Rick Stein’s Cornwall episode 33: Rick visits Europe’s largest tea plantation beside the River Fal in Cornwall, where conditions are just right for the perfect cuppa. He indulges in his greatest pleasure, afternoon tea, with a freshly baked fruited tea loaf and some plum compote. Afterwards, he takes a day trip to Penzance and an invigorating dip in the UK’s largest outdoor seawater lido, with its stunning art deco design and modern geothermal heating system.
Rick also uncovers the fascinating and little-known story of Charles Dickens’s time in Cornwall and how the county found its way into one of the most famous novels of all time, A Christmas Carol. In this new series Rick Stein reveals the Cornwall that he knows and loves: a unique part of the British isles with a strong sense of identity and a history rooted in its Celtic past. With his famous natural inquisitiveness, Rick shares the road less travelled – championing the food, history, music, art and culture of the county many locals argue should be a country in its own right.
Rick Stein’s Cornwall episode 33
Christopher Richard “Rick” Stein, CBE (born 4 January 1947) is an English celebrity chef, restaurateur and television presenter. Along with business partner (and first wife) Jill Stein he has run the Stein hotel and restaurant business in the UK. The business has a number of renowned restaurants, shops and hotels in Padstow along with other restaurants in Marlborough, Winchester and Barnes. He is also the head chef and a co-owner of “Rick Stein at Bannisters” at Mollymook and Port Stephens in Australia, with his second wife Sarah. He has written cookery books and presented television programmes.
After graduating, he converted a mobile disco in Padstow, which he had run as a student, into a quayside nightclub with his friend, Johnny. It became known for its freeze-dried curries. However, the nightclub lost its licence and was closed down by the police, mainly due to frequent brawls with local fishermen. The pair still had a licence for a restaurant in another part of the building, so they continued with that to avert bankruptcy.
Stein ran the kitchen using the experience he had gained as a commis chef. Eventually he converted it into a small harbour-side bistro, “The Seafood Restaurant”, with his first wife Jill in 1975. As of 2015, his business operates four restaurants, a bistro, a café, a seafood delicatessen, a pâtisserie shop, a gift shop and a cookery school. In 2007 threats against Stein’s businesses were made by Cornish nationalists. His impact on the economy of Padstow is such that it has been nicknamed “Padstein”.
Fruited tea loaf with kea plum compôte
A traditional tea loaf served with a kea plum compôte. Kea plums are only found in Cornwall, but damsons also work well. Best served warm with salted butter and a large mug of tea.
- For the tea loaf, begin by making the tea in pot or jug and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. Place the fruit and the zest in a bowl and cover with the hot tea, leave to soak for a couple of hours or ideally overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line the base of a large loaf tin (approximately 23x13x8cm/9x5x3¼in) with parchment.
- In a bowl, beat together the eggs and brown sugar using a wooden spoon, then stir in the flour, mixed spice and tea-soaked fruit. Mix well to combine.
- Pour the mixture into the greased and lined tin and bake for 1¼–1½ hours. The cake is cooked when a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the compôte, mix the stoned plums or damsons in a large saucepan with a tiny splash of water if using fresh fruit (it won’t be needed if the fruit has been frozen and defrosted). Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until dissolved, then increase the heat and bring to a boil. Pour into a sterilised jars to store or allow to cool and use immediately.
- Serve the tea loaf in slices with butter the compôte and a cup of tea.