Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Five things I learned from the one-day Fish & Shellfish course at Rick Stein Cookery School in Padstow

BLOB 1.  If you ate Rick Stein food every day of the week, you’d need resuscitating inside SIX months. 

His food is delicious but his recipes are packed shamelessly with salt and butter. Chef tipped half the Camel Estuary into a crab pot……but the crab cakes were DELICIOUS! Chef rubbed the other half into the lemon sole – but the ragout of sautéed lemon sole with serrano ham, spring vegetables and pea shoots was TO DIE FOR! 

It made me desperate to return to the 1970s when salt and butter were our friends.

But for one day, what the heck and look what we produced.....and we can BARELY COOK!!!
Ragout of sautéed lemon sole with serrano ham, spring vegetables and pea shoots

Ceviche of monkfish with avocado - MADE BY ME


BLOB 2.    If you drank every glass of wine offered, you’d be bladdered by the end of your Pondicherry mackerel fish fry. 

They are a generous bunch those Cookery School chefs and work hard at making things fun and wuzzy by keeping your glass brimmed full with the finest chilled French Sauvignon blanc. It’s easier to say yes please than no thank you (rude!) but we had to put in extra time on our homework to remember exactly what we had done.  

BLOB 3.   The chefs are tasty too!

BLOB 4.   Rick Stein is a clever sod! PART I

His courses are craftily constructed as half cookertainment half cookucation so even if you are a complete novice you come away feeling rather chuffed with yourself for having produced an impressive assortment of dishes – see above for mine. And thoroughly entertained by a 7-hour show that is utterly compelling, even though there are no sex, drugs, or rock n’ roll in sight…though you can see Rock in all its glory through the walls of glass overlooking the stunning Estuary.


BLOB 5.  Rick Stein is a clever sod! PART II

Padstow is a massive Rick Stein emporium where it is perfectly possible to devote an entire day buying stuff that will swell his coffers.

Breakfast at Rick Stein’s St Petroc’s Hotel, coffee at the Rick Stein Café, a fish and chip lunch at Rick Stein Fish and Chips on the Quay where you can also buy a Rick Stein chefs jacket (£40) or apron (£22) in the store. Spend the afternoon at a Rick Stein book signing (on condition you buy his book) then clear your pockets out completely with a fabulous blowout at The Seafood Restaurant. Felt at times like a Stein Heist but I guess we were willing and happy hostages!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Click here to find out who will win America's Cup World Series Portsmouth

There is a forecast for 16 knots of wind in Portsmouth this afternoon which means we are in for a spectacle at the Louis Vuitton America's Cup and possibly some drama.

The competition between Ben Ainslie on Land Rover BAR and Franck Cammas on Groupama Team France should provide drama enough after yesterday's fascinating ding dong which ended with them neck and neck at the top of the table.
Wi it be Franck?

But the sight of the AC45s flying on their foils - and zipping across the surface of the water at speeds upwards of 30 knots - will be a sight that few of the thousands of spectators who are lining the shore here in Southsea will ever have seen before. They are in for a real treat.

But who will win? We have been weighing things up here in the media centre and reckon the ding dong will gather intensity this afternoon and the winner will be the skipper who wants it most and nails the most starts.

Cammas has had precious little time in the AC45s since they only have two days training before the start of an event. He has spent many hours on the Groupama GC32 which has similar characteristics and which according to most, explains their dramatic improvement in recent weeks.

Or will it be Ben?

But Ainslie is on home waters and has spent the winter training in the Solent, including time on Land Rover BAR's T1 training boat which again has VERY similar characteristics to the AC45. In fact, even more similar than the GC32 so conclusion: Ainslie will win. Simple really!

But then it could also be Oracle Team USA or Softbank Japan but not the Kiwis this time and definitely not the troubled Artemis.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Ben Ainslie brings 'Daddy' strength to America's Cup cause

Ben Ainslie brought his new ‘Dad’s strength’ to Landrover BAR’s performance at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth with two straight wins to top the rankings in practice. 

Ainslie - more formidable as a Dad?

Just two days after Ainslie’s wife Georgie gave birth to a baby girl Bellatrix, Ainslie was back on the race track as his bid to become the first British holder of the America’s Cup begins to look ever more likely.

He was absolutely on fire, said Landrover BAR teammate Paul Campbell-James who also became a new dad in April.

“Ben really was on fire today. We had joked about him having ‘Dad’s strength’ but he really brought something extra to it today- he was nailing the starts so it felt really good.”

Racing in front of a home crowd also gave them a boost, Campbell-James added.

“The highlight of every race today was coming down that last reach hearing the crowds shouting and waving the Union jacks. The louder they shout, the faster we go.”

After four practice races, only one of which will count if no racing is possible on either Saturday or Sunday, Landrover BAR were leading the way but when the point scoring starts in earnest on Saturday, the pressure will be on to hold the advantage. 

Softbank Japan and Emirates Team New Zealand were the other day’s winners and with the four races producing three winners, there is no predicting who will come out on top in any race, admitted Softbank Japan skipper Dean Barker, especially in a light breeze that rarely exceeded 6 knots.

“The fleet is so tight that when you have light conditions and a current, it definitely makes it more difficult to dominate,” Barker.

“It is very open but if we can start tomorrow like we finished today, we can win. It’s all about not making any mistakes.”

The win in the final race came as a relief for series leaders Emirates Team New Zealand who are missing their star crewmembers Pete Burling and Blair Tuke, due to their Olympic commitments.

“It is very much a new team because everyone has changed position so we really needed these practice races to get the hang of it,” said Emirates Team New Zealand stalwart Ray Davies.

 “For the amount of time we have sailed together, it would be hard to come away with a polished result but we will just keep learning from every race.

“We will be doing all we can to keep the guys behind us nipping at our heels and stay in the lead.”

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Mrs Ainslie rolls up her sleeves to help her hubbie out!

In the absence of any racing today, the guys at Landrover BAR have been having a bit of a party at their HQ in Camber Quay, Portsmouth ahead of a visit from their biggest fans the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Mrs Ainslie - former Sky Sports presenter Georgie Thompson playing a major role in Landrover BAR campaign and making a difference

And who was doing the MC honours? None other than Mrs - or Lady - Ainslie. The former Sky Sports presenter Georgie Thompson has played a massive part in this campaign. First of all she has overseen all the interior design of the new HQ - apparently it looks smashing. Secondly, she does a fantastic job in front of a mic at private and public functions and makes everyone feel at ease.

Lastly, and most important. She has transformed Ainslie from a tense, awkward sometimes grumpy competitor into a relaxed happy funny bloke. The lines have disappeared from his face, he smiles most of the time now, his eyes sparkle and he actually looks and seems quite different. She has given him colour - happy hues - and you get the impression they are stronger together. Yikes. Doesn't bear thinking about!  Bravo Mrs A!

Happy smiley hubbie!