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CRUMBS Cotswolds NO. 47 NOVEMBER 2016


A little slice of foodie heaven





No. NOVEMber 2016


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e Curs h t O f ye ’s tummOn! ballO







2 are ‘fair game’!




Lend me a tenner!


+ TOO many cOOks? (TOO few, mOre like)

Why there’s a chef shortage (and what we can dO about


I can’t! The farmer milked me dry!

ALL WHITE NOW THE MASS PRODUCTION of food is a bit of a worry, but one that a lot of us ignore when we’re trying to save a bob or two – you know, at the end of the month when your pay packet has dwindled to shrapnel. But chatting to two legendary local producers this month has really got me thinking about changing my shopping habits completely: they say buying organic and buying artisan is not only better for the local economy and community, it’s damn right better for your health, too. Intolerant to milk? Trouble digesting bread? Have a read of what they say on pages 11 and 44 respectively, and perhaps you might be tempted to give these two staples another go. (Beware, though: their wares taste so good, cream and sourdough could soon become a major component part of your daily diet…) In an ideal world, all big businesses would keep strong connections to their local roots. We’ve just visited two recently refurbished Cotswolds hotels that boast new head chefs, and in the process have made a new commitment to sourcing locally for their menus – great news. Find out more on pages 70 and 72. Finally, readers still in denial about the impending holly days should look away now: this issue we’ve sought out the best Christmas menus for your shindigs ,and unwrapped the greatest gift guide for foodies in the region. Grannies, dads, nippers – we’ve got all the relations covered. Have a great month, and see you next issue when things get really glittery…


Charlie Lyon, Editor


Crumbs is now an app! You can read all editions of Crumbs – Bath+Bristol, Cotswolds and Devon – on iTunes or Android. Scan the QR codes opposite, search ‘Crumbs’ or go to


Table of Contents












large version




9 Milk makes up the base of this tasty haddock chowder 26 Alex Hely-Hutchinson puts a twist on porridge

8 HERO INGREDIENT Milk is having a moment 16 OPENINGS ETC So much to eat, so little time 20 FOOD DIARY School dinners just got better

New & notable restaurants, cafés, bars 70 The Sheep 72 Tewkesbury Park

KITCHEN ARMOURY 44 HOUSE CALL You ‘knead’ to know all about baker Max Abbott


Amazing recipes from the region’s top kitchens


30 A tangy pheasant curry from Katriona MacGregor 32 Looking and tasting good is Mini Patel’s veal pie 34 Riverford gives away its squashy bottom secret 36 A plucky partridge recipe from Shaun Smith 38 Celia Duplock rounds off with a vegan choc mousse

52 WHAT’S ON THE MENU? Christmas feasting highlights across the Cotswolds 58 THE CHEF SHORTAGE Where’s all our kitchen talent? 61 XMAS GIFT GUIDE We shopped, so you don’t have to drop

MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW; 01225 475800 large version

© All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. MediaClash reserves the right to reject any material and to edit such prior to publication. Opinions are those of individual authors. Printed on paper from a well-managed source. Inks are vegetable-based; printer is certified to ISO 14001 environmental management. This month we’ve mainly been discussing if it really was okay, as a student, to use own-brand Irish cream liqueur on your cereal when you’d run out of milk...




74 LITTLE BLACK BOOK Favourite local spots, from the girls behind LoveBites

This brand new Christmas party package puts a twist on tradition but will still include everything you need for the most memorable and exclusive Christmas Party. 3 COURSE BUFFET AND DISCO On selected dates throughout December from 7pm until 1am. Minimum numbers apply. £10pp deposit, non refundable and non transferable, fully pre paid at the time of booking.

£28 per person

To find out more call our Christmas Co-ordinators

01285 864333





WHAT’S THAT ON the horizon? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s bloomin’ Christmas! Yikes, sound the klaxon – there it is, in all its red-tinged, fur-trimmed glory. Time to dash into town at each available opportunity, to frantically buy up anything you touch for everyone you know. Or is it? Know a foodie who loves Crumbs? Of course you do! Then snap up this bargain from your comfy ol’ home: visit crumbsmag. com today and click the ‘subscribe’ tab and you can give the gift that keeps on giving, a year’s subscription to Crumbs with 20% off! That’s 13 issues mailed to your mate’s door – whether in one of the Crumbs areas or not – for just £31.20. Just enter the code CRUMBSXMAS in the box at the top of the page. #doneanddusted. ✱


Hero Ingredients

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Dairy is one of the Cotswolds’ great industries, and fantastic local milk is a thing of joy, but it struggles: blame the supermarkets, blame health scares, and blame utter confusion over how and when we should consume it…

IT’S ONE OF our most widely used ingredients – especially in puddings. It’s referred to as a ‘complete food’, heaving with the nutrients essential to a balanced diet – and if not sufficient on its own for adults, it’s certainly (in human breast-based form) just the thing for new born babies. Yes, we’re talking milk. Milk, created in the mammary glands as nutrition for baby mammals unable to digest solid food. Milk, which more than six billion of us consume around the globe. Milk, which we’ve been stealing from other animals since 9,000BC – something we acknowledge in our use of the term ‘milk’ to mean taking advantage of someone. Milk, which Greek myth says the Milky Way is made from (messy Hera split hers after feeding infant Heracles). Milk, the production of which we industrialised in the mid-19th century, to the point where it soon had the most efficient supply-line of any food. Milk, which we started bottling and pasteurising around 1880. And milk, once seen as a no-brainer part of a healthy diet – but no longer. (More on that later.) Of course, in recent years milk has not been without its controversies. Indeed, there are few foodie areas where the debate rages quite as hard as it does over the dairy industry. Are we cut out to consume the milk of another species? Are milk alternatives the future? Do supermarkets sell milk too cheap, destroying an industry? (It’s certainly grim that the price per litre is below break-even point for many producers.) And did David Beckham et al look stupid with those ‘milk mustaches’ in the

long running American press ads? And beyond all that, what about all the fat in milk? And the intolerances that we all seem to have suddenly developed for it? Part of the problem here is simply one of confusion: current thinking has it that maybe one-in-twenty of us have lactose intolerance per se – meaning we can’t break down the sugar in milk properly, thanks to a shortage of the enzyme lactase. This leaves it to fester in our gut, bringing bloating, cramping, farting, zit-bursting, and a further-ing we’re not even going to mention here. Way more of us, however, have some milder form of dairy intolerance, maybe as many as one in five. For these folk, it’s a1 casein (a protein found in the milk of big Western cows) that causes the problem, while a2 casein (in the milk of goats, sheep and, yes, people) is much easier to digest. Got it? Not quite: for these figures are for Europe, the USA, Australia. Venture south and east – especially to China and the bottom half of Africa – and the intolerance situation often gets much worse. The facts are confusing, then, because they’re complicated – and few good answers apply across the board. Of course, in many ways it’s a miracle we’re not all intolerant to milk. Once upon a time no adult could digest milk (children could, but not grown-ups; they simply didn’t produce the lactase necessary), so we turned most of our milk into cheese and curds, which we could cope with. But then, thousands of years ago, a chance mutation changed the European makeup, and suddenly


we could happily handle it. Hurrah! Even now, though, adults need to regularly consume milk to cope with it properly – quit, and our lactase production quickly slips into decline.  And what can we do with most of these – besides drink it, either on its own or in tea or coffee? Think creamy soups and curries; homemade cheeses, from cottage to ricotta; milk puds, from blancmange to yoghurt, panna cotta to rice pudding; and fish or pork poached in the stuff. Heck, simply think milk splashed, Tony the Tiger-style, over your breakfast cereal of choice… We’ll leave this with three milk thoughts. First, because milk is so cheap – think 45p a pint or so – we tend to buy too much then throw the remainder away, usually before it’s actually gone off. Indeed, some six million glasses a day are chucked, we’re told, in the UK alone – which means we really should start building up our repertoire of milk recipes to make use of the spare, and pronto. Secondly, drinking plenty of milk is still seen to have many benefits. The calcium is great for bone growth and strength, particularly important in teens and older folk. It’s heaving with vitamin D (don’t have rickets? Thank milk), and the protein builds and repairs muscles, great for the more sporting amongst us. And, last, a top tip. We all keep milk in the fridge door – it has spaces designed for it, after all – but we really shouldn’t. In the main body of the fridge the temperature is much more static, and guess what? Yes, all that opening and closing, heating up and cooling down, is doing our pints no good at all…



750ml whole milk 750g smoked haddock fillet ó tsp black peppercorns, crushed 2 bay leaves 50g unsalted butter 5 sticks Fenland celery, chopped into 2-3cm pieces 1 onion, sliced 1 carrot, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, crushed 175ml white wine 2 tbsp plain flour 2 medium sized potatoes, diced 200g can sweetcorn, drained handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped lemon juice, a squeeze to taste 4 large fresh eggs METHOD

– Pour the milk into a wide-based pan and add the fish, cutting it into pieces if necessary so it fits in a single layer. Add the bay leaves. – Cover and poach the fish gently for 5-8 minutes. Lift the fish onto a plate, set aside and reserve the poaching milk. – Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based pan with celery, onion, carrot and garlic and sweat over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the white wine and allow to reduce by half. Stir through the flour and pour in the poaching milk, mixing until thickened. Add the potatoes and the sweetcorn, cover with a lid and simmer gently until the potatoes are just cooked through (around 30 minutes). – Flake the fish, discarding the skin and removing any small bones. Add to the pan just as the potatoes are cooked to warm through. Add the parsley and lemon juice. – Poach the eggs then serve the chowder in bowls, topped with the eggs. ✱; thanks to Pam Lloyd PR (




Ask the Expert

Ladies first


When it comes to quality dairy, Jess Vaughn from Hardwicke Farm in Gloucestershire knows her stuff. She’s been winning awards for her Jess’s Ladies organic milk and cream, which she makes on the farm she runs with her dad. Read on for her milky musings...


Ask the Expert Jess, congrats! We hear you’ve just won an impressive 15 stars at the 2016 Great Taste Awards… Yes! We won three stars for our organic natural yoghurt and double cream, plus two stars for our single cream, extra thick cream, semi-skimmed and whole milk. We also got one for our newest line, cultured buttermilk. Why do you think you scooped so many accolades? Processing our own milk on site allows us to provide organic produce that is fresh, full of taste and untampered with. We pride ourselves on our milk from quality organic clover pastures, and cows who enjoy long, happy lives. Okay! Until we can track down a bottle, tell us about the taste... You can taste the flavours of the pastures in the milk and cream – it subtly changes in flavour throughout the year. We have total control over it, from the grass seed we plant, to the cows we breed, to how we pasteurise and process it. The cream tastes like cream used to taste – full of flavour, rich, golden and pure. Sounds pretty good! So why is it better than the supermarket stuff? Our organic milk is so fresh, it can leave our ladies and be made into cream within an hour. It is gently pasteurised, so we do not damage it with pumps – milk is incredibly fragile and needs processing with care. Mass production simply does not allow for this.

You can taste the pasture in the Jess’s Ladies Organic milk and cream, says Jess

We’ve heard you don’t homogenise your milk. We totally understand what that means (hem hem), but can you shed some light for the readers? Homogenising was developed to benefit the milk processor, not the consumer. It is homogenising that makes milk taste bland, and not so full of flavour as it should. It’s done so that dairy produce lasts longer. Being an inherently shortlife product creates problems when you are trying to shift large volumes of milk many miles, as is now commonplace in the mainstream supply chain. Homogenising reduces the fat particles, by forcing the milk through very fine holes at extremely high pressure to such a fine extent they

no longer separate out. The process ensures the milk lasts longer, and is why most supermarket milk is very white, not a natural creamy colour, and also why there’s no cream line in the milk. It also means it does not absorb smell as readily – one of the main signs that it is past its best. Homogenisation also makes digestion difficult, and is a major reason why some people cannot tolerate cow’s milk. A huge amount of people who think they are intolerant to milk are actually fine with ours. We do not homogenise our milk, because we want it to be as natural as possible and taste amazing. Even our processing plant is gravity fed, meaning that the milk is not damaged by excessive pumping.


What about pasteurisation? There’s talk that we should be leaving this out, and drinking the raw stuff. What do you think? There is a huge amount of confusion between pasteurisation and homogenisation, alarmingly even in some high-profile places, which does lead to a lot of misinformed ideas. A huge amount of people who ask us for raw milk, actually mean unhomogenised! In summary, pasteurisation makes it safe; homogenisation makes it boring. Milk does have pathogenic bacteria in it, and pasteurisation makes it totally safe. I cannot taste the difference between raw milk and our pasteurised breakfast milk – so is raw worth the risk? I think


Ask the Expert every business needs stability of some sort. With raw milk your local authority can stop you producing overnight if there is an issue, so it is just not a viable option for us. Is dairy really good for you? Isn't almond milk or soya milk the stuff we should be drinking now? Dairy is certainly good for you. The amount of vitamins in milk is just amazing – after all, it is the only liquid we could actually live on (if we had to!). All vitamins in milk are fat-soluble, though, so people should, if they are in need of extra vitamins, drink whole milk. Half fat means half the vitamins. There has been a huge amount of research lately on good and bad fats, and dairy is repeatedly coming out as a good fat. Obviously, eat everything in moderation, but arguably a natural product is always going to be better for you than a prepared, sweetened or salted one.  I think that alternative ‘milk’ has its place, though, for people with genuine intolerances. But is the milk from a plant or a nut or a seed actually milk? Or is it a juice? And can you hope for the same nutritional profile as that of dairy milk? No, of course not. Everything has its place, but people shouldn’t actually substitute it for dairy milk and hope for the same result – in reality, it is a totally different product. I have been asked if we produce almond milk on our farm a few times – which just goes to show how disjointed and confused the whole thing is becoming, with drinks like that being branded as milk. Any chance you can look into your crystal ball and tell us the future for dairy farming, then? Currently, the future for dairy farming in the UK is bleak. This has been caused in part by oversupply, largely fuelled by the margins being so absurdly low per litre. The only way to survive is to have farm output as high as possible, which, in turn, makes the oversupply worse and exacerbates the problem. Milk is just too cheap, and the price paid back to farmers far too little. Most work well, well below the minimum wage – perhaps if we were paid by the hour, rather than the litre, all this would be illegal! I think most members of the public would pay a bit more for their milk. The

Jess’s cows have such a comfy life they can sometimes live till 21 (that’s over 90 in human years!)

thought that the industry is repeatedly placed in jeopardy for a few pence per litre (literally, pence a bottle!) is, to me, ridiculous. It is such a fantastic product – it would still be good value even at a few pence more. In 2006 there were 14,500 dairy farmers – half the number of 10 years previously. This year there are 9,500 left, with predictions that one in five will be forced to close within the next year, and others saying that there will be less than 5,000 by 2020. It is sad. It is not just the farms that will shut, but the countryside and its landscape will be changed forever. Organically, things look a bit more promising, but as we found when we first converted, oversupply can soon wreck any market, and it must be kept in balance to ensure this does not happen. What can we do, as consumers, to help the dairy industry? Buy from small producers like us, if you can. Some supermarkets give excellent price promises to farmers (Sainsbury’s has always been a very moral set up). And this goes for everything, I guess – do not buy cheap food if you can help it.


The supermarkets stock what customers buy – they see everything you buy as a vote. If you don’t like what you see, don’t buy it. Shop responsibly, and remember that every purchase is a vote to stock that product again, and in turn it’s a vote to support whatever farming system that comes from. We’ve got a little bit of space left, so tell us about your ladies… Our farm is 225 acres, located just between the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal and the River Severn. We milk 70 cows (the ladies!), all of whom we reared ourselves, so we have the ‘followers’ (young cows) on site as well. We do not calve our cows until they are a minimum of three years old, and they live an average of 13 to 15 years, which is very old for a dairy cow. Until recently we had one of the oldest milking cows in the country, Katie, who was 21! ✱ Get your hands on Jess's Ladies products at independent stores, farmshops, schools, delis and restaurants throughout Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds and at Gloucester Services;



Following our extensive refurbishment we are proud to announce that The Howard Arms is once again open for business!


available 2.30pm-5pm, Monday-Saturday

A traditional country inn overlooking the Coln Valley 15 stunning rooms Cosy bar and restaurant serving great food Local ales, as well as ciders and lagers on tap Selection of high-quality wines and spirits Outside terrace and dining

“Tranquil village pub with a good menu ” THE NEW INN, COLN ST ALDWYNS

01285 750651

The Howard Arms, Lower Green, Ilmington, Nr Shipton-on-Stour, Warwickshire CV36 4LT

01608 682 226



Openings Etc RAISE A GLASS Massive kudos to Crumbs fave The Salutation Inn for winning Best Pub in the South West in CAMRA’s recent Regional Pub of the Year awards. They’ll now go head to head with 15 others to fight it out for National Pub of the Year (old hat, though – they scooped it before in 2014). The pub was praised for its quality real ales (it has a micro brewery on site, and has just launched its own Sally Cider), customer atmosphere and community focus. Congrats to the whole team. ✱



There’s nothing finer or more deluxe than being one of the first guests to check in to a shiny new spa hotel. The Cotswold House Hotel & Spa has undergone a massive £1m restoration, and officially opened on 6 October with a new restaurant, bistro (pictured above) and bedrooms. It’s in the centre of Chipping Camden, and has a boutique spa with six treatment rooms, hydrotherapy pool and steam room. Lahvly.

Pint Shop has launched its second venue in Oxford, following on from the big success of the original joint in Cambridge. It’s a meat, beer and bread specialist that takes inspiration from the beer houses of the 1830s, but has a contemporary twist. The vibe is rustic and cool, with beers sourced from small breweries, bar snacks, charcoal grilled mains (including soufflés and tarts for veggies), steaks and 92 gins, including “a pea-based gin handmade exclusively for the site.”



In the diary... (9 Nov) LEARN TO COOK WITH GAME There’s a fun and inspiring masterclass, followed by lunch, at wonderful Kingham Plough. Tickets cost £35. ✱ (11, 12, 25, 26 Nov) ROSS & ROSS @ LASSCO THREE PIGEONS Four nights of spectacular food at this wonderfully unique venue. Tickets cost £35. ✱ (22 Nov-13 Dec) EFFORTLESS CHRISTMAS ENTERTAINING Every Tuesday, for four weeks, learn to hone your Christmas cooking skills. £95 per person per session. ✱

Pie in the making with rich autumn fruits, looking tasty before it’s even cooked @organicliqueurs


@daylesfordfarm free range, organic chickens make the most of the autumn sunshine


Coffees from 8.30am weekdays • Lunch & Dinner daily • Group Dining • Food on Sundays 12 – 8pm • Accommodation High Street, Meysey Hampton, Gloucestershire, GL7 5JT • 01285 850164 •


Askthe yourManager waiter Ask Who knows the menu best? Who makes the greatest impact on your experience? Who knows the menu best? Who makes the greatest impact on your experience? Front-of-house is your friend! Front-of-house is your friend!

How long have you worked here? As sister to Simpsons’ co-founder, James Ritchie, I have worked in the fish and chip business since I was 15. I’ve been at Simpsons full time now for just under a year, and can’t imagine being anywhere else. And what’s the best thing about working at Simpsons? Without a doubt, it’s the team. Everyone works together – and to be able to work in the best fish and chip shop in the whole of the UK is an immense privilege! What’s the most challenging part of the job? Learning the knack of not burning yourself while frying the fish. Burns on your arms are like a badge of honour in the fish and chip trade! That, and working with your big brother – although I’m surprised we don’t bicker more than we do.


Say hiya to Daisy Frampton, restaurant manager at Simpsons Fish & Chips in Cheltenham

What skills have you learnt since coming here? How to make top notch fish and chips! Although it’s not rocket science, there is a certain level of skill required to getting the best-loved British dish absolutely spot on. Just like Goldilocks’ porridge, the consistency of the batter has to be just right. For the chips, we use groundnut oil, and we know they’re perfect when they’re crunchy and golden. Lovingly prepared simple ingredients with no added nastiness: that’s the Simpsons secret. What sort of customers do you get? A real mix! Fish and chips is a dish of the nation, so we get everyone from foodies to friends and families. What are the bestselling dishes at the moment? Battered halloumi is proving a real crowd pleaser, along with ‘frickles’ –


fried pickles, for those not in the know. They’re a conversation starter! What are the best-selling drinks? Behind our bar we stock Donnington Brewery’s Cotswold Beer and Cotswold Lager – both great pairings with fish and chips. What makes the restaurant a special place to visit? We recently worked with Kelly at Shadowplay Design to redesign our entire restaurant. The shop has an edgy, retro look, complete with a lettered light box, reclaimed vintage Union Jack and our very own handpainted mural. It’s pretty awesomelooking, and unlike any other fish and chip shop I’ve ever seen. If you were a customer today, what would you order? My go-to order is always half king prawns, half scampi with chips, curry sauce, and tartar sauce. It’s the best of both worlds, with the breaded scampi and battered king prawns. What do you think makes great customer service? From the fryers in the kitchen to the front of house guys and girls, it all comes down to everyone working together as part of a team. This way, we all take real care to ensure every single part of someone’s visit to Simpsons is of the best standard. Simpsons wouldn’t have got as far as it has without the team behind it. James and Bonny are at the heart of it all and are, I have to say, fantastic to work alongside. ✱

THIS COULD BE YOU! Contact us at:



With plenty of seasonal, locally sourced food to hand, Caroline Stokes is as happy catering for hundreds of school children as she is for herself and her husband INSPIRED AS A girl by her grandmother’s delicious, AGA-cooked creations, Caroline is the catering manager at Beaudesert Park School – the co-ed independent school on the edge of Minchinhampton Common. She’s also the creator of a school pudding so good it earned her a slot on primetime TV! With the emphasis on homemade, nutritious and delicious food that will tempt even the most reticent child to eat well, Caroline leads a skilled team of 13 to produce a vast array of good food for an army of 50 staff, plus 450 boys and girls (aged 3-13), many of whom flexi-board, so need breakfast and supper as well! ✱





My working day at school starts early, so I have breakfast there. Today I choose wholemeal toast and Cotswold honey.

Lasagne is a school dinner favourite – and one of mine too, with crisp green leaves and seeds from the salad bar.

I eat at school today, and who wouldn’t when there’s chicken and asparagus risotto on the menu?


Weetabix with milk. Columbian filter coffee.

So many school lunch options confuse me today! Meat? Veggie? Panini? An oven-baked sweet potato jacket with roasted veg wins.

Dinner out at the ever-reliable Gumstool Inn at Calcot. Sea bass with salsa verde, fresh greens and new potatoes. Yum.


Granola with chopped fresh fruit and coffee.

The children love pasta, and I need filling up today too, so I enjoy macaroni and spinach gratin.

Having ‘taste tested’ homemade sandwiches and lemon drizzle cake while preparing for a sports match tea, dinner isn’t required!


Poached egg on wholemeal toast. Coffee.

Roast day at Beaudesert, so I lunch on roast pork with stuffing and apple sauce, plus a health-boosting pile of freshly steamed, seasonal veg.

Spinach salad with home-grown tomatoes, a slice or two of Parma ham, and a good chunk of Hobbs House bread.


Porridge with fresh fruit and just a little sprinkle of soft brown sugar – heaven on a teaspoon.

Saving myself for tonight, I enjoy a warming bowl of butternut squash soup with sage, and a hunk of granary bread.

Friends for dinner equals goat’s cheese and red onion tart, followed by a luscious lamb tagine, then my signature tarte tatin.


As a treat we have a cooked breakfast – scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, rye bread and black pepper.

After a filling late breakfast, we skip lunch and get on with some gardening and DIY instead.

I rustle up a board of cured meats, local cheeses, rocket and bread for us, followed by a dollop of my home-made coffee ice cream.


A quick skim of the papers with a bowl of granola, Greek yoghurt and berries sets me up for the day.

With children and grandchildren arriving, it’s roast chicken with fresh veg and all the trimmings, followed by my lemon meringue pie.

We’re still recovering from lunch, so it’s just a slice of brie with chilli jam on wholemeal toast.


01793 762 364 • 1 Westrop, Highworth, Swindon SN6 7HJ

A visit to The Highworth will get you in the festive spirit this Christmas Now taking bookings for festive lunches and dinners throughout the run up to Christmas. Prices start from £15.95 per person




All our festive menus and further details on all of our events are available on our website early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment. • Breakfast • Lunch • A La Carte Menu • Sunday Lunch • Afternoon Tea • Snacks • Cocktails • Bedrooms • Courtyard Garden • Function Rooms • Weddings • Events • Great home cooked food using local produce



New Kid kid on on the the Block block New Great to have you in Crumbs, James. Tell us, when did you begin cooking? As a child I always loved cooking by my mother’s side. Our cupboards were full of cakes, jams and chutneys made with my grandmother’s recipes. Have you got any other fond foodie memories from your childhood? My earliest memory is eating my mum’s homemade shepherd’s pie, after playing rugby in the rain.

Which other local restaurants do you like to eat at? I live in Cheltenham, and love the variety the town has to offer, from two-star Le Champignon Sauvage for celebrations to Mocha, which serves the best coffee in town.

What first inspired you to cook professionally? I grew up watching chefs like Gary Rhodes and the Roux brothers on TV. I started then to recreate the dishes I loved.

What are your favourite ingredients at the moment? Autumn brings with it great seasonal produce, including venison and blackberries from the Bibury hedgerows.

What was your very first job in the industry? My first full-time job was at The Greenhouse in London, where I worked as a commis chef under the guidance of Paul Merrett, who taught me the skills I still hold dear today.

Have you got any favourite suppliers you use for the restaurant? We have to mention our neighbours, Bibury Trout Farm, but New Wave Seafood in Fairford also supply us with great fish from British waters, and the produce from Kelmscott Country Pork, near Lechlade, is outstanding.

What’s the toughest job you’ve tackled so far? That would be as head pastry chef at The Star Inn at Harome, which holds a Michelin star. Meeting the exacting standards of head chef and owner, Andrew Pern, was a challenge I relished. And what’s your proudest career achievement? It has to be working as part of a small team at Loch Torridon Hotel and Inn, where we achieved three rosettes and a Bib Gourmand in a kitchen where everything was prepared in house.

FLYING HIGH Ta-da! It’s only head chef James Wilson, spreading his wings at The Swan Hotel, Bibury

we can, and consider ourselves extremely lucky to have so many wonderful Cotswold producers on our doorstep, including the fabulous Bibury trout.

How would you describe your style of cooking? It’s modern European with a heavy local influence and a focus on quality, seasonal produce. What attracted you to The Swan Hotel? The hotel is beautiful, and sits close to an abundance of excellent local produce. I’m really excited to make my mark on the menu. So, how have you approached it? We try to use as many local ingredients as


What kind of meals do you cook at home? My wife is a marathon runner, so the food I cook at home usually revolves around her training. Her favourite before a big race is pea and smoked bacon risotto. Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without? Every chef values and coverts his knives. Favourite cookery book? White Heat by Marco Pierre White is, in my opinion, the best cook book of all time. Got any foodie heroes? Andrew Pern at The Star Inn, Harome. As a selftaught chef, he has gone on to achieve a Michelin star and build an empire. Current favourite flavour combination? Cotswold beetroot with Wood Sage honey and Cerney Ash goat’s cheese. ✱ the-swan-hotel


“This masterpiece of a pub manages to make the ordinary extraordinary… beer nirvana indeed…yes the Red Lion even has a fine crowd to add to its collection of collections” The Telegraph Weekend (Adrian Tierney Jones)

MEETINGS AND PRIVATE DINING We have the perfect space available for you whether you are looking for a meeting or private family dinner for 16 people or for a group of up to 40 friends for a celebratory lunch. Just ask us about what we have available. If you are looking for something a little larger contact us about using our beautiful pub garden for a marquee whether it be for a wedding, christening or family get together.


For more information on this please contact us.


Multi Award Winning Freehouse 74 High Street, Cricklade, Wiltshire SN6 6DD


T: 01793 750776


Kitchen Library The freshest, most inspirational cookbooks of the month



Fast becoming a go-to ingredient for healthconscious foodies, miso is full of culinary possibilities, as this book from Bonnie Chung reveals. The fermented soybean paste, which originates from Japan, is prized for its rich, complex umami flavour, alongside health-giving properties, and it has been used by the Japanese for centuries. In Miso Tasty: The Cookbook, Chung explores the versatility of this paste, with 60 recipes for everyday cooking. The recipes are a mix of classics and new discoveries, from swirling it into a hot stock for miso soup, to mixing with olive oil and mustard for a salad dressing, and using it in a deeply flavoured marinade for barbecued steaks or in spicy fried red miso aubergine. A must for all miso fans.

A fixture on countless ‘best cookbooks of the year’ lists, Dan Doherty’s debut, Duck & Waffle: Recipes and Stories, was a hard act to follow. The brilliantly named followup, Toast Hash Roast Mash, is certainly as good as its predecessor, with the author focussing on the dishes he cooks at home for family and friends. This is a book all about simplicity and informality in the kitchen, with dishes revolving around eggs, pancakes, toast, sweet bakes and other breakfast and brunch ideas. Accompanied by brilliant photography from Danish snapper Anders Schonnemann, stand-out dishes include ricotta, pear and honey on toast; smoked salmon, horseradish and sour cream hash; and shakshouka with mint yoghurt and toasted buckwheat. There’s even a handy chapter devoted to hangover food.

Dan Doherty Mitchell Beazley, £20

Bonnie Chung Pavilion, £14.99



Hailed by Sheila Dillon as ‘Jane Grigson’s real heir’, award-winning Diana Henry is one of the most prolific food writers around, and her latest book is firmly up there with her best so far. Part of Henry’s appeal is the fact that she isn’t a chef but somebody who approaches recipes as a home cook, creating quick, simple and delicious meals for her family. There are no fancy techniques or cheffy tricks in her recipes, which often transform humble ingredients into flavourpacked dishes with a real wow factor. This is perfectly illustrated by recipes like salad of chorizo, avocado and peppers with sherry dressing; a simple red lentil and pumpkin dal; pappardelle with cavolo nero, chilli and hazelnuts; and roast apple, blackberry and whiskey trifles.

A rising star of the food scene, Alex Hely-Hutchinson runs 26 Grains, a porridge shop and café in London’s Neal’s Yard. Her love for ancient grains was inspired by a year living in Copenhagen, and there is a Scandi feel to her debut cookbook, named after her shop. Featuring 100 recipes that use a variety of grains – from oats and spelt to amaranth and buckwheat – the recipes cover energising breakfast porridges through to wholesome lunchtime salad bowls and nourishing comfort dishes for dinner. We particularly enjoyed the ginger and peach Bircher muesli pots; spelt salad with beetroot, feta, chickpea and apple; and the recipes that turn leftover porridge into pancakes or bread. An innovative book that will make you look at humble grains in an exciting and delicious new light.

Diana Henry Octopus, £25


Alex Hely-Hutchinson Square Peg, £20


26 Grains by Alex Hely-Hutchinson, published by Square Peg, £20

SICILY: RECIPES FROM AN ITALIAN ISLAND Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi Hardie Grant, £25

The meeting point between Africa and Europe, Sicily is a cultural melting pot with an exotic mix of foods married to some of the best local produce in the world. Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi explored the island for this book, meeting the street food vendors, osteria owners and home cooks in search of a true taste of Sicily. The result is a collection of sensational dishes, from antipasti of peppers stuffed with pork mince and herbs to family dishes like salmon baked with orange and thyme, and Sicilian slow-cooked pork, beef and sausage ragu. Sweet treats include almond and honey biscuits and a boozy Marsala semifreddo. With beautiful location photography as well as stunning food shots, it’s also a cookbook with a firm sense of place and history.


THIS IS A traditional savoury porridge from Indonesia, but with a texture similar to risotto. The combination of cloves, bay, galangal and chilli warms the insides and together make an incredibly unique dish. Galangal is a member of the ginger family, but is ginger’s very subtle cousin. You can find galangal in most Asian supermarkets and from many online suppliers. INGREDIENTS

For the porridge: 250g short grain brown rice, soaked in water for 1 hour, then drained 1 ½ ltr chicken stock 2 thumb-sized pieces of galangal (or use 1 piece of root ginger) 4 cloves 3 bay leaves 1 tbsp coconut oil good pinch of white pepper

To serve: 1 tbsp sesame seeds 2 tbsp unsalted peanuts olive oil, for frying 200g cooked chicken, shredded 2 spring onions, thinly sliced 1 small bird’s eye chilli, thinly sliced (deseed if you prefer less heat) 2 large handfuls of spinach handful of coriander leaves, picked and roughly chopped kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) or regular soy sauce METHOD

– Place all the porridge ingredients, except the coconut oil and white pepper, in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, topping up with a little water if it needs it. – While the porridge cooks, prepare the toppings. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying


pan over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously to stop them catching. Do the same with the peanuts, to give them a lovely crunch and depth of flavour. Be careful not to burn them. Once the peanuts have cooled, lightly crush them with a mortar and pestle. – In the same pan, warm a little olive oil and add the shredded chicken to crisp up. – When the porridge is cooked, remove the bay leaves and galangal (or ginger), stir in the coconut oil and white pepper, taste, and adjust the seasoning. – Pour into bowls and top with the spring onions, chilli, spinach, chicken, peanuts, sesame seeds, coriander and kecap manis (or soy sauce).


Golden Pheasant Inn in the heart of Burford

An 18th century inn where you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere, imbibe great ales, sample the home cooked food, and stay for just a while or for the night.

4 dates to choose from: Friday 16th December  Saturday 17th December Thursday 22nd December OR Friday 23rd December 7pm Start • £59 Per Person (payable at time of booking)

Ticket includes: Canapés & bubbles on arrival, turkey dinner with wine, cheese & port, DJ & dancing Dress Code: Formal Free coach to and from Cheltenham Town Hall & The Hollow Bottom BOOK NOW

91 High Street, Burford, Oxfordshire OX18 4QA

01993 823223

 01451 850392  The Hollow Bottom Guiting Power Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL54 5UX

NOW TAKING BOOKINGS FOR CHRISTMAS PARTIES 2 courses £17.50 3 courses £21.50


Highlights NICE AS PIE

Strong ethics are behind The Pointer’s delicious veal pie Page 32


Put cheese and cream in a Riverford squash, and whaddya get? Ta-da: soup! Page 34


Can chocolate mousse be good for you? Yep, says Celia Duplock Page 38

Fair game: it’s shooting season, and we’re cooking the birds on p30 and p36



0 BOWLS NEEDED For eating this soup (p34)

m l a c p e Ke urry on c nd a Chef!


Here’s a fine idea from local gal Katriona MacGregor, who takes amazing Cotswold pheasant to a whole new level Come pheasant season, many people find it tricky to think up imaginative ways to cook this bird, which is in glut for much of the winter. Cooked carefully, it is tender and flavourful and a great alternative to chicken. Pheasant lends itself really well to mild spice, and is especially good paired with the tangy freshness of tamarind in this recipe. All in all, it’s a great way to enliven a muchunderused meat.



1 onion, peeled and finely sliced 1 green pepper, sliced 1 green chilli, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped 1 thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and grated 1 tsp tomato purée 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds 1 tsp turmeric 500g/18oz pheasant breasts 2 tbsp tamarind paste 400ml/14fl oz/1¾ cup coconut milk 1 tbsp soy sauce handful of fresh coriander squeeze of lime METHOD

– Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large wok or frying pan over a moderately high heat and add the sliced onion and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and have taken on a little colour at the edges. – Add the chilli, ginger and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. – Keeping the pan over the heat, stir in the mustard seeds, tomato purée and turmeric, adding a little more oil if the vegetables are dry and catching on the bottom of the pan.


– Chop the pheasant breasts into bitesized pieces and then add to the pan. Stir well over the heat for 3-4 minutes to seal the meat. – Next, add the tamarind paste and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 5-10 minutes until the pheasant pieces are cooked through. Stir in the soy sauce, lime juice and, lastly, a handful of fresh coriander leaves. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if needed. – Serve with wild rice, green beans and plenty of sweet and spicy chutney. Lime pickle is wonderful with this. TOP TIPS FOR COOKING PHEASANT

– Pheasant meat is delicate and doesn’t contain much fat, so dries out easily, especially if overcooked. Be careful to simmer the curry gently rather than boil, and to test a piece after 5 minutes to see if it’s cooked through. (It may not need the full cooking time.) – If pheasant isn’t available, use chicken breasts in this recipe; you’ll still get a zesty, piquant final dish.

✱ This delicious recipe is taken from Healthy Speedy Suppers by Katriona MacGregor (hardback, £16.99), published by Nourish Books; photography by Andrew Crowley



The real veal With only the best animal welfare standards at the forefront, The Pointer’s Mini Patel makes sure their meaty meals are ethical as well as tasty

The Pointer in Brill is a shining example of field-to-fork dining at its best. When they say something is ‘locally sourced’ they mean just that, with their own farm currently producing about 70% of the ingredients they use in the restaurant. indeed, the 240-acre farm just down the road produces everything from garlic and onions to aubergines and fruits. Longhorn cattle graze on the pastures, and Tamworth pigs are reared as well as lambs, ducks, chickens and guinea fowl, which enjoy the highest welfare standards. The Pointer buys all its veal from Norton’s Farm, where owner Lucy Ashby breeds a small number of Jersey cows and produces some of the finest veal in the country. Here’s a recipe from head chef Mini Patel for English rose veal pie in puff pastry.



1kg veal shin on the bone 250g veal sweetbreads, peeled and blended 1 litre beef stock 500ml white wine

4 carrots, peeled and chopped 1 onion, peeled and chopped 2 bay leaves 1 tbsp chopped thyme 4 cloves garlic 100g picked and washed baby spinach leaves 2 tbsp Dijon mustard 4 sheets all-butter puff pastry sheets (30x20cm) 2 egg yolks, for glazing METHOD

– Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/ gas mark 3. – Seal the veal shin in a casserole pot. Add the sweetbreads, beef stock, white wine, vegetables, herbs and garlic. Braise in the oven for 2½ hours on a low heat. – Remove the meat from the casserole and pick off the meat from the bone. Pass the stock through a fine sieve and let it reduce on the stove until it thickens to a syrup. – Cook the spinach in a pan, drain and add to the meat. Add the mustard. – Slowly add the sauce until the meat is just moist (too much and the pastry will go soggy). Roll into four 250g balls. – Cut each sheet of puff pastry into a 10x10cm square and a 20x20cm


square for the top. Place the meat on the bottom sheet, carefully place the larger sheet on top and seal the edges by pressing together. Let the pies set in the fridge for about 1½ hours. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. – Egg-wash each pie and bake straight from the fridge in the hot oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Take them out and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve the pies with vegetables and potatoes. ✱ THE POINTER, 27 Church Street, Brill, Buckinghamshire HP19 9RT; 01844 238339;

This recipe is taken from The Oxfordshire Cook Book, published by Meze (£14.95)


Love your squashy boom Easy for autumn and with no washing up – bonus! – are these soup bowls by Rob Andrew. They taste as good as they look

This easy-to-make ‘squashy bottom’ soup doesn’t even require any bowls – instead, just eat it straight out of its shell, adding to the entertainment. It’s a great child-pleaser for Halloween, and offers endless variation with different garnishes – some fried shiitake or chestnut mushrooms would up the earthy, autumnal feel, for example. The recipe has been created by Rob Andrew, former head chef at awardwinning farm restaurant, The Riverford Field Kitchen. Rob creates menus that are inspired by what’s growing in the fields around him on the farm. His creative culinary background influences his style of food, where seasonal veg is always the star.



4 small squash (onion squash is ideal) 300g Ogleshield cheese (or a good melting cheese, such as Gruyère or Cheddar), grated 100g Parmesan (or vegetarian equivalent), grated about 40g butter few gratings of nutmeg 4 small thyme sprigs 800ml double cream salt and black pepper METHOD

– Heat oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. – Slice the tops off the squash and scoop out the seeds and pulp, then place the squash bowls, cut-side up, on


a baking tray (reserve the lids). – Divide the cheeses and butter between the squash and add a grating of nutmeg and a small sprig of thyme to each, then pour in the cream to two thirds of the way up each squash bowl. Season with generous amounts of black pepper and a cautious amount of salt – bearing in mind the saltiness of the cheeses. – Put the lids on, place on a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of your squash, until tender. Eat by scraping the soft flesh into the hot cream. ✱ Recipe supplied by Riverford; visit, or call 01803 227227


Serve this in a large single squash, such as a crown prince, and treat it like a fondue pot, dipping in toast soldiers or leftover roast potatoes. You will need to up the cooking time – this will take at least 1 hour, and it’s worth reducing the oven temperature to 180C/350F/gas mark 4, and/or wrapping the squash loosely with foil so the outside doesn’t brown too much before it cooks through. The flesh should give to the tip of a knife.



Top bird Here’s posh pub grub that you can knock up at home, courtesy of Shaun Smith from The New Inn 36

Sous chef Shaun Simms has been with The New Inn at Coln for two years, holding the fort admirably for periods when the owners of the charming Cotswold village pub were on the hunt for a permanent head chef. The menu reflects seasonality, and is supported by weekly changing specials. This partridge dish is a testament to this, and was a great seller right through September. The venue in itself is a lovely Cotswold village pub with 15 rooms, all individual and brimming with character while providing the discerning traveller with excellent standards of accommodation, food and service.



250ml chicken stock 250ml light red wine 250ml Guinness 1 whole partridge, garlic and thyme in the cavity, seasoned inside and out 1 large potato, diced 250g green beans handful of fresh spinach peashoots, to garnish METHOD

– Put liquids in a saucepan and reduce by two thirds.  – Seal the partridge in a pan with a little oil (2 minutes on each leg and 1 minute on the breasts) and then put into the oven at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for approx 12 minutes. Rest for at least 5 minutes.  – Parboil the diced potatoes, place in seasoned oil and roast until golden. – To make the purée, boil the green beans until soft. Blend the spinach in a food processor with a splash of olive oil until smooth. Season to taste. – When rested, quarter the partridge. – Plate up the potatoes then garnish with the stock reduction and green purée. Add the partridge and top with pea shoots. ✱ THE NEW INN, Coln St Aldwyns, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5AN; 01285 750651;



Keeping it sweet Here’s a ‘free-from’ pud that’s still totally indulgent, from Celia Duplock


This is a super-smooth, velvety dessert totally free from refined sugar and dairy. It gets its richness from cacao. Celia says: “Unlike regular, highly processed chocolate, cacao contains no added sugar, so you can regulate the level of sweetness and use healthy alternatives such as maple syrup or coconut blossom nectar. In its natural state, cacao contains a wealth of antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, B vitamins and healthy fats. It is also reported to offer a significant number of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, improving circulation, digestion and cardiovascular health. “Unlike other chocolate mousse recipes, this one is also high in protein

as it contains silken tofu, a naturally gluten-free, low-calorie food made from soybean curds. “This mousse is also really easy to make and can be modified by adding a few drops of orange or peppermint oil. It’s delicious served with fresh berries, or cooked fruit compote and homemade biscuits.”



200g of raw chocolate, cacao, or naturally sweetened chocolate 1 tbs flaxseed or similar light oil 300g soft tofu, well drained 60ml maple syrup or coconut blossom nectar 60ml soya milk (unsweetened) 1 tsp lemon juice ¼ tsp vanilla extract (or a few drops of orange or peppermint oil) 1 tbs light tahini METHOD

– Melt the chocolate with the oil in a bowl over simmering water. – Remove from the heat, whisk until smooth, and leave to cool for 20 mins. – Place all the other ingredients into a food processor and purée until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a splash more soya milk. – Add the melted chocolate and process until well blended. – Transfer mixture into six ramekins, cover with cling film and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until set. ✱ Celia is a macrobiotic cook and counsellor offering food coaching, menu planning and cooking lessons for individuals in their own homes, or for small groups by appointment. She is running a Healthy Brunches workshop at the Organic Farm Shop in Cirencester on Wednesday, 9 November. Call 07831 342214, or email


( adverti sing feature )







THE DRINKS CABINET presented by The Craft Drink Co.


n the autumn, the colour of the Cotswolds landscape changes as the leaves turn from green to amber, red and brown. It reflects the styles of beer that we shift to drinking at this lovely time of year. Here is a selection of delicious autumnal ales to explore, which widely differ in appearance, aroma and flavour. There’s a beer for every occasion, from Bonfire Night to woodland walks and Sunday lunches. 1 Bath Ales – Barnsey Rich in fruit with hints of chocolate, Barnsey is a 4.5% full-bodied dark ale that is both complex and deeply satisfying. One of the lesser known beers in the Bath Ales range, it’s good to savour with venison casserole or a slice of rich fruitcake. 2 From the Notebook – Hedgehog A 3.8% auburn ale with an autumnal feel. This beer celebrates the hedgehog’s major characteristics with its interesting combination of malts and hops. Their

rummaging behaviour is represented by an earthy aroma and flavour created by roasted malts. A hoppy, bitter and slightly prickly finish reflects their protective spines. 3 Hook Norton Brewery – Twelve Days A 5.5% strong, dark brown beer, offering a dominantly malty palate with nutty overtones, giving way to a lyrical sweetness that speaks for its strength. Despite its name, Twelve Days is not exclusively a Christmas beer but is very popular all year round. 4 Prescott Ales – Grand Prix Pale, crystal, roasted and chocolate malts combine expertly with Fuggle, Goldings and Northdown hops, adding a robust array of flavours to this 5.2% multi award-winning rich and smooth strong ale, which is brewed in Cheltenham. 5 Shakespeare Brewing Co – Othello This unusual beer is reflective of the lead character in Shakespeare’s play. It’s a wonderfully passionate, dark ruby ale,


rich, smooth and strong at 5% with hints of chocolate and vanilla. A full-flavoured beer to be enjoyed on its own or with dessert. 6 Wild Beer Company – Modus Operandi This is a wild beer that thrives on the unpredictability of wild yeast and the subtlety and complexity of maturation in oak. Brewers allow 90 days to transform an old ale into a wildly different beer as the aromas and flavours develop over time. It’s a perfect pairing with slow braised ox cheeks.

The Craft Drink Co. is a speciality craft drinks distributor, supplying independent businesses with exceptional craft drinks sourced from makers across The Cotswolds and Central England region. For more information, visit

We invite you to Cotswold House Hotel and Spa to

share in the warmth and spirit of Christmas

Cotswold House has had a make-over, and now has a fine dining restaurant as well as an informal Bistro. This December we are open for festive dining and winter afternoon teas throughout the month. We are also open to non-residents for Christmas Day Lunch and our Black Tie New Year’s Eve Dinner in the Montrose Suite, with live music from local band Kinky Farnham. For full details about what’s on at Cotswold House Hotel and Spa this Christmas please visit our website and download a Christmas Brochure. The Square, Chipping Campden, GL55 6AN | Tel: 01386 840330 |




This clever machine responds to a smartphone app, says Matt Bielby, delivering a perfect coffee that’ll be waiting for you as you walk in the door You’re making me uncomfortable with your sleek coffee maker thing. You’ve come over all charming and George Clooney. Trust me, this rapidly greying hair is just about the only thing me and Gorgeous George have in common. Well, that and a love of good coffee – coffee as made by Nespresso’s new Prodigio machine, in fact. The twist is that this clever thing can be run through an app on your smartphone, placing orders for new capsules or brewing a coffee for you while you’re on the bus home, so it’s ready when you get in. This is how Skynet started out, isn’t it? (Nespresso machines are made by Cyberdyne Systems, right?) Try Nestlé. Nestlé! But they’re nearly as worldconsuming, aren’t they? I’m sure I read that they’re the largest food company on the planet. Yep! And they make all sorts, from chocolate to baby food, though in the last few decades coffee has become massive with them too. Y’see, in the mid-’70s a guy working at this gigantic Swiss outfit came up with the Nespresso system – it would make real coffee supereasy, thanks to the neat way it used pre-apportioned foil capsules of ground coffee beans, sometimes with added flavourings. Initially,


however, it flopped, but Nestlé stuck with, and it eventually took off a decade later, notably with the rise of the ‘Nespresso Club’, which offers discounts, special offers and the like. Loads of people make Nespresso compatible machines (Miele, Siemens, DeLonghi), and you’ve been able to buy ones with the Nespresso brand name on them since 2000 too. I don’t get the appeal myself… Oh, I do! The reason millions of people have signed on is that Nespresso takes all the effort and uncertainty out of brewing ‘real coffee’. Sure, each cup costs considerably more than coffee made using a cafetiere would – but, in this time-poor era, it’s a price plenty are willing to pay. Nespresso accounts for something like 30 percent of the European coffee market, some say – and its growth doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon. It certainly won’t if it takes over the world, Skynet style. Then you’d perhaps better get on its good side now, eh? ✱ The Prodigio costs £159; a posher version, with an integrated milk frother, is £199. Available at The Complete Cook Shop, Cirencester; Broadway Cookshop, Broadway; and many other retailers;





House call

TO The max

From the Romans and their coriander to Chorleywood processing, there ain’t much about food Max Abbott from Sourdough Revolution can’t spout on about. We visit his Lechlade home to lend an eager ear Words by Charlie Lyon Photos by Kirstie Young



( house call )

oriander: it’s best to buy it from the shops, isn’t it? Because it’s a plant for hot climes, and it’s easier to stick herbs like good ol’ parsley in the cooler Blighty soil. “Nah, nah,” says Max Abbott, thrusting a handful of bright green coriander seeds, which he’s just picked from his substantial kitchen garden plot, towards us. “It’s great to grow here. Obviously, the Romans brought it over [obviously!]; they loved the stuff. Then it fell out of favour in the 1700s, so people still consider it a Med plant. But the seeds are great for pickling when they’re green like this” – he offers us some – “so have a taste. They’re really pungent and citrusy.” We chow down obediently. “They’re going in lunch,” he says, and slings a handful in his basket. Now he’s digging around for some colourful heritage carrots, which are growing with aplomb, and some fine rainbow chard. “There’s broad beans and spinach and rocket here, too,” he says. “We like the garden to be a little bit feral as well, though. We like to get our own seeds and reuse, regrow and experiment.” Max is gathering veg for our lunch (although what he’s going to whip up we’ve yet to find out), while supersprightly and genial wife Victoria, and gorgeous baby girl Margaux, tootle alongside at their beautiful home in Lechlade. It’s the perfect family scene. Why are we here? Well, we’d heard on the grapevine that someone in Lechlade had set up a bakery in their own home, making the best sourdough bread ever, so we were keen to check it out. But the Abbotts’ generosity means that not only are we around to break some bread, we’re actually here for a full-on lunchtime feast too, made pretty much entirely with homegrown and homemade ingredients. You wouldn’t know that this haven of a home is tucked just behind the busiest corner of Lechlade. It’s hidden away behind the car park on Market


( house call )

Place, and is a haven of tranquillity compared to the busy road, with the garden stretching all the way down to a most peaceful stretch of the Thames. The home is an old malthouse that Max and Victoria have developed, so it’s especially nice to know the connection to grain still runs strong here.

THE BREAD BUSINESS You might recognise Max’s face from Lynwood Cafe, just round the corner. He helped set it up with owner Rob Broadbent two years ago, and originally was going to open the bakery in the premises. But after realising that the space was too small, he set it up in an outhouse in his garden instead. “I had to beg, borrow and steal for the bakery,” he says. “I begged someone to lend me money, borrowed whatever kit I could, and though, actually, I didn’t steal anything, I did get a few steals of my own – I got my oven from eBay, for instance. I bought two of the giant ones, used one – and sold the other one for what I paid for them both!” Today, after Max has finished foraging, we head to the small bakery to check out the kit. We crowd in with full-time baker John, while Margaux balances atop some bags of flour. “We’re doing an experiment with a Cheddar cheese, rosemary and potato bread today,” Max says. “This is the first one out of the oven, and you’ll be having it with lunch,” Just the sight of the rustic, robust loaves with their rough cracks and their wood-brown crusts is enough to get our tummies rumbling. The home itself hasn’t always been the size it is today. They extended when they moved, having to buy a barn in the process to reclaim the tiles for the roof to fit in with council regulations on the aesthetics of Lechlade homes. But the barn didn’t go to waste. Max also used some of the beams to make furniture for the house – rustic coffee and side tables complement well the relaxed vibe of the home.

TRADING OFF So was Max originally trained as a baker or a carpenter, then? None of the above. “I actually did my degree in sports and performance coaching, and spent time coaching

mountaineering and surfing and things,” he explains. “I worked as a hairdresser in Newquay, too. I’m a jack of all trades.” Max was living in Newquay – which is where he met Victoria, who’s originally from Belgium, and was working a bit in kitchens – but they moved to the Cotswolds to be near her father and to start their family. Victoria’s grandmother was a Polish refugee who ended up in a hostel in Fairford, which is where the connection with the Cotswolds began. Max started teaching at a college, but found it wasn’t really stimulating him – and, at the back of his mind, the kitchen was still calling. “I did the rounds with my CV,” he explains, “and ended up hitting it off with Daryll Taylor, culinary director at Thyme. I started digging the gardens on the estate for him. I thought Thyme was awesome, and decided that if I was going back into the kitchen I could do it there.” He moved to work at The Swan (the pub connected to Thyme), where he met Rob Broadbent, then one day had a light bulb moment.


BREAD BEGINNINGS “We had a Michelin inspector visit, and after the meal he came into the kitchen to introduce himself,” Max explains. “Now, they only do that to tell you how good it was, or to give you a critique. So he came in and asked, ‘Who made the bread?’ And I thought, ‘Oh, shit.’ And he looked at me and said I should open a bakery – it was the best bread he’d eaten in a very long time.” That one guy got him thinking that, hey, maybe he didn’t have to work in kitchens to 11pm every night – maybe he could set something up to provide enough for them to live on, and allow time with his wife (Margot was a mere twinkle back then). So he quit Thyme and started working with Lynwood, which he now supplies with most of his bread. “We’ve set up the bread business to give us a certain quality of life,” Max explains. “We did it to make sure we can pay our way, and now we’ve got John working with us full-time, and we’re looking at taking on a nipper soon.”

Max and family’s homecum-bakery is endlessly stylish, in a pleasingly easy-to-live-with way


( house call )

Victoria is fully on board with the bakery idea, despite the fact that before she met Max she couldn’t eat bread at all. Max convinced her it wasn’t the bread, so much as the way it is made, that she was intolerant to. “After the Second World War the Chorleywood process came in,” he says. “This is the manufacturing process that involves mixing commercial yeast with sugar, flour, water and salt. What happens with that is you get a very fast fermentation – all the sugars are digested very quickly, which gives off lots of carbon dioxide which gives the bread its rise, and then it’s cooked straight away. But the proteins aren’t attacked by the yeast, they’re attacked by the bacteria – and the bacteria don’t start acting on the proteins for a lot longer. That’s why you need a longer fermentation period to break the gluten down, which is what gluten intolerance is down to, some science says. Basically, the protein hasn’t been broken down properly. Some gluten-intolerant people can actually eat sourdough bread, as they can eat wheat that’s been fermented for a long time.”

A PASSION FOR PRODUCE It isn’t just bread that Max is keen to get us all falling back in love with, though. It’s a crying shame, he reckons, that we don’t eat more of our own produce. “In the Cotswolds we have loads of great producers – it’s the garden of England – but what’s sad is that a lot of people don’t have access to what we make. Most local food gets shipped off. There are tons and tons of crayfish in the Cotswold Water Park lakes, but the British rarely want to get their hands dirty when it comes to food, so we don’t buy them. The Scandinavians, meanwhile, are happily breaking them out of their shells and chewing on them, so plenty are shipped off to Europe. “Vix is from Belgium,” he continues, “and when you walk into a fishmonger in Brussels the counter is 15m long, and every foot there’s a different fish – there are live eels squirming around the rest of the fish. They’re all North Sea and Channel fish, and I don’t recognise them; and that’s me coming from Cornwall.”

BRINGING IT HOME Back inside the house, in the Parlour Farm kitchen with its heritage colours

The colourful ’slaw and lightly pickled veg was all picked from the garden and made that morning

and work surfaces, lunch is finally revealed: doorstep ham and cheese toasties made with fresh sourdough and a good dollop of mustard, piles of homemade coleslaw, lightly picked veg and, the piece de resistance, a huge frittata that’s been cooking slowly in the bread oven. The family love hanging out in the kitchen – they’ve put their own bespoke touches on the design, like the plug sockets on the island. “When we built the house we designed the kitchen from scratch, so it’s very functional,” Max says. “I asked for a plug socket on the island so I can plug in my gadgets – and imagine that I’m cooking on my own TV show! Ha! Maybe in the future.” The rest of the home has a nautical feel, with a soft blue and grey colour palette. “We still wanted to keep our connections to the coast,” says Victoria. But now the sun is shining, so we move outside to chow down. Everything is as delicious as it looks (even Margaux’s quinoa bowl), and seeing the morning’s work that’s gone into the feast, we relish every bite. Earlier Max told us he’s keen to keep the business small and artisan, making sure everything he does is of the best quality – and doing so will mean, he reckons, the custom will come to him. It seems a bold claim – but then I find myself snaffling thirds of the best toasties I’ve eaten in my life, and I realise yes, it’s probably going to work out. ✱ Sourdough Revolution; 07929 045422;


KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL Name: Max Abbott Occupation: Baker Must-have kitchen item: Where to start? A decent knife and chopping board.  Go-to recipe: An amazing recipe from Allegra McEvedy in Bought Borrowed and Stolen, page 127: broad beans braised in their pods. I get excited about this recipe every year, and plant rows of broad beans just for this dish. It has such a unique, almost perfumed flavour. If you grow your own, you simply have to try it.  You love the taste of: Do I have to pick one thing? That’s not fair! A piece of my bread with thick salted butter! Coffee or tea? With Lynwood and Co cafe next door it has to be coffee – and I think it’s the best in the Cotswolds! Beer or cider? My wife is Belgian, so beer! The look of your kitchen in three words: Perfect family space. If you could change one thing about your kitchen it would be… I would have a more industrial oven, and a salamander grill.  Most prized kitchen item: I have a Neolithic stone hand axe that I use to crack nuts. I love the fact that it was made anywhere up to 8,000 years ago – and I can still use it.  Most unexpected item in your kitchen cupboard: Goraka – a Sri Lankan dried jungle fruit, similar in flavour to tamarind. You can’t live without… My wife and, of course, baby Margaux.  Favourite condiment: Homemade Caribbean hot sauce – I picked up the recipe while working on a super yacht in Antigua. I make a batch once every couple of years. It blows your socks off.  If your kitchen could talk it would say: Which country are we going to today? The great thing about cooking is that you can transport your self to far-flung corners of the world – without leaving the kitchen!


Highlights DINNER DATE Christmas menu highlights at your fave venues at a glance Page 52


We need more Cotswolds chefs! Page 58


Our complete guide to Crimbo pressies will totally inspire Page 61

It won’t drop needles, true, but (much as we love it) we’re afraid this tree ain’t gonna cut it in the corner of the room…




GREAT BUYS that’ll put you in favour with the rellies


WHAT’S ON THE MENU? Grub’s up at these fine establishments, which have each gone all out to offer something special this Christmas. Check out the highlights…



Burford, Oxfordshire There’s AA-rosette standard food at The Angel this Christmas, perfect for those wanting their Christmas party in an extra special, home-from-home venue. It’s intimate, friendly, and you’ll be made to feel like one of the family, rather than one of a never-ending procession of work parties! ✱

Market Square, Witney The Blue Boar’s Christmas Day and Boxing Day feasts aside – which focus on family, tradition and fun – chef Joseph Morris’ Christmas party menus have a definite Mediterranean influence, with a highlight being a very self-indulgent tiramisu – the creamy, rich, Italian version of a Christmas trifle. ✱




Throw in a bit of Italian elegance to your Crimbo feasting with The Blue Boar’s creamy tiramisu



Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to ditch afternoon tea. On top of its festive à la carte menu, Cotswold House Hotel is letting guests get cosy next to the log fire while enjoying special leaf teas and a selection of Crimbo-inspired sandwiches, including turkey and cranberry, followed by sweet treats such as stollen and mince pies. ✱  BANG-ON CHIPOLATAS


Highworth, near Swindon This year The Highworth (which is under new ownership) is showcasing Andrews Butchers meats on their festive menu, including the ‘Bloody Lovely’ chipolatas, which are super tasty, as anyone in Highworth can testify! With their specially selected produce, and the skill of head chef Mark Kimber, they have a winning combination to ensure you have the best festive meal ever. ✱

starters, a choice of mains, and the best baked marmalade cheesecake with clementine compote you’re likely to find. Three courses for only £26.50.  ✱ MAGNIFICENT MULLED WINE


Fossebridge, near Cheltenham Think you’ve got a good mulled wine recipe? The one at The Inn at Fossebridge is a traditional family formula that dates back to the early 20th century. And where better to drink it than in front of one of their roaring log fires, surrounded by a host of twinkling fairy lights? ✱ NICE AND SPICY


Frampton-on-Severn, Gloucestershire Turkey ballotine is on the menu at this kitsch diner this Christmas, topped with a Christmas crumble. But if you’re hankering for something less traditional, try the ginger-braised ox cheeks with spiced lentils, or kaffir limed salmon. Menus cost £25pp with mulled wine on arrival. ✱



Ilmington, Warwickshire Apart from the classics, this year’s Christmas Fayre menu (December 1-23) includes four mouth-watering

Faringdon, Oxfordshire We all love traditional Christmas lunch, but we want it served up a bit posher




than our mum’s. Head chef Ben Bullen is offering this at Sudbury House. He’s used traditional ingredients put together with contemporary style for his Christmas menu that includes turkey roulade served with all the trimmings and a traditional Christmas pudding with cranberry ice cream. ✱ ALL INDULGENT


Buford, Oxfordshire Christmas is all about indulgence, so start as you mean to go on with The Maytime’s twicebaked Comté cheese soufflé followed by the perfect roast turkey. This year there are two types of Christmas party menu: a reduced one perfect for the office party lunch, or a more indulgent menu for special Christmas gatherings. Prices start from £17.50 for two courses. ✱ THE PUD DONE GOOD


Easton Grey, Malmesbury When it comes to Christmas pudding, Whatley Manor’s is worth travelling for. The special recipe has been created by Michelin-starred chef Martin Burge and Whatley’s head pastry chef, and it took them three months to perfect! The outcome? Molleaux raisins and prunes, madeira and ale all flavouring a light, nutty and textured vegetarian pud. ✱

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It’s easy to enter The Inn at Fossebridge, but not so easy to leave, after a gallon of their legendary mulled wine



Kingham, Oxfordshire The Mill House Christmas three-night package kicks off on Christmas Eve with a Cotswold cream tea. There’s a Champagne and canapé reception, followed by a candlelit dinner. There’ll be mulled wine and mince pies on your return from midnight mass – and that’s just on the first day! ✱

Cambray Place, Cheltenham They’re feather-free at The Ox this year, instead serving up mouthwatering steak dishes, delectable small plates and sinfully good desserts. If you’ve got dietary requirements, the kitchen team will go all-out for you too. Then wash all the top fodder down with special festive cocktails. ✱






Painswick, Gloucestershire Alongside the quintessential Christmas classics, chef Michael Bedford will be offering local venison carpaccio, oxtail in red wine with spinach and ricotta dumplings and a cassoulet of roasted cornish halibut. Remember to leave room for his apple tart-au-fin, raspberry soufflé or tiramisu with praline ice cream. Delish. ✱

Catering across the Cotswolds This Christmas Ross & Ross are doing turkey with a twist – the highlight of their sharing board starter is delicious buttermilk fried turkey. Coated in a mix of spices, the turkey is marinated in buttermilk for six hours, before being mixed with flour and spices and deep fried to crispy, crunchy perfection. ✱




Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire There’s a tasty modern menu at The Sheep this year, perfect for parties who want a relaxed good time. Think prosciutto and pear chutney or salt and pepper squid to start, and gorgonzola, fig and walnut filo parcel or rump steak, amongst others, for main. Die-hard turkey fans, don’t panic – it’s there too, should you want it. ✱ ALL ITALIAN


Southrup, Gloucestershire Thyme says “arrivederci turkey” with an Italian alternative on their classic but, very unique, festive menu. Think porchetta – meltingly soft suckling pig with crispy skin and soft, deliciously scented meat – rich with sage, fennel, garlic and rosemary. Buon natale! ✱



South Cerney, Gloucestershire Here’s the place to head to for an easy Christmas lunch where staff take away all the hassle. There’s a four-course turkey lunch with all the good stuff loaded on. Adults cost £74.95, children up to 12 cost £34.95, and children under four go free. ✱


Tetbury, Gloucestershire The Royal Oak offers a cracking vegan Christmas roast dinner alongside turkey and fish feasts. Their Christmas squirrel mascot stars in this year’s woodland wonderland theme, with decor inspired by their allotment – potted cabbages and glittery sprout stalks. Hand-packed crackers contain foodie gifts from truffles to gin minis. ✱




George Street, Nailsworth At The Vault, the amazing team of chefs from all corners of the world are celebrating a multicultural Christmas in the wine and tapas bar’s very first year. Chomp down on little plates from countries such as Norway, Spain, Greece, France and England – it’s the perfect family feast. ✱



Situated in the village of Oakridge Lynch, we serve fresh home cooked food & real ales. CHRISTMAS LUNCHES FROM £15 CHRISTMAS PARTY NIGHTS FROM £45 CHRISTMAS DAY & NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS FROM £85

Al Fresco Dining @ Magnolia Brasserie


NEW FOR 2016 Festive Afternoon Teas from £20 per person Boxing Day Bubbly Brunch from £15 per person


Open Monday to Sunday

For more details of our Christmas programme please call: Breakfast • Lunch •01367 Afternoon 241272Tea Picnic • Dinner

The Quoin – Our Self Catering cottage is ideal for overnight

 01367 241272

stays and weekends away in the heart of the Cotswolds.

The Butchers Arms | Oakridge Lynch | Stroud | Glos | GL6 7NZ Tel: 01285 760371 |

Kineton, Guiting Power, Cheltenham, Glos GL54 5UG 01451 850344

  56 London Street, Faringdon, Oxfordshire SN7 7AA


‘Rumour has it they do the best Sunday Roast in the County’ FOOD GIFTS




“Excellent Sunday lunch” Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Thank you for a very good Sunday lunch today. Faultless food, excellent service by happy helpful staff, and very good value for a high quality meal.

“Excellent gluten free food!” Reviewed 3 weeks ago

“Dog friendly fantastic pub” Reviewed 12 June

Went for Sunday lunch with some friends after a long dog walk, Sunday roast as always was fantastic, staff very attentive without being overbearing, I can recommend this pub and a bonus the dog can come as well, table booking essential to avoid disappointment.

Dadinchelt A swift pint and one of the best roasts I’ve in the county! @ halfwayhousekineton #sunday #sundayroast #donningtonbrewery #beer #roast #dinner #beef #kineton #thecotswolds

Ross & Ross Food 10 Worcester Road Trading Estate Chipping Norton OX7 5XW 01608 645503

FREE Y ER les DELrIdV bott er 12 0 o if you e (within 1 r or mo f Tetbury). o miles

Independent wine merchant in the heart of the Cotswolds. Handpicked wines that offer terriďŹ c value for money delivered with exceptional service.

FESTIVE GIFTS 2016 We have put together a selection of lovely wine gifts, perfect for Christmas and the festive season. Gift sets for different price points, Champagne in sizes ranging up to 300cl Jeroboam, and small and large mixed cases of select wines.


We have a choice of bepsoke, festive labels available to adorn the bottles, and on larger orders we can create a branded label from scratch for you. A brilliant way to make the gifts truly reect you and your business. 1-3 BAYTREE COURT | THE CHIPPING | TETBURY | GL8 8EU 01666 502262 | |

Clocking Off Long hours, remote locations, humble wages – and, most of all, more jobs than people qualified to fill them. No wonder there’s a shortage of chefs these days. But if the Cotswolds can’t fill its kitchens, won’t we go hungry? Time to take action…



ON THE SURFACE, there’s tons to celebrate on the Cotswolds food scene – new restaurants, pubs upping the ante, refurbed hotels, more artisan producers than ever packing out local markets… Ace! Everything’s in place to make this region a booming food destination – and it is. But there’s one fly in the ointments: a real shortage of chefs. And it’s not just a problem here, but nationally and internationally too. We regularly get pleas here at Crumbs, asking us to post job ads and connect chefs with vacancies, so we thought we’d look closer at the matter. After all, we need to be fed.

So, what’s up?

How bad are things. We had a chat with Purslane, one of the most well-respected restaurants in Cheltenham, which has had issues recruiting ever since it opened four years ago. “I think the lack of young people coming into the industry, the boom in dining out, and a general skills shortage all play a part in this,” suggests chef patron Gareth Fulford. “The main issue when recruiting in Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, though, is definitely the large number of establishments all chasing after the same, very limited number of skilled chefs in the area.” Chris White, chef and owner of The White Spoon in Cheltenham, which has just celebrated its first birthday, agrees. “Being a new venture, without an established reputation, has meant that it’s been hard to attract the candidates we wanted,” he says. “At this time, we’re competing for talent with wellestablished, accoladed restaurants that are a more attractive prospect to chefs.”

The young ones

All the chefs we spoke to about the ongoing shortage suggested a single clear answer to it: getting young people excited about the hospitality industry. Max Abbott from Sourdough Revolution (there’s more from him on p44) says: “We’ve got to realise how important it is to train up fresh blood. Every chef that’s employable in the Cotswolds tends to be employed, and we don’t have an influx of summer workers. “In fact, I think everyone from 18 upwards should spend a bit of time working in a busy kitchen, as it teaches you so many skills – from understansing food to working under pressure and to a deadline – that you need to get on in life.”

General manager at Tewkesbury Park Hotel, Patrick Jones, believes that young people should be targeted by the schools system. “The world of education could do a lot more to promote the hospitality industry, and deliver better preparation,” he says. “The Swiss apprenticeship system is a fine example of how to integrate school pupils into the world of work, and prepare and inspire them well before they leave at the age of 16.” Emily Watkins, chef proprietor of The Kingham Plough, agrees we should look abroad to learn. “I believe that there needs to be more respect for the industry as a whole, with better training available," she says. "I was always impressed with the Italian system, in which you could go to a hospitalityfocused secondary school, where students were taught every aspect of the business, from front of house to how to run a company and so on. It’s a wellrespected industry there and, as such, the staff are treated respectfully."

Get a life

Gareth Fulford believes that core changes to hospitality itself have to be made as well. “We need to pay people a fair wage, and try to address the work/ life balance that is a constant headache for our industry,” he says. “The days of expecting staff to work 80 hours a week on a 40-hour salary have rightly gone. There is always going to be weekend and evening work in this industry – it is a hard job, and you have to have a passion for catering in order to succeed – but chefs are not slaves, and they should both be allowed time with their friends and family, and be paid a fair salary for the hours they put in. "At Purslane, we give the chefs 2.5 days off a week, pay the living wage and an equal share of the tips, give meals on duty, and offer an extra day’s holiday for each year of service.”

The training table

There’s debate, too, as to whether it actually was easier to recruit chefs 10 years ago. Patrick Jones says it was certainly different then: “The internet has made all businesses more accessible to a greater number of people,” he says, “but for chefs particularly. More and more are taking agency work, and it’s these people who are really struggling with the idea of long term commitment. They prefer


the flexibility of short term assignments, which can be a problem for a developing hotel such as Tewkesbury Park, where we need longevity and stability to drive up quality and standards. This is why we’ve paid better rates, gone for good experience, and focused on leadership.” Chris White agrees that training is a way to ‘keep them in’: “When an apprentice chef enters this industry, it’s our responsibility to ensure they get the right training to build them into a great chef. Just as important as practical skills, though, is helping them to develop their interest in food, whether it be experimenting with ingredients or meeting with suppliers.” No.131 head chef Alan Gleeson agrees: “It is important to lead from the front, listen to your team, and help them where you can,” he says. “I try to send them on stages at leading hotels and restaurants run by former colleagues and friends, thus encouraging them and broadening their knowledge. Ultimately, I have never been upset when a team member has left – as long as it’s been to further themselves, of course. “It comes down to training, support, praise, and providing a happy workplace, where staff can progress. In the words of Richard Branson, ‘Train people enough so they can leave, but treat them well enough that they don’t want to’.”

Quick fire ideas to recruit and retain

“I think that VAT should be reduced so that staff can be paid more, which would enable us to offer a more attractive work package.” Emily Watkins “Offering all the coaching, training and mentoring they need to help ensure their continuous growth and to reach their future goals. I don’t think I would be where I am now if it wasn’t for two particularly great mentors I’ve had in my career.” Chris White “We need to promote our industry as the fascinating one it really is.” Patrick Jones “We incentivise our team to bring in friends. And we're trying to work with colleges and catering departments for school leavers to look at apprenticeships, too.” Alan Gleeson “Work with staff on new dishes and their skill levels, send them on external training courses, and further their understanding of the management role of running a kitchen.” Gareth Fulford

The Inn at Fossebridge A very warm welcome awaits at The Inn, with stunning Christmas decorations, thousands of fairy lights, roaring log fires and that delicious smell of mulled wine as you enter through the ancient door. 12 Gloucester Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 2DG


FESTIVE FAYRE Available Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, from Friday 2nd December to Saturday 24th December 2 courses £19.50 per person • 3 courses £25.50 per person Includes coffee/tea and baby mince pies

PRIVATE DINING Two beautiful rooms with no room hire charge Perfect for family gatherings and celebrations

CHRISTMAS DAY LUNCH A glass of champagne on arrival, 4-course lunch plus coffee and mince pies £75.00 per person, £35.00 per child aged 5 to 10 (under 5’s complimentary)

Festive bookings now being taken Book early to avoid disappointment Free parking

For further enquiries and to book please call 01285 720721 or email us on

delicious diner

Situated in the heart of Frampton Industrial estate, formerly the home of Cadbury’s, Mrs Massey’s can be found in the original changing rooms which have been transformed into a contemporary diner offering breakfasts, coffees, lunches and afternoon tea – all cooked freshly to order using local ingredients.

Unit 5 - 7 // Frampton Industrial Estate // Bridge Road Frampton on Severn // Gloucestershire // GL2 7HE 01452 740016 //

Festive lunch from £15.95 Festive dinner from £18.95 Party Nights from £29.95 Christmas Day lunch – FULL New Year’s Eve Dinner & Dance £75.00

Bookings or enquiries 01285 659711

A s ’ It p a r w


se fine buys e th h it w e n do opping? Job their culinary year… h s s a tm s ri h C at will make for foodies th




5 2


GooD FoR THE GUYS 1 SPLURGE TIME Fully automated system? Check. Heated cup rack? Check. Perfect frothy milk every time? Yep. Two cups in one? Sure. This luxe machine is for those who’ve been very, very good. Miele Counter-Top Coffee Machine (CM6310), £1,299; 2 MMMM, BACON Hardcore bacon sarnie fans can cure and then cook their own bacon,


and craft the ultimate sarnie with beetroot ketchup and ‘Hell Fire’ brown sauce. Ultimate Bacon Sandwich Kit, £32, From Ross & Ross in Chipping Norton; 3 ALL THINGS SPICE Mustard seeds, tumeric, cumin and more all presented in great reusable pots. Spice Kit, £29, Burford Garden Company; 4 CHOC A BLOCK With flavours like chilli, ginger and hemp

7 seed, this is chocolate with extra bite. Doisy & Dam, £3.50 for 100g, Ocado in Cheltenham; 5 THE JOKE’S ON YOU This present is too Gouda to be true! The 64 jokes are sure to not grate on cheese fans. Cheesy Jokes, £6.50, Cotswold Trading in Broadway; 6 CHEESE, PLEASE Some cheeses are so good they’re sinful. There’s Eve, Wenslade,


Temptation’s Felicien and Wigmore, all in this gift box. Wicked Gift Box, £35, The Fine Cheese Company in Bath (delivery to the Cotswolds;

gIrlS’ BUyS 7 KITTY PRETTY Keep your recipe books in order with smart cat bookends. Vigo bookstand by Miriam Mirri for Alessi, £39.50, from the Cheltenham Kitchener;


8 ALL TIN-GLY Once the traditional Italian pastilles have been gobbled, these beauteous tins are destined for a life on display. Leone Classic Pastille Tins, £4.50 each, The Hambledon in Cowley; 9 SNUFFLING GOOD Ditch floral prints and bring a bit of quirk into the kitchen with a cool hedgehog pinny. Dexham Apron, £24.99, Vinegar Hill in Cheltenham;

SECRET GARDEN OPEN BREAKFAST, LUNCH & AFTERNOON TEA Sandwiches & ciabattas• Daily lunch specials • Homemade cakes • Illy coffee • Freshly baked artisan bread & patisserie • Quality cheese and charcuterie • Seasonal organic vegetables & fruit • Choose your own hamper service available • Gifts for foodies

9 Wood Street, Swindon, SN1 4AN • 01793 643000 f

Food Fanatics Food Hall

Stocking a range of local, regional and international foods. From every day necessities to that little indulgence. Whilst you are browsing, why not stop for a sweet or savoury snack in our coffee shop and soak up the surroundings. OPEN EVERY DAY 12 North Street, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire GL54 5LH

01242 604466

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12 15

10 H2-OH! Sex up your aqua with infusion water bottles with citrus press, cucumber cutter and kiwi reamer. Citrus Zinger Gift Set, £17.99, Lakeland in Cheltenham; 11 PUP STUFF Dogs in specs and cool hues? What’s not to love about these awesome mugs? Cuppa Mugs, £9.95 each, Joules in Cheltenham; 12 COPPER WHOPPER We all know copper is the new black when it comes to the kitchen, and there ain’t nothing that’s cooler in this

chic shade than the KitchenAid. KitchenAid Artisan Mixer, £449, Steamer Trading in Cirencester;

FOR THE coUpled UP 13 JUST A THOUGHT Catching up with mates for dinner? Take along these colourful crackers to kick off the meal with a bang. La Sorpresa Crackers, £1.95, Carluccio’s in Cheltenham and Gloucester Quays; 14 GRATE GIFTS Want a cool gift for under a tenner?

Brabantia have a host of kitsch kitchen buys for keen cooks, including top graters in contemporary colours. Brabantia Graters in Red, Mint or Yellow, £7.95, from the Broadway Cookshop; 15 IN SPIRALS The coolest new veg prep technique gets easier in 2017 with this electric gadget that spiralizes in seconds. Kenwood Electric Spiralizer, £49.99; 16 DON’T BE KNEADY It’s easy to get baking your first sourdough loaf with this starter kit that includes a cook



pot, sourdough starter, proving basket and dough scraper. No Knead Bread Making Kit, £125, Hobbs House Bakery, various Cotswolds locations;

so here’s the perfect little brewer that makes two perfect espressos at the same time. Bialetti Mini Express Gift Set, £34.95, Steamer Trading in Cirencester;

17 ESPRESSO YOURSELF New in to Vinegar Hill for Christmas 2016 are these espresso cups for cool couples who love a bit of quirk. Make International Espresso Cups, £39.99, Vinegar Hill in Cheltenham;

fOr NaNna & POPS

18 LOVE COFFEE New couples want more time in the bedroom, less time in the kitchen,

19 JELLO YOU Never have we seen classic fruit jellies looking so swish. Italian company Leone sure know how to style and pack ’em to give these firm favourites a contemporary new look. Leone Fruit Jellies, £19.95, The Hambledon in Cowley;

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24 21



20 CHIN GIN! The glorious Cotswolds Distillery is now selling its dry gin in miniatures. Dry Gin Miniature, £3.95, Cotswolds Distillery in Shipston-on-Stour;

Stilton Scoop (£10.50) and Cheese Chisel (£19.50), Robert Welch in Chipping Campden;

The Great British Bake Off Multi-Timer and Whiteboard, Debenhams in Bath;

21 NO PLACE LIKE HOME Who doesn’t love a bit of cartography...? Custom map napkins, £38, and coasters, £25;

23 CHIRPY CHIRPY CHEEP CHEEP Emma Bridgewater has captured her other half’s hand-drawn robins in her pottery. Emma Bridgewater robin mug, £19.95, Cotswold Trading in Broadway;


22 SHINE ON Cheese cutting is a hallowed thing, so make sure you do it in style with these mirrorpolished tools. Radford Bright Soft Cheese Knife (£19.50),

24 LONG LIVE BAKE OFF This awesome multitimer, keeping track of up to four bakes, means granny’s cakes will have never tasted better – or been so prolific.

25 HIPPO TO BE SQUARE These cool choccy hippos with a Scandi look come in pink or blue gift packs. Baru Chocolate Hippos, £5.79, from Waitrose in Cirencester; 26 BISCUIT TIME Big kids will keep these cool cutters with them for a lifetime.


Alessi Progitotti Cookie Cutters, £28, from the Cheltenham Kitchener in Cheltenham; 27 GET COOKING Got a mini Jamie O in the making? Order this personalised cookbook by 1 December and make them the hero in a fun, foodie adventure. Mission Cookpossible, £19.99; 28 BE GREEN Kids might not like eating their sprouts, but they’ll most probably be all over these comedy glasses on the big day. Adults too! Sprout Festive Glasses, £3.99 for six, Lakeland in

Cheltenham, 29 POTTY FOR CHRISTMAS Colourful dinosaurs or dancing mice-themed mini mug and bowl sets make dinnertime fun for little ones. Emma Bridgewater Pottery Sets, £29.95; 30 THE COUNTDOWN’S ON Order this calendar quickly to start counting down the days to Christmas in Italian style. Advent Calendar, £9.95, Carluccio’s in Cheltenham and Gloucester Quays;

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uLTIMATE HAMPERS 31 DELIZIOSO! This Belazu hamper is championed by Nigella, Sabrina Ghayour and the like. Belazu Hamper, £45; 32 THE ULTIMATE Daylesford have a whopping eight



hampers out this year, starting at £125, but this beast is king. Celebration Hamper, £595, Daylesford in Kingham; 33 EAT LIKE A MAN It’s big, it’s spicy and it separates the men for the boys! There’s chorizo, beer, chutney, crackling and more inside.

The XL Man Box, £38, Ross & Ross in Chipping Norton; 34 GLUTEN-FREE GRAZING There’s an awardwinning loaf, choc orange brownies, and a sticky pear pudding in this box for your freefrom friends. GiFt Christmas Box, £25, Hobbs House Bakery,


various Cotswolds locations; 35 VEG OUT It’s meat-free mayhem in these vegan hampers, which can include biodynamic wine, ales, chutneys, raw chocs and more. Vegan Hamper, £30£120, Asparagasm in Nailsworth;

36 MORE CHEESE VICAR There are damsons in gin, sour cherry and cranberry compote, port and blood orange jelly, spiced toasts, plus four fine cheeses in this very festive fromage hamper. Festive Box, £52, The Fine Cheese Company in Bath (delivery to the Cotswolds);

Family run country pub situated in the village of Andoversford. Find fine dining inspired dishes mixed with pub classic, all expertly cooked and presented, using locally sourced beef and pork. Great selection of cask ales and fine wines.

Call for a reservation: 01242 821426 email:


Highlights IN THE FOLD

Have you ‘herd’? The Sheep at Stow is serving up baa-rilliant grub Page 70


Here’s the menu. Best choose quick, ’cos it gets bloomin’ busy inside

Tewkesbury Park Hotel has a shiny new look Page 72




sheep that jogged on

Af ters


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THE SHEEP ON SHEEP STREET A good feed, a great vibe, and tidy rooms to boot. This is the casual-cool venue that the Cotswolds has been crying out for, says Charlie Lyon


an you get a better name for a hotel than The Sheep on Sheep Street? It’s got to be one of the best in the Cotswolds for pride and aplomb alone, gloriously celebrating Stow-on-the-Wold’s history as a frenetic sheep market – the biggest in the region, and where, according to Daniel Defoe, 20,000 sheep were once sold in just one day.  It’s definitely better than its former moniker – The Grapevine – which was done away with when this place was taken over by Brakspear, then renovated and relaunched in July this year. The hotel is still pristine, and pretty trendy for the region – definitely a great pull for Londoners, wanting a goodvalue break in the country in a venue that still boasts a bit of city style. The exterior has always been beautiful – a grand 17th-century Cotswold stone building on the high street. The interiors, however, have had a right old tart up: floors are sanded back, there’s a cool palette of blues and greys, and the soft furnishings in lime, orange and yellow inject contemporary cool. Natty prints festoon the walls, and I count seven different types of lighting in the bar area alone. The full-length bar is pretty impressive in itself – stocked with enough artisan gins and craft beers to keep a hipster happy for days. Our dining neighbours are in agreement on how nice the place is. We’re sitting on a cosy table for two right next to a mother and daughter from Texas in the bustling bar area of

the dining room. It’s relaxed space with a great social vibe. The ‘mom’ and post grad from Texas are on a trip to London, but tonight have escaped the city to get a feel for quintessential English countryside. They’re not staying at The Sheep, though (despite its 22 rooms, and it only being a Wednesday, it was fully booked), but the chatter in the lovely, lantern-lit garden drew them in for dinner. Their accommodation doesn’t stack up as well as ours, it sounds. We have a big room, a very comfy double bed, spick and span modern bathroom and some pretty aromatic toiletries. For £90 a night for bed and breakfast, you can’t go wrong. “Are you having starters? The calamari is wonderful,” pipes up Mom. We take up their recommendation, ordering three plates for £11 from the ‘nibbles’ menu, including salt and pepper squid (crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, with a good and garlicky aioli dip), fried pickles (Stateside snacking that’s less sinful than fried cheese), and halloumi chips (oh, there’s the fried cheese).  The second two were recommended by our waiter – who, a snip of a thing, obviously works off the kcals from his favourite dishes during his busy shift. Trying to choose a little more healthconsciously when it comes to mains, we order the whole plaice– it’s a special, £18. The Cornish sardines sound lovely, served with heirloom tomatoes, and there’s a whole-baked plaice, loaded with garlic and chilli greens that catches


my eye, too. But before long the waiter’s back with a recommendation. “You cannot beat the Wagyu burger (£15.50), as it’s so tender,” he smiles. “It’s what I’d order every time.” Dammit. I order it, and before long I’m feeding myself up on crispy onion rings, a big, juicy burger patty, and mopping up heaps of bacon jam with the soft brioche bun. It’s served with heaps of light, crispy, salty fries. Across the table the fish is fresh, topped with prawns and served with lemon butter and a whole heap of watercress (which could have been snipped before being piling onto the plate, to save the humiliation of needing two hands to poke it into your face). Our new compadres finish their meal, call a cab and are told, much to their amusement, that it’ll be over half an hour wait. They stay and help us with out pudding choices: a crème Catalana (£6) that’s zingy and orangey but that, when it comes to taste, is beaten hands down by the bread and butter pudding (£5) made from pain au chocolate and served with the most creamy vanilla ice cream ever. I have an early start in the morning, so have to skip breakfast (although I’m told it’s tops), but, in honesty, I’m kind of relieved. The Sheep has been wonderful – but if you’re watching your weight, don’t take recommendations on what to eat there from anyone. ✱ THE SHEEP ON SHEEP STREET, Sheep Street, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1AG; 01451 830344;

Af ters



With a £4m refurb and a shiny new chef to try, Charlie Lyon checks out this luxe golfing hotel to see if they’ve scored a hole in one with the food


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ig hotels sometimes have small personalities. Yes, they’re comfy and clean with formally trained staff, but that sterility is hard to overcome. And when it comes to the food – don’t get me started. Want a watery Caesar salad and a chewy old steak? You know where to go. I’m not too sure whether the 85-room Tewkesbury Park fitted this bracket before the recent refurb, but I don’t recall anyone urging me to visit. However, in 2014 came a bit of a turning point, when it was bought by the McIntosh family. I was pleased to learn that the McIntoshes aren’t Trump-esque tycoons, though; just the opposite. Apparently this is their first hotel venture, and they’re running it as a family business. They’re pouring their heart and souls into it, and it shows – from the handpicked soft furnishings to the band of local employees. Right now they’ve clocked up £4m in costs, and they’re still going. Walk in to the hotel now and you’ll find a new cocktail lounge near the front door – a nice move, and good meeting point for pre-dinner drinks. There’s a redesigned coffee lounge too, decked out with comfy chairs in teal and yellow. We’re admiring it when we’re retrieved by a genial waiter, taking us for lost. We’re whisked into the brand new Orangery, where a select menu is placed before us, put together by the new executive chef, Anuj Thakur. He got two AA rosettes under his belt at his last restaurant, and he’s setting his sights high for Tewkesbury Park, too. “I’m confident we’ll soon be putting the hotel on the Cotswolds epicurean map,” he promised when he joined the team earlier this year. Anuj cares more about local produce than price when it comes to suppliers, and hopefully, out of the princely sums the owners are investing in the hotel, a fair share is going into his kitchen.  The starter of potted ham hock (£7.95) is juicy and moreish with piquant pickled veg and a topping of scratchings that are blown into popcorn. The brioche toast is a nice touch that brings this classic plate into the present day. Across the table, the chef’s soup (hope chef found something else for his

dinner) of roast butternut squash (£5.95) is sexed up with a sprinkling of feta and toasted sunflower seeds. So far, so solid, On the main menu are six sturdy dishes – three meat, two fish and a veggie option. The newest to debut is the Bibury trout (£17.95), which I’m chuffed to shotgun. When it arrives, the two good-sized fillets are pink and sweet, with juicy flesh and a crisp-to-bite skin. They’re perched atop of a pile of giant couscous that’s got bags of sweet and sour flavour created with juicy sultanas, preserved bergamot lemons, onion layers and dabs of red pepper emulsion. The purple sprouting broccoli gives it the feeling of a fully-formed meal. Opposite there’s Gloucester Old Spot pork three ways (£17.95) – a loin, belly and ham hock croquette that’s given extra flavour by curried cauliflower purée, Romanesco and a nut muesli. While it’s better looking than my fish, it can’t compete when it comes to flavour. I’d seen pics on social media of Anuj foraging in the orchard for apples, so am quick to order the fruity frangipan (£5.95) with blackcurrant sorbet and a granola-style crumb with hazelnuts. It again trumped my plus-one’s lemon cream (£5.95), which promised a tart, soft centre in a cocoa butter shell but perhaps was a little unbalanced in its


sweet and sharp flavour combos. Plus, I think I’ll save cocoa butter for my postholiday skin. So then it was back to the rooms to digest and reflect, looking across some of the hotel’s 163 rolling acres of fine parkland that stretch to the Malvern Hills. With this new tasty grub and a spa to boot, it’s obvious Tewkesbury Park is hotel that’ll pull in the caddy-adverse as easily as the golfers from now on. ✱ TEWKESBURY PARK, Lincoln Green Lane, Tewkesbury GL20 7DN; 01684 272300;

Little black book Rachel Thursfield and Kelly Bailey – the canapé queens behind LoveBites – reveal where they eat A GOOD BREKKIE? The Montpellier Cafe. If we ever have an excuse for a business meeting, this is where we go, for fabulous coffee, a friendly team and amazing eggs Benedict. Plus, well-behaved owners of pooches are welcome – and your furry friends get their own sausages on a plate! GROCERY SHOP? Court Farm Shop

for its fresh, local produce and a very talented butcher. WINE MERCHANT? Tivoli Wines in


Now add this little lot to your contacts book The Montpelier Cafe, Cheltenham GL50 1SP; Court Farm Shop, Cheltenham GL52 7RY; Tivoli Wines, Cheltenham GL50 2TB; The Beehive, Cheltenham GL50 2XE; AquaVitae, Cheltenham GL50 1HE; The White Spoon, Cheltenham GL50 3JX; Gloucester Services, Gloucester GL4 0DN; No. 131 & Crazy Eights, Cheltenham GL50 1NW; The Crown, Kemerton GL20 7HP; The Barn at Upcote, Withington GL54 4BL; Dormy House Hotel, Broadway WR12 7LF; Huffkins, Cheltenham GL50 1LE; The White Hart Inn, Winchcombe GL54 5LJ; Bhoomi, Cheltenham GL50 2AQ; Elmore Court, Elmore, GL2 3NT; East India Cafe, Cheltenham GL50 1NW;

Cheltenham. They offer a diverse range of wines and unusual spirits. We tried Black Cow Vodka made from milk – it was amazing. They also have some fantastic wine and Champagne tasting evenings, but be sure to book.

SUNDAY LUNCH? We love our own Sunday lunch with all the trimmings, and enormous Yorkshire puddings. QUICK PINT? The Beehive in The Suffolks, Montpellier. A classic pub environment with good ales. CHEEKY COCKTAIL? Aquavite is

very popular for its cool vibe and great atmosphere.

pretty building, surrounded by lots of gorgeous countryside. ONE TO WATCH? The Barn at Upcote, a new wedding, party and corporate venue in the deepest Cotswolds run by a lovely family, with a resident peacock! WITH FRIENDS? The beautifully refurbished Dormy House Hotel, with its wonderful spa and log fires. CHILD FRIENDLY? Huffkins on the

Promenade in Cheltenham not only do great cakes, but brilliant breakfasts too.

WITH THE FAMILY? A walk around the

stunning Sudeley Castle grounds with the children, then on to The White Hart in Winchcombe for a spot of lunch.

BEST CURRY? One of our favourites has to be Bhoomi for its exquisite menu, and food that melts in your mouth – it's hard to decide what to eat! BEST ATMOSPHERE? Elmore Court. We helped Rock The Cotswolds here, and were taken aback by the fabulous Gillyflower – a kind of futuristic rustic venue with a meadow roof. SOMETHING SWEET?

POSH NOSH? The White Spoon.

The service is spot on and super friendly, with food to match.

FOOD ON THE GO? It has to be

There is nothing more indulgent than our very own LoveBites rich chocolate millionaire’s bombe with popping candy and a frangelico pipette!

the award-winning M5 Gloucester Services, with its Cotswolds produce. It’s like being in a sweet shop or a mini Harrods, and that makes us happy!

TOP STREET FOOD? Not exactly street food, but the local farmers’ market that comes to the Promenade is a great opportunity to sample local produce.

ALFRESCO FEASTING? We love No. 131 in the summer – the seafood is outstanding – and we like the edgier Crazy Eights in the winter.


HIDDEN GEM? The Crown at Kemerton – the food is a delight, and it’s a very


has a wonderful reputation, and it’s just a short trot away from the Everyman Theatre. Perfect before any event at the Literature Festival!


Crumbs Cotswolds – issue 47