Thursday, 30 September 2010

Five Mile Meal

Not so long ago, the idea of people from any community in the country, but especially an island community, sitting down to a meal prepared from local produce, would have not only been unexceptional but often a necessity.

By contrast, most of the food eaten on the Isles of Scilly today has travelled many fuel miles, before arriving on the plate.

On Sunday September 26th, at St Mary’s Hall Hotel, some 33 people, both islanders and visitors, sat down to a ‘Five Mile Meal’. The chefs, Phil (St Mary’s Hall Hotel) and Mark (High Tide, St Agnes), faced the challenge of sourcing their ingredients from local island producers (see below for details).

The diners were treated to a starter, main course and dessert by each chef, making a total of six courses. At the end of each pair of courses, they were asked to rate each dish by marking a score on a card. It certainly was a hard task to decide which dish was better as all were delicious.

After the meal, the overall results were announced and Mark was crowned winner of the day. The champagne flowed to toast both chefs’ success. They had prepared a truly outstanding meal that highlighted the quality of produce available on the isles of Scilly. (See below for details)

Transition Scilly would like to thank Joan Shiles, the manager of St Mary’s Hall Hotel, and the chefs, Phil and Mark, for making this event possible. It is hoped that another Five Mile Meal will take place in March 2011. My taste buds are certainly looking forward to Round Two.

Patrick Brown.


Vegetable broth, lemon thyme & nettle dumplings (v)

(Ingredients from Parting Carn Farm & Star Castle Garden, St Marys)

Crab salad with organic micro greens with nasturtium


(Ingredients from Ian Mitchell & Scilly Organics, St Martins.

Tamarisk Farm & Covean Cottage garden, St Agnes)

Main Courses

Pan fried mackerel fillet, crab & lobster ravioli,

aubergine caviar & shellfish foam

(Ingredients from Lee Sandford, St Marys and Tamarisk Farm, St Agnes)

Pollock fillet on buttered courgette ribbons with

lemon & dill hollandaise

(Ingredients from Ian Mitchell & Scilly Organics, St Martins)


Vanilla bean panna cotta with fresh raspberries &

a raspberry sauce

(Ingredients from Troytown Farm, St Agnes)

Baba Ani`s blackberry jam & apple crumble, clotted cream

(Ingredients from Parting Carn Farm, St Mary’s. and Troytown Farm, St Agnes)

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Update on harvest week

This week has seen the first Scilly Food Festival taking place. It never intended to be a huge event as it was organised with very little time or money, but it certainly seems to have engaged people and brought the concept of local food to the fore again. The intention is to make Scilly Food Festival a significant event in 2011.

The harvest festival on St Martin's was well attended and had a lovely display of great local produce.

Many businesses have done local food menus for the week. If they don't normally use much local produce then it's good to see them doing so, and if they do already then it's even better to see them shout about it. Some businesses have really taken it to heart by producing entire menus such as this.

Positive reports have been received about a number of venues offering excellent local produce on their menus.

Today we pressed apples by St Mary's Church, using windfalls that would probably just have rotted away otherwise. Pressing is a great social event and is a positive process where you get some great drink at the end. In fact the juice will be going straight to the Five Mile Meal at St Mary's Hall Hotel the next day.

There will be another apple pressing on Sunday 10th Oct at the Town Hall - more on that nearer the time.

So far the Food Festival has been positive and there should be a lot of positive follow up work leading on from this event.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Food Festival programme

The Scilly Food Festival happens in the week 20th-26th September and is shaping up to be a good celebration of food from Scilly.

There will be an apple pressing on the grassy area in front of the St Mary's Church Pavilion on Saturday 25th September at 2.00pm. We are encouraging anyone with excess apples to bring them along, plus some empty containers, to turn them in to juice! Even if you don't have fruit come along anyway and have fun.

On Sunday 26th Sept at 12.00pm there will be an extraordinary Five Mile Meal at St Mary's Hall Hotel. Local chefs will compete to produce the best meal from local produce in a unique event. More details on this poster.