You're on holiday in the south west, surrounded by a plethora of local produce gleaned from the plants and animals of the nearby land and sea. Now, what to do with it.
Here's some ideas that get the whole family around the cottage kitchen table.
You might've driven down some of those tiny little West Country lanes that make you wonder what you'd do if a car came the other way...? Well, the joy of those little lanes is they invariably open into a driveway with a little unmanned stall selling homegrown produce, freshly laid eggs and local honey or jam.
Make sure you stop when you see one - you'll have the best breakfast/brunch because of it.
Take inspiration from our friends at the Surf Cafe and bake yourself a breakfast pie - they've suggested making pastry and filling it with stuff before baking the whole thing as an impressive morning centrepiece (see page 52 of their Surf Cafe Cookbook). We're taking the easy route and making more of a frittata of things:
Take one deep frying pan and your favourite pre-cooked breakfast foods, such as:
Crumbled black pudding
(leave those out for the veggie version)
Boiled new potatoes (maybe not the first thing you think of for brekkie!)
Sliced tomatoes and/or whole cherry toms
Fried mushrooms (sliced or whole)
And your end-of-driveway, fresh-from-the-hen eggs
(all ingredients available from your local farm deli)
Gather the children round to layer up the pan with patterns of foodstuffs to their fancy.
Teach them how to blow eggs.
Put blown eggshells to one side and whisk up the eggy contents with a good dash of seasoning and perhaps a little cheese.
Pour eggy goodness over layers of fried food and fry a little more - finish off by baking in the oven and voila - a breakfast bake to be proud of.
Tip: After eating, wash off those eggshells and get painting...
I caught a little fishy...
You can't visit the coast without partaking in a dish fresh from the sea. The kids might turn up their little noses initially but make a day of it and you might just convert them. Staff member Stef 'sorry I don’t work in measurements and timing is always a guestimate' from the office upstairs says:
Take a trip to Newlyn, stop off at one of the fishmongers and enjoy looking at the fab fish displays - give them names, find the favourites, marvel at the array.
Grab enough monkfish for the amount of people you’re feeding (bags cheaper than in the supermarket) – this is a good, meaty white fish so even the most pernickety eater should like it.
Once home, slice lots of onion, fresh tomatoes and fresh fennel.
Let the little ones layer these in a large, deep baking tray (a roasting tin will do).
Pop the monk fish on top, then slice up a lemon (or two, depending on taste) and scatter on top.
Drizzle with olive oil and half a bottle of white wine.
Add salt sparingly and loads of ground pepper.
Cover in foil and stick it in a medium oven until fish is cooked (when the centre of the fish is no longer translucent). Serve the fish with the fennel, tomatoes and onion. Add a knob of butter to the remaining sauce and serve with a mound of rustic potato wedges (and the rest of the wine!).
This is a good one because there’s never much washing up, you can use any type of fish, and you can pimp it up with langoustines or anything they might have in the shop/deli/harbour/boat.
Fishing for compliments...
If that one's still too grown up for the littler ones, don't let your catch of the day go to waste. Tressa in the Property Department makes posh fish fingers with her babies:
Pick up some more of those eggs from your go-to driveway, find the ends of yesterday's bread, pick up a lemon from a local supermarket and maybe pick a herb or two in the holiday cottage garden, then you're good to go.
Grate your lemon rind and a few choice fragrant leaves into the slightly stale breadcrumbs.
You may have to have a go at hacking up your fish at this point, but hopefully the friendly fisherman or his friends filleted it up for you. Either way, the grown up should slice the fish into appropriate sizes/lengths and let a not-so-grown-up dunk each sliver into a bowl of beaten (hen-fresh) egg then the herby, zingy breadcrumb mix before laying each one - ever-so-gently - onto a baking tray.
Stick them in a hot oven for 20 minutes (size-dependent!) and while they're baking away, throw together your chosen accompaniments - perhaps squeeze some lemon into some mayonnaise, or mix together a beach seaweed and garden pea salad (or maybe not).
Maybe just squish them in a sandwich and let everyone enjoy their handiwork.
As a little side note, if it's fish you're after and you're in south Devon, Property Manager Anna says,
'On Budleigh Salterton beach if you see a little fishing boat on the pebbles flying a skull and crossbones flag - that means a fresh catch to choose from!'
She recommends a vast tuck-into paella with fresh fish from the closest harbour, a sure fire way to get everyone round the kitchen table.
Al fresco recipes
Want to enjoy the fresh west country air? No matter the time of year, a barbecue is a holiday highlight, whether on the beach in high summer, or round a bonfire in late autumn, even in winter the toasty smokiness will warm your very soul.
Barbecue ideas little ones will love:
Skewers - an oldie but a goodie as children of all ages can get involved in making their own.
Marshmallows - just yes on every level.
Toasties - you'll need one of those fish grilling things to keep the sandwish clamped together, but butter the outside and don't put it too close to the flames.
Jacket spuds - directly on the hot coals for a super toasty taste, you can do the same to onions if you leave the skin on.
Fruit and chocolate bars - choose your favourites, wrap them in a tinfoil blanket and let them melt into a gooey goodness.
Need some more ideas for self catering recipes to cook in your cottage? Peruse our foodie articles on Classic Fodder recipes.