembered that Colette from Elmtree Foods (great pies and pasties) had recommended the “Inn at the Elmtree”.

Turning off at Newport and navigating our way across the marshes and reens to St Brides the inn was a welcoming site, especially as they started serving at 6:30 and could accommodate 2.

We settled into comfortable chairs in the bar with an orange juice for the driver and a Pint of Badger Beer “Golden Glory”. This hoppy 4.8 pint has a distinct aroma of Peaches though on the palate a bit of Melon cuts in. Not oenophile hyperbole, it really does smell and taste that way. Pleasantly sunny and, the website confirmed, ideal for a crisp winters day.

The menu looked good, and decisions were not easy - especially as the Soup of The Day (served with a hunk of locally baked bread) turned out to be Tomato with Tarragon and Thyme.

Janet decided that Goats Cheese Medallion with Beetroot sounded good and, despite the obvious attractions of the soup I opted for the hot-smoked Salmon Fishcakes.

A large round of cheese surmounted a good balsamic dressed rocket and walnut salad and thin rounds of roasted beetroot lay to the sides. Janet pronounced it Yum and this from a woman who rates food on a scale from Alright to YUM! Clearly hit the spot and my tasting mouthful concurred.

The Fishcakes were more like small crumbed timbales, a good ratio of salmon to light potato in a crispy crumbed coating. The accompanying Lemon Mayonnaise introduced a citrus bite and the Mango Salsa (mainly tomato with small cubes of mango) gave a fruity offset. The Frisee and Radicchio saladhad thin slices of tomato and onion and gave overall balance to the dish. Very good.

Mains saw our usual split. Welsh Lamb Loin rolled in Fresh Garlic and Rosemary with honey roast carrots, minted new potatoes and roasted root vegetables served with a Redcurrant Lamb Jus for Janet. I did not try this dish as lamb has a distinctly difficult effect upon me but a YUM was the verdict from my dining partner.

It was the Chargrilled Ribeye that caught my attention, served with a flat mushroom, tomato and triple cooked chips. I asked for my steak rare.

I am always concerned when a steak knife is provided prior to the arrival of the dish.

Does the chef have such little faith in their ingredient or cooking ability that they have to provide a small saw to cut it?

As my ordinary knife had not been removed I determined to use it, and, If the steak knife was necessary to reject the offering.

I am pleased to report that the steak knife was utterly superfluous, neither needed nor used. When I mentioned the steak knife to a member of staff she was highly apologetic. “They’ve been told not to give them out unless the diner requests them, some do like well-done which does toughen the meat but anything less should never need one”. Clearly a chef who knows how his meat will emerge.

A good Char gave strong flavour to a steak cooked perfectly rare that cut like butter and melted in the mouth.

Triple Cooked chips with a resounding crunch and a fluffy light interior were the ideal accompaniment. The tomato had intensified in flavour during their brief cooking and the mushroom had real depth of taste. Perhaps a little more butter on the mushroom but I believe that a pound of butter could always use more butter! A red onion marmalade both sweet and full of allium taste rounded the dish in more ways than one. Magnificent.

Then desserts. I chose the Vanilla Ice Cream and the Butterscotch sauce. Could not fault it.

Janet chose the Cheese Platter to include Perl Las, Mature Welsh Cheddar and Brie. Hmm Brie? Why not a good Caerphilly? or a smooth and creamy Perl Wen? Still we debated which Welsh Cheddar would come with the dish, a good offering from Caws Cenarth? Maybe a little Hafod?

This was the only, but severe, let down of the evening.

The cheese platter had crackers, grapes, celery and cherry tomatoes and a small dish of the Onion Marmalade to accompany the cheese.

It was the cheese that was the let down. Stilton (English), Applewood Smoked Cheddar (English) Brie (French) and a Jalapeno infused Jack cheese (Mexican). Not one Welsh Cheese amongst them.

When a restaurant advertises itself as a "local produce restaurant" you expect it to do what it says on the tin. Serving non Welsh Cheeses when you expected them is like ordering Champagne and getting Lambrini. Not good!

Setting this aside we had a good evening. Friendly helpful staff, good choice and well cooked food.

We will definitely return, and certainly recommend the Inn at the Elm Tree to others, hopefully when we return the Cheeses will deliver what they promised

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Friday, 4 November 2011

The White Hart, Michelin Rated Pub

The White Hart at Llangybi (Usk to non-locals) had been recommended to me by a number of friends as a good place to eat but I had yet to get around to it.

This morning, however, as news of its inclusion in the 2012 Michelin Pub Guide took over the Twittersphere, I determined to get there and beat the rush!

A quick Tweet ensured that there was a lunch vacancy so off we set on the 10 mile or so journey.

On arrival we were asked if we would like a drink whilst we surveyed the menu. I chose the Watkin Cwrw Braf which I would have had in Zennor had the barrel not run out and Janet being the driver opted for an orange juice.

Sitting by the open fireplace we read the menu and decided that a single course light lunch was not an option, there was too much that needed trying. For starters Janet fancied the Black Olive, Quinoa and Pant ys Gawn goat cheese salad, whilst the stand-out starter for me was the Beef Tongue, a great dish but not often on menus as tongue has largely, and incorrectly, gone out of favour.

Seated at a nice table for two in the dining room we were offered iced water and two mini loaves soon appeared “Careful they’re still pretty warm inside, there might be steam when you cut them”. Nice to get obviously freshly baked bread as opposed to the microwaved, frozen, yeast related product sometimes on offer at certain chain restaurants.

I was still enjoying the sight of butter slowly melting into the bread when the starters arrived.

The presentation was great. the Quinoa providing a bed for chunks of cheese, olives, seasonal vegetables and baby leaves whilst the thinly sliced tongue supported a light horseradish whip and piquant salad leaves and tiny capers studded the dish.

The taste did not let the presentation down. Quinoa is a fairly neutral grain which absorbs flavour so, as well as being a gluten free “superfood” it is well suited to salads where it takes on the flavours of any dressings whilst allowing the main ingredients to shine through. The sharpness of the cheese contrasted with the earthiness of the olives and a well-balanced dish ensued.

Tongue that literally melted in the mouth would have been good enough on its own but a pickled carrot and the horseradish cream again counter balanced the main ingredient and, if a starter is meant to sharpen the appetite and palate for the main course, this filled the brief admirably.

Mains arrived promptly but not hurriedly, important for a lunch menu when many diners will have afternoon appointments.

We had argued over main courses. Both of us fancied the fish offerings so in the end we compromised on one of each provided each could taste the others.

Janet got to order the whole baked Plaice with Potted Prawns and Potatoes and I ordered the White Hart Fish and Chips.

The baked Plaice came with a veloute that featured just enough mixed spice and cayenne to add an interesting “je ne sais quoi” and potted prawns mounted on top. A small dish of boiled new potatoes sat to one side and fresh, crisp broccoli completed the dish.. Janet demonstrated her forensic skills reducing the fish to a bare skeleton and tasty fillets of fish. These worked well with the sauce and the vegetables set the whole dish off.

The Fish and Chips came with a crispy beer batter which contained pure white Cod, the chips achieved crispness and fluffiness and both Mushy Peas and home-made Tartare sauce with gherkin that had been in a sweet pickle added to the balance of the tastes. As good a fish and chips as I have ever had.

Neither of us could declare a “best fish dish”, both dishes were winners.

It seemed churlish not to try the desserts after two outstanding courses so a long perusal of the menu narrowed the choice to two. A Blackberry and Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Mousse, Popcorn, Salted Caramel and Honey Ice Cream.

If dessert is the most memorable part of the meal, it is sweet and comes last, these would live long in the mind.

An intensely chocolaty mousse balanced by a sweet/salt caramel sauce, crunchy popcorn and a creamy smooth ice cream managed to achieve dessert umami, whilst an almost toffee-like crumble perfectly matched the deep fruit sat on a light sponge base.

Dessert completed the meal.

Coffee came with small biscuits which managed a biscotti taste without the hardness of the Italian treat, perfect for Espresso.

A good lunch and one which demonstrated why a Michelin entry is fully justified.

So, how has the White Hart achieved this success?

Firstly through a team of really good chefs, Michael Bates leads the team, formerly Executive Head Chef at the Celtic Manor Michael is a member of the Gold Award winning Welsh Culinary Team. Brothers Adam and Liam Whittle complete the brigade and both have very strong backgrounds, winning awards and cooking in high profile kitchens.

But, no matter how strong the team in the kitchen, they need a good Front of House crew. Certainly based on the welcome which we received, and the friendliness and knowledge of the team this important balance has been achieved.

AA Rosettes, Pub of the Year awards and now listing in the Michelin “Eating Out in Pubs” guide, a strong beginning and one that can be built on with the strengths displayed on our visit.

Truly The White Hart is Local and Great

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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Gurnards Head

The last day of October saw us en route to Zennor and the Gurnards Head Hotel. A sister to the Felin Fach Griffin this highly rated pub with rooms has long been a foodie destination and had been on my “to do list” for some time. An amazing £125 per couple deal for Dinner Bed and Breakfast made this a very manageable trip.

As we wound our way along the cliffs from St Ives a glowering sky and gusty wind made the sight of the pub even more welcome. Leaving our bags in the car we entered the bar and were welcomed with real warmth. “Why don’t you have a drink while we check that your room is ready?” so a pint of Skinners “Betty Stoggs” and a half of St Austell Brewery “Tribute” were pulled and the relevant room enquiries were made.

Leaving the beer we went to look at our room. A cosy room with a view towards the sea was ready and waiting and the Tea and Coffee tray had a cafetiere and some Fair Trade Coffee and tea from the UK’s only Tea plantation - Tregothnan (here in Cornwall) in both Classic and Earl Grey varieties.

Back in the bar we perused the lunch menu over our beers and decided that a light lunch was in order so Mains only. The Plaice appealed to Janet and was duly ordered whilst a Roast Beef with Bubble and Squeak, Savoy Cabbage and fried Duck egg got my attention.

Plaice is not usually my favourite fish, it is often cotton-wooly but Janet’s fillet was perfect, shining white and with real texture it sat on a bed of crushed potatoes with spinach and a Mussel veloute.

My rare beef – must have been a rib – had been warmed so the fat was golden and full of taste and the bubble and squeak – a mix of carrot, parsnip and potato had an undertone of horseradish which set the beef of well. Add to that an unctuous thick-yolked fried egg and tangy iron flavoured savoy cabbage and I was in food heaven.

Though a tempting range of desserts were on offer we resisted to maximise space for the dinner that would come later.

As the rain intensified and the newly changed clocks meant that dusk was around 4:30 we decided that a walk was not the brightest option and that tea and coffee in the bar next to the log fire was a perfect way to spend the rest of the afternoon before changing.

Back in the bar after a quick shower the beer order changed as I tried the Green Hop but JT stuck to the Tribute. Though there is a pleasant dining room we had been booked a table in the bar, next to the fire, and to be honest the bar is as good a place to eat as any!

Menus were heavily consulted and decisions painstakingly made about the three courses which would make up the Dinner element of the stay.
One of my pet bugbears is the Vegetarian Option on a menu. There are two reasons for this: Firstly though every menu “Must” have a vegetarian option have you ever seen a “Meat Option” in a vegetarian restaurant? And secondly there are loads of great vegetable recipes so why limit them to the “Vegetarian Option”?:

The Gurnards Head did not have a veggie option.

Instead they had the Kitchen Garden Menu with dishes such as Pumpkin Soup and Wild Mushrooms as a starter or Beetroot Risotto with Walnuts and Parmesan. Any of these dishes I would happily have consumed but the main menu was irresistible.

"I will try the Quail, Squid Ink Risotto and Quail Egg” said Mrs K “and then the Sole with Vermouth and New potatoes .” My own choices were the Salmon and Lobster Tortellini and the Gurnard with Smoked Haddock. Well, when you are on a headland named after a fish you really ought to try the object after which the place was named.

Iced Water and Soda Bread arrived and shortly thereafter the starters.

The leg and breast of the Quail came with a well poached egg and the risotto was a clever surprise. Instead of a fluid mound of black rice it had been moulded into a cylinder and deep fried Arancini style! A clever take on risotto which gave a pleasant crunch to the outside and a melting interior packed with flavour from what was a very good stock.

My bowl of two large Tortellini had a firm but yielding mousse of salmon and lobster wrapped in smooth and silky pasta with a foamy veloute of crab as a dressing. Epic!

Sadly the Sole was not available but Plaice was offered as an alternative and, having truly enjoyed lunch, Janet decided not to change her order. She was entirely justified in this decision as the fish was again cooked perfectly and with grapes and new potatoes ( a la Veronique) the dish was really very good.

My Gurnard came as a fillet sat on a bed of buttery mashed potato and some Smoked Haddock that had a deep smokiness which offset the gurnard and creamy sauce to perfection. Beautifully flavoured buttered leeks completed a well thought out and balanced dish.

Desserts took a while to determine but a Pear Mousse and a Fig and Almond Tart were the eventual winners from a shortlist of the entire menu.

The pear Mousse sat on a bed of Cinnamon Sponge with a topping of Calvados Jelly and a crispy Apple ring. Janet devoured this sparing only a minor tasting portion for me and accompanied it with an extremely alcoholic cocktail the precise contents of which were forgotten in a wave of appreciation.

My Tart had a thin crispy base with a delicate frangipane filling and a fresh fig on top. The second half of the fig was on the plate with a very good Honey and Lavender Ice Cream. Lavender can be hard to balance but here it was done well and the rich honey tones perfectly matched the tart.

A good coffee followed and we headed for bed as they say having had an “elegant sufficiency” and still taking about the meal.

Our room Room 1 has had some criticism on review sites but I think the reviewers were missing the point. This is a pub with rooms not a Luxury Hotel with food. The room was not small as some have complained but, on a blustery and rainy end of Autumn night, it was cosy, and the soft bed with ample duvet meant a really good night’s sleep for both.

When I woke in the morning a brilliant sunny day awaited and the local cows were making their way down the road for milking. Intriguing as this rural scene was Breakfast was waiting.

Freshly pressed Apple Juice accompanied the tea and coffee and I could not resist the home-made bread and the similarly in house Blackberry and Plum Jams. In the battle between Kippers and Full breakfast the meaty feast won out.

A fried egg, so fresh it came in three layers, fried mushrooms brilliant smoked bacon and Black Pudding and Hog’s Pudding made up the full breakfast. The Black Pudding was very similar to an Irish pudding, rich and herby/spicy with none of the large lumps of fat and obvious oat fillings that are so often present in UK puddings. Harvey’s of St Ives make the Black Pudding and also, to the Gurnards Head recipe, the Hog’s pudding. This again had a very Irish feel being like a White Pudding, a near sausage with a meaty substance and herby background.

As much bread as you can eat and a toaster for guests use and constant refills of coffee and tea mean that breakfast can be a long lingering affair and, given the quality of the food and the relaxed atmosphere of the Gurnards Head it is likely that you will want to.

A great stay in a great pub/hotel. We will return and since they have just taken over a small hotel in Mousehole our next trip is sorted. With places as good as the Gurnards Head and the Felin Fach Griffin the Old Coastguard must make up a trio of destination establishments.

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