We had a fabulous time with a house full of family and love and one very entertaining toddler whose favourite new words are “presents” and “chocolate”; the latter of which is a new experience for her.
But, as lovely as Christmas was, Martin and I were very happy to sneak off for a little bit of time to ourselves at the beginning of this month. We had been promising ourselves a visit to the Gurnard’s Head for some time and we finally got around to it by making the most of one of their Dinner, Bed & Breakfast deals (even though it is less than 30 miles from home).
We had heard good things about the food at this pub/restaurant and were feeling very hopeful. We arrived late in the afternoon and, as we got out of the car, bumped into John Torode. Two thoughts arrived in my head simultaneously:
1. If John Torode eats here the food is probably every bit as good as we hoped.
2. Should I say “hello”?
Question 2 is always a dilemma – what are you supposed to do when you meet someone famous? Is it rude to disturb their peace? After all, when they are out with their family in the wilds of West Cornwall they are probably seeking peace rather than the attention of their adoring fans. But then again, is it also rude to pretend you don’t know who they are?
I settled for a quick smile and a polite “hello” as we passed him and then we booked into our room. Fifteen minutes later we headed out for a walk to the Head before we lost the last of the afternoon light. Once again we bumped into the Masterchef presenter, and then again as we scrambled over the same rocks up onto the point.
“Not speaking” was now becoming an issue for me. I would talk to any random stranger if we were scrambling over rocks together and sharing the same stunning coastal views. Having agonised for ever I finally said something wonderfully inane like; “This blows the cobwebs away doesn’t it?” All my normal wit and charm evaporated as I spoke and I cringed at myself. To his credit he replied politely with a comment on how beautiful it was and we went our separate ways.
Only to bump into each other again on the way back to the hotel.
For goodness sake what is wrong with me? I wasn’t star struck, I just wanted to afford the man some privacy but in doing so I behaved like an idiot, grinning inanely one minute and pretending not to see him the next.
Mr. Torode, if you should ever read this I apologise.
We returned to the pub for mulled wine and the Torode family left. The pub was chilled and laid back, dinner was delicious, the service was friendly, our room was cosy, the bed was comfortable and we had ringside seats for the dramatic thunder and lightning which woke us from our slumbers. What more can I say? All in all The Gurnard’s Head provided a wonderful hideaway for Martin and I and neither of us wanted to leave next morning so we lingered for as long as possible over breakfast by the fire. Meanwhile, the storm raged outside.
One dish on the menu was Leek and Potato Soup with Truffle Cream. Neither of us ordered it but it did stick in my mind. I make Leek and Potato Soup a lot and I could only imagine that it would be much improved by the addition of truffle cream. So I made it at home and I was right. Thank you Gurnard’s Head.
If you are the sort of person who has fresh truffles in the larder then feel free to use them but I used truffle sauce instead which is cheaper but still packed full of flavour. Please note, this recipe is inspired by a line in the menu at The Gurnard’s Head and it is not their recipe. It is just my way of perking up an everyday soup and I hope you like it. If you want to try the original you will have to head down to Zennor and order it for yourself.
A knob of Butter
2 Cloves of Garlic
225g / 8oz Potatoes
1.2 litres / 2 pints Vegetable Stock
150ml / 5fl oz Double Cream
2 tsp Truffle Sauce
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
Slice the onions. Peel and dice the potatoes. Slice the leeks – this is one of those occasions when you really only want to use the white – keep the green part for making stock.
Heat the butter in a large pan and add the onions, garlic and leeks, cook until softened but not coloured. Add the diced potato and cook for a minute or two more.
Add the vegetable stock, turn up the heat and bring it to the boil. Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Whizz with a stick blender until smooth, taste and season with salt and pepper. Be careful with the salt if you have used bouillon powder or a stock cube as they can be quite salty to begin with.
Mix one or two teaspoons of truffle sauce with the cream.
Reheat the soup, pour into warm bowls and swirl through the truffle cream. Serve with crusty bread and butter.