Sunny Seaside Days

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Sunny Seaside Days… A Bustle & Sew Publication (c) Bustle & Sew 2022

Summer Holidays…. Faced with the hubbub of harvest and the zest for holidays August passes by. The stairway of summer days has mounted through the blue and growing weather to its journey’s end in August - the month of fulfilment when the sun has seemed pinned in the sky, held there against what always seems the sudden decline of September. Yet already the shadows of the heavy apple trees lengthen noticeably along the grass and the dews lie later beyond the reach of the morning sun. Sunlight itself is less fiery among the dark tired leaves, and in the lassitude of the season many of the birds have fallen silent. Then is the familiar fagged air about the city streets as though, for a week or two, they seem to carry a multitude slightly out of step, for thousands are strangers which tread them in the casual, dawdling steps of holiday; whole thousands of workaday familiars have forsaken them for the mainline termini where the

“holiday specials” await, their engines pointing north, south, east or westwards to the sea. Holiday time upon the beaches of Britain - beaches of all kinds, from the horizonless sand-flats of Norfolk to the rosy, rock-sheltered coves of Cornwall, Devon and western Wales. Wherever the tides run within touch of human habitation there come the holiday makers to shake hands with the sea. Sometimes in crowds, sometimes in crowds, sometimes in discriminating ones and twos to those wild and lonely parts of the coast where the big Atlantic bursts, choking at the feet of the tall cliffs. Here are no donkey rides, concert parties, Punch and Judy shows - just the boiling of the surf, the wind among the dead-heads of the thrift, the calling of the kittiwakes in the spray…

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Potted Crab Potting - that is to say preserving cooked fish or meat in fat - is a very old process. This recipe was given to me by an elderly lady in south Devon (where I used to live) - crabs are plentiful there and this recipe is delicious! Serves four.

Ingredients ● 2 tblspns dry or medium sherry ● Juice and zest of an orange (reserve 1 teaspoon of the zest to use in the clarified butter). ● 150 g softened butter ● 225 g dressed crab (white and dark meat) ● ¼ tspn ground ginger

Method ● Bring the sherry, orange zest and juice to the boil and boil until reduced to one tablespoon of liquid. Remove from the heat, cool and beat with the softened butter until creamy. ● Combine with the crab meat and ginger. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and spoon into ramekins. Seal with orange clarified butter made as follows: ● Bring the reserved orange zest, the butter and water slowly to the boil. Remove from heat, allow to cool a little and gently spoon over the crab mixture in the ramekins.

● Salt and pepper to taste

● Chill in the fridge for at least two hours. Serve with hot toast or melba toast.

● 50 g butter

● Potted crab keeps well for 2 or 3 days in the fridge.

● 2 tblspns water

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Loving the Beach It’s official - time spent on the beach really is good for you - as if we didn’t know that already! Standing on the shoreline, breathing in the pure sea air has the power to reduce stress, improve happiness levels and bring back happy memories of childhood holidays. Sea air is full of negative ions which help the body absorb oxygen, boosting our well-being and promoting deep sleep whilst the rhythmic sound of surf breaking on the beach helps lull our anxious, overactive brains into a deeply relaxed state. Beach combing is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, and you may end up with a bucket full of treasures too. Shells, sea glass and even fossils can be found along the coast, whilst rock pooling is a fascinating pastime for adults and children alike.

Rock pools form in the intertidal zone - that part of the beach between high and low tides, that’s covered by the sea twice a day. You will also discover sand, mud and areas of rock without pools. It’s a very different world to our own, a stepping stone to the wider ocean. When you’re exploring rock pools use your hands rather than a net as you’ll cause less damage to the environment and the creatures that live in it. In the UK at least, very few rock pool inhabitants are likely to bite or sting you. Make sure that you’re at the beach at low tide, preferably during spring tides when more rocks are mud are exposed. The ideal time to arrive is about two hours before the tide is fully out. Approach rock pools carefully, avoiding casting

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your shadow on the water - this will frighten the creatures living there and you’ll be much less likely to spot anything of interest. Rock pooling is fun and easy for the whole family, but do be aware of the potential dangers. Recently uncovered rocks can be slippery and treacherous, whilst wet seaweed can be as slippery as ice. Rock pools are often deeper than they look. And remember to apply your sun cream in this exposed habitat as the water will reflect the sun back at you. Remember too, to keep an eye on the tide - rock pools are tidal which means that sooner or later the tide will come in and cover them again. Don’t get cut off - rock pooling can be very absorbing.

Fish and Chips

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There’s always a queue at the best fish and chip shops - the sign is on the door - “frying tonight” and you can smell the warm paper, sharp vinegary tang and almost feel the crisp salty batter on your lips as you wait in line for your own order. You lick your lips and wait for your own hot, paper-wrapped parcel. The best place to sit and eat your prize is the harbour wall, perching on the stones still warm from the day’s sun and looking out across the sea as you finally peel back the paper to reveal your delicious supper. The batter should still be crisp, and the fish should come away in thick white flakes. But what are the origins of this great British dish? The potato is thought to have been brought to England from the New World in the 17th century by Sir Walter Raleigh although it is believed that the French invented the fried potato chip. Both Lancashire and London stake a claim to being the first to invent this famous meal – chips were a cheap, staple food of the industrial north whilst fried fish was introduced in London’s East End. Fish and chip shops were originally small family businesses, often run from the front room of the house and were commonplace by the late 19th century. Through the latter part of the 19th century and well into the 20th century, the fish and chip trade expanded greatly to satisfy the needs of the growing industrial population of Great Britain. The development of the steam trawler brought fish from all over the North Atlantic, Iceland and Greenland and the steam railways

allowed easy and fast distribution of the fish around the country. Fish and chips became so essential to the diet of the ordinary man and woman that one shop in Bradford had to employ a doorman to control the queue at busy times during 1931. The Territorial Army prepared for battle on fish and chips provided in special catering tents erected at training camps in the 1930’s. The fish and chip shop was invaluable in supplementing the family’s weekly diet in the Second World War, as fish and chips were among the few foods not to be rationed. Queues were often hours long when the word went round that the chip shop had fish. But, unbelievable though it may seem, the fish and chip shop is in decline - the slide began, whether coincidentally or not, at around the time we were prevented from wrapping our cod and chips in yesterday’s newspaper. It’s probably unreasonable to blame health regulations for everything, but certainly for me at least, some of the magic was lost when, from 1985, my chips no longer came wrapped in newsprint. Still, fish and chips is the quintessential holiday food - and it’s fun to make your own at home too! Why not try different varieties of fish you don’t usually find in your local chippie?

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Serves 4



For the fish: ● 4 thick cod or haddock fillets, skinned ● Flour ● Salt and pepper to taste ● Best quality beef dripping or lard or sunflower oil for frying

For the batter: ● 110 g plain flour ● ½ teaspoon salt ● 1 tblspn olive oil ● 1 egg, separated ● About 150 ml beer or water

For the chips: ● 900 g potatoes (Maris Piper are good for this) cut into even sized chips ● Lard or oil for deep frying ● Salt, pepper and vinegar to taste

● Sieve the flour for the batter with the salt into a bowl, make a well in the centre and gradually beat in the olive oil, egg yolk and beer or water to make a smooth batter that will coat the back of a wooden spoon. Let it rest at room temperature for about half an hour. ● Heat the fat in a deep-fat fryer with a basket to 180C, 350F. Test the lard or oil with a square of bread - it should cook crisp and golden immediately. ● Dust the fish fillets with seasoned flour. Whip the egg white until stiff and gently fold it into the batter. Dip the flour-covered fillets in the batter and fry until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper. Don’t overload the fryer as the oil will lose temperature and your fish will be soggy. It’s better to do the frying in batches and keep the drained cooked fillets warm in the oven while you finish the rest. ● Dry the chips well on kitchen paper. ● Fry them in batches for about 10 minutes until soft, making sure not to overload the fryer. Drain well. ● Increase the fryer eat to 190C, 375F. Salt the chips and return in batches to the fryer for a few minutes until crisp and golden. ● Drain again on kitchen paper and add salt and vinegar (if liked) ● Serve the fish and chips. Mushy peas are a good accompaniment (traditionally served in the north of England) and tartare sauce or tomato ketchup taste good too.

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Cornish Pasties Pasties are made all over Cornwall - and other parts of the West Country too. Originally they were portable meals, taken to work by the tin miners and farm labourers and had vegetables and meat at one end and a sweet filling for pudding at the other.


● Milk or egg to glaze

Method ● 225 g short crust pastry (make your own or purchase ready made)

● Preheat your oven to 200C, 400F, Gas 6.

● 200 g potato, peeled and chopped

● Mix the vegetables and use to cover half of each piece of pastry. Season the meat well and spread it over the vegetables.

● 100 g turnip, peeled and chopped ● 60 g onion, peeled and chopped ● 250 - 300 g steak chuck or skirt finely chopped (don’t use minced beef)

● Roll out the pastry to 5 mm thick and cut two 25 cm rounds.

● Wet the edges of the pastry, fold each piece in half and crimp the edges. Brush with milk or beaten egg to glaze. ● Bake on a lightly creased tray or on baking paper, starting in a hot oven. After 15 minutes lower the heat to 180C, 350F, Gas 4 and cook for another 45 minutes.

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Time and Tide …. I’m sure almost everyone is familiar with the saying “Time and tide wait for no man” and you may be familiar with the old English tale of King Canute proving to his nobles that nobody, not even the seemingly all-powerful king, could hold back the waters once the tide had turned. I lived by the sea for most of my life and so knowing what the tide was doing was a very important part of my daily routine, determining whether walks on the beach, picnics and rock-pooling would be a possible activity that day - and if so when the tide would be low enough for us to pack everything into large canvas bags and set off down to the beach. If you’re visiting the seaside on holiday it’s equally important to know what the tide is doing as, even if all you want to do is visit the beach to build sand castles, if it’s high tide when you arrive there may be no sand showing and you may have a car full of disappointed youngsters into the bargain. And here also a note of caution - if all is well and you’re happily settled in for an afternoon, or even a whole day, at the beach, do please bear in

mind that it’s always safest to go swimming or out in a boat when the tide is coming in. So if the worst happens you’ll be washed back to land again, not further out to sea. When you arrive at your holiday destination it’s always a great idea to pick up a local tide table - most small shops and post offices seem to stock them in holiday areas. You will find that there are two low and two high tides (usually) in every 24 hour period. Each tide averages just over six hours, so high and low tides will be at slightly (50 mins approx) times each day. Tides are caused by the gravitational forces of both the sun and the moon acting upon the mass of sea water. The strongest pull is when the sun, Earth and moon are in alignment at both full and new moons. This causes spring tides that are extra high and extra low. Conversely, neap tides when the level of water varies by much less, occur when the moon is waxing or waning. The strongest tides of all occur at the spring and autumn equinoxes in March and September each year. We used

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to love to visit our favourite beach at these times, to go right out to the water’s edge where there were all sorts of discoveries to make, as well as seeing “our” beach quite differently as rocks and other features were uncovered by the unusually low water. Do be sure, however, to keep an eye on the tides when you’re exploring on the beach. The tides around the British coastline are strong and can advance very rapidly indeed - in some places an incoming tide can come in faster than you can escape it. A seemingly small depression in the sand can turn into an impassable deep pool once the tide comes in, and you don’t want to find yourself stuck on the wrong side! Exploring the seashore is safest on a falling tide, so your route back to land is always secure. Do be sure to make a note of the timing of low tide and keep checking the time and sea levels from time to time - then enjoy all the fun of adventuring on the beach!

Scones with Jam and Cream

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There is an ongoing debate here in England about the correct way to arrange your jam and cream on your scone - should it be jam first, or the other way around? That depends on whether you’re in Devon or Cornwall, but whichever you choose, these scones with homemade jam using the first of the season’s blackberries are delicious!

Scones Butter gives the best flavour to scones, but you can use margarine instead. Don’t over handle the mixture to ensure your scones remain light and fluffy. (Makes about 12)

Ingredients ● 225 g self-raising flour ● 2 teaspoons baking powder ● 50 g butter ● 25 g caster sugar ● 1 egg

Blackberry and Apple Jam Use hedgerow or supermarket blackberries and we like to use a mixture of cooking and eating apples as this gives more texture to the jam. (Makes about 8 jars)


● Milk

Method ● Preheat your oven to 220C, 425F, Gas 7 ● Measure the flour and baking powder into a bowl, then add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. ● Break the egg into a measuring jug, then make up to 150 ml with the milk. Stir the egg and milk into the flour (you may not need it all) and mix to a soft but not sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured work surface, knead lightly, then roll out to a thickness of 1 cm. ● Cut into rounds with a 5 cm cutter and place them on greased baking trays. Brush the top with a little extra milk, or any milk and egg left in the jug and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until they are a pale golden brown. ● Cool on a wire rack and eat as fresh as possible.

● 1.3 kg sugar

Method ● Pick over and wash the blackberries, put them in a pan with 150 ml of water and simmer slowly until soft - sieve to remove the pips. ● Peel, core and slice the apples and add the remaining 150 ml of water. ● Simmer slowly until soft and make into a pulp with a spoon or potato masher.

● 300 ml water

● Add the blackberry puree and sugar, bring to the boil and boil rapidly, stirring frequently, until setting point is reached. Test for a set by cooling a little of the mixture on a cold plate - if a skin forms, it is ready.

● 350 g apples

● Put into warm, sterilised jars and cover.

● 900 g blackberries

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Why do we love to stitch? After all you can purchase mass-produced textile items at many high streets stores for very little cost. These days handmade means something special - a unique item created with love, a gift from the heart, not one that can be bought. Hand stitching is also a great way to personalise an item, or perhaps to breathe new life into an old favourite that has seen better days. Bustle & Sew offers my own unique patterns, designed to appeal to all skill levels and bring out all your natural creativity. And you can keep up to date with all the latest news from Somerset where I live as well as the newest patterns and much more over on the Bustle & Sew Blog.


If you love stitching, then you’re sure to enjoy my Bustle & Sew Magazine. It’s delivered by email to your in-box each month and is crammed full of ideas, projects, features, articles, patterns and more to inspire you. Your family and friends will soon be queuing up to take delivery of your new Bustle & Sew creations. To learn more please visit the Bustle & Sew website.

Helen xx Please respect my copyright and do not copy and distribute this pattern for any purpose. You are welcome to sell items you personally have made using this pattern provided you credit Bustle & Sew with the design. You are not licensed to go into mass production. Thank you. © Bustle & Sew 2022

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