Month: December 2016

Medlar Jelly Recipe

In the first of our collaborations with the Lost Garden of Heligan, we share Head Chef, Guy Owen’s Medlar Jelly Recipe.  Totally simple and totally delicious.


750g Medlars (It is important to note that the medlars should be well ‘bletted’ before use)
1 small granny smith apple
½ lemon juice and zest
1 lime zest
1 small shot of sherry (25ml)
280g jam sugar/castor sugar


img-20161207-wa0006Wash the outside of the medlar, then cut them into quarters and place into a medium sized pan. Literally cut them in quarters and put them in, no need to skin them or anything.

Add sherry, lemon, lime, apple (skin and core as well). Then cover with enough water so the medlar just start to float, but only just.

Put them onto a high heat and bring to the boil. Once they start to boil, reduce to a gentle simmer and leave to cook for around 1 hour.

img-20161207-wa0005In a colander, lay some cheese cloth down so it covers the whole colander, P
lace it over a deep bowl, a
nd pour all of the contents into it. It is very important at this point that you just leave it all alone. Do not try and push the fruit to extract all of the juices as you will end up with a cloudy jelly, and you don’t want that.

Leave everything in the fridge to strain off overnight.

The following morning take the strained liquid. You should have around 500ml of liquid.

img-20161207-wa0007Place liquid and sugar into a pan and bring to the boil. Take a
sugar thermometer and heat the liquid until it reaches 104 degree Celsius. To double check to make sure the jelly is at the right temperature, take a very cold plate (maybe put it in the freezer or fridge for a few minutes), pour a little spoon of jelly on the plate, allow to cool and if it is ‘set’, or ripples when you touch it, it is ready.

Following that it is a simple case of transferring to clean jam jars for storage. Keep in the fridge for up to 10 months.

img-20161208-wa0000At The Idle Rocks, our diversity with this amazing, very under used product is endless. This year we will be introducing dandelion to the jelly. We will take the yellow flowers, pick the individual petals and add them to the hot jelly mixture and then leaving them to set in the jelly, which not only offers great colour, but also a little tiny peppery kick.


img-20161208-wa0001-copyThe best use for medlar jelly is with cheese or as part of a ploughman’s lunch.

Read more about Medlar: The Forgotten Fruit

The Forgotten Fruit: Medlar

As you may have read, we have teamed up with The Lost Gardens of Heligan, home to the Finest Productive Gardens in Britain, to celebrate Great Cornish food. This collaboration sees the best horticultural practises and heritage produce being showcased by our chef, in the heart of Cornwall. This November marked the start of this relationship and our Head Chef, Guy Owen, is using the much understated and almost forgotten, medlar fruit.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0014.JPGHeligan’s hardy ornamental Medlar Nottingham, sits proudly espaliered in the historical Melon Yard and boasts beautiful white blooms in late spring and early summer.  Its fruit is characteristically tart if eaten raw, but makes pleasantly flavoured jellies and can be used in desserts once fully ripe.

Medlar whose name originates in France, were a favourite of both the Greeks and the Romans but it was the Elizabethans and Victorians who were its biggest admirers. They aren’t the most attractive of fruit and owing to the fact the fruits should be allowed to rot before eating, it is no wonder why they fell out of favour among consumers.

Medlars tolerate most soils and do well as long as the soil is fertile and well drained. Their leaves and flowers are easily damaged in strong winds so a warm sheltered spot in full sun or partial shade is best; the Melon Yard a perfect example. Heligan’s medlar gets a good pruning in the winter, which helps to maintain a healthy shape and encourages good flowering and fruiting for the following season.


Medlars are commonly ready to pick in late October to early November, when they are about 1 to 2 inches in diameter; it should be noted that at this stage they are not fully ripe or palatable. The fruit can be left on the tree well into autumn to develop flavour and benefits from the first frost to aid ripening. Cornwall’s mild climate cannot guarantee the fruit receive this, therefore traditionally Heligan’s medlar are stored eye downwards in trays in their Apple Store.

The fruit’s flesh softens, turns brown and sweetens usually about two or three weeks after harvesting; this fermentation process is called bletting and was coined by the botanist John Lindley in 1848, around the time that the medlar was at the precipice of its popularity within society. Bletting allows the cell walls of the fruit to break down, converting starch into sugars and decreasing the acid and tannins, simply put- making a hard, bitter fruit into a sweet one.


Heligan’s medlar were harvested on the 7th November and spent the next two weeks in the ‘bletting stage’ in their Apple Store, before making their way over to our Head Chef, Guy Owen, who has now transformed them into a delicious jelly to accompany our locally sourced cheeses on our cheese board.  See Guy’s recipe for Medlar Jelly here.

#12Chefs12Nights Charity Dinner

We are delighted to announce that Head Chef, Guy Owen will be taking part in #12chefs12nights on Monday 30th January 2017 at Oliver’s Restaurant in Falmouth.

15326372_2180261678865988_4197769530891010505_n-2From January to March 2017, Oliver’s Restaurant in Falmouth is hosting #12Chefs12Nights, where amazing chefs from across the UK will be taking over the kitchens at Oliver’s, cooking their favourite dishes and helping raise money for two charities that are close to their hearts: Macmillan Cancer Support and industry charity Hospitality Action.

Over 12 weeks, their head chef Ken will be joined by 12 talented chefs, including our very own, Guy Owen, preparing tasting menus that are a foodie’s dream, utilising the finest fresh local produce, kindly provided by our events’ main sponsors Westcountry and Origin.

Ken and Guy will be supported by students from the hospitality departments at Cornwall College, Penwith College and Truro College, giving them a great opportunity to gain some valuable kitchen and front-of-house experience.

Guy Owen’s Menu
Leek textures
Bubble and squeak (contains pork)
Roast hake | spelt | brassica | clams | caviar
Honey-glazed duck | endive | blood orange | coriander
Coffee and donuts
Custard slice | mulled raspberry sorbet
Coffee | petit fours

Menu |£50 per person
Wine flight |£25 per person

Take a look at their website for more details and to book your place.

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