Episode 2 Rick Stein's Cornish Christmas


Episode 2

Rick Stein and his chefs use local ingredients to create a Christmas banquet for all his Cornish friends, including the famous comedian Jethro.


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Transcript


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In programme one, I travelled around Cornwall looking for the spirit of the Christmas season,

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and I found it in local communities, from one end of the county to the other.

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Some of it steeped in traditions that are now hazy, but nonetheless real for that.

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Well, this programme is called A Cornish Christmas.

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How much more Christmas can it get than this, it's snowing! There is a God!

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In the small town of Lostwithiel,

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I found myself in a living Dickensian Christmas card, a sort of ghost of Christmas past.

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It was all to get inspiration for a banquet lunch

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that I prepared for some of the people I met along the way.

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We got together at Little Petherick Village Hall.

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Merry Christmas!

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Service! Service!

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This Christmas, my chefs and I have come up with a menu celebrating

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some of the best produce that can be found in Cornwall.

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Welcome to my little Christmas banquet.

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Seafood, of course, is my passion.

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And the dishes were all inspired by the wonderful produce that comes in locally.

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And it begins in the Fal Estuary.

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I'd heard about some wonderful prawns being caught around the Fal River by David Thomas.

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This would be an ideal pre-starter for our meal, and it's high time

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we started using these prawns in Cornwall, instead of sending 99% of them off to Spain!

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This is going to be not the first course, but like a pre-first course.

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To me, it's one of the best things you can have, when you sit down,

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and you're full of joy, having a drink, is to pick at some prawns.

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Look at these prawns.

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These came from Falmouth this morning.

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Look at those. You don't need to do anything but drop them into seasoned flour and fry them,

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very quickly, and serve them up with garlic mayonnaise, aioli.

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It's just perfect, you just dip it in the aioli and eat them, you eat them in the whole shell,

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because by frying them, the shell crisps up, and people don't mind.

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They don't notice, but actually, there's so much flavour in the shell.

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I've seasoned the flour with a little cayenne and some sea salt.

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And once the prawns are coated with it, they go straight into the hot oil, for just a few moments.

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Let them drain, and then serve them straight away, with another sprinkle

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of salt, and a good dollop of the freshly made aioli

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for dunking them in.

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The garlicky smoothness of the aioli just goes so well with

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the slightly crunchy prawns.

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Cheers, David!

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The Cornish coastline isn't always as benign as the Fal Estuary on a misty morning.

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The sea and the fishing industry still remain Cornwall's main claim

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to fame, and at this time of year, it's particularly perilous.

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# The mackerel shoals we hope to find

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# And soon we left Land's End behind

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# For Cornish lads are fishermen

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# And Cornish lads are miners too

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# But when the fish and tin are gone

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# What are the Cornish boys to do? #

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I never fail to be in awe of the guys at the sharp end of the fishing industry.

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Working day and night in conditions which most of us would do anything to avoid.

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I must say, it's really nice to be in Newlyn market again, albeit it is the middle of the night.

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They've just landed this beautiful-looking hake.

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I'm always banging on about hake.

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I don't quite understand why we don't eat more of it in this country.

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I think it's the best number of the cod family, and Phil Mitchell

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and his boys have been out in the Irish Sea fishing for this.

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They've got about 204 boxes,

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and there's five stone in a box, so that's about 6,500 kilos of fish.

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Hake is a bit of a good news story as far as fishing is concerned,

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there's plenty about, and the Spanish love it.

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This is all going off to Roscoff, but then it'll be distributed

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to all those hake-loving countries in Europe, like Spain, even as far as Italy.

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I've been filming in Spain recently, and one of the ways I love to eat hake

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is just cut into thin little steaks, about that wide, and cooked a la plancha,

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on a very hot grill, with just a little bit of olive oil, and served with caramelised onion and garlic.

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It's fab!

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Seeing that hake sees me want to use it in my Christmas banquet.

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My son Jack, who's one of my chefs, came up with this dish.

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Braised hake, with a seasonal Cornish salad.

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What's that? Purslane? Sea purslane?

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And that is sea beet, from the seashore.

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Various different cabbages, red cabbage,

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hispi, beetroot, cavolo nero, but Cornish.

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What about these?

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Pomegranate? Not exactly Cornish?

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It's the only winter fruit I could think of at the time, but I just thought, the colours and everything,

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-went for the Christmas ornament, sort of holly bush.

-And berries.

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And berries. That's the pomegranate, that's where that's come from.

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Brilliant. I've never asked you this, Jack, so it seems a good time, but why are you doing this?

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Just to please me, take over the family business? Do you like cooking?

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Yeah, to get your undivided attention, mostly, and because I love working weekends and late nights(!)

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The base of this sauce is beetroot, so in order to extract the juice,

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it goes into a rather posh food processor to be blitzed.

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You can do it at home by simply softening the beetroot and putting it through a sieve.

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The idea here is to get that rich colour of Christmas.

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OK, the first thing we need to do is chop the veg, so just give us a hand here.

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-Nice and tight.

-How fine do you want?

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-You mean... Tight means fine?

-Yeah.

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It's not really the time of year for a conventional salad, so best to use what's available.

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You can tell which the youth is here, going like crazy there.

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I just like to be a bit more methodical, go along at my own... my own speed.

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This is almost like a really vibrant coleslaw - all the different leaves will each have a very particular

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influence in the salad, and none will be too prominent.

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The whole thing will have plenty of crunchy crispness, which will complement the warm, flaky fish,

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and the cavolo nero leaves will be slightly bitter against the slivers of beetroot.

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The chunky fillets of hake are pan-fried in a little butter,

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skin side first, of course, to hold them together.

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Once the skin's nicely caramelised and flipped over, coat them with more melted butter.

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Don't they look good as they take a little bit of golden colour?

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Now put in a good glassful of sparkling wine to deglaze the pan and gather every scrap of flavour.

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Add a ladleful of fish stock, and then cover the pan and let the fish poach for just a few minutes.

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I like the idea of the pomegranate seeds.

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How come you came up with that?

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Just thought of a non-toxic holly berry, really, just for the final dish.

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I just remember seeing around the house in wreaths, dried out pomegranates adorning the middle.

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-That's really good, it's really imaginative stuff, Jack!

-Thank you very much!

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When the fillets are done, keep them warm, and add the juices from the pan to the beetroot dressing.

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Now, put in some rapeseed oil - Cornish, of course - and a dash of cider vinegar.

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Mix it all up, just like any other salad dressing.

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Put some on the salad, and toss it together just before you serve the dish.

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I can see you've thought about this, Jack, that's really nice. It really does look like Christmas.

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Can I just taste a bit?

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You know me, a bit more salt.

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-Just a tad more dressing, do you think?

-Yup.

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The whole thing is served on top of thinly sliced beetroot.

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And with Jack's pomegranate seeds mixed in with the rest of the saucy dressing, then dribbled around

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the edge of the plate, it all looks like a Christmas decoration itself.

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I'm still amazed that this extremely fine fish isn't more popular in this country.

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Why on earth do we not recognise our treasures instead of flogging them abroad?

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Just along the coast from Padstow is Port Isaac, where some of my newest friends come from.

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# We're making money with this sound

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# Rattle them winches, oh!

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-# Soon we'll all be homeward-bound

-Rattle them winches, oh!

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# Rattle them down and stamp and go

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# Rattle them winches, oh!

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# Rattle them down and stamp and go

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# Rattle them winches, oh! #

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Music is in the Cornish fishermen's soul, but only recently has the rest of the world woken up to that fact.

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These guys from neighbouring Port Isaac call themselves Fishermen's Friends.

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And they won a huge recording contract, which will bring their music to a much wider audience.

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I will definitely be inviting them along to my Christmas banquet!

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# Rattle them winches, oh!

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# Rattle them down and stamp and go

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# Rattle them winches, oh!

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# Rattle them down and stamp and go

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# Rattle them winches, oh!

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# Rattle them down and stamp and go

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# Rattle them winches, oh!

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# Rattle them down and stamp and go

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# Rattle them winches, oh! #

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I'm off with one of the boys, Jeremy Brown, to pick up his lobster pots, which I'm pleased to see,

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have plenty of lobsters and crabs in them.

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Even some tiddlers!

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They're the fastest ones to grow. They grow very quickly.

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Lobsters grow a little bit, little bit - these grow really quickly.

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This is really good fishing, I must say.

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See, in Padstow, there's this lobster hatchery,

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and when lobsters are born, they're born as little fry, tiny little things.

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They're up in the water for a long time, up with the plankton for a long time, then they get swallowed up.

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And they reckon 99% of all the little fry that are born are eaten by predators.

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-So what they do is take these tiny little lobsters and grow them to about two centimetres.

-Two inches.

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And then they put them back in the sea.

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And Jeremy is saying they get a lot of these in the sea, so it's good news.

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I assume they can fend for themselves, they can do a bit of damage with these claws now!

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-Wouldn't even want to get my finger...

-They'd give a pollack a little nip on the nose, or a bass!

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We just feed these up and throw them back, so it's almost like farming, in a way.

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It is, really.

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Only you're not having to pay for the feed.

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That one's just big enough.

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So you've got quite an optimistic future, lobster fishing.

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Then you've got your Fishermen's Friends as well.

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-That's right, it's all going on!

-How did you get involved in that?

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Well, we are literally all friends, and we would've been out, down the pub on a Friday night anyway.

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So why do you think fishermen sing on boats?

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The sea shanties on board sailing ships were actually essential to bring up the heavy ropes,

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to bring up the chains, the anchors...

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-So it's like...

-They'd have a chant going, sort of like...

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# In South Australia I was born Heave away... #

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Just to keep everyone in time. If you've got ten people pulling on a rope,

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you need 'em all to pull at the same time.

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It's no good one having a go, you need 'em all to lean back at the same time.

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And there's different shanties for different jobs.

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-# In the hold this gear must go

-Rattle them winches, oh!

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-# For Mr Mate has told me so

-# Rattle them winches, oh!

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# Rattle them down and stamp and go

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# Rattle them winches, oh!

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# Rattle them down and stamp and go

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# Rattle them winches, oh! #

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The boys will be back later at the banquet, where one of the other stars will be this lobster dish.

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I've got my Breton chef Stephane Delourme to come up with a lobster pithivier.

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He's cooked the lobster for just a short time.

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It shouldn't be cooked completely, because it's going to be finished off

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when the little pies are baked in the oven, and he doesn't want it to be overdone.

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Steph and I are making what I like to call a shellfish reduction.

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I'm just cutting up these lobster shells here -

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what a lot of people don't realise

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is how much flavour there is in a lobster shell.

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Also in prawn shells, also in crab.

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Once the smashed up shells are in with the sizzling vegetables,

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you add a large pinch of saffron, and another of cayenne pepper.

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Mix it together, and then flambe the pan with cognac.

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Add a generous glass of white wine, followed by some tarragon, and a pint of chicken stock.

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That has to cook away for an hour to extract all the flavour from the ingredients.

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Before you strain the liquor into another pan.

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For the filling, Stephane makes up a fish mousseline with uncooked hake.

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I'm keen to use this fish.

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Fresh double cream.

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One whole egg.

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And some finely chopped shallot.

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Then with another egg, beaten in a bowl, he adds some of the reduction,

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before gently folding in the smooth, creamy fish.

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Believe me, this is all worth it.

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The pastry is a straight forward puff pastry and the filling must always be generous.

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The lobster hasn't been overcooked in the first place, because it will

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cook some more when it's baked.

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And, of course, the fish mousseline will cook at that time, too.

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What would you have in Brittany over Christmas in Quiberon, then?

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We will have a lot of shellfish.

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Fruits de mer to start.

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We used to eat goose a lot, but it's mainly beef now.

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Beef en croute or a nice fillet of beef.

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And of course this is lobster en croute, really.

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Yes, it could be lobster en croute.

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But, yes, that's a bit posh for family.

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Now we use a lot of shellfish, a lot of fish, and a lot of wine.

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Before baking, just give them an egg wash to make them turn to a golden colour.

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And because he's a Frenchman,

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Stephane has an irresistible need to draw on them.

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But it does make them look very pretty.

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Back to the sauce to thicken it with butter and cream

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and to prepare a chiffonade of basil leaves.

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That's very French of me, isn't it?

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Very nice, very lobstery, isn't it?

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And the basil in just before it goes out.

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It comes out of the oven looking a bit like a high-class Cornish pasty,

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but don't be fooled by the looks.

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It would be superb on its own, but surrounded by that

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unctuous creamy sauce with basil,

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and it reaches a new plane altogether.

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Just thinking, at Christmas, just the best bottle

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of old white Burgundy I've got will go with this.

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I had in my head as I was eating that lovely...

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I mean, the saffron works really well with the lobster reduction.

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Very deluxe food, I'd say.

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-Bon appetit.

-Merci.

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Now, this is a new discovery for me in Cornwall -

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a delicious sparkling perry, made by Andy Atkinson near Foye.

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Pears in Cornwall have been around for many, many years.

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They're not very popular at the moment.

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We haven't got any major pear orchards in the county,

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but we have got records back in the National Trust properties

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that go back many, many years, of large pear orchards being around.

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And the Tamar Valley has all been a great area for growing soft fruits -

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strawberries, raspberries, cherries

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and pears were just the same, very popular many years ago.

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Perry in itself is a very traditional drink, and, you know,

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Christmas is all about that, it's all about tradition.

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Cider gets all the good press, if you'll pardon the pun.

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But I reckon it's time to raise the profile of Cornish perry.

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The pears are washed and pulped and every last drop of juice extracted.

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Nothing is wasted. Even the pulp is collected and used for animal food.

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But sadly for the animals, they get it before it's fermented.

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Merry Christmas!

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That's convinced me, then. I decided to use pears in a Christmas banquet

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and this time I have asked my pastry chef, Sam Eden, to come up with a suitable dish.

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She's going for a pear souffle.

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She is using soft, ripe sweet Conference pears

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and she's stewing them down with a little sugar and a small amount of the perry to enhance the flavour.

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Then she simply breaks them up into a sort of smooth compote

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and then thickens it with cornflour, also slaked down with the perry.

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She adds it slowly, because you can't afford any lumps in a souffle.

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What I really like about it, it's going to be really light,

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because you're just using cornflour and, what, you have some egg in there, I guess?

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Yeah, we mix it with a meringue,

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which is just egg white and sugar-based, so it's a lot more stable,

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which is great for a party, because everyone's always scared that they are going to collapse.

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We don't want that. It's too embarrassing.

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Especially with all the people we have got to serve.

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But I really love a souffle.

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I always think it's the mark of a good pastry chef to be able to make

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a lovely light and simply flavoured souffle.

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Well, I'm sure you all know how to make a meringue -

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with egg white, sugar and plenty of arm-aching whisking, until you get your peaks to stand up.

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When you have done it, simply put half into the pear compote and mix them thoroughly.

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Then put the other half in and fold it in gently so as not to lose the light fluffiness of the meringue.

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Pipe it into the buttered and sugared ramekins

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and make each one look tidy with a flat top.

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Now they're almost ready for baking.

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I love my Christmas puddings,

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but occasionally this would be a most welcome change.

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It's some days since my pastry cook days.

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Why do you rub your finger around there?

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-Because it helps bring the souffle away from the edge and helps to it rise nice and flat.

-Oh, I see.

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Well, you learn something every day!

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After about seven minutes, they'll have risen with a golden top.

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We're serving it with a home-made ice cream, again infused with perry,

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and some very smart and festive pear crisps.

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Now, Rick, with great respect here,

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many people might think that the food you're cooking

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for this sort of Christmas lunch is a bit on the sort of fancy side.

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Look, it's Christmas, OK. It's intended for after Christmas.

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I know you love your turkey, your cold stuffing,

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your pickled onions, your baked potatoes,

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but there's life after the cold turkey, if you catch my drift.

0:21:200:21:24

OK, it is a bit elaborate.

0:21:240:21:25

But we've got that lovely lobster pithivier, which is luscious and full of flavour.

0:21:250:21:32

And Jack's little hake dish with the lovely winter salad underneath it.

0:21:320:21:38

I think it's very light and just what you need after a heavy Christmas.

0:21:380:21:42

We have got the shrimps. And we've got that souffle - it's just a little puff of air.

0:21:420:21:46

Christmas - weeks of planning and preparation, and before you know it, the guests are turning up.

0:21:460:21:53

Among them is Simon Reid, a man who knows heaps about the history of Cornish food.

0:21:530:21:58

At Christmas, what traditionally did the Cornish do, what special things happened in Cornwall?

0:21:580:22:04

There is the more revolting end.

0:22:040:22:06

Pies were very popular in Cornwall

0:22:060:22:09

for the feast, especially in the 19th century,

0:22:090:22:12

and there is a particularly revolting one called muggoty pie.

0:22:120:22:15

Muggoty? It sounds a bit revolting.

0:22:150:22:17

It is, it is sheep entrails braised in clotted cream.

0:22:170:22:21

-Really?

-Absolutely appalling.

0:22:210:22:23

And also, in this part of world, one that was very popular was Cormorant pie layered with bacon and raisins.

0:22:230:22:30

Which is absolutely disgusting.

0:22:300:22:32

CHINKS GLASS

0:22:470:22:49

I'd just like to welcome you all to this little lunch of Cornish produce.

0:22:490:22:53

We are starting with some Falmouth Bay shrimps.

0:22:530:22:57

Well, actually, they are a bit of a prawn, aren't they?

0:22:570:23:00

We have got lots of nice courses to come, all with a Cornish theme.

0:23:000:23:04

So let's have a bit of a drink!

0:23:040:23:08

Cheers!

0:23:080:23:09

-Somebody once told me you wouldn't come to my restaurant because you don't eat fish.

-I don't eat fish.

0:23:120:23:17

I will eat that. It look good.

0:23:170:23:19

Everybody else has got fish, so I've got fish as well.

0:23:190:23:22

I'm touched!

0:23:220:23:25

What was that one you were saying about some goat around here, you know a story about a goat?

0:23:250:23:29

Well, Little Petherick, the first time I came to it,

0:23:290:23:32

there was a well just out on the green

0:23:320:23:34

and I can imagine in years gone by all the people came to the well

0:23:340:23:38

for their daily water and I looked down the well and couldn't see the water.

0:23:380:23:42

So I threw a stone down and never heard the splash.

0:23:420:23:45

I thought, "That's very, very deep.

0:23:450:23:47

"I must get something bigger than the stone."

0:23:470:23:50

There was a railway sleeper and I dragged that over and I got one end up on the wall and edged it up

0:23:500:23:55

on my shoulder, until I got sleeper -

0:23:550:23:57

it was about 12 foot long and wet - crashing down the well.

0:23:570:24:01

I could see the sleeper crashing down the well, but out the corner of me eye, a goat -

0:24:010:24:07

he tried to kill me. He put his horns down, a goat, and he's flying.

0:24:070:24:11

-And he had a nasty look on his face, Rick.

-He was trying to butt you down the well.

0:24:110:24:15

I jumped out of the way and...

0:24:150:24:18

Hur, hur, hur! Don't start me laughing.

0:24:180:24:22

This goat jumped straight down the well.

0:24:220:24:25

I just saw a goat disappear in the distance, gone out of sight. Gone.

0:24:250:24:30

A fella come walking across the green, he said, "Good morning."

0:24:300:24:33

I said, "Oh, good morning!"

0:24:330:24:35

He said, you haven't seen a goat?

0:24:350:24:38

I said no.

0:24:380:24:41

"Well," he said, "he can't be very gone very far - he's tied to a sleeper!"

0:24:410:24:44

Well, I hope you're enjoying our little festive lunch.

0:24:570:25:01

That is damn good.

0:25:010:25:03

I love Christmas in Cornwall. But I think one of the things that...

0:25:030:25:08

I've got really upset about over the last few years, has been,

0:25:080:25:11

it's become too absorbed with consumption and purchase

0:25:110:25:15

and Christmas starts with bloody television advertisers.

0:25:150:25:19

Good on you, Tim, I have to say!

0:25:190:25:21

I love to hear this. You're a serious person.

0:25:210:25:26

-But don't you feel that?

-I do.

-Some friends of mine did something that is really beautiful.

0:25:260:25:30

They all agreed as a big family group that they would spend no more than a tenner

0:25:300:25:34

and what they discovered was that normally at Christmas

0:25:340:25:37

if you just at Christmas Eve go to a shop, buy something, it means actually nothing.

0:25:370:25:42

People judge it according to how much money you spent, or whatever.

0:25:420:25:45

They found that last Christmas, everybody couldn't wait for each other's presents to be opened,

0:25:450:25:50

because each present had a story in it - the second hand book about fly fishing or whatever it was.

0:25:500:25:56

Everything that was opened had meaning.

0:25:560:25:58

It provided it with meaning.

0:25:580:26:00

And a sense that you're thinking about the person you're giving the present to.

0:26:000:26:04

Exactly. That is actually what it's supposed to be about, isn't it?

0:26:040:26:07

You're off, aren't you? You're a busy man.

0:26:110:26:13

I must fly on. Thanks for having me and great to see you.

0:26:130:26:18

Just before you go, one final word about Christmas.

0:26:180:26:22

Oh, Christmas is all about the kids, and the bonus is we get a new jumper as well, don't we?

0:26:220:26:28

Do your best, Rick.

0:26:280:26:30

Well, there you are. I hope you have enjoyed look at

0:26:310:26:35

some of things that go to make a Cornish Christmas,

0:26:350:26:37

and perhaps you will have a go at your own festive menu.

0:26:370:26:40

It doesn't have to be too elaborate, just some great local produce closer to you.

0:26:400:26:45

As for this one, everything seems to be going down very well.

0:26:450:26:50

Anyway, however you're planning on spending your festive season,

0:26:500:26:55

I wish you and everyone a very 'ansome Christmas and new year.

0:26:550:27:00

Another chance to bang the old glass. Just been a lovely lunch.

0:27:010:27:06

Thank you very much for coming.

0:27:060:27:08

-Thank you very much.

-Cheers.

0:27:080:27:10

APPLAUSE

0:27:100:27:13

So, well, anyway, I think there's only one thing to do now which is to have

0:27:150:27:20

a rousing chorus of something lovely and Christmassy from the Fishermen's Friends. Take it away.

0:27:200:27:26

# While shepherds watched their flocks by night.

0:27:260:27:32

# All seated on the ground

0:27:320:27:37

# All seated on the ground

0:27:370:27:43

# The Angel of the Lord came down

0:27:430:27:50

# And glory shone around

0:27:500:27:53

-# And glory shone around

-And glory shone around

0:27:530:27:56

-# And glory shone around

-And glory shone around

0:27:560:28:00

-# And glory shone around

-And glory shone around

0:28:000:28:06

# Fear not, said he

0:28:060:28:10

# For mighty dread

0:28:100:28:13

# Had seized their troubled minds

0:28:130:28:17

# Had seized their troubled minds

0:28:170:28:23

# Glad tidings of great joy I bring

0:28:230:28:31

# To you and all mankind

0:28:310:28:34

# To you and all mankind

0:28:340:28:36

-# To you and all mankind

-To you and all mankind

0:28:360:28:39

-# To you and all mankind

-To you and all mankind

0:28:390:28:43

-# To you and all mankind

-To you and all mankind! #

0:28:430:28:49

Brilliant. Merry Christmas, everybody!

0:28:490:28:52

Merry Christmas!

0:28:520:28:55

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:550:28:58

The people of Cornwall are proud of the fact that they do things differently, and the Christmas celebrations in this beautiful part of England have their own unique flavours and sounds. Home for a while from his world-wide travel adventures, Rick Stein has a chance to enjoy Christmas in his beloved adopted county.

In the second part of this Christmas special, Rick Stein and his chefs use local ingredients to create a Christmas banquet for all his Cornish friends, including the famous comedian Jethro, an old friend who, when they were younger, was a serious adversary on the rugby pitch.


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