#196 theoldmortuary ponders

Our Beltane feast at the Hidden Hut, Portscatho.

Goodness we have wanted to find the Hidden Hut for ages! When we lived and worked in London it was the aspirational destination of food writers in all sorts of magazines.

Our weekend visits to South East Cornwall never seemed to have the time for a trip down to the Roseland Peninsular. Being busy and Covid restrictions have run away with our time since our return to the South West. Yesterday we were up early to do another tiny chunk of the South West Coastal Path and more importantly to be at The Hidden Hut in time for lunch.

As you can see we were well on time and enjoyed an aperitif of coffee and ice cream while we waited for our lunch

As is obvious from these blogs I am a very confident consumer of wonderful food but live in awe of actual food writers. So I will share two reviews from my favourite eating gurus. Grace Dent and Jay Rayner.



Jay and I often commuted into central London on the same early morning tube from Brixton perhaps we we both dreaming of seafood by the sea.

No London food critics obvious yesterday at The Hut, no longer hidden from us! But plenty of Londoners and food savvy visitors flocked, some of them in box fresh country gear, to this small corner of Cornwall.

A new flat cap reflected in the window.

Nature and beach detritus are carefully arranged to catch the eye.

It really makes a point to see such soft beauty and plastic waste both arranged with effortless charm.

Nature wins over in the battle to catch our eye but it made us think, again about plastic waste, and that is no bad thing!

Was the Hidden Hut worth finding?

Absolutely, great fish stew and mackerel pate.  Served with plump flatbreads, if that is not an oxymoron. The rain held off until we were safely back in the van. Promises to return were made, we loved it.

#194 tholdmortuary ponders

A high tide and the sun at the right angle makes a pretty picture but not one that is particularly good for the marine environment. Earlier this week we started drinking Butterfly Pea Tea , it arrived from Hong Kong as part of a birthday package.The tea and the sea, in this location are similar colours

We discovered the tea on Lamma Island, part of the Hong Kong archipelago, after a very hot circular hike. Even a dip in the sea had not cooled us down enough to be normal rational humans. The iced blue tea we bought did the job just before we caught the ferry home. New to us then it was refreshing and had that distinctive taste that lingers at the back of every flavour of Jelly Bean. To bring out the flavour of the tea a little lime juice, or anything acidic does the job. It also changes the colour. Butterfly pea is also a natural food colouring. I might try painting a watercolour with it.

Careful what you google is the warning to the next part of this blog. Like all things botanical Butterfly Peas have a latin name, in this case not one that should be tripped off the tongue without complete accuracy.

Clitoria Ternatea.

Then there are the benefits of drinking the tea which is rich in anti-oxidents and flavenoids. My brain will be boosted and my stomach and intestines soothed. The growth of any worms in my gut will be retarded!!

On that happy note have a fabulous weekend, not something the worms in my gut will be having!

#186 theoldmortuary ponders

This is what procrastination looks like. I’ve been trying to buy some popular shelving from Ikea, I dithered about yesterday and didn’t check the website until later in the afternoon. All the units I wanted were available in the colour I wanted but I had missed the deadline for click and collect. Suddenly a trip to Ikea had turned into a spontaneous overnight camping trip as we ‘made the most’ out of a trip to Exeter and wild- camped overnight on the seafront at Exmouth. Close enough to Ikea to get there when it opens on Sunday morning.

In all my Ikea life such a plan would never have been hatched before. Our most regular Ikea was always Croydon and before that Bristol and Thurrock, none of these destinations scream wild camping wonderfulness. But Exmouth really is rather fabulous for an overnight spot of Van life.

In an effort to put International in our life while I still have no passport we are eating our way around the world while remaining in Plymouth. Before we even thought about Ikea or camping trips we went to Canada for lunch. Kickin Caribou on Mutley Plain serves Poutine and other Canadian treats.

We had the window seat and had an unusually vivid street scene to enjoy while we tucked into chips, curd cheese and gravy. Yesterday was St Georges Day and one of the biggest charity events that Plymouth hosts. The St Luke’s Mens Day Out, passed by our window seat. The link below explains the great ethos behind the event. The route of the walk takes in some amazing scenery and passes plenty of pubs. It is a thoroughly wonderful event. There are some unplanned additional events related to these pubs. My following comments are tongue in cheek and not representational of the organisers plans.

Men’s Day Out: The power of hundreds of men on the move

The clue is in the statement ‘ there are plenty of pubs on the route’

Many of the men choose to walk in fancy dress, some of them drink far too much. Some of them fight. Lets just say that history does not suggest that Crusaders or the Flintstones ever got involved in street fighting or T Shirt pulling but there were pockets of such behaviour along the route. The walk started at 10am, when we decided to leave for our unplanned Ikea adventure at 5 pm there were still the walking wounded shuffling their way along the route. There may be a few sore heads this morning alongside the many more sore feet. Most importantly a lot of money was raised.

#185 theoldmortuary ponders

Cheese and Bacon Fries

When we lived in London we lived 6 miles from a very good burger van.

©Zephyr Burgers

The burgers were so good that we were always happily tempted away from our, no red meat, lifestyle choice. When we returned to live in Cornwall a happy coincidence occured when Zephyr Burgers relocated to 6 miles from our Cornish home.

©Zephyr Burgers

6 miles in London or Cornwall can be a lifetime of travel so our burgers were always eaten on the hoof. A process that could be both an absolute joy and horrendously messy. Of the many reasons we decided to relocate to the Devon coast, Burgers were not on any pro or con list. Earlier this week the chef/proprietor of Zephyr was back in London winning the Burger Chef of the year award. This prompted us to have a burger outing.

©Zephyr Burgers

We now live about one mile from our favourite red meat indulgence. Last night was epic, not because the burger and dirty fries were wonderful, which they were. Not because the burger was cooked by the best burger chef in the UK. Not even because I almost got a photo of an owl shadow reflected on a wall as we returned home. Juggling a bag of burgers and a smart phone does not make me a speedy photographer.

Last night was epic because, for the first time ever we managed to eat our burger at a table in our own home. Neither one of us ended up wearing any part of the burger on our clothes. We can even wear the same clothes this morning. This has never happened before. Suddenly we are respectable burger eaters.

©Zephyr Burgers

#166 theoldmortuary ponders


This blog owes its very existence to normal life, however dull that may be. Normal life is going on around me, but 5 weeks after getting a really nasty virus, that constantly tested negative for Covid, I am just about back to normal. But without any sense of taste or smell. Possibly a sign that I did actually have Covid but never actually trapped it on a Lateral Flow Test.  Curiously this really does impact my life. Yesterday I spent ages at a food market with not a glimmer of greed for anything that was on offer. Who actually knew that taste and smell are such a huge part of how we judge our surroundings. I suppose this is a warning to you all that I may mention this subject more than once in these blogs. It looms larger in my life than you might imagine.The early weeks of my impediment were spent bullying my taste buds back into action with chilli, mustard and horseradish. It didnt really work on the taste buds, but my blocked sinuses are wonderfully clear now, beautiful echo chambers in my face. My sense of taste and smell can fleetingly return, but only for a few seconds,it isn’t always an accurate flavour of what I am eating either,but after thirty seconds of the same stimulation and all my sensors switch off and I am left enjoying, or not, the texture of what I am eating with nothing else going on. I have two main flavour sensations, everything else is hit or miss. The first called ‘Burning Galleon’ and illustrated by the drawing above of a wooden ship. Burning Galleon happens whenever there is smoke in the air. I love the smell of Burning Galleon, a gorgeous mix of woodsmoke and tar, but it is hugely indiscriminate and can cover a bonfire, barbeque, cigarette or spliff but for a few, brief, seconds my nose lifts into the breeze to capture the passing sensation. The other flavour sensation is “Lemon Disgusting’, so called because I use the flavours below at such intense levels that normal people would wince just having a tiny taste.

I am superbly fortunate that I only get one horrific flavour and that is the ripest manure imaginable. It occurs only where vegan cheese puts in an appearance anywhere near me.

5 weeks on I’m in an eating and drinking no mans land. Living for the first few seconds of food and drink, desperate for clashing textures. Aware that only the first few mouthfuls have any credibility or true value. Constantly leaving mugs of tea undrunk.

Monday moaning done…

#154 theoldmortuary ponders

Eccles Cake in brown paper bag. Jacka Bakery

Texture is everything when taste and smell are as wonky as mine are currently. This Eccles cake is the perfect food for now. So many textures that boredom does not set in and  with the added bonus of pastry so beautifully flaky that I ended up wearing it. Our trip to London did not bring me the fire- water ginger beer that I sought, nothing tasted anything more than mildly gingery. Our mustard jars are empty and a quick spoonful of horse radish is just the thing on toast. I am very lucky to not have the foul and dreadful phantosmia flavours that many anosmia sufferers get. Burning timbers treated with tar and mildew is as bad as it gets.

Jacka Bakery

But I know I am not thinking entirely normally when these gorgeous baked goods inspired the idea of slumbering in them rather than giving them the true respect of being gobbled up.

Ginger cordial has become the star of my life, mixed at an eye watering concentration. My supermarket trip this morning will be driven by a search for flavour stimulation. Tuesday Tasting!

#151 theoldmortuary ponders

©Debs Bobber

There has been a curious circularity to the week which has been radled by a virus. Mostly exhausted, I have also had some lovely, in person face to face but masked up and at a distance conversations and some zoom or Video meetings. Lovely Ralph wearing his daffodil was part of the Video gang, he didn’t really play an active part in the commitee meeting but he clearly is aiming to be Chairman with this fabulous pose of authority. After yesterdays blog with my photo of the resting bee, Ralphs’ mum sent me this picture with a rescued bee which she popped into a daffodil to recover his equilibrium.

©Debs Bobber

The stand out theme of the week has been the non- Covid virus and its debilitating symptoms. It is on the wane now leaving me a bit bunged up and still without any taste or smell. My amnosmia and phantosmia are on going. I’ve given up cooking from scratch unless under supervision. Early in the week before I realised that I was more than just a little taste and smell impaired, a chilli dish that I produced caused quite a response in other people but for me the only response was the stinging of my gums. I am quite lucky that the phantosmia for me is not too negative. At its worst most foods taste slightly mildewy or just stale, but for the most part I taste nothing. It has been a great week for drinking all those unusual teas that seemed like a good idea in the supermarket, that then languish in the cupboard because they have all the allure of fresh urine. Last nights curried chicken was not strong enough to register anything, my gums remained un tingly and I thoroughly enjoyed what I thought I was eating which was fresh Mango.

My drink of choice has become ginger beer, the more gingery the better. Normally I can be a right lightweight with ginger beer but this weekend I will be heading to the Afro- Caribbean shops to buy virtual firewater. This is the hottest I managed to get in the west country. Depicted as a colour doodle.

Not a scintilla of heat in that! Talking of heat, I kept my phantosmia of burning wood and tar to myself whilst working at the museum, it really was better for everyone that way.

One more Ralph to send you on your way this Friday. I’ve not really been taking many pictures or been quite so out and about but whatsapp is a wonderful resource of other peoples pictures

©Debs Bobber

#83 theoldmortuary ponders

As the Turkey leaves the building for 2021 we celebrated with a traditional curry. There is enough for a pie in the freezer but the curry is always the big send off.

Henry VIII was the first English king to serve Turkey at Christmas feasts.I feel a lot like Henry VIII right now. Rotund and somewhat over feasted.

Over feasted yet I wake up hungry in the morning. Deep December is a funny place to live. Mince Pie for breakfast anyone?

#72 theoldmortuary ponders

This Christmas Decoration represents blog perfection. Just after midnight there should be a blog ready to be automatically dropped into inboxes around the world. I”m not saying it never happens but it is mostly an aspiration rather than an actuality.

72 days ago when the blog changed its title, while I was on a blogging course. The course leader suggested being a little kinder to myself and give myself more freedom to deliver blogs less often. While not, as yet, feeling the need to abandon whole days I do, on occasion cut myself a bit of slack and a later blog goes out.

Yesterday I thought laying about would give me time to be on time with the blog, in fact all I did really is be a bit unfocused.

Yesterday not much happened following a bout of food poisoning. Me and the Christmas tree were together a bit as I dozed between bouts of activity which is when I noticed the time on the Christmas decoration. In truth I was just a bit less of myself, low energy and a bit achy after my digestive tsunami.

24 hours of abstinence, apart from two bowls of rice crispies with oat milk, has created a fine dining monster in me but at low cost. The first cups of real tea were revelatory.

All the flavours of the Asia, blended in Yorkshire, dancing around my mouth like there was a post pandemic party going on. Who knew tea could taste quite so good!

The afore mentioned rice crispies embellished by oat milk were a comfort food, tweaked by my newly over sensitive taste buds they have become fine dining. Their vanilla notes enrobed in oaty richness.

Goodness knows what gustatory delights await me this morning. Toast perhaps masquerading as something far more significant. Today I will be more focussed.

#71 theoldmortuary ponders

Oh these silky waters were a fabulous swim on Friday morning. Miss Spearmint, the seal, was away swimming near the Hoe so there were no sudden departures,from the sea, required of swimmers to give her space. Today was a birthday swim so there was cake and conversations to follow once we were dressed. The richness of the aquatic wildlife in Plymouth Sound was one such conversation.I managed to find this picture of a specimen jar to illustrate the conversation in a festive way.

And then later in the day we found some more underwater creatures all gussied up ready for the festive season.

I wish this was the last thing I could discuss about wildlife but sadly a bout of food poisoning has wracked my body and mind. The physical aspects do not need to be elaborated on but the mental ones were quite daunting. I must stress that, beyond food, only tap water and tea was ingested all day. After my personal eruption and once I was well enough to return to my bed I was straight off to sleep only to be dumped into a hideous nightmare. Large birds that under normal circumstances adorn our wallpaper started to fly off the wall and wrap themselves wetly around my body. They were warm and wet, as if freshly dipped in hot wallpaper paste and alive but as flat as any wallpaper bird would be. Try as I might I could not stick them back on the wall in the right places. Waking up was the only way to save the situation. A lurid way to welcome the weekend. Of course this morning they are all perched calmly in the right places, catching the first of the morning light.