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A day at sea

Manx Shearwater (640x427)An amazing day at sea today (Sunday 22nd June) first up spotted a very large male Bottle Nosed Dolphin traveling at speed.

We saw lots of Manx Shearwaters the most so far this year.

Finally, a lone Storm Petrel, unfortunately it was being badly harassed by both Herring and Black Back Gulls, let’s hope it managed to evade them… you can read more about storm Petrels here.


Home made soup…


Mint, cucumber and fresh peas make a wonderful summer soup that can be served either hot or cold.  It could be served with fresh crusty bread and sea lettuce butter as a light lunch or supper dish but we will be serving it this Sunday 15th June 2014 as part of our three course lunch on one of our Day Courses.

Soften a chopped onion in butter until soft but not brown, add a peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber stir over a medium heat for a minute or two.  You could add a glass of white wine at this point if you wish.  Then add about a litre of vegetable stock together with the shelled fresh peas, a pinch of sugar, white pepper and fresh mint to taste.  Bring the soup up to the boil add a peeled and diced potatoe or two if they are small, then simmer partially covered until the potatoe is cooked.

Puree the mixture and or pass it through a sieve.  Return it to the rinsed saucepan and stir in cream, warm though and check the seasoning.  It’s usually at this point that our guests are encouraged to try a little dried edible seaweed as a healthier option than salt.

A swirl of cream and a couple of mint leaves make a lovely garnish for this soup whether you have chosen to serve it hot or cold.  Hope you enjoy it….

Another of our soup recipes can be found here



Sea Cabbage or Silverwhips…


Sea Cabbage or Silverwhips as they are know as here in Staithes or more commonly known else where as Wild Cabbage ‘brassica oleracea’.

This plant transforms Staithes into a riot of yellows… greens… with a hint of purple during May.

silverwhips-07Even when the sea fret is present, which can be often at this time of year, it provides a lovely splash of colour.

This plant is to be found everywhere in Staithes from Cowbar Nab where the herring gulls and Kittiwakes are nesting to small nooks and cracks in walls…silverwhips-04


Cooking with silverwhips can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it…  blanch, boil, steam, roast, stir-fry or sauté… the list really is endless.

You could simple steam the tips of the silverwhips and serve them with some homemade mayonise just like you would fresh aspargus or even serve them with homemade  Wild Garlic Mayonaise.

silverwhips-02Fish Pie could be given a little extra ‘something’ if it has a base of silverwhips…  simple place the steamed or boiled silverwhips in the base of a ovenproof serving dish and add your usually white sauce and fish pie mix then top with mashed potatoes (do make sure both your mash & fish pie mix are pipping hot)  and pop the dish under the grill to brown before serving.

Really, silverwhips may be used in any dish as a suibsitude for broccoli or even kale.

Just a note  of warning before you pick and use any wild food do check with a good plant identification book if you are at all unsure before eating it.











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The last couple of days have been spent watching kittiwakes collecting nesting materials from the foreshore here in Staithes.  At one point the kittiwakes were even taking material from a herring gull’s nest,  while the herring gull put up a fight the kittiwakes continued to pinch it’s nest.   A quick count of  nests on the end of Cowbar Nab show that the colony has nearly doubled from last year…  114 nests so far this year.

Read more about Kittiwakes here




Staithes in bloom… Bluebells….



Staithes in bloom…




It’s not just us humans who get disorientated in this foggy weather we are experiencing here on the coastal edge of the North York Moors National Park, it’s the wild life too.  Sean’s just phoned from sea, he’s got lots of  goldcrests taking a rest on board his boat ‘All My Sons‘.  One of them is actually in the cabin with him.

Goldcrest, regulus regulus, are actually the smallest bird in the UK along with the firecrest.  Goldcrest - adult

The goldcrests are on their spring migration across the North Sea to the pine forests in Scandinavia where their summer breeding grounds are.  These tiny birds are a dull grey/green colour with a pale underside.  They have black and yellow strips on their heads, the males are nearer to orange.

The goldcrests tiny thin beaks mean they can find the food they like, spiders moth eggs and other insect food between the pine needles both on the forest floor and in the trees themselves.



Lots of layers of clothing…


If you are joining us for a day on the foreshore lots of layers of clothing are best, as this is the north east coast of England after all.

I did start off  with mittens as well, you can just see them peeping out of my pocket, but got to warm…:)

Both coat and jumper had hoods for when the wind got to much…

Wellington boots are far the best thing to wear on your feet as they give you the freedom to walk though the rock pools instead of trying to ‘jump’ over them, I usually miss and end up getting wet.

The only thing that I’m missing in the photo is a waterproof coat but as it wasn’t raining when I set out and I was only planning to be on the foreshore for a short time I didn’t bother…. but I would have taken one if I’d been planning a full day out.

More details about what to bring and wear on one of our day courses can be found here

To end with one of Sean’s regular sayings “…there’s no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing…”


Home made soup

carrot soup

After a morning spent on the foreshore on one of our Coastal Craft or Ancient Paint Palette Day Courses look forward to a mug of home made vegetable soup with fresh crusty bread and Tricia’s special lobster and seaweed butters.

Carrot and Coriander will be next on the menu, in the style of Elizabeth David, using her method for making Potage Crécy (Carrot Soup)  from her book ‘French Provincial Cooking’.

After the carrots are scraped they are grated, coarsely, before adding them to the pan with the finely chopped onions, peeled and diced potatoes and melted butter.  Cover the pan and leave on a low heat until the grated carrot has almost become a purée but do watch that it doesn’t catch  on the pan bottom.  Then add the vegetable stock, if you have it or you simple add water.  Season with seasalt, pepper and sugar to taste.

You could add ground coriander seeds at this point or you could use fresh coriander leaves, they will both give the soup a little extra something.  If you plan to freeze your soup then wait until you defrost / reheat the soup to add the fresh coriander leaves as coriander is one of the few fresh herbs that doesn’t freeze well.

If you wanted to make this into a more substantial supper dish Crécy Soup is sometimes served with boiled rice on the side, diced sautéed potatoes would make a lovely alternative.

Another of our homemade soup recipes can be found here…



Here’s the video we mentioned in a previous blog post, it was filmed in August 2013 together with Martin Dunford (Cool Places), Josh Sutton (Guy Rope Gourmet)  and Jules Brown  (North York Moors National Park & Cool Places) and a film crew (Audere TV).  Hope you enjoy it…

If you are interested in learning about catching and cooking your own mackerel supper details about our trips can be found here… and Josh’s drawing of Sean’s way to gut a mackerel can be found here…

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