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CRUMBS Cotswolds NO.50 JANUARY 2017


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A little slice of foodie heaven Can I have a Yes, and whisky, here’s a please? mop too!

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I LOve u O Y 50

food-tastic reasOns tO The COtswOlds

reviewed £3 WHERE SOLD


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A Glass

BUrNs NiGht Ues


(and 50 iss Of CruM Bs COtsWOlds!)


from thE e r gion’s BESt cooks

NG RECIPEs TANTALISIPLUS • Garden Tiger Gin • Nuptials nOsh • Party like a ScOt

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US! SO THIS IS a pretty special issue for us, because we’re turning the big five-oh – and we think we’re looking kind of okay on it, if we say so ourselves. To mark this somewhat momentous occasion, we’ve put together a just-that-bit more awesome than usual issue for you. It’s hard to believe that we’ve racked up a full half century of Crumbs Cotswolds issues already, but you know what they say – time flies when you’re having fun, and we certainly have a whole heap of it in the office every day. Even better, though, is to get out and about, dashing up and down the A road and B roads to uncover all the fabulous foodie gems this glorious area has to offer. You’ll find many of the best things we’ve come across lately from p50 this issue, where we list a full half century of our current favourite reasons to love the Cotswolds. It’s not exhaustive, by any means – you might have to wait ’til issue 100 for that, and even then we might stuggle for room – but it’s a great place to get started. One other thing that famously gets better with age is month’s Hero Ingredient. It’s that classic winter warmer, whisky, here making a very welcome appearance as a nod to the upcoming Burns Night celebrations (you can find out all about them on p58). And, just like our hitting issue 50, it’s another great excuse for a January party. Looks like we’ll be leaving all of 2017’s New Year resolutions until a little later in the year, then. Sae let the Lord be thankit!


Emma Dance, 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 above, search ‘Crumbs’ or go to



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Table of Contents

NO.50 JANUARY 2017












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45 French 75 cocktail, by Barney Wilczak 73 Cardamom hot chocolate, venison meatballs and cinnamon buns, by Eloise Dey

8 HERO INGREDIENT There’s whisky in the jar-o 10 OPENINGS ETC Food news to peruse 21 ASK THE EXPERT Fuelling Gloucester rugby 24 TRIO Top farmshops, perfect for picking up the finest fodder

KITCHEN ARMOURY 40 CRUMBS DRINKS WITH Barney Wilczak: putting the ‘oh!’ into eaux de vie 46 THE WANT LIST The craze for Danish hygge


Amazing recipes from the region’s top kitchens


30 Roasted salmon, by Coombe Farm Organic 32 Chargrilled leek salad, by Katriona MacGregor 34 Coronation crab, by Andrew Scott 36 Taiwanese noodles, by Pamela Chen Moore

50 THE BIG 50 Our ultimate list of top Cotswolds foodie highs 58 GO FOR THE BURN Think Jan is for detox? Think again! It’s Burns Night…

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 celebrated with The Wild Rabbit and checked out Cheltenham’s Tavern, before buggering off to glorious Mexico for a bit of winter sun…


60 NUPTIAL NOMS How to create your version of edible bliss on W-Day 68 GRILLED They’re hipster and they're nailing it – it’s Wild Beer Co 72 A WARM DANISH Keep cosy this winter with three hygge-tastic recipes


New & notable restaurants, cafés, bars 78 The Wild Rabbit 80 The Tavern PLUS

82 LITTLE BLACK BOOK Find it, eat it, blog it, goes the mantra of Lucienne Simpson


HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to the Stratton-based Capreolus Distillery, which has just had its Garden Tiger Dry Gin named as The Whisky Exchange Spirit of the Year for 2017. It’s made with an impressive 34 botanicals, including blood-orange zest and lime-tree flowers, and judges dubbed it “one of the finest gins we’ve tried in years,” which is impressive given that the panel is made up of bartenders, writers and experts who’ve had more than their fair share over the years. The prize-winning tipple is the creation of master distiller Barney Wilczak, who’s understandably thrilled. He said: “This is a huge compliment, as the award encompasses everything from fortified wines through to gin, vodka, cognac, calvados and more. It’s incredibly gratifying and I’m flattered!” You can meet Barney on p48 this issue, but, in the meantime, a toast to celebrate, perhaps? ✱


WHISKY Whisky is often bracketed with cigars and, perhaps, blue cheese as a treat for rich, grey-whiskered old men, but of little interest to the rest of us. Time, though, that things began to change‌



ne of the world’s great spirits, whisky is particularly loved in the British Isles – and why not? With Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey, we contribute the lion’s share of the best of it. It also has a character and complexity few rival spirits can match. Who first made it remains in dispute – the Irish, perhaps fancifully, claim their travelling monks first learnt how to distil in Arabia around 500BC, while the more literally-minded Scots point to actual written records of whisky-making in Scotland in 1494, documentation far more solid than anything their Celtic rivals can cook up. But few dispute that it was the outer fringes of these islands we’ve got to thank for the near-magical transformation of water and fermented grain mashes into ‘uisge beatha’, the water of life. With whisky, the pleasure comes before you even taste the stuff: look at it, roll it around in your glass, stick your nose in and sniff. Good whisky is like running an electric shock through your senses, and the mix of distinct aromas you’ll get (perhaps a bit of iodine or peat, some wood-smoke or fresh sea air, honey or tea) tells a mood story as well as any picture or piece of music. And then, of course, there’s the taste… Whisky’s complexity comes from the way that it’s made. You get two basic types – generally young grain whisky, and usually older single-malt whisky – and then a third, called blended whisky, which is a mix of the two. Single-malt is much more expensive, as it’s made using a costlier ingredient (barley) which is roasted by a peat-fuelled fire – a process called ‘malting’ – before fermentation and distillation. On the other hand, grain whisky – like the vast bulk of American and Canadian whiskeys, of which bourbon is a type – use the likes of wheat or maize, with just a small amount of malted barley, and is cheaper to produce. Irish whiskey, like Scotch, is made with barley alone, but only some of it is malted, giving a lighter, milder flavour. Of course, the variations are endless, and smart choices made in storage, distillation and recipe are – especially with single malts – what gives each whisky its unique character.

Take a malt from Speyside, up in the north east of Scotland (imagine the country’s bald patch), like The Glenlivet. It will be quite sweet and delicate, perhaps grassy. Or take another from the island of Islay, off the west coast, like Laphroaig – that will have a salty, briny, peaty flavour. Then there are the often-triple distilled Lowland types, with a light taste. Or Deeside whiskys, which will be right back into the smokey, peaty side of things. And it’s not just where a whisky comes from that will affect how it tastes, but how it is stored, too. The ageing process helps accentuate each one’s distinguishing features – differences so subtly disparate that, with over 100 distilleries in Scotland alone, it can take a lifetime to appreciate all the different ones. It’s almost like wine in this way. You can cook with whisky, of course, but it’s rarely a key ingredient – rather, it’s used to enhance existing flavours. (Think of it as the alcoholic equivalent of salt – it brings out the sea in seafood, the smokiness of smoked food, and the sweetness in a dessert.) Vanilla-like American bourbons work well in cakes, for instance, much as rum or brandy does – think whiskey flapjacks, whiskey fruit cake, even whiskey breadand-butter pudding – while the Scotch stuff is classically used in traditional desserts like cranachan. (Raspberries folded into a cream that’s been flavoured with honey, whisky and toasted oatmeal – quite something.) Whisky is occasionally used in savoury food, too. Whiskey-cured salmon is good, for instance, and it works with chilli on tiger prawns. Elsewhere, it’s sometimes paired with mustard on pork chops, or with haggis and venison, or with game birds like grouse. And American bourbon is sticky sweet enough to make a great glaze for all the meats – pork belly, especially – or a boozy toffee sauce, great on steamed puddings. And then, of course, there are the cocktails: Whiskey Sour, Irish Coffee, Manhattans, Old Fashioned… Many of the all-time greats have a whisky/ whiskey base, though the likes of gin (which doesn’t require ageing, and so is easier to make illicitly) rather overtook it in popularity from the Prohibition era on. As for drinking the stuff on its own, many claim neat is not the way to go at all – or not quite, anyway. Bourbon is often served on ice, and Scotch whisky sometimes



This twist on a classic cocktail is silky smooth with fresh citrus tastes up-front, and a punchy Cotswolds Single Malt finish INGREDIENTS

60ml Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky 25ml fresh lemon 20ml sugar syrup 2 dashes Angostura Bitters ½ egg white lemon slice cherry METHOD

– Dry-shake all ingredients. – Add ice, shake, then fine-strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. – Embellish with a lemon wheel and the cherry. Recipe from Cotswolds Distillery;

is – but connoisseurs recommend just a splash of room temperature water instead. Where to start? Wherever you like, but as fans of a Scotch single malt – and amateur ‘peat monsters’, to boot – the Crumbs team tend to like the easy-todrink Jura 10, the brilliantly well-rounded Bowmore 15, or, if we’re pushing the boat out, Laphroaig 25. Because it’s expensive, strong tasting, and takes some time to appreciate fully, whisky – and single malt Scotches, in particular – will continue to be seen as a slightly stuffy, luxury item by some. Not by us, though. Here at Crumbs we think of it as a relaxing everyday tipple instead – and just the thing for this desperately-inneed-of-warming time of year.




The Blue Boar in Witney has been given a makeover for 2017. The restaurant and bar in this wellknown 18th-century inn have a shiny new look, but the bit we’re probably most excited about is the addition of a woodburning pizza oven. Not only will there be pizza on the new menu, but general manager Giancarlo Ungaro will be personally overseeing daily specials from his home country. (That’s Italy, in case you hadn’t guessed.) ✱

A table of treats from @daylesfordfarm

In the diary... (7 January) WORLD OF WINE Fifteen wines, three courses, one day. Talk and learn about wine in the splendid surroundings of the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford. £89 gets you a tasting, lunch and a World of Wine course book. ✱ (23-25 January) ROSEMARY & THYME RETREAT Get the new year off to a healthy start with this three-day retreat at Thyme at Southrop, hosted by celebrity nutritionist and health food expert Rosemary Ferguson; £1,750pp. ✱

A sloe gin-laced quince tarte tatin by @organicliqueurs

(27-29 January) RAGIN’ CAJUN Tuck into some Cajun eats while getting down to hot beats at Gloucester Cajun and Zydeco Festival 2017. Day tickets from £25. ✱


Many, many happy returns to the Macdonald Randolph Hotel in Oxford, which has just reached the ripe age of 150 years old. Over the years the Oxford icon has entertained a host of famous faces, including Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Sir Alec Guiness and Hugh Grant – and both Morse and Lewis have been filmed there! ✱


A big Crumbs hello to Niall Keating, the new exec chef at Whatley Manor. Niall is stepping into the shoes of Martin Burge, who left in November after 13 years at the helm – and he is sure to be keen to hold on to the restaurant’s two Michelin stars. Niall began his career just down the road at The Bath Priory, but for the last few years he’s been working in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Copenhagen. Now he’s back in Blighty and ready to put his own stamp on Whatley. Niall’s new menu will be available to taste from 14 January, so book your table now! ✱


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!

Hi Sue! How long have you worked at Whatley Manor, then? Actually, I’m very new to Whatley – I started my role here at the end of September. I was so excited to be offered the job, as it is such a beautiful property with a great team and strong reputation. Well, welcome! Where did you work before? I was general manager of Cliveden House Hotel in Taplow, Berkshire. It is a stunningly beautiful National Trust property with an amazing heritage. Everyone should visit, as it is magical both in the house and outside on the wider estate. So, what’s been the best thing about working at Whatley so far? If I had to pick one thing, I would say it’s being surrounded by such a wonderful team who are all so professional, and who care so much about making all of our guests feel valued and welcome.

STARRING ROLE Pleased to meet you, Sue Williams, general manager at Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa

What’s the most challenging part of the job? Although Whatley has been going for 13 years, I think it is still hard to get the message out there that we are open to non-residents, so we need to make sure that everyone in the area knows what a warm and welcoming property we are. What sort of customers do you get? We have guests from all around the world, but what they have in common is that they all want a relaxing home away from home. Also, we have guests who want to use us as a base to explore


the Cotswolds, and then come back to a very relaxing environment where they can experience wonderful food and hospitality. I’m delighted to say we also have a lot of repeat visitors. What are the bestselling dishes? In Le Mazot brasserie, one of the most popular dishes is our hot stone steak, which arrives at the table sizzling. The smell as it passes through the restaurant is wonderful. What makes your restaurant such a special place to visit, then? We have two restaurants, The Dining Room is a great place to be, as it offers the finest two-star Michelin cuisine in a lovely warm ambiance. The less formal brasserie, Le Mazot, is a great spot for a relaxing night out, with dishes prepared by the same brigade of very talented chefs as The Dining Room. If you were a customer today, what would you order? I would eat in Le Mazot and order the Truffle Cheese Fondue, made with Emmental, Gruyère, and unpasteurised Fribourg Vacherin. It’s delicious, and a lovely dish to share, making it a very sociable experience. What do you think makes great customer service? Without a doubt, thoroughness, a sense of urgency, product knowledge and humour – they can all make a world of difference to your experience. Where have you visited locally where the customer service was excellent? That has to be our very close neighbour, The Brasserie at Lucknam Park. It is a firm favourite of ours. There’s always a lovely welcome and good service. ✱

THIS COULD BE YOU! Contact us at:


In the Larder 3





MiLKinG it

Check out these dairy delights to fill your fridge 1 BUTTER ME UP Cotswold Butter £2.50/250g Maybe it’s because it’s made from locally sourced cream that Cotswold Butter is so damn delicious. Or maybe it’s the double churning – we don’t know. What we do know is that it’s just about the finest butter we’ve ever tasted. It’s great for baking, but nothing beats slathering a thick layer of this stuff onto stillwarm bread. ✱ 2 SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM Dolcetti Belgian Chocolate gelato, £10/litre We’re huge fans of Dolcetti’s gorgeous gelato here at Crumbs towers, for many reasons. We especially love that the

smoky-yet-sweet caramel, added a deep sea-salt tang and swirled it through a luxurious Greek-style natural yoghurt. The result is, as they say down in Yeo Valley country, ‘gurt lush!’ Get it in most supermarkets. (Go on, you know you want to.) ✱

milk comes from a local, family-run farm and that it’s transformed into the frozen treat almost as soon as it arrives at Dolcetti HQ, so it goes from ‘cow to cone’ in a day. The ever-changing range of flavours means that we can always try something new – one of our all-time faves, though, is chocolate. It’s made with real Belgian chocolate, and there are no artificial colours or flavourings – so every bite is a melting mouthful of goodness. We’re excited about this stuff, so pass the spoon…. ✱

4 DAIRY QUEEN Jess’s Ladies Organic Farm Whole Milk, £1.32/1l The ‘ladies’ (as the heifers are affectionately known) at Gloucestershire’s Hardwicke Farm live in the lap of luxury – and you can taste it in their milk and cream. Because all the dairy is unhomogenised, and as fresh as you can get, you can even recognise the change in taste through the seasons as

3 YEO! WHAT’S UP? Yeo Valley Greek Style Salted Caramel Yoghurt, £1.80/450g The folks at Yeo Valley have taken bitter and


the pastures develop. Buy from independent stockists across the Cotswolds, including Primrose Vale farm shop in Bentham. ✱ theladiesorganicmilk. 5 SAY CHEESE! Nanny Landers Goat’s Cheese, £3/125g While we’re on the subject of happy animals, the goats at Home Farm in Quenington, Gloucestershire are busy roaming and grazing and generally producing some of the finest goat’s cheese in the country. It’s creamy and tangy and certified organic. Their milk is topnotch, too. Visit the website for more, where you can even have a gander at the goats’ own profile pages! ✱


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Ask the yourCaterer waiter Ask Who knows the menu best? Who makes the greatest impact on your experience? Everyone knows the most important thing about a big shindig – whatever it is, Front-of-house is your friend! but especially a wedding – is the food. What you need is a friendly caterer…

was able to open three pubs for them – and that’s where I met Ross Bearman. [The other half of Ross & Ross.] What’s the best thing about the company, then? For me, it’s being able to stick to my personal ethos of only using seasonal ingredients and local suppliers. We’ve turned this into a company ethos. What’s the most challenging part of the job? Controlling the cash flow! Our business is very seasonal, so we have to be careful we don’t get carried away in the summertime, and budget enough to make it through the quieter months. What important skills have you learnt doing this, then? How to deal with clients and staff. Being a chef, my role has always been quite back of house, but I get a lot more face time with clients now, and I have a team who I have to coordinate and keep happy. What are the most popular dishes? Ten-hour, slow-roasted shoulder of lamb, salsa verde and Jersey Royals.

ALL IN THE NAME Please meet Ross Whitmill of Ross & Ross, wedding caterers ’n’ foodie gift guys

How long’s Ross & Ross been going? We’ve been at it for five years now. A-ha! And what did you do before launching the company? I worked at Peach Pubs. When I started with them they were still growing, so I

What are the bestselling drinks? Champagne and espresso martinis. Have you noticed a change in the sort of dishes people are requesting? People are tending to steer away from the traditional, three-course plated meals, and sharing boards have become much more popular. These are great for guests, as you get a much wider choice of what you eat and it creates a more relaxed and sociable atmosphere. Had any unusual requests? We once had a client who wanted a bathtub filled with jelly, strawberries and cream – it was extremely messy! If you were a customer, then, what would you order from Ross & Ross? Either a bespoke wedding package – if


that was where I was at in my life at the time – or, more likely, a bacon curing kit! Does catering for a wedding differ to catering for any other large function? And, if so, how? We give all our customers the same experience, whether there’s one guest or 1,000. There tend to be a lot more personal details involved with a wedding – one bride wanted an edible flower on each dessert, but remembering these special touches are what makes us unique. We always have a meeting and tasting with our client, so we really get to know them and exactly how they would like their food on their wedding day. Corporate functions tend to focus less on the style of glass or cutlery used, but all our clients know they will get an outstanding service from us, no matter what the function. What do you think makes great customer service? Giving the customer what they want. We listen very carefully to what our clients ask of us, and take lots of notes to make sure we can get everything perfect for them on their special day. It’s the little touches like meringues that match the colour scheme, or putting chilli flakes out for the bride’s father, that really make all the difference. What did you eat at your wedding? Sharing boards of lamb, garlic prawns, salads and seasonal vegetables What makes Ross & Ross special? Our customer service. We always go the extra mile to make the client’s special day as perfect as they’ve dreamed. What do you cook at home? Everything! But fresh bread is a favourite. ✱



Food diary DOWN ON THE FARM Part of the team at Turnstone Farming Company, Sumari Du Val is passionate about organic food TURNSTONE FARMING COMPANY is an organic producer of plenty of our staple foods like milk, lamb, and veg. With their surplus milk they make their own cheese, and the Simon Weaver Cotswold Organic brand is available at supermarkets as well as farm shops and delis. There are three bries, for instance – a regular soft and buttery one, a blue-veined version and a herb brie – all made from milk supplied by the Kirkham Farm Friesian herd. Thanks, girls! ✱




I like to start my week with one of my own home-grown organic eggs, fried on some wholewheat toast.

If I have a hearty breakfast, I usually just have a smoothie for lunch, followed by cups of camomile tea and honey.

Tonight is pasta night – with savoury mince, lots of onion, garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Cinnamon bagel with rooibos tea, served black with no sugar.

Fruit, glorious fruit! Grapes, organic apple, an orange and a small piece of Simon Weaver Cotswold Organic brie.

Some Scottish salmon with boiled new potatoes and green salad.

Homemade power smoothie – spinach, banana, raspberries, mango and fresh ginger blended with coconut water.

I have a very busy day on Wednesday, and always feel hungry – so I settle for a meal deal from M&S!

Homemade vegetable and lentil soup. As a midweek treat my hubby and I enjoy some honeycomb ice cream.

Crunchy muesli with yogurt on top, instead of milk.

Cleansing smoothie – spinach, celery, cucumber, frozen strawberries and raspberries, ginger and honey.

It’s nibble night! I put together a salad plate then scatter some prawns, tuna chunks and smoked salmon on top.

Weetabix with milk and a glass of grapefruit juice.

I miss lunch, but do drink a lot of tea (my favourite is rooibos, camomile and honey, and lemon and ginger).

A delicious lamb roast with all the trimmings. I know it’s an odd day for a roast, but we had a full house.

A lovely lazy breakfast: organic eggs scrambled on brown toast with smoked salmon and fresh dill, followed by Irish fruit bread and Earl Grey tea.

For lunch we had our lovely Tamworth sausages with fried onions and organic ketchup in a hotdog roll.

At least one day a week we have a ‘leftovers meal’, made up of all the week’s evening meals warmed up and served a bit like a buffet.

We enjoy nice coffee with fresh Irish fruit bread.

My husband surprised me with a lovely roast at a local country pub.

Tonight we just had some of our organic cheese and biscuits for a light supper.



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Ask the Experts


What does it take to keep a rugby team on top form? Performance chef Will Carvalho and performance nutritionist James Hudson at Gloucester Rugby know exactly how to fuel success…


James (above) and Will (below) work smartly to keep the boys on form

Hi, guys! So, you look after all the foodie needs for the guys at Gloucester Rugby, do you? Just how many is that? Will: It’s about 85 people altogether – 42 in the first team squad, 22 in the senior academy, and then all the support staff. And that’s for breakfast, lunch and snacks in between. That’s got to be a lot of food! But athletes just eat loads of steamed chicken, broccoli and rice, right? James: Absolutely not! That’s actually one of the biggest myths about an athlete’s diet. It’s something that’s perpetuated all the time in social media by the fitness industry, in particular, and it’s very frustrating. Actually, athletes can, and should, eat a broad range of food – and something that Will is brilliant at is creating a really huge variety. Will: In two months’ worth of menus, hardly any dishes are repeated. We bring back particular favourites, of course, but we mix it up as much as possible. Why? Because the last thing we want is for people to get bored. What does a rugby team eat, then? James: Each training session has a different objective, and we match the players’ fuel needs to that.

Will: It’s like a Formula 1 car – if it’s got to do 50 laps, then you fuel it for 50. If it’s got to do 25, then you fuel for 25. It’s the same principle. So, on a high-intensity day we’ll include lots of carbs, and on a low-intensity day there might be more protein and a chance to include extra fruit and vegetables. There’s always lots of choices, so we can please most people most of the time! I use a range of techniques, like cooking in a water bath, which are used in professional kitchens in hotels and restaurants. But, of course, we don’t use a lot of cream, butter and things like that – and we don’t plate it up beautifully for them, either! The ingredients I use are amazing, and as much as possible is sourced locally. For example, we can see the cows that are used for the beef in the fields down the road. And everything we make is fresh. The only thing we buy in is baked beans! We’re no rugby experts, but don’t players come in different shapes and sizes depending on the position they play? And, so, don’t they need to eat different things? James: We work a lot with the players, teaching them about the choices they need to make as individuals, and we regularly monitor their body


composition in terms of body fat and muscle mass. We work with what we call ‘the Three Ts’ – Type, Timing and Total. Education is very important, because players are more likely to put into practice what we tell them if they understand why. What about so-called sports supplements? We’re always seeing adverts for these things. Surely players need to take them as well? James: Actually, we don’t use many supplements at all. Our big message to players is that you can get just about everything you need from the right foods. We include quite a lot of polyphenol-rich foods (that’s the chemical that plants use to repair cells), which are also rich in anti-oxidants. Things like garlic and turmeric can be anti-inflammatory, and jelly can help with tendon injuries. We also use some fermented foods for gut health. At this time of year, especially, it’s also important to make sure that the players’ immune systems are as strong as possible – illness can spread through a squad in a matter of hours. What they eat plays a part in keeping them healthy. Will: I am very strict about general hygiene standards, too. No-one touches raw ingredients in the kitchen, and there’s always alcohol hand gels to use.


Oat porridge with banana and cocoa powder Cottage cheese waffles with berry compote Scrambled eggs with chives Lean bacon medallions Free-range chicken with butter beans and basil Steamed spinach with sesame seeds Carrot and potato rosti LUNCH

That all sounds good and healthy and everything, but in the winter doesn’t everyone just want to stuff their faces with comfort food? Will: Of course. When it’s cold outside, and it’s dark, the mood goes down – so we try very hard to bring the motivation up with the food. We realise that we need to reward them sometimes, so we put out desserts and things like that. James: It can be tough at this time of year, especially for the younger guys when they are at home with their families, but they have to learn the discipline. You have to make sacrifices in professional sports, and it’s all about doing the right things on the right days. It’s a real privilege to be able to play at this level, though, and generally they all understand that. Do you think psychology plays a big part in food? James: Absolutely. Food can really lift your mood. But it goes beyond that, too. There’s the whole psychology about how you arrange the dining room, for instance, in terms of what food you put out first – and the size of the plates and bowls. So, on a high-intensity day we’ll use big bowls for porridge to make everybody eat more, and if there are carb options then we’ll put them right at the front of the display.

Salmon papillotte 48-hour, slow-cooked feather blade of beef with wild mushrooms Crushed new potatoes with chives and extra virgin olive oil Swede and parsnip Dauphinoise (with no cream) Wholemeal pasta salad with chicken and basil pesto


Smoked salmon with poached eggs Roast plum tomatoes with herbs Beetroot with sunflower seeds and caramelised red onion Homemade granola pots with Skyr yoghurt and apple cinnamon compote Grilled turkey escalopes with turmeric and garlic LUNCH

Wild sea bream with samphire Minted lamb steaks Roast butternut squash with sage and thyme Lentils with peppers and aubergine Baked courgette with almonds and cumin


Will: We’ve also started making more ‘ready made’ things, so we can control the portion sizes better. For example, we do granola cups that have the granola and yoghurt and fruit all put together. If we just put out granola and pots of yoghurt and pieces of fruit that needed slicing, no-one would bother! Clever! We like it. But what about when they are at home and having to look after themselves? How do you make sure they are building on everything you’ve done? James: It comes back to education again. We give the players choices and ideas, and that’s how it needs to be. We do recipe cards for them, and Will is always here to talk to and give advice on how to prepare food. Most of the players can cook, which helps! Will: Actually, one of our big plans for this season is to do some cooking lessons. And we’re going to go to the butcher and do a butchery class soon, where the players can learn how to recognise different cuts of meat. So, basically, food is the secret to Gloucester Rugby’s success? Will: Well, maybe not entirely. But it definitely helps! ✱



THE FOOD SHOP Where do you go to buy all your lovely local produce? One of these super, independent farm shops, we bet… BUTTS FARM SHOP Master butcher Gary Wallace opened this award-winning shop in 2003, and since then has been peddling fine meats – including rare-breed, hogget and mutton, home-cured bacon, even chitterlings – as well as other lovely local veg and produce. Considering the meat comes from the adjoining farm, traceability is the name of the game here, so if you want to know your pig before you eat your bacon you can always visit and get a hands-on farm experience. The shop runs special seasonal offerings, so keep an eye on the website for the best deals. ✱ South Cerney, Cirencester GL7 5QE;


From left, clockwise: a host of meaty treats lie inside Butts Farm shop; Frocester supports local producers; boozers with style head to Teddington


The Hawkins family have been working hard on the land in Frocester since 1895. But it wasn’t until December 2000 that they had the bright idea of opening a farm shop and kitchen to sell all their tasty wares. Now they can pass on all their beautiful meat products, as well as other local produce like Frocester Honey and Greys Potatoes. They also create tasty faggots, casseroles and other meals that you can heat at home. Or visit the kitchen for some hot and filling grub on your country day out.

There’s tons of parking at this top-drawer farm shop – good thing, because you’re gonna need to bring a car to fill up your boot with all the tasty produce that’s on sale. From artisan breads and pastries to gourmet cheese and a huge range of wines, ciders and ales, there are all the delicious staples you could want here, as well as finer extravagances for gifts (or for you, if you deserve the indulgence). Owners care a lot about local producers and suppliers, and support Billy’s Eggs, The Outdoor Pig Co, The Ethical Fruit Company and a whole lot more.

✱ Peter’s Street, Frocester GL10 3TJ; 01453 822054;

✱ Evesham Road, Teddington GL20 8NE; 01386 725400;


TRADITIONAL ARTISAN ITALIAN GELATO HANDMADE IN THE COTSWOLDS WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS SAY... “Gorgeous ice cream you want to keep eating!!!” “I love the innovation of this company... Rob is the Gelato Wizard!”– Dave Carter, Local Chef

Lynwood & Co is an amazing new café now open in the heart of Lechlade, the inspiration of Robert Broadbent and his wife Kats.



DOLCETTI ICE CREAM. Unit 2 Stirling Works, Love Lane, Cirencester GL7 1YG T: 01285 641333 E: W:

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:

‘We are committed to providing Lechlade and surrounding villages a place where people can meet and enjoy amazing coffee, homemade cakes, in house artisan bread and a menu driven by seasonality.’ Open 8am - 4pm Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm Sat, 8am-2pm Sun (Brunch) Lynwood & Co, Apsley House, Market Square, Lechlade, Glouscestershire GL7 3AD 01367 253 707


Kitchen Library The freshest, most inspirational cookbooks of the month

VEGETABLES Antonio Carluccio Quadrille, £25



Part cookbook and part travelogue, Taste of Persia shares the food and homecooked meals of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran and Kurdistan, with reminders of the cultural and religious context of each country. Naomi Duguid is an intrepid traveller and culinary anthropologist, and she writes eloquently about the people she meets and the places she visits. The 125 recipes in this beautifully photographed book include an Iranian pomegranate walnut chicken stew; Georgian beef stew with onion and tomato; and Persian rice pudding flavoured with rosewater and cardamom. There is also a comprehensive glossary of Persian ingredients, with detailed histories and tips on how to use them. This book takes you on an enchanting journey around a fascinating and diverse region.

It has taken quarter of a century for legendary French chef Pierre Koffmann to write the follow-up to his classic book Memories of Gascony – but it has been worth the wait. This is the 50th year in the kitchen for Koffmann, whose influence on British restaurants is immeasurable, with Michelin-starred protégés including Marco Pierre White, Tom Kitchin and Tom Aikens. Classic Koffmann features over 100 of Koffmann’s best-loved recipes, from signature dishes such as stuffed pig’s trotter and pistachio soufflé to more recent creations like octopus salad with Japanese dressing, and lime and basil tart. With photos of each dish taken by David Loftus and detailed recipe introductions and anecdotes from Koffmann, this is an instant classic from one of the most respected chefs of them all.

Naomi Duguid Artisan, £25

Meze Publishing, £14.95

Antonio Carluccio is widely regarded as the Godfather of Italian food, and he has written more than 20 best-selling books as well as starred in successful TV shows like Two Greedy Italians. In his latest volume, he turns his attention to his favourite vegetables, with 120 recipes reflecting both traditional and modern styles. Be it raw, cooked or preserved, the humble veg can be elevated to another level when it comes to Italian cuisine, and Carluccio describes how to buy and prepare 100 different varieties, from leaves, pods, seeds and shoots to squashes, pulses, grains and herbs. The recipes cover salads, tarts, pasta, soups, stews, risottos, dips, jams, pickles and even cakes, biscuits and ice cream. Seasonal highlights include wild mushroom strudel, pumpkin squash risotto, and Brussels sprouts gratin.


Hot on the heels of the Bristol version published a few months ago, The Bath Cook Book is the 18th in the series of regional guides by Sheffield-based Meze Publishing. The book features contributions from top restaurants, cafés, gastropubs and shops across Bath and Wiltshire. From fillet of beef with beetroot purée, Dauphinoise potatoes and red wine and port reduction (from The Seven Stars at Winsley) to soy cured salmon in a cucumber cup with mango salsa and wasabi crème fraîche (The Bunch of Grapes in Bradfordon-Avon), the book is a tantalising taste of the region’s flourishing food scene. The Bath Cook Book is available online from the publishers, but also from the businesses featured in the book, as well as selected local gift shops and book shops.


Pierre Koffmann Jacqui Small, £30



Carol Harris, Mike Brown and CJ Jackson The History Press, £14.99

With food prices rising and many household budgets stretched, this book about cheap and healthy recipes from the Second World War is still relevant and timely. Although it wasn’t much fun at the time, food rationing is now seen as a contributing factor to changing tastes and better health in Britain (before the war, we consumed more sugar than most of our European neighbours). Written by food writer and cook CJ Jackson, with Second World War experts Mike Brown and Carol Harris, The Ration Book Diet features 60 recipes organised seasonally. What is most striking about these simple and thrifty recipes is how many of them have become staples of the modern kitchen, including slow-cooked beef in stout, venison hot-pot, and creamed rice with blackberry sauce.




50ml vegetable or pomace oil 6 chorizo sausages, chopped into 1cm chunks 2 white onions, diced 3 garlic cloves, chopped 2 celery sticks, diced into 1cm chunks ½ tsp smoked paprika  50g tomato paste 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes 2 tins butter beans  glug of olive oil 4 cod fillets 

– For the cassoulet, warm the oil in a heavy-based pan to a moderate heat. Then add the chorizo pieces and cook out for 5 minutes until lightly coloured. – Add the onions, garlic, celery and a pinch of salt, and cook until soft. – Add the smoked paprika and tomato paste and cook for a further 5 minutes. Then pour in the tinned tomatoes and simmer on a low heat for 45-60 minutes, until the mixture has reduced by ⅓ and thickened.  – Drain the butter beans and add to the sauce. Heat through for 5 minutes and then leave to rest.  – For the lemon, garlic and parsley dressing, add the oil to a small saucepan with

For the lemon, garlic and parsley dressing: 50ml extra virgin olive oil  1 lemon, zest only 2 garlic cloves, diced 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped


the lemon zest, garlic and a pinch of salt. Gently bring to a simmer. Take off the heat and allow to cool, then add the chopped parsley.  – Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. – For the roast cod, heat a non-stick pan and add 1 tbsp of oil. Season the cod fillet and place skin-side down in the pan. Sear on a high heat until the fish colours slightly, then place in the oven and cook until the fish has gone firm and opaque. Remove from the pan and allow to rest. – To serve, add a portion of the cassoulet to each bowl and place the cod on top. Drizzle the dressing over the cod and in and around the cassoulet. Serve with a green salad. 

The Butts Farm Rare Breeds & Farm Shop

South Cerney, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5QE • 01285 862224 • Opening Times: Tuesday- Friday 9am - 6pm • Saturday 8.30am - 2pm

Frocester Fayre Farm Shop Pork • Bacon • Lamb • Beef • Poultry • Meat Boxes • Pig Roasts Frocester Sausages • Frocester burgers • Ready meals We also sell a full Range of Godsells Cheese, Frocester Honey, Greys Potatoes, Selsley Preserves, Kitchen Garden Preserves and Grange Farm Frozen Food. 01453 822054


You’re full of vitamins A, K and B6, and you taste bloomin’ delish. That’s why we leek you so much (see p32)


Salmon takes Sunday lunch from routine to regal Page 30


Here’s a veg salad packed with vits for Jan Page 32


What to cook for Lunar New Year Page 36


Plus 34 YES, M’LADY Swap crab for chicken in this coronation special



DId SalmON SaY ROaST DINNeR? Why not try something different for your next roast? This salmon recipe from Katharina Korinek of Coombe Farm Organic is super-healthy, easy to prepare, cooks in no time, and is a real eye-catcher for your table Coombe Farm Organic’s marketing manager, Katharina Korinek, has actually come up with this delicious recipe. It’s light and fresh, and perfect if you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to eat a bit more healthily this year. Based in south Somerset, the farm is known for its high-quality organic meat – but now they’ve added fish to the menu, too! The guys work with Brixham’s famous fish market and an organic salmon farm in Northern Ireland, both of which use ethical and sustainable methods to deliver the freshest sea beasts.


1 organic, unwaxed lemon organic premium cold-pressed olive oil 800g-1kg organic half side of salmon 1 tsp organic pink peppercorns (coarsely ground or pestled)


2 pinches organic coarse salt 1 handful organic fresh parsley (or, alternatively, dill) METHOD

– Preheat your oven to 220C/425F/ gas mark 7. – Cut half of the lemon into small slices, grate the skin from the other half, then squeeze the juice into a small jar. – Cover the bottom of a baking tray with olive oil and put it in the preheated oven. – Let the oil get sizzling hot, then put the salmon on it (skin down). – Sprinkle the upper side of the salmon with olive oil, pink pepper, salt and lemon zest. – Put the parsley and 5-6 lemon slices on the salmon, then drizzle the lemon juice onto it. – Put the salmon in the oven on the top shelf for around 15 minutes, or until the lemons are browned and the fish starts to get crispy. – Serve with any-style potatoes, crème fraiche and lemon dip. ✱ COOMBE FARM ORGANIC, Coombe Farm, Roundham, Crewkerne TA18 8RR; 01460 279509;


Local girl Katriona MacGregor has done it again, and whipped up a lovely light dish that’s ideal for the quiet weeks after all those festive excesses…

taKe a LeeK... This delicious salad really shows off young baby leeks, their sweetness combining beautifully with the smoky depth lent by chargrilling. Making leeks a centrepiece like this is quite unusual, and is the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday roast or elegant light lunch.


400g baby leeks 400g courgettes zest of ½ a lemon ½ tsp honey ½ tsp English mustard 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 12 basil leaves, shredded small handful parsley, chopped 20g pine nuts, toasted handful of rocket


– Remove any tough outer leaves from the baby leeks. – Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the leeks for 2 minutes. – Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain once again and pat dry with kitchen paper to remove excess water. – Slice the courgettes into eight lengthways and remove the seeds with a sharp knife. Place in a large bowl with the leeks, drizzle with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. – Heat a chargrill pan until smoking and add the vegetables, in batches, so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly charred and keep to one side. – To make the dressing, whisk together the honey, mustard, olive oil and vinegar with a little salt and pepper.  – Pour the dressing over the chargrilled vegetables, adding the herbs, lemon zest and rocket. Toss together well. Taste to check the seasoning and tip onto a serving dish, sprinkling with pine nuts just before you serve the salad.


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


FeeLING CraBBy! A starter fit for a queen from Andrew Scott, executive head chef from Restaurant 56 in Faringdon



You may recognise Andrew Scott from this year’s Great British Menu, where he represented the Central region. And indeed, you may recognise this dish, dubbed ‘Crabbing the Headlines’ on the show. He says: “My fish course is inspired by the Queen’s coronation, and the drama that surrounded the filming of it at Westminster Abbey. The ceremony was nearly not televised, as Prince Phillip had banned all cameras in the Abbey. Lord Swinton, a veteran in Winston Churchill’s cabinet, succeeded in changing the Queen’s mind. The coronation being televised made television truly national. People bought, rented and borrowed TV sets just to watch the big day, making it the most-watched programme in TV history, with 20.4 million tuning in – double the radio audience. This all then led to the creation of a celebratory meal of coronation chicken. I decided to put a twist on this using crab and some modern cooking techniques to bring the dish from a historic item right up to date.”


For the almond and curry emulsion: INGREDIENTS

20g butter curry powder (4 pinches) 2 pinches celery salt 2 pinches garam masala

75ml sherry vinegar 250ml water 300g whole almonds, roasted lime juice

– Pour over brown crab in a blender. Season and add the lemon juice. Blitz until smooth. – Pass onto a greased tray. Refrigerate.


For the apricot gel:

– Melt butter in a pan, add spices and cook for 2 mins. Deglaze with water and sherry vinegar. – Blitz almonds in a blender with spice liquid until smooth. – Season and add lime juice. For the dressed white crab: INGREDIENTS

1 cooked cock crab olive oil (to taste) sea salt (to taste) lime juice (to taste)


500g apricot purée 200g stock syrup 10g agar METHOD

– Boil purée, and syrup and taste. – When perfect, weigh the liquid. – Add 1g of agar to 100g of liquid. – Boil and set in fridge. – Blitz when cold. Pass into sauce bottle. For the soaked apricots and raisins:



– Break down crab and pick white meat. Reserve brown meat for panna cotta. – Dress the crab with olive oil, sea salt and lime juice and season.

300ml apple juice 200ml Stone’s Ginger Wine 100g dried apricots 100g golden raisins

For the crab biscuit:



202g strong white flour 82g oats, blitzed 1tsp celery salt 1 tsp sugar pinch cayenne zest of 1 lime, grated 100g butter, diced 100g brown crab, blitzed and sieved

– Boil both liquids together. – Bring the fruit up to the boil in separate pans. – Place everything in a bowl, cover in cling film and refrigerate. To plate the dish: INGREDIENTS

Coriander cress, to garnish Celery cress, to garnish


– Preheat oven to 180C/350F/ gas mark 4. – Place all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and rub in the soft diced butter. – Add the crab. Rest for 20 minutes. – Roll and cut dough into rings and bake for 8-10 minutes. For the crab panna cotta: INGREDIENTS

200ml milk 800ml cream 8g agar 400g brown crab lemon METHOD

– Boil milk and cream. Add agar then re-boil.



– Put a dot of apricot purée in the centre of a round plate and glue down the crab biscuit on top. – Place the pannacotta on top of the biscuit. – Squeeze 7 random-sized dots of almond purée and 7 dots of apricot purée around the edge of the biscuit. – Fill in the gaps with soaked fruit. – Place the crab meat on top of the pannacotta in a small ring. – Garnish with coriander and celery cress.

✱ RESTAURANT 56, London Street, Faringdon SN7 7AA; 01367 245389;



It’s Taiwanese made easy in this tasty, healthy dish from Pamela Chen Moore

Pamela, the Taiwanese chef from ChenMoore Chopsticks, will be cooking up a storm to celebrate lunar new year on 28 January. She’ll be spending it at home, with family and friends, and she has much to celebrate in the forthcoming months – as well as her demonstrations, regular teaching at cookery schools and radio slots, she’ll be taking her talks and demonstrations on board Queen Mary II for two weeks!

Pamela is sharing this colourful Taiwanese dish for you to create at your own lunar celebration. It’s one of her favourite dishes from her childhood – her mum makes the best Taiwanese rice noodles, but Pamela’s version is pretty awesome, too. There’s a fair bit of chopping to do, but it’s worth it. This is the vegetarian version, but you can substitute the tofu with frozen prawns or leftover pulled roast meat.




5 shiitake mushrooms (rehydrate for 2 hours before cooking) 4-6 shallots 3 spring onions 1 carrot 1 red pepper 1 whole pointed (sweetheart) cabbage 1 pack marinated tofu pieces (around 160g) 250g rice noodle or vermicelli 1 heaped teaspoon Chinese five spice 2 generous shakes of ground white pepper 3 tablespoons oil 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1½ teaspoons salt pinch of sugar 1 spring onion (optional) a few slices of red chilli (optional) toasted sesame oil (to taste)


– Squeeze the shiitake mushrooms dry, remove the stalks and slice thinly. Save the mushroom water for later. – Peel and thinly slice the shallots. – Trim and clean the spring onions, and cut diagonally into thin slices. – Cut carrot into thin juliennes and the red pepper into long, thin strips. – Remove the tough outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut into halves and remove the stalk. Slice thinly. – Bring a pot of water to the boil for the rice noodles. – In a large frying pan or wok, heat the oil, add the shallots and the shiitake mushrooms and stir fry for 1 minute. – Add the carrot slices and stir fry for a further minute. – Add the cabbage, then gently pour in the mushroom water and cook for 2 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure there is moisture at the bottom of the pot. – Meanwhile, soak or cook the noodles according to the instructions on the pack. – Season the vegetables with the salt, sugar, ground white pepper and Chinese five spice. – Stir in the tofu pieces to heat them right through. – Add another 2 tablespoons of water/ mushroom water if the pot is dry. Close the lid and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and adjust the seasoning to taste. – Turn off the heat and add the spring onion and a drizzle of sesame oil. – Once the noodles are cooked, drain in a colander and rinse with hot water. Give them a good toss in the colander to remove as much water as possible. Return them to the saucepan, add ½ tablespoon of toasted sesame oil to the noodles and mix well. – Add the noodles to the vegetables and mix well to remove any clumps in the noodles, and to make sure they’re well-coated with seasoning. – Garnish with spring onion slices and some red chilli, if you like a bit of a kick. ✱


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

Wednesday 25th January From 7pm • £25 per person payable at the time of booking Enjoy a 3 course meal, with a piper and a speaker. Book now!

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

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

01608 682 226


The Angel Hotel 47 High Street with this Wootton Bassett advert Wiltshire SN4 7AQ Tel: 01793 851161 Email:


Join us at one of our Theme Nights or Extreme Nights for charity: LARGE STEAK BURGER CHALLENGE £60 25th February 2017. In aid of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance

High Street Chipping Campden GL55 6AL 01386 840598

Our ball room is perfect for your wedding reception or event. We serve food all day: Mon - Sat 8am - 9.30pm • Sun 8am - 3pm Large beer garden


BOX CLEVER Little Boy Blue meets Lily the Pink in these clever squishable lunch boxes. And, says Matt Bielby, they come in grown-up sizes too…

Blimey, they’re bright! I’m assuming that’s pink for a girl, blue for a boy, yes? Could be. Up to you, really. After all, pink was the colour for little boys, and blue for little girls, right up until the Second World War or thereabouts. Think of all the famous female characters who wear blue, for instance – Alice, Cinderella, Snow White, the Virgin Mary, her out of Avatar… Oh, come on. There’s no real evidence for this, is there…? Well, perhaps not as much as I might hope for. Yes, there’s a famous 1918 quote from Earnshaw’s, the American fashion trade mag: “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger colour, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl”. But beyond that, real evidence is thin on the ground.



Why the change, then? No-one’s really sure, but everyone seems to have an opinion. The popularity of sailor suits for boys, maybe? Elegant ’50s women’s fashions in pink, like in the musical Funny Face? Simply companies trying to flog more kit? Goodness knows – but one thing’s certain. These days you’d be taking your life in your hands offering the top box here to a girl, and the bottom to a boy. I wondered when you were going to get around to mentioning those boxes. Yep! They’re called Flat Stacks, they’re from Wowzr, and they’re good for school lunch, while the larger versions will keep an entire family meal fresh. This lunch pair even come with cutlery. Then, when you’ve eaten up, they fold pretty much flat, giving you less bulk to lug home – or store. In collapsed form they’ll still hold a small amount, though – fine for leftovers in the fridge, say.



What are they, then? Some sort of clever plastic? Silicon, actually – which is tougher, and less prone to stains and smells. They’re 100-percent airtight, BPA free, microwave safe, and come in four differently sized (but identically priced) sets, from this pair of lunch boxes to four medium-sized round ones, or two massive rectangular ones. Each set is twenty quid a pop. But what if I have two boys? Once again, it’s your call. But finding a friend with two girls and doing a swap might be the safest way…

✱ Whatever set you buy, it’s £20; check ’em out at


( feature )


( feature )

Crumbs drinks with Capreolus Distillery might be small, but it’s having pretty big success, so we were thrilled when master distiller Barney Wilczak asked us round to show us where the magic happens‌

The spirit world



w as I in the right place, I wondered, as I drove down a residential street in Stratton and pulled up outside an unassuming family home. I was looking for the Capreolus Distillery, but I couldn’t help thinking it seemed unlikely that an award-winning gin was being made behind these walls. It may be unlikely, but it turns out that it is true – sort of. The house is the childhood home of master distiller Barney Wilczak (his dad still lives there) and although the distillery isn’t actually in the house, it is in the garden. In an old greenhouse, actually, now converted into a decidedly bijou distillery. “I always feel like I need to apologise when I show people the distillery, because it’s so small,” says Barney. And it is, indeed, small – so small that there’s barely room for three of us to fit in at once. (It’s taking the description ‘micro distillery’ to a whole new level.) There’s zero reason for apologies, though, because although it may be tiny, it’s got charm in spades – and the drinks that it’s producing are knock-out. When you appreciate the size of the operation, it only serves to make the level of success that Capreolus is currently enjoying seem all the more surprising – and impressive. This little distillery is gaining a reputation that’s far bigger than its square footage, thanks to its Garden Tiger gin being named The Whisky Exchange’s 2017 Spirit of the Year – and the dazzling array of eaux de vie (colourless fruit brandy) that it’s turning out. Add to this that Barney has only been commercially producing the gin for around six months, that he’s the only full-time worker, and that his background is not in any kind of food or drink production – but in conservation photography – and his achievements seem to be nothing less than astounding. “To have had this success so quickly is so flattering,” says Barney. “The plan was to sell 2,500 bottles of gin in a year, and we’ve done that in five months.” And since The Whisky Exchange announced the award, the orders have been flooding in. “Within 45 minutes of the announcement being made I had an email from an Italian importer placing a large order.” It’s not just the gin that’s proving popular, either. The eaux de vie range is


also gaining a following. Believing that most people’s only brush with eaux de vie had probably been in some dodgy Eastern Europe restaurant – where you tend to get plied with a shot of something so strong it would be unwise to drink it anywhere near a naked flame – their success has proved something of a surprise. “I was really just doing eaux de vie because I liked it,” he says, “but I wasn’t sure there was a market for it in this country.” The intense fruit flavours of his creations have changed perceptions, however, and they’re now stocked in high-end restaurants and bars. The eaux de vie are really where the Capreolus story began. It was around seven years ago that Barney first started “playing around,” as he puts it, with distillation, making small batches for him and his partner and experimenting with different fruits. “I became fascinated with it because you’re always working to a critical point,” he explains. “You have one or two days of peak ripeness with a fruit. And when you do it well, the end result is amazing.” Failing to find the experience and knowledge needed to help him make eaux de vie in the UK, Barney was forced to look abroad – chiefly to such epicentres of fruit distilling as Austria and Germany – and began translating books and scientific manuals to gain the insights desired. As his fascination and knowledge grew, so did the business. In 2016 Barney produced around 1,200 bottles of eaux de vie in various flavours, and this year he’s hoping to double production. These might not seem like vast numbers, until you consider just how much fruit is required. For example, one litre of Blood Orange eau de vie requires 45kg of oranges – or around 450 of them. And the elderberry variety calls for a whole kilo of the tiny black berries to make a single 25ml measure. The berries are all hand-picked by Barney and his friends and family, and there’s a short window of only two days when the fruit is perfectly ripe and has not yet been eaten by birds. “I was on the phone to the farmer every day for weeks, asking him how they were doing,” said Barney. “Then, when they were ready, I had to call in favours and rush down to pick as

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quickly as we could. Four of us picked for two whole days, and we got 140kg.” Every bottle represents at least six hours of labour picking the berries, and the process is so intensive that only 14 bottles have been produced this year. “We sell it for £120 a bottle, but even that doesn’t reflect the work that goes into it,” says Barney. “But I do it because I get to keep two of the bottles myself!” There’s practically no limit to the lengths Barney will go to in an effort to ensure his final product is of the absolute highest quality. His latest venture, a quince eau de vie, demanded around 8,000 quinces be hand-scrubbed in a day to remove fur from their skin, because it interferes with the fermentation process, and when he makes a plum variety he hand-sieves the fruit after fermentation to remove the stones so that the almond flavour isn’t overpowering. And as ensuring that the fruit is picked at just the right moment is key, sometimes sacrifices have to be made. “Just the other day I was in London, and I had a call to say that some fruit was being delivered because it was ready, so I

had to rush back. It’s all about capturing that moment in time.” Creating the gin is slightly less physical, but no less time-consuming. Keen to build on his experience gained in distilling, and to produce something very different to what’s already on the market, Barney set about a long process of working with different flavour combinations, nosing and tasting them night after night until he hit on the perfect sweet spot. “I spent four or five months just writing flavour notes,” he says, “and I went through hundreds and hundreds of iterations. I think that what we have come up with is the most complex UK gin available at the moment. It’s not just a modified London Dry gin, it’s incredibly difficult to balance all the flavours, and it’s a very expensive way of doing things. But that’s why it’s great that people are getting excited about it.” It’s soon clear that Barney has an almost obsessive attention to detail, and not just when it comes to the production itself. The still he uses was custom-made in the Czech Republic, labels on the


eaux de vie are handwritten using a carefully selected pen nib and ink colour, and the bottles are UV-proof to prevent any deterioration of the precious contents. It’s touches like these that are setting Capreolus apart and making the products so desirable. But as such a small outfit, meeting demand at the rate they are growing is becoming increasingly challenging, and Barney is already looking at how to grow while still maintaining the core values that make Capreolus so special. “I never thought we’d need to expand so quickly,” he says, “but I’m going to get a second still soon. It will take a bit of rearranging to fit it in here, but I’m sure we can do it! We’ll have to get more people in to help with processing the fruit. I could never let anyone else do the distilling, though. It’s all about balancing scientific knowledge and creativity, and it’s very personal. “Every hour that I put in, though, feels like it’s pushing things forward and making it even more of a success.” ✱

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Barney says: “1920s elegance is exemplified in the French 75 cocktail. Stories tell of its name being derived from the French 75mm field gun. We prefer to think of it in a much more benign role, a refreshing combination that is perfect for sophisticated parties or for enjoying on lazy summer evenings. As with most cocktails that have remained classics, the preparation is simple.” INGREDIENTS

45ml Garden Tiger dry gin 15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice 8ml of 2-to-1 sugar syrup (to make your own, simply combine two parts of sugar to one part water. Heat while stirring until dissolved, and bottle. It will keep for several months) English sparkling wine or Champagne strip of lemon peel METHOD

– Combine the Garden Tiger, lemon juice and sugar syrup in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. – Shake until well coated in condensation. – Strain into a Champagne flute or coupe, and top with sparkling wine. – Garnish with the twist of lemon peel.



Give your kitchen that hygge feeling...


2 3

1 KENWOOD BREAD MAKER £109.98 If you could smell a cuddle, we think it would probably be just like freshly baked bread – and this bread maker means it’s easy to make a loaf any time you feel like it. Get yours from Debenhams in Bath. ✱ 2 SMALL HANBOROUGH TABLE LAMP £120 Give your home a warm and welcoming glow with this beautifully simple table lamp. Get yours from Cotswold Trading in Broadway. ✱


3 STUMP 2-POT TEAPOT WITH INFUSER £29.95 There’s always time for tea, especially when your teapot is as pretty as this one. Pick yours up from Steamer Trading in Cirencester. ✱ 4 BIRDS EYE MAPLE WOOD BOARD NO10 £139 This gorgeous maple wood serving platter from the shop at Daylesford Organic Farm is both elegant and hard wearing, and is sure to impress your guests! ✱ 5 CAST IRON CASSEROLE DISH £39 There’s nothing like a hearty one-pot meal to bring the fam together on a cold winter’s evening, so no kitchen should be without a good casserole dish like this one from Pro Cook in Gloucester Quays. ✱



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Frobishers Pineapple Juice Juice of a lime Handful of mint Soda water Sprig of mint and wedge of pineapple for garnish – Muddle freshly squeezed lime juice and mint together in a shaker. Fill with ice and pour in Frobishers Pineapple Juice. – Strain into a glass filled with ice and top up with soda water. – Swizzle to mix, then garnish with a wedge of pineapple and a sprig of mint. Ask for a Pineapple Agua Fresca behind the bar, or try creating your own one at home – now you can order the entire range of Frobishers juices and juice drinks online. Using only the finest fruits from across the globe, picked and pressed at their best, Frobishers make authentic, great tasting fruit juices and juice drinks that you can trust.

Visit to place your order and for more mocktail inspiration.



We love Cotswolds Distillery ’cos they create things like this

Highlights BURNS IT UP




Tuck into a traditional Scottish feast this Burns Night

Planning a wedding? There’s nowt more important that the food!

The Wild Beer Co introduce their latest barmy brews

Hygge-inspired recipes to keep you cosy through the winter

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FOODIE REASONS to love the Cotswolds

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In honour of our 50th birthday, we’ve chosen 50 of the foodie things we love the most about the Cotswolds. So, in no particular order, here we go… 50

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This page: Calcot Manor is, like, totally lush; opposite: delicious Cotswolds Distillery cocktails

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1. Ross & Ross: We like to think of Ross & Ross as the fairy godfathers of catering, because they can make (just about) all your foodie wishes come true! As well as catering for events, this multiaward winning business also produces some delish products which you can buy, and hosts the occasional pop-up. And they champion local producers, too! ✱


2. Thyme at Southrop: Luxury hotel, cookery school, event space, cocktail bar and country pub – it’s all found on Thyme’s stunning 150-acre estate. Do you really have to ask why we love it? ✱

3. Cerney Cheeses: Over and over again, Cerney’s cheeses have been named as some of the finest goats’ cheeses in the world – and by proper experts, so we’re not going to argue! ✱

4. Double Gloucester: This yummy cheese should be made using the milk from Old Gloucester cows, but now they’re super-rare so most of the stuff you’ll find in the supermarkets is made from something else. That’s why we love Jonathan Crump, who is possibly the only producer in the world making Single and Double Gloucester cheeses using only milk from the rare breed. He’s got his own herd, y’know. 5. The Big Feastival: Yeah, there’s some music at Alex James’ Kingham farm, but basically it’s all about the food. ✱

6. Cheltenham Wine Festival: With more than 300 wines to taste in one location (The Pittville Pump Room, in case you were wondering), the Cheltenham Wine Festival is a dream for those who like a cheeky glass of vino.

8. The Pudding Club: One night, seven puds. And you’re asked to eat as much as possible. It’s our kind of night. ✱


7. Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons: A creation of Raymond Blanc, Le Manoir offers one of the finest gastronomic experiences in the UK. It’s not just a two Michelin-starred restaurant, however – although it’s held them since 1984 – but also a fab cookery school, a lush luxury hotel, and has an amazing garden.

9. Gloucester Services: Unless you’re like, 10, and on a school trip, no-one enjoys stopping at the services. It’s more a necessary evil than an experience to be enjoyed. Until Gloucester Services popped up, that is. With a totes amaze farm shop that’s packed with yummy treats, it’s totally changed the face of motorway services – and we love it!




10. Capreolus: This micro-distillery proves that size isn’t everything. It might be tiny, but it’s already had some mahoosive success with its Garden Tiger Gin, which has just been named as The Whisky Exchange’s Spirit of the Year. And the eau de vies that they’re knocking out are pretty damn fine, too. ✱

11. Dolcetti: Italian gelato done Cotswolds-styley. Made locally, from local milk, Dolcetti creates some of the best frozen treats we’ve ever tasted. ✱

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Clockwise from top left: dining at Thyme; the cosy No 131 in Cheltenham; the mighty Le Manoir


12. The Wild Rabbit: It’s the pub everyone wishes was their local. A proper booze bar, Michelin-starred food, and cosy comfy rooms: we’d probably move in permanently, if we could. ✱

13. Wild Beer at Jessop House: Wild Beer makes some of the most inventive beers out there, so obvs we love that they chose Cheltenham to open their first pub. It’s cool and quirky, just like their creations, and the food is lush, too. ✱

14. Cotswold Taste: Anyone who shares our mission – to make sure everyone knows just how awesome Cotswold food is – is alright by us. ✱

15. Marshfield Bakery: They make cakes. Like really, really good cakes (and biscuits and flapjacks). Job done. ✱

16. Yubberton Brewing Co: The Yubbington Brewing Co was set up by landlords Jim and Claire Alexander. Frustrated by pubs stocking beers that could be easily bought in supermarkets, the couple set about developing their own brews to be sold in their pubs – and jolly good they are, too. ✱

17. Deya Brewing: Deya began with home brewing, and now it’s supplying some of the area’s coolest drinking establishments. On Friday nights, though, Deya throws open the doors to their tap room for some Fri-yay fun. ✱

18. Wychwood: Wychwood’s brews are known the world over for their imaginative names, quirky pump clips and seasonal releases. And they are all made right here in the Cotswolds – in Witney, to be precise. Representing! ✱

19. Whatley Manor: Two Michelinstarred restaurant The Dining Room is pretty special, but it’s not all this stunning Cotswold manor has to offer. There’s also a more casual brasserie and a spa. We mostly go for the food, though – but, then, we would.

Clockwise from above: Dod Pub Co chose Cheltenham as its first out-of-Oxford venture; Garden Tiger GIn; Wild Rabbit’s bar; Marshfield treats



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got the place for you! All the properties are historic buildings set in picturesque countryside, and the group even has its own farm to supply some of the meat. ✱

23. The Lucky Onion: All of The Lucky Onion’s properties are superstylish, but it’s not a case of style over substance, because the food they knock out is pretty damn fine, too. From dirty burgers at The Tavern to pub classics at The Wheatsheaf or prime steaks at No 131, you can be sure of a good feed! ✱

(boo!), but fortunately we have our very own superstar wine makers right here in the Cotswolds (yay!). Obviously the wine’s great, but there’s also a well-smart visitor centre, restaurant and even rooms at the Three Choirs. No excuse not to visit, then. ✱

27. Calcot Estate: With three superstunning hotels (Calcot Manor, the Painswick and Barnsley House) all in the Cotswolds, and all with a-may-zing restaurants, the Calcot Estate was a shoe-in as one of our faves. The only problem is deciding which we like best… ✱

20. Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival: Three days of great food and drink, all in the centre of Cheltenham (well, Montpellier). We’re fans. ✱ cheltenham-food-festival.

21. Cheltenham Literature Festival: Yes, it’s mainly about the books, but we love it for all the foodie types that come and talk about their new cookery books. ✱

24. Cackleberry Farm: Cackleberry Farm on the outskirts of Stow-on-theWold is where flocks of rare breed chickens call home. Totally free-range, the little cluckers produce some of the finest eggs you’ll ever taste. ✱


25. Dodo Pub Co: With pubs called The Rusty Bicycle, The Rickety Press and The Bottle of Sauce (the latest, in Cheltenham), we can’t fail to love the Dodo Pub Co. But the names aren’t the only reason. The food is ace, too – like Sunday brunches with bottomless Bloody Marys and wood-fired pizzas. ✱

22. Cotswold Food Club: Whether you’re looking for a pie and a pint, or a venue for an elaborate wedding celebration, Cotswold Food Club have

28. The Chef’s Dozen: Chef Richard Craven makes the most of ingredients found in the Cotswolds countryside, with game ‘shot to order’ and foraged food taking centre stage. The result is a pretty flippin’ awesome menu.

26. Three Choirs Vineyard: So, apparently all this Brexit malarkey is going to make the price of wine increase


29. Prithvi: We all love a takeaway curry, but Prithvi takes Indian food to a whole new fine dining level, showing that it can be subtle and sophisticated as well as tasty – much like us. ✱

30. Cotswold House Hotel: It might be new, but this place has already made its mark. The food is fab, but we love the spa and luxe rooms too. ✱

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31. The Fire Station: We’re diggin’ the chilled out and social vibe at The Fire Station. The bottomless brunches make it the perfect weekend hangout. ✱

32. Coco Caravan: The clever guys at Coco Caravan have done the seemingly impossible – and made chocolate that’s both delicious and good for you. We suspect talent – and witchcraft. ✱

33. Purslane: This neighbourhood restaurant in the heart of Cheltenham serves up some of the best fishy dishies in the Cotswolds. No wonder it’s popular! ✱

34. The Vault Nailsworth: With its Mediterranean inspired tapas menu, and yummy cocktails, The Vault ensures the sun is always shining in Nailsworth.

37. The Bull Inn: With a cosy feel and pub classics, this proper boozer is the kind of place you just won’t want to leave.



35. The Ox Cheltenham: The Ox dishes up the sort of food that gives you a proper culinary cuddle. And the Sunday roasts are some of the best in town.

38. Lumiére: We love chef Jon Howe’s imaginative and distinctive twists on classic dishes. Our top tip? Go for the tasting menu. It’s immense.



36. Bhoomi: A far cry from your average Indian, Bhoomi is a stunning showcase for South Indian flavours.

39. The Sheep on Sheep Street: It’s only been open (in its current incarnation) since July, but we are already massive fans of The Sheep. The

wood-fired pizzas are a winner, but we’re excited about the gin menu, too… ✱

40. The Falcon Painswick: Pretty as a picture and dishing up delish pub grub, The Falcon at Painswick is as good as a hostelry gets. Oh, and there are some lovely rooms here too, in case you can’t bring yourself to leave. ✱



41. Salt Bakehouse: Run by baker extraordinaire Dom Salter, Salt Bakehouse has scooped tons of awards.

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Clockwise, from far left: cocktails at Cotswolds House Hotel; choccy treats from Coco Caravan; Purslane is popular; the mighty Daylesford

With loaves this good, maybe it is possible for man to live on bread alone. 42. Daylesford: Sustainable, organic and local – Daylesford is everything Crumbs loves. With events throughout the year and an amazing cookery school, there’re no end of reasons to visit.

45. Wild Garlic & Wilder: We’ve loved Wild Garlic for ages, so when chef patron Matthew Beardshall opened Wilder in Nailsworth in October, serving an ever changing tasting menu, to say we were excited would be an understatement. And guess what? It doesn’t disappoint.

48. The Ragged Cot: With cosy nooks for winter warming and a sprawling garden for al fresco refreshing, The Ragged Cot is a pub for all seasons. Pop in for a bite, or if you want to prolong the pleasure then stay in one of the delightful shabby chic rooms.



46. Vera’s Kitchen: Healthy, hearty and wholesome, Vera’s Kitchen is where we’ll always head if we’re simply after a feel-good feed.

49. Nanny Landers: It’s all about the family at this goats’ cheese producer in Quenington – and yes, that does include the goats themselves, who even have their own profiles on the website.


43. Sudbury House: One night at Sudbury House is never enough – as you need to eat in both its restaurants. For fine dining, go to Restaurant 56 (headed up by Andrew Scott, from Great British Menu), but for a casual experience the Magnolia Brasserie is your place.



44. Highgrove: If it’s good enough for royalty, it’s good enough for us! (We also think it’s great that profits go to The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation.)

47. Cotswolds Distillery: This is probably the prettiest distillery in Britain! From its uber-picturesque setting, The Cotswold Distillery is producing some seriously good gin and – believe it or not – whisky. Can it be true? Go and see for yourself by joining in a tour and a tasting.

50. Upton Smokery: So it’s not rocket science to figure out what this lot do (smoking stuff – obvs), and they do it very well indeed. It’s all available in their rather lovely shop in Burford, alongside a carefully curated selection of treats sourced from the Cotswolds and beyond.







BurNs, Baby, Burns Dig out that tartan, Burns Night is coming. Emma Dance takes a closer look at the Scottish tradition – and the food that goes with it (natch!)


poet, politician, Romantic, womaniser and raconteur, in just 37 years Robert Burns more than made his mark on the world. And as a big fan of food – especially haggis – and a man more than partial to a not-so-wee dram of whisky, the Scottish Bard would almost certainly approve of the celebrations that take place in his honour every 25 January. Although this year marks 220 years since his death, the annual Burns Night shindig only seems to be growing in popularity – and not just in Scotland, either. These days people all around the world raise a glass to the life and works of dear Rabbie. The very first Burns Night took place in Ayrshire at the end of the 18th century, when his friends gathered together on the anniversary of his death in July. These days, however, it’s more usually held on 25 January (the Bard’s birthday). But let’s get down to the foodie business of the evening. Expect three courses, at least (it is a celebration, after all) of traditional Scottish scran, so make sure you turn up hungry because there’s some serious eating to be done.


The feasting usually begins with a Scottish soup like cock-a-leekie, a warming broth of chicken, leeks and stock, thickened with rice or barley, and with the addition of prunes for sweetness. Alternatively, Cullen skink might be on the menu. This might not sound too promising, but don’t let the name put you off. Originating from the town of Cullen in North East Scotland, it’s a rich, creamy affair made with smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. Smokier and more robust than an American chowder, and heartier than a French bisque, Cullen skink is (in our humble opinion) one of the best seafood soups you’ll find anywhere. The centrepiece of not just the meal, but the whole night, is the haggis – Rabbie did write a whole ode to it, after all. A mischievous Scot might try to tell you the haggis is a beastie that roams the Highlands with two legs shorter than the others, so it can run around the mountains without toppling over. It probably won’t surprise you to discover that this isn’t true (although it might come as a shock to the scores of Americans who visit Scotland each year, convinced that they might catch one). In fact, the “great chieftan o’ the pudding race” that he waxes lyrical about in his Address to a Haggis is sheep’s ‘pluck’ (heart, liver and lungs) mixed with oatmeal spice and suet, and all sealed in a sheep’s stomach. Okay, so we get that that description probably isn’t the best sales pitch, but it tastes waaaaay better than it sounds. Honestly. And anyway, it isn’t actually a million miles from the black or white pudding which you find sliced and fried in a traditional full English. On Burns Night, the haggis is traditionally paraded

into the dining room on a silver platter, accompanied by sounds of a piper, and is served with neeps and tatties (swede or turnips and potatoes, to us south-of-theborder folk) and a dram of whisky on the side, in the gravy or, most likely, both. Interestingly, although you might not want to mention this to a Scotsman, despite the fact that Scotland has claimed haggis as their national dish, some food historians actually believe that it was invented in England. (Certainly, references to haggis have been found in books dating back hundreds of years before Burns penned his famous verses.) Others attribute it to the Scandinavians and, if you delve back still further into the mists of time, there’s evidence that Romans ate something pretty damn similar, too. What most people do agree on, however, is that it’s a dish that was created out of necessity. Back then, nose-to-tail eating wasn’t a trend but simply the way things were done, so in order not to waste a single scrap the offal needed to be used straight away, and the stomach made a useful container. Whatever’s might have gone before, however, it’s impossible to argue that these days haggis isn’t synonymous with Scotland. And it’s not like Shakespeare or Wordsworth ever sung its praises. But back to the food, and the most popular Burns Night dessert: cranachan. Think clouds of soft cream, sweet sharp raspberries, the crunch of toasted oats, sweet honey and, of course, a boozy kick of whisky. Alternatively, you might get ‘tipsy laird’, a whisky-laced trifle (have you spotted the common theme yet?), or a traditional clootie pudding (or clootie dumpling), which is a rich, fruity suet


pud served with cream and – yes, you’ve guessed it – Scotch on the side. Although Burns Night is mainly about the food – and that’s definitely the bit we like best – there are plenty of other conventions, too. The meal will usually begin with the Selkirk Grace (so-called because Burns was said to have once delivered it at a dinner given by the Earl of Selkirk). Then, once the haggis has been piped to the table, the Address to a Haggis is recited. After the meal there’s the toasting of the ‘lassies’, and a reply and sometimes some Scottish dancing – and then the whole thing is finished off with a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne. If that all sounds like fun, then you’re in luck! Take a look below at places you can join in a Burns Night do…

IN THE DIARY (25 January) BURNS NIGHT AT WHATLEY MANOR with The Glenrothes Single Speyside Malt Scotch Whisky Arrive from 6.30pm for the Glenrothes whisky cocktail and canapés reception, followed by the Burns Supper served in The Dining Room. Your £99 includes the Glenrothes reception, a four-course set menu, a selection of the finest whiskies by The Glenrothes, plus coffee and shortbread. The dress code, naturally, is black tie or traditional Scottish attire. ✱ (25 January) BURNS NIGHT AT THE HOLLOW BOTTOM Festivities begin at 7pm, and guests will enjoy a traditional three-course meal with a piper and a speaker. Tickets cost £25. ✱


NUPTIAL NOSHING Take the trouble and strife out of W-Day catering with alternatives to the classic breakfast – and all from Cotswolds pros


H ey, did you just get engaged? Then congratulations! Christmas is a busy period for fiancés across the country, it being the most popular time to propose, so if you were the lucky guy or gal to be on the receiving end – or, indeed, if you were the one who persuaded your other half to tie the knot – then welcome to a new year of fun-filled planning. Seeing as you’re perusing this copy of Crumbs, there’s a high chance that, when it comes to W-Day, the feasting is going to be a pretty important part of your agenda. Some betrotheds say they’re too busy on the big day to be chomping and guzzling, but as a foodie we know you’re not going to want to miss a bite. And we all know that, these days, food really is the way to wow your pals. The idea of a traditional three-course, sit-down breakfast is waning. Couples are craving a little more originality and fun from their day – from moving seats with courses to catching up over sharing platters. Here we look at cool new catering ideas, and ask the Cotswolds’ finest wedding venues to give you some fodder for thought…


Tom Gibbons, wedding coordinator from The Manor House Hotel in Moreton-inMarsh, has noticed that “afternoon tea wedding breakfasts are becoming more popular for smaller wedding parties.” We’re not surprised – they’re elegant, quintessentially British and (mostly thanks to Bake Off) totally on trend. The Manor House serves “a selection of finger sandwiches, cakes, pastries and one scone per person with jam and cream on traditional tiered cake stands.” Some other venues also offer an alternative ‘gentlemen’s tea’, with


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pork pies and ales, for those craving heartier grub. If you’re laying on the catering yourself and looking for a thrifty way to save, ask guests to bring a cake and hold a Bake Off-style competition, perhaps one where the winner of the most popular bake gets a prize.


Wedding breakfasts tend to be super-traditional, but people’s tastes are changing and we’re all craving something a bit more exotic – especially when it comes to special events. Make sure your catering is up with the times with international flavours. At Whatley Manor in Malmesbury, new executive head chef Niall Keating is putting a French-Asian influence on the menu. When it comes to mains we’re talking ‘Tortellini Black’ – a single tortellini filled with a pork soup centre, flavoured with black garlic vinegar, oil and spring onion. There’s also risotto made with koshiakari rice, flavoured with Parmesan and chorizo and finished with sea urchin.


If you want to keep it local, then Castle House Hotel in Hereford has a great menu that celebrates the best of British with a modern twist. Think pulled ham hock terrine with piccalilli vegetables and brioche; fillet of Hereford beef, braised shin with butternut squash and watercress mash followed by rhubarb; and custard crème brulée with ginger ice and biscotti.


The team at the beautiful Thyme estate in Southrop has noticed “sharing platters and family-style service has become more popular.” This is a winning way to eat in so many ways. There’s nothing more impressive than when a whole side of beef or leg of lamb is served, chargrilled on the outside, pink in the middle, on a platter and resting on a bed of verdant greens. It’s a spectacle, and very Mediterranean. Then there’s the serving – when guests help themselves it’s relaxed, it’s fun and it inspires chat. Provenance is hugely important to a lot of peeps now, and at Thyme they can

ensure that pork, lamb, game, all veg and salad come from the estate and kitchen garden – think Cerney goats’ curd, pea shoots, radish and honeyed almonds to start; and rack of Southrop spring lamb, cannellini beans, anchovy, chilli and garlic for mains. Lydia Taylor, marketing manager for Cotswolds Inns and Hotels, says that at the Hare and Hounds in Tetbury and The Bay Tree Hotel in Burford they often have requests for sharing platters as starters, “so guests can get to know each other a little better” before a more traditional main course.


Julie Butters from Hotel du Vin Cheltenham knows that, these days, “Customers are more discerning and more knowledgeable regarding food and wine.” With people having smaller weddings, fine restaurants make the perfect venues for receptions where there’s no fuss and the focus is on the food, she reckons. With a sample menu of roquefort, walnut and pear salad, followed by rump of lamb with chorizo boulangere potatoes and basil pesto, then crème brulee with baked vanilla custard, there’s so many reasons to choose this restaurant over an unknown function room. And hey, why not offer a wine pairing for each course to really create a day to remember?


Everyone loves a barbecue, and Rachel McKenzie from Sudbury House has noticed they’ve skyrocketed in


popularity recently: “2016 has been a year of informal weddings,” she says, “with barbecues regularly requested.” Pimp up the regular offering with king prawns and fish as well as classic meats. Lamb neck is a great cheaper cut if you want something different, or sourcing bangers locally is a way to make them seem more upmarket. Choosing chutneys and sauces with a twist (beetroot ketchup, anyone?) will keep your guests talking, and veg and herb salads make perfect sides (there’s a corker on p32, if you’re interested).


If you want to go really cash, deck the venue grounds with hay bales and picnic benches for a picnic… The Swan Hotel in Bibury is offering picnic boxes for 2017 weddings

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Everyone wants to be different, and couples are requesting personalised catering options to reflect the theme of the day‌


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A fabulous cheeseboard can be the ideal way to round off a wedding banquet

stuffed with delicious goodies, such as roasted vine tomato soup, homemade sausage rolls, croque monsieurs, cheese and chive scones with cream cheese, piccalilli and homemade chutney, all served to the table in one big basket so that guests can help themselves.


All the drinking, dancing and running away from ‘Uncle Geoffrey’ will leave your guests with the munchies come 8pm. But what to give them? General manager Michelle MarriottLodge from Castle House Hotel reveals: “We’ve seen a fashion for quirky evening buffets, with a change from the traditional sandwiches – so fish and chips, or bacon sarnies.” And, to posh it up, they won’t forgo the “crisp white linen and our fine bone china tableware.” Wood-fired pizzas are totally on trend, and a brilliant idea to line stomachs. If your venue doesn’t have one, then hire a mobile version, which usually come in kitsch period vans. The DeVere Cotswolds Water Park has seen an increase in demand for American-themed menus, while Lorrelle McAteer, wedding and events co-ordinator Cotswold House Hotel has also noticed the trend for simpler evening buffets – especially porky ones: “people prefer hog roasts or pulled pork rolls, instead of finger buffets.” Keep yours chic with apple and chilli chutney and red cabbage coleslaw and brioche buns. Or do the pork Thai-style with molasses, cinnamon and star anise.


Cheese is having a moment (well, it has been for a while), and is often more anticipated than the pud. Local cheese is the name of the day – make sure you get a mix of hard, soft, mild and pungent (although nothing too ripe, as the smell will waft through your venue). Burford is firm and mildly nutty, Jonathan Crump’s Double Gloucester is the only Gloucester cheese to be made with purely Gloucester milk, and Oxfordshire’s Rollright is a washed rind cow’s milk cheese based on a Reblochon; visit The Cotswold Cheese Company

( for more ideas. (Daylesford’s truffle brie, BTW, is only for if your guests have been very good.)


We know now you can get a pic of two of you on personalised wine bottles for the table, but ever thought of brewing your own bespoke beer? Hook Norton Brewery lets you do just that. You start just a few weeks beforehand, and meet the brewer to chat over hops, malts, flavour, style and strength. On brew day it’s hands on as you get stuck into the full process, from mashing in to boiling, transferring and fermenting. If you don’t want to buy all of the beer you make, the brewery sell it on to local bars, so you may find your wedding beer on tap at your local! Finally, you get to name it and design your own label. Recent brews include Martimoni Ale and Wild Howeller. One couple, says Mark Graham, “wanted to be showered in hops rather than confetti!”


When it comes to drinking, Michelle Marriott-Lodge from Castle House Hotel says Italian is the way forward. “We are selling lots of Italian Primitivo,” she reveals. “It’s a lovely, easyto-drink light red wine, and a good all rounder. There is also huge demand for Prosecco –price is a consideration, but sparkling wines have come on leaps and bounds, and Prosecco is now so delicious that many people actually prefer the taste of it to Champagne.”


Quick! Add them to your wedding planner Castle House Hotel, Castle Street, Hereford HR1 2NW; 01432 356321; The Manor House Hotel, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 0LJ; 01608 650501; The Hare and Hounds, Westonbirt, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8QL; 01666 881000; The Swan, Bibury, Glucestershire GL7 5NW; 01295 740695; the-swan-hotel The Bay Tree Hotel, Sheep Street, Burford, Oxfordshire OX18 4LW; 01993 822791; Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa, Easton Grey, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0RB; 01666 822888; Thyme, Southrop Manor Estate GL7 3NX; 01367 850174; Cotswold House Hotel, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire GL55 6AN; 01386 840330; Hotel du Vin and Bistro, Parabola Road, Cheltenham GL50 3AH; 01242 370584; Sudbury House, 56 London Street, Faringdon SN7 7AA; 01367 241 272; Hook Norton Brewery, Hook Norton, OX15 5NY; 01608 737210; De Vere Cotswold Water Park, Lake 6, South Cerney GL7 5FP; 01285 864000; Corinium Hotel & Restaurant, 12 Gloucester Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 2DG; 01285 659711;


Inclusive Packages from £3500 • 11 miles from Swindon • Stunning countryside location for weddings up to 160 • Beautiful landscaped gardens • Licensed for indoor and outdoor ceremonies • Seasonal menus from award winning team of Chefs • 50 En-suite rooms available • Inclusive packages to suit all budgets • Completely refurbished in 2015  01367 241272

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

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‘NORTH COTSWOLD CAMRA’ SEASONAL PUB OF THE YEAR 2016 Character Pub with stone walls and flagstone floors Casual Dining – Excellent food served all day Passionate about well kept ales Famous Inn located on the Fosse Way (A429) Stunning riverside garden – Al Fresco dining 9 beautiful en-suite bedrooms and two holiday cottages

01285 720721 Fossebridge | Cheltenham | GL54 3JS

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THE DRINKS CABINET presented by The Craft Drink Co.


he new year is upon us and in this month’s column we reflect on the star drinks of 2016, covering all the categories from beers and cider that are truly craft, to a spirit and a soft drink, both made in a purely artisan way. We believe the legacy of these drinks has set the trend for the year to come and we look forward to building on this with exciting new additions to follow from these producers, and many more as well.

1 Saxbys Cider – Rhubarb Cider Saxbys natural fruit ciders are a refreshing alternative to the other mostly artificially flavoured ciders that are around. Launched in spring 2016, Saxbys Rhubarb Cider was an instant hit. It combines two iconic ingredients – Yorkshire rhubarb and Saxbys great-tasting apple cider – for a match made in cider heaven! 2 Hook Norton Brewery – Hooky Mild This brew won a gold medal at the World Beer Awards 2015. Now part of Hooky’s core range of 500ml bottles, this dark, chestnut-coloured ruby ale is full of roasted,

malted barley flavours and complemented by superb dry-hop aromas from English Goldings. The taste is soft, rich and fruity. 3 Arbor Ales – Yakima Valley For 10 years Bristol-based Arbor Ales have been brewing an extraordinary number of different beers, which uniquely come in pint-size bottles. Yakima Valley is their flagship premium-strength beer, packed full of their favourite American hops, celebrating everything to love about IPAs. 4 Yubberton Brewing Co. – Yubby We have long-enjoyed drinking pints of this classic session beer at Craft Drink Co’s local pub, The Ebrington Arms. This Cotswold best bitter was finally released in a bottle at the end of 2016. It’s a coppercoloured traditional ale with strong caramel malty notes that carry through to a fruity hop character and pleasant bitter finish. 5 Warner Edwards – Victoria’s Rhubarb Gin This is a wonderful spicy gin with a robust rhubarb taste that’s made using a crop of rhubarb that was originally grown in the


kitchen gardens of Buckingham Palace during the reign of Queen Victoria. A little sugar is added to balance the acidity of the rhubarb and it is distilled to 40% ABV. Serve with ginger ale. 6 Lovely Drinks – Sour Cherry Cola This is one of two all-natural colas launched by Lovely Drinks in summer 2016 and is made with whole-pressed sour cherries, hand-blended botanicals including lime, nutmeg and cinnamon. It’s a delicious and fruity soda that takes you back to childhood.

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

ops? Check. Yeast? Check. Lobster? Che…. Wait! Lobster? What the flip are you talking about? Who in their right mind would possibly ever think of putting lobster in beer? Well, chef-turned-brewer – and one half of the brains behind the Wild Beer Co – Brett Ellis just has. When looking at the ingredients included in the beers he dreams up, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he might be just a bit off his rocker. Wild Beer Co has become known for its innovation, but some of the new brews that have been released for winter are pushing the boundaries still further. Like Of The Sea, for instance, which has been made with lobster, crab carcasses, seaweed, star anise and saffron. It’s one of six seasonal brews which were released at the end of November, and to mark the occasion Wild Beer at Jessop House – the Somerset brewery’s Cheltenham hostelry outpost – hosted a full tap takeover, with 20 of the company’s brews on offer. It’s here that I meet Brett, and I’m super-keen to find out just exactly what he was thinking when he decided to start chucking crustaceans into his barrels.



As Wild Beer Co launches no fewer that six new beers for winter, co-founder Brett Ellis tells Emma Dance why they’re throwing out all the rules


Hops and hoodies: Brett Ellis, right, and Andrew Cooper are making waves in the beer revolution

It’s not actually a Burgundy aging in those oak barrels, but a woody brew called Beyond Modus III

“Andrew and I both come from a hospitality background, so food has been at the beginning of almost all of our beers,” he explains in his Californian drawl. “I find it intriguing and exciting to play with flavours that blur the lines of what a beer can and can’t be. “Of The Sea is based on a lobster bisque, so I started by playing around with beer that has salt in it, which is already blurring the lines. “In wine and Champagne making, you’re taught about autolysis [the science bit is that it’s something do with the dead yeast staying in contact with the wine, which is basically what gives Champers that creamy mouth-feel we all like so much] and about ‘meatiness’, but although that can be good in wine, you’re taught that it’s bad in beer. But why does it have to be? Why can’t beer be ‘meaty’, too?” Good point – we suppose. “Bisque is soft and voluptuous, so I thought maybe I could do a wheat beer base, because that can carry flavour –

and it’s full-bodied. Then I added spice that I know works well with seafood.” When Brett talks about it, it all sounds very simple and, well, normal – but the real proof of the beer is in the drinking. I get stuck in and find that, actually, it’s very easy to glug – fresh with just a hint of saltiness, but mercifully no fishy flavours. On its own it’s good, but paired with Jessop House’s pillowy Brixham crab bites, or its hearty cod and chorizo stew, it really comes alive. It’s not the only new creation to be based on foodie flavours, either. The marvellously named Breakfast of Champignons has been inspired by, you guessed it, mushrooms, and incorporates notes of sea salt and thyme. It’s clever and surprising and refreshing and even slightly savoury, all at the same time. “Beer can transport flavour in a way that no other drink can,” says Brett. “This is one of my favourites from the winter collection. I think it’s really intriguing, and it really captures my imagination.”


The idea of beer carrying flavour is something that Wild Beer plays around with a lot, especially by thinking carefully about the barrels that they use. Two of the winter releases – Beyond Modus III and Wineybeest – have been aged in wine barrels, in much the same way as you might with a fine Scotch. Beyond Modus III is aged in Burgundy barrels with virgin oak and blended with barley wine, and the result is something that’s not completely dissimilar to red wine – although a little lighter and fresher, obviously. It proves a fantastic match for my main course this evening at Jessop House – a heap of tender and moreish slow-cooked lamb. Wineybeest is richer still – an imperial stout aged in pinot noir barrels for a year. The result is magnificent, with notes of chocolate and red wine; its the perfect companion to a gooey chocolate brownie. At 11 percent, though, it’s not exactly something you’ll chug all evening. But then, it’s not designed to be.

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“In the UK, a beer’s quality often seems to be judged by the volume of it you can drink,” says Brett. “People talk about some beers and say thing like, ‘It’s nice, but I couldn’t drink a pint of it’ – but you’re not necessarily supposed to! Not every beer is pint-able. There’s a time and place for every beer, and not every time and place is for lager.” The use of seasonal ingredients in many of the brews means that certain lines only appear for a limited time each year, and Wild Beer fans look forward to the return of their favourites. There’s also an element of surprise as, much like vintages in wine, each year will be slightly different, depending on the availability of ingredients. Redwood, for instance, has reappeared for winter and contains red fruits like rosehip and damsons. “It was born out of messing up another beer,” admits Brett. “So we put a load of fruit in it and it turned out well, and now we make it intentionally. It takes a year to make, and because we use foraged fruit it’s always a bit different every year.” This fluctuation in flavour would be frowned upon by large producers shipping out millions of pints to pubs and supermarkets every year, but it’s embraced by Brett and Andrew – and by the growing number of Wild Beer fans, not just in the UK, but abroad too. I suggest that Wild Beer is developing something of a cult following, and Brett jumps in. “I think that’s actually a really good way of describing it. We try to do it so that people feel a sense of discovery and ownership, like discovering an up-and-coming band.” And Brett believes that the way people view beer is changing. “Twenty-five years ago wine was just red or white or bubbly,” he says. “But then sales took off, and people started knowing more about grapes and regions and vintages. And now beer is on the cusp of becoming more than just yellow or brown, flat or fizzy, warm or cold. Part of the reason we set up Wild Beer was that we saw the swell coming, and we knew that we could either wait and join in later, or we could go out there and push it and create the wave.” ✱ Jessop House, 30 Cambray Place, Cheltenham GL50 1JP; 01242 534000;



GETTING HYGGE WITH IT As winter takes hold, we take inspiration from our northern neighbours….

HOW TO HYGGIE AT A GLANCE Outfit: Woollens, jumpers, scarfs, hats and slippers. Company: Hygge solo or together, it’s the atmosphere of relaxation that’s important. Light: Candles are magical, and create instant hygge. Home: A Cotswold cottage, complete with log burner, would be ideal. Failing that, a living room with blankets, cushions, candlelight and warming, tasty sustenance will do just fine. Food: Soups and stews or spaghetti and meatballs on rustic plates, and spiced buns. Drink: Warm cocoa, or something mulled.

As we delve into the depths of winter, and the warm merriment of Christmas and exuberances of New Year start fading away, it’s easy to approach the cold face of January and the long dark nights of February with a dreary plod. But hold on there… If we’re struggling with a case of S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder), then think how our cousins of the far north must feel. Surely the deeper, darker winter takes more of a toll on them? Well, perhaps – but they’ve a way of coping. Hey, did you really expect the minimally interiored, rye breadmunching, liquorice-loving Scandi folks to let a small thing like 17 hours of darkness a day faze them? Of course not. So jump on the Danish bandwagon – and get hygge with it! Fortunately, unlike so many aspirations, this one is entirely within our reach, as a Cotswold winter is the perfect setting for a movement that involves blankets, candles, comforting cakes, stews, soups, open hearth fires, cosy gatherings and all things snug. This one’s for us. Usher in those long evenings, invite your close kindred over and hunker down. Creating tranquility in your home shouldn’t be a strenuous exercise – in fact, that would be anti-hygge. So just do whatever makes you feel calm, relaxed and happy, and make sure to light a few candles while doing it. If you need more ideas, then add a few of the following hyggeinducing recipes...

Hygge (pronounced hoogah): the Danish word for a state of cosiness, an

atmosphere of warmth and nourishment.


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Nothing says hygge like a hot choc! This recipe goes heavy on the cardamom, but for those who aren’t so keen it can be brought down a pod or two – or even omitted, and exchanged for another warming spice, like chilli, cinnamon or vanilla. INGREDIENTS

1 cup/240ml of whole milk 3-5 cardamom pods (to taste) 1 tbsp cocoa 2 tsp sugar (to taste) pinch of salt


– Gently heat milk and cardamom pods in a heavy based saucepan over a low heat for 10 minutes. – Make a paste from cocoa, sugar, salt and a dash of water. Heat this in a separate pan until dissolved. – Slowly add the hot milk to the cocoa paste, whisking continuously. – Remove cardamom pods. – Pour into a mug and then indulge yourself immediately!



This is a pretty speedy way to get yourself a heartening supper. You’ll get a full, rich flavour without too much effort, so it won’t ruin your hygge vibe.

For the garnish glug of olive oil flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped Parmesan shavings



6 venison sausages 2 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, roughly chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tbsp tomato purée pinch of salt, pepper and sugar (to taste) pinch of dried chilli flakes 100ml red wine 1 tin of tomatoes 1 bay leaf 500g spaghetti

– Make venison meatballs by squeezing the meat out of the sausages and rolling into small balls in the palm of your hand. – Put 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat, brown the meatballs and set aside. They don’t need to be cooked through at this stage, as they will simmer in sauce later. – Add the rest of the oil to the pan, turn the heat to medium and soften the onions and garlic.


– Season with salt and pepper and chilli flakes, then stir in tomato purée and red wine. Simmer for a few minutes to allow flavours to come together. – Mix in the tin of tomatoes and blend with a stick blender until sauce is the desired texture. – Put in meatballs and the bay leaf, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. – Boil spaghetti in salted water until al dente. Reserve some of the pasta water. – Mix sauce through spaghetti, loosening with the pasta water. – Serve on warm plates with a sprinkle of Parmesan shavings, parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.

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These buns are a Cotswolds take on the Scandi spiced bun. They have similar spices and a spiralled finish, but the dough is actually made from a scone mix rather than a yeast-based dough. They’re easier to make, especially for those unfamiliar with using yeast. They must be served still-warm for the ultimate in hygge. However, if that isn’t practical just give them a blast in the oven to revive each time. INGREDIENTS

For the filling 100g butter rind of 1 orange, zested 2 tsp cinnamon 130g dark brown sugar For the scone dough 600g flour pinch of salt 40g caster sugar 2tsp baking powder rind of 1 orange, zested 120g butter 2 eggs 300ml milk

For the topping granulated sugar to dip buns METHOD

– Preheat the oven to 250C/475F/ gas mark 9. – Prepare the filling first by melting the butter and setting aside somewhere warm, so it stays melted but not hot. – Mix the sugar, cinnamon and orange rind in a bowl. – Use a bit of the melted butter to brush over a muffin tray. – Next, make the dough. Sieve the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle in the orange rind. Mix thoroughly by hand, and lift up to incorporate air. – Cut the butter into cubes and rub it into the dry ingredients until you get large flakes. – Whisk together the eggs and the milk. Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and pour in most of the milk and egg. Using your hand like a claw, mix in full circular movements. The dough should be moist and sticky but firm. Add more of the milk and egg if it’s dry.

– Sprinkle flour on a clean worktop and place dough down. Wash your hands, then lightly roll the dough with a floured rolling pin to form a rectangle, roughly 2cm thick. Ensure it’s not sticking to the surface by sliding underneath with a floured pallet knife. – Pour on the melted butter, spreading it over the entire dough with a brush, then make a layer of the dark, brown sugar blend. – Roll up lengthwise and cut into pieces around 3cm thick. Brush a little of remaining milk and egg wash over each top, and dip in the granulated sugar. – Place each piece in the muffin tray. If there are any left over, place them on a baking sheet. – Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden. – Cool on a rack and serve warm.




Food Fanatics Food Hall

Situated in the village of Oakridge Lynch, we serve fresh home cooked food & real ales.

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.

The Quoin – Our Self Catering cottage is ideal for overnight OPEN EVERY DAY 12 North Street, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire GL54 5LH

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stays and weekends away in the heart of the Cotswolds.

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

Marquee Events


Healthy eating trend? Dry January? We don’t like to follow the crowd...

Highlights HOP ON BOARD

Kingham’s Wild Rabbit is now Michelin-starred! Page 78


There’s a killer burger at the relaunched Tavern Page 80




CUSTOM SUNDAE Puds go bespoke!


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Af ters

( S TA R P E R F O R M E R )

WILD RABBIT The Wild Rabbit in Kingham won its first Michelin star this year, so Emma Dance went along to check out the award-winning fodder


he Wild Rabbit has been on the gastronomic map for some time. Last year Michelin named it the Pub of the Year in its Eating Out guide, but now it’s raised its game still further to be awarded a coveted star. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to attribute this accolade, at least in part, to the arrival of head chef Tim Allen, who swapped London’s swanky Launceston Place for the rustic charms of the Cotswolds less than a year ago, and swiftly set about putting his own stamp on the menu. And what a menu it is. With a choice of five starters and five mains it’s brisk, but every dish reads like a glutton’s dream – and I’m distressed I only get to eat one of each course (or two, when you realise there’s zero chance I’m going to leave my husband’s plates alone). The mackerel of my starter is served two ways – a fat fillet of fish with tender flesh and skin as crisp and crumpled as discarded Christmas wrapping paper, and a tartare that’s delicate and soft. Curls of pickled cucumber and pretty sprigs of borage brighten the plate with their colour, and the palate with their freshness, while the contrasting cool buttermilk snow and fiery horseradish prove, once again, that opposites attract. My husband’s hen pheasant dish is perhaps less playful, but is subtle and satisfying, the moist meat, the sweet char of barbecue hispi and the mellow milkiness of wet walnuts all coming together to create something truly elegant and sophisticated. The veal of my main course is as pink as the cheeks of a blushing bride, the texture smooth and the flavour gently beefy. A fricassee of braised veal adds a

touch of richness, while cashmere-soft truffle purèe is addictively good. Across the table there’s a cod dish, with a fillet the size of a small brick, perfectly cooked and falling into thick, meaty flakes at the mere show of a fork. Smoky morteau sausage, sweet brown shrimps and salty Gentleman’s Relish ensure that every note of the flavour arpeggio is hit. Desserts are just glorious. A description on the menu of ‘bitter chocolate, poached pear, grue de cacao and chocolate sorbet’ doesn’t even begin to do justice to the plate of chocolatey delights that is set before me, and as I reach the last mouthful I’m genuinely sad. Leaf lemon, Amalfi lemon cream, granite, iced curd and meringues offers a refreshing array of temperatures and textures, striking just the right balance between tart and sweet. Technically, The Wild Rabbit is a pub and, to be fair, there’s a properly cosy drinky bit here right next to the restaurant (as well as gorgeous bedrooms upstairs) – but by no stretch of the imagination is it your everyday boozer. Unless, of course, you’re David Cameron or Jeremy Clarkson, or one of those other lucky people that count the village of Kingham as home. But for most of us mere mortals, it’s the pub you wished you had at the end of your road. For the sake of my waistline, and my bank balance, it’s probably a blessing in disguise that there’s some distance between me and The Wild Rabbit, because it’s the type of place that could easily become a habit. ✱ THE WILD RABBIT, Church Street, Kingham OX7 6YA; 01608 658389;


( R E L A U N C H E D R E S TA U R A N T )

THE TAVERN Emma Dance gets down and dirty at The Tavern in Cheltenham


Af ters

✱ THE TAVERN, 5 Royal Well Place, Cheltenham GL50 3DN; 01242 221212;




urgers are best when they’re dirty. Like, properly dirty. If I can pick it up in one hand I’m not interested. I want it to be messy and meaty and sticky and satisfying. The Tavern in Cheltenham reopened at the end of November with a new look and a new menu with burgers at its core, so I couldn’t wait to see how they measure up. The new interior is industrial chic – think bare wooden tables and wood and metal chairs alongside rich purple banquettes. It’s stylish and modern and kind of what you’d expect from an upmarket burger shack. As well as burgers, there are some pretty tempting snacks on the menu, so by way of a warm up we kicked off with buttermilk chicken and fried pickles. The chicken is tender with a properly crunchy coating that makes you want to come back for more, but the pickles are even more addictive, with a slight vinegar sharpness that’s the perfect foil for the oiliness of the crisp batter. When it comes to the burgers, I’m faced with a dilemma. Should I go for the Chilli Cheese (which comes with green chilli slaw, tomato, pickles and sriracha) or the Hog (with pulled pork, lettuce, tomato, pickles and BBQ sauce)? I’m torn, but our helpful waiter offers a solution. Go for the Hog, with a side of Chilli Cheese fries. I’m sold. It turns out to be sage advice, because this burger ticks all of my boxes, and then some. The patty is served just pink and juicy as you like, there’s a good crunch from the pickles, and the pulled pork and barbecue sauce combo is sweet and delicious. I don’t care if people say that pulled pork has had its day, it’s deffo got a place on this burger. Apparently considerable thought went into choosing the buns here, and it turns out that it was time well spent, because the bread held its own. Sure, I like a bit of mess – but I don’t want the bun disintegrating. Across the table K has gone for a lighter option, the falafel burger with roasted red peppers, harissa mayo, spinach and houmous. I’ve had too many falafels that have the taste and texture of cardboard, but this is actually very tasty and not at all dry. For me, it’s never going to beat a proper meaty burger, but it’s good to see veggies properly catered for. We’re sharing the fries – a novelty for me (I don’t share), but on this occasion I’m more than fine to split them because the portion is huge, and laden with melted cheese and ground beef with a good kick of chilli. We don’t quite finish them, but that’s because I want to be certain I’ve got room for dessert. There’s one choice of pud – ice cream, but it’s far from boring. A pad at your table lets you choose your own combination of ice cream, toppings and sauce, so you can create your own bespoke sundae. I want to tick pretty much every box, but in the end limit myself to a scoop of salted caramel ice cream, a scoop of peanut butter ice cream, brownie pieces and whipped cream. (Yep, that’s me holding back. Don’t judge!) It might be a week’s worth of calories in a glass, but I have zero regrets. In fact, I can’t wait to go back and keep on working my way through the menu...

Little black book

Mostly found eating and drinking her way around Cheltenham, Young Foodie of the Year  Lucienne Simpson lets us in on her favourite spots... BREAKFAST? I don’t often go out for breakfast, other than when I’m off on my travels; lazy weekend mornings with a coffee in hand, rustling up a ‘whatever I can find’ on sourdough toast is my favourite way to start the day. 


Now add this little lot to your contacts book The Coffee Dispensary, Cheltenham GL50 1HE; The Scandinavian Coffee Pod, Cheltenham GL50 3DN; VW Lane Butchers, Cheltenham GL53 7LT Roots & Fruits, Cheltenham GL53 7NB; The Cheese Works, Cheltenham GL50 1HE; Tivoli Wines, Cheltenham GL50 2TB; The Grape Escape, Cheltenham GL53 7HA; The Ox, Cheltenham GL50 1JS; The Kingham Plough, Kingham OX7 6YD; The Royal Union, Cheltenham GL50 2TT; Sandford Park Ale House, Cheltenham GL50 1DZ; Wild Beer at Jessop House, Cheltenham GL50 1JX; No 131 The Prom, Cheltenham GL50 1NW; Lumiére, Cheltenham GL50 3PA; Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham GL50 2AQ; The Sandwich Box, Cheltenham GL50 1QB; Gusto, Cheltenham GL50 1SD; Baker & Graze, Cheltenham GL50 2AQ The Bottle of Sauce, Cheltenham GL50 3LG; Kindness & Co, Cheltenham GL50 3JS;

BEST BREW? We’re blessed with numerous coffee shops in Cheltenham, but my two favourites are The Coffee Dispensary on Regent Street and The Scandinavian Coffee Pod on Royal Well Place – the latter is a bit of a hidden gem, where they actually roast their own beans. Both are run by people who are genuinely passionate (and a bit geeky) about coffee, but are in no way pretentious about it; they’ll make your extra hot skinny decaf almond milk latte without batting an eyelid, if that’s what you really want. FAVOURITE GROCERY SHOP? I’m a serial shop hopper and hardly ever stick to the same place every week. When I’ve got time on my hands, I’ll be on Bath Road (where I live) buying meat from VW Lane Butchers and fruit and veg from Roots & Fruits. Oh, and cheese from The Cheese Works.  BEST WINE MERCHANT? Tivoli Wines has always been a go-to; it’s perfect for picking up that mid-week bottle, as well as a special-occasion wine. That said, anyone who knows me will be able to tell you that my second home is The Grape Escape. A weekly-changing ‘by the glass’ menu, and an ever-expanding wine list, keeps me going back.   SUNDAY LUNCH? The Ox in Cambray Place does a knockout roast – Bloody Marys and blushing pink beef...? Hell, yes! Though, if I’m willing to travel for my lunch, then The Kingham Plough is a hit every time; their cauliflower cheese is incredible! For something totally different, and if I’m in a group, I’d go to The Royal Union in Tivoli. You have to pre-order your joint of meat by the preceding Friday evening, and then on the day, after


hours of cooking, it’s brought to the table and you serve yourselves. It’s no-frills, honest home cooking, and I’ve never seen so many side dishes in all my life!  QUICK PINT? You’re spoilt for choice if you want to get on the beers in Cheltenham. Sandford Park Ale House has a huge selection of beers from around the world, but for something a little bit more unusual I’d go to Wild Beer at Jessop House. CHEEKY COCKTAIL? No. 131 The Prom is always a good shout for cocktails. POSH NOSH? Tucked away on Clarence

Street, Lumiére do the whole fine-dining thing effortlessly. Jon and Helen are a great husband and wife team. The tequila slammer palette cleanser is genius. Celebrating 30 years next year, Le Champignon Sauvage is an institution in Cheltenham, though. I still dream of the Thai green curry sorbet.

FOOD ON THE GO? I try not to have

food on the go, but if I’m dashing off somewhere on a weekday, I’d most likely hit up The Sandwich Box for something gluten-fuelled. I have been known to swing by Gusto in Montpellier en route to the train station, too; their £5 takeaway salad box is always heaving with delicious ingredients. 

ONE TO WATCH? There’re quite a

few new openings in Cheltenham as we move into 2017. I’m really looking forward to Baker & Graze in The Suffolks; I’ve been eyeing up their baked goods on Instagram for ages. Also, there’ll be burgers, pizzas, wings and cocktails aplenty at Bottle of Sauce, and to balance those out(ish), there’s Kindness & Co who’ll be doing all the health food stuff: gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, vegan... They’ll probably do a lot of avocado on toast!   ✱

Crumbs Cotswolds – issue 50  
Crumbs Cotswolds – issue 50