Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north-east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea”, china plates and teacups are a must!
First of all, a huge thank you for including me in your Cornish Reading Challenge! My novel – There’s Something About Cornwall – is a celebration of everything that’s great about this wonderful county, in particular the delicious artisan food and drink that is produced there. For me, Cornwall is the epitome of carefree, sunshine-filled holidays where as children we could run free across the windswept dunes, eat sand-encrusted sandwiches, and shelter from the rain under a carefully constructed windbreak. Funnily enough, I never remember the cold of paddling in the sea!
The story is about Emilie, a food photographer, who is asked to go on a road trip around Cornwall with a famously prickly chef, Lucinda Carlton-Rose, to take the photographs for her upcoming cookery book. Emilie thinks she will be chauffeured around with Lucinda, but gets the shock of her life when a bright orange VW camper van rolls into the car park. Lucinda’s new book is entitled Lucinda Loves… Cornwall, and she wants to showcase the delicious, high-quality food that Cornwall produces. The county is also famous for its beverages which Emilie’s companion, Matt, is interested in, having previously owned a microbrewery.
I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the research and I couldn’t write a story about Cornish food without trying out some of the recipes that feature in the book. Of course, one of the things Cornwall is famous for is the cultivation of apples grown in the numerous orchards around the county. So, I had to include a scene in which Emilie and Matt visit an apple orchard where Emilie is asked to photograph a Cornish Apple and Caramel Loaf. I can vouch for the fact that the aroma of the freshly baked cake, with a top-note of warm spicy apples, is absolutely delicious. Here is a photograph of my attempt. What do you think?
Of course, no trip to Cornwall would be complete without the taste of one of their iconic Cornish pasties. When Emilie and Matt arrive in St Ives, the focus of the photo-shoot is on the famous pasty, but Lucinda decides to rustle up a sweet version crammed to bursting with blackberry and apple compote.
During my research, I was delighted to discover that Cornwall is also renowned for its amazing beverages. Another surprise was finding out that the county is also the only place in England that grows tea – Tregothnan Tea is cultivated on an estate near Truro. It suggests a whole new meaning to the label English Breakfast tea! So, I had the culinary road trip roll to a stop in Newquay where Lucinda makes a batch of Fairing Biscuits which are flavoured with the Tregothnan tea. I did try out a recipe for Fairing Biscuits – but flavoured them with ordinary Earl Grey tea, I’m afraid. Here is a photo of them before they went into the oven to bake. Sadly, they didn’t turn out quite as expected, so I won’t display the final result if you don’t mind! For some unfathomable reason, they all merged into one huge biscuit. I cut the disaster into squares and my family assured me that they tasted delicious!
However, Cornwall isn’t just famous for tea and cider. There are a multitude of authentic artisan micro-distilleries dotted around the county producing whisky, gin, and other spirits, one of which is pastis. I was really interested to find that the aniseed flavoured aperitif I had always associated with France was being handcrafted in Wadebridge by SouthWestern Distillery. Tarquin Leadbetter is the Head Distiller and he is so proud of his product that every bottle has his name on it – and don’t they look amazing? I just had to include Tarquin’s Pastis in my story.
I hope I’ve given everyone a flavour of Cornwall, and that your taste buds are zinging. Apologies if I’ve sent everyone rushing to the kitchen!
Life is far from picture perfect for food photographer, Emilie Roberts. Not only has her ex-boyfriend cheated on her, he’s also stolen her dream assignment to beautiful Venice! Instead, Emilie is heading to the wind-swept Cornish coast…
Emilie doesn’t think it can get any worse – until disaster strikes on the very first day! And there’s only one man to rescue this damsel in distress: extremely hunky surfing instructor, Matt Ashby.
Racing from shoot to shoot in a bright orange vintage camper van, Matt isn’t the conventional knight in shining armour – but can he make all of Emilie’s fairy tale dreams come true?