PARTY ALL THE TIME The year 2012 is likely remembered in very different ways: for being a leap year, the London Olympics, the Queenʼs Diamond Jubilee (weʼve not had a street party since)... At Crumbs HQ, itʼll always, first and foremost, be the year that this food magazine was born. And 100 issues later, here we still are – hungry as ever and spoilt for food and drink across our patch. The premise of Crumbs has always been to big up our local restaurants, bars, farmers, makers and producers, giving those awe-inspiring indies the recognition they deserve while providing you, dear reader, with top tips, insights and recommendations to make the most of them. As this is a rather special edition, Iʼm going to cut my chat short and let someone rather special take over. Raymond Blanc is one of the UKʼs most prominent chefs and campaigners for sustainability and ethics in the food industry – so we thought heʼd be more than fitting to introduce this milestone magazine.
Jessica Carter, Editor email@example.com
Food connects with everything – our landscape, our soil, our heritage, our health and the kind of agriculture and society we are creating for tomorrow. There is certainly a growing awareness of our responsibilities and the role we have to play – we have to teach our family, our children, our grandchildren the value of the food we eat. We must instil in them the sense of place and reconnect with the simple act of growing our own; nurturing, creating and cooking – and how wonderfully rewarding this can be! What gives me the greatest pleasure is to serve my guests at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons dishes made with vegetables grown in our very own kitchen garden. Alongside this, we serve free-range meat from a supplier who we have worked with for over 30 years. Developing a close working relationship with your suppliers is absolutely key – whether that is as a chef with a restaurant or a parent buying food to cook for the family. We must be mindful to ask the provenance, the quality, the variety. We are driven by knowledge and as time is passing, we are more aware of food and good provenance – hurrah! Eating mindfully may take a bit more effort, but the rewards – for your family and their future – are priceless. Thatʼs why Iʼm proud to be introducing this special issue of Crumbs, a magazine whose purpose is to promote the South Westʼs outstanding bounty and those who put so much effort into producing it. Congratulations, and may the next 100 issues be just as packed with great food and drink from the West Country.
Raymond Blanc belmond.com
Front cover: photography by Louis Smith at Studio Whisk; cake by Beth Al-Rikabi; plate by Jane Scott Ceramics
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Itâ€™s our birthday issue, so there could only be one hero ingredient: Champagne! Itâ€™s the universal drink of celebration, and probably the most famous wine style in the world. Chin-chin!
he world is full of sparkling wine, some of it worldfamous – Spanish cava, Italian Prosecco – and some of it awardwinning, including (increasingly) many English offerings from Sussex, Kent and elsewhere. Plenty of it is even quite cheap, and it’s perfectly possible to pick up a highly drinkable bottle of fizz for under a tenner. The French, though, would say, ‘Whoa, hold on, wait a moment: these are all well and good, but there’s only one Champagne. All else is pale imitation.’ Thing is, they might be right, too. The Champagne region is just an hour or so’s drive to the east of Paris, and – like the Jura mountains with their Swiss watches – is utterly devoted to a single luxury product. There are cities here – Reims, Épernay – and over 300 villages, plus rolling countryside that looks like (and once was) a continuation of England’s South Downs, and all of it revolves around the lovely bubbly. What works for them is obsessive, singleminded dedication, plus the fact that they’re just about as far north as vines can be commercially grown. The sort of chalky, alkaline, lime-rich soil they get here encourages a vine’s roots to burrow deep in search of scant (but reliable) water – similar conditions just across the Channel help explain the quality of English fizz – and gives the grapes higher acidities, while the locals combine dedication to their craft with a gleefully litigation-happy nature, French lawyers having thoroughly prevented everyone else (a few rogue American producers aside) from calling their product by the precious c-word. The Romans were the first to plant grapes here – of course they were – but for centuries the Champenois (as they’re known) looked on the better-respected reds of Burgundy to the south with envious eyes; their northerly location was a disadvantage, they thought, their grapes struggling to ripen fully and their resulting wines thin. The answer was to concentrate on sparkling wine, the first we reliably know of accidentally invented by Benedictine monks (and not Dom Pérignon, as is popularly believed) in 1531, who’d simply bottled their wine before the initial fermentation had ended. The English association with Champagne would begin soon enough,
Champagne flutes are carefully shaped to give up the drink’s aroma while keeping the bubbles going strong
though, initially thanks to Gloucestershireborn scientist and physician Christopher Merret, who was a founding Fellow of the Royal Society, produced the first lists of British birds and butterflies, and documented the addition of sugar and molasses to a finished wine to create a second fermentation, and thus jolly bubbles; he presented his paper on this to the Royal Society in 1662. Merret was also big on glassmaking, and it was actually English glass tech that would allow Champagne to be produced in commercial quantities: in France, fizz had a reputation as ‘the devil’s wine’, for the bottles would constantly self-destruct during secondary fermentation, but over in the UK, factories in Newcastle-uponTyne were soon churning out the only
glassware on the planet that was tough enough to cope. No longer considered a flaw, sparkling wine began to be produced in the Champagne region deliberately, using Merret’s so-called méthode champenoise, in the 19th century – 200 years after he’d first written about it. It was only now that Champagne would become famous, and hugely popular. The Brits would continue to make contributions, though. In 1846 PerrierJouët exported the first dry Champagne to London leading, 30 years later, to the designation Brut Champagne (meaning ‘not quite the driest but pretty blooming dry’), which was created for the British. Back then, most Champagne was much sweeter than we like it today,
S T A R T E R S
but the driest – ‘goût Anglais’ – would always go to England, with the second driest going to America, the French enjoying much sweeter Champagne and the Russians liking it the sweetest of all. These days, however, nearly everyone drinks goût Anglais. It may seem counter-intuitive for a wine that’s famously so light and white, but Champagne is actually made from predominantly black grapes, mostly Pinot Noir (the red burgundy grape) and the fruitier, even hardier (but closely related) Pinot Meunier; under 30 per cent of Champagne’s 84,000 acres are planted with light-skinned Chardonnay, the white burgundy grape. There are strict limits hereabouts as to how much juice can be squeezed from any given weight of grapes, with the cheapest Champagnes made of the hardest-pressed from the most marginal areas; that’s why lesser Champagnes can taste a little astringent. (Indeed, it’s one of the miracles of Champagne that such creamy, sophisticated, deepflavoured sparkling wine can be created from such thin, acidic and unpromising beginnings at all.) Champagne may get its trademark bubbles (and a degree or two of extra alcohol) as a by-product of its second fermentation in sealed bottles, but it owes its nuances of flavour to the time each bottle spends lying patiently in the dank, dark, limestone cellars that litter the region, while the dead yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle works to make the taste richer and fuller. Really good Champagnes will have been doing this for a couple of years, and the best for well over five. Most of us associate Champagne with a series of world-famous brand names known as houses or maisons – Bollinger, Moët & Chandon, Pol Roger, Taittinger, all those – but these are just the front men; most of the grapes themselves will have been grown by thousands of tiny smallholders, many with under five acres of vineyard each. Every year, these guys come up with enough grapes for somewhere between 200 million and 400 million bottles – and if everyone’s had a poor year, it can leave the big houses scrabbling around for enough of the good stuff, which is one reason why they keep wine in reserve from previous years to add to the mix in greater or lesser amounts, as necessary.
Who’d have thought that fizz was first made by mistake?
Though most growers sell their fruit directly to one of the big companies (or to a co-op), more and more of these tiny, family-run outfits now produce their own Champagne too. Called ‘grower Champagnes’, they range hugely in quality, but they’re becoming better known (and increasingly popular) outside France all the same. One of the problems with them is that they’re more vulnerable to year-by-year variation than the big brands – as we said, the maisons keep enough old stuff back to maintain a house style whatever an individual year has been like – but this gives the little guys added character. Essentially, like sherry and port – but unlike most other wines – Champagne is at heart a blended drink, almost all the big names combining all three grape varieties from more than one year in a cuvée (or blend), the idea being that the Pinot Meunier gives the end result freshness, the Pinot Noir body, and the Chardonnay backbone. For some, high-end luxury cuvées (like Krug or Moët’s famous Dom Pérignon, first created in 1937) and vintage Champagne (those rare ones that are made exclusively from grapes
grown in a single year) actually represent rather poor form, as they cream off the best grapes for themselves, in doing so diminishing the quality of regular, nonvintage, ‘properʼ Champagne. These are the sort of details you’d likely never notice, but then Champagne is special – and it engenders strong feelings in aficionados like little else. (Though, as Winston Churchill once warned, “a single glass of Champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration… a bottle produces the opposite.”) For most of us, Champagne is something we drink but occasionally – cheers! – but it is possible to cook with it too. You can use it like any other wine, so we’ve seen it in French onion soups and assorted cakes, and added to everything from caviar to ham, carrots to melons, chicken to macarons. Both meaty fish like salmon and seafood like scallops go perfectly with a Champagne sauce, and it’s lovely with pasta and rice too. No need to waste the good stuff on this – leftover dregs work perfectly well, as long as they’re less than a week old. Not that we often have leftover dregs to play with, of course…
R E C I P E
Hero Ingredients 50g truffle, or to taste large knob cultured butter
We challenged Freddy Bird to come up with a recipe to mark our century – and he sure rose to the occasion… I never tire of great Champagne. Thereʼs always a bottle in the fridge at home and no excuse is ever needed to pop the cork. Like smiling, Champagne is infectious and the bubbles lift your spirits. It may seem extravagant but I love to cook with Champagne nearly as much as I like to drink it. Like with truffles, there is almost a ceremony about it and you can’t help but be that extra little bit more careful in your cooking. This is a recipe that involves both Champagne and white truffles – perfect for celebrating Crumbs’ 100th edition. This dish relies on the very best ingredients. Don’t take short cuts. Make your own stock, and use the Champagne you’re drinking to cook with. Stand next to the stove and enjoy every minute, paying special attention to the cooking of the rice. The remainder of the open bottle of Champagne belongs to the cook – that’s the rule (open a new one to drink with the food!). Turn on some tunes and have the kitchen to yourself. In the summer I regularly substitute the truffle with delicate mushrooms like girolles. I fry them in butter, garlic and parsley before gently lubricating with a dessert spoon or two of chicken stock and scattering on top of the rice. Taste as you go with this recipe to get the perfect balance.
CHAMPAGNE AND TRUFFLE RISOTTO SERVES 4-5 4 garlic cloves, finely diced 3 banana shallots, finely diced large knob unsalted butter 400g carnaroli risotto rice 2 glasses Champagne 1 ltr chicken stock (see method) 1-2 handfuls aged parmesan, finely grated 2 tsp superfine flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
For the stock: 2 flat mushrooms 1 onion 1 whole chicken 1kg chicken wings 1 carrot 1 celery stick 1 whole garlic head 5 peppercorns small sprig thyme 1 bay leaf handful parsley stalks 1 Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. 2 Make the stock. Roast the mushrooms, onions, chicken and wings in the hot oven until golden. Then place it all in a stockpot with the remaining ingredients, cover generously with water and simmer gently for about 3 hours, skimming any fat from the surface at regular intervals. Strain, removing any fat that settles on the top, and keep warm. 3 To make the risotto, sweat the garlic and shallot in the unsalted butter, in a wide, shallow-sided pot over a medium heat, until just cooked. Add the rice and cook for a minute or so until the grains turn translucent. Season. 4 Add the Champagne and cook until itʼs evaporated, stirring constantly and evenly, not letting it stick to the pan. 5 Slowly add the hot chicken stock, one small ladleful at a time, waiting for all the liquid to be soaked up before adding any more. Keep adding stock until the rice is nearly cooked but still has a nice bite (around 15 minutes). Don’t be tempted to walk away – just stay with it, stirring. You have your Champagne for company. 6 When the rice is cooked, stir in the parmesan and check the seasoning. If the risotto is a little thick at this point, let it down with a little more stock. Risotto should ooze like lava and have just enough bite to warrant teeth. Add more parmesan if you think it needs it, but not so much that it will overpower the Champagne or the truffle. Cover with a lid and leave to rest for a minute or so, then add a good knob of the cultured butter and parsley. 7 Divide onto warm plates and shave over as much truffle as you like (I like to use a Microplane rather than a truffle slicer). Eat immediately – with a glass of Champagne, of course. littlefrench.co.uk
Openings etc WE WILL CHOC YOU The box every Ready Steady Cook contestant dreams of
FINGER ON THE PULSE The British Dal Festival is back for 2020, once again throwing the spotlight on versatile, health-giving and arguably underloved lentils, beans and peas. Bristol is the beating heart of the celebrations, and restaurants across the city will be getting in on the action, cooking up special dal dishes for the celebrations, which run 21-31 March. This month’s instalment of St Nick’s Night Market (on 27 March) will be a dal special, too, with lots of the street food vendors serving up fitting pulse-based dishes, stalls selling dal ingredients, and cookery demos from Jenny Chandler, Kalpna Woolf and more. britishdalfestival.com
Chocing it to you
Chocoholics rejoice: one of Bristol’s sweetest cafés has landed in Bath. Known for its decadent chocolate-covered treats, the new four-storey Mrs Potts Chocolate House serves up cake, sundaes, cookie sandwiches and brownies – not to mention six types of hot chocolate to wash it all down with. (Tea, coffee and soft drinks are available – but
You don’t have to sing for your supper at this concert hall
where’s the fun in that?) The new caff, overlooking the Abbey, has a resident chocolatier and ‘chocolate room’ (very Fifty Shades) with space for chocolate-making workshops, where you can learn to control your temper. (Calm down, we’re talking about your chocolate tempering technique, is all.) mrspottschocolatehouse.co.uk
St George’s concert hall, just off Park Street, has launched its first evening menu. The new offering will be music to the ears of those taking in a performance at the world-renowned venue, offering dining from 6pm up to half an hour before concerts. The menu has been composed by French-born head chef Oakan Brousse and currently features braised and roasted pork belly, and Sri Lankan spiced puy lentils with sweet potato falafel. There’s no need to make a song and dance about the prices, either, with a bowl of seasonal soup and sourdough priced at £5.50 (let’s hope it’s not too hot to Handel) and main courses around £9. stgeorgesbristol.co.uk
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Picky about your steak? This is the joint for you
ASK YOUR WAITER STAKE OF THE ART Joya, a popular Italian restaurant on Newmarket Row in Bath, has relaunched with a new contemporary concept. Joya Italian Steakhouse now offers diners an extended menu that includes the option to cook your own 28-day matured steaks on hot volcanic stone (the kitchen will still oblige too, though, if you prefer). Carb fans need not despair, though; the restaurant is still be serving up classic pasta options, with executive chef Paola even adding a family-recipe meatball dish. The once Italian-only wine list has opened its borders too, now including an ‘international classics’ range with French Picpoul, Australian Sauvignon Blanc and Spanish Rioja as well as a new Italian dessert wine. joyarestaurant.co.uk
WHOLE HOG This might just make the train commute bearable
Bristol producer The Jolly Hog – known for its sausages and bacon as well as sister restaurant Pigsty – has opened a kiosk at Bath Spa train station. Jolly Hog: On The Trot is firing up its grill each day to provide its award-winning baps to hungry commuters. Other snackable menu highlights include porridge, sausage rolls and toasties, while that morning caffeine comes courtesy of Clifton Coffee. The Jolly Hog, an indie business founded by three local brothers, makes butties that are considered a cut above the rest, using prime cuts of British high-welfare pork. thejollyhog.com
Look, it’s Sam Ashman, bar manager at The Talbot Inn, Mells So Sam, how long have you worked here? For a year. ... And where were you before, then? Working as a barman in Australia. ... What was your first job in hospitality? I was a kitchen porter (predictably!). ... What do you like most about working in the industry? The clientele. I’ve always loved talking to people and building genuine relationships. There’s nothing better than walking into a bar and being welcomed by somebody that knows your name and exactly what you’d like to drink. ... And what’s the best thing about your current job? Working in an establishment where all the staff feel like one big family. It’s important when we’re all trying to achieve the same thing. ... What sort of customers do you get? We have such a mixture:
locals coming in after the school run on a Friday, city types getting away to the country and staying with us over the weekend... Recently I was speaking to a couple that lived near me when I was in Australia. Crazy. ... What do you think makes the restaurant a special place to visit? We have very limited phone signal, great food and local drinks in a stylish yet relaxed environment – what’s not to love? ... If you were a customer today, what dish would you order? I’m a massive sucker for a good old fashioned fish and chips, so that’d be my choice. ... And what bottle of vino would you choose to go with it? Rosé all day long – winter included. (But don’t tell anybody!) ... What do you think turns good service into great service? If you can make a customer feel comfortable enough that it’s like they didn’t leave home then you’re three-quarters of the way there – the little details and touches make up the rest. talbotinn.com
5 THE SINGLE-ORIGIN ONE S T A R T E R S
In T he Larder
Itʼs almost Easter, so weʼve been testing out this yearʼs eggs to bring you our verdicts in time for that hunt... 1 THE EGG THAT'S NOT AN EGG 2 THE WHITE CHOCOLATE ONE
Joe and Sephʼs Chocolate Popcorn Mini Eggs, £3/60g Well. Arenʼt these moreish little bites? We polished off a bag aldesko before weʼd even offered ʼem round (donʼt tell the rest of HQ). Joe and Sephʼs signature big popcorn kernels are coated in salted caramel sauce and placed in mini chocolate egg halves to create mouthfuls of contrasting flavour and texture, which youʼll want a repeat performance of again and again. Buy online direct from the maker or from Ocado. joeandsephs.co.uk 2
Chococo Gold Chocolate Treasure Studded Egg, £12.50/175g Made in the South West, this egg is formed from
3 THE KIDS' ONE
creamy, decadent caramelised white chocolate (less sweet and richer in flavour than the regular stuff), the shell studded inside with Venezuela milk choc ‘gemsʼ. With a shimmery finish and handpiped decoration, itʼs gorgeously grownup, and might even cause some whitechoc naysayers to deflect. Buy online. chococo.co.uk 3
Marks and Spencer Caramel and Fudge Easter Sundae,, £10/210g Hereʼs a fun one: this milk chocolate shell comes adorned with choccovered pretzels, hunks of fudge, caramel pieces and chocolate ‘dripʼ, for a fun look and plenty of creamy, fudgy flavour. Thereʼs also a fruity version, topped with freeze-dried raspberries and jelly beans. Find them both in store. marksandspencer.com 4
Lick the Spoon Vegan Caramel Delight Easter Egg, £25/260g A Great Taste Goldwinning egg, this plant-based number is a perfect example of how vegan chocolate doesnʼt necessarily
mean dark chocolate these days. More akin to milk choc than you might expect, this egg is still rich with top-quality Madagascan chocolate, given that creaminess by Madagascan cashews. In the art deco box are nine vegan salted caramel treats too. Buy online. lickthespoon.co.uk 5
Salcombe Dairy Bean to Bar Egg, £19/320g Handmade by a small Devon biz, these eggs (they come in milk, white and dark chocolate – we loves the complex flavours of the latter) feature single-origin Peruvian choc and are packaged up in fully compostable materials. They come with two bars of choc anʼ all, also with fully traceable ingredients. Perfect! salcombedairy.co.uk
4 THE VEGAN ONE
S T A R T E R S
Tom Parker Bowles
Farmer at Hartley Farm Shop and Kitchen “One of my favourite recipes is a slowroast shoulder of lamb stuffed with garlic and rosemary. Thatʼs what will be featuring on this yearʼs Easter Sunday table. “Iʼll be roasting it for four to five hours, covered in foil, to allow it to really break down, ready to be pulled apart, then a final hour uncovered to crisp it up. Itʼll be on the table alongside a caper and mint gravy – I canʼt wait.
This lamb is hot We chat to three meaty experts to find out how theyʼll be serving their Easter lamb
“Recently, though, Iʼve also been dreaming of wood-fired lamb chops with chimichurri sauce. What I love about that dish is that the woodfire seasons the lamb so beautifully and adds such an amazing flavour – itʼs proper caveman-style eating. The chimichurri just cuts through the rich fattiness so well, too: a great combination.” hartley-farm.co.uk
then give it a good rest in foil to relax the meat before serving. “The pan juices are essential for a really good gravy, mixed with stock, mint jelly and then thickened.” henleazebutchers.co.uk 3
Butcher at Larkhall Butchers
Butcher at Molesworthʼs of Henleaze “In my book, you canʼt beat a traditional leg of Welsh salt marsh lamb. Packed with flavour and with a melt-in-the-mouth texture, the different cuts it contains will keep everyone happy. The shank and knuckle are my choice bits, with a crispy layer of skin and some well-basted, juicy meat around the bone. “Get your butcher to loosen or remove the aitch-bone or, alternatively, ask them to remove the leg bone for really easy carving – but place it back inside the leg and tie it in when cooking, for maximum flavour. “You canʼt beat garlic studded deep into the skin and rosemary added underneath the leg (later on in the cooking process, to avoid burning it). Roast it in a preheated oven at 170C-180C for 20 minutes a pound,
“My favourite cut of lamb right now has to be the loin – so tender. It’s a cut that isn’t actually used that much, but we all love it here; it’s easy to cook, reasonably priced and always delicious to eat. “For a roast lunch, Iʼd suggest getting your butcher to bone and roll it into a lamb noisette. Youʼll need to score the fat and rub the skin liberally with seasoning before sealing all over in a hot pan, then get it into the oven, ideally on a trivet, as it will yield the most amazing gravy. “Once cooked, rest for at least 20 minutes in foil to ensure it’s tender when you carve. “We always encourage people to serve lamb with the classics and this is no exception. Acidic, homemade mint sauce is the perfect accompaniment to cut through the richness of the meat.” larkhallbutchers.co.uk
TOP QUALITY FOOD YOU CAN TRUST
For a traditional Easter only serve family and friends the best
★ Wooley Park, Bath Free Range turkeys, ducks, geese & chicken ★ Turkey crowns ★ Aged beef
★ Local lamb
★ Wild boar & venison Molesworths of Henleaze 101 Henleaze Road, Bristol, BS9 4JP
0117 962 1095 www.henleazebutchers.co.uk Like us for offers and updates ft
S T A R T E R S
Ki tchen Library
Thereʼs a definite theme in this month’s batch of recipe books – think less meat, sustainable ingredients and eating with the seasons, whether you’re doing it on a budget or with an adventurous twist...
VEGAN JAPANEASY Tim Anderson (Hardie Grant, £22) America-born, Brixton-based chef Tim Anderson’s exploration of vegan Japanese food – not something that most Nippon natives would even recognise as a thing, but that doesn’t make it a bad idea – is a fun, well-presented read, on cool purple-edged paper with quality photos, how-to diagrams, and plenty of gags, asides and esoteric slices of personal experience. We tend to think of Japanese food as being laden with fish, pork and eggs, but it’s actually easy to swap these out for mushrooms, tofu and veggies, the wide range of Japanese sauces being so sweet, spicy and umami-rich that just a few of them will make anything interesting. Things like ‘rough night rice’ (Tim’s go-to hangover cure) sit side-by-side with posher dishes from his restaurant, Nanban, like ‘ramen for Faye Wong’, a veggie version of ramen he considers seductive enough for the famous Cantonese singer-actor once called ‘the world’s sexiest vegetarian’. MATT BIELBY
MEAT-FREE ONE POUND MEALS By Miguel Barclay (Headline, £16.99) The latest instalment of Miguel Barclay’s One Pound Meals series serves up 88 vegetarian recipes. Here, Barclay sticks with his philosophy that ‘simple ingredients
and straightforward recipes equal mouthwatering meals’ – and for a £1 per portion, too. Each dish serves one, meaning no more having to work out what half of threequarters of a tablespoon is when you only want to cook for yourself, and it’s easy to multiply the quantities if you’ve got others to feed too. You’ll find some lesser-seen uses of veggies here: ‘cauliflower three ways’ puts to work the often discarded cauli leaves, and the pineapple fried rice recipe employs that leftover pineapple skin as a dish. Staying true to their Instagram roots, each of Barclay’s recipes is accompanied by a beautiful picture of the finished meal. Looking particularly tasty are the vegetable terrine, Thai-style red curry noodles, cauli tacos, and aubergine ragu with polenta. JESSICA CURTIS-JOUXON
VEGAN(ISH) Jack Monroe (Bluebird, £16.99)
Jack Monroe has become a hero of cooking on a budget. Her work largely focuses on practical, filling and delicious recipes that are created with families on low incomes and food bank users in mind. Incorporating more plant-based meals into our regular dinner rotation could not only see us save money on food bills, but also decrease the environmental and ethical impacts of our food consumption, she argues in this, her newest book. That said, there’s not a whiff of dairy or meat shaming (the book comes 22 CRUMBSMAG.COM
up a solid zero on the preaching scale); it’s just about tasty food that’s easy on the wallet, happens to be plant-based and, in turn, will help you ramp up your veg intake. The imam baildi (aubergine stuffed with onion, tomato, herbs and spices), Cuban black bean soup and beet Wellington (oh yes she did) give just a taster of the varied and imaginative dishes, which take inspiration from all over the globe. A great reminder that tasty food doesn’t have to cost the earth. JESSICA CARTER
FOUR SEASONS AT THE FISH DELI Nick and Michele Legg (Unicorn, £20)
Having been around restaurants all their lives, Nick and Michele Legg founded The Fish Deli in the small town of Ashburton on the edge of Dartmoor, not far from Brixham and Plymouth, in 2004. It is a small, sustainable shop-cum-restaurant with solid ethics, great produce and Scandi, French and rustic Mediterranean influences in the cooking. If you’ve read other recent seafood cookbooks you’ll find little here to shock – it’s all very seasonal (in fact, the book is divided into four chapters, spring-throughwinter) with lots to say about day boats and the importance of a good fish stock – but it’s amiable, and brought to life by pretty penand-watercolour illustrations of crab, plaice and clams by local artist Alice Cleary, actually a pal of Nick and Michele’s son. Oh, and
OF THE MONTH
From the book!
30 EASY WAYS TO JOIN THE FOOD REVOLUTION Ollie Hunter (Pavilion, £14.99)
Ollie Hunter is chef-owner of The Wheatsheaf in Chilton Foliat, Wiltshire, which is reigning champion of two categories of the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Food Made Good Awards. In his debut book, he’s not parking the blame for the climate crisis at the door of home cooks, rather offering inspiration as to how we can all make small changes to do our bit: the bright, colourful design, fun illustrations and fascinating facts on ingredients and the climate will have you feeling fired up rather than guilt-ridden. The book is split into three sections – ‘zero waste’, ‘organic and seasonal’ and ‘50 per cent of products within 30 miles’ – each offering information and recipes to help you get closer to achieving the title goal. The dishes here are approachable and creative – we’ve got our eye on the nettle and spelt risotto with chard and cobnuts, beetroot leaf dal, and salted chocolate orange tart, just for starters. JESSICA CARTER
LO U I S E H A G G E R
the recipes are strong too: we’re especially tempted by the roast loin of coley wrapped in pancetta (with a walnut and early wild garlic pesto), the octopus and chorizo stew, and the two fish pies, neither of which (result!) require you to bother poaching the fish first. MATT BIELBY
SERVES 2 AS A MAIN OR 4 AS AN APPETIZER
Rope-grown mussels are one of the most sustainable sources of omega-3s and 100g of mussels represents 23 per cent of your recommended weekly intake of omega-3. Serve this dish with crusty bread to mop up the umami, salty juices.
oil, for frying 1 onion, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 red chilli, finely chopped chunk fresh ginger, finely chopped bunch fresh coriander, stalks finely chopped and leaves left whole 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground turmeric 400ml can coconut milk 1kg deep-sea rope-grown mussels, cleaned if needed 1 lime crusty bread, to serve 1 Put the oil into a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion, garlic, chilli, ginger and coriander stalks and sauté until soft.
2 Stir in the ground coriander and turmeric and cook for 2 more minutes. 3 Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. When simmering, add all the mussels and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until all the mussels have properly opened. Discard any that still haven’t opened. 4 Divide the steaming mussels and sauce between serving bowls. Cut the lime into wedges and squeeze over each bowl. Scatter with fresh coriander leaves and serve with crusty bread.
TOP RECIPES FROM OUR FAVOURITE LOCAL FOODIES
Uh-oh, we think we might have missed the bowl
28 POINT CAKE Find out how to make our cover star
30 SO FRESH AND SO GREEN Get set for spring with this pistou and gnocchi dish
37 BEET IT
Tried beetroot and hazelnut together in a cake before? 27
C H E F !
*R O C VE STAR
LOU I S S MI T H
Not only are the ingredients in this bad boy local, but the plate is locally made too â€“ it was created bespoke by Jane Scott Ceramics (janescottceramics.com)
Hey pesto! A bowl of springtime satisfaction coming right up, courtesy of Hywel Jones For the gnocchi: 125g baked potatoes, cooked, flesh scooped out and sieved 40g strong white flour ½ free-range egg yolk 50g Rosary goat’s cheese vegetable oil, for deep frying
Hywel Jones has had a Michelin star here for 14 years
For the wild garlic pesto: 100g small wild garlic leaves, plus extra to garnish 50g Spenwood cheese, grated, plus shavings to garnish 15g pine kernels, toasted 60ml virgin rapeseed oil, plus extra to serve
Executive chef Hywel holds a Michelin star at Lucknam Park – and has done since 2006. He’s also a former winner of Crumbs’ Best Chef award, and has many other accolades under his belt, too. The show off. To get us all excited for the new (hopefully considerably sunnier) season, he’s sharing his variation on classic French pistou, using locally sourced ingredients and freshly sprouted wild garlic, foraged from around the Lucknam Park estate. “The pesto will yield more than required for this recipe, but will keep refrigerated in a sealed jar,” he says. “Try stirring it into pasta or serve with grilled meat or fish.”
SPRING VEGETABLE ‘PISTOU’, WILD GARLIC AND ROSARY GOAT’S CHEESE GNOCCHI SERVES 8 1 Roscoff onion 1 fennel bulb 2 celery sticks 250g bunched Bromham carrots 250g golden beetroot 250 baby turnips 4 tbsp virgin rapeseed oil 150g peas, shelled 100g tomato flesh, diced
1 Cut the vegetables (except the tomatoes and peas) into a variety of shapes but to roughly the same size. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add everything you’ve just chopped with a sprinkle of salt. Cook for a few minutes over a moderate heat until you see steam rising from the pan. Add 1 ½ litres of cold water, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Set aside. 2 Combine all the gnocchi ingredients with a pinch of salt and pepper and lightly knead to form a dough. Divide into 10g pieces and roll into balls. 3 Place all the pesto ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth paste. 4 Heat enough oil for deep frying in a heavy-bottomed pan to 180C. Fry the gnocchi for about 1 minute – break one open to ensure the centre is cooked. 5 To serve, reheat the vegetables and broth, adding the peas. When hot, stir in the pesto to the required colour and remove from heat (do not boil after adding the pesto). The pesto will thicken the broth slightly. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Finally, stir in the diced tomato. 6 Divide the broth between serving bowls, arrange the gnocchi on top and garnish with baby garlic leaves, a drizzle of rapeseed oil and a few shavings of Spenwood cheese.
Lucknam Park, Colerne, Chippenham SN14 8AZ; lucknampark.co.uk
C H E F !
Wild garlic and peas give this dish colour as well as fresh springtime flavour
Cheese all that James Martin came up with a new way of putting a local cheese to work when he visited the West Country for his latest TV show and book...
P E TE R CASSIDAY
James is gunning for a rosette for this leafy cauli
Dorset Blue Vinny from Woodbridge Farm, Dorset, is one of Paul Ainsworth’s favourite cheeses, and he bought masses during filming, writes James. I went to Purbeck on his advice to visit one of the best pork producers I’ve ever found in the south. There I saw the famous hairy Mangalitza pigs, which translates as ‘pig of lard’. This dish combines that cheese and pork and it tastes so good.
Recipe from James Martin’s Islands to Highlands (Quadrille, £25); photography by Peter Cassidy
To serve: chutneys and pickles watercress (optional)
SERVES 10 3kg boned pork middle loin, skin scored For the stuffing: 300g Dorset Blue Vinny cheese, crumbled 1 medium onion, grated 2 English apples, grated ½ tsp ground cinnamon 2 tbsp fennel seeds 100g sultanas 100g walnuts, roughly chopped small bunch parsley, chopped 50g breadcrumbs 2 eggs, beaten
1 Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/gas mark 9. 2 Put all the ingredients for the stuffing in a large bowl, seasoning well at the end. Mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. 3 Lay the pork on a board and unroll it skin-side down. Using a sharp knife and starting at one end, carefully cut the meat in half horizontally, working almost to the very end so that it’s still attached on one side. Open out the length of the meat so that you have a very long rectangle. Spoon the stuffing over the entire surface of the meat and smooth over so that it’s in an even layer. 4 Starting from the end with no skin attached, roll the meat up tightly along its length to enclose the filling. Secure with string: cut a length of string at least 5 times the length of the joint. Make a noose in the end of the string, loop it around the pork, then pull the string through the noose and pull it tight. Continue to work down the joint, wrapping the string around the underside of the joint and back around to meet the string at the top, then feeding the string over and under the string at the top, pulling it taught each time. Tie it at the end to secure. 5 Place the stuffed pork onto a rack set in a roasting tray and roast for 30 minutes. After this time, turn the oven down to 140C/275F/gas mark 1 and roast for another 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and let cool. Transfer to a large plate and chill in the fridge overnight. 6 When you’re ready to serve, take the porchetta out of the fridge and leave for 30 minutes to come to room temperature. Cut off the string, then slice and serve with chutneys and pickles, and a handful of watercress, if you like.
C H E F !
The West Country meets Italy in this beast of a dish
C H E F !
Nikki is a plant-based baking whizz
PIR AN PHOTO G R APHY
Proper nutter This cake by Nikki Harold, stuffed with fruit, veg and nuts, is exactly what that cup of tea you’ve just brewed is screaming out for
The Makers’ Market opened inside the Tobacco Factory at the end of last year and houses local artisans selling everything from food to art, clothes to homeware. On offer here is produce from the Tobacco Factory’s nearby smallholding, Five Acre Farm, which the team set up a couple of years ago. Now flourishing, it’s producing all kinds of fruits and veg. This is not only traded at the stall but is also used cooked up in the market’s café, run by head chef Nikki, alongside exec chef Charles Mooyaart. Nikki has worked in some of Bristol’s top bakeries and restaurants, and combines all her experience to come up with creative, fresh and seasonal menus, driven by sustainability, nutrition and a focus on plants. Everything from cakes and energy balls to salads, pastries and sandwiches are served up here, alongside juices, preserves and granolas. “This recipe is made using our beetroots and Tigermylk, a milk alternative made locally from tigernuts. These are not nuts but energy-rich tubers with a sweet coconut/almondlike flavour,” explains Nikki.
BEETROOT AND HAZELNUT CAKE SERVES 8 180g ripe banana 200ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil 250g caster sugar 200g plain flour 1 ¼ tsp baking powder 2 tsp mixed spice ½ tsp allspice 150g fresh beetroot, finely grated 1 tbsp Tigermylk (or other dairy-free milk alternative) 260g hazelnuts 3 tbsp marmalade
This cake is very much on the market
1 Line a 900g loaf tin with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. 2 Mash the banana then whisk well (it’s best to do this in a mixer if you have one) until light in colour. Add the oil and sugar and continue to whisk thoroughly on a high speed for a good few minutes. 3 Change the whisk attachment for a beater arm and add the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and allspice. Beat on a low setting until just combined. Add the grated beetroot and Tigermylk, mixing slowly until just combined. 4 Finally, incorporate 200g of the hazelnuts (the rest is for the topping).
5 Pour into the cake tin and bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. When cooked, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool. 6 Warm the marmalade through in a pan with a little water, then brush the top of the cooled cake before scattering over the remaining 60g hazelnuts.
The Makers’ Market, Tobacco Factory, Raleigh Road, Bristol BS3 1TF; tobaccofactory.com
GREAT BURGERS FRESH LOCALLY SOURCED PRODUCE DELICIOUS COCKTAILS
MEATBUSTERS Previously Burgers and Barrels
2 Victoria Buildings, Lower Bristol Road, Bath, BA2 3EH www.meatbusters.co.uk
Image: Neil White Photography
Breakfast and Lunch Curry and cocktails Luxury supper clubs Sunday roasts Seasonal menus Organic Kitchen gardens Bespoke classes and workshops Farm shop: selling foods, cards, magazines and gifts largely produced in the local area.
Castle Farm, Midford Rd, Midford, Bath, BA2 7PU 07564 783307 | www.castlefarmmidford.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org î „ castlefarmmidford
T H R E E DAG G E R S
A hidden gem located in the rural Wiltshire village of Edington.
01934 822356 email@example.com
This renowned foodie pub with rooms, on-site Microbrewery, Farmshop and CafĂŠ and Spa Barn, is the perfect spot for any occasion from an impromptu lunch to a celebratory dinner in either our oak-beamed bar, airy conservatory, private dining room or the beer garden with far-reaching views over the Wiltshire plains. Our Microbrewery is also available for wedding and event hire! To book call 01380 830 940 or visit www.threedaggers.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org ď‚– 47 Westbury Road, Edington, Westbury, Wiltshire, BA13 4PG
MADE IN THE HEART OF SOMERSET
I DRINK, THEREFORE I AM
Juicy gossip There’s a new bar in town, and boy, does it sound thirst-quenching
Expect your gin to be dressed for the occasion at this new Bristol bar
WHAT SUP? Had you asked for a gin and juice in Bristol a few weeks ago, people might think you’d been listening to a bit too much Snoop Dog. Now, though, they may well direct you to Park Street’s latest bar. Gin and Juice is hoarding over 400 gins from local and global distilleries in a setting inspired by Parisian cafés and New York dive bars.
Storming through the tonic in its Cardiff and Cheltenham venues already, the team behind Gin and Juice have made the South West the next stop on their ambitious expansion journey, set to include a future venue in Bath, too. The historic premises at 47 Park Street are open daily from 8.30am serving – fear not – refreshments
+ GIN CITY + LAW OF FIZZICS + BEER TODAY 41 41
that are a little softer than gin, like freshly pressed juices and light breakfasts. When the lights are dimmed in the evening, the venue reveals its true self as a gin palace, promising punters wellknown bottles and rare and exotic varieties to try.
Bringing you Choux Buns with personality! Events | Weddings | Celebrations Tempted? Email email@example.com or visit www.thechouxboxpatisserie.com for more information. thechouxboxpatisserie
W H A T
THE DRIP FEED NEWS + BREWS
BARS + TRENDS
S U P ?
GETTING FIZZICAL Food event coordinator and writer Steph Wetherell might just regret letting everyone in on this recently takenover hidden gem…
With celebrations in the air at Crumbs this month, it was very fitting to find out that a South West-made sparkler has just bagged itself an award. Lyme Bay Winery’s Sparkling Brut Rosé has been named Best Sparkling Wine UK at the People’s Choice Wine Awards (the only competition of its kind in this country, aimed at
SPRITZ AND GLAM Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, the Negroni is having a serious moment. It can be a rather love-it-or-hate-it kind of sip, though, with not everyone keen on the sharp character and bitter taste. If you can relate to that, then listen up: a family-run West Country distillery has created a drink that has all the hot-right-now style of a Negroni but with a more gentle character. Sibling Distillery’s Negroni Inspired Gin is intended to be mixed with tonic for a ‘Negroni Spritz’. We love the aromatic and citrusy edge; it has a whisper of bitterness and the refreshing satisfaction of the 100-year-old aperitif. siblingdistillery.com
and judged by consumers) for the second year running. The wine is made from Pinot Noir grapes, which the makers source from top British vineyards. You may well taste suggestions of red summer fruits in this elegant fizz, which is nicely off-dry and balanced, with fine bubbles. A good one to enjoy with food. lymebaywinery.co.uk
In anticipation of the warmer days that are on their way (they are, they are), we asked Sophie Biggs and Nicu Maxim of Bristol’s Beetle Juice roaming cocktail van for a sunshine-loving recipe – and they gave us their twist on the classic Italian-style spritz: the Aperol Blitz. Start with a glass full of ice and add 25ml Aperol, followed by 25ml gin (nothing too complex). Then it’s in with 25ml dry Prosecco (add more if the result is too bitter for your liking). Finish with 15ml Monin Rhubarb Syrup for a gently sweet and sharp edge, a splash of soda (not too much, now) and an orange slice to garnish. beetle-juice.co.uk
My local is The Swan with Two Necks on Little Ann Street in Bristol, a short stumble from my office. The vibe in three words is unassuming, welcoming, cosy. I’m drinking a pint of beer from one of Bristol’s finest breweries, thanks. And to nibble it’s got to be one of the locally made sausage rolls that are on offer at the moment (there are whispers of poutine on the horizon, too…). You’ll find me sitting at the bar, of course, chatting to the friendliest landlord and best team around. The crowd here is mixed. Mostly thirtysomethings with a hint of hipster – but without being poncy. For me, the pub’s best asset is the beer selection – I counted 18 on tap last time I was in, not including all the cans and bottles behind the bar. If I were to steal something I’d likely take landlord Jamieʼs rather amazing record collection. Basically, you should try my local because it’s got the personal and friendly feel of a small local neighbourhood pub but happens to be pretty centrally located.
W H A T
S U P ?
THE STRAWBERRY THIEF An Aladdin’s cave of Belgian beer, this is a bar you could lose hours in, says Jessica Carter
illiam Morris was a Jack of all trades (master of quite a few, an’ all). The 19th-century creative was a textile designer, writer (novels and poems, mind) and active socialist, not to mention a key player in the arts and crafts movement. (My uni halls were named after him too. Given the state of them, though, I’m not sure this is much of a compliment at all.) The Strawberry Thief in Bristol is named for one of Will’s popular textile designs, and has an offering just as varied as his artistic output: there are more than 60 beers – mostly Belgian, all craft – in plenty of different styles, as well as other backbar staples. When it comes to the food, this place hasn’t just settled for a handful of bar snacks, either (although these are in attendance). A purpose-built, beerfriendly menu is on the go, designed by head chef Brendan Baker (who used to head up the kitchen at Flour and Ash). There’s top grazing potential in the
nibbles and sharing boards (try the charcuterie, which comes with pickle and a hunk – and I mean hunk – of bread). Sarnies are substantial (the chunky grilled cheese number is stuffed with silky rarebit made from house beer, dill pickle and jalapeños for a punchy result) and a handful of main courses are there for you if you like to do things the formal way. White and purple roasted cauli florets are tumbled with toasted almonds, capers and confit garlic, and piled on a bed of fine slices of rosemary potato, for instance. Although this versatile food offering is rightly causing a shift in trade, this still seems to be a watering hole first. The decor is vintage British through and through – think corniced ceilings, floor lamps with stained glass shades, painted wood-clad walls and old-school posters hanging in frames – but things get more continental when it comes to the refreshments. The 750ml sharer bottle of Boon Oude Gueuze Black Label caught my eye straight off. It’s
Did you spot this place on the recent BBC series The Trial of Christine Kleeler?
a sour beer, but an easy-drinking one (my date lapped it up, and he hates on sours) and is served much like wine, in a cooler with glasses that seem like they were intended to be pint vessels at the top, but the maker changed tack as they worked and turned them into longstemmed numbers. Fresh and tangy in its sourness, it was refreshingly juicy and tart – a really likeable curveball if you fancy straying from your usual poison. The Saison DuPont (dry, almost smoky) was another of the dangerously drinkable brews we discovered. Tucked away down the narrow streets of the Old City, this bar’s appeal is anything but a secret. When we turned up at 7pm on a Wednesday there was barely a spare table in the house, thanks to after-work drinks and more than a couple of dates. It’s buzzing.
The Strawberry Thief, 26 Broad Street, Bristol BS12HG; 0117 925 6925; strawberrythiefbar.com
Box, SN13 8AE
The Northey Arms launches a new menu! The Northey Arms’ excellent Head Chef, Dan Hutchinson, will be launching his brand new Spring 2020 Menu soon! We’ll be showcasing new dishes including venison carpaccio, roast cauliflower steak, and stone bass with a the focus on locally sourced, fresh British Pub Food. To book your table please call or book online at www.ohhpubs.co.uk/the-northey-arms We look forward to seeing you soon!
The Northey Arms Bath Road, Box, Wiltshire, SN13 8AE 01225 742333 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Would you like to work in Media Sales? We are always looking to hear from talented individuals who would like to work for MediaClash, presenting advertising opportunities and marketing solutions across our portfolio of fantastic magazines and events. We are a growing business and anticipate there being various opportunities over the next few months. If you would like to join our continuing success story please email your CV to email@example.com or give us a call anytime on 01225 475800 for a chat about the company, our magazines and available positions.
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS
Single-use straws are the enemy these days, I suppose, so I guess it’s no surprise we’re starting to see more planetfriendly alternatives on these pages… They’re certainly an environmental enemy, alongside just about everything else, it seems, including – deep breath – the big energy companies, industry, poverty, war, airlines, cows and numerous others including, yes, you and me. Some of those seem a little too big for an individual to fight (have you seen the size of a cow?), but drinking straws… well, they’re a tad less intimidating. An outfit called The Pasta Straw Company certainly seems to think so, and has recently changed its name to Right Side of Green to celebrate commitment to the cause, and has launched some new products in the process. ... I take it they used to just make straws out of pasta then, yes? Yep – and now they make them out of rice and grass too. The rice ones are – they say – gluten-free, toxin-free, cruelty-free, 100 per cent biodegradable, tasteless, great for vegans, made from 100 per cent natural ingredients and come in seven different colours. Largely ditto are the grass ones, with the added bonus that they’re suitable for those with pollen allergies too, as
the pollen is removed. RSG are, they reckon, the first UK company to offer either of them. ... Sounds good, but how long do they last? Though they don’t go on forever, the rice ones certainly last longer than paper straws – multiple uses, for sure – and won’t leave any starchy sediment in your drink. And, yes, you can eat them at the end. The grass ones last longer still (they’ll even survive hot drinks, which the pasta and rice straws will not) but they’re significantly less tasty. (Even so, if you wanted to chew on the end of one, it’s not going to hurt you, either.) ... Think I might stick with the pasta staws. Then do so – they still make ’em. (They’re just not so great for the gluten intolerant, is all.) You can buy thick ones or thin ones in 15s, 50s, 100s or 1,000s from £3.30 a pack; there aren’t as many options yet with the rice or grass straws, but they’ll come. ... Sounds like the future. You’re going to be seeing more of these things going forwards, that’s for sure. Say what you like about modern politics, but a national ban on plastic drinking straws is due to kick in right about… now!
They say we Brits chuck away 8.5 million plastic drinking straws a year, says Matt Bielby, which is dumb when so many eco-friendly alternatives are available. The world is full of no-brainers, but this is the no-brainiest no-brainer of them all…
+ TOP STRAW + CLOCK WATCHING + PARTY LEADERS 51 CRUMBSMAG.COM
Yup, you heard: grass straws are the new kid on the block (wait, we mean bar)
F E E D
Y O U R
F E E D
Y O U R
C U R I O S I T Y
C U R I O S I T Y
The Welcome perfect weeklytoget- together Welcome to Sunday Lunch Sunday brunch Sunday lunch Welcome Welcome to to Sunday brunch Sunday lunch
The food we’re cooking at Cafe 15 is all about a social style of eating, notwonderfully forgetting my favouriteDispensary The food we’re cooking at our intriguing weekend meal, lazy brunch. I’mwhich really Th e food we’re cooking our wonderfully intriguing Dispensary restaurant is all aboutaatalong, social style of eating, is why a relaxed inspired greatalunch seasonal produce and flavours restaurant is allby about socialis style of eating, which is why Day. and indulgent Sunday the perfect choice for Mother’s from around the world and I love making food we’ve introduced a relaxed and indulgent Sunday lunch to the We love elevating the best of British, seasonal ingredients The food we’re cooking at 15seasonal isyou’ll all about a to create that’s accessible to I hope bring mix. We love elevating theeveryone. best of Cafe British, ingredients the sort of quintessentially English comfort food you really social forgetting favouritefoodwant friends and family andnot come andEnglish trymy it! comfort to create thestyle sortof ofeating, quintessentially to eat, so bringmeal, your Mum and come and try it!really weekend long, lazy brunch. I’m you really want to eat,aatso bring family and friends and come Th e food we’re cooking our wonderfully intriguing Dispensary inspired great produce and flavours and try it! is allby restaurant about aseasonal social style of eating, which is why 12.30-3.30pm. Two courses £23.50 / three courses £28.50 from around the world I love Sunday makinglunch food to the we’ve introduced a relaxed and and indulgent www.no15greatpulteney.co.uk that’s I hopeseasonal you’ll bring mix. We loveaccessible elevating to theeveryone. best of British, ingredients friends and come andEnglish try it! comfort food to create the and sort family of quintessentially you really want to eat, so bring family and friends and come and try it!
Move over, fancy gadgets – a properly sharp knife is Claire’s most important kitchen tool
H O U S E
laire’s kitchen, in its current guise at least, is soon to be no more. The small space will be minus a wall imminently and opened out into the former bathroom behind, creating a cooking and dining space that backs onto the garden. ‘So, why not wait until it’s all brand spanking new to have a nosey round?’ I can (almost literally) hear you thinking. Well, friends, this isn’t just any old kitchen. Several pretty big-deal cookbooks have been penned and recipe tested in this very room – Claire has just finished writing her fifth, and husband and chef Matt Williamson (“The best cook I’ve ever known,” she says) has more to add on top of that number – as well as countless recipe columns. So we thought it deserved a shout out before it’s replaced by a younger, larger model. Claire, who was born in Zimbabwe and has lived everywhere from Johannesburg to Shropshire, is a Bristol-based chef and writer. She studied journalism before going to work in professional kitchens alongside local foodie mainstays like Barny Haughton and Kate Hawkings. Then she moved to London and met Matt while working at the Chelsea Arts Club. It was in 2009 that Claire and Matt opened Flinty Red, the popular Bristol restaurant on Cotham Hill. A couple of years later, with two young children by this point, Claire found herself cooking for the family by herself each day (Matt was cheffing at the restaurant) and started posting on social media about her foodie endeavours, Tweeting under the name Five O’Clock Apron. Before long she had a column in this very food magazine and went onto write for The Guardian and The Telegraph, where she’s still a regular contributor. Claire’s work attracts an ever-growing audience – her books have been properly successful and her Instagram followers are always multiplying. There are many elements of Claire’s food and writing (which focuses on cooking delicious, wholesome meals for the family, from scratch, with little fuss and definitely no snobbery) that make it resonate with other households. “There are some Instagram accounts that you look at and you think,
There are trinkets a-plenty in this colourful, cheerful kitchen
C A L L
H O U S E
We’re all about a retro butter dish at Crumbs HQ
C A L L
‘wow, that’s not like real life’. But people look at mine and know it’s literally what I’m cooking, there and then. It makes it all feel very real and attainable, like I’m talking about stuff everyone’s able to do. “What I want is to be reassuring to people that they can cook – I don’t want to be didactic. It’s about growing someone as a home cook. Being a chef is brilliant for that, – it’s great to have that acumen.” Claire hit ‘send’ on the final draft of her new book a matter of days before we swing by. This will be her fifth, including the one she penned for the National Trust, and, although structured differently to her other tomes, at its heart it’s very much about keeping family mealtimes stress-free, delicious, varied and – most important of all – alive. “It’s called Home Cookery Year, so it’s split into spring, summer, autumn and winter, with each having sections for things like midweek, budget, luxury meals and feasts. “We used Hugo’s in Bedminster a lot for the fruit and veg when we were shooting the recipes. I love him, he was so good for this book and really helped us out with some of the more out-there things we needed to get hold of – nothing was too much trouble.” And when it comes to testing the recipes, Claire’s three children are her (willing, for the most part) guinea pigs. They’re not purely about the eating though, often getting involved in the kitchen at dinnertime. “They love making pasta,” she says. “We’ve made sausages with them too, which they thought was a bit disgusting! They’re great at ravioli. Their favourite dinner is tacos, though. We’ve got a small tortilla press and Dot is like a little machine with that thing – she’s our taco girl. Then Ivy and Grace cook them, and we’ll have mushrooms, pulled meat, avo and things. Right now I love using a squeeze of Seville orange in them.” As well as Claire’s many jars of spices on display in a big wooden dresser, there’s a large glass container stuffed full of these seasonal fruits. They’re salted Sevilles and, after a while in the jar when they’re properly broken down, will be used in dressings, salads and basically anything that this Seville obsessive can get away with. Any day now, work will start on the kitchen, the biggest item on Claire’s wishlist being more workspace. “I don’t mind it looking industrial,” she says. “Perhaps stainless steel surfaces, a nice long one perfect for making pasta. It really just has to be practical.” Before we leave, we tell Claire that we’ll be a-knocking again once the new kitchen is finished. She seems fine about it...
H O U S E
C A L L
BATATA VADA PAV RECIPE
These in-themaking salted Sevilles are hotly anticipated
KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL One of Claire’s fave recipes from her last book
400g (14oz) floury potatoes, peeled and cut into large bite-size pieces 2-4 green chillies, finely chopped (remove the seeds to reduce heat, if you like) 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped small bunch coriander, leaves and stalks roughly chopped 150g gram flour, or use plain flour, plus extra for dusting 1 heaped tsp ground turmeric 2 tsp curry powder (mild or hot, as you like) ½ tsp baking powder vegetable oil 1 tsp brown mustard seeds 1 tbsp finely grated root ginger ½ lemon, juice only 4 soft white buns or burger buns, split in 2, toasted and buttered mixture of your choice of finely sliced red onion, pickled chillies, Bombay mix and tomato ketchup, to serve 1 Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Drain well and mash, adding salt and pepper to taste. 2 While the potatoes are cooking, blend the chillies with the garlic, coriander leaves and stalks, and a splash of water to form a coarse paste. Put to one side. 3 Mix the gram flour with the turmeric, 1 tsp of the curry powder, the baking powder, a big pinch of salt and 180ml of water to make a thick batter. 4 Put enough oil in a large frying pan to coat the base, and place over a moderatehigh heat. Add the mustard seeds and fry for 30 seconds, until they begin to sizzle
and pop, then add the ginger and half the prepared green chilli paste and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. 5 Add the remaining curry powder and all of the mashed potatoes, season with salt, and mix well to combine. Put to one side until cool enough to handle. 6 For the green chutney, add the lemon juice to the remaining chilli paste and season with salt to taste. Put in a small serving bowl and keep to one side. 7 Divide the cooled potato mixture into 4 equal balls and pat each ball into a flat burger-shaped patty about 3cm thick, and lightly dust in flour. Pour oil into a large non-stick frying pan to a depth of 4cm and place over a moderate heat, until very hot. Work quickly to coat each of the patties in the batter and fry in the hot oil for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from the heat and put aside to drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. 8 Place a fried potato vada inside each buttered roll, top with green chutney and the extras.
Recipe from New Kitchen Basics by Claire Thomson (Quadrille, £25), photography by Sam Folan
Name: Claire Thomson. Hometown: Bristol. Occupation: Chef and food writer. Must-have kitchen item: KitchenAid mixer. You love the taste of: Lemons, good wine, cheese, in no particular order. Coffee or tea? Tea always first thing in the morning, then two coffees shortly after, and back to tea in the afternoon. Beer or cider? Beer, and only the really lightweight stuff on a hot summer’s day (I prefer wine). Ultimate comfort food: This would very much depend on the kids: one says pasta, one says tacos, and the other would almost certainly say cake... I just cook whatever to make everyone happy! Go-to recipe: I don’t have one. There are just too many different possibilities when it comes to answering the eternal question, ‘What’s for supper tonight?’ Favourite condiment: Hot sauce. What are you going to bake this weekend? A loaf of bread. The look of your kitchen in three words: Work in progress! Your kitchen is awesome because: It’s a hub for family life and also where I work from. Most prized item: The pestle and mortar we lugged home in our backpacks all the way from Laos, only to find they sold the exact same ones in Bristol’s own Sweetmart. Unexpected item in your kitchen cupboard: My children, if asked, would certainly say the sausage casing, all frosted with salt crystals, in the tub next to the ice cream in the freezer. They do look pretty weird! You can’t live without: A good, sharp knife. The most important tool in any kitchen. One thing your kitchen is used for that doesn’t involve cooking? Homework, spelling tests, Scrabble games and the whole mad, industrious and wonderful gambit that is family life. 5oclockapron.com
THE RISING SUN
Nestled at the foot of Pensford Viaduct and almost encircled by the River Chew, we are one of the valleys best kept secrets! Our pub has built a solid reputation for punching well above its weight in terms of providing amazing food with a strong emphasis on real ales and cider. We provide a family friendly, fun, homemade-esque and even romantic setting for all, with illustrated outside walls, and a magnificent garden.
Good Food Award 2020 winner Crumbs Award 2019 finalist Western Daily Press Food and Farming Awards 2018: Best Pub The Rising Sun, Church Street Penford BS39 4AQ 01761 490006 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.risingsunpensford.com
f Rising Sun Pensford
î „ risingsunpensford
12noon â€“ 10pm (Tuesday to Sunday)
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The Holcombe Inn Our tranquility and kitchen gardens are a fabulous place to eat and drink in a relaxed environment, plus we have a large family garden with a swing and sand pit. Our seasonal menus change monthly allowing us to utilise our home grown produce more and we have vegan and plant based options on our menus plus we will be doing some exciting cooking in the gardens this summer. Our wine list includes some lovely English wines including some delicious Rose. Come and see us, weekend bookings are essential
SAMPLE MENU Starters Red Pepper, Goats Cheese Toast, Chilli Jam, Pickled Salad Hickory Smoked Aubergine, Kale & Walnut Pesto, Balsamic Grelot Onions (vg) Curried Tempura Coley, Mayonnaise, Tomato Fondue, Apple, Melon Main Courses Jacob's Ladder, Bone Marrow, Star Anise Roasted Carrot, Red Cabbage, Red Wine Jus Pan Fried Pollock, Jerusalem Artichoke Puree, Mussel Cream, Samphire Hasselback Courgette, Butter Bean & Tahini, Dukka Vegetable Crisps (vg) Lamb Rump, Shepherds Pie, Clapshot Mash, Crispy Anchovy, Red Currant Sauce Desserts Poached Rhubarb, White Chocolate & Orange Neapolitan Carrot Sponge, Blood Oranges, Candied Walnuts & Brown Sugar Ice Cream The Holcombe Souffle, Ice Cream Coconut Rice Pudding, Pineapple & Passion Fruit (vg)
The Holcombe Inn, Stratton Rd, Bath BA3 5EB T 01761 232478 E bookingsatholcombeinn.co.uk www.holcombeinn.co.uk
BE ST BA R
EATING-OUT INSPO, INSIDER KNOWLEDGE AND FOOD PIONEERS
68 FOODIE FEELS
A century of reasons to heart the local food scene
79 BEHIND THE SCENES
The inside gossip on CrumbsÊ¼ creation
85 HIGH CLASS Learn a new skill at one of these top cookery schools
LO UI S S MI T H
Would it even be our 100th issue without a total circus of a cake to mark the occasion?
1 O O T H M I SA SI N U S E
THE PIONEERING AND BIG-DEAL LAUNCHES
8 Elly Pear
The nationally loved cook and Insta followee released her first book in 2016 and tells us in our interview, “Bristol is food and food is Bristol. We know we’re not London – and we don’t care.”
The just-opened tapas joint was reviewed in our very first issue. We had no idea at the time what founders Imogen and Kieran Waite had up their sleeve. (Gambas and Cargo Cantina to name but a couple of the nowwell-loved venues!)
9 Adrian Kirikmaa
As well as a chef, teacher and co-founder of the School of Food, this native Bristolian does great things a-plenty for local charities through his passion for food.
10 Kate Hawkings
The drinks pro got us excited about sips that had been relegated to granny’s cabinet with her debut book Aperitif. “I wanted to open people’s eyes to the concept of the aperitif,” she told us in issue 78. “They’re where the action is happening.”
12 Barny Haughton
This celebrated chef and teacher is founder of the Crumbs Award-winning Square Food Foundation, a community-minded cookery school with a fierce social mission and expert workshops.
19 Hart’s Bakery
13 Phil Haughton
This Temple Meads opening – which we reported on in issue 10 – changed Bristol’s bakery landscape for good, and now has a cult following.
Yep – food heroes are plentiful in the Haughton family. Phil founded Better Food and continues to champion organic and sustainable ingredients.
20 Acorn Vegetarian
NE I L W HI T E
This Anglo-Indian chef opened and ran a restaurant, began a food writing career, penned a book and became a star of the new series of Ready Steady Cook all since Crumbs’ inception, championing regional food from the subcontinent all the while.
K IR S T I E YO UN G
11 Romy Gill
14 Larkin Cen
After launching the first Woky Ko in Bristol in 2016, this chef has gone on to form an empire of Asian dining. “Chinese is the biggest ethnic cuisine and has almost universal appeal, but I feel we have only scratched the surface with it,” he told us in an interview in issue 56.
The Michelin-starred joint took over the former Markwicks on Chandos Road in 2012. It’s now up for sale again – who will take the baton?
17 The Vaults
Plans for trading space in Bath Spa’s railway arches were revealed in our fifth issue, expanding the city’s up-andcoming food scene.
Spirit of Bath
This bottle shop’s launch appeared in our ninth issue and quickly became much more than just a regular offy.
Richard Buckley took the reins of Demuth’s restaurant, as you can read in issue 14, going on to rename it and make it one of the first pure vegan gaffs in the region.
26 The Scallop
The former White Row chippy (finally) set up a seafood restaurant in Bath, upping the region’s fish game for good. It was love at first sight in issue 30.
30 Pasta Loco
The Cotham Hill opening induced city-wide pasta mania and demonstrates how not only carbs should be done, but also hospitality. They now have four venues, with La Sorella just having transformed into a new lasagne and wine bar.
21 The Ox
This 2013 launch was the first restaurant from the Hyde and Co group. Look at it now, with feathers like Seven Lucky Gods and Pata Negra also in its cap – and there’s more incoming.
Established by Sam and Becky Leach – now under new ownership – this neighbourhood bistro was one of the very first farm-to-table joints in the city, not to mention one of Bristol’s favourite places to eat.
23 The Christmas
We checked out the newly reborn pub in issue 27. It joined The Spotted Cow in Dave Smeaton’s pub group (which is set to open a brand new venue this year in St George, BTW).
27 Fresh Range
24 Flour and Ash
Opening under the arches on Cheltenham Road, as we found out in issue 28, could this be the beginnings of Bristol’s pizza proliferation?
Knocking out great-quality burgers, this St Nicolas Street outfit was one of the earliest stars of the burgeoning Bristol burger scene.
The new online supermarket we reported on in issue 35 allows us to shop online for produce from small and local independent suppliers. It was joined in the indie e-tail scene by Good Sixty, not long after.
The wacky cocktail bar at Clifton Down shows the city how to mix drinks with a sense of humour.
The microdistillery continued its rise with the launch of its barcum-distillery on St Michael’s Hill in summer 2016. Now, its sister distillery Circumstance is leading the way for the future of grain spirits and cane spirits.
29 Comins Tea
Brew buffs’ thirsts are quenched by this new specialist Bath tea house, serving singleestate infusions.
This 2016 opening by Jan Ostle and Mary Wilson quickly became one of the most respected gaffs in the city – nay, the country – as you’ll have read in issue 52.
This was the first restaurant to open at shipping container development Cargo. Tess and Elliott Lidstone have since made a huge mark on the local food scene from their tiny 12-seater gaff, working tirelessly with charities as well as with great produce.
1 O O T H
34 The School of Food
I S S U E
THE GOING-OUT SCENE K IR STIE YO UNG
This venture launched with a mission to get more young people into the catering industry, setting them up with practical work experience and giving them face time with seasoned, superrespected chefs.
38 Little French
The restaurant we’ve all been waiting for from Crumbs columnist and ex-Lido chef Freddy Bird was revealed in issue 92.
43 Mix it up
Our mixology scene is pretty special; first-rate cocktails are mixed up in speakeasies (Hyde and Co), contemporary bars (The Dark Horse) and laid-back hangouts (Filthy Thirteen).
Our round-up in issue 67 proved that the street food game in our region is huge, varied and, of course, fierce, thanks to vendors like Ah Ma’s Dumplings, The Little Taquero and Alp Mac.
48 Power plants
As well as great vegan options on regular restaurant menus, we now have ace dedicated plant-based joints too – like Suncraft, Koocha, Eat Your Greens and Acorn – knocking out satisfying and imaginative grub.
39 Marmo SA M G IB SO N
47 So street
Housed in the former Bar Buvette, this Italian serves dreamy food and a top selection of wine, we reported in issue 94.
A bold concept by Jamie Oliver alumnus Sam Elliot, this steak joint offers carnivores a slice of beefy heaven in Bristol, serving super-high-welfare, pasturereared meat.
44 Golden oldies
Despite countless new openings, the likes of Glassboat, Mud Dock, Casamia and Woods are still going strong after decades, as we investigated in issue 92.
36 Zero Green
This hugely popular ecostore, seen in issue 74, was the first of several zero-waste shops to open on our patch, with refillfocused Smaller Footprints and Scoop Wholefoods soon following.
37 Noya’s Kitchen
This is Bath’s fire-ball of a chef Noya Pawlyn’s first eatery, where she serves ace Vietnamese food, hosts supper clubs and teaches.
45 East is East
40 Dos Dedos
The Bath joint solidifies our local Mexican scene by opening its laid-back tacoheavy gaff in Bath, we heard in issue 96, joining Bristol’s Masa and Mezcal and Downtown Taqueria.
41 The Refill app
Launched in Bristol, this app simplifies sustainability by letting users know where they can fill up bottles and containers with food and drink.
We’ve got food from all over the globe on this patch, but Asian is one of the most well-repped and popular, as we proved in our round-up in issue 69 with the likes of Eatchu, Chilli Daddy, Sky Kong Kong and Nutmeg.
46 Café culture
We know how to do a great daytime hangout on this turf – just look at the likes of Little Victories and Society Café (pictured).
49 A little bit country
Surrounded as we are by rural landscapes, we’re in the money when it comes to country pubs to hunker down in with a great ale and some comfort food – think The Redann, Sign of The Angel and The Pony and Trap.
50 Room with a view
Having opened in Bedminster in October, this place pushes the wine bar concept into the 21st century with its wine taps and great range of vino.
If it’s food with a view you’re after, this patch can deliver. Overlook ripplIng rivers at the likes of Riverstation, Broken Dock, Grain Barge and The Bathwick Boatman.
1 O O T H
61 Stoke the fire
Stokes Croft – home to pasta, Caribbean food, tacos, small plates and quite the pub scene – is a hotbed of culinary delights.
55 Pizza glut
We know what’s up on Sundays. From sharing roasts like the drop-dead ones at Castle Farm (pictured) to tapas versions (oh hey, Bar 44) and traditional award-winning plates (The Bank Tavern’s Sunday game is undisputed), we’ve got it all.
52 Damn fine
We’re no stranger to Michelin-starred fine dining on this turf thanks to Paco Tapas, Bulrush, Olive Tree et al.
53 We’d tap that
One of the best developments to have brewed over the last decade, taprooms abound in Bath and Bristol – visit Wiper and True, Electric Bear and Lost and Grounded to start.
Gloucester Road’s famous stretch of indie businesses includes countless restaurants, cafés, bars and takeaway joints, all with distinctive Bristol flair.
56 On the market
Whether you’re after street food, artisan produce to cook at home or handmade kitchenware, this patch has a market for you, with great examples at the Harbourside, Tobacco Factory and Green Park Station.
57 Bean stalking
Our coffee scene is on point: just ask the pros at Colonna and Small, Full Court Press, Girls Who Grind and Clifton Coffee. We’re buzzing about it. (Or is that just the caffeine?)
58 Neo-junk food
Kebabs, chippy dinners and diner-style burgers are not just guilty pleasures here – we do them in style, thanks to the likes of Bambalan’s ’babs, The Athenian’s Gyros, and The Oyster Shell’s fish and chips.
Bath Soft, Homewood, Westcombe Dairy and Trethowan’s Dairy are just some of this region’s top cheesemakers – we dived into their dairy in issue 83.
The force is strong in our burger scene, whether you like ’em thick or skinny, loaded or minimalist. The burger geniuses at Asado, Squeezed, Burger Theory (pictured) and Magu are just some of the key players in the patty game.
From the hearty, imaginative dishes at Bakers and Co to the Middle Eastern brunches at Souk, our local brekkies are worth getting out of bed for.
60 Brilliant Bemmie Bedminster has had quite the transformation when it comes to food – North Street’s pubs, restaurants and shops now make it a culinary destination.
We are left wanting for nothing when it comes to local gins – and we have 6 O’Clock, Bristol Distilling Co and Psychopomp (among others) to thank for that, as we found out in issue 80 when we hunted for the perfect serve.
Central Bath has a growing cluster of cool indie restaurants – try Henry’s, Menu Gordon Jones (pictured), Mint Room and Corkage.
64 Wap the?!
When we revealed plans for the Wapping Wharf development in issue 47, we couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome than the food-stuffed riverside patch we have now.
59 Thanks a brunch
Both contemporary and traditional styles of this West Country sip are made here, as we found out in issue 90. Check out the offerings from Barley Wood, Iford and Pilton Cider to get going.
JO N C RA I G
51 Raise a roast
In Bath and Bristol we’re proper crazy about pizza – and why wouldn’t we be, with the likes of Bertha’s, Pizza Workshop and Dough (pictured) dishing up stellar examples?
I S S U E
65 Reach to their own The development at Finzel’s Reach has become Bristol’s newest culinary hub, with Bocabar, Café Matariki, Mission Pizza and Le Vignoble already open (with more soon to join them) and a lunchtime street food market of its very own on Thursdays and Fridays.
Electric Bear (pictured), Fierce and Noble, Bristol Beer Factory, Left Handed Giant, Kettlesmith... We could sit here naming local breweries all day, but we have other things to get on with, you know.
Dunleavy and Aldwick Estate and Vineyard are both making top wines from locally grown grapes. (You tried the former’s new sparking red yet?)
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1 O O T H
We’ve got ice cream licked, courtesy of Swoon’s fresh gelato, Luscious’ organic, silky ice cream, Marshfield Farm’s enormously varied range (including a variety for dogs!) and many more ace examples.
THE EVENTS 79 Eat Drink Bristol
It’s back! Having last been seen in 2015, this culinary extravaganza is taking over Castle Park this year with more of the chef banquets and good vibes that made it so popular.
77 Bristol Food
The cornerstone of any celebration, cake is delicious, clever and artful on this patch, thanks to sweet-toothed bakeries like Ahh Toots (pictured), Sticky Fingers, Pearly King and Didi Cakes.
73 Fruit and veg
Thanks partly to our geography and partly to contemporary farming projects (looking at you, Grow Bristol), we’ve a bountiful local larder and no excuses for not hitting that five-a-day.
Butchers are alive and well here, and they’ve got high-welfare meat in their counters from the likes of Castlemead Poultry and Coombe Farm.
It was way back in issue 21 that we first wrote about this inclusive, one-of-a-kind festival, which aims to bring people closer to their food and better our culinary landscape – and it’s still going strong today.
80 Bristol Craft Beer Festival
Beers on the harbour, but with serious game. This annual event brings brewing heroes to the city from all over the globe, for our drinking pleasure.
81 Pub in the Park
Tom Kerridge’s fancy food festival first landed in Bath in 2018, bringing with it the finest gastropub grub in the country.
78 Valley Fest
Set on a farm, this easy-going, family-friendly festival is all about sustainable scran, with workshops for little ones, cookery demos, feasts and street food.
82 Smokefest LO U IS SM ITH
71 Ice cream
Having launched last year, this festival is all about fire cooking – a great place to pick up barbecuing tips and lots of delicious flamelicked food.
84 3 Café Kitchen
Offering hospitality training and work experience to people with special needs, this place also happens to make some mean food.
85 Step and Stone
The purpose of this bakery is not only to make belting (award-winning, no less) lavosh flatbread, but also employ young people with learning disabilities to help them get into the catering industry.
B E N PRYO R
“The coast stretches the length of the South West and there are wonderful beaches and healthy fisheries. We have some of the finest seafood I know,” Gill Mellor said in issue 55.
Local talent isn’t confined to food – for handmade crockery check out the likes of Isobel Higley and Libby Ballard.
I S S U E
This trail-blazing sustainability-focused StoCro gaff has such killer eco credentials that the Food
Made Good Awards recently had to make up a new prize for it, inducting it into its Hall of Fame. Fancy.
86 Jamie’s Farm
Producing top-notch food, this charity is a haven for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, offering them valuable residencies.
I S S U E
CLA R E W INFIE LD
92 Lone Wolf
87 Belly Laughs
January is made a little less bleak each year by this event, which raises money for the homeless by hosting comedy gigs in indie restaurants.
Our restaurant scene has sure embraced solo dining: “Going out to have breakfast on my own is one of my favourite things to do of a weekend,” said Shonette Laffy in our Ridin’ Solo feature in issue 59.
It’s become apparent that we in the West Country love fire-cooked food, just look at our heroes (Gen Taylor), festivals (Smokefest) and restaurants (The Cauldron). See?
J E NNI NOTT
THE WAY WE ROLL
93 Free for all
In issue 61 we spoke to those who are catering for special diets without compromising on quality – think Pieminster, Strawberry Thief and Green Rocket Café, to name just a few across our patch.
@ C H RIS TER RY
1 O O T H
Each winter, local restaurants sign up to Street Smart, asking punters to add £1 to their food bill to help the homeless. Nationwide, it’s raised around £10 million to date.
97 Fair enough
89 91 Ways
98 Indie rock
Bristol became a Fair Trade City way back in 2005, and its commitment to ethically sourced food and drink has only grown since then – we investigated our relationship with fair trade in issue 98.
Kalpna Wolf founded this project (before going on to win the Crumbs Food Hero award) to bring together Bristol’s many diverse cultures through the power of food, as we wrote in issue 38.
90 Caring at
Top Bristol chefs dished up restaurant-standard food to the short-term residents of the Caring in Bristol shelter throughout the festive period last year.
Redistributing surplus food to those who need it most, FairShare not only saves waste but gets good, nutritional produce out to the community.
94 Sustainable scran
Having always had an independent spirit, this patch has become even more fertile soil for foodie start-ups, with indiefocused audiences and developments like Cargo promising affordable rents.
A real focus on ethically minded eating has emerged since Crumbs started up – No. 1 Harbourside, The Ethicurean and Thali were just some of the ecopioneers in our round-up in issue 37.
95 Style it out
This patch loves a handsome hangout. We checked out some of the most ’grammable – including Jamaica Street Stores, Dela and Circo – in issue 88.
“[Bristol’s] food scene is developing at an incredible speed – quite outstripping any other UK city. A food writer not going to Bristol right now is like David Attenborough not going to the jungle,” Tim Hayward said in our interview in issue 46.
100 Shop culture
Our small grocery stores are rolling with the times while still doing things the traditional, indie way (we love the likes of The Bristol Cheesemonger, Brockley Stores, Hugo’s and Field and Flower).
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M A I N S
hen we officially launched Crumbs, back in the summer of 2012, a new enthusiasm for food was already well established as a major force in the UK’s culture – Jamie and Nigella had both hit the ground running way back in 1999, after all – but the West Country, while well recognised as an area to watch, hadn’t quite become the major force it now is. The signs were clear, though: Bristol had Poco, Rosemarino, Cowshed and the mighty Casamia (still in its Westbury-on-Trym home) amongst many others, and in Bath, the Bath Pub Co was rapidly upping the area’s gastropub game (Hare and Hounds had just reopened on Lansdown) while Gordon Jones was exciting Bear Flattypes with the innovative tasing menus at his eponymous new gaff. And all around them both were great country pubs, The Michelin-starred Pony and Trap, for one. The local food scene, then, was on the up. MediaClash – Crumbs’ home – felt especially alive and bullish at the time too. Through Bath Life especially, but also Clifton Life (as Bristol Life was called back then), Cardiff Life and others, they’d got the luxurious free magazine idea off pat, and were now looking for fresh challenges and new ways to promote our local cities. Food, of course, seemed ideal. What made Crumbs what it is, though, is the way the stars aligned in terms of the people involved. I was tasked with putting the gang together – my earliest
Below is the lesser-seen dummy issue that we put together before our official launch...
weeks on Crumbs were like the first half of a ‘men on a mission’ film in that regard – and certainly had it in me to produce a compelling magazine: I’d launched dozens of them by that point, big and small, in the UK, America and even Germany over the years. But the problem was, truth be told, I wasn’t that much of a foodie. That’s why the great Mark Taylor, a Bristol-based local newspaper journalist who’d become a genuine food-and-drink specialist, was so crucial to Crumbs in its early years. He knew the scene – Bristol’s especially – and everybody in it, and could write about it wittily and well. Most of the words you’d read in early issues of Crumbs were Mark’s, while I’d contribute the odd feature (every Hero Ingredient to date has been me, for instance), plenty of ideas, and many of the stupid jokes. And then there was art director Trevor Gilham, who (as anyone who’s ever seen Crumbs will attest) is one of the giants of his craft, and was keen to get his hands on a new project he could really make his own. Remarkably, every page of every issue of Crumbs (for as well as the flagship Bath and Bristol title, there have been Cotswolds and Devon spinoffs over the years) has been designed by him. Rounding off the early team was Rosa Park, our first web editor, who at the time gave her hobby as “perving on everyone’s lifestyles, be it their home or their dinner party”, and who’s since taken such sensibilities to a much larger stage. (If you haven’t so far, check to her bi-annual international travel mag Cereal: it really is quite something.) The magazine came together in fits and starts. Publisher (and co-owner of MediaClash) Jane Ingham is another person full of ideas, and crucial elements like the matte paper Crumbs is printed on came from her. It gives the mag a sort of artisan, hand-made feel that suits the subject matter to a tee. I’m not sure where the name ‘Crumbs’ came from exactly, but Jane had it in mind from the beginning. Yes, we experimented with alternatives – Greedy was popular for a while, but so were Gravy and Sauce – but we kept coming back to Crumbs. Early cover experiments had different support lines too (‘Exploring the region’s best kitchens’ was one, as was ‘The lipsmacking new food guide’), but then Greg Ingham, I think it was – Jane’s husband, and MediaClash co-founder – suggested ‘A little slice of foodie heaven’, and that stuck. The idea of structuring the magazine around a classic three-course meal – with news and small stories in the Starters section at the beginning, Mains in the middle and Afters at the end – came quickly, and became the hook around
which everything else hung. (The names didn’t come quite so fast, though: originally Starters was going to be called Appetisers or Small Plates, referencing the explosion of interest in Spanish tapas that felt so fresh at the time.) Regulars we abandoned as too hard to pull off every issue included Gossipmonger (rumours and scandal from the region’s kitchens, to be done in a sly, hinting, ‘guess-who?’ way like the old Hollywood Hush-Hush scandal sheets of the 1950s), while others we just got bored of quickly, like Overheard (“Crumbs has its mouth full, but its ear to the ground”), where we’d ear-wig conversations from other tables. Looking back at my early planning documents, it seems that the recipe section was originally to have been called Cook! or Chow Down!, and might well have gone right at the back of the mag, alongside a drinks section (not unlike the modern What Sup?) called The Liquor Authority, while Afters went through a handful of names including Chalkboard, Handbook, Backstory and Just Desserts. Other ideas included having the recipe section on glossy paper in the middle of the book, a slick island in a rough-andready artisan sea. Looking back at my early notes to Trev on design, I said stuff like, “I think the gastropub look is a good guide for the colours and feel: Farrow and Ball-style tones, perhaps some sort of dark wood effect we can use as a background for heads or crossheads, definitely something with the whole chalkboard idea. Places like the Marlborough Tavern in Bath always have a feature wall in some dramatic, stylish wallpaper: I can see this working here, perhaps as wide borders around boxes or even whole pages or sections.” Well, he certainly took all that on board – and ran with it. Indeed, one of the amazing things about Crumbs (to my mind) is how Trev’s managed to keep it feeling so fresh over the years, changing design elements and feel sometimes issue by issue, yet always staying true to what the magazine is. That’s something I could say about the magazine’s core writers too: Mark and Rosa, then Laura Rowe and Rosa’s successor Sophie Rae, Amanda Robinson and, of course, our current editor Jess – great talents all. Hats off to them – while keeping in mind that, across the issues, they’ve all had one huge advantage on their side, of course: a simply amazing, ever-changing, ever-improving food and drink scene to write about. Long may that continue – and here’s to the next 100 issues of Crumbs keeping on top of it all.
Al on so De ava liv ila er ble oo !
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Straight to the Sauce 07427 040067 straighttothesauces.com
It’s not all about learning speedy suppers – Demuths will teach you how to get all cheffy, too
Fancy upping your kitchen game or learning a new skill in 2020? Perhaps you’re on the hunt for a fun day out or activity to keep a group of mates entertained. Whatever you’re after, there are some ace cookery schools on our patch and beyond that are capable of obliging in all of the aforementioned areas… 85 CRUMBSMAG.COM
The Bertinet Kitchen
This school was set up by French baker Richard Bertinet and his wife Jo 15 years ago and sits in a beautiful old building in Bath. The focus here is on (you guessed it) baking – and that includes everything from bread and viennoiserie to pastry and patisserie, with courses ranging in length from one day to one week. The full-day bread-making course with Richard is one of the most popular. That said, it’s not all about the dough – among the new classes for 2020, for instance, is vegan Japanese with MasterChef star Tim Anderson and baking with Helen Goh of Ottolenghi fame.
Copying off your neighbour is totally legit at this kind of school
Bristol Fire School
After writing three books on cooking outdoors, flame whisperer Genevieve Taylor has set up a cookery school focused on fire. This style of cookery will be showcased in its many and varied forms on her courses – think everything from barbecues to Argentinian asados, wood-fired ovens to open fires. As well as cooking meat to perfection, you’ll also learn about the magic that happens between flames and vegetables, and get clued up on different types of fuel. As well as Gen, teachers at Bristol Fire School will include the likes of DJ Barbecue and Cabrito’s James Wheltor. genevievetaylor.co.uk
Brand new!! Gen famously never needs any smoke machines at her parties
Coexist Community Kitchen
Having recently reopened in its fancy purpose-built space, the longestablished Coexist Community Kitchen is all new for 2020. Founded to bring people together using food, its friendly courses range from the likes of Speak and Eat (aimed at people who find themselves in the UK as asylum seekers and refugees) to the open-to-everyone fermentation course, where students learn to make kimchi, sourdough pancakes and even fermented strawberries, and a pay-what-you-can class every Tuesday evening. Not only will taking a course here see you come away with new skills, but you’ll also be supporting this amazing local resource, as the paid-for classes help fund the community-focused projects. coexistuk.org
M A I N S Luckily, there are no height restrictions at Little Kitchen
This long-established deli and catering biz just off Whiteladies Road started running cookery classes nine years ago, at the suggestion of its impressed customers. Chef and cookery teacher Alexis John is known for being able to make top-drawer meals out of pretty much anything, and runs classes on a huge range of cuisines – from Japanese gyoza to Turkish meze and Southern Indian. That said, it’s probably the Spanish tapas and Italian classes that this inviting Alma Road spot is best known for. papadeli.co.uk
There are exciting changes at this Bristol cookery school this year: work is underway on a new venue in Totterdown, which the team hope to unveil in June. Founded by mates Madeleine and Claire back in 2014, Little Kitchen runs around 10 classes a week, from pasta-making to patisserie, and has six tutors with different specialities. The Thai street food evenings are super popular, while those with a sweet tooth will be all about the macaron masterclasses. Looking to cut down on food waste? Try the ‘chicken four ways’ course, where you’ll joint a whole chicken and use it across four different dishes. little-kitchen.co.uk
Ping’s Masak Club
Taking place in Ping Coombes’ very own (and rather swish) kitchen just outside of Bath, these Malaysian cookery classes are kept nice and small (six people, tops) and happily informal. Choose from ‘signatures’ – which involves learning to make the likes of authentic chicken satay with peanut sauce and fresh, spice-packed beef rendang – and ‘street food’, where you can cook the treats of a Malaysian street vendor, like national dish nasi lemak and roti canai. At the end of the class, you’ll get the chance to tuck into all the dishes you’ve created, and toast to your expanded culinary horizons. pingcoombes.com
Get up close and personal with a MasterChef winner’s kitchen
Vale House Kitchen is a bespoke country skills and cookery school situated in the village of Timsbury 8 miles southwest of Bath. We will be offering all the traditional courses you would expect from a cookery school but will have the added dimension of teaching skills such as fishing, shooting, foraging and butchery. 19th April – Lamb Butchery and Cookery 23rd April – Introduction to Foraging 25th April – Beginners Fly Fishing 17th May – Game Butchery and Cookery
01761 470401 | firstname.lastname@example.org
MALAYSIAN COOKERY SCHOOL WITH MASTERCHEF CHAMPION PING COOMBES
Ping’s Special March Offer “To celebrate Mothers’ Day, my birthday and the start of Spring all in one month, I’m offering a Masak Club experience for 2 for £200 (normally £250)” To purchase, please visit www.pingcoombes.com and head to the ‘Buy a Gift Voucher’ page. 12 months validity.
M A I N S
The Rising Sun
Perched near the River Chew, The Rising Sun in Pensford has designed its new cookery courses to give people the skills and knowledge they need to cook the dishes they enjoy at the popular pub. Expect one-day classes that cover basic dishes and techniques, like how to make a killer risotto and properly cook a steak. Timetables will soon expand to include more advanced courses too, set over several weeks, where you can learn more involved skills like butchery and preparing a seasonal three-course menu. The classes are aimed at eager home cooks and take place in the pub’s newly refurbished barn. risingsunpensford.com
Bini Ludlow was taught traditional Gujarati cooking from an early age by her mother and aunties. This regional food, often vegetarian and vegan, is her speciality, and the full-day Gujarati thali course is her most popular, covering how to cook the perfect rice and make chapatis from scratch, as well as colourful curries and salads. (You’ll also find Pakistani, Iranian, Kenyan and Middle Eastern influences in her cooking too.) Check out the ‘railway tiffin’ course, new for 2020, which takes pupils on a journey from Surat to New Delhi. Not literally, obvs – no need to pack a bag. sweetcumin.co.uk
Square Food Foundation
It’s Bake Off like you’ve never seen it before
Founded in the ’90s, this school uses all of the profits from its popular masterclasses and workshops to help fund cookery and nutrition education for local communities and individuals who are facing challenges such as food poverty. The Saturday morning family workshops for parents and kids are always fun and happily affordable (hence they get booked up quick). Another favourite is the breadmaking workshop, an advanced version of which will be debuting in 2020, alongside new patisserie classes and a series of exciting collaborations with foodie royalty. There’s a great weekly course for over-55s on Mondays too, for a fiver. squarefoodfoundation.co.uk
M A I N S
Vale House Kitchen
Owners Bod and Annie are all about the outdoors – except when they’re in the kitchen, obvs
The learning starts out on the field with this Timsbury cookery school. Many courses involve learning to shoot, fish or forage before donning that apron to put the fruits (sometimes literally) of your labour to use. The result is a renewed connection to food and nature, and the opportunity to see ingredients in a new light. Half-day smoking and curing courses have just been added to the schedule, teaching you how to transform raw ingredients into something new. valehousekitchen.co.uk
Fancy combining cookery classes with a break? These schools are further afield and come complete with accommodation
This family business was established in 1992 and sees more than 5,000 students pass through its doors each year. Itʼs also one of just a few cookery schools that are audited by the British Accreditation Council on standards of training, facilities and student welfare. There are more than 40 cookery courses here, ranging from half-day courses and weekend breaks (there’s a new artisan bread making weekend on the go for 2020) to professional qualifications, and ingredients are grown and sourced locally as much as possible. Bed and breakfast accommodation is at Ashburton Court and starts at just £69. ashburtoncookeryschool.co.uk
This Gloucestershire cookery school, set against picturesque Cotswoldian scenery, promises plenty of excuses for a night or two away. If you can take your eyes off the greenery and quaint honey-coloured buildings, you could take a skills masterclass with a Daylesford chef, learn quick and easy suppers or get your seasonal dinner party staples down. Thatʼs before getting your head down in one of the pretty cottages or even at the nearby sister restaurant-with-rooms, The Wild Rabbit. There are heaps of new courses for this year too, like one-pot cooking and perfect puddings and pastry. daylesford.com
Humble by Nature
If you are ever in danger of getting bored of veg, this is the school for you
In the centre of Bath sits this innovative and inclusive cookery school, founded by Rachel Demuth 20 years ago. Focusing on vegan cookery, a team of expert tutors host a roster of courses on everything from globally inspired cuisines to 30-minute dinners, fermentation to baking, two-week-long diplomas to evening classes. You’ll learn how to breathe new life into humble vegetables and create imaginative plant-based meals at home. This year brings with it big changes for Demuths too – watch this space! demuths.co.uk 90 CRUMBSMAG.COM
Set up by TV presenter and farmer Kate Humble, along with husband Ludo Graham, this 117-acre Monmouthshire farm is perched just over the bridge among lush countryside. Itʼs not only home to plenty of high-welfare livestock, but also a rural skills and cookery school. The courses, which are all about reconnecting people with the land around them, include specialities like foraging with Liz Knight of Forage Fine Foods, Spanish and Italian charcuterie-making with native breeds, and cider-making. Fancy turning your trip into a rural getaway? Book one of the rooms on the farm and you’ll get a discount on your course. humblebynature.com
Spanish & Italian Charcuterie - Sun 26th April Design & Plant an Edible Garden - Sat 2nd May Bread Making with Hobbs House - Thurs 14th May Willow Garden Structures - Sat 15th May Cooking on a Wood-Fired Oven - Thurs 21st May Make Ham, Bacon & Sausages - Sat 30th May Sustainable Bee-Keeping - Sun 6th June Build a Clay Pizza Oven - Sat 28th June Wild Food Foraging - Sun 13th September Cider Making - Sun 11th October
Tel: 07854239926 email@example.com
A very warm welcome to Clifton Wine School! We are a local wine school hosting events in Bristol and Bath. Choose from our Cheese and Wine Matching night, a Fine Wine tasting, Wines of the World evening courses, Gin tasting, and so much more. We also do unforgettable hen parties and corporate events. We donâ€™t sell wine, we sell confidence in wine knowledge from a DipWSET qualified teacher.
You can purchase any course or tasting as a Wine School Gift Voucher starting from ÂŁ25 the perfect present for any wine lovers!
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FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY Specialist food and property photographer, having worked with Rick Stein, Gary Rhodes, Mitch Tonks, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Paul Ainsworth, Tom Aikens, Michael Caines etc. Photography for websites, menus, books, magazines, newspapers, Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Just Eat etc.
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11 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath, BA1 2LP 01225 487846 www.greenbirdcafe.co.uk
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THERE ARE PLENTY OF SMALL, ACHIEVABLE WAYS TO LOOK AFTER YOUR HEALTH – FROM EATING MORE VEG TO EXERCISING – AS THESE FOLKS WELL KNOW EAT YOUR GREENS
Fully licensed plant-based café in Bristol Eating a plant-based diet brings more colour, innovation and variety into your mealtimes, as well as helping to do your bit for the environment. With seasonally changing menus, thereʼs always something different to try at Eat Your Greens! They work closely with ethical suppliers, support small businesses and operate a safe space for customers. For more information call 01172 398704 or email email@example.com
ROOTS & SHOOTS
100 per cent plant-based deli, café and takeaway near Bath Spa station These guys pride themselves on a balanced menu full of plant-based goodness. Expect fresh, vibrant. seasonal food that doesn't cost the earth. Maybe partner your favourite bite with something from the awesome salad bar. This place can help you keep up those good intentions, and will also give you 50p off if you bring your own lunch box. For more information visit our Facebook and Instagram @rootsandshootscafe
FUSSELS Somerset-based family farm, producing healthy cold-pressed rapeseed oil Rapeseed Oil’s key benefits are that it has half the saturated fat of other oils, 10 times the essential fatty acid Omega-3 and it heats to a higher temperature, making it a more versatile oil for cooking, baking, stir-frying. Itʼs great for drizzling and dressings, too. Make the switch to a healthier oil, that’s grown, pressed and bottled on the outskirts of Bath. For more information call 01373 831286 or visit fussels.co.uk
PLANT-BASED COOKING COURSES Inspiring vegan ways of working with food
Demuths Cookery School offers a wide variety of classes across different cuisines and skill levels. The ethos is that food is a pleasure to cook, eat and share. Join them to learn about the variety and flavour offered by including more plants in your diet. Book or buy gift vouchers online at www.demuths.co.uk
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NEW AND NOTABLE RESTAURANTS, PUBS AND CAFÉS
98 COUNTRY FILE Osip is causing waves out in Somerset
100 OLIVE IT
The Bull Inn is like no other boozer in the South West – and not just because of the food...
A road trip to the radical Bull Inn, Totnes 97 CRUMBSMAG.COM
R ACH E L HOI L E
We revisit Olive Tree, eight years and one Michelin star later
P H O TO S B Y E D SC H O L FIE L D
Expect to see locally grown veg in an entirely new light
OSIP Urban dweller Jessica Carter decides there might be a bit of country in her after all, following this trip to Somerset…
ou don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. Or ’til it changes into a new outfit and presents itself to you looking all sexy and fresh again. My point: if the South West ever loses its dazzle, don’t relocate right away – rather, eat at Osip. That’ll buff the shine back into this glorious patch of the country for you. Merlin Labron Johnson deploys the local bounty here with all the enthusiasm of a food obsessive newly surrounded by farmland. It’s a novelty for the Devon native, who’s come from London, where he launched three restaurants and earned a Michelin star in the process. In 2019, though, it was time to double back towards home, and Osip is the result.
Lucky Bruton. Not only did it bag this plenty talented chef (whose potential is probably yet to be actualised, given he’s not even had his 30th birthday) and his first restaurant outside of London, but it also has a drop-dead new hotel, Number One Bruton, which contains it. This historic town (it got a shout out in the Domesday Book, even) is everyone’s new favourite getaway location right about now, then, with Roth Bar and Grill, At the Chapel and The Newt also among its to-tick-off culinary hangouts. Boutique hotel Number One Bruton has been in the making for four years, the restoration of a cluster of buildings (townhouse, medieval forge and cottages) having been a
A F T E R S
Could this be the most ʼgrammable restaurant in Somerset?
huge undertaking for owners Claudia Waddams and husband Aled Rees. So old are some parts of the site that charms were found in the walls to ward off witches (fear not, they were replaced) and there are wooden beams still holding strong from the 1400s. This framework is layered upon with an eclectic mix of restored features, hand-picked antiques, intriguing furnishings collected by Claudia’s welltravelled parents, and contemporary flourishes, pulled together by celebrated interior designers, Frank and Faber. The result is elegance with a colourful, playful streak. There are eight (soon to be 12) rooms here, starting at £130 a night, bed and breakfast. Osip’s white, rustic aesthetic – all ceramic tiles, clothed tables and dried foliage – sits in contrast to the colourful boutique interiors of its parent building. Albeit with the same sense of history: previously an ironmonger’s shop, the space is quaint, with multi-pane bay windows flanking a wooden door at the front, and parts of the original stone walls (including a large, bricked-up inglenook fireplace) laid bare. You quite quickly get the sense that this is a farm-to-table restaurant in more than just marketing strategy, although there’s no room to preach it on the menu, which is kept minimal. So minimal, in fact, that at dinner it doesn’t even contain choices. The same, daily changing six-course meal (£54 when we visit) is served to every diner – give or take dislikes, intolerances or allergies, of course.
Those half-dozen dishes are bookended by snacks, too. At the opening, that might well mean the sweet-salty bliss of macarons filled with velvety goat’s cheese; candied walnuts hidden in the folds of meltingly soft lardo ribbons; or a ceramic cup of duck ‘tea’. Made with the bones of the meat destined to star in the main course, the broth is infused with lapsang souchong leaves and spiked with burnt garlic oil, cleverly harnessing that bitter, acrid character of overcooked garlic to a comforting, aromatic end. Whipped smoked cod roe comes with tiny, tangy onions and chervil, begging to be slathered on the hunks of thick-crusted sourdough that appear alongside, and its well-pitched smokiness is picked up by the following oca root dish, the pink Peruvian tuber shaved into raw, crisp discs and arranged on smoked crème fraîche and slices of raw trout. A leek and Cheddar soup is pimped up with sweet caramelised onion, while rich shiitake mushrooms buddy up with toasted oats and rich-green nettle sauce. To follow, Aylesbury duck comes in the form of a deep-pink, gameyflavoured hunk of meat, as well as in a slice of sausage with cubes of salty lardo. The raw-honey tart tastes entirely and solely of its hero ingredient, the velvety filling encased in a fine but sturdy crust, then (with a pot of Osip’s house blend tea) come Madeleines baked in beeswax. The portions are well-judged and the veg-to-meat ratio refreshing, the focus leaning happily towards plants rather than protein, to an understated, well-balanced end. (If you’re staying over at Number One Bruton, you’ll get to go back for more of the same thoughtful food for breakfast, too. The rice pudding is killer, FYI.) This restaurant and hotel partnership might be housed in centuries-old walls, but in concept and practice are bang up to date. Osip/Number One Bruton, 1 Bruton High Street, Bruton, Somerset BA10 0AB; 01749 813322 (restaurant), 01749 813030 (hotel); osiprestaurant.com; numberonebruton.com
A F T E R S
Olive Tree maintained its Michelin star for 2020
these on a Friday night in and I’ll ask nothing more from you ever again. Tonight, it seems, we’ve bagged the best seat in the house – the crescent banquet set on the back wall of the compact, basement-level room, where you can sit back and chat easily while still keeping one eye on the theatre of the restaurant. The style of the space is much like the food: elegant but inviting; classy, but comfortable. Muted colours and soft lighting puts everyone at ease. Menus are equally as amiable in their simplicity. There’s the Five (£70) and the Seven (£90), with the option to choose dishes a la carte style. I’d go for one of the tasters whenever time and budget allows, though. Excitingly, there’s an amazingly well put together vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free Seven, but with smoked eel as a starter on the Five, tonight isn’t the time to flirt with new dietary regimes. It’s a crime, I realise, looking at the delicate morsels of soft eel meat, that we don’t eat more of this slippery swimmer: the UK and Ireland exports most of ours to the EU. The cubes are alternated on the plate with sweet cylinders of golden beetroot topped
with apple matchsticks and punchy wisps of lovage, and a warm, creamy chicken sauce is poured at the table. The team helpfully agree to swap the beef tartare dish, due next, for the Burford Brown egg number for me (my meals have been too meaty of late). The revered egg variety, lightly scrambled, is given extra gusto with a decent dose of punchy 36-month aged parmesan, while woody black winter truffle is shaved over the top, although its flavour is too subtle for me. Next up is a hunk of incredibly cooked monkfish, full of flavour. The team has fired up the smoker again, this time using it to pimp up petite cauliflower florets to go with the fish, which sit next to a couple of mussels, plump and sweet. With a nice mound of juicy confit onions, silky mussel sauce and fresh lemongrass oil to give the dish zip, the flavour combinations on each forkful are on the money. Woolley Park Farm (in Bradford-onAvon) provides the duck that comes next. It’s been dry-plucked (which helps to preserve its skin and the juicy fat layer underneath), its skin rendered crisp in the pan. As well as the soft slice
of breast, there’s a moreish cylinder of leg confit and a slathering of liver parfait on lightly toasted bread. Dessert is delicious, but mine (if there’s a criticism to be made at all) doesn’t quite have the same smileinducing effect as the mains. Pineapple cubes with a sugar crust, lime, coconut ice cream, and coriander are winning flavours, but I’m a fan of a more constructed pud. JC sure enjoys her elegant plate of Bahibe chocolate though, complete with bubbly Aerostyle cubes. The service is flawless; Chris Cleghorn’s polished, skilful dishes are safe in the hands of this band of accomplished servers, where every move is slick and executed with good nature and warmth. It’s a night to remember, this one; the restaurant’s recent accolades are clearly well-deserved.
Olive Tree, Russell Street, Bath BA1 2QF; 01225 447928; olivetreebath.co.uk
Geetie is a modern kind of publican, with fierce ethical values
THE BULL INN
Could this relaxed Devon hangout rep the future of the great British pub? Jessica Carter sure thinks (and hopes) so
This radical pub is a great excuse for a night away in Devon
n the ’80s, especially for young ’uns, the idea of ‘the future’ was synonymous with flashy technological advancement: think hovercrafts (whee!), simulated realities (actually now a thing), and hologram touchscreens (a staple for any sci-fi film worth its salt). Now, our ambitions for the next few decades are shaped less by childhood Back to the Future screenings and more by existential grapplings. Where once we got excited to travel to luxury hotels on the moon, now all we’d like to do over our summer holiday is decelerate the ecological demise of the planet we’re already on, ta. It can all feel pretty hopeless, sometimes, but hope is being dished out by the bucketload at The Bull Inn. And that’s only one reason this new pub in Totnes, Devon, is worth a road trip. Taken over by Geetie Singh Watson (organic pub pioneer, hospitality entrepreneur, eco visionary) at the end of last year, this building has gone from dark and dingy old boozer (complete with standard issue dartboard, wallpapered ceilings, busy carpets and those tiny stools that no one has ever been comfortable sitting on for more than a half-pint’s worth of time) to an ambitious, intricately thought-out pub with rooms. Geetie, who opened the country’s first organic pub in London back in 1998, is a successful publican with an aptitude for hospitality and a fiercely ethical stance – both of which have shaped her curation of the experience at The Bull. See, the focus on sustainability, responsibility and enjoyment transcend the food offering (which I will get to soon, honest) and permeate everything from the decor to the resources (harvested rainwater, for instance, and self-generated energy). Every element
PH OT O S B Y R A C HE L H O I L E
A F T E R S
of this place – visible and otherwise – has been chosen with intent, from the toilet brushes up. (Literally.) The eight rooms are cosy and thoughtfully designed, with exposed layers of plaster (reminders of the building’s history), vintage crochet-style curtains hanging on old brass hooks at the sash windows and stylish reclaimed art and furniture. Of course, ecological righteousness has its place in this here magazine only when it’s coupled up with decent food and drink, which takes us downstairs to the pub proper. And ‘proper’ this pub is: there is plenty of designated drinking space, occupied by locals nursing pints of ale and their four-legged pals (dogs are welcome in two of the guest rooms too, which my Basset took full advantage of ), and the food menu – chalked up above the kitchen pass for each service – is concise and humbly priced. Tables are set with mismatched vintage cutlery and candles, large rugs are thrown over the concrete floors and walls are rough and ready, painted with character as opposed to precision. The menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner are skewed towards veg (although high-welfare meat is still very much in attendance) and their contents are entirely dependent on what the kitchen’s organic suppliers have been out harvesting. (In the early evenings, as well as the handful of a la carte options, the staff tea is extended to punters too, which makes a great-value supper.) The drinks list upholds these organic credentials, and the house wines – I try the red and the white – are great. Crab with shavings of kohlrabi and matchsticks of apple (£8.50) is fresh and crisp with sweet, peppery flavour. The Dartmouth meat comes both in a heap
of delicate flakes as well as in a nicely gritty, peach-coloured crab mayo. A bowl of soft, fluffy chunks of Jerusalem artichoke, mushroom, onion and spinach (£7) offers up plenty of comforting, wintry flavours, lifted by a zingy gremolata. Speaking of winter, this is the season for dumplings of all and any kind – mine are made tonight by soaking focaccia in milk, forming it into balls and frying until golden (£14). They sit in a rich and rustic tomato sauce – the kind I imagine my nonna sending me home with when go visit her in the alternate universe in which I’m Italian – and are topped with meaty green leaves of chard. Meanwhile, masala monkfish (£20) sits on a golden bed of spiced chickpeas with coconut chutney, aromatic and hearty. Nutty banana bread pudding (£6), slathered in toffee sauce, puts the nail in the coffin when it comes to the chances of me being able to touch my toes for at least the next six hours. This pub is good. If it doesn’t get you as soon as you walk in the door, it’ll have you in the palm of its hand soon after with the service, the quality and the prices that very much fall into the local boozer bracket. And as for Geetie’s visionary, joinedup approach to running a sustainable pub – it’s the future. This is it. bullinntotnes.co.uk Travel: Totnes is about a two-hour drive from Bristol (30 minutes more from Bath), but quicker by train Stay: Rooms are priced from £130 per night, bed and breakfast Great for: Laid-back, unpretentious vibes, gorgeous design and hearty, delicious food
Don’t mind the audience of wooden heads when you’re tucking into yer dinner