I love to cook

I watched my grandmother as a child cooking fresh laverbread (Welsh seaweed) and mushrooms for breakfast whenever I stayed with her.
My grandmother and uncle Billy as I called him (my grandmother’s boyfriend) would go out on his small fishing boat, off the coast of Porthcawl in South Wales.  He would bring back fresh fish, my Nan would collect seaweed, cockles and mussels from a deserted beach called Sker Bay.  Nan would also go out in the early hours to collect fresh wild mushrooms on the sand dunes at Kenfig Pool.

My memory of the breakfasts she made will stay with me forever, the taste compares to nothing.  My favourite food when I was a youngster was, laverbread fried in bacon fat with the crispy bits left in, fresh mushrooms fried in Welsh salted butter, fresh eggs from Billy’s hens and a doorstop of fresh bread with butter.  I once asked for just mushrooms because I loved them so much, and as many as I could eat, she piled the plate so full I couldn’t eat another mushroom for at least a year after that.

Deserted beach at Sker Bay Porthcawl

My grandmother would take me to work as a youngster:

I went fishing at a local Quarry near to the Pub in North Cornelly where she was the cook, the owner’s son took me under his wing because I didn’t know anyone.  We fished with sticks, string and cheese and caught a bag full of sprats (whitebait), took them back to the pub and they didn’t go to waste.  My Nan made fish cakes from them, they were delicious and went on the pub specials the following day, nothing went to waste.

That was my grandmother, she brought up six children, didn’t have much but loved her food and ate well and the best for free.

My Auntie Nancy followed in my grandmother’s footsteps, becoming a cook herself.  When I was a teenager, I would stay at the pub she ran, The Crown Inn at Pontllanfraith, South Wales,  along with my uncle and cousins.

I learned so much from her, she had a first class reputation for her food, the pub was packed every lunchtime with locals and business people.

She taught me how to make great British pub menu recipes:

From steak and kidney pudding (one of the best things on the menu), chicken and mushroom pie, roast dinners, even the correct way to make an omelette.  She just had a knack of making everything look and taste great, everybody loved her food.
I also learned to keep cool under pressure, she ran her kitchen with real skill and worked hard to give a first class service.

When I was 26 I moved to Spain:

To escape a relationship break down (still with him 26 years later!), when I first arrived I needed to find a job quickly, I had two weeks paid accommodation and enough cash to pay for another month.
I asked around bars and restaurants about waitressing jobs, there was a bar called Outriggers in Los Cristianos and they needed a breakfast chef, well I had to give it a try, it was a cheap Full English style place and was absolutely packed during service.  The kitchen was tiny and right at the back of the building with no ventilation and just a floor standing fan to cool you down.  It wasn’t the perfect job but it paid okay and secured my life in Tenerife, and I loved it, freedom, great night life and I made friends that made whole experience memorable.  I’m really glad that I had that time in my life, it’s a time that I look back on with fondness.

I stayed in Spain for 15 years and moved from being a breakfast chef to working at, The House of The Deep Pan Pizza Italian Restaurant as assistant chef to Dan.  Dan, his wife and brother-in-law Kevin and Kevin’s wife (sorry I don’t remember names) owned the restaurant.  They were easy to work for, Dan was very patient with me and taught me the ropes in a busy professional kitchen.
The restaurant was right next door to one of the best bars in Tenerife, Georges Bar, so relaxing after work was always fun.  The restaurant eventually closed after the families sold up and went back home and I moved onto other things, but it was the perfect training ground and induction into the variety of flavours and styles of  other cultures, perfect for a budding cook and food lover.

I’m now back in the UK and have owned a food van, serving mainly American style food at The Gower Peninsula, South Wales, which was very popular.  I’ve always had a hankering for running my own website and cooking from home.  I have a degree in photography and video production, the two go hand in hand.

I’m still with Bryan, the partner I ran away from all those years ago and we are happier than ever, he came after me! and I am forever thankful because we’ve had some happy and memorable times over the 26 years we’ve been together. We also have a wonderful 18-year-old son, Michael, who fills our lives with love and joy.

My Grandmother and Auntie are never far from my thoughts. I will remember them by keeping the tradition and love of cooking alive and in the family.

Hope you enjoy the website, I will keep adding over the months and years with the hope that it helps beginners to start their journey into the pleasures of great food.
Pauline.

Leave a Reply