Jane and Myles Lamberth’s “The Surf Café Cookbook” is crammed full of the couple’s two passions “a love of food and outdoor living”.
The Lamberth’s met eight years ago working in a hotel in Newquay, Cornwall in the south west England. They spent the subsequent summers working by the sea in Cornwall and surfing and the winders running chalets in ski resorts in the Alps. Eventually they decided they needed to settle down and in March 2010 their moved to the west of Ireland and opened Shells Café.
Their books is about their experiences, the lifestyle and their love of food.
Strandhill, in County Sligo, is where Shells Café and their new life was born. They had simple goals to exceed expectations and never disappoint, Shells soon developed a cult following as a flourishing eatery serving delicious, wholesome natural foods.
Among the first visitors to the café was Louise Searle, editor of SurfGirl Magazine based in Newquay. She saw that Jane and Myles had something very special going on at Shells and decided it would make a great story.
“I was stunned by the beauty of the coastline and hugely impressed by the fantastic food served at Shells. I thought their food adventures could be shared.”
Six months later the book project was underway and local photographer Mike Searle was dispatched to Ireland to photograph the pictures. The book brings the reader into the world of Shells and the outdoor lifestyle Jane and Myles now enjoy on the beautiful Atlantic coast.
Jane explains “We use fresh, organic, seasonal produce – vegetables straight from the soil, and fish from the bountiful Atlantic.”
Recipes in the book include Clonakilty Black Pudding and Crispy Bacon Breakfast Salad, Guinness And Beef Stew, Vegetable Gratin With Durrus Cheese, West Coast Chowder, Thai Pumpkin Broth, Surfer’s Salad, Sardine Bruschetta, Apple And Donegal Rapeseed Oil Cake, and Irish Whiskey Pudding.
The book also takes a look at the culture and history of the beautiful Strandhill area, as well as the multitude of exciting outdoor activities on offer and an assortment of interesting characters from the region are profiled, among them artists, musicians, fishermen, craftsmen, and surfers.
Here’s a sample of some of the delicious recipes in the book:
Apple and Donegal Rapeseed Oil Cake
200g (1 cup) golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
150ml (2⁄3 cup) Donegal rapeseed oil
350g (13⁄4 cup) flour
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (bread soda)
1 teaspoon baking powder
110g (2⁄3 cup) golden raisins or sultanas
80g (2⁄3 cup) walnuts, crushed
Pinch of salt
Grated zest of a lemon
2 cooking apples, grated
• Preheat the oven 180°C/350°F.
• Place the sultanas or raisins in a bowl of hot water and allow to soak for 15 minutes to plump up.
• Whisk the sugar and eggs until doubled in volume and pale cream in colour. Warm the rapeseed oil and slowly whisk in with the eggs and sugar.
• Sieve the flour, cinnamon, ginger, bread soda, salt and baking powder together. Then gradually add in to the oil and sugar mixture. Fold in well.
• Drain the raisins or sultanas from the water and add to the mixture along with the lemon zest, crushed walnuts and grated apples. Mix thoroughly. The mixture should be stiff at this stage.
• Butter and flour a 20cm spring form cake tin and spoon in the mixture.
• Bake for about 45 minutes until a skewer placed in the middle comes
• Carefully remove the cake from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
120g (1⁄2 cup) cream cheese
2 tablespoons honey
• Whisk together and spread evenly onto the cake once it has cooled.
Big Phat Veggie Breakfast Pie
This is a great family and friends feeder. Make it the night before everyone arrives for a perfect breakfast picnic or for post-surf munchies. Serve cold or hot, whichever you prefer. This dish is healthy, tasty and packed full of veggies.
Serves 8 to 10
8 to 10 hard boiled eggs, peeled
8 boiled baby potatoes, sliced
4 portobello mushrooms sliced and cooked
300g (10 cups or about 5 large
handfulls) baby spinach
4 basil leaves, roughly ripped
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, sliced
150g (11⁄3 cups) grated mature cheddar
3 eggs and 100ml (1.6 pts) milk, blended to form an egg wash mix
Salt and pepper
Drizzle of herb oil (see page 109) or olive oil
Knob of butter
350g (3 cups) plain flour
100g (3⁄4 cup) wholemeal flour
300g (11⁄3 cups) cold cubed butter
40ml (3 tbsp) cold water
Pinch of salt
Start off with the pastry:
• In a large bowl mix the flour, salt and butter between your fingers to form little crumbs.
• Crack the eggs into a cup and add a splash of water. Whisk up with a fork and pour the mixture into the bowl.
• Bring the pastry together with a gentle kneading. Turn out onto a floured surface. Shape into a flat ball.
• Do not overwork the pastry and leave little blobs of butter as this adds texture to the pastry.
• Wrap in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
• Once pastry is cold, roll it out on a floured surface to 5mm in even thickness. Lift and place into a standard 9 inch springform cake tin. Work the pastry with your fingers to build a nice wall to your giant pie.
• The pie base is now ready!
• Layer the bottom with the sliced cooked boiled potatoes.
• Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F
• Fry the garlic and onions in a pan with a knob of butter, season and add the baby spinach. Allow to cook for about two minutes, until wilted.
• Layer the spinach mix on top of the potatoes.
• Place the eggs all around the pie. Keep them whole, as this looks amazing when you slice up the pie. The aim is to have one whole egg per slice.
• Between the eggs build up the pie with the red peppers, sliced cooked mushrooms, tomato, basil leaves and drizzles of the herb oil.
• Pack everything down between the layers and season.
• Pour in the egg wash mix and knock the pie around so the mix seeps to the bottom.
• Cook in a warm oven at 180°C/350°F for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the pie comes out clean. Make sure there’s no runny egg mix; if there is let the pie cook a bit longer.
• About 10 minutes from the end of cooking, sprinkle the grated cheddar on top for a golden melted cheese! Yum.
• Serve with side salad and homemade red onion marmalade (see page 88).