PUBLISHED: 11:49 23 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:37 20 February 2013



Ben Bass, Head Chef at the Old Quay House in Fowey, shares his favourite seasonal recipes

Ben Bass, Head Chef at the Old Quay House in Fowey, cooks in a traditional bistro style inspired by old French cookbooks, but with a modern twist, and he likes to let good ingredients speak for themselves

Ben recommends the following places for sourcing fresh, local produce for these recipes:

Fish for Thought are based in Roche and have a very good online business:

The Old Quay Houses meat comes from Kilhallon in Par, which is run by the sons of Richard Kittow, a well-known butcher in Fowey:

The hotels vegetables come from Westcountry Fruit Sales based in Falmouth: Another good greengrocer is Richards Fruit and Veg in Par:

Treacle-cured Salmon with Cucumber, Brown Shrimp and Apple Salad
Serves 4

For the salmon and treacle:

1 kg salmon, pin boned, cut from the middle
5g fennel seeds, crushed
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, and the juice
50g salt
2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp strong English mustard
5g thyme


1 Mix the ingredients together in a saucepan and warm them so they melt. Place a triple layer of cling film, three times the size of the salmon, to one side. Caramelise the fish with the melted ingredients to enhance the dishs flavour.
2 Place the salmon in the centre of the cling film, flesh side up and thickly smother the treacle mix all over.
3 Wrap the cling film tightly over the salmon, making sure there are no gaps, place on a tray and leave in the fridge for two days.
4 Lightly rinse the cure off.
5 Slice as thinly as you can and place flat on a tray until needed.

Ben's Tip

Leave the apple slices uncovered in the fridge for an hour or so and they will dehydrate and this will make them even crisper

For the cucumber, brown shrimp and apple salad:
1/3 of a cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 Granny Smith apple
50g grey/brown shrimps
Lemon juice
A handful of micro herbs/pea shoots

Slice the cucumber thinly on a mandolin, or with a sharp, thin-bladed knife into ribbons, salt lightly and place on a tray and freeze for an hour.
2 After an hour, rinse to defrost and remove the salt and pat dry. This is done to improve texture and colour. Set aside until needed.
3 Using the mandolin again, slice the apple into matchsticks.

To serve the dish:
Mix the shrimp, apple and cucumber with some pea shoots, fennel shoots, or small young leaves, a little extra virgin olive oil and tiny bit of lemon juice and check the seasoning. Arrange the salad around the salmon on a plate.

Grey Mullet Bouillabaisse with Saffron Potatoes, Fennel and Rouille

4 grey mullet fillets
2kg mixed fish bones
2 fennel, chopped
1/2 head of celery, chopped
1 large Spanish onion, peeled and chopped
1 bulb garlic, split
Small bunch of thyme
Large pinch of saffron
1 star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cayenne
1 piece of orange zest
1 bay leaf
50ml pastis
50ml brandy
200ml dry white wine
2 tbsp tomato puree
500g ripe tomatoes
Water to cover
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

You will also need a pretty sturdy food processor to blend the soup with, as traditionally nothing goes in the bin

1 Chop the bones up roughly and mix with the herbs, garlic, saffron, cayenne, orange zest and a good slug of olive oil. Mix together and leave to marinade for a few hours or overnight.
2 Add some oil to a large, heavy-based saucepan and saut the vegetables in it for a few minutes until they start to colour. Turn up the heat and add the fish mix.
3 After a few minutes of vigorous cooking, add the tomatoes and cook the mixture down for a few minutes. Add the tomato puree and continue cooking for a few more minutes.
4 Add the alcohol, starting with the strongest and finishing with the wine. Add one, boil it down, then add the next. When the wine is in and has boiled down for a bit, top up the pan with water, so there is about a thumbs worth of liquid above the fish bones. Bring to the boil, skimming often; when it hits the boil, turn it down, keep skimming still and let it cook for 60-90 min.
5 Allow to cool a little, then blend in the food processor until very finely ground. Finally, force through a medium chinois.

For the rouille:
4 egg yolks
2 cloves garlic
Pinch of saffron
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Baguette for croutons

Ben's Tip

For the fish soup use mullet, gurnard, bass or bream and try to get a couple of slices of conger eel perfect for soup in my opinion

1 Crush the garlic and add to a bowl with some lemon juice, the egg yolks, saffron and salt and pepper.
2 Whisk together and slowly add the olive oil, whisking continuously until it is a thick mayonnaise consistency. Check the seasoning and set aside.
3 Cut some slices of baguette, brush with olive oil and grill or bake for around 10 minutes on a medium heat until crisp.

To serve the dish:
Warm the soup in a saucepan with the potatoes and fennel. Heat a heavy black pan and sear the fish, skin side down, then lower the heat and continue cooking for about 5 minutes until almost cooked through; quickly turn the fish over to finish for another minute or so.
2 To serve, put the potatoes in a bowl, place the fish and fennel on top, pour the sauce over and top with a crouton smeared with rouille.

For the saffron potatoes and fennel:
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and quartered with the sharp edges rounded off
Pinch of saffron
1 shallot
Sprig of thyme
Chicken stock/fish stock/water to cover
Salt and pepper
One bulb of fennel for two people

Place all ingredients in a pan (apart from the fennel), bring to the boil and simmer for around 10 min until the potatoes are nearly done. Take off the heat and leave in the stock to cool down. The saffron colour will deepen by leaving the potatoes in the stock; if you do this the day before, you should have a completely yellow potato.
2 Trim the base and tops of the fennel bulb and split in two. Saut in some oil for a few minutes, add some of the saffron stock and simmer until tender.

Pecan Pie with Pumpkin Ice Cream
Makes 1 large tart, or about 8 individual ones

For the pastry:
250g white flour
125g sugar
125g cold butter
1 egg
Pinch of salt

Mix the flour, sugar, salt and butter together in a mixer, or by hand, until incorporated. Quickly stir in the egg and bring together.
2 Cover and chill for half an hour, then roll out into a case/cases. Chill again for half an hour, and then bake blind for 30 min on a medium heat, or until cooked and completely crisp. Keep in the mould.


Garnish with a vanilla stick and finish with some vanilla rum

For the pie mixture:
180g whole pecan nuts, toasted
4 tbsp maple syrup
2 eggs plus 1 yolk
120g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence/vanilla rum
60g butter
Pinch salt
1 Whisk the eggs and sugar over a bain marie until thick.
2 In another pan, warm the syrup, butter and vanilla with a pinch of salt. When hot, whisk this mixture over the egg mixture, remove from the the heat, fold in the nuts, pour into the cases (or a baking tray) and finish in the oven for about 10 min.

For the pumpkin ice cream:
(You will need an ice cream machine for this)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
200g pumpkin or butternut squash
Just under 1 litre of whole milk
400g sugar
9 yolks

Steam the pumpkin for few minutes until very tender, then add the spices and mix together well.
2 Add the milk to make up the mixture to a litre and bring to the boil.
3 Whisk the eggs and sugar. Pour the milk mix over the eggs, constantly whisking. Return to the heat and cook the egg.
4 Place in an ice batch until cold, then churn in an ice cream machine.

To serve the dish:
Place the warm tart in the centre of a plate, lightly dust with icing sugar, then place a scoop of ice cream on top.

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