Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Holiday Round Up; Yurts and Culinary Adventures in Cornwall

I'm back! I forgot to mention I was going on holiday so I'm telling you now, I'm sure you'll get over it. I only went to Cornwall for a few days but I've been busy with school and summer fayres and reports and paperworkpaperworkpaperwork since I've been back! So I'm writing my round up post a few days late.

I went to stay in a sort of luxury tent called a yurt. Having been to many music festivals, I'm used to the most basic of camping; think one step up from roughing it. So I was really excited to get the chance to be close to nature, do the whole campfire cooking thing, but with the safety, comfort and facilities the yurt had to offer.

We stayed at Pencuke Farm, which is near Bude. The family run business also included a farm shop and some holiday cottages. It was a lovely little place, surrounded by stunning views, with chickens running round, and excellent guest facilities in their 'barn' including showers, fridge/freezers, a microwave and books/games.

As always, for me the most important part of any holiday is food. So I'll be giving a brief run down of what we did but mostly concentrating on the food we cooked/enjoyed at restaurants. Any recipes or restaurant reviews will feature in separate posts which will be linked to along the way.

Thurs 7th June
We drove down when Gav finished work on the Thursday, and stopped at a B&B to break up the long journey from Wigan to Cornwall. We arrived at the Days Inn in Bristol at around 10.30pm. Our room was very large, clean and comfortable and I enjoyed some lovely service station style, over priced treats...

Fri 8th June
We set off at 10.00am for the yurt. Stopping at services for a £5 breakfast bap (sausage, egg and bacon); nothing to write home about and obviously not worth the money. We then stopped at Morrisons in Bude for our food for the weekend. I'd planned our meals before hand (being the good food blogger that I am) and purposefully tried to use similar ingredients and camping friendly recipes were obviously necessary. Here is my minimalist shopping list:
  • Fruit
  • Aubergine
  • Courgette
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • New potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bread
  • Self raising flour
  • Eggs
  • Basil (plant)
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Butter
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Jar of passata
  • Olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper

We were greeted at the yurt with a cream tea, which was very welcome after a long drive, and were shown around the farm. Here is our yurt and, the bit I was interested in, the cooking facilities.
After unpacking we went for a little walk in Bude but eventually gave up against the very strong winds that hit the south coast last week. We had seen an Italian restaurant on the way there that looked like it had lovely sea views of Widemouth Bay, so we stopped for our evening meal. Please see the short review here.

We fancied a drink at the pub that evening but one problem we did find on this holiday was its location did not lend itself well to this activity. It was a 5 minute drive or a 45 minute walk to the 3 nearest pubs. We tried to ring 'Trev's Taxis' but as he was based in Bude he said he'd have to charge us from there; £15 each way! Unwilling to pay £30 for a trip to the pub we declined, and it meant Gav had to just go for one and drive. We did enjoy coming back to the yurt and getting nice and cosy, with a couple of drinks and 'Lost' on netflix (on the iPhone).

Saturday 9th June
On Saturday Gav woke up to find me happily whipping up his 'brunch'. We had a sweet potato tortilla with cheese and tomato. This tasted light and fresh and is an ideal camping recipe. It would be very easy to do in one frying pan just on the stove if you did a different flavour (I used the grill for the sliced tomatoes and cheese on the top). Do click here for the recipe.
We spent the afternoon in Crackington Haven watching the surfers from the beach, then we wandered into Bude to look round the touristy shops. I found a treasure trove of a material shop called 'The Remnant House', I would love it to be near here for my creative blog!

For our evening meal we decided to cook again. On tonight's menu was Vegetable Pizza, Caprese Salad and Sauteed Sweet Potato. We'd planned to have whole sweet potatoes baked in tin foil on the BBQ Pencuke provided, however Gav clearly wasn't macho enough to light it so sauteed it was! The pizza was a great success though, especially considering it was cooked entirely on the hob and just finished under the grill for a couple of minutes. Get the recipe here happy campers!
That night we watched Portugal v Germany in a pub in Bude, then got back to the log fire again!

Sunday 10th June
This morning's brunch was baked eggs with ratatouille. Hearty stuff that set us up for the day. Click here for the really simple recipe.
 We spent most of Sunday at the Eden Project which was really impressive. There was loads to see and it was nice to just wander round taking in the surroundings. The domes were also dead interesting and not like anything I'd ever seen before. However the weather wasn't great so I'm not sure we got our moneys worth as it is pretty expensive. We had to have a bit of sustenance at around 3pm as we were only eating our tea very late at half 9. ('Why?' you ask? You shall soon see. ) We ate at the cafe that was in between the two main domes. It was a buffet style service - you chose a main component then could go and add your salads and potatoes on, all for a fiver. Luckily though, because we were eating later we only paid £2.50 each for this lot! Yum!
Aaaaand finally! After a long day we drove to Padstow on our way home. This is a picturesque seaside town that has become well known in the food world as the home to the ever growing Rick Stein empire; this includes *deep breath* a restaurant, a bistro, a cafe, a chippy, a pub, a cookery school, a deli, a gift shop and a fishmongers!

So, as a special holiday treat, and while we'd cooked a lot of our own food, Gav surprised me by taking me to The Seafood Restaurant! Very posh and very exciting! Please do read the review here!

Monday 11th June 
The next morning we checked out the yurt at 10am and drove to Boscastle which was another stunningly pretty village. The reason we went here was to buy family presents and to visit the Museum of Witchcraft, which I found dead dead interesting and I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone visiting the area. I also had a fish and chip dinner to takeaway from The Old Manor House. It was expensive but worth it with crispy batter, fresh fish and thick tasty chips. A satisfying end to the holiday, and good fodder for the looonnnng journey home.

Overall - a fantastic holiday and a great experience. I would recommend a yurt to anyone attracted to the idea of camping but not the sleeping on the ground/weather dependent side of it. We visited some lovely places and I'd definitely like to visit both Padstow and Boscastle again for a little longer, as they were so picturesque but I don't feel like we saw all they had to offer in the short time.

Make sure you follow the links in this post for reviews and recipes!

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