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Marguerite patten perfect preserves to make at home hastings’ historic Fishing Fleet Foraging with Fergus drennan plus:

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COMMENT

CONTENTS

first issue of Eat WSussex, a new the quarterly magazine ELCOME TO

celebrating local produce, seasonal eating and sustainable production methods. The issues of food miles and carbon footprints are rarely far from the headlines lately and we all know we have to do our bit to tackle climate change. At Eat Sussex we believe that we can all make a contribution to reducing our impact by buying local produce. But it’s not all just about global warming. By supporting our local producers we believe we are supporting our local community.When we spend our money in a farm shop or a neighbourhood butchers or bakers, we are making an investment in our local economy.And we know that food loses nutrients the longer it is kept, so local food is fresher and better for you too. We’ve become accustomed to being able to buy the same fruit and vegetables all year around, but when you try a supermarketbought strawberry in January, asparagus in November or Brussels sprouts in June, what is most memorable about the experience is disappointment. It looks like the real thing but when you bite it, there’s just no taste. Good food is worth waiting for.We think that English asparagus, and strawberries, and even sprouts are all the better for the time they take to appear, and much more precious because of their limited season. When you eat with the seasons, just as you’re on the point of boredom, it’s all change and something else comes along that you’ve been hankering for all year. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t eat any imported food.There are wonderful things like coffee, bananas and chocolate, that we can’t grow in Sussex and I wouldn’t for the world suggest you should give them up. Just as the South East of England has its own regional delights unique to this area, so do other parts of the world, and we should enjoy them all when we come across them. Eat Sussex is about enjoying food, not selfdenial. But we are lucky in Sussex to have a wealth of wonderful produce, quite literally on our doorsteps, and we think that’s something worth shouting about! I hope you enjoy our first issue. Please feel free to drop me a line at tony@eatsussex. co.uk and tell me what you think and what you’d like to see in these pages in future. I’d really love to hear from you.

24 Feature: The Battles for Hastings

Michael Harwood uncovers a tale of skulduggery on the high seas.

30 Recipes: Perfect Preserves Dominic McCartan serves up some sticky delights.

36 The Gastro-Gnome’s Guide to Lewes 03 Comment

A few words from the editor.

05 News

All the news you can eat.

09 In my own words

Yoav Cohen of The Home Cakery.

10 Column: Meet the Meat by Gilly Smith Gilly sets out on a family quest to rediscover real food.

12 Interview: Marguerite Patten: The First Lady of British Food Tony Leonard meets the doyenne of British cookery at her Brighton home.

16 In my own words

Hilary Cole of Riverford Organics.

18 Recipes: In Season

Six pages of spectacular, seasonal recipes from Stephen Adams.

Our intrepid reporter takes a culinary tour of this historic, county town.

41 In my own words

Glenn Lester at Terre a Terre.

43 Drink Sussex: The Cider House Rules Eat Sussex goes behind the scenes at The National Cider & Perry Collection.

47 Six books to change the way you eat

From fast food to foraging we pick out six books that will make you think about your food.

48 Diary

Comprehensive listings of farmers markets, festivals and special events all through autumn.

50 Column: The Wild Side by Fergus Drennan Fergus the Forager on the why, when, where, what of wild food.

recipe Finder Autumn Lamb Hash Cake with Fried Egg, Minted Brown Sauce & Caramelised Apple ............................22 Blackberry & Apple Jam........................32 Blackberry Relish ....................................31 Butternut Squash & Courgette Stir Fry with Salsa Verde ........................21

Apple & Bacon Mash and Sweet Chestnut & Cider Sauce ........................21 Slow Roast Figs in Wild Berry & Honey Sauce with Basil & Vanilla Mascarpone ............................22 Spiced Pumpkin & Nettle Soup............18

Damson Jam ..........................................32

Spicy Tomato & Apple Chutney ...........30

Fillet of Sea Bass with Potato & Nut Salad and Watercress Pesto.......20

Sussex Brie Bruschetta with Beetroot & Rocket Salsa........................1

Mulled Cider ..........................................44 Roast Guinea fowl with Wild Mushrooms & Wilted Spinach ..............1

Sweet Mustard Pickle ............................31

Rosehip & Apple Jelly ...........................33

Toffee Apple Crumble with a Nutty Crust ..................................23

Slow Roast Belly of Pork with

Tomato Ketchup ....................................34

TO SUBSCRIBE Tony Leonard, Editor

To make sure you always get your copy of Eat Sussex Magazine, why not take out a subscription. For just £12.50 for six issues, you can have Eat Sussex delivered straight to your door. Just send a cheque, payable to Eat Media Ltd, to Eat Media, 13 Middle St, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 6RT.

Autumn 2007

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News

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

Infinity expanded

Albert Camus

In-season now Vegetables Artichoke Aubergine Beetroot Butternut Squash Carrots Celariac Kale Leeks Rocket Swede Watercress

Fruit Apples Blackberries Damsons Elderberries Figs Pears Plums Tomatoes

Meat Duck Goose Grouse Guinea fowl Lamb Venison Wood Pigeon

Fish Brill Crab Halibut Hake Lobster Monkfish Oysters Sea bass Turbot

Infinity’s first retail premises in 1971

No, it’s not about new breakthroughs in quantum physics, but the news that Brighton-based cooperative, Infinity Foods, has

The search is on for the best of Sussex The search is on again for the best local food and drink producers, shops, pubs, restaurants and markets in Sussex as the public are invited to vote for their favourites in The Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2007/08. The awards were launched at the South of England Show, Ardingly, and are based on public voting. Everyone in Sussex is valid for one vote per category, so organisers are calling on food and drink lovers to vote for their favourites at www.sussexfoodawards.com. “There’s a food revolution going on – and Sussex farmers, retailers, hoteliers, chefs and more and more shoppers are playing a major role,” said Clive Beddall OBE, Chairman of the Judges, who lives in Felpham, West Sussex. “It’s all part of an increasing desire to know the origins and traceability of the products that we buy. As a result, we are shopping for locally produced products in ever increasing quantities and that’s bringing a much-needed boost to the local economy as well as doing much to dispel the popular perception that Britain is a nation of junk food eaters.” “We have created these awards to celebrate the wonderful producers in our county and promote the Sussex quality of food and drink,” said Paula Seager, Awards Director. “Our goal is to reduce food miles and help people in Sussex to find and enjoy the best food and drink available on our doorstep.” This is the second year of the awards which attracted over 4,000 votes last year.

E AT M E D I A LT D

ADVERTISING SALES

13 MIDDLE STREET, BRIGHTON,

Emma Andrews

EAST SUSSEX. BN1 1AL

Tel: +44 (0)1273 579485 Email: emma@eatsussex.co.uk

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expanded its retail operation over the summer to take on the adjoining premises on the corner of North Road and

EDITORIAL Tony Leonard

www.eat-media.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)1273 302968

www.eatsussex.co.uk

Email: tony@eatsussex.co.uk

PRODUCTION Dean Cook Tel: +44 (0)1273 467579 Email: dean@eatsussex.co.uk P U B L I S H E R Dominic McCartan Tel: +44 (0)1273 302968 Email: dominic@eatsussex.co.uk P R I N T E D B Y Warners Midlands

Gardner Street. Regular customers are aware that the shop and bakery has always tended to get very busy so the increase will help accommodate the high volume of customers and allow them to shop in more comfort. The floor space has been increased from around 1,800sq ft to nearly 3,000sq ft so the extra space should certainly ease overcrowding The cooperative, which recently won wins The Observer award for Ethical Retailing, is also considering other locations, with a view to opening more stores in the South

Feeling the heat in Ovingdean This year, as part of the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival, the Fiery Food Festival will be held at a bigger venue in Ovingdean on September 15th and 16th. More than any other food, chillies have a huge following, spawning international websites and chat forums and the everincreasing challenge to find the hottest chillies. Hot and spicy food is now the UK’s favourite food and the South is fast becoming famous for growing an incredible range of chillies. The cult Fiery Food Festival is now in its 3rd year and it grows from strength to strength. The Fiery Foods Festival attracts hot and spicy foods and products from all over the globe as well as the huge local industry. From chilli sauces, curries, salsa, Thai and Indian, Caribbean and local dishes, there are hot foods galore to enjoy and get your kicks. © 2007 Eat Media Limited. All rights reserved. Eat Sussex Magazine is edited, designed, and published by Eat Media Limited. No part of Eat Sussex Magazine may be reproduced, transmitted, stored electronically, distributed, or copied, in whole or part without the prior written consent of the publisher. A reprint service is available. Opinions expressed in this journal do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or Eat Sussex Magazine or its publisher, Eat Media Limited.

Autumn 2007




News

sussex on the red carpet at the food and drink ‘Oscars’

the english wine Festival comes to glynde

FOLLOWING THE success of the inaugural festival last year, the Glynde Food and Drink Festival returns on September 22nd and 23rd and will be joined by the 33rd English Wine Festival.

The Bookham family celebrate success

N

O FEWER than fine food and drink.

15 A Taste of Sussex members have won prestigious gold Great Taste Awards. Organized by the Guild of Fine Food Retailers, t he Great Taste Awards is the world’s most prestigious and authoritative food competition — the ‘Oscars’ of the world of

Now in its 14th year, the Great Taste Awards has gained widespread recognition among the country’s retailers and consumers and is seen as the benchmark for fine food in the UK. All entries undergo rigorous tests by a specially selected panel of experts, including leading chefs, buyers, food

critics and deli owners. “The Great Taste Awards is more than just a competition,” said Hilary Knight, Co-ordinator of A Taste of Sussex. “It’s independent recognition of all the hard work, skill and passion that goes into making truly exceptional products. The right to use the Great Taste Award logo is

hard fought, something that local consumers should recognise.” Notable local successes include Bookham Cheese and Pasta from Twineham, Haywards Heath, who won four awards. Battle Bakehouse, High Weald Dairy, Coco Loco and Boathouse Organic Farmshop all took gold.

happy Birthday suma – 30 years of successful cooperation

6

High street multiples are all getting busy setting out their organic stalls in pursuit of a share of what is increasingly seen as a highly lucrative market. In their quest to win the hearts and minds of consumers they are keen to broadcast their green and ethical credentials. Suma Wholefoods, a workers’ cooperative, is this year celebrating thirty years of organic and wholefood distribution, which it is justly proud to have achieved while maintaining ethical trading practices and ‘environment-first’ principles from day one. And so while the high street multiples throw huge sums of money into going green - ironically generating vast quantities of CO2 in the process – Suma carries on quietly selling its fairly traded goods, its organic produce, its cruelty-free toiletries, from its low-energy lit warehouse, with no army of greedy shareholders to placate and no big boss to defer to. And the driver who delivered your order drove the fork-lift that unloaded the produce before she reconciled the accounts for the day and turned up next morning to cook everyone’s lunch. Just an alternative way of doing things, really.

Autumn 2007

Organisers promise even more exhibitors, more talks and demonstrations plus, of course, a terrific selection of English wines from across the country. Due to the space limitations at The English Wine Centre in Alfriston, the wine festival’s originator Christopher Ann has been looking for a larger venue for the event and is delighted that, as from this year, the festival will take place in the grounds of Glynde Place in Glynde, as part of the Glynde Food and Drink Festival. Also from this summer, Francis Brand, who runs and organises the Glynde Food and Drink Festival, takes ownership of the English Wine Festival. “This is a perfect marriage!” said Mr Ann. “After the success of the inaugural Glynde Food and Drink Festival, this year’s event will be considerably larger and our wine festival will sit very happily alongside, offering an even better day out to visitors.”

If you have some news for this magazine then get in touch now on 01273 302968 or email the editor tony@eatsussex.co.uk


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Autumn 2007


In my own words

Yoav Cohen Proprietor, The Home Cakery

I

studied ceramics in

Jerusalem, but things happen. I met Abigail in Israel, followed her to England and it all developed from there. Now all my creative effort goes into baking and I’m very happy with that. Funnily enough I’m using my ceramic stand to decorate the cakes. Hopefully soon I’ll open a unique bakery/café that will combine ceramics and the cakes to compliment each other. The rose and orange cheesecake is my pride. We call it ‘Lebanese Cheesecake’. It’s a flavour I grew up with. Even though my family came from Europe to Israel,Arab flavours are really incorporated

into Israeli culture. We use rose petals, rose water, orange blossom water and then pistachios on the top. It’s something new but it’s got the essence of the Middle East. Making that opened my mind to using traditional English ingredients. Roses are very English. I started thinking there are all these beautiful traditional English things but you don’t see many natural ingredients in the catalogues that supply caterers and bakers. Elderflower, elderberries, violet, sloes,why not? Liquorice as well. So my goal now is to incorporate these traditional English country flavours into recipes.And I love the idea that you can picture where it comes from. You can take a spoonful and you’re there, on the

South Downs. We use local ingredients, from butter to apples, plums, rhubarb and other fruits. It’s more costly for us but we prefer it. I like the notion that we know where it’s from. I feel more connected to the people we supply and the people I buy from. Because we do farmers’ markets, I know quite a lot of the producers in this area. It’s almost like a club. You go to the market, you see the people and you buy from them as well. There are between three and four people working here. It’s still a small production. When my youngest son joined the family, my wife left the business for a while and she’s going to

join us again next year. Fran, my mother-in-law is part of it as well. She’s absolutely invaluable. It’s a family business but we do like to incorporate other people too. Playing with recipes and making new combinations of flavours is great fun but I love the contact with my customers. I’m the delivery person as well. I like to go out and associate with the staff of the premises as well as the owners. I’ve worked in cafes, I’ve worked as a chef and I love it. It feels like the right environment for me and getting involved with my customers makes the experience of baking much more enjoyable. n The Home Cakery: 01273 414 166

Autumn 2007




Meet the meat

Gilly Smith: Meet the meat I

grew up in a little market

10

town in Wales, notable only at that time for an irritating little ditty called “Taking a trip to Abergavenny”, recorded by Shannon in the 50s and Marty Wilde in the 60s. OK, so it was also home to The Walnut Tree, where even back in the 70s you couldn’t get a table without booking six months in advance. But the idea that Abergavenny has become a foodie celebrity in its own right, with articles in OM Food Monthly and famous chefs heading down there for the Food Festival is more of a headspin to me than that Shannon track ever was. It’s true that Abergavenny has changed. I tried to buy a dozen eggs at the local supermarket a couple of weeks ago to go next to my lava bread tossed in oats and a couple of rashers. The following week I discovered

Autumn 2007

that the Columbian Blacktail eggs I’d settled for had won an award at The Observer Food Awards. It wouldn’t have happened in my day. Back in the mid 70s, my school holidays were filled with food. When my brother and I weren’t packing a picnic and setting off for a day’s strawberry picking, I’d head into town with my mother with a shopping list for that day’s lunch and dinner. She asked us what we wanted to eat while we were still tucking into breakfast, it was the daily ritual, and a day without planning a feast would have been a very odd day indeed. First stop was the butcher where we’d stand in a long queue eyeing up the fresh meat on offer and reading up about their awardwinning sausages until it was our turn. “Morning Mrs Smith,” said the butcher.“I’ve got some lovely oxtail for you today.”And the two of them would flirt over a recipe

for braised oxtail, and he’d give our dog a bone. Then it was on to Vin Sullivan, the fishmonger in the high street who, so my parents kept telling me, provided Harrods Food Hall with fish. We’d buy the plaice for lunch that day, and lava bread for breakfast. I thought it was impossibly exotic, with three sides of counters proudly displaying lobsters, crabs, cockles and mussels, and whole salmon from the River Usk, jostling for space with locally-caught rabbits and pheasants. Abergavenny Market, on Tuesdays and Fridays, was the highlight of the week; nothing else happened in Abergavenny in the 1970s. We would buy the vegetables for half the week there. If I was lucky, I might even manage to persuade my mother to buy me a cheesecloth shirt or a garish kaftan. My father would arrive home

to the theme for Radio 4’s PM Programme, often with whatever he’d managed to mow down on the way back from Brecon. Invariably it was a pheasant, which had been ambling out of the Gliffaes Estate across the A40, and he would take it into the shed where it would hang until ripe enough to pluck and casserole. On a very cold December night, he might pick up a hare on his way home, and hang it in the shed for a fortnight. He would be sure to tell me in great detail how a hare could only be hung when the last of the flies had gone for the winter. Just one could crawl inside and lay sufficient eggs to eat it from the inside out. He would eventually gut the rabbit, taking care not to break its rib cage and collect the blood for the gravy. Such an earthy attitude to food fired my imagination (and made me turn vegetarian for a few barren years), but when he tells me now about the tripe he and my mother would cook, the sweet milky smell floods back into my senses, along with the leeks and peppered mash that they would serve with it. “You can’t buy tripe these days,” he tells me.“Or tongue. Bloody health and safety rules. I was only thinking today that I should go up to Mr George in Talgarth – he runs the abattoir up there – and see if I can get some from him. I should take you and the kids there next time you’re down.” The idea of my taking the girls to an abattoir is laughable.Thirty years on from those Abergavenny days, my ten year old has just announced that she’s converting to vegetarianism after watching Jamie Oliver slaughtering a lamb


Meet the meat

“My children have, at best, a voyeur’s relationship with real food” on TV. And my seven year old is considering her position. Their attitude to my stories of cooking rabbit with Jamie’s mentor, Gennaro Contaldo, reflected their differing stance on food. Elly blanched when I told her how we had chopped the head in two to look at the brains, cheeks and tiny tongue that Gennaro swore tasted so sweet with garlic and red wine, while LouLou took it all in silently – particularly the bit about how it’s important to keep the head on a rabbit at market to differentiate it from a cat. Skinned, they look identical. After a few moments, she was on the phone to Grandpa to ask if he had ever eaten rabbit. It’s a regular call; she and her elder sister have always been fascinated by Grandpa’s stories of eating snails, frogs’ legs, brains on toast, heart and tongue jelly, and even if she knows she’s unlikely to eat it herself she knows there will be a good story in it. He didn’t disappoint, with tales of how his mother would go to Cardiff Market and bring home a basket full of rabbit heads for the family which she cooked in onions and served up with mashed potatoes. My children have, at best, a voyeur’s relationship with real food. I write about it and we cook a lot and talk about it, but we buy from supermarkets, and trips to local farms have been more for the climbing frames and tractor rides than to meet the pigs who become their packed lunches a couple of months later. I’ve become so used to doing the weekly shop silently, alone in the crowd of other foodies who

have sold their soul to Sainsbury’s when the day became too crammed, that I’ve forgotten the banter that comes with popping into the local butcher or baker, and to be honest, I’m frightened of going back there. My husband comes from a good Jewish family, but of the two traditions, mine’s the Ashkenazi whose ancestors thrived on dumplings. Just thinking of the Sephardic feasts that might have been laid upon my mishpacha table had I chosen a swarthier Jew, makes me faint with hunger. Instead I get to eat a lot of salmon. But give Jed a market in the Mediterranean, and he becomes fluent in the global language of the shrug and the smile and loves nothing better than finding the ingredients for that night’s meal. With such promise in the man, it’s time to introduce him to Sussex. For the sake of the children, and to see if anyone other than celebrity chefs can find the time, the confidence and the produce to make it worth their while shopping locally, I shall let go of Uncle Sainsbury’s hand.Venturing deep into the forests and farms of Sussex, to the weekend farmers’ markets and daily open markets, we shall transform our shopping habits, measuring air miles and car miles, time and patience. And we’ll watch our ten- and seven-year-old girls mature into… what? Carnivores or vegetarians? Foodies or food haters? Will they cook more or less? Will their children shop like I did or like I do? And will our experiment be an inspiration, or confirmation of the power of the supermarket? n

“My father would arrive home with whatever he’d managed to mow down on the way back from Brecon” Autumn 2007

11


interview


interview

Marguerite patten: the First lady of British Food She’s written over 170 cookery books, has been a TV star for over 60 years and, as she approaches her 92nd birthday, she has no intentions of hanging up her apron. Tony Leonard meets the irrepressible Marguerite Patten O.B.E. Words by Tony Leonard. Photography by Paul Cassidy.

I

F E VER t h e r e

we r e testament to the positive effects of good food and hard work, Marguerite Patten is it. Approaching her 92nd birthday with gusto, the doyenne of British cookery is showing no signs of taking it easy just yet. She’s recently launched the School Food Trust’s ‘Let’s Get Cooking’ campaign with friend Prue Leith and, as the front person for Lion Eggs, later the week I meet her she’ll be popping up everywhere responding to the Advertising Standards Association’s ban on re-runs of the classic ‘Go to work on an egg’ ads. As an author, Marguerite Patten has written over 170 books on cookery, ratcheting up sales in excess of 17 million worldwide. She was the UK’s first TV cook and as a broadcaster her career spans over 60 years. As a former advisor at the Ministry of Food, she is affectionately known to the generation who lived through WWII as ‘the queen of ration book cuisine’ and to millions of others from her TV and radio shows as ‘the doyenne of British cookery’. She has received four lifetime achievement awards and in 1991 was “lucky enough to get the O.B.E.”, as she very modestly puts it. Marguerite Patten greets us at her Brighton home, immaculately

coiffured and elegantly attired in a green silk suit. She sometimes uses sticks now after a terrifying sounding accident at Brighton Station which she refers to with characteristic humour. “My late husband would tell you I’m a ‘faller overer’ but as a great friend said,‘Marguerite, that’s much too dull, you’re a fallen woman!’ So you can take your choice.” In her ninth decade, she looks a picture of health. The voice is unmistakable. Regal and reassuring, she talks with the crystal clear diction and effortless projection of an actress of her generation, which isn’t surprising really, as her first ambition was to tread the boards. The young Marguerite Brown won a place at RADA but couldn’t afford to take it up

“Are you going to be a perhaps not very successful actress or a very successful home economist?” although she later performed for a season in repertory theatre as Marguerite Eve. “I only went back to being a home economist

because I was going to be out of work for a while,” she explains. “And it didn’t seem right to me to be out of work with a widowed mother.” It was the skills acquired in rep that won her her first big break. Used to rehearsing without props, she impressed Frigidaire with an improvised demonstration and despite her young age and lack of experience, landed a very lucrative job, much to her surprise. She still saw her future as a Shakespearian actress, and intended to give up the job as soon as the rep company started up again but “by the time I’d had a few months wandering around Britain, in great luxury I might say, I realised, ‘You’ve got to choose, dear. What are you going to do? Are you going to be a perhaps not very successful actress or a very successful home economist?’ Home economy won.” Turning her back on the stage wasn’t without its compensations. “Until the war was imminent I had a wonderful, wonderful career doing the most luxurious sort of cooking: making lovely ice creams and sorbets, gorgeous mousse and things like that, full of lashings of cream.Then suddenly war was imminent and I came down to earth with a bang!” With the war came new challenges. Marguerite became an advisor at the Ministry of Food,

not the advisor to the Ministry of Food as has sometimes been written.“It was not just me,” she exclaims, keen to put the record straight. “There were dozens of me all over Britain. I shiver when interviewers say ‘Marguerite Patten, who was the advisor to the Ministry of Food’ – absolute nonsense! I was one of the many food advisors in the Ministry of

“I get exasperated with the experts of today who wag fingers. You don’t get people to do things like that, do you?” Food. I always said we were the frontline troops of the Ministry of Food. We were the people who met the public.” Marguerite credits the ministry with laying the foundations for her style of cookery teaching, which she believes is just as relevant today. “No condescension. No wagging fingers! This is why I get

Autumn 2007

13


interview

14

exasperated with the experts of today who wag fingers.You don’t get people to do things like that, do you?You’ve got to lure them, you’ve got to tempt them.” During the war, Marguerite met and married the love of her life, Charles (‘Bob’) Alfred Patten, an RAF officer and Lancaster bomber gunner. After the birth of their child, Judith, she returned to the Ministry of Food and, after a stint in the East End, was given her own bureau at Harrods. “I gave eleven demonstrations a week. That wasn’t easy because our rations for demonstrations were terribly meagre, which is why every Friday afternoon I did yeast cookery because breads and buns and things like that don’t need much.” It was during her years at Harrods that Marguerite first started to learn about, if not yet encounter, the foreign flavours that are now part of British cooking. “London was a centre for refugees and, you see, people came to my demonstrations and said ‘Thank you so much, have you ever had a Romanian recipe?’ ‘Have you ever had a recipe from Austria?’ Even the ex-king of Yugoslavia said ‘I will send you a recipe.’ Which he never did. But I had the most extraordinary mixture of people at my demonstrations. So by the time I’d been at Harrods a few years I had a wonderful library of recipes. Of course I couldn’t make them because I didn’t have the ingredients at the time, but they were there for later.” After the war, Marguerite’s association with Har rods continued as the bureau dropped the connection to the Ministry of Food, and the store published her first three books. “What people don’t realise is that paper was like gold during the war so I couldn’t hand out bits of paper for people to write down recipes and they couldn’t bring bits of paper to jot them down. So I was asked to do a book with all those things I’d been demonstrating all those years.

Autumn 2007

“The idea of any of us being called a ‘celebrity’ in those days was nonsense” “I did three books for Harrods, two on general cookery and one on pressure cookers, because I launched the first pressure cooker. I’m the launcher of a lot of things including fish fingers and frozen peas.” she confesses with a smile. “My claim to fame!” Around that time, she also started broadcasting ‘On the

Kitchen Front’ and started on ‘Woman’s Hour’ in 1946. In 1947, she became the first TV cook, but not the first chef, as she’s keen to emphasise. That honour belongs to Philip Harben, who Marguerite remembers fondly.“He was a great chef and we worked together quite a lot. He said to me one day, it must

“I’m the launcher of a lot of things including fish fingers and frozen peas. My claim to fame!”

have been in 1947, ‘Marguerite, we must get who we are straight. Is it alright with you if I claim to be the first television chef and you are the first television cook?’ And wherever possible I insist on being called that because I’ve lived a very long life but poor Philip was very unwell and died far too early.” “He was a very, very brilliant chef and we enjoyed working together but the idea of any of us being called a ‘celebrity’ in those days was nonsense,” she laughs at the very idea as she recalls those early programmes. “We were there to do a job. We hadn’t time for fancy frills. We had an objective. We were there to help people through the rationing.” A number of Marguerite’s books have covered food in a historical context. As she documents in A Century of British Cooking, it was during the post war years that the culinary horizons of the British people started to expand. “An enormous number of our young people had served abroad,” she explains, “and they tasted food cooked in that country, so they came back to Britain with a desire to know more about it. It was Sheridan Morley who told me that pizzas came here when a soldier, serving in Naples, tasted a pizza and said ‘Right, when I get back to Britain, I’m going to open a pizza restaurant.’That may be just a myth but it illustrates what happened. And of course by the end of the 50s we were travelling abroad, and so many people were coming back with a taste for French food, Italian, Greek, etc.” She welcomes the cosmopolitan nature of our food culture but when I ask her how she would characterise British cooking at the beginning of the 21st Century, her assessment is decidedly mixed. “I think that in some respects we are a rather divided nation. Not the rich and the poor, nor the north and the south, but the people who cook and the people who don’t. And


interview

Emily Rimmer, Ross Burden and Marguerite Patten at the launch of Let’s Get Cooking. Photo: School Food Trust

that I think is extremely difficult. I think that just as it was difficult at the start of rationing, that is really where the hard work lies. I think people like Jamie Oliver have started to tackle it. I told him what he’s doing for school meals is fine but children go home.They have weekends.They have school holidays. So you’ve got to extend what you’re doing to bring in families and I think he is doing that more now.” Despite her own love of cooking, Marguerite has always identified with people who don’t share her passion. “If I had a pound for all the letters I’ve had over the years saying ‘I hate cooking, what shall I do?’” She always recommends taking a few cookery lessons because even if someone continues to hate cooking afterwards, at least they will be able to do it in the shortest possible time. She’s famously said that she’d rather a woman use convenience foods rather than suffer a nervous breakdown, “but augment the

convenience food with fresh foods. That’s so simple isn’t it? While you’ve got your horrible little packet of something heating you can be cooking broccoli, you can be cooking fresh things or making a salad to go with it.” Marguer ite’s a staunch supporter of local food, not least because of its freshness. Why was the population previously so healthy on a rationed diet, she asks, “because they ate fresh food. The vegetables you bought may have been limited, no peppers or anything like that, but they were fresh. You were probably eating them within 24 or 48 hours of them being picked or dug out of the ground. Freshness, I think is one of the important things. Organic is fine and I don’t want to cast doubts on it but I do wonder about the organic stuff we get from abroad. I think organic, locally grown is excellent but I’d be prepared to have non-organic if it was beautifully fresh.”

She’s clearly angry that the downgrading of home economics over recent years has had a devastating effect on children’s diets and she’s clear where the blame lies. “It’s no good these idiot politicians saying that we’re going to start cooking in schools now. They took cooking out of schools. There are no home economics rooms in most schools, they’ve been used for other things and there are no trained home economics teachers now because they’ve gone and done other things.That is the great problem.” Of course, Marguerite Patten has never been one to sit on the sidelines when there’s work to be done.When Prue Leith, chair of the School Food Trust decided to ask the lottery for funding for a UK-wide network of after-school cookery clubs for all members of the family, she naturally sought Marguerite’s help in launching it. “When she asked me to be at the launch I asked, ‘am I going to be the

mother of this?’ ‘Oh no, I’m the mother,’ she said. ‘You’re the grandmother.’ I thought I was just going to be there to say what a good idea it was. Oh, I might of known Prue. Two days later: ‘We’ve had a long discussion Marguerite and we’re going to have children there who are being taught to cook, just like at the cookery clubs.’Yes.‘And we thought, Marguerite, you’re just the person to do the teaching.’ So I was working like mad that morning. Three children – and they were splendid and of course I loved it.” Since our conversation, the Lottery Fund has awarded ‘Let’s Get Cooking’ a grant of £20 million, so Marguerite’s likely to be roped into quite a few more teaching jobs in the near future. Not that the thought bothers her, of course. She loves keeping busy. “That’s why I don’t retire,” she explains with a smile.“Everything I do I love doing!” n

Autumn 2007

15


In my own words

Hilary Cole Franchisee, Riverford Organics

M

y previous career was

16

as an IT consultant. When I had my youngest son I was looking for a source of organic food, but the only reliable source was the dreaded supermarket. At the same time, I was looking for a change of career that did not involve lots of travelling and nights away from home. When I looked into franchising, I saw Riverford and knew from the problems I had sourcing organic food in this area that there was a gap in the local market I could fill. I star ted my Riverford franchise in March this year. I cover from Newhaven to Pett along the coast and inland as far north as Halland, Hailsham,

Autumn 2007

Herstmonceux and Battle. Each franchise in the network is allocated a territory. We run the business in our own way but follow the Riverford guidelines.All produce is supplied by Riverford and then delivered within a day of

There is no such thing as a typical day for me. As a ‘oneman-band’, I do everything. I have days in the office, marketing days where I pound the streets delivering leaflets door-to-door or going to local shows and markets.

“All produce is delivered within a day of being packed and, in most cases, within 48 hours of being picked.” being packed and, in most cases, within 48 hours of being picked. This all means that Riverford has been able to reach a larger part of the country without becoming centralised or losing touch with local issues and events.

Then there are delivery days when I am up at 5am and travel to Hickstead to load up the van with the day’s deliveries and then set off on my round, dropping off boxes and picking up empties. The best thing about what I do

is meeting lots of people who all care about the food they eat. I have all kinds of customers from busy young mums to elderly people who appreciate not having to carry the heavy stuff home. Gone are the days when those interested in eating organic were seen as slightly unconventional hippies. We want everyone to share our enthusiasm for fresh, organic produce. New customers are often surprised at how affordable organic can be, especially if you eat seasonally. By growing the veg ourselves and delivering it direct we can keep costs down — as well as keeping everything fresh. n Riverford Organics: (www.riverford.co.uk) 0845 600 2311


In my own words

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In season

In season

Recipes by Stephen Adams. Photography by Jean-Luc Brouard.

Autumn is a time of plenty in the seasonal kitchen. Summer garden fruits give way to wild berries and the apples that have been ripening on the trees are at last ready for picking. It’s the time for rich, creamy soups and hearty dishes to keep us warm as the shortening days turn chilly.

Spiced Pumpkin & Nettle Soup

Everyone knows about making nettle soup in the spring but did you know that stinging nettles have a second spurt of growth in the autumn? Be sure to use tender, young leaves and remember your gloves when picking them! Serves four.

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1 small pumpkin 1 large white onion 1 clove garlic Water or vegetable stock Big pinch cumin, nutmeg and paprika Salt & pepper Oil for frying For the nettle pesto: Bunch young stinging nettles Clove garlic, crushed Olive oil 1 tbsp capers For the toasted pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds, cleaned Olive oil Salt

Autumn 2007

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 8 / 230°C / 450°F. Peel and roughly dice the onion and pumpkin, remembering to set aside the seeds for toasting later, and crush the garlic. Fry the onions and garlic in a large pan until they soften. Add the pumpkin, spices, salt and pepper and just cover with water or vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Meanwhile, place the leaves and tips of the nettles on a baking tray and put in a very hot oven for a few minutes until they are very wilted (a bit toasted is fine but you mustn’t burn them). Blend the nettle leaves and tips with the garlic and a splash of olive oil in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper, add the capers and give them a quick whiz for a few seconds. Blend the pumpkin soup and strain through a sieve. Adjust seasoning to taste. To serve, swirl the nettle pesto through the soup and sprinkle with a little paprika. To roast the pumpkin seeds, remove the stringy bits and toss in a little olive oil and salt. Spread on a baking tray and roast in a very low oven, turning occasionally, for 15-30 minutes or until golden. For Aga cooking:

Simmer the soup in the Simmering Oven. Wilt the leaves at the top of the Roasting Oven. Roast the pumpkin seeds on the lowest set of runners in the Roasting Oven for 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally.


In season

Sussex Brie Bruschetta with Beetroot & Rocket Salsa This posh version of cheese on toast makes a delicious lunch or supper in itself but you can also make smaller portions and serve as a starter. I’ve used Sussex Brie here but any really good soft cheese will work just as well. Serves two. 4-6 slices crusty white bread 300g (11oz) Sussex Brie 1 large red onion 1 clove garlic 300g (11oz) fresh or cooked beetroot 300g (11oz) tomatoes 50g (2oz) fresh rocket or other salad leaves Squeeze lemon juice Squeeze lime juice Extra virgin olive oil Salt & pepper

Roast Guinea Fowl with Wild Mushrooms & Wilted Watercress Guinea fowl is delicious cooked this way but a chicken can also be used in this recipe. Serves two generously. 1 guinea fowl 150g (5oz) wild mushrooms of your choice Bunch watercress 2 cloves garlic, crushed 50g (2oz) butter 1 lemon 200ml (7 fl oz) chicken stock Salt & pepper

If you’re using fresh beetroot, cover it with water and a pinch of salt, bring to the boil and then simmer for a good couple of hours until tender. Chill and then roughly dice. To peel the tomatoes, make an X on their bottoms with a sharp knife and drop them in boiling hot water for about 20 seconds and then drop them in very cold water. You should be able to then peel the skin off with your fingers. Dice the tomato, including the seeds and add a pinch of salt. Finely chop the garlic and red onion and shred the baby spinach and add to the tomato along with the beetroot. Add a squeeze of lemon, a squeeze of lime, a big splash of olive oil and some coarsely ground black

pepper and stir. Take the slices of bread, drizzle with olive oil and toast both sides under the grill. Put some slices of cheese on the toast and pop back under the grill to melt. Spoon the salsa over the top of the bruschetta and serve. For Aga cooking:

To simmer fresh beetroot, bring to the boil then place in the Simmering Oven for two hours, until tender. Toast the bread in the Aga toaster. Put the cheese on the toast and place at the top of the Roasting Oven to melt.

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180°C / 356°F. Remove the legs from the guinea fowl and fry them for a little colour, then place them in a roasting tin in the oven. Rub a little butter on the skin of the fowl, season with salt and pepper, and brown it in the pan. Place the crown in the oven with the legs, breast side down. Check the guinea fowl after half an hour although it may need 45 minutes, depending on size, but do keep checking regularly. The breasts should be firm to the touch and the juices should run clear when pricked with a knife at the thickest part of the breast. When it is properly cooked, leave it rest for at least ten minutes. Prepare the mushrooms by brushing off any dirt and chopping roughly. Any tough bits should be discarded. Fry the mushrooms with the garlic and a little oil and put to

one side. While the bird is resting deglaze the roasting tin by putting it on a hob and adding some of the stock while whisking to remove the caramelised juices from the bottom of the tin. Pour into the pan with the mushrooms and garlic, add the butter and when it melts, whisk in the rest of the stock. Simmer gently until the sauce thickens. When you’re ready to serve, add the roughly chopped watercress and a squeeze of lemon juice. Remove the breasts from the bird. Serve the mushrooms and cress on crushed potato, with a breast and leg and the sauce spooned over the top, with one more squeeze of lemon to finish. For Aga cooking:

Cook in the Roasting Oven with the cold plain shelf above or cook in the Baking Oven.

Autumn 2007

19


In season

Fillet of Sea Bass with Potato & Nut Salad and Watercress Pesto

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When it comes to really fresh fish, the best recipes are always the simplest.When buying the sea bass, ask your fishmonger to fillet it, de-scale it and remove the pin bones. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5 / the Parmesan and season. Serves two. 190째C / 375째F. A dusting of flour on the skin To make the potato and nut salad, of the sea bass helps to stop it 2 fillets sea bass wash the potatoes and boil them in sticking and gives it a lovely salty water until just cooked. Drain golden brown colour. Season with Plain flour for dusting and leave to cool. salt and pepper. Salt & pepper Crush the cooked potatoes with Heat an ovenproof pan on the Squeeze lemon juice For the potato & nut salad: the back of a fork and add the hob, add a little oil and sear the garlic, onion, pepper and cashew fillets, skin-side down for two to 250g (9oz) potatoes nuts. Mix in the sour cream, a three minutes until the skin is 50g (2oz) cashew nuts, lightly toasted generous squeeze of lemon and nicely coloured. Turn the fillets 1 clove garlic, crushed season with salt and pepper. and place the pan into the oven 50ml (2fl oz) sour cream To make the pesto, put a clove for two to three minutes until 1 small red onion, finely chopped of garlic, the watercress and a they are cooked through. 1 red pepper, finely chopped big splash of olive oil in a food Serve the sea bass on top of a Squeeze lemon juice For the watercress pesto: processor and blend to a smooth portion of potato and nut salad paste. Add the pine kernels and with a squeeze of lemon and a Bunch of watercress blend for just a second or two so drizzle of watercress pesto. 50g (2oz) pine kernels, lightly toasted they just start to break up. Some 1 clove garlic of them may still be whole but For Aga cooking: 50g (2 oz) Parmesan that just gives a better texture. Put Place the ovenproof pan in the Olive oil the pesto into a bowl and grate in Roasting Oven to finish cooking. Salt & pepper

Autumn 2007


In season

Butternut sQuash & cOurgette stir Fry with salsa verde This quick and tasty vegetarian stir fry makes a delicious lunch that’s ready in minutes. The salsa verde can always be made in advance if you’re in a hurry.

ServeS four. ½ 2 2 1 1 1 1 8 1 1 2 tbsp 2 tbsp 2 tbsp 50ml (2fl oz)

butternut squash courgettes cloves garlic red onion red pepper yellow pepper green pepper baby corn, sliced in half, lengthways red chilli, deseeded green chilli, deseeded soy sauce red wine vinegar brown sugar tomato juice Pinch of cumin Salt & pepper Oil for frying

For the Salsa Verde: 1 bunch basil 1 bunch parsley ½ bunch mint leaves 1-tbsp capers 1 clove garlic 1 tbsp olive oil Salt & pepper

Peel the butternut squash and remove the seeds. Using a vegetable peeler, slice the squash and courgettes into ribbons and set to one side. Slice the peppers and onions and finely chop the chillies and garlic. Heat the oil in a large pan until very hot, then add the onions, garlic, chillies, peppers and baby corn and fry for half a minute or so. Add the cumin, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and tomato juice and stir well. When the vegetables are just softened but still have some bite,

add the squash and courgette, roll together and remove from the heat. Leave for a couple of minutes so the squash and courgettes can soak up all the flavour. For the salsa verde, blend the garlic, basil, parsley and mint together in a food processor. Add the capers and olive oil and blitz for just a few seconds more. Season to taste. Serve the stir fry with rice and a generous spoonful of salsa verde. For Aga cooking:

Use the Aga wok to stir fry on the Boiling Plate.

slOw rOast Belly pOrk with apple & BacOn Mash and sweet chestnut & cider sauce Belly pork is a hugely underrated cut. It’s full of flavour and very economical to buy. Slow roasting keeps the meat sweet and succulent while the fat melts away and the skin turns to golden crackling. ServeS four. 750g (1lb 10oz) belly pork 800g (1lb 12oz) potatoes 1 Bramley cooking apple, peeled, cored and diced 6 rashers free range bacon 200g (7oz) cooked, chopped sweet chestnuts (remember to poke holes in their shells before roasting) 1 tbsp chopped parsley 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 large onion ½ glass cider 300ml (10fl oz) double cream knob of butter Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 2 / 150°C / 300°F. Score the skin of the belly with a knife to make a diamond pattern and rub in some salt. Put in the oven, skin side down, for a good three hours. When the belly’s been in for a few hours, peel and boil the potatoes in slightly salted water (you’ll be adding bacon so you don’t want to add much salt at this stage), until tender. Turn over the belly and turn the oven right up to high. Roughly chop the onion and cut the bacon into strips. Fry the onion, bacon and apple until golden. Mash the potatoes with a knob of butter and mix in the bacon, onion and apple. Fry the garlic and chopped

sweet chestnuts and add a big splash of cider. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and stir in the cream. Simmer gently for a few minutes then add the chopped parsley. The belly should be pretty crispy by now. Take it out, cut into strips and serve on the mash with the sauce on top. If you have trouble slicing the meat try removing the crackling and breaking it up separately and serving it on the side. For Aga cooking:

Cook the pork first in the Roasting Oven for 30 minutes, then transfer to the Simmering Oven for three hours or more. Return to the top of the Roasting Oven to finish.

Autumn 2007

21


In season

Autumn Lamb Hash Cake with Fried Egg, Minted Brown Sauce & Caramelised Apple The recipe below uses raw lamb but, like cottage pie, it can be just as easily be adapted into a great way of using up any leftover roast. Just put it through the mincer and use a drop of stock in the sauce. Serves four to six. 500g (1lb 2oz) minced lamb 700g (1lb 9oz) potatoes (peeled & cut into similar sized pieces) 5-7 free range eggs 1 clove garlic (roughly chopped) Sprig fresh mint 2-3 apples Sprig parsley Pinch cumin Pinch sugar Daddies Brown Sauce Salt & pepper

Slow Roast Figs in Wild Berry and Honey Sauce with Basil & Vanilla Mascarpone Figs should be eaten as soon after picking as possible to catch them at their sweetest. Never pick or buy unripe figs as they do not ripen after they are removed from the tree.

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Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180°C / 356°F. Peel and boil the potatoes in salted water until they are just under-cooked and still firm. Strain and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, grate the par-cooked potatoes into a large bowl and add one whole egg, some roughly chopped parsley, a pinch of cumin and lots of ground black pepper. In a hot pan, fry the lamb with the garlic until it’s nicely brown. Strain, but keep the juice to one side. Mix the lamb with the grated potatoes and form the mixture into four to six round cakes, about one and a half inches thick. Cut the apples in half through the middle and remove the core. Fry them, flesh-side down, in a hot pan with a little oil until, they are sealed and coloured. Turn

Autumn 2007

them out onto a baking tray and sprinkle with sugar. Return the pan to the heat and fry the hash cakes until they are golden brown on both sides and turn out onto the tray with the apples. Place the tray in the oven for twenty minutes, or until the apples are soft. Meanwhile, heat the cooking juice from the lamb, add some roughly chopped mint and a big squeeze of brown sauce, stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Finally, fry the remaining eggs however you like them and serve on top of the hash cakes alongside the apple halves. For Aga cooking:

Cook in the Baking Oven or low down in the Roasting Oven with the cold plain shelf above, on the second set of runners.

Serves two. 6 figs 300g (11oz) mixed berries (use whatever you can find) 2 tbsp clear honey 200g (7oz) Mascarpone Sprig basil Fresh vanilla pod

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 1 / 140°C / 275°F. Heat the berries and honey in a small pan until they just start to boil, then remove from the heat. Cut a cross in the top of each fig, as you would a jacket potato and gently squeeze the four sides to push open the top. Put them in an ovenproof flat bowl and pour the berry and honey sauce over the top. Roast for around twenty minutes until the figs are cooked.

Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. Add these to the Mascarpone along with the roughly chopped basil. Serve the figs in a bowl with a spoonful of the Mascarpone in the top of each. For Aga cooking:

Cook in the Simmering Oven for about 30 minutes.


In season

tOFFee apple cruMBle with a nutty crust This really is the ultimate in comfort food.Toffee and apples always make a great pairing and the crunchy almond topping is the perfect foil to the smooth silky toffee. ServeS four. 4 100g (4oz) 250g (9oz) 100g (4oz) 150g (5oz) 50g (2oz) 200ml (7fl oz)

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180째C / 356째F. First make the toffee by heating 100g (4oz) of the butter with the dark brown sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar has fully dissolved and the mixture is bubbling away nicely. Stir in half of the cream, bring back to the boil and then remove from the heat. For the crumble mix, soften the rest of the butter, add the flour, ground almonds and castor sugar and mix it all together thoroughly. Peel, core and roughly dice the apples and place them in a hot pan. Lightly fry until they just start to go soft around the edges but not so much that they turn to puree.

large Bramley apples dark brown sugar butter (unsalted preferably) ground almonds plain flour golden castor sugar double cream

Place the apples in a baking tray and spoon the toffee sauce over them. Sprinkle the crumble mix all over the top and put straight into the preheated oven for about twenty minutes or until the crust is crunchy and golden. Serve piping hot with the rest of the cream.

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For Aga cooking:

Cook in the centre of the Baking Oven or cook in the Roasting Oven on the grid shelf placed on the floor of the oven with the cold plain shelf on the second set of runners.

Autumn 2007


Feature

the Battles for hastings Fearsome pirates, brave seafarers, smugglers, dandies, silk, brandy and all-out class war, Michael Harwood uncovers the astonishing history of the Hastings fishing fleet. Words by Michael Harwood. Photography by Paul Cassidy.

O

N THE day that I visited Hastings, as I

headed from the station down through the town centre and towards the far eastern end of The Stade, I couldn’t help but feel that the further along the waterfront I walked the further back in time I seemed to travel. The short walk through the bustling town centre, past the gaudy amusement arcades and souvenir shops, eventually took me to the heart of the old fishing community where time really does seem to have stood still. Any attempt to tell the story of this remarkable town should probably take us back to the first half of the 18th Century, when Hastings was beginning

24

Autumn 2007

to develop as a health and leisure destination.The last two centuries have seen the town play host to pirates, smugglers, feudal families and generations of hard working fishermen.The town, however, had been around for many hundreds of years before this rapid change in circumstances and a fishing community had existed here since the Middle Ages. Hastings is one of the Cinque Ports: Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover, and Sandwich. The name is Norman French for ‘five ports’ and describes a historic group of coastal towns in Kent and Sussex, at the furthest eastern end of the English Channel, where the crossing to the


Feature

continent is at its narrowest. As these five ports were the main access points for trade between France and England, it is around these towns that smuggling and piracy blossomed from the early 1700s. Foreign goods were subject to heavy taxes if brought into the country through legal means and so it is probably not surprising that some fishermen, who lived a hard and uncertain existence, would run the risk of being caught smuggling. The rewards for smuggling silk, tobacco, brandy and tea were potentially much higher than those from any other illicit activity and the risks involved were obviously considered worth taking, as the

“The Ruxley Crew were a vicious and ruthless band that showed no mercy to their victims” practice was rife for the next century or so. One of the most infamous gangs of Hastings’ pirates was The Ruxley Crew, and their exploits gave rise to the nickname for Hastings fishermen – ‘Chopbacks’. The Ruxley Crew were a vicious and ruthless band that showed no mercy to their victims. They would wait for stormy weather and then, under the pretence of offering assistance to struggling vessels, would board their victims’

boats and force the crew below deck before robbing anything that wasn’t nailed down. On August 15th 1768, The Ruxley Crew were successfully repelled by the crew of a Dutch vessel off the coast of Beachy Head, and one of the crew was captured and strung up by the neck from the main beam by the Dutch captain. In a vicious and grisly revenge attack,The Ruxley Crew returned later to maim all of the Dutch crew, singling out

the captain for special attention. They knocked him to the deck and severed his spine with an axe – hence the name ‘Chopbacks’. Revenge was short-lived, however. The offenders were eventually hunted down, tried for murder and executed at the Tower Of London in October 1769. The mid-18th Century also witnessed the beginnings of the industrial revolution, a consequence of which was a high number of people possessed of a disposable income. These people, with time and money to burn, flocked to the Sussex and Kent coasts following the trail of the London aristocracy and in particular the royal court.

Autumn 2007

25


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Autumn 2007

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Feature

Whilst Brighton and Margate may have been the smart London set’s first ports of call, it wasn’t long before people discovered nearby Hastings, with its promise of health-giving spa treatments.At this time, not only was bathing in the sea believed to be beneficial to health, but also drinking sea water was said to be nothing short of miraculous for one’s well being. One can’t help wondering how many glasses of brine had to be consumed before coming to the conclusion that a quick dip in the sea might be enough of a tonic. As has so often been the case, there was a darker side to this rapid and largely unfettered development and, by the late 1700s, the fishing community had grown resentful of the rich interlopers. As the landed class enjoyed the profits of what we would now call tourism, the fishing community stayed more or less in poverty, unchanged by the radical changes taking place right on its doorstep. In the absence of more sophisticated pleasures, the fishing community found themselves something of attraction, but whilst the rich pleasure seekers came to gawp at the quaint fishermen and their picturesque ways, they did nothing to improve the community’s fortunes and the fishermen and their families remained poor.

“Drinking sea water was said to be nothing short of miraculous for one’s well being” Alas, the rich, in time honoured fashion, were not content with their lot and set their sights on the fishermen’s patch of beach, which they considered ripe for redevelopment. The beach in question was The Stade, where the majority of the net shops remain today and was considered the perfect place to build more genteel facilities for the hoards of visitors that were coming to the resort by the early 1800s. The town’s council thought that if only they could get rid of (or at least push further down the beach out of sight) the uncouth fishermen with their rough

ways and smelly fish market they could build a spa town that would rival the glamorous and prosperous Brighton. But, while the fishermen stayed resolutely put it was proving very difficult to secure the investment necessary to build the hotels desperately needed to accommodate the crowds of well-to-do visitors. In short, the fishing community was proving an embarrassment to the council and they wanted them out. One of the longest running disputes between the council and the fishermen is that of ownership of the beach.The fishermen have

historically claimed that they have rights of usage that predate a charter drawn up in 1588 stating that the land (referred to as the “stonebeach”) belonged to the council. However, with little written documentation and a repeated assertion by the fishermen that they had an older and far superior right of usage granted to them by the crown, the question of legal ownership has proved to be a long battle that continues to some extent even today.The ongoing result of this was an attempt to gradually squeeze out the fishermen, as bit by bit, the council tried to snatch pieces of the beach. The net shops that stretch along The Stade today are an instantly recognisable sight and some are over 150 years old. These structures were essential to the fishermen, as the cotton nets, hemp ropes and canvas sails would rot quickly if they were not stored in a dry environment. The unusual appearance of the net shops is no accident though, and is the result of both a general shortage of space on The Stade, and a 1830s council regulation stating that no net shop could exceed eight square feet in area. Far from hindering the progress of the net shops’ development, as the council no doubt intended, the ingenious fishermen simply

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Feature

28

built up and not out. The floor space may not have exceeded eight square feet but some grew up to three floors high with a cellar and loft, creating the iconic beachscape that remain on The Stade today. Although hundreds of years ago, similar weatherboard structures could be found all over the English coast, now the surviving net shops at Hastings are the last of their kind. Whilst the town of Hastings has had its ups and downs, the one thing that has remained constant is the part the fishermen play in the community. With fish stocks dangerously depleted in fisheries all over the oceans, governments have sought to impose quotas as fishing fleets have increasingly utilised technology to increase their catch. In Hastings, however, things are very different. The methods used by the fleet here are very similar to those used in the 18th and 19th centuries; the fact that it is a beach-launched fleet has created a kind of self-regulating system.The boats themselves can only be launched off the shingle beach if they are no longer that ten metres, anything larger would be impossible to launch. This limits the size of the catch so it is never so big that it could threaten stocks. If the geography of the beach was different, or if

Autumn 2007

a deep-water harbour was built (as has been discussed by the council for many years), then the larger vessels that could be accommodated could soon exhaust the fishery. It is true to say that, in many ways, the fishing methods employed hundreds of years ago are unchanged today. In fact, when I spoke to Steve Peak, author of The Fishermen of Hastings, he said that some methods dated back as much as 500 years.“The boats may well be engine-powered nowadays, but their shape and size remains more or less the same.” It’s remarkable to think that it wasn’t until 1986 that the first specially adapted tractor appeared on The Stade to assist with the launching and landing of the boats.“Until then,” explained Steve, “the fishermen had to pay much more attention to the tides as the window of opportunity for launching the boats was much smaller, as well as being considerably more labour intensive.” I recently caught up with Michelin starred chef, Tom Aikens, who is about to open an ‘eco’ fish and chip shop, Tom’s Place, where he will only be serving fish from genuinely sustainable stocks. The new venture will be just yards from his flagship restaurant, Tom Aikens,

and the more informal diner style Tom’s Kitchen, in Chelsea. In the course of his research Tom visited Hastings to see what was on offer and to see if he could use the fish landed there in the restaurant. He told me that he had been impressed by the honesty of the methods employed and by the fact that the fishermen he spoke to seemed to be genuinely proud of the part they are playing in supporting sustainability. “We will definitely be using fish landed at Hastings, as the methods they use really fit in with the whole ethos of Tom’s Place,” he explained over a cup of tea.“I really want to open people’s minds to some of the more unusual fish which are in plentiful supply and just as delicious as the beleaguered cod and haddock.” The fish and chips I ate on the beach that day was delicious but seemed all the more so for not being guilt-inducing cod, but a perfectly crispy chunk of huss. I visited all the various fish shops in and around the net shops to see what fresh fish were on offer and was delighted to see slabs full of spankingly fresh fish (all caught that morning), almost all of which was caught locally. As well as the plaice, sea bass, turbot and brill, there was fresh and smoked conger eel and some

of the loveliest squid I have ever seen. I finally made my mind up about what to buy (it wasn’t easy) and settled on a couple of Marine Stewardship Council accredited Dover sole for my supper. Jamie Copeland, at Rocka-Nore Fisheries, explained that the highly-prized accreditation is awarded only to fisheries that are well-managed and sustainable. It was so refreshing, to not only have such a choice of fish shops to choose from, but to have them staffed by such friendly, well informed staff. It was a world away from your average (or above average for that matter) supermarket fish counter. It was also a good sign that even at three o’clock in the afternoon there was a queue of people waiting to snap up the day’s catch. Hastings is a remarkable place and all the more so in an age where many children have never seen a piece of fish that isn’t covered in breadcrumbs and deepfrozen. It is home to a fishing community that, whilst relying on ancient traditions, is far from outdated and, hopefully, if future generations continue to fish in the same sustainable way, the Hastings fishing fleet will survive long after the last amusement arcade has closed its doors. n


HigH Weald dairy

Award winning cheeses, locally made in the heart of Sussex. At High Weald Dairy we make a range of delicious award winning cheeses from organic sheep and cows milk. Using organic milk from the cows on Tremains Farm, we make the Gold Award winning Tremains Organic Cheddar, Ashdown Foresters (including oak smoked) and the deliciously fresh Cowslip, plain and with chives. Sheep milk is turned into rich Duddleswell, Sussex Slipcote in three varieties, as well as the Mediterranean Feta and Halloumi. All are available from independent food outlets throughout Sussex. Please call us for your nearest stockist. Sussex High Weald Dairy, Tremains Farm, Horstead Keynes, Haywards Heath, RH17 7EA Tel: 01825 791636 Fax: 01825 791641 www.highwealddairy.co.uk

High Weald Dairy QP (Eat Sussex)1 1

30/8/07 16:09:46

Sussex Farmhouse supplies a delicious range of handmade Cakes & Preserves, Fruit Pies, Pavlovas and Tarts. Have you tried our award-winning Chocolate Brownie? We also have a new range of mouth-watering home made desserts for your farm shop, delicatessen or cafĂŠ. Various sizes available. Call us now on 01797 229379 for your copy of our Christmas brochure. Weekly delivery service. For further information and a brochure contact us on 01797 229379 (tel & fax) Unit 7, 65/81 Winchelsea Road, Rye. East Sussex. TN31 7EL Sussex Farmhouse 0907 HP.indd 1

Autumn 2007

30/8/07 09:55:40


Perfect Preserves

Perfect Preserves Recipes by Dominic McCartan. Photography by Jean-Luc Brouard.

If you’re planning on making preserves, there are a few items worth investing in. A preserving pan really makes a difference, although you can get by with a wide and fairly shallow stainless steel pan with a heavy base. A jam funnel makes bottling a doddle and a jelly bag can be improvised with some muslin at a push but it’s far easier to buy one. To sterilize your jars, wash them thoroughly and then place them in a low oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Place the lids in a pan of boiling water.

Darina Allen’s Spicy Tomato & Apple Chutney This simple and versatile chutney was the first preserve I was taught by Darina Allen at her Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland. It’s a great way of using up that seasonal glut of tomatoes if you grow your own but it’s so delicious that it’s well worth making even if you have to buy them in. Surplus tomatoes can always be frozen upon picking, which makes them easier to peel when you come to make your chutney. Simply place them in cold water and the skin literally drops off as they thaw. This recipe will fill 10 x 450g (1lb) jars. 3.5kg (8lbs) ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped 450g (1lb) onions, chopped 450g (1lb) peeled and cored eating apples, chopped 1.35kg (3lb) granulated sugar, preferably unrefined 850ml (1½ pint) white malt vinegar 2 tbsp salt 2 tsp ground dried ginger 3 tsp freshly ground black pepper 3 tsp ground allspice 4 cloves garlic, crushed 1 level tsp cayenne pepper 225g (10 oz) sultanas

Place all the ingredients in a preserving pan or a large stainless steel pan with a heavy base and bring gently to the boil, stirring occasionally. If you like more heat in your chutney, add more cayenne pepper and ground allspice. Reduce to a steady simmer and cook until the chutney has

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Autumn 2007

reduced and has a thick, sticky texture. This will take at least an hour and a half. Pot into sterilized jars and cover with sterilised lids. Leave to mature for at least three weeks to develop a full flavour. This is great with home-made burgers and in cheese toasties!


Perfect Preserves

(Paul’s Mum) Betty’s Sweet Mustard Pickle I came across this recipe hand-written in one of my mother’s old recipe books. It’s fairly mild, a bit like a piccalilli, but sweeter. It was always a store cupboard staple at my family home in Ireland and it’s now a firm favourite at home here as well. It goes really well with cheese and ham. This recipe will fill 10 x 450g (1lb) jars. 2 medium heads celery, chopped 900g (2lbs) onions, chopped 2 medium cucumbers, chopped 1 large cauliflower, broken or cut into small florets Salt 1.2l (2 pints) malt vinegar 675g (1lb 8oz) unrefined granulated sugar 1 tbsp turmeric 1 tbsp celery seed 1 tbsp mustard seed ½ tbsp English mustard powder 170g (6oz) cornflour

Barbara Pelling’s Blackberry Relish This recipe comes courtesy of Barbara Pelling of Sussex Farmhouse. It’s not part of her usual range but something a bit special that she keeps for family and friends. It’s worth making early and keeping for Christmas but it goes wonderfully with cheese as soon as it has matured sufficiently. This recipe makes approximately three 225g jars.

Place the vegetables in a large bowl and mix with enough salt to give the vegetables a gritty feel. Cover with a cloth and leave overnight. The next day, drain the vegetables and rinse them thoroughly under a running tap. Add the malt vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, mustard seed and English mustard powder to a large pan, stir thoroughly and bring to the boil. Mix the cornflour with a little water until it makes a smooth paste. Add it to the mustard sauce and bring the pan back to the boil while

stirring continuously. When the sauce is nicely thickened, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the vegetables to the cooled sauce and stir well, coating the vegetables with the sauce. Put the pan onto a very low heat for about an hour, keeping the mixture warm but don’t allow it to boil or it will cook the vegetables and they’ll loose their texture and fall apart. Bottle the pickle in sterilized jars and lids. The pickle should be left to mature for at least two weeks but preferably longer.

450g (1 lb) blackberries 225g (8 oz) red onion, peeled and finally sliced 1 medium Bramley apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped 240ml (8 fl oz) cider vinegar 225g (8oz) Muscovado sugar 1 large pinch salt 1 large pinch of coarse ground black pepper 2 dessert spoons dark rum (A little less or more is fine depending on how you like it)

Put the blackberries, red onion, apple, vinegar and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Turn down the heat and simmer for around 45 minutes, until the relish has reduced to a thick consistency. Remember, it will thicken more as it cools.

Remove from the heat and add the salt and pepper to season and the dark rum to your own personal taste. Put into sterilized jars, seal, allow to cool and label. Leave for around four weeks to mature.

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Perfect Preserves

daMsOn JaM Damsons are a small and sour plum. They are too acidic to be enjoyed fresh but they make the most wonderful jam. thiS recipe makeS arounD 2kg to 2.25kg. 1.35kg (3 lb) damsons 1.35kg (3 lb) sugar ¾ pint water

BlackBerry & apple JaM I always find it strange to see blackberries for sale in the shops. As a child, one of the highlights of autumn was the annual family trip to the banks of the Shimna River to pick blackberries to make into jam, tarts and crumbles. This is a lovely, rich jam, stuffed full of fruit and if you gather your own fruit it’s virtually free. Be sure to forage away from roadsides or polluted areas, it’s a wonderful way to explore the Downs. thiS recipe makeS arounD 2kg to 2.25kg. 1.15kg (2½lb) blackberries 450g (1lb) cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped 900g (2lb) unrefined granulated sugar

32

Place the apples in a preserving pan on a medium heat and allow to stew until they soften slightly. I think you get a better texture to the jam if the apples aren’t really mushy and keep some bite. Wash the blackberries and add them to the pan. If the blackberries are a bit dry you can add a little water if needed. Warm the sugar in an ovenproof bowl in a low oven for a few minutes (this helps it to dissolve) then add it to the fruit and stir until all the sugar dissolves. Raise the temperature and boil steadily for about 20 minutes. The

Autumn 2007

jam has to boil until it reaches the set point. This can be tested with a sugar thermometer or by chilling a plate in the freezer and dropping some jam onto it and allowing it to cool. When the set point has been reached, the cooled jam will wrinkle when you push it gently with your finger. You may have to try this a few times before you are happy with your set. Skim off any scum that has risen to the surface, give the jam one last good stir and pour it into sterilized jars and seal. Leave to cool and label clearly.

Remove any damson stalks, wash them and discard any damaged fruit. Fruit for preserving should always be in the best condition. Place them whole in the pan with the water and put on a low heat so that the fruit gently stews until it is soft and pulpy. Warm the sugar in a low oven and then add to the fruit, stirring

to dissolve. Raise the temperature and boil steadily, stirring frequently to ensure the jam does not stick. Remove any scum and the stones as they rise to the surface. After about 15-20 minutes, test for the set point as described in the Blackberry & Apple Jam recipe. Pot up the jam in sterilised jars and seal.


Perfect Preserves

rOsehip & apple Jelly Rosehips are common in hedgerows and gardens in late summer and early autumn. Although finding them is easy enough, you do need to collect a fair number for a good yield, although you could always just make a single jar. Rosehips are extremely rich inVitamin C, far more so than oranges, so during World War II, schoolchildren were encouraged to collect them to provide much needed vitamin supplements for the troops. You’ll need a jelly bag for this, but you can always make your own from a piece of muslin. thiS recipe will fill arounD 7 x 450g (1lb) jarS. 1.8kg (4lb) windfall apples 900g (2lb) rosehips White granulated sugar

Wash the rosehips and remove any blemishes from the apples. There’s no need to peel or core the apples as these will add extra pectin and help set the jelly. Put the apples and rosehips in a pan and just cover with water, then add a pint more. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the hips are very soft. This will take between about 45 minutes and an hour, or even longer if the rosehips aren’t completely ripe. Drain this mixture in a jelly bag overnight until all the juice has run.

Avoid squeezing the jelly bag to speed it up as this will make the jelly cloudy. Measure how much juice you have and allow 450g of sugar for each pint of juice. Warm the sugar in a low oven and then add to the juice, stirring constantly over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly without stirring for 10 to 15 minutes and then check for set point. Once you are happy with the set, bottle into warm sterilised jars and seal.

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Perfect Preserves

tOMatO ketchup Nothing goes with chips like ketchup and it’s surprisingly easy to make your own at home. There are two ways of making this, with a blender or a sieve. If you are using a blender, peel the tomatoes first as the skins are tough and you don’t want to spoil all your fine work. thiS recipe makeS arounD 1.15kg.

34

3kg (6lb 6oz) tomatoes, chopped (remove skins if using a blender) 675g (1lb 8oz) onions, chopped 1 large red pepper, chopped 100g (4oz) soft brown sugar 200ml (7fl oz) brown malt vinegar ¼ tsp English mustard powder 1½ tsp allspice berries 1½ tsp celery seeds 1½ tsp whole cloves 1½ tsp ground mace 1½ tsp peppercorns Bay leaf Garlic clove large Salt

Autumn 2007

Place the tomatoes, onions and red pepper into a pan on a medium heat, stirring continuously until very soft. If using a sieve, rub the tomato, onion and pepper pulp through the sieve and return it to your pan. If using skinned tomatoes and a blender, blitz the pulp until very smooth and return it to the pan. Tie up the whole spices into a piece of muslin and add to the pan with the sugar, vinegar and English mustard, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer, allowing the mixture to bubble away gently. Stir regularly while it simmers for at least an hour until it reduces to a thick and gloopy texture. Season with salt, allow to cool and then pour

the ketchup into suitable sterilised bottles or jars. Kept in the fridge, this ketchup will last for a month although, if your household is anything like mine, it’s unlikely to be around that long.


re to

ce

produce s

store

p

e sto duc re ro

prod u

As close to en food heaavn get as you c

fe High street Lewes: 56 Clif Depot, 100 north road e th : on Ht ig Br cestore.co.uk www.billsprodu

Every home deserves an Aga. Call in today for details 69 Calverley Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. TN1 2UY Tel: 01892 530781 Fax: 01892 530782 Email: tunbridge-wells@aga-web.co.uk

10 Market Square, Horsham, West Sussex. RH12 1HB Tel: 01403 254955 Fax: 01403 262588 Email horsham@aga-web.co.uk

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www.agacookshop.co.uk Autumn 2007 30/8/07

16:24:11


The Gastro-Gnome’s Guide to Lewes In the first of a series of culinary tours around the region, Eat Sussex’s very own Gastro-Gnome eats his way around the historical county town of Lewes. Photography by Paul Cassidy.

A

t the heart of Lewes,

36

physically, economically, historically, some would even go as far as to say spiritually, is Harveys Brewery. Established in 1790 by John Harvey, this award-winning independent brewer is still a family-run affair seven generations later. The Victorian Gothic Tower and Brew House cast their reflections on the River Ouse and dominate views of the centre of Lewes like a second

Autumn 2007

castle. Which is appropriate because in Lewes, Harveys Best Bitter is most definitely king. When a rival brewer removed the ale from one of the town’s most popular pubs, The Lewes Arms, a five-month boycott by the regulars garnered national news headlines and ended with an embarrassing corporate climbdown. You come between the people of Lewes and their Harveys Best at your peril! The Brewery Shop (6 Cliffe

High St) sells a variety of draught ales straight from the cellar in containers sized from four to 72 pints (that’s a firkin to you, mate) at brewery prices. It also sells a wide range of bottled beers, and lots of brewery paraphernalia. While justifiably famous for their

ale, records show that the Harvey family were also importing wines as far back as 1794, so it’s fair to say that they know a thing or two about the stuff, which makes the shop an ideal spot for all your beverage requirements. The John Harvey Tavern


Gastro-Gnome’s Guide

(1 Bear Yard, Cliffe High St) is just a bottle top’s throw from the brewery. In addition to a fine selection of Harveys beers, including seasonal special ales like Bonfire Boy, the friendly staff also serve up a great menu of classic English pub grub including home-made pies, bangers and mash and spotted dick and custard. Lewes Farmers’ Market (Lewes Pedestrian Precinct) takes place every first Saturday of the month between 9am and 1pm. It is one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the country, started in 1998 by Common Cause Cooperative, and as you would expect from such a pedigree, sells a wide range of seasonal fruit and vegetables, meat, cheeses, honey, jams, pickles and even unusual

plants for the garden. Much of the produce for sale is organic and absolutely all of it is local. Another fine Lewes institution is Bill’s Produce Store (56 Cliffe High St), next door to The John Harvey Tavern and opposite The Brewery Shop. Mere words can’t describe the cornucopia of food on offer at this greengrocer cum deli cum café. Bill’s seems so jam-packed full of baskets of fresh produce and tables of delighted diners, it looks like the whole place, unable to contain itself, has split its seams and all that

deliciousness has come spilling out onto the pavement outside. It’s a good job that they’ve recently knocked into next door, allowing them to cram in even more scrummy goodies. Founder, Bill Collison, sources locally as much as he can and it’s great to see the names of the farmers displayed with their produce.The café food is just like the produce on offer: eye-poppingly fresh, stunning to look at and just on the verge of overflowing. On the same side of the Cliffe Bridge is the Real Eating Company (18 Cliffe High St), a restaurant and deli offering a changing seasonal menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Entrepreneur Helen Hudson was certainly brave opening such a venture just across the road from Bill’s, but she honed the formula in Hove and now has three sites across Sussex and the Lewes branch certainly seems to be holding its own. In contrast to the cleverly designed chaos of Bill’s, The Real Eating Company is all cool, clean lines and continental-

style chic. Spanish charcuterie from Brindisa takes centre stage in the deli, surrounded by exquisite British cheeses from Neal’s Yard and local honey, jams, chutneys and chocolates. Over the bridge, The Riverside Centre (Cliffe Bridge) is a regular destination for foodies in Lewes. This former shoe factory is now home to a great range of stores. The Riverside Café Bar has a tasty selection of pastries and freshly made baguettes, smoothies, speciality teas and fairtrade coffee to eat in or take away, while The Riverside Brasserie upstairs serves English breakfast to cream tea and everything in between. Say Cheese of Sussex (Riverside) is a family-run, specialist cheesemonger with a particular passion for cheeses of South East England, although there’s no shortage of wonders from further afield as well. In addition to running the shop, David & Eleanor Robins also run a mail-order service, give tastings and talks and can be seen at many markets and shows

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37


reat beers, fine Gwines and

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Cheese cut and supplied by Say Cheese of Sussex SaY CheeSe of SuSSex Telephone: 01273 814723 Website: www.saycheeseofsussex.co.uk Riverside, high Street, Lewes, east Sussex, BN7 2Re

Autumn 2007 Say Cheese QP (Eat Sussex) 0907.1 1

31/8/07 10:50:23


Gastro-Gnome’s Guide around the region. For something really different they can also offer a cheese tower, as a savoury alternative to a wedding cake. Next door, Colin Staplehurst (Riverside) is a traditional family butcher specialising in free-range and additive-free meats. Over 25 varieties of sausages are made on site and as a licensed game dealer, the store has a wide range of local game through the appropriate seasons.The free-range pork from the traditional breeds at Plantation Pigs is always a firm winner in the Gnome household. Terry’s Fisheries (Riverside) specialises in locally-caught fish, fresh from the boats at Newhaven, in addition to a wide selection of smoked fish and shellfish. Proper fishmongers are increasingly rare on the ground so it’s a friendship worth cultivating when you find a good one. For a town with such a thriving food culture, it’s appropriate that the supermarket in the centre of town should be Waitrose (Eastgate St). The company has a policy to buy British wherever possible, is committed

Sausage making at Colin Staplehurst’s Family Butchers

to responsible sourcing and is increasing the selection of local products from small producers. It also been awarded the title of ‘Compassionate Supermarket of theYear’ by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) for two years running. Nearby, C h a u l a ’s new restaurant (6 Eastgate St) looks all set to open very soon. From her previous kitchen on Station Street, Chaula has built a great reputation for home-made, ready-prepared, Gujarati currys with an excellent choice of vegetarian dishes. Now

she’s embarking on a whole new venture and the Gnome looks forward to popping into her new premises very soon. Head towards the train station and you’ll come across Laporte’s (1 Lansdown Pl), a lovely little deli specialising in local and organic produce.The pastries are particularly delicious and the back issues of New Scientist available for reading on the sofa ensure that time spent relaxing with a coffee and cake is never wasted. Also on Lansdown Place is the Lansdown Sweet Shop

(31 Lansdown Pl) a magical place stuffed full to the rafters of all those old-fashioned sweets Gnome hasn’t seen since he was a boy. Gnome popped into Chaula’s (13 Station St) where the kitchen’s keeping very busy until the coming move. Almost next door is Food Food (15 Station St), where Sophie cooks up delicious meals to take away and heat up at home or pop in the freezer for another day. Favourites include Shrewsbury Lamb, Chicken Veronique, Spinach Lasagne and Beef Rendang but the menu changes regularly so you never know what treats are in store. Just opposite, one of the oldest chocolate shops in Sussex, Bruditz (16 Station St), prides itself on stocking chocolates from the best confectionary makers in Britain and Europe. New proprietors Maralyn and John Greenfield now stock a range of sugar-free chocolates for diabetics and are renowned for their fudge and Turkish delight selection as well. Be sure to sample the locally-made ice cream when

39

Laporte’s

Food Food

Autumn 2007


Gastro-Gnome’s Guide you’re passing, it’s tasty and creamy and isn’t stuffed full of all those artificial colourings that look like they glow in the dark. Up on School Hill, Crumbs (18A High St) bakes a range of lovely cakes on the premises, around half of which are glutenfree. They also offer freshlymade sandwiches, coffee, tea and brownies. The Steamer Trading Cook Shop (20-21 High St) stocks everything you’ll need to cook your culinary purchases, and probably quite a few things you’d never thought of but now you seen it (in just the right colour to match your kitchen), how did you ever get by without one? Further along the High Street, Lewes is fortunate to have another excellent cheese shop in the shape of Cheese Please (46 High St). Fiona Kay’s delightful emporium to all things cheese stocks over 80 cheeses from near and far, and anything you could ever want to accompany them. Gnome can heartily vouch for the Vodka & Orange Onions and the Gin & Tonic Turnip (excellent with fish) and he’s looking forward to winter and trying the Mulled Wine Beets and Henshelwood’s X-rated Mincemeat that’s been steeped in brandy for nine months. Lunchtime sandwiches are understandably popular and

Cheese Please

Fiona also does a fine line in cheese boards and celebration hampers for special occasions. Enjoying a well-deserved reputation as one of the best restaurants in Sussex, Circa (St Andrews Lane) offers fine dining with an international twist in the elegant setting of Pelham House. Using unusual flavours from around the globe, Beckworth’s

combined with the best seasonal ingredients, Circa has created an exciting style of cooking that takes good old British staples and sends them on an exhilarating, around-the-world adventure. Head chef, Marc Bolger, combines the familiar with the exotic to create divine dishes such as Thai Marinated Lamb Rack with Squash and

Pickled Summer Vegetables, and Slow Roasted Pork Belly, Ras El Hanout and Sweet Potato Puree. The two course set menu offers particularly good value at £11.95, available from Monday to Friday lunchtimes and Monday to Thursday dinner. Beckworth’s (67 High St) is a lovely little delicatessen, halfway along the High Street, with some tasty cheeses and cold meats, flaky hot smoked salmon as well as eggs, bread, milk, local honey and lots of other essentials and treats. Wholefood shop Full of Beans (96 High St) has the feel of an ancient apocathary shop with a walls lined floor-to-ceiling with jars of intriguing looking herbs and spices. They also do a great range of healthy home-made foods to take away. Frank Richards & Sons (25 Western Rd) are traditional, family butchers famous for their hand-made sausages, cured bacon, but most of all, their pork pies. Get one fresh from the oven. And for some serious spoiling, Bona Foodie (75 Western Rd) has exquisite truffles, organic ice cream and lots and lots of gorgeous stuff from near and far including lots of delicious meals and snacks made fresh on the premises. n Circa

40 Full of Beans

Autumn 2007


In my own words

Glenn Lester Head chef, Terre a Terre

I

’ve been here off and on

for five years. I’ve managed to leave twice just to keep my hand in the mainstream. Chefs like to move around and I think that’s essential to keep up with the trends, because food changes so quickly. But we’ve got good staff retention here. On average I suppose most of my chef de parties have been here two to three years. There’s plenty to learn and as long as they are passionate, motivated and professional they really get a lot out of the job. We use a lot of fresh, local produce.We love to support the local community but also, you can’t deny that the produce in

“You can’t deny that the produce in East Sussex is top quality and we like to celebrate that” East Sussex is top quality and we like to celebrate that. I’m not vegetarian. I think there’s only one vegetarian in the kitchen at the moment. That doesn’t mean that we avoid employing vegetarian chefs. Usually we have a traditional chef come in, wanting to learn about vegetarian food. One reason is that they are afraid of it, it’s not really part of their mainstream cooking experience and they want to learn. Once they are here and see it, they realise how

exciting it can be and they love the idea of it. We often use ingredients that a lot of mainstream restaurants haven’t heard of. If we are cooking an Oriental dish, for instance, we will research it properly and source the proper ingredients. When we’re designing the menu we start off with the traditional dishes and tweak them. There’s a certain twist in tongue when it comes to writing the menu, but there is a lot of truth behind those words.

They are actually very well chosen. For example we use a ‘podi spice’ - ‘podi’ is a Tamil word for powder. That kind of thing runs through the menu. It’s not random, much to some peoples’ surprise, we don’t pull these words out of the air. When a new dish comes on we trial it in the kitchen. It doesn’t come upstairs. We play around with it for a couple of weeks, because there are so many things going on with a dish and you have to make sure they all compliment each other and don’t muddle up the flavours. As soon as you start messing around with food too much it really doesn’t make any sense. Just keep it nice and clean, that’s the way we approach our food here. n

Autumn 2007

41


#HEESE0LEASE

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Westfield, Nr Hastings. Tel: 01424 752501 Email: sales@carr-taylor.co.uk

www.carr-taylor.co.uk

30/8/07 Carr 11:05:34 Taylor QP (Eat Sussex) 09071 1

An innovative bakery ...for traditional cakes with a contemporary twist, hand–made and beautifully crafted. We seek inspiration and ingredients both locally and from around the world. We create an extensive range of cakes, baked cheesecakes, puddings, tarts and individual desserts. We also offer a selection of vegan, gluten–free and organic cakes and desserts. We supply wholesale and retail customers throughout the South East of England.

“ At The Home Cakery we�love to be creative with our recipes and are passionate about introducing exciting new ingredients and flavours. We do things differently. Yoav Cohen

P E W

01273 414 166 yoav@homecakery.fsnet.co.uk www.thehomecakery.co.uk Member of the National Association of Master Bakers

Autumn 2007

our shop. Wine tasting is free and there is a vineyard trail for those who wish to look at the vines and learn more about them. Come and visit us for a real taste of Sussex wine and produce. The vineyard is open seven days-a-week from 10am-5pm

Carr Taylor Wines

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A Wine Lovers Paradise – Carr Taylor Wines is your local vineyard, producing award-winning sparkling wines, white and rosÊ still wines, and fruit wines at their winery in Westfield. Wander through the vineyard and picnic by the pond with a glass of chilled wine from

30/8/07 10:40:49


Drink Sussex

The Cider House Rules Apples and time: the ingredients that go into making real cider couldn’t be simpler. But what makes a really good cider? And can you make a proper perry away from the West Country? Eat Sussex visits the National Cider and Perry Collection at Middle Farm to find out.

“T

he beautiful thing

about real cider,” explains Rod Marsh, “is that there’s nothing else in it but apples.” Rod knows an awful lot about cider and so he should. Alongside his wife, Helen, Rod is responsible for the National Cider and Perry Collection at Middle Farm. “You take your fruit from the orchard at the right time and in the right condition. You wash it. You put it through the mill and make a pulp and then you press the juice out of by whatever means, put the juice into a vessel to ferment. And then you have cider.” Wild yeast gets in from the air, feeds on the sugar from the apples and the by-product is alcohol. It’s so simple, I could make it in the airing cupboard at home in six weeks, apparently, although my efforts would be unlikely to make it into the collection.“Ideally,” says Rod, “to make the best cider, you need to do it very slowly.”

Controlling the temperature is key to the speed of the process. Slow fermentation takes all the goodness and flavour from the fruit. Cider pressed and casked in October won’t be at its best until Easter after a mild winter; after a particularly cold year you might have to wait as long as until July but the results will more than make up for the time spent. That’s why, traditionally, cider is made in old farm buildings with no windows where naturally low temperatures favour slow fermentation.

The National Cider and Perry Collection is housed in just such a building at Middle Farm. Helen’s family came to Middle Farm in 1960 and started selling butter, eggs and milk from the farm at the back door almost immediately. By 1981, the farm shop had grown to fill its current site and Helen’s father, Mr Pile, was having to look further afield to stock its shelves. Although there was little interest in English cheeses at that time, Mr Pile, always ahead of the game, was seeking out the best examples for the shop. He was driving through

the West Country on a cheesebuying trip when he decided to pick up some cider.“He brought back four ciders, two from Devon, two from Somerset, and they are still in the collection,” explains Helen. “Not the original barrels, but those four makers.” The collection mushroomed from there and now there are over 100 ciders and perries available on draught. If keeping this collection sounds like your dream job, there are downsides. As Helen points out: “It’s very hard work because it’s a living drink: it’s not canned or pasteurised. When temperatures rise everything can re-ferment. You’ve got to keep an eye on everything and occasionally we can get it wrong.” “But not often.” Rod reassures. The couple travel to the West Country at least once a week and pick up around 55 barrels a time. With a high turnover of reasonably small quantities, re-fermentation is becoming less of a threat. “With

Autumn 2007

43


Drink Sussex

44

anything that’s alive, the turnover is vital,” explains Rod. Harder to account for is the ‘moody’ nature of the living drink. After tasting it on the farm (Rod tastes, Helen drives) and declaring it a winner, a cider may sit on the shelf, tasted but unloved for weeks or even months.“Then,” says Rod,“all of a sudden it will come into form just by itself, no rhyme nor reason. And it’ll fly out of the door. “The idea of terroir in wine is absolutely true of cider,” insists Rod. Ciders vary hugely according to where they are made but the most important regional division is an east-west split. Cider in the eastern counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent and most of Sussex is traditionally made using cooking and eating apples whereas in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, cider is always made using specialist cider apple varieties.The theory is that cider apples were originally grown by the Celts and when they were forced progressively westward by successive invasions, they took their cider apples with them. Certainly, the records of Battle Abbey in Sussex show that rent was paid partly in cider in the 1200s and tithes were paid in cider in most parishes in Sussex in the mid 14th Century. This long association with these parts notwithstanding, Rod points out: “It doesn’t seem to be as deeply embedded in the culture of Sussex as it certainly is in somewhere like Somerset.” This regional divide is even more apparent in perry production. There’s no real tradition of perry in the east, explains Rod, and sadly, no perry pears. “Anywhere in the three counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, you’ll see these absolutely wonderful trees in the landscape.They take about 50 years to optimum crop so there are not a lot of people putting them down, but once established they live for four hundred years and they are trees every bit as beautiful as mature English elms.” But the great regional divide is now being challenged, Rod reveals. “A lovely man over at

Autumn 2007

Robertsbridge called Matthew Wilson, an organic apple grower, has put down an orchard of perry pears. Because proper perry making isn’t a tradition here, he researched it and went to see Charles Martell, who is the king of perry (and, incidentally, the maker of Wallace & Gromit’s favour ite cheese, Stinking Bishop).” Martell’s advice was largely unprintable but went something along the lines of any perry pears grown outside the heartland would rot on the tree in this hostile, alien environment. Needless to say the advice was soundly ignored and the very first proper Sussex perry went on sale at the collection earlier this year.“It absolutely flew out,” exclaims Rod. “The fastest selling drink we’ve ever had,” nods Helen in agreement. Rod and Helen are both firmly of the opinion that there is a cider for everyone if they can but find

it. “We do try really hard when someone comes into the shop and says they don’t like cider,” says Helen, although she does admit to occasionally not finding the perfect match.“Then we just sell them some apple juice or something.” But cider appreciation takes perseverance, particularly with the more complex, tannic tastes of West Country cider. “I think a lot of traditional ciders are very challenging indeed,” admits Rod. “It’s like someone not used to drinking wine, coming to wine tasting, would start with something easy and move on to more challenging things as they go on.” He advises a beginner to start with the eastern county cooking and eating apple ciders because they are cleaner on the palette. For entry level, he recommends Chiddingstone Cider,“made from six varieties of cookers and eaters with a wine yeast, very clean, clear, benefits from chilling.

helen & rOd’s recipe FOr Mulled cider 4 pints 3 2 1 2 tsp 8 2 6 tbsp

still, dry, farmhouse cider apples washed cored and sliced oranges washed and sliced unwaxed lemon, juice and zest ground mixed spice whole cloves cinnamon quills snapped in half light, soft, brown sugar

Put all the ingredients in a pan, cover and heat gently for a minimum of one hour. Do not boil. Add friends, fresh from a bracing walk on the Downs, and serve.

“Then Bobbie Crone’s Organic Norfolk Cider. He makes cider with a bit more of a rustic finish, again with cooking and eating apples predominantly. He does something called Special Reserve which is a hybrid and is probably his most popular.” When you start heading west, Rod says, the name Dennis Gwatkin soon crops up.“He does several different single varietal ciders and they are absolutely oldfashioned in the way that they are made but they have a universal appeal.” “You descr ibe them as ‘farmyardy’,” adds Helen. “and that’s exactly what they are. One of the joys of doing what we do is, because we collect it, we get to understand where they are made and the kinds of people who make them. It’s all part of the flavour and the character of the drink.” “It’s accumulated generational knowledge that’s handed down through these cider-making families and some of them have been around for 300 years,” Rod continues.“Certainly Dennis’ father, Ivor, made cider before him.” When Rod and Helen talk about ciders and the cider makers they deal with, it’s easy to imagine the farm gates, the orchards, the apple presses but, most of all, the individuals behind every barrel in the collection. “Every cider is a portrait of the man or woman who makes it,” Rod insists. They can both wax lyrical about the qualities of an individual cider as evocatively as any wine master, but it’s the relationships that people have with the ciders that really drive their passion.“The best part of the job,” explains Rod, “is meeting people at both ends. The people who produce the cider and the people who then come through the door and drink it. That’s that convivial, gregarious thing that cider’s always had. It’s always been that sharing experience.” n The National Cider and Perry Collection, Middle Farm, Firle, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 6LJ Tel: 01323 811 411


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Autumn 2007


Make the most of the fruits of autumn at Wilderness Wood

• Sweet chestnut celebration, with chestnut food and trail. • Fungus hunts and courses. • Local produce in our new tearoom.

Full details at www.wildernesswood.co.uk or call 01825 830509 Open daily 10am-5.30pm On A272 in Hadlow Down village, 5 miles NE of Uckfield.

Wilderness QP (Eat Sussex) 0907.1 1

Autumn 2007

30/8/07 17:03:03


Books

Six books to change the way you eat

Fast Food Nation

The River Cottage Meat Book

Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook

Eric Schlosser’s searing indictment of the fast food industry may have been around for a while now, and even spawned a Hollywood movie of the same name, but it still stands as a brilliant example of investigative journalism. Schlosser leaves no stone unturned as he examines every aspect of the industry and the facts he uncovers make for disturbing reading that may well persuade you that the only hamburgers that will be passing your lips from now on are ones you’ve made yourself.

Look out for the animals

Grow your own

Shopped: The Shocking Power of Britain’s Supermarkets

Cooking Outside The Box

Food for Free

by Eric Schlosser Penguin Books Ltd; New Ed edition

Ditch the fast food

By Joanna Blythman HarperPerennial; New Ed edition

Abandon the aisles If you’ve ever thought that concentrating 80 per cent of Britain’s food into the hands of four huge companies is a bad idea, then Joanna Blythman’s account of the inexorable rise of the supermarkets and theTescofication of British culture is unlikely to calm your concerns. Just as far reaching in its scope as Fast Food Nation, Joanna Blythman looks at food quality, workers’ conditions, the illusion of choice, ready meals, the supply chain and finds out exactly how they keep their prices so low. If Jamie Oliver reads only one book this year, I really hope it’s this one!

By Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

As a book of simple, hearty, easy-to-follow recipes this more than justifies its place on any kitchen shelf but it is as a manifesto for a revolution in our relationship with the animals that we eat that this book is absolutely essential. Hugh calls on his readers to take responsibility for the animals that end up on our plates, before and after the abattoir. Along the way he educates us about how to buy the best meat and how to use every last bit of it to maximum effect

By Keith Abel Collins

By Sarah Raven Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

If you’ve read any other books by Sarah Raven, you are hopefully well on the way to becoming an accomplished gardener and once you’ve grown it, you’ll need to find the best way to cook it. This book is packed full of delicious recipes using fresh, seasonal, garden produce. It’s an absolute joy to thumb through and will give you lots of ideas for what to grow and plenty of amazing ways to serve up your own produce.

by Richard Mabey Collins; New Ed edition

Forage it Sign up for a box scheme This book was first published in 1972, has One of the best things about subscribing to a box delivery scheme is the discovery of wonderfully strange vegetables you never knew existed. The challenge is finding out what to do with them. Keith Abel, co-founder of Abel & Cole, offers a guiding hand in the shape of this delightful book. Slightly eccentric and immensely inspiring, rather like its author, the recipes are arranged by season and are full of helpful tips like “Ask whoever you’ll be eating with to pick up a bottle of Meursault on the way home. Tell them it’s part of the recipe!”

undergone a number of updates and reprints since then, but still stands out as the essential foragers’ bible. Beautiful illustrations and field notes allow the reader to identify hundreds of edible plants, leaves, fruit, nuts, fungi, seaweed and shellfish and turn a leisurely walk in the country into a culinary safari. Suitably sized to fit in a pocket, this is the one guide to British flora that no foodie should be without.

47

Autumn 2007


diary

Diary – what’s on in Sussex Monday September 10th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk)

Tuesday September 11th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk)

Wednesday September 12th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk) East Dean Village Market 10am-12.30pm Village Hall (01323 423 481) Rye Farmers’ Market 10am-1pm Strand Quay (01797 280 282)

Thursday September 13th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk) Burgess Hill Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm Church Walk Shopping Precinct (02392 471 548) Hastings Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Wellington Place (01424 457 109) Wisborough Green Farmers’ Market 9am-12pm Village Green (01403 700 939)

Friday September 14th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk) Brede Farmers’ Market 10am-12pm Village Hall (01424 882 836) Ditchling Farmers’ Market 10am-2pm Garden Pride Garden Centre (01825 872 214) Emsworth Food Festival www.emsworthfoodfestival.co.uk

Saturday September 15th Brighton & Hove Fair Trade & Farmers’ Market 11am-4pm Friends’ Meeting House, Ship St (01273 675 778) Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk) Arundel Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Market Square, Town Quay, Jubilee Gardens (01903 884 772) Battle Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Battle Abbey Green (01424 751 575) Emsworth Food Festival www.emsworthfoodfestival.co.uk Fiery Food Festival (Brighton & Hove Food & Drink Festival) 12pm-6pm Ovingdean Hall School (01273 323 200) Heathfield Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Co-op Car Park (01435 862 798) Hog Roast at The Eagle (BHFDF) 2pm-6pm 125 Gloucester Rd (01273 607 765) Horsham Farmers’ Market 9am-4pm Carfax (07734 397 890)

Sunday September 16th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk) Emsworth Food Festival (www.emsworthfoodfestival.co.uk) Fiery Food Festival (BHFDF) 12pm-6pm Ovingdean Hall School (01273 323 200) Lamb Roast at The Hop Poles (BHFDF) 2pm-6pm 13 Middle St (01273 710 444)

Monday September 17th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk)

Tuesday September 18th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk)

Wednesday September 19th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk) Billingshurst Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm Jengers Mead (07734 397 890) East Dean Village Market 10am-12.30pm Village Hall (01323 423 481) Rye Farmers’ Market 10am-1pm Strand Quay (01797 280 282)

Thursday September 20th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk) East Grinstead Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm High St (02392 471 548) Seaford Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Church St (01323 423 481)

Friday September 21st

48

Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk) Brede Farmers’ Market 10am-12pm Village Hall (01424 882 836) Chichester Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Cattle Market (02392 471 548) Eastbourne Farmers’ Market 9.30am-1.30pm The Enterprise Centre (01825 872 214) Henfield Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Library Car Park (01825 872 214)

Autumn 2007

Saturday September 22nd Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk) Crowborough Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Pine Grove Car Park (01892 664 064) Cuckmere Valley (Alfriston) Farmers’ Market 10am-12.30pm English Wine Centre (01323 871 271) Glynde Food & Drink Festival 10.30am-5pm Glynde Place (www.glynde.co.uk) Hove Farmers’ Market 10am-3pm George St (01273 470 900) Hassocks Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm National Tyres Forecourt (07968 212 372) Hastings Seafood & Wine Festival 11am-5pm The Stade (0845 274 1001) Horsham Farmers’ Market 9am-4pm Carfax (07734 397 890) Midhurst Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Capron House Car Park (01243 785 166) Worthing Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm South St Square (01903 203 521)

Sunday September 23rd Firle Farmers’ Market 10am-2pm Middle Farm (01323 811 411) Glynde Food & Drink Festival 10.30am-5pm Glynde Place (www.glynde.co.uk) Hastings Seafood & Wine Festival 11am-5pm The Stade (0845 274 1001) West Sussex Growers Association Open Day 10am-4pm (www.wsga.org.uk)

Monday September 24th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk)

Tuesday September 25th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk)

Wednesday September 26th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk) East Dean Village Market 10am-12.30pm Village Hall (01323 423 481) Littlehampton Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm High St (01903 713 436) Rye Farmers’ Market 10am-1pm Strand Quay (01797 280 282)

Thursday September 27th Bexhill-on-Sea Farmers’ Market 9am-12pm Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk) Methodist Hall, Parkhurst Rd (01424 222 969) Haywards Heath Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm Haywards Rd West Car Park (02392 471 548)

Friday September 28th Brede Farmers’ Market 10am-12pm Village Hall (01424 882 836) Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk) Rottingdean Farmers’ Market 9.30am-1.30pm The White Horse (01825 872 214)

Saturday September 29th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk) Horsham Farmers’ Market 9am-4pm Carfax (07734 397 890) Pullborough Farmers’ Market 9am-12pm Village Hall (01798 875 388)

Sunday September 30th Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Brighton (www.brightonfoodfestival.co.uk)

Wednesday October 3rd Bognor Regis Farmers’ Market 9am-3pm London Rd (01243 863 141) East Dean Village Market 10am-12.30pm Village Hall (01323 423 481) Rye Farmers’ Market 10am-1pm Strand Quay (01797 280 282)

Thursday October 4th Arundel Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Market Square, Town Quay, Jubilee Gardens (01903 884 772) East Grinstead Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm High St (02392 471 548) Feastbourne: Eastbourne Food & Drink Festival Eastbourne (www.feastbourne.com)

Friday October 5th Brede Farmers’ Market 10am-12pm Village Hall (01424 882 836) Chichester Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Cattle Market (02392 471 548) Eastbourne Farmers’ Market 9.30am-1.30pm The Enterprise Centre (01825 872 214) Feastbourne Eastbourne (www.feastbourne.com)

Saturday October 6th Crowhurst Farmers’ Market 10am-12pm Village Hall (01424 830 461) Feastbourne Eastbourne (www.feastbourne.com) Ford Farmers’ Market 7.30am-2pm Ford Airfield (02392 613 601) Horsham Farmers’ Market 9am-4pm Carfax (07734 397 890) Lewes Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Lewes Pedestrian Precinct (01273 470 900) Steyning Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm High St Car Park (01403 711 057) Uckfield Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Luxford Car Park (01892 664 064)

Sunday October 7th Apple Day at Alfriston Clergy House 10am-5pm The Tye, Alfriston, BN26 5TL (www.nationaltrust.org.uk) Brighton & Hove Farmers’ Market 10am-3pm Ralli Hall, Denmark Villas (01273 323 200) Feastbourne Eastbourne (www.feastbourne.com)

Monday October 8th Feastbourne Eastbourne (www.feastbourne.com)

Tuesday October 9th Feastbourne Eastbourne (www.feastbourne.com)

Wednesday October 10th East Dean Village Market 10am-12.30pm Village Hall (01323 423 481) Feastbourne Eastbourne (www.feastbourne.com) Rye Farmers’ Market 10am-1pm Strand Quay (01797 280 282)

Thursday October 11th Burgess Hill Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm Church Walk Shopping Precinct (02392 471 548) Feastbourne Eastbourne (www.feastbourne.com) Hastings Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Wellington Place (01424 457 109) Wisborough Green Farmers’ Market 9am-12pm Village Green (01403 700 939)

Friday October 12th Brede Farmers’ Market 10am-12pm Village Hall (01424 882 836) Ditchling Farmers’ Market 10am-2pm Garden Pride Garden Centre (01825 872 214) Feastbourne Eastbourne (www.feastbourne.com)

Saturday October 13th Apple Affair 10.30-5pm West Dean Gardens (01243 818 210) Feastbourne Eastbourne (www.feastbourne.com) Hailsham Farmers’ Market 9am-12.30pm Cattle Market (01323 833 359) Horsham Farmers’ Market 9am-4pm Carfax (07734 397 890) Pevensey Bay Farmers’ Market 9am-11.45am St Wilfrid’s Hall (01323 460 178) Shoreham by Sea Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm East St (01273 454 628) West Chiltington Farmers’ Market 9am-12pm Village Hall (01798 813 737)

Sunday October 14th Apple Affair 10.30-5pm West Dean Gardens (01243 818 210)

Wednesday October 17th Billingshurst Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm Jengers Mead (07734 397 890) East Dean Village Market 10am-12.30pm Village Hall (01323 423 481) Rye Farmers’ Market 10am-1pm Strand Quay (01797 280 282)

Thursday October 18th East Grinstead Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm High St (02392 471 548) Seaford Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Church St (01323 423 481)

Friday October 19th Brede Farmers’ Market 10am-12pm Village Hall (01424 882 836) Chichester Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Cattle Market (02392 471 548) Eastbourne Farmers’ Market 9.30am-1.30pm The Enterprise Centre (01825 872 214) Henfield Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Library Car Park (01825 872 214)

Saturday October 20th Arundel Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Market Square, Town Quay, Jubilee Gardens (01903 884 772) Battle Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Battle Abbey Green (01424 751 575) Brighton & Hove Fair Trade & Farmers’ Market 11am-4pm Friends’ Meeting House, Ship St (01273 675 778) Heathfield Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Co-op Car Park (01435 862 798) Horsham Farmers’ Market 9am-4pm Carfax (07734 397 890)

Wednesday October 24th East Dean Village Market 10am-12.30pm Village Hall (01323 423 481) Littlehampton Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm High St (01903 713 436) Rye Farmers’ Market 10am-1pm Strand Quay (01797 280 282)

Thursday October 25th Bexhill-on-Sea Farmers’ Market 9am-12pm Methodist Hall, Parkhurst Rd (01424 222 969) Haywards Heath Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm Haywards Rd West Car Park (02392 471 548)

Friday October 26th Brede Farmers’ Market 10am-12pm Village Hall (01424 882 836)

Saturday October 27th Crowborough Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Pine Grove Car Park (01892 664 064) Cuckmere Valley Farmers’ Market 10am-12.30pm English Wine Centre (01323 871 271) Hove Farmers’ Market 10am-3pm George St (01273 470 900) Hassocks Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm National Tyres Forecourt (07968 212 372) Horsham Farmers’ Market 9am-4pm Carfax (07734 397 890) Petworth Farmers’ Market 8.30am-1.30pm Market Square (01243 785 166) Pullborough Farmers’ Market 9am-12pm Village Hall (01798 875 388)

Sunday October 28th Firle Farmers’ Market 10am-2pm Middle Farm (01323 811 411)

Wednesday October 31st East Dean Village Market 10am-12.30pm Village Hall (01323 423 481) Rye Farmers’ Market 10am-1pm Strand Quay (01797 280 282)

Thursday November 1st Arundel Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Market Square, Town Quay, Jubilee Gardens (01903 884 772) East Grinstead Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm High St (02392 471 548)

Friday November 2nd Brede Farmers’ Market 10am-12pm Village Hall (01424 882 836) Chichester Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Cattle Market (02392 471 548) Eastbourne Farmers’ Market 9.30am-1.30pm The Enterprise Centre (01825 872 214)

Saturday November 3rd Crowhurst Farmers’ Market 10am-12pm Village Hall (01424 830 461) Ford Farmers’ Market 7.30am-2pm Ford Airfield (02392 613 601) Horsham Farmers’ Market 9am-4pm Carfax (07734 397 890) Lewes Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Lewes Pedestrian Precinct (01273 470 900) Steyning Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm High St Car Park (01403 711 057) Uckfield Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Luxford Car Park (01892 664 064)

Sunday November 4th Brighton & Hove Farmers’ Market 10am-3pm Ralli Hall, Denmark Villas (01273 323 200)

Wednesday November 7th Bognor Regis Farmers’ Market 9am-3pm London Rd (01243 863 141) East Dean Village Market 10am-12.30pm Village Hall (01323 423 481) Rye Farmers’ Market 10am-1pm Strand Quay (01797 280 282)

Thursday November 8th Burgess Hill Farmers’ Market 9am-2pm Church Walk Shopping Precinct (02392 471 548) Hastings Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm Wellington Place (01424 457 109) Wisborough Green Farmers’ Market 9am-12pm Village Green (01403 700 939)

Friday November 9th Brede Farmers’ Market 10am-12pm Village Hall (01424 882 836) Ditchling Farmers’ Market 10am-2pm Garden Pride Garden Centre (01825 872 214)

Saturday November 10th Hailsham Farmers’ Market 9am-12.30pm Cattle Market (01323 833 359) Horsham Farmers’ Market 9am-4pm Carfax (07734 397 890) Pevensey Bay Farmers’ Market 9am-11.45am St Wilfrid’s Hall (01323 460 178) Shoreham by Sea Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm East St (01273 454 628) West Chiltington Farmers’ Market 9am-12pm Village Hall (01798 813 737)

Monday November 12th Eat Sussex Winter Issue out now


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Bridge Farm QP (Eat Sussex) 09071 1

30/8/07 17:27:01

Sussex Special Reserve

Lamb

The Trust’s thriving grazing operation now produces surplus lambs. We offer this high quality product for sale to our members and local people. The income helps make the grazing project self-supporting.

The lamb is: Traditional breeds with distinctive flavours (Herdwick, Shetland, Hebridean, Wiltshire and Southdown) Naturally-reared on our nature reserves Raised to high welfare standards & ‘food-miles’ are low Used to graze internationally-important conservation sites Benefiting key downland species like the adonis blue butterfly and the burnt orchid £55 (half lamb), £100 (whole lamb)… A sizzling idea for BBQ’s!.... now available 2 kilo pack of burgers or sausages (£14) Our farm butcher uses traditional finishing techniques to produce a higher quality, full-flavoured, tender meat.

For further details and to place an order please contact: Sharon Beeney at Woods Mill

Taking Care of Sussex

CHANTONBURY GAME At Chantonbury Game we can supply you with the best free-range Game & Venison from the fields and woods of Sussex. Then we dress and prepare it for the table in modern hygenic premises. Available direct from the farm or farmers markets. CHANTONBURY GAME North Farm, Washington, Pulborough, West Sussex. RH20 4BB Tel: 01903 877551 Fax: 01903 872868

(01273) 492630

OPEN September to February 6 days-a-week, 9am-5pm

February to August Friday & Saturday only, 9am-4pm Autumn 2007

Chantonbury Game QP (Eat Sussex)1 1

30/8/07 21:31:50


The wild side

Fergus Drennan: The Wild Side “Great sex, great food, great books and films, great music and so many other great things are so because they are punctuated by the magic of stillness”

T

he hows, wheres, whys

50

and whens of wild food and foraging are all themes that I’ll be returning to again in future issues. For now though, let’s turn to them briefly and, in addressing the question ‘why?’ look into just one of the specific reasons for attributing life-enhancing properties to such foods and the act of finding them. Why? Of course a whole range of explanations could be offered as to why one might forage or why, indeed – as I believe, it’s good to forage: connection or reconnection though is a very important one – but to what? I think the search for wild food fosters and facilitates both a uniquely responsive seasonal awareness and, indeed, lunar or moon-phase awareness – especially if gathering from costal habitats. This can connect us to the intimate, magical and often hidden secrets of the natural world. Foraging is to swim and be supported within the vast tidal ebbs and flows of both human and natural history; it is a reconnection of respect, understanding and appreciation to our ancestral heritage as vibrant, living reality – a dreamtime of the possible and of becoming… When? You can forage any season and every season – even in winter with reasonable success. Indeed, that is one of the

Autumn 2007

greatest joys of foraging in the UK. Recently a journalist posed me the following question: Is it annoying having to forage in winter? For me there was and is really only one possible answer: Great sex, great food, great books and films, great music, great conversations and so many other great things are so because they’re not defined by the monotony of ceaseless continuity but, rather, are punctuated by the magic of stillness, of silence, by the magic of opposites and contrasts. I love winter but only as one of the four great foraging seasons. Where? As well as benefiting from the varied fruits of fourfold seasonality there is the great and bounteous variety inherent in the fabulous complement of different habitats we have in this country: Arable land – including orchards and fallow land. Grassland – improved, neutral, acidic, calcareous. Woodland – broadleaved, mixed, coniferous. Scrub. Mountain. Moor. Heath. Down. Fen. Marsh. Swamp. Bog. Rivers, streams, canals. Boundaries – hedgerow, ditches, roadsides, tracks, footpaths, grass verges, railway embankments. Wasteland and brownfield sites. Estuaries and, of course, coastal habitats – each has their own unique complement of plants. Where? In short, everywhere! How? With keen observation and awareness; with thoughts of

sustainability and environmental concern to the fore; with childlike awe and wonder; with joy, humour and creativity. As for a specific how, what, when, where and why for September, here’s just one possibility: What? Mirabelle or Mirabelletype yellow wild cherry plums. When? Right now! This year the trees are so heavy hung with fruit they almost seem to implore the passer by to pick and ease their load. Fruit still on the tree this month will be ripened to perfection. Where? Along the edges of fields and footpaths, near train lines and sometimes in public parks. How? Pick into a rigid basket or container of some sort rather

than a bag to minimize spoilage; also, again to reduce spoilage, if harvesting a large amount and not using immediately, pick into a few containers rather than a single one so that they’re not crushed by their own weight. Remove any stalks as you go to save time later and keep an eye out for maggoty ones. Rinse well before eating or preparing. Why? Because they’re so abundant and easy to pick. Also, they’re incredibly versatile. You can use them for juice, jelly, jams, crumbles, chutney, cheesing (concentrating), cordial, puree, pickling, pies, stewing, wine, beer and, lets not forget of course, eating fresh straight from the tree! n Next issue: All about fungi.


Glynde Place Saturday and Sunday 22–23rd September 10.30am – 5.00pm (last entrance 4.00pm) Purchase one or more advance tickets online and save £2 per ticket.* On the gate prices: £8 adult or £10 with Festival wine glass. £5 students and over 65s. Children 12 and under go free. *Subject to a £1.50 booking fee

• Amanda Grant’s Kids’ Kitchen • Butchery demonstrations • Fish demonstrations • Picnics in the park • Access to the house and gardens

Food, wine, tastings, talks and treasure. All against the backdrop of the glorious Sussex Downs. www.glynde.co.uk


Eat Sussex