Digital cookbook released

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A digital cookbook showcasing Devon and Cornwall’s unique food and drink culture has been released, just weeks after the idea was first conceived.

The Comfort Cookbook is raising money for Hospitality Action, a national charity helping workers in the sector with one-off payments as part of a Covid-19 Emergency Fund.

Everyone involved in the project has given their time and expertise free of charge; it can be accessed by making a donation via the project’s JustGiving page – with no minimum donation ‘Comfort’ is available to all in this time of financial hardship.

The Comfort Cookbook features achievable recipes from chefs including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Emily Scott, Nathan Outlaw, Paul Ainsworth, Elly Wentworth, Mitch Tonks and Michael Caines, all of which are designed to provide inspiration and sustenance in these difficult times, with local produce taking centre-stage.

The book has been compiled in a matter of weeks by a core team of three working from their respective homes in different parts of the region; co-editors are Lucy Studley of Cornwall Content and Gabriella Dyson of The Maverick Guide, with food styling, photography and design by Ali Green.

Studley said: “Born out of a crisis, ‘Comfort’ has come to epitomise everything that is cherished and special about Devon and Cornwall’s food and drink culture, and how much people value the independent businesses at the heart of it.”

She added: “The hardest thing has been knowing when to stop! With so much culinary talent around us we could have gone on forever.”

The digital download includes a directory of local suppliers selling their wares online to help readers source ingredients.

There are also guides to foraging, growing your own fruit and vegetables and making the most of store cupboard spices.

Home mixologists are in for a treat, with cocktail and mocktail recipes from local experts; there are also indulgent tips for matching desserts with sweet wines, and insider guides to Devon and Cornwall’s burgeoning craft beer and cider scenes.

Gabriella Dyson of The Maverick Guide – the publisher of The Comfort Cookbook – said: “We wanted to provide a combination of practical, achievable home cooking ideas and aspirational content designed to fill that gap we are all enduring right now as we are unable to visit our favourite neighbourhood restaurants.”

Creating the book was a huge challenge in these unprecedented times.

Food stylist and photographer Ali Green cooked many of the recipes herself after sourcing the ingredients from small local stores as part of her weekly shops.

Green said: “When these two talented women approached me to be a part of this cookbook I didn’t hesitate. I couldn’t think of a better way to bring comfort to everyone than through their stomachs!”

She added: “I have cooked and shot the majority of these dishes – a challenging and nourishing experience that has given me great joy, a rounder belly, and a welcome distraction from the current struggles we are all facing.”

Mark Lewis, chief executive of Hospitality Action, said: “A wonderful resource has been created out of adversity, which showcases the rich and diverse food culture of Devon and Cornwall. We are hugely grateful to the team behind this project and all the chefs who have supported them in this wonderful initiative.”

To access The Comfort Cookbook, please go to the JustGiving page and make a small donation before downloading your copy.