Monday, 28 June 2010

Fans of Cornishware: competition!

 My dresser

People who follow this blog and who have visited The Underground Restaurant will perhaps have noticed that I have a bit of a ceramic fetish... I've been collecting blue and white china for a decade now, mostly from French brocantes and vide-greniers (sounds way cooler than 'jumble sale' doesn't it?) and British charity shops (they don't seem to have charity shops in France except for Emaus). I suppose that whereas I once used to spend my money on shoes and hairdressing, I now spend every spare penny on my kitchen!
Designs were often from the classic blue and white' willow' range, I also branched into the green and pink versions. All the china and glassware is mismatched at The Underground Restaurant, being vintage, but it is shouting at the same volume. 
Another of my favourite designs is the classic Cornishware. I once watched a documentary on how they make those classic bands in blue and white stripes, which is not just a case of painting them on, but a complicated process involving craftsmen cutting the bands freehand on a lathe. Famously the blue and white bands are reminiscent of the blue sky and white crested waves of Cornwall. 
 Vintage Cornishware rolling pin

There is something very cheering about Cornishware, it has a vintage appeal that designers such as Cath Kidston have tried to emulate. It's now a collectors item, some pieces are worth a great deal, depending on the condition. This blog talks about how Cornishware was the "smart, yet thrifty" alternative to bringing out the best china. One day I hope to have a whole shelf of Cornishware jars! Here is the official Cornish blue collectors site.
T.G. Green who made the Cornishware from the 1920s went into administration in 2007, but have started up again with a whole new range. Apart from the classic blue and white, you can also get a variety of shades: moss green, yellow, mauve, pink, pillar box red, reminiscent of seaside bunting. I'm using my mugs now but these are also a collectors item for the future!

T.G.Green have offered readers of The English Can Cook a 'Cornishwear' blue and white striped apron and matching oven gloves (pictured above). All you have to do is comment below suggesting a recipe using a typically Cornish ingredient. 


  1. What could be more Cornish than Clotted Cream. I recently had an Afternoon Tea where I served Rodda's Cornish Clotted Cream with my homemade Scones. Whether the cream was added before the jam or visa versa was of no matter,the cream was delicious all the same.

  2. I think Cornish sardines are ideal for this weather.

    Dry rubbed with a mix of chopped chilli, garlic and sea salt, and griddled until crispy skinned. Served with a cool salsa of chopped fresh tomato, chilli, red onions, basil and mint.

    And followed up with fresh strawberries with Cornish clotted cream.

    Not so much a recipe as a way of life at this time of year :)

  3. Bakelady and Josordoni: mmm, making me hungry!

  4. Gotta be the beef, potato, swede and onion combo - the Cornish pasty! Cold with a crisp salad for summer?

  5. Potato cakes are Cornish aren't they? And simple to make - milk, flour, butter, potato and a little salt.

  6. Oh so many choices.
    Stargazey pie screams of Cornwall.

    Simple BBQ'd sardines with a piquant tomato salsa or herb oil.

    Fresh fruit or scones with clotted cream - in fact clotted cream could perk up any pudding.

  7. For me it has be one of many fish that can be freshly caught, last time I went we caught loads of Mackerel and had them shallow fried from the camp stove – absolute delight.

  8. A freshly baked Cornish pasty while sitting outside looking at the view...followed by some fudge made from Cornish clotted cream.

  9. Pasties and stargazey pie....yum

    Fudge: absolutely adore it. Never succeeded in making it though. Now I have a sugar thermometer should be easier!

  10. Have to be a bit boring here, but Cornish clotted cream is the absolute best and goes with so many things. My favourite though is with porridge - yum!

  11. I am overrun with aprons so no need to enter me in the giveaway but I thought I'd share with you that my favourite Cornishware piece is a storage jar emblazoned "raisins" from Portobello. It has a crack down the back so I only paid a fiver for it but it looks great on the shelf!

  12. One of my house favouites - Cornish Sardines and Gremolata

  13. I feel woefully unqualified to comment, only having visited Cornwall three times in my life thus far, but for what it's worth my friends Nana lived just outside Newquay, and I have her Cornish pasty recipe, with lovely short lard pastry. Such simple ingredients but just so so good, esp with home made chutney, lucky Cornish people being able to buy them at will (I always forget how long they take to make, last time supper was at almost 10pm......but it worth it!)!

  14. Not just a recipe, a way of life. As an expat by husband craves pasties. We visit UK every summer - me for 2 months, him 2 weeks. I collect him from the airport with a warm pasty and a bottle of brown sauce (HP). He has a Cornish pasty every single day of his holidays. The ones from the National Trust shop on the quayside at Cothele (just on the Cornish border) are the best.

  15. I still occasionally dream of the Cornish fishcakes with minted peas a friend made me once. There was something so pure about them: no extra ingredients or spices, just the beautiful tender fish and earthy potatoes and egg holding them together. And who can say no to minted peas? Absolutely delightful.

  16. PLum: do you have your nana's recipe? Can you post it here?
    Eva: sounds lovely.
    Of course Cornwall is the home of Padstein, and one of Rick Stein's signature dishes is the fishcake.

  17. No problem, will write it up tonight...will have them for supper too, yay!

  18. This is the orginal recipe, but I have filled out some bits, I guess she assumed you knew how to make pastry, so recipe just said "lard pastry"! Have converted to metric as Imperial gets me in a muddle
    Short Pastry
    450gr strong flour
    Tsp salt
    200 gr cold lard
    200ml iced water (give or take)

    Add salt to the flour, then rub in the lard , I do this in the food processor, but of course the original was by hand, either works. Add water gradually until the mix starts to form a ball (if using a processor use pulse, and stop before it is fully balled up, by hand use a knife to mix) Tip out on to cling film, then squish together and wrap. Chill in fridge for about an hour.

    400gr trimmed beef-Gravy, Blade or Rump
    1 onion-finely diced
    ½ swede (in original recipe called turnip, but I was told Cornish people call a turnip, swede? I cant find turnip here anyway so have always used swede)
    2 floury potatoes peeled & thinly sliced
    Plenty of seasoning

    Diced the trimmed meat into very small pieces, about 1/2 cm , this takes an age but is worth it, as per original "do not mince"!
    Dice swede a similar size, mix with beef and onion.
    Roll out chilled pastry to a size appropriate for the size pasty you are after. Originally they were dinner plate size (this recipe makes 4) but I make 6 smaller ones.
    Place meat filling across middle of pastry, season well, cover with slices of potato and season again, then fold up both sides of the pastry and crimp the edges together. I think Cornish grandmothers know how to do this instinctively, sadly I dont……Pierce the top to let the steam escape. Original recipe just said “bake”, in my oven this means 200C for approx 20 mins, then down to 170C for a further 30 mins.
    Tried adding herbs and so forth, but actually the orginal is just fine.Dont be mean with the salt

  19. I love crab, eaten with a good home made mayo and some bread and salad OR fresh sardines, grilled on the BBQ then sprinkled with gremolata - just lemon zest, parsley, garlic and rock salt. Divine.


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