Much as I love my Cornish home, sometimes opportunities arise that have to be grasped. We are leaving Liskeard and moving to Lymington. This seems an appropriate time to highlight some of the features that I love about Liskeard and the food venues I will miss.
Once upon a time, many years ago, back in the 1960s in fact, or possibly the 1970s, reports are a bit vague, the Mayor stopped handing out the Liskeard Bun. This was an annual event when the newly invested mayor of Liskeard would hand out buns wrapped in brown paper bags to the local children. What a lovely tradition. Read on to find out about the Great Cornish Bake Off and how it was rediscovered along with a vegan recipe for Cornish saffron buns.
Way way back, when we first moved to Liskeard, there was a move to create a community centre in a recently vacated primary school. Politics was very much in evidence, but eventually disputes were resolved, the community brought on board and money raised. We now have the Liskerrett Centre, a wonderful community asset which hosts a number of artists studios, a computer suite, a monthly cinema, all sorts of events, rooms for hire and The Hub Cafe.
The Hub Cafe has been quietly producing good vegetarian food at very reasonable prices for the last few years and those in the know are highly appreciative. Cathy Ross, the cook and owner of the business provides a varied lunchtime menu, all chalked up on a blackboard, as well as coffee, tea and of course homemade cake. Different diets are catered for with gluten and dairy free options. Whenever possible Cathy uses produce from the Liskerrett garden; you can’t get much more local than that. The ambience is welcoming and family friendly. It’s the sort of place you’d feel comfortable at whether eating alone, with a group, accompanied by young children or wanting a cosy tete a tete. Although the cafe stops serving at 14:00, because it is the community centre, you can finish off your food, drink and talk in a leisurely fashion and won’t be thrown out.
Cathy herself is also an artist and her work, along with a few others, is exhibited around the cafe; this adds to the general interest in the room. The space is bright with large windows and lots of well tended plants which adds to the convivial atmosphere. There are newspapers and magazines to read and plenty of toys to keep the young ones amused. If bored with the adult conversation, older children can slope off to the IT suite where use of the computers is free.
My blogging neighbour Jane from The Hedge Combers and I met up at The Hub Cafe for lunch one day recently, to have a chat and to review the cafe.
Being vegetarian, it is such a pleasure to be offered a choice; it always takes me a while to figure out what to have. There was of course soup, but I make soup all the time at home, so wanted something a bit different. So what to go for? Feta tart, homity pie, lentil fritters, a burger …? Most of the mains come with a selection of salads so I knew I would get a goodly proportion of my five a day.
After a little bit of head scratching, I opted for the bean burger and Jane went for a lentil fritter. The lentil fritter normally comes with yogurt sauce, but Jane doesn’t eat dairy. However, it was a simple matter for Cathy to swap this for the same tomato sauce that accompanied my burger. Our plates arrived, full to the brim. They looked colourful, vibrant and enticing. I really like having lots of different tastes and textures to try and this felt like getting an all in one tapas or mezze. There was coleslaw, mixed salad, two rice salads, couscous, a pasta salad and a bean salad. All of it was delicious. The bean burger was very soft and I don’t think would have survived being in a bun. However, this was not a problem as it came bunless and with plenty of spicy tomato sauce. All this for £5.95.
As an occasional customer, I knew what to expect, but it was all new to Jane. Thankfully, she seemed delighted, both with the venue and the food. Full after her meal, she watched me consume a large piece of chocolate cake. Now, I’m always a little wary of eating cake in cafes as I am often disappointed with the quality, but as part of the review process I just had to give it a go. I’m so glad I did. This wasn’t any old chocolate cake, although I’m sure Cathy doesn’t make that sort of cake anyway, no, this was a chocolate potato cake. Yes, a cake made with potatoes. Served warm with cream, it was truly delicious. The potato gave it a lovely smooth consistency, so it almost melted in the mouth and it tasted of chocolate. The cake was covered with a rich dark chocolate ganache and then topped with white and milk chocolate curls. This was one piece of chocolate cake I wasn’t in the least bit disappointed with. Cathy was kind enough to give me the recipe, so you may well see a chocolate and potato cake appearing on the blog in the not too distant future.
If ever you are passing Liskeard, I would strongly recommend popping into The Hub Cafe for a bite to eat. And if you’re local, I would hope you are already a regular.
Thanks to Cathy for the meal. I was not required to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.
A delicious vegetarian version of traditional lardy cakes. They contain white chocolate rather than lard which works as a really good substitute. These non-lardy yeasted buns have an additional apple twist, but you can omit this if you’d rather.
Rose and raspberries are the quintessential essence of summer. The flavours go together extraordinarily well too. This raspberry, rose and white chocolate traybake is a wonderful sweet and fruity cake for summer. It’s simple to make and can easily be cut into squares and still look good.
The task this month from Belleau Kitchen was to select our 30th cookbook and then make the recipe from whatever was on page 30 – this is the 30th RR after all. I always approach Random Recipes with some trepidation as you just never know what you might get landed with, but off I went to Eat Your Books to find my 30th cookbook. In case you’ve missed it, I have a giveway running at the moment for a lifetime’s membership of Eat Your Books – I can’t recommend it highly enough. As it happened, I struck lucky and my 30th book was Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. For many years, this was the only book on my bookshelf dedicated to baking, so I know it well. Now that I have many others, I don’t use it as often; I was glad to be persuaded to renew my acquaintance. It also meant, that with any luck I might be able to enter this into Forever Nigella.
The next task was to go and find the book and turn to page 30 – Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake. Now this couldn’t have been more opportune. I made this cake once before, many years ago, so I already knew it was a good one. I was shortly to be baking for Liskeard’s first pop-up cafe and was wondering what gluten-free bake I could include. With a little tweaking, namely substituting the wheat flour for buckwheat, this would do very nicely, I thought. The addition of white chocolate could only improve things and would allow it to appear on Chocolate Log Blog. I’ve already established that rose and rhubarb make for a fine combination, so I wanted to include some rose syrup here for added interest.
So this is how I made:
Rhubarb and Rose Polenta Cake
- Washed and trimmed the rhubarb, cutting it into ½ cm slices.
- Placed in a bowl and covered with 100g of cardamom sugar (caster) to extract some of the juice. Added 4 tbsp rose syrup.
- Melted 50g white chocolate (G&B) in a bowl over hot water.
- Creamed 125g unsalted butter with 150g cardamom sugar (caster) until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the cooled chocolate.
- Beat in 2 large duck eggs, one at a time.
- Sifted in 150g buckwheat flour, 155g fine cornmeal, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, ¼ tsp salt and 1 tsp ground cinnamon.
- Stirred in 250g natural yogurt alternately with the flour until just combined.
- Gently stirred in the rhubarb and juice.
- Poured into a 23cm cake mould and baked at 180° C for about 50 minutes until the top was well risen and springy to the touch.
- Covered with tin foil after the first 30 minutes to prevent the top burning.
- Left to cool for 20 minutes, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Dusted with icing sugar and scattered with rose petals.
The bake came an honourable second behind the most popular one, the chocolate cake. Sadly, I didn’t get to try any, but I had very good feedback and all of it disappeared. The very first person to try anything was gluten intolerant, so she was delighted to have something tasty she could eat.
For those of you not familiar with Liskeard in Cornwall, do stop by if you’re passing. It’s a quaint market town and it has a lot to recommend it. You can see some of the shops and faces here. Follow this Liskeard cupcake tour and get a feel for some of the things it has to offer.