Follow your heart

Securing the property was relatively easy, now came the work……I had absolutely zero idea what I was doing and was winging it big time so it seemed easy! I had absolute faith that what I was creating was right for me and to be totally honest enjoyed every second of the process.

I had a vision of what I wanted the interior to look like, and EXACTLY what I was going to sell
Initially the Bluetomato was going to be a simple, beach side coffee shop.
Literally selling coffee, cakes and a few sandwiches. Oh, how wrong was I?

The first day we opened, it was just myself and my dear friend Sally. (Who incidentally helped me to construct all the internal walls in the café….!)
It was fun, it was exciting, it was working………it was busy….!

We stormed our way through the first summer season, it was an amazing summer, massive blue skies and Cornish sun every day, it simply could not have been more perfect.
Our daytimes filled with happy customers and my evenings filled with boat picnics and barbeques.
I was having a blast.
I had an excellent crew working this first season and all of the consecutive seasons up until this very day (there are so many memories, and stories about the wonderful people that worked at the bluetomato during the last 15 years, I wouldn’t have enough space to write it all)
And, of course the best customers I could have wished for…..

I absolutely adored (and still do) making the food for the café.
I guess it’s an inbuilt thing. A passion, my vocation.

I am not going to waffle on much more about ‘how it all started’…… I think I’ll leave it there, swirling in the memory bank of my head, sepia toned and comforting, like a warming hot chocolate on a miserable day.

Most of the menu at the bluetomato is ever evolving, and this really depends on how I feel, where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, thought up or created.
I have no shame in confessing I am a ‘magpie’ cook. Swinging from the more traditional English foods to Spanish, Italian, Thai foods.
When going out for food myself I will purposely order several starters (instead of the traditional starter, main course) have it all at the same time and then dissect it all. Stealing ideas from others, re-assembling them with the bluetomato in mind. I think we all do this in some form or another (or is it just me I wonder?)

I am a nightmare for going on holiday and deciding to re-create the food in the bluetomato upon my return, for example, there is an amazing little Tapas restaurant In Mallorca called La Bodega. It is simply incredible. Totally fresh, individual dishes all swiftly delivered to your table in record time (considering how busy they are)
They are quite clearly geared up for tapas style and the bluetomato, unfortunately is not.
One year, after going there I got all excited and wapped on a load of tapas on the specials board in the bluetomato. Of course everyone started to order it, we got totally inundated and it swiftly got taken off…..(I sneak it on now and again, much to Mats horror!)
I’m about to crank up the old cine camera and do a series of easy to follow short videos of bluetomato favourites, from soups to scones, chicken satay to sea bass….

In the mean time this is the first pudding I made for the café, and we still make it today…..

Blue tomato Sticky toffee pudding….
Serves 4 or 1 depending on how much you want…………!

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4oz salted Cornish butter (slightly softened)
6oz dark brown sugar
6oz self raising flour (sieved)
3 medium Free range eggs
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
6oz pitted dates
10floz water
3tsp vanilla essence
golden syrup

We make this by hand, its a little easier than faffing around with a load of gloopy mixture and a machine…….
Beat together the butter and sugar (with a wooden spoon) until it turns light in colour. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well each time.
Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, put the water and pitted dates on a high heat on the cooker top to boil. When it reaches boiling, take off the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda. (this will foam, its totally normal)
Pour the hot datey mixture into the butter and egg mix. Working quite quickly, add the sieved flour and whisk to remove any lumpy floury bits. Add the vanilla essence and mix through…
(the mixture will be fairly runny, not like a sponge mixture)

Pour this into a baking dish approximately 9″x9″ so it comes NO MORE than half way up the dish..
cook for 40-45 minutes at 170’c (or until a skewer can be pulled out clean)

When you remove this from the oven, immediately liberally pour over the golden syrup, it will soak into the hot pudding…… I haven’t stated how much as the more you put on, the stickier the pudding becomes…….the more the merrier I say!

For the Sauce
1pt Cornish double cream
8oz dark brown sugar
4tbsp golden syrup

Shove all of this in a saucepan, wap it on the cooker and heat it gently until the sugar dissolves.

To serve…
Either, cut or spoon the sticky toffee out of the baking dish onto a plate. pour on loads of the sauce and serve it with either vanilla ice cream or Clotted cream…….
You could try salted caramel ice cream for a slightly different salty twist…….

As the title of this blog says, follow your heart, and it will lead you to this sticky toffee pudding……..

enjoy x