A couple of weeks ago I was invited to enjoy a 3 course feast at the Scarlet, a stunning eco hotel and spa on the cliffs of Mawgan Porth beach, in north Cornwall. On moving to Cornwall from my home town of Torquay in Devon around 6 years ago, I was lucky enough to land myself a part time job as a pastry chef in the kitchens here which was an incredible insight into what goes on behind the scenes of such a highly acclaimed hotel restaurant. This was a lovely opportunity to experience the wonders of this kitchen from the other side!
As we all know it’s been an unusual start to “spring” and this particular Sunday was no exception. We arrived to be seated for Sunday lunch around 1pm and after a sunny, blue sky morning, big ominous rain clouds were rolling in. This only added to the feeling of the warmth and comfort inside the restaurant.
After a big dog walk our appetites were big and so I was really happy to be handed a menu offering a 3 course Sunday lunch! I started off with a light and fresh Cornish crab salad on a slice of freshly toasted rye bread. Dan went for the pigeon breast with roasted plum and black pudding.
For main I chose my Favourite roast, topside of beef with Yorkshire pudding and horseradish whilst Dan went with loin of pork with apple, sage & chestnut stuffing. They had a delicious looking fish option and a Homemade nut roast so there was no shortage of choice. All mains were served with beautiful side dishes, my favourite being the incredible crisp roast potatoes and the truffle creamed leeks.
Everything we ate was enjoyed alongside a beautiful bottle of organic red wine and finished with a duo of incredible desserts, chocolate opera cake with espresso ice cream and the ultimate crowd pleaser sticky toffee pudding with caramelised banana, pecans and creme brûlée ice cream!!!
To say we were satisfied is an understatement, and we were lucky enough to retire to the luxury of a gorgeous bedroom with stunning views of Mawgan Porth beach to snooze it off! If your taking on the the challenge of cooking the Easter Sunday roast this weekend, take a tip from the scarlets Head Chef Tom Hunter to recreate his perfect roast potatoes...
We love our Sunday roasts at the Scarlet. Though opinion is divided on which meat or vegetarian speciality should grace the plate we are agreed on one thing: you need a perfectly crisp outside, soft inside, melt in the mouth roast potato. Though a simple culinary item, we wanted to share Tom’s perfect roast potato recipe.
Cut the potatoes into a suitable size and run under cold water for a few minutes to remove some starch.
Place in a large pan of water and bring to a simmer.
Cook the potatoes until they are starting to break down around the edges, be careful not to overcook them! Drain into a colander.
You’ll need roasting tin large enough to comfortably hold the potatoes without them being too close together. If it is too small the potatoes will produce too much steam and will not crisp up properly.
Place about 1cm depth of olive oil (or duck fat) into the roasting pan and place in the oven at 200 degrees c until very hot (about 10 minutes)
Meanwhile shake the potatoes in the colander to rough up the edges, but make sure they don’t break down.
Take the roasting pan out of the oven and carefully put in the potatoes. Move them around a little to coat in the fat and place bake into the oven.
Cook for about 40 minutes to an hour. It is important to turn the potatoes 3 or 4 times during the cooking time to ensure the colour evenly.
When cooked, place on to kitchen paper briefly to drain off excess fat, and season. I season with two types of salt, table salt to coat the potatoes and sea salt flakes for the texture and extra bursts of flavour.
Serve with your favourite trimmings.
You will need:
12 medium floury potatoes, peeled (I find Maris Pipers work well and are easily available)
Olive oil (not extra virgin) or for real indulgence (and if no vegetarians present) duck fat
Cornish sea salt flakes
Beef supplier Phillip warren
Pork supplier primrose herd
Veg supplier Newlina eco gardens