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A little slice of foodie heaven

AND MORE What do you call a goose sitting on your porch?

£3 where sold






NO .57 CH RI STMAS 2016

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C-dinner side dishes: sorted!


Xmas cheese board







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B-BIRD’S THE WORD THE IRONY OF Christmas being referred to by some – particularly our US counterparts – as the holidays has likely not gone over many British heads. For a lot of us, it’s the busiest time of the year, right? Running around buying presents, cooking celebratory meals, and organising get-togethers means feet are rarely up for many folk this season. But then, what would Christmas be without all the kerfuffle? With that in mind, we’ve dedicated this issue to all of the above tasks, in the hope it’ll be of help. If we’ve done our jobs right, we’ll have turned those chores into a sort of a festive game. (Just call us Mary Poppins...) You’ll find last-minute presents, Xmas food to stock the larder with, recipes for C-dinner, and even suggestions for make-ahead Boxing Day dishes. And then there’s our ultimate festive cheese board – and wine matches, too. Elsewhere, you may or may not have noticed from our ever-so discreet and elegantly subtle cover, that our Hero Ingredient is goose. During the course of our research about these long-necked, fat-bottomed birds, we unearthed some pretty interesting facts, as well as gathered some cooking tips for you, in case it’s your chosen poultry this December 25. And if not, let’s see if we can tempt you... So, as we drop the mic on 2016 with our last mag of the year, we hope you have a corker of a Christmas. May your roasties be golden and crisp. (That is how the song goes, right?) APPLE

Jessica Carter, Editor



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

Table of Contents NO.57 Christmas 2016


STARTERS 08 HERO INGREDIENT Pluckin' good poultry 12 OPENINGS ETC All the hot gossip 16 SIX PACK New Year’s Eve eats 18 HIP SHOPS An indie Bath staple...


Amazing recipes from the region’s top kitchens 30 Braised red cabbage, by Alex Bluett 33 Saffron-roasted parsnips, by Rachel Demuth

24 Turkish delight cheesecake, by Sally Butcher 55 Porchetta, by Ana Morales

34 Truffled Brussels sprouts, by Eloise Schwerdt 36 Beef hash, by John Hornsey 39 Xmas cheeseboard, by Rosie Morgan 41 Christmas wine selection, by Angela Mount 43 SWEET CHILD OF WINE Andy Clarke has a kitsch festive match for us

KITCHEN ARMOURY 49 SUPPER CLUB A Filipino Christmas feast 58 WANT LIST Dress your table for C-dinner

MAINS 65 BOUNTIFUL BEDMO The rise of Bedminster 77 PANIC PREZZIES Last minute Xmas gifts


10 Goose fattee, by Freddy Bird


82 GRILLED We sit down with Rick and Jack Stein for a chat at their new Marlborough restaurant

AFTERS New & notable restaurants, cafés, bars 92 Wilsons 94 Pigsty 96 Olive Tree

PLUS 98 LITTLE BLACK BOOK Find out exactly where Bristolian DJ Eats Everything, well, eats everything


aN INDIe chrISTmaS

BRISTOL’S GLOUCESTER ROAD, which is known for its buzzy vibe and colourful rows of independent shops (of which there are many), is planning one heck of a festive fair on the weekend of 3 and 4 December. If the Christmas spirit hasn’t quite made it into your cold, hard heart, then thaw it out with something mulled and a mince pie – many of the road’s pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants will have these traditional treats on the go, including the Gallimaufry and Hobgoblin. If that doesn’t do the trick, there’ll be plenty of other festive fare on offer too; think Murray’s festive sausages and nibbles from Scrumptiously Sweet. You can get some Christmas shopping done while you’re there, too. Among the scores of stores are Brewer’s Droop and Grape & Grind; both can sort you with some celebratory C-Day slurps, or help you find some seasonal tipples for those people who haven’t been crossed off your Christmas list yet. Meanwhile, Santa will be in his grotto at The Parlour, and there’ll be loads of entertainment in the form of circus skills, face-painting and live music. Keep your eye out for Elvish Presley… If you miss this event, though, don’t panic; turns out some of the festive fun will be sticking around for the next two weekends. ✱



Hero Ingredients

G O O S e “Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat,� runs the rhyme, and everyone knows that before turkey (that American import, fatter by far than even the most corpulent goose), there were these hissing, honking fellows – or were there?


EVERYONE THINKS OF GOOSE as being the Dickensian Christmas staple, but it turns out turkey came in far earlier than many believe – we’ve been properly farming them in Norfolk since the early 1800s – and they slowly started to replace goose from the Victorian era on. Though a perfectly serviceable goose was enjoyed at the mid-point of Charlie D’s A Christmas Carol (1843), by the end a reformed Scrooge was sending Bob Cratchitt a giant prize turkey as a gift – at the time, a more exotic and expensive bird. And goose had other rivals too – beef, boar, even peacock – though yes, for many it was the default setting. Certainly, the Victorians marched Christmas geese all the way from East Anglia to London in flocks 1,000 strong, the few unlucky ones we didn’t eat being pushed, alive, up chimneys as a bargain form of chimney sweep. Indeed, it’s almost as if geese were designed to be eaten at Christmas, as they hatch in the spring (their first eggs are often laid on Valentine’s Day!) and are tender and ready at eight or nine months old. They’re perfect, then? Not quite... You see, though geese look big enough when they’re waddling towards you hissing – they can be notoriously bad tempered birds – they’re also super-greasy, pretty expensive, and have way less meat on them than you might imagine. Of course, the fat is actually more blessing than curse. It sits just under the skin, rather than in the flesh, and if left to itself will actually baste your bird as it cooks, keeping things nice and moist. And, as a cooking medium, it’s worth its weight in gold – being particularly brilliant for roast potatoes (forget the golden egg; this is the treasure geese really exude). Goose crackling is crisp

and salty; goose skin golden and delicious; goose stock brilliant for soups and cassoulet; and goose liver amazing when fried, or in a gorgeous pâté. Indeed, all the various bits and bobs that come with a goose are almost better than the bird itself. (That goose fat was once considered an aphrodisiac is just a seasonal bonus.) Beyond their kitchen utility, there’s much to love about a goose. Their honking is actually a language of sorts, and they’re top-notch long distance aviators, millions of them flying the 4,000 miles from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico twice a year. They’re monogamous too, living in permanent pairs, and are quite sensitive critters. If a partner dies they’ll stand guard in mourning, a plaintive period that can last for months – and if two long-lost geese are reunited, they’ll dance and sing together in happily unison. As watchdogs they’re famously effective, being loud and extremely sensitive to unexpected movement. Fourth-century geese once warned Rome about an attack by the Gauls – though this flock had actually been kept on Capitoline Hill as sexual talismans, not watchdogs – and in the Vietnam War they were homed on airfields, keeping the planes safe at night. Though they can be aggressive, sweet-natured geese are known too, and Lord Byron, the Romantic poet, was so taken with the ones he bought for Christmas he could rarely bring himself to kill them, ending up with four pet geese before too long. There are three basic breeds of goose – grey geese (of which domestic geese are a spin-off), white geese, and black geese, such as the Canada goose, plus assorted shelducks and similar that we also call ‘geese’, but which aren’t, really. The domestic goose has long been bred for size, and now stands more upright (due to a large, fatty rear) than a wild beast; for the same reason, it’s


effectively flightless, too. Though they come in various plumages, most have been bred to be white, as that looks best when plucked. We domesticated them fairly late – around 3,000BC, maybe five-thousand years after cattle and pigs – and as with so much, it’s the Romans who spread them across Europe, with the French especially keen. Quickly forgiving their betrayal on the Capitoline Hill, they leapt upon the culinary qualities of goose fat with unusual glee, and then innovated with foie gras – though, thinking about it, that’s perhaps actually been a drawn-out form of revenge. Cooking tips? Well, opinions vary – but five hours at 120C/250F/gas mark ½, before turning the temperature up to 220C/425F/gas mark 7 for the last half hour, sounds about right – though some say, often in a hushed voice, that goose actually lends itself better to cutting up and getting the confit treatment (slow cooking in the French style). One good tip is not to go for the biggest bird, but rather a medium-weight of about 4kg (and certainly no bigger than 5kg), which will give a better meat to bone ratio. A decent goose should feed four or five, no more. (You’re serving a coach trip? Get two.) We said they’re expensive before, but it’s not hard to see why. Geese are intensive to raise – the goslings need a lot of TLC, and (as they like to sleep outside) keeping them safe from foxes ain’t easy – and the best are naturally local, free range and organic. (This said, it’s hard to totally ignore the bargain frozen Eastern European versions available at the likes of Lidl. But, of course, you didn’t hear that from us…)





For the goose: 1 ltr chicken stock ½ tsp cardamom pods ½ tsp cumin seeds ½ tsp coriander seeds ½ tsp ground allspice  1 free range goose ½ tsp ground cinnamon  ½ tsp ground ginger  ¼ tsp ground star anise  ¼ tsp ground clove 2 sticks celery, halved 2 carrots, cut into chunks 2 onions, quartered 2 cloves garlic For the pilaf: 400g basmati rice chicken stock knob of butter 3-4 cardamom pods ½ cinnamon stick

Our Freddy Bird is back this month, showing us an alternative use for that nice fat goose… FATTEE HAS TO BE one of my favourite dishes. Often made with poached chicken, I like to dress it up a little for Christmas. Okay, it’s a bit of a labour of love, but it’s well worth the effort. Also, you can get a lot done earlier in the day and just assemble the dish last minute – it’s great to share, looks fantastic in the middle of the table, and is a welcome change from more familiar festive dishes. This recipe can serve up to eight, but if there’s fewer of you then just decrease the amount of rice by about 50g per person. Also, feel free to adjust the amount of spices to taste. What is important to stick to, though, is using fresh chicken stock as opposed to a cube to cook the goose in, as you reduce it down and stock cubes will be too salty.

For the tomato sauce: 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced olive oil 2 bay leaves sick of cinnamon 1 x 400g tin tomatoes, blended until smooth pinch of sugar To serve: 2 aubergines large knob of butter 2 pitta breads 1 x 400g tin chickpeas 1 clove garlic, peeled 200g natural, full fat yoghurt good handful parsley, roughly chopped 2 handfuls pine nuts, toasted Aleppo pepper flakes (optional)

✱ LIDO, Oakfield Place, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2BJ; 0117 3323970;


– Preheat the oven to 225C/430F/gas mark 7. – Simmer the stock with the cardamom, cumin, coriander and ¼ tsp of allspice for 15-20 minutes, then drain. Meanwhile, sprinkle the goose liberally with fine salt and pepper, and rub the ground spices, including the remaining allspice onto the skin. Put the celery, carrot, onion and garlic into a deep-sided roasting tray to form a trivet. Rest the goose on top and place in the hot oven. – After 30 minutes, add the chicken stock to the goose. Lower the temperature to 190C/375F/gas mark 5, and put the goose back into the oven for a further 2 hours, or until cooked though. Once ready, remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 30 minutes. – While the goose is cooking and resting, make the other elements of the dish. Start preparing the pilaf by very thoroughly washing the rice and leaving to soak in cold water for about an hour. – For the tomato sauce, lightly brown the garlic in a glug of olive oil over a low heat. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon, blended tomatoes, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 20 minutes – the mixture needs to remain nice and wet. – To cook the pilaf, heat and season the chicken stock (it must taste a little too salty at this point, otherwise the rice will be bland). – Brown a large knob of butter in a saucepan, then add the cardamom and cinnamon. Drain the rice and add it to the pan, leaving to cook for a minute over a high heat. Cover the rice with the stock by 1cm, and cook over a high heat for 2-3 minutes. Then cover with a tight-fitting lid, turn the heat down, and cook for a further 8 minutes (do not be tempted to lift the lid!). The rice will hopefully catch a little on the bottom on the pan; scrape up those lovely crispy bits and mix through the rice. – Dice and season the aubergine, before setting aside in a colander for 20 minutes. Then, fry the chunks in olive oil until cooked and golden. – Make the brown butter by frying a large knob of butter gently in a small pan. The curds will sink to the bottom and start to catch, going golden and smelling rich and caramelised (careful you don’t take it too far and burn it!). Set aside in a small ramekin. – Slice open the pitta breads, brush with melted butter and cook in the oven until golden and crisp. Break up into large chucks and set aside. – For the garlic yoghurt, crush the clove of garlic with salt and stir into the yoghurt. – To assemble, arrange the pitta around the edges of a dish. In the middle, arrange the rice, then shred large chucks of goose meat and skin over the top. Pour over any remaining roasting juices (minus the fat), although you don't want it to be swimming – just juicy. Warm up the chickpeas and scatter over along with the aubergines. Next, pour over the tomato sauce – it doesn't want to swamp it – then drizzle over the yoghurt followed by the brown butter. Finally, sprinkle over the pine nuts and a good amount of roughly chopped parsley. I sprinkle over a few Aleppo pepper flakes, too, for a slight kick. Now eat it whilst it’s warm.



St Nick’s market has had the proper festive treatment. From Friday 2 December there’s an Enchanted Winter Market standing in its place, with Christmas lights, sculptures, music, and (obvs) a ton of festive food and drink offerings. Almost 50 indie retailers will be there, primed and ready for the Crimbo onslaught. The festive market will be sticking around until Christmas Eve, open 10am-5pm. ✱



The Spicery is hosting a good old festive get together in December. The Christmas open day will be a great opportunity to tour The Spicery’s HQ and get that spice rack at home well and truly stocked up – all the while slurping on hot mulled apple juice. There will also be opportunities to create a personalised curry blend with help from the experts, and enjoy lunch in the test kitchen (make sure to book for that, mind!). The kids will be kept entertained too, with colouring and activities, and you’ll get a chance to do a bit of Christmas shopping – the recipe kits and spice subscriptions make great gifts for foodies. The free (yup, free!) event will be held on Saturday 10 December 10am-2pm, at the Feeder Road HQ. ✱

Seen who’s taken over the former Cowshed gaff at Bladud Buildings in Bath? Simon and Joy Quarrie bought The Clifton Sausage, which has been trading at its Portland Road site in Bristol since 2002, two years ago, and have now expanded into Bath. This new venue, which shares the same name as the original restaurant, opened in October. Its focus, of course, is on good ol’ bangers and mash – with sausage varieties including the likes of beef and Butcombe ale; pork, cider and mustard; and Cotswold lamb, mint and apricot – but its recently expanded menu now includes a ‘British classics and mains’ section too, where you’ll find burgers, steaks and fish. ✱



Have you been including the #CrumbsSnaps hashtag on your foodie posts? Pull yer socks up and you could be here next month!


Noticed that the Pop-up Bakery on Stokes Croft has recently turned into Elemental? Still run by LoveBristol, a charitable organisation set up to support the local community, it’s got the same bready offerings as before, but now also stocks fruit and veg in conjunction with the Bearpit’s Bear Fruit stall, and coffee from Triple Co Roast, a local micro-roaster. The idea is to create something of a foodie marketplace, filled with produce from small local businesses, while maintaining an ethical approach (even the coffee cups are made out of recycled beans!). There’s also a café on site, which uses the shop’s produce to make its food and drink. ✱


Bristol Cider Shop down at Wapping Wharf is hosting Christmas parties in its quirky shipping-container venue, in collaboration with its Cargo neighbours. The team are basing the bashes on their popular cider tastings, with guests able to choose their food from Lovett Pies, Pigsty, Chicken Shed or Woky Ko. The parties begin with mulled cider and mince pies, and continue with an expertly led tasting session and top feed. Surely it’s time for a decent Crimbo party this year?

@littlelottieloves means business at Bosco



Searcys is running a special pop-up the week before C-Day; The Roman Bath’s terrace, which overlooks the historic Baths, is going to be suitably decked out with festive garlands and candles, and turned into an atmospheric restaurant. It will serve five-course dinners, featuring hazelnut gnocchi with cauliflower and blue cheese gratin, and guinea fowl with sage and onion potato croquette. Tickets are £60 per person, and can be bought via the website. ✱

@olivialovesf00d drops into Bakesmiths for lunch

In the diary...

aRMeD & ReaDY

The Kensington Arms in Redland has just reopened under the ownership of Michelin-starred chef Josh Eggleton and brewer Guy Newell, formerly managing director of Butcombe. Not looking to make any drastic changes, the pair have given the pub’s interior a bit of a freshen up, and hope to build on its great rep for food with a new menu of classic British dishes. The team, which includes head chef Luke Hawkins from Josh’s Pony & Trap, are aiming to keep the pub casual and welcoming, with an emphasis on tradition and quality. ✱


(8 December ) VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS DINNER A three-course feast served in the First Class Dining Saloon onboard Brunel’s ss Great Britain, followed by live music and dancing for £69 per person; (10 December) MAGICAL WINTER FAIR Get down to Windmill Hill for the final hurrah of its 40th year celebrations. Expect street food, mulled wine, and campfire cookery – and, also, no admission fee;


In the Larder









We’ve got a bumper larder this month, for all your festive feasting needs… 1 A GOOD ROASTING Riverford Nut Roast, £7.95 Created by Riverford cook Kirsty Hale, this nut roast – with walnuts, cashews, chestnuts and almonds – is organic, vegan and gluten free. The addition of butternut squash does great things for both flavour and texture. It serves two to three people, and is available online. ✱ 2 SANTA’S NEW SLURP The Somerset Cider Brandy Company Somerset Pomona, £10.50/50cl Somerset Cider Brandy is mixed with a concoction of juices and then left to mature in oak barrels for a drink that’s full-bodied and sweet – although not sickly or syrupy – and makes for a great sherry alternative. Leave a glass out on Xmas eve for the big FC, and we bet it’s not there

sparking water if you’re staying off the vino this Christmas. Available from Waitrose and independent local retailers. ✱

the following morning. Available at Bristol Cider Shop at Cargo in Bristol. ✱ 3 WARM WISHES Iford Chai-der, £3.80/500ml This Bradford-on-Avon cider maker has teamed up with the chai experts at Bath-based Henny and Joe’s to make a gently spiced, warming winter tipple called Chai-der. (Well, what else?) We’ve been supping ours gently warmed from chai glasses. Available from Independent Spirit of Bath. ✱

5 ’TIS THE SEASON Recline, from £3/500ml Made by Bradford-on-Avon craft brewery Kettlesmith, this Belgian-style beer is a seasonal one that has just become available for winter. Rich and warming, it even has notes of orange for a lovely festive edge. Available at Ruby Red Wine Cellars in BoA, and Neston Farm Shop, among others. ✱

4 TAKING IT SLOE Frobishers Sloe and Raspberry Cordial, £3.25/375ml The tartness of the sloes is balanced with sweet berry and vanilla in this festive softie. Serve it warm to beat those winter chills, or with

6 PASTRY PARCELS Warrens Bakery Mince Pie Pasty, £1.20 each Move over, mince pie, there’s a new festive pastry in town. The handmade parcel sees sweet, spiced mincemeat and vanilla


custard encased in flakey puff pastry, which is coated with sugar and cinnamon. Make the most of these bad boys while they’re around. Trust us. Available at Warrens Bakery in Bristol, or online. ✱ 7 FREE-FROM FEASTING Christmas Loaf, £8 What if nuts and meat are off the cards for C-Day lunch? This three-seed loaf (we’re talking sunflower, pumpkin and linseed) has been made by the head chef at Better Food and is a top choice for those with allergens or intolerances. Not only nut free, it also has no dairy or gluten. Expect one loaf to serve two to three people. Available at Better Foods in St Werburghs, Clifton and Wapping Warf. ✱


Six Pack


See in 2017 with a proper good meal at one of these local venues – they’ve got plans to prove New Year’s Eve is anything but overrated… 1 THE BRISTOL HARBOUR HOTEL A former bank on Bristol’s historic Corn Street, this swish hotel is an on-point setting for NYE. The hotel’s awardwinning Jetty restaurant, which has siblings across the South West, will be serving a six-course menu in the Sansovino Hall. Originally the banking hall, back in the day, it shows off some pretty impressive architecture in its gorgeous skylight and super-detailed design (it was inspired, we’re told, by the 16th-century Venetian Library of St Mark). There’s room for 288 guests here, so the atmosphere is sure to be something spesh. As is that six-course feast (£95), which kicks off with a Champagne reception. Toast the New Year, get some canapés down you, and prepare for the likes of slow-cooked duck and foie gras, halibut with leek purée, and a trio of meats (pork, loin of lamb and beef fillet) with red wine and rosemary sauce. After dinner will be dancing, as you wait for the piper to ring in the turn of 2017. And, if you’re feeling like properly treating yourself, then book one of the hotel’s accommodation packages (those NYE taxi fares are a killer, anyway).

night, though – that’s more likely to be the five-course dinner, if we’re honest. Kicking off at 7pm, the celebrations include a special menu featuring the likes of crab bisque with yuzu pearls, scallops with bacon and avocado, and short rib of beef with smoked mash, served in the Catherine Room. But dessert doesn’t mark the end of the festivities – the DJ will have you dancing off your feast, and then, for the big finale, everyone will be heading outside as midnight strikes to admire the firework display. Dinner will be an intimate affair with about 50 diners, while the hotel are expecting an extra 100 or so for drinks and dancing afterwards. You’re looking at £60 for the entire





2 CENTURION HOTEL This family-run hotel sits on the edge of Midsomer Norton, close to the Mendips. Its pretty surroundings aren’t necessarily what you’ll be interested in on the big





evening, including that five-courser, prepared by the restaurant team, or £25 to enjoy the DJ and fireworks. ✱

4 NORTHEY ARMS This Michelin- and AA-recognised pub is keeping it real for the last night of 2017, with free entry for those who want to come and enjoy a celebratory drink or two and soak up the festive atmosphere. But we have to warn them, they may get jealous of the diners, who will be sitting down to a six-course meal. The special menu has been created specifically for the occasion and promises to showcase the chef’s best creations from the last year, while staying true to the classic style of the regular seasonal offerings. Diners will also receive a glass of fizz on arrival, as well as another at midnight to toast 2017. There’s only room for about 60 covers, so booking is essential – as is being snappy about it! ✱

3 KOH THAI This contemporary Asian joint is encouraging us all to welcome the year of the rooster with full bellies after a full-on Eastern feast. It’s offering two options for its special New Year’s Eve menu – one at £30 and one at £35 – both of which are comprised of two courses of the creative Asian food that the brand has become so well known for. And, if you’ve not got any plans for the rest of the evening, then hang around – the team will be dishing out bubbly at midnight. ✱


5 KOMEDIA Fancy a special New Year’s Eve dinner with a side of chortle? Bath’s Komedia is planning a night of food and comedy, followed by drinks and dancing. Get a VIP ticket (£45), and you’ll be welcomed with canapés and Prosecco, before taking your seats in the auditorium of the grade-II-listed former cinema. This is the part when you can expect your dinner – three courses of it, to be precise. And, as it’s prepared by an award-winning, Soil Association-accredited kitchen team, you


can expect it to be pretty darn good, too. Alternatively, for £29, you can get a main course from the new event menu before the show kicks off. And post-show (the acts will be finished by 8pm) you can stay on for the after party for £10, dancing until well beyond the countdown. How’s that for a packed NYE programme? ✱

6 STEAM BRISTOL If you love a good old excuse to get properly suited and booted, then check out the plans for New Year’s Eve at Steam in Bristol. This great venue, tucked away at Clifton Down Station, will be going all out with a masquerade ball. Entertainment will come courtesy of a live band and DJs, while the team in the rotisserie kitchen will be keeping energy levels high with their top grub, and the bar staff will be mixing jazzy Champagne cocktails, available alongside the regular liquid offerings. Having only been open since September, Steam Bristol is making sure its first New Year’s Eve is one to remember. Tickets are £20 per person, and will not only get you entertainment from 9pm until 2am, but also a cocktail on arrival and a post-countdown feed. There will be prizes for best dressed, and the team also have a few surprises in store. Sounds intriguing, no? ✱


Hip Shops



This long-established indie department store sure knows how to do Christmas... OUR BRITISH HIGH STREETS are in very different shape to 50 years ago. In fact, there’s very little about them that hasn’t changed. So, in this age of online shopping, where you can have something delivered to you by a flying robot the same day (seriously), a store has to be worth visiting if it’s to survive in bricksand-mortar form. And Rossiters sure is – especially at Christmas. It didn’t start out as the department store we know today, though; in 1961, original owners the Rossiters took over a small tobacconist, and filled its shelves with china and kitchenware, before sourcing French cookware from Elizabeth David. Over the next decade, that little shop expanded into various neighbouring buildings, forming the multi-storey outfit we know today, and growing its offering to include furniture. Nowadays, Rossiters is owned and run by husband and wife Peter and AnnMarie James. We dropped in for a mooch around and a chat with buying director Ann-Marie, who takes care of all the kitchenware lines.

We start talking Christmas as we wander over to the new Le Creuset range. “This homely, toasty kind of style is always popular – I love these gorgeous, robust coffee cups,” says Ann-Marie. We also check out the goods from traditional British brands like Burleigh, which has been making crockery for 160 years (its teaware pieces are decorated with intricate designs using tissue paper printed from hand-engraved copper). But, although there are lots of classic brands repped here, Ann-Marie is keen to stress that, for her, it’s less about tradition than it is about relevance and quality. For instance, there are plenty of newer, smaller businesses who supply the shop, too. Take Nukuku – which specialises in unique, fairtrade and ethical pieces – and Mister Berwyn, whose fun, illustrated designs are a particular fave for Xmas. “It’s not often you see contemporary designs like these on real bone china,” Ann-Marie points out. Always on the hunt for ‘new classics’, Rossiters consciously chooses to let fads and fleeting trends pass it by. That said,


What? Kitchenware, and more Where? 38-41 Broad St, Bath BA1 5LP; 01225 462227 When? Mon-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm (check out the website for extended Christmas hours, though!)

there are always changes in tastes, and these guys have to keep up with their ever-evolving customer base. “Right now, style-wise, it’s all about natural colours; whites and slate greys. Fun, colourful gadgets have been popular for so long that people have now started to go the other way. “Product-wise, the spiraliser was the gadget of last year, and now our drinks bottles with in-built filters are selling really well. I’m also very excited about the new Cornishware bowls – the trend for eating one-pots casseroles and Buddha bowls has really grown.” Indeed, there’s definitely a theme of practicality in the kitchenware here, as well as a preference for that imperfect, one-of-a-kind feel in its handmade items, which shun the idea of uniformity. So, what’s the prediction for Christmas? “Emma Bridgewater has a Christamas range out every year, and it always sells out,” says Ann-Marie. Best move fast, then… ✱


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

You’ve been in hospitality a fair while then, it’s safe to assume? Yep, about 16 years. How did you get into the industry? I got my first weekend job in a coffee shop when I was 15; I got £2 an hour, and free milkshakes. Thankfully, The Ox pays me a bit more than that! There are no milkshakes, though... What do you like most about working in hospitality? It’s never boring, and you get to work with a diverse mix of people who are passionate about what they do. It’s never stagnant, either; we’ll always be thinking about what we can make better. What’s the best thing about your job at The Ox? The people. I worked with manager Jemma Correll and chef Dave Harris at Corn Street, and it’s great to be with them again. And the owners are brilliant, they really look after their staff.

OX FRESH Ladies and gentlemen, this is Emma Swift, FOH supervisor at The Ox

So, Emma: there are three Oxes, right? That’s right. I work at the one on Whiteladies Road, in Bristol. And how long have you been there? Three months at this site, but I worked at the original Ox on Corn Street, also here in Bristol, prior to that. What about before that? Bell’s Diner. And before that AÐada in Melbourne, Australia.

And how about the most challenging part of it? We’re a busy restaurant, and our standards are high, so it can be hard work and stressful – but I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t secretly enjoy that! What kind of relationship does front of house have with the kitchen team? I’m not going to pretend there’s never been a heated word across the pass – that’s inevitable when people are passionate about what they do. I work with some incredible chefs, though; I’m proud to work with everyone that’s in our kitchen, and would happily go for a pint with any of them. Do you often hang out with fellow staff members, then? Absolutely. When you work antisocial hours, you tend to spend most of your time with people who do the same. Most of my friends work in either our restaurant or another local one – I’d be lost without them.


What sort of customers do you get? A real mix. I served a couple a few weeks back who have been vegetarians for 20 years, except for once a year they treat themselves to an amazing meat meal, so they came in to us for a 30oz T-bone. They’ve been in since for some of our vegetarian plates, but I’m hoping they come back to us again next year for a steak – it would be a real compliment. What are the bestselling dishes at the moment (although we reckon we can hazard a guess…)? The steaks always steal the show – they’re incredible – but the small plates are delicious. I love the goat’s cheese beignets with charred carrot, hazelnuts, lemon and sesame, and the pork and pistachio terrine is really great. And to wash that lot down? Our bartender, Harvey, has created a delicious cocktail list based on the seven deadly sins, which is really popular for pre- and post-dinner drinks. What d’ya think makes your gaff special, then? The food, the atmosphere… Every detail, from the homemade cocktail syrups down to the antique candle holders. Talk to us about service – what do you think sets the best apart? Attention to detail, and anticipating what your table wants before they realise it themselves. That comes with experience. Anywhere you’ve visited locally that has particularly good service? Katie and Kim’s on Picton Street. It’s genuinely friendly and welcoming, and it’s not about sticking to a strict order of service. It’s like walking into a friend’s kitchen and seeing what delicious things they’re cooking up that day. ✱

This could be you! Contact us at:

Lunch & Supper FEAS T MENU

In our upstairs dining space, we serve feasts for everyone to tuck in and enjoy. Whole joints of meat can be carried in; copious amounts of wine can be drunk and is perfect for family and friend’s gatherings and celebrations! The pre-order only feast menu is served on large plates and in huge pots for sharing and feasting. Lobster, Oyster, Pie, Whole Roast Bird and Rib of Beef are just a few of the feasting options. All of our food is cooked with love and attention and using beautiful ingredients from the west country.

The Mill at Rode, Rode Hill, Rode, Nr Frome BA11 6AG Tel: 01373 831100 Email:


Kitchen Library The freshest, most inspirational cookbooks of the month

“An appetising prospect” The Guardian




THE ITALIAN BAKER Melissa Forti Quadrille, £20

With her tattoos, black hair and angular fringe, Romeborn Melissa Forti looks more indie rock queen than chef – but this self-taught baker runs the Melissa Tea Room and Cakes in Sarzana, a small town located between Cinque Terre and Tuscany. Forti’s debut cookbook combines historic regional Italian recipes with recipes inherited from her family, plus a few ideas collected on her global travels. There are around 100 recipes in the book, accompanied by some enticing photography from Danny Bernardini. Not a baker afraid to use lots of butter, she shows the reader how to make a range of cakes and biscuits, from classics like torta Caprese (flourless chocolate cake) and lingue di gatto (cat’s tongue cookies) to the more decadent winter snowball cookies and cream cheese-filled bundt cake.


Kei Lum Chan and Diora Fong Chan Phaidon, £29.95

Compiled by husband and wife food writers Kei Lum Chan and Diora Fong Chan, this vast work looks at the culinary history and food culture of China, with notes on each region. The recipes themselves celebrate popular staples – think chicken in black bean sauce and sweet and sour spare ribs – as well as lesser-known regional dishes like oyster pancakes and Laiwan-style congee. The book also includes dishes for special occasions, such as Chinese New Year, and a chapter with recipes from some of the best Chinese chefs around the world. Gilt-edged, over 700 pages long, and featuring more than 650 recipes from 30 regions of China, this book is as definitive as it can surely get when it comes to Chinese recipe compendiums.

PERSEPOLIS Sally Butcher Pavilion, £25

With more and more people reducing their meat intake in favour of plant-based alternatives, there is an increased appetite for new ways to brighten vegetable dishes. Since opening a vegetarian café within her Peckham shop Persepolis, Sally Butcher has seen an explosion of interest in her Middle Eastern-style vegetarian dishes. Inspired by the food Butcher serves up daily to her loyal customers, the book looks at exciting new ways of cooking without meat or fish. Featuring everything from brilliant breakfast recipes like Tunisian egg and herb tagine, to hearty dinners such as Afghan quince and split pea hotpot, this cookbook is a winning celebration of the vegetable. With 150 new recipes – including lots of vegan dishes – Persepolis is a fresh and vibrant look at international vegetarian cuisine.


YASHIM COOKS ISTANBUL Jason Goodwin Argonaut, £25

Dorset-based crime writer Jason Goodwin is best known for his award-winning mystery novels featuring Yashim the detective’s adventures in Ottoman Istanbul. Goodwin has taken his love of Turkey further with this cookbook, which combines traditional, easyto-follow Turkish recipes and family dishes – like Greek fisherman’s stew, pumpkin soup and aubergine chicken wraps – with feasts such as spiced stuffed mackerel, lamb shanks with quince and roast goose with apple sauce. Other appetising recipes include pan-fried nettles with cumin; fiery eggs and peppers; and chicken with walnut and pomegranate. Recipes are interspersed with illustrations, colour photography and extracts from the Yashim novels, so the overall package contains both authentic recipes and history, delivered with a true sense of place.


FORTNUM & MASON THE COOKBOOK Tom Parker Bowles 4th Estate, £30

London’s iconic Fortnum & Mason is a store that has fuelled the tide of British history for over 300 years, and fed the appetites of kings and queens, maharajahs and czars, emperors, dukes and Hollywood divas alike. Unbelievably, this is the store’s first ever cookbook – and who better to write the story than respected food writer and bon viveur Tom Parker Bowles? The book details the store’s famous recipes, including Welsh rarebit, Chocolossus Sundae and marmalade tea bread. It also contains beautifully crafted essays on its finest traditions, including afternoon tea and cocktails. With recipes for chicken chasseur, fish pie, coronation chicken sandwiches, and treacle tart, this accessible recipe book appeals to the modern cook, but never forgets the past or the store’s rich history.




300g crushed biscuits 150g butter, melted 400g creamed labneh (or cream cheese)  100g caster sugar  200g ground nibbed pistachios 1 level tsp ground cardamom  2 eggs, whisked  175ml double cream  4 tbsp rose water  200g rose Turkish delight

– Grease a 25cm springform cake tin with butter. Mix the cookie crumbs with the melted butter and press the mixture into the bottom of the cake tin. – Pop it in the fridge to chill while you make the topping.  – Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3.  – Beat the labneh with the sugar, then slowly work in the nuts, cardamom, eggs, cream and rose water. Finely dice the Turkish delight and stir it through the mix. – Pile it all into the cake tin on top of the chilled base and bake in the centre of the oven for around 1½ hours, or until the

For the topping: 100g labneh or mascarpone 1 tbsp icing sugar  75g rose Turkish delight 50g nibbed pistachios 


top is set and lightly golden. Allow to cool before carefully ejecting from the mould. – For the topping, beat the labneh together with the icing sugar and spread it lightly over your cooled creation. Again, finely dice the Turkish delight and sprinkle over the top with the nibbed nuts. Marvel at how very jolly it looks. Chill well before cutting into portions. TIP: Almonds make for a slightly cheaper dessert, but they are not nearly as pretty.


Highlights IN A BRAISE

This red cabbage will easily dial your Xmas lunch up a notch Page 30

THE MORNING AFTER A Boxing Day brunch that can quell any postChristmas blues Page 36


The ultimate Christmas cheese board, to end the day on a high Page 39


What to serve with all that C-Day scran Page 41

It’s not all about the meat at C-dinner – we’re looking at how to perfect those veggie sides this issue, too



43 A TRIFLING MATTER Andy Clarke dives into a festive wine match


BY THE BOOK Alex Bluett, new head chef at The Old Bookshop, shows us how to make a side with swag for that C-Day lunch…

“Red cabbage is one of my favourite festive vegetables,” says Alex. “The rich colour and flavour mingle well with most meats and vegetables, and its presence always brightens a plate through the winter months. “This is a really quick and flavourful dish that works perfectly as an indulgent side over the festive season, and is always a crowd pleaser. We serve it with braised pork cheek and celeriac cream at The Old Bookshop, and I don’t think I’ve seen anything but a clean plate come back to the kitchen. “To make this vegan, simply swap out the chicken stock for vegetable stock or wine, and follow the same method.”


500ml chicken stock 100ml red wine vinegar 100g caster sugar 3 star anise 1 tsp coriander seeds 1 medium red cabbage 2 red onions 2 Granny Smith apples ½ bunch parsley 1 tsp ground black pepper

✱ THE OLD BOOKSHOP, 65 North Street, Bristol BS3 1ES; 0117 953 5222;



– Place the chicken stock, vinegar and sugar into a pan along with the anise and coriander. Bring to a simmer and allow to infuse for 30 minutes or so. – Slice the red cabbage and red onion as finely as possible and place in a pan over a low heat. Grate the apples and add to the pan. Strain the infused stock over the cabbage, onion and apple and bring to a low simmer. – Cook for approx. 45 minutes, stirring regularly until the red cabbage is cooked and glossy in appearance and there is little liquid left. If it becomes too dry, add a little water to loosen it. – Wash and roughly chop the parsley, then fold it into the cabbage with the black pepper and season with salt. – Enjoy with your favourite festive roast, or put it in a cheeky Christmas sandwich when the fridge is bulging with leftovers on Boxing Day!



T H E O H H P U B C O M PA N Y Established 1983

THE NORTHEY ARMS N e w Y ear ’ s E v e Six course dinner menu £60 per head to include fizz on arrival and fizz at midnight Free entry for drinkers to celebrate with us into 2017

The Northey Arms, Bath Road, Box SN13 8AE tel: 01225 742333 w w


Parsnip trOOper

Rachel Demuth shows us how to pimp up our parsnips… “These roasted parsnips are almost luminous in colour,” says Rachel. “So they brighten up the plate, as well as add flavour.” They’re ace for leftover creations, too – a little birdie (called, ahem, Rachel) tells us they’re especially good cold in a salad, or added to a soup. If you want to make this dish wheat free, then use fine cornmeal, or perhaps polenta, instead of semolina. ✱ DEMUTHS COOKERY SCHOOL, 6 Terrace Walk, Bath BA1 1LN; 01225 427938;


big pinch of saffron 4 medium parsnips 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp maple syrup semolina



– Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/ gas mark 6 – Grind the saffron in a pestle and mortar and mix with 2 tbsp boiling water. Set aside for at least 10 minutes, but the longer the better. – Peel the parsnips and cut into long wedges, then par-boil in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain. – Toss the wedges in the olive oil, maple syrup and saffron liquid. Sprinkle on a little semolina and season. – Roast in an ovenproof tray or dish for 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy at the edges.


glug rapeseed oil 1 red onion, sliced 1 kg brussels sprouts, peeled/washed 50ml red wine vinegar 50ml maple syrup 1 clove garlic, chopped 200g chestnuts, peeled and any fibrous membrane removed 2 tbsp truffle honey METHOD

SprOUts hOnOUr

Remember naturopathic cook Eloise Schwerdt from our last issue? Well, she’s back with her ultimate Christmas side “I really love sprouts,” says Eloise. “They are so beautiful, and their vibrant green colour is a welcome addition to my plate, which is laden with brown, white and beige at this time of year. “And chestnuts are great in winter, too – they’re so seasonal. That soft, crumbly

texture and nutty flavour reminds me of sitting at the fireside on a cold evening. “Make sure the truffle honey you use is not just flavoured with truffle but is infused with real truffle pieces; lots of the oils have a synthetic truffle flavour that’s is not at all like the real thing.”


– In a pan, heat a glug of rapeseed oil over a medium-low heat, and then add the onion. Leave to caramelise, occasionally stirring so that none of the pieces get too dark and burn.  – Meanwhile, put a pan of water on to heat and, while it’s reaching the boil, prepare the pickled sprouts. Take 4 of the prepared sprouts and thinly shave them on mandolin (if you have one – if not, they can be very finely sliced with a knife). – Gently heat the vinegar and the maple syrup in a small pan, then add the shaved sprouts to this and leave to infuse. – Once the water has come to the boil, add in a couple of pinches of salt, turn the heat down a little, and put the rest of the sprouts in to cook. Boil them for 3-4 minutes until just cooked (tender but still a little al dente, and maintaining their beautiful vibrant colour). Test one to see if it is ready before taking them all out – but remember, there really is nothing worse than soggy, over-boiled sprouts! – When the onions have reached light brown in colour, add in the chopped garlic, a pinch of salt and some cracked pepper. Give this a mix, then add the crumbled chestnuts and drizzle over the truffle honey. – Mix in the sprouts and season with a bit more salt or pepper to taste. Stir one last time and then serve in a large bowl with the drained pickled sprouts sprinkled over the top. Eat whilst warm, and enjoy! ✱;



Field Kitchen head chef John Hornsey has a great Boxing Day brunch up his sleeve


John, who has the likes of Tom Kerridge’s Hand & Flowers and The Bath Priory on his CV, aims to offer the unexpected in his cooking, he tells us. “I like to keep flavours contemporary, dynamic and surprising, at the same time as staying rooted in traditional concepts, using the best ingredients straight out of the kitchen garden and from local suppliers. “This is a perfect dish for Boxing Day brunch. It requires a bit of work, but is absolutely worth it – if you can, try popping it into the oven before you go to bed on Christmas Day. I have chosen to use beef brisket, which is an inexpensive cut to use for slow braising and is full of flavour, but you can also use left-over roast beef from lunch. “The brisket is braised for eight hours in a slow cooker with Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock (turkey stock would work, too) and served with triplecooked new potatoes (feel free to use leftover roasties, if there are any!), confit shallots, a tomato salsa verde to give the dish acidity and cut through the richness, and a nice peppery sodabread loaf, ideal for dipping in that runny yolk.” ✱ THE FIELD KITCHEN, Glove Factory Studios, Brook Lane, Holt, Bradfordon-Avon BA14 6RL; 01225 784080;


For the brisket: 50ml cooking oil 1 kg beef brisket or leftover beef 200ml Lea & Perrins 1.5 ltr chicken (or turkey) stock 20g parsley For the soda bread: 2.6 kg white flour 2.6 kg wholemeal flour 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1.5 tsp salt 1 tsp melted butter 625ml buttermilk For the confit shallot: 5 banana shallots, finely diced 1 clove garlic, peeled zest of 1 lemon 200ml extra virgin rapeseed oil 1 tsp salt For the tomato salsa verde: 3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 50g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped 20g celery leaves, finely chopped 50g fresh basil, finely chopped 100ml extra virgin rapeseed oil 50ml balsamic vinegar 100g tomatoes, diced into 1cm cubes 5g salt For the triple-cooked potatoes: 400g of new potatoes (or leftover roasties) 500ml vegetable oil

A Grape Match!

For the fried eggs: 4 eggs cooking oil

With wine writer Angela Mount Brusco dei Barbi 2015 £12.50, Great Western Wine


– If you don’t have a slow cooker, preheat the oven to 120C/250F/ gas mark ½. –  Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot. Season the beef with salt and cook in the pan for 3 minutes per side until it’s golden brown, then place in the slow

cooker, or a casserole dish if using the oven. Deglaze the pan with the Worcestershire sauce until it reduces by half, and add it to the beef along with the stock. Cook for 6-8 hours, or until you can pull the beef away with a spoon. – Once cooked, remove the meat and heat the liquor to reduce it into a sauce that coats the back of a spoon. Pull the beef meat apart and mix with the sauce. – For the soda bread, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Mix all the ingredients together, and knead until a smooth dough is formed. Shape into a round and flatten the top before making a slash in it. Cook on a baking tray for 50 minutes – no proving needed! – Meanwhile, make the confit shallot. Put all the ingredients into a pan, bring to the boil then take off heat. Cover the pan with cling film and leave to cool. – To make the salsa verde, simply mix all the ingredients together (or pop in a blender without the tomatoes, then fold them in at the end). – For the potatoes, if starting with raw ones, cut them in half and put into a pot of water. Bring the water to the boil, then simmer for around 20 minutes, until the potatoes are just cooked. Drain and leave to cool. If using roasties, skip this stage and jump straight to the next step. – Once the potatoes are cool, cook in a deep fat fryer at 145C until lightly golden and crisp. Then remove from the fryer and allow to cool. Next, fry them at 185C until golden on the outside but nice and fluffy on the inside. – When you’re almost ready to serve, fry your eggs in the oil, and add the chopped parsley to the beef. – Put a small heap of potatoes on each plate, and top with the beef and confit shallot. Serve the salsa verde and soda bread on the side.


“Rich beef, sweet shallots and pungent salsa verde – this plate calls for the Brusco dei Barbi 2015. It’s a delicious Tuscan red, redolent of cherries and plum, laced with wild herbs and lovely sweet Sangiovese fruit, with a fresh kick on the finish to balance the salsa verde.”









The Christmas cheese board is whipped out multiple times from C-Eve until well after Boxing Day (depending on how long it lasts, that is…), so it needs to be a corker, right? Rosie Morgan reckons so, and shares her ultimate festive selection...

HARD CHEESE 1 I’m starting with good old Cheddar. Westcombe’s is a delicious and exemplary example of how a traditional Cheddar should taste: nothing too aggressive, just rich, well-developed flavours with a clear distinction from other varieties and vast subtleties. 2 Repping goat’s cheese on my board is Pennard Ridge, made in Ditcheat by the Somerset Cheese Company. A semi-hard variety, it’s made in the style of Caerphilly and has a wonderful sweet zesty note to it, which partners well with its soft, crumbly consistency.

BLUE CHEESE 3 The guys at Cropwell Bishop make a cracking Stilton. It’s a wonderful, classic blue with a soft, creamy consistency. That smooth texture is offset by a wonderful Stilton tang, which comes through towards the end. It’s made using traditional methods, and is aged for around 12 weeks.

4 Blue Vinny, made in Sturminster Newton in Dorset, is my dad’s favourite. It uses semi-skimmed milk, meaning it has a very light consistency and is very fresh on the pallet. Flavour-wise, it has a zestiness which works wonderfully with the consistency, leaving a very bright and vibrant impression.

SOFT CHEESE 5 Dumpling is a soft, squidgy sheep’s cheese from Wotton Organic Dairy in Somerset. Light and lemony, it can be eaten young or matured for up to a month. (If you can’t get hold of it out of season, Shepherd’s Crook has a similar texture but is less pungent in flavour.) 6 Celeste is a Jersey milk Camembert, made at Sharpham Dairy, Totnes. It’s squidgy, gooey, creamy and buttery, and has a soft mushroom-like flavour. It’s not widely available, but I’ve managed to get hold of some for the shop! ✱ THE BRISTOL CHEESEMONGER, 43 St Nicholas Street, Bristol BS1 1TP;


rOSIe’S cHeeSY TIpS 1 A Christmas cheese board is an exception to the rule of ‘less is more’. A full cheese board at Christmas is always a necessity – the more cheese the merrier. 2 Keep it simple and don’t worry too much about Christmas tradition; choose cheeses that you know, love and enjoy. I always find certain tasks at Christmas become a chore, but your seasonal cheeseboard shop should always be enjoyed! 3 I like to pair cheeses with drink, meaning my cheese board has more than one task. Stilton is a traditional partner for port, but why not try a strong rich blue with a stout, or big, full-flavoured red? Delicate goat’s cheese pairs well with a gentle white wine like a Beaujolais; herbal Cheddar with hoppy beer; and even very delicate sheep’s milk cheese with something bubbly or a sloe gin. 4 It’s not just drink you should think about matching your cheese to, though; try pairing it with different condiments to get the most out of its versatility. Try quince paste or rosehip jelly with your Crimbo board, perhaps…?

A cut above...

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By this point, hopefully you’ve got an idea of what to cook over Christmas, so now wine writer Angela Mount is going address the issue of what to wash it all down with… 1

Cheers 2



Feel free to use Champagne for Christmas morning Bucks Fizz if you like, but I would personally suggest saving it for later in the day, instead using a great quality Italian sparkling to mix with orange juice. (NB: this particular number also happens to be a deliciously refreshingly little sparkler on its own, so be sure to have a cheeky glass before mixing it.) Move over Prosecco, Pignoletto is the new bottle on the block. Chiarli Cleto Pignoletto (£11.95, Great Western Wine), with its crisp, delicate, green apple and white peach flavours, has a lovely whack of lemony tang on the finish. Delicate bubbles, easy drinking – a perfect start to the festive day.

2 THE ALL-ROUNDER WHITE Christmas whites are never easy to pick; what you want is something that will cope with all the richness of the trimmings – be they herby or fruity. Ring

the changes with this award-winning (but relatively unknown) Portuguese dry white, from the Verdehlo grape: Quinta do Crasto Douro Superior White 2015 (£12.95 at Great Western Wine). With fragrant aromas of peaches and baked apples, and ripe, buttery flavours, it’s got elegance and style in spades, and enough richness and pizazz to cope with whatever is thrown at it!


Red wines for Christmas are the support act, not the main event. They need to be rich, fruity, velvety and soft – that means no astringency, no harsh edges and not too much tannin. This wine is ideal not just for Christmas Day, but also for Boxing Day gatherings, and perfect for a relaxing glass by the fire on Christmas Eve. Domaine de la Janasse, Côtes du Rhône 2014 (£9.95 from Great Western Wine), is not only a fantastically rich, spiced-up red, but also happens



to be one of the best bargains around. With enticing notes of blackberries and cinnamon spice, and a beguiling richness of flavour, this gives many far more expensive Châteauneuf du Pape reds a serious run for their money.


Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without cheese and a glass of port. Why does port work so well with cheese? Because flavours need to balance, and the pungency and sweet saltiness of cheeses such as Cheddar and Stilton need a wine with richness and sweetness to balance. Look no further, then, than the award-winning Quinta do Crasto LBV 2011 (£13.95, Great Western Wine), for a sumptuous feast of gorgeous, brooding, seductive richness. Crushed blackberry fruit mingles with hints of dark chocolate and sweet cinnamon spice, while the finish is sweet, smoky and velvety.

Top Lane, Whitley, Wiltshire SN12 8QX 01225 704966 T f @peartreewhitley


o say that I was excited about Christmas as a kid growing up in Thornbury is an understatement. A festive jumper, wellgelled ’80 hairstyle and my favourite pair of shiny slip-ons (complete with tassels) were all a must for the big day. Many years on, the tradition of excitedly putting up the decorations and making mince pies hasn’t really changed – and some would say my celebratory footwear hasn’t moved on much, either… One such tradition was a sniff of Aunty Gwen’s sweet sherry (she loved a traditional schooner of Bristol Cream at any given opportunity) and, at New Year, a visit to my grandparents for a sip of Babycham and generous helping of traditional trifle. So, you can imagine my excitement when sherry trifle came into conversation with the insanely talented and enthusiastic chef (and fellow Crumbs columnist) Freddy Bird, of Lido fame. So. Trifle. What to quench your thirst with when you’re making it? Avery’s has a great tipple: the Bristol Supreme Sweet Sherry celebrates Bristol’s long history with shipped Spanish produce, and is perfect for sipping while you assemble Freddy’s sweet delight, as well as for soaking those ladyfingers in. This inviting, toasty sherry has a warming fudgy nose that leads you into its nutty, sweet flavour. It’s like a layer of dark, silky luxury; great with a mince pie or slice of Christmas cake, as well as this custardtopped treat.


The Wine Guy

SHerrY chrISTmaS! Andy’s chosen sips will certainly warm your baubles (and if not, seeing him festively frolicking with hairy chefs in swimming pools should do the trick…)



( column )


I love trifle, but I like to keep it simple – and totally free of jelly! It makes an amazingly kitsch centrepiece on the Christmas table, and is a great change from Christmas pud. I always make too much, but love eating it straight from the fridge in the morning for breakfast and, judging by how quickly it disappears, everyone else does too... INGREDIENTS

For the custard: 600ml full fat milk 600ml double cream 2 vanilla pods, seeds scraped out 12 egg yolks 6 tbsp caster sugar 2 tbsp cornflour To assemble the trifle: 2 packs of boudoir biscuits (ladyfingers) 150ml-200ml sweet sherry (I used the Bristol Supreme) 500g frozen raspberries, defrosted ½ lemon, juice only 1 tbsp caster sugar 500ml double cream 2 handfuls amaretti biscuits handul flakes almonds, toasted handful pomegranate seeds


– Warm the milk, cream vanilla seeds and pods together in a pan until just about too hot to put your finger in. – In a bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar and cornflour, then stir in the hot milk and cream. Return to the pan and to the heat and remove the pods. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon as you gently heat to 82C, or until the custard coats the back of the spoon. Then set aside to cool. – Now it’s just a question of layering up the dish. Line the inside of your bowl with the boudoir biscuits (you might not need all of them, depending on the size of your bowl), and pour over the sherry. – Next, take the defrosted raspberries (frozen ones are much better than any fresh you can buy in December) and add the lemon juice and sugar to them. Pour half of them over the fingers in an even layer. – Next, pour over half the custard and spread it out, then leave the trifle in the fridge to chill. – When set, add the rest of the raspberries and another layer of custard. Again, set in the fridge. – Just before serving, lightly whip the cream and spoon it over the top. – Take a couple of handfuls of amaretti biscuits. Crush them between your fingers and sprinkle over. Add a few toasted, flaked almonds and a good handful of pomegranate seeds. Serve straight away!



Once you’ve poured a generous slug of the sherry into the trifle itself, I’ve got a real showstopper to drink with it, and it’s available from the newest wine merchant on the South West block; Novel Wines. Run by Ben Franks, this is a brand new online shop based in Bath which has some really exciting wines on its books. The one I’ve chosen is Denbies Late Harvest 2015, which comes from Surrey and is a refreshing treat with this trifle. Made in small batches from Ortega grapes, the wine is only made in years when the conditions have been kind enough to said fruits. On the nose it’s like sweet zingy Sauvignon Blanc and, when you sip, it has surprising freshness and isn’t too sticky in its sweetness – perfect for those tangy raspberries and pomegranate seeds. There’s an exciting fruity tang to it as well, which, mixed with a dash of orange blossom, will pick up brilliantly on the custard and crushed Amareti biscuits, while its texture will help cut through the soaked boudoir bickies and all that luxurious whipped cream. This wine is young and fun, as opposed to deep and dark. I don’t have a hugely sweet tooth, but believe me, there are so many sugary treats to enjoy over Christmas that it’s always nice to have something a little sticky on hand to enjoy with them. Just remember: the rule of thumb when you’re matching wine to a sweet dish is to always make sure it’s sweeter than the pud, otherwise your drink will end up tasting bitter. Bristol Supreme Sweet Sherry is currently at the special price of £9.49 instead of £9.99; Late Harvest 2015 is usually £23.90 per bottle, but use the code SWEETCRUMBS to get it for an exclusive price of £20;

✱ Andy Clarke is a freelance TV producer and writer; follow him on Twitter @TVsAndyClarke;

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01225 865650

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NOW OPEN and taking bookings for Christmas parties and private events

10 The Mall | Clifton | BS8 4DR



LA DOLCE VITA With the emphasis on the ‘vita’ bit – it means ‘life’, naturally – these sturdy, powerful Vitamix blenders, says Matt Bielby, are one CoolBrands fixture that deserves the accolade… Actually, I’m totally unconvinced by that CoolBrands list thing they do. Aston Martin always wins, and why? Because James Bond drives one. Cool to Alan Partridge perhaps, but not to the rest of the world. I think you’re being a little unfair to Aston Martin, but I know what you mean. Making a list that begins Apple, Glastonbury, Netflix, Aston Martin, Nike, Instagram and Spotify, as this year’s does, is hardly rocket science – more the work of an afternoon in the pub with a copy of GQ. What makes Harley-Davidson or RayBan (two of their other Top 20 brands) cool? Nothing, except cod nostalgia and big marketing budgets. (Ray-Ban, for instance, is just one branch of an octopus-like, generically-named Italian eyewear empire called Luxottica that also owns Oakley, Persol, Oliver Peoples and just about every other sunglasses brand you can think of. Successful, sure – but hardly cool in any meaningful sense.) I’ve a horrible feeling you’re getting a bit off-topic here. What’s this got to do with blenders? Everything! Nothing! You see, appliance maker Vitamix is also a CoolBrands fixture – most recently for 2016/17 – but these guys deserve it. Why? Well, part of the reason is that they’ve been appealing to both professional chefs and keen home cooks for decades now. Since the company began – as a retail outfit in early ’20s Ohio, their first blenders being launched in 1937 – they’ve been


fixtures in kitchens across America and, increasingly, in the UK too. And the foodie celebs love them. (Deliciously Ella, for one, is very much a fan.) That blender you’re touting here looks handsome enough, but perhaps a tiny bit retro too... That’s part of the Vitamix look. This one’s from their top-end range – the G-series – which comes in two forms, the Pro 300 (in red, cream or black), or the stainless steel Pro 750. They each have a low profile two-litre container (so they’ll easily store away in most kitchens), and superpowerful motors with pulse features, aircraft-grade stainless steel blades, hard-wearing metal drive systems and variable speed controls, letting you finetune each texture. Powerful, you say? How powerful? 2.2 horsepower, or about the same as an old Seagull outboard motor – which is more than enough for mashing up avocados to make guacamole. They sound good, I have to say. Sort of honest and sturdy. They’re both those things, but – in their own way – cutting edge too. They’re so strong, each one comes with at least a five-year warranty, and the fact that they remain a privately owned family company is also in their favour. It’s been run by the Barnard clan ever since health evangelist and travelling salesman William Grover Barnard developed the first VitaMix – the hyphen was later dropped – after all, which gives them an authenticity that the Luxotticas of this world can only dream of.

✱ The Vitamix Pro 300 is £499, the Pro 750 £650; find them at Lakeland in Bath or Bristol, and John Lewis at Cribbs Causeway;





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The Supper Club

The MeLTInG POT We go behind the scenes at Ana Morales’ dinner party, as she pulls out all the stops for a special Filipino Christmas feast…



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he wine is already flowing and kitchen already filled with the smells of cooking when we reach Ana’s dinner party on a dark, wintry Friday evening. The setting? The family home of Ana’s friends Soudi and Maia, a gorgeous detached house in Bath. It’s all feeling rather festive, too: the fire is on the go, everyone’s clinking wine glasses in celebration, the table is laid out with candles and garlands, and the kids’ Christmas jumper game is strong, to say the least. This Christmas celebration is a tad different to the classic sorts we’re used to, though; Ana is treating us all to some Filipino festivities, with a traditional spread from the country where she was born. “I’m half Filipino and half English,” explains Ana. “I lived in the Philippines until I was 10, then moved to my Dad’s in Cornwall. I really didn’t like the food here at first – I wanted my mum’s Filipino cooking!”


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Join us at The Greenhouse Restaurant this Christmas and enjoy the festive party season in a relaxed and stylish setting, the perfect destination to share in the celebrations with your family, friends and colleagues too. We’ll be offering a 2 or 3 course festive fayre (£20pp for 2 courses or £24pp for 3 courses) available for lunch and dinner from 28 November – 24 December. We’ll also be open on Christmas Day for a gourmet dining experience and on Boxing Day for classic brunch and gastro pub lunch dishes. For more information visit



FESTIVE OPENING HOURS CHRISTMAS EVE open for lunch and dinner, normal opening hours CHRISTMAS DAY open 11am - 5pm BOXING DAY open 11am - 6pm 27 TO 30 DECEMBER normal opening hours NEW YEAR’S EVE normal opening hours - ‘til late NEW YEAR’S DAY 11am - 6pm Booking during the festive period is essential

N E W Y E A R’S E V E CELEBRATE NYE IN STYLE WITH LIVE MUSIC, DINNER AND FIREWORKS AT THE GREENHOUSE Join us and the Dan Reid Trio for decadent cocktails, a delicious buffet, spectacular firework display and prosecco at midnight, followed by bacon sandwiches. Carriages at 1am. £55pp Book your tickets now by calling us on 01225 585880.

WADSWICK GREEN SPA VOUCHERS MAKE THE PERFECT GIFT THIS CHRISTMAS Who doesn’t fancy being treated to a spot of pampering? Choose from a range of blissful spa packages and treatments. For more information please call 01225 583030 or email The Greenhouse Restaurant is open Mon-Sat from 9am-11pm and Sun 10am-8pm (last orders at 6pm).

You can reserve a table at any time by calling us on 01225 585880 or book online at THE GREENHOUSE RESTAURANT THE PAVILION | WADSWICK GREEN | CORSHAM SN13 9RD

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And, while Ana grew to love British fare, it’s the grub from her young childhood that remains her favourite. “It’s still my comfort food; whenever I want something comforting, this is the kind of thing I’ll make,” Ana says, gesturing to the plates full of food that are spread out on the island worktop, ready to serve. Cool and sleek, this kitchen is modern and well-equipped for dinner parties like this one, with a large fridge freezer for storage and plenty of work space. Ana has brought her own steamer, though, for the siopao asado (made of dough that’s much like a bao’s), which we nibble as we watch her prep the rest of the food. The soft, pillowy buns – topped with a swirl of hoisin sauce – contain delicious innards of sweet and salty pulled pork. Rather similar to the pork buns that you’ll find in China, they rep just one of the countries that have influenced the development of Filipino food culture, says Ana. “Filipino food is a real melting pot of different cuisines: Spanish, Malaysian, Portuguese and American, as well as Chinese. What we eat there is really diverse and exciting.” This mix of influences is down to both the country’s geography and history: the Philippines is a collection

of islands in East Asia, surrounded by China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Taiwan, and its rich history has seen Hispanic colonisation, Japanese occupancy and American sovereignty. The food is characteristically layered with sweet, sour and salty tastes and, while spices are of course important ingredients, sweat-inducing heat isn’t obligatory in much of its cuisine. Taking our places at the table, we start with peanut curry, which contains great hunks of tender oxtail, that we shred with our forks into bite-sized pieces. The salty layer of flavour in the sauce is given an edge by a dash of bagoong, which also has a couple of guests detecting a subtle seafood-esque flavour. We’re not sure how this works with the oxtail, but have been properly convinced that, in this case, it really does. The embutido (meatloaf) is a classic Christmas dish on the islands, that Ana has served on a bed of watercress and carrot shavings, alongside a dark soy, lemon, honey, chilli and garlic dipping sauce. The meatloaf, which can be eaten hot or cold, is an example of American influence, Ana says. It’s made with a pork mince mixture, which is rolled up around a boiled egg and Vienna sausage, which can be seen running through the centre when you slice up the loaf. It’s pretty clear why Ana sees this


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atchara: papaya pickle bagoong: shrimp paste calamansi: a hybrid citrus fruit embutido: Filipino-style Christmas meatloaf halo halo: ‘mix mix’ (a dessert) kare kare: peanut curry lechon manok: roast chicken with lemongrass, onion, bayleaves and garlic porchetta: crispy rolled belly pork siopao asado: steamed bun, filled with sweet and salty pulled pork

as a comfort dish: meaty, filling and flavoursome, it’s a definite favourite of the evening. The lechon manok has Spanish origins, and Ana’s version saw a whole chicken dressed in a dark, well-flavoured skin, with soft, pearly white flesh underneath, while the porchetta sported an amazingly crunchy crackling, as well as delicate, melting layers of fat and a complementary mix of Asian flavourings (lemongrass, garlic and chilli) inside. It was so good, in fact, we’ve made Ana cough up the recipe for you... Pickled carrots and papaya pickle cut through the richness of all that wonderful meat, and provided fresh, tangy relief. There was also a crunchy corn salad, containing a great mixture of textures and colours. The kids – okay, and adults – became pretty excited for dessert, as Ana brought out a selection of vivid-coloured homemade creations, including a green jelly containing macapuno coconut string, and a purple leche flan made with a type of purple yam, popular in the Philippines. There was also meringue, honeycombe, tapioca pearls and swirls of whipped cream being piled into sundae glasses by the young ’uns.

“We call this ‘halo halo’,” says Ana. “It literally means ‘mix mix’. It’s a really traditional way of doing dessert, we use all sorts in it in the Philippines.” It’s no secret that Filipino food isn’t as widely offered or celebrated on these shores as that of its Asian neighbours. But the uniqueness and diversity of its fusion of flavours, techniques and ingredients make it an exciting and intriguing cuisine – one which deserves to be enjoyed on a far larger scale than it currently is around here, we reckon. This all said, then, we’re pretty chuffed that a knowlegable and experienced cook like Ana is helping to rep it on our patch.


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2lb belly pork (ask your butcher to score the skin for you when you buy it) 4 stalks lemongrass 1 bulb garlic 4 large red chillis For the dipping sauce: 2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp calamansi juice 4 tbsp coconut vinegar 1 red chilli, finely chopped 1 tbsp onion, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed METHOD

– Ahead of time, make the dipping sauce. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Cover or pour into a bottle and leave in the fridge for the falvours to infuse. – Cover the skin of the pork belly with salt, and leave to stand for at least 2 hours to dry out. – Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/ gas mark 9. – Finely chop the lemongrass and chillies, and peel and chop all the cloves of garlic in the bulb. Combine it all together. – Lay out the belly pork, skin side down, and season the flesh with salt and pepper. Evenly spread the lemongrass, chilli and garlic mix all over it. – Gently roll the belly pork up, making sure all the filling stays inside, and tie up firmly with butcher string to keep everything in place, ready for roasting. – Roast for 30 minutes to get the skin nice and crispy, then turn the temperature down to 180/350F/gas mark 4 and roast for a further 2 hours, or until cooked. – Once cooked, slice the porchetta into chunky discs, and pour the dipping sauce into small bowls to serve. ✱ Like what you see? Ana will be running her ace supper clubs, a bit like this one, in the New Year, and also offers private catering services. You can follow her for news on Twitter (@AnasKusina) and Facebook (, or call on 07590 848355 for enquiries. Keep your eye out for her new website!

HAVING A PARTY? This section of Crumbs is all about foodie celebrations with style. Could you do it better than Ana, or any of our other recent Supper Club hosts? If so, send venue pics and 50 words on why you’re the host with the most to:


newly refurbished ... Widbrook Grange Restaurant Modern farmhouse cooking from our award winning chef in an elegant grade 2 listed farmhouse, now completely re designed Also open to non residents for dinner

To see what all the fuss is about and to book a table call 01225 864750 or email

Widbrook Grange Hotel Bradford on Avon BA15 1UH





THE WA N T LI S T Get that Christmas table dressed to the nines with this lot 1 NOEL CANAPE PLATE £10 This fun, colourful little plate by Quill & Fox will definitely up the festive feel at dinner this Xmas. Find it in Athropologie in Bath;


2 REINDEER STAG TEA TOWEL £10 Throw this original from Bristol-based designer Susan Taylor at the one who helped the least with lunch prep – they’ll soon get the hint;



PRE-FOLDED STAR 3 PRE NAPKINS £2.99 for 12 Step one: open the folded napkins and place on table. Step two: act smug and mysterious when your guests marvel at your origami skills. Get yours (on the sly) from Lakeland in Bath or Bristol; 4 NUTCRACKER MINI TASSEL CRACKERS £13 Go classy with your crackers this year, and lay the table with these Cheltenham-made numbers. Available online; 5 MINI DEER STOOL £275 We wish there was a grownup-sized version of this cool stool for us to perch on for C-dinner – the little ones get all the luck. Order this from Somerset-based e-business Cox and Cox;







Best Western Plus Centurion Hotel Charlton Lane, Midsomer Norton, Nr Bath BA3 4BD @seanhorwood RestAtCent 01761 417711


Come and join us for a Christmas feast 2 COURSES £19.50 / 3 COURSES £22.95 Pop in, call or email for more information and to request a booking form: t: 0117 952 1391 w: e: Inn On The Green, 2 Filton Road, Horfield, Bristol BS7 0PA

Buy our award winning Bellringer... in a box! 36 pints of award winning Abbey Ales Bellringer for £65


Available at or 01225 444 437

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CHRISTMAS SPARKLE Get into the Christmas spirit with a sparkling Royal Bumble from Frobishers


e all enjoy a glass of bubbly over the festive period, but for pure fruity indulgence, why not try a sparkling Royal Bumble? This is a thoroughly British twist on a classic Buck’s Fizz, using Frobishers’ very own signature Bumbleberry Juice, which contains a vibrant medley of sweet, ripe strawberries and raspberries, and tart blackcurrants and blackberries. Simple to make and easy to serve – either by the glass or the jug – its rich berry colour makes an elegant addition to any Christmas table.

Hav White Re a merry as ow Christm from e veryone at the farm








Frobishers Bumbleberry Juice Champagne (or Prosecco, or Cava) blackberries, raspberries or strawberries, to garnish – Fill a champagne glass or jug ¾ of the way up with fizz, and top up with Frobishers Bumbleberry Juice. – Garnish with fresh blackberries, raspberries or strawberries, and serve. Simple! Ask for a Royal Bumble at the bar, or why not create one at home.

Using only the finest fruits from across the globe, picked and pressed at their best, Frobishers make authentic, great tasting fruit juices and juice drinks that you can trust. And you can now order its entire range of juices and drinks online. We’ll drink to that!


Visit to place your order and for more cocktail and mocktail inspiration.



Highlights COME TO BEDMO

Bedminster’s food scene is buzzing; we look at the area’s foodie transformation Page 65

We went to Marlborough to check out the Steins’ new digs, and interview the big cheeses themselves


Last-minute Xmas pressies for the less-than-organised Page 77


We sit down with the Steins as they venture onto our patch with a new gaff Page 82




YEARS OF BEDMINSTER and its evolving food scene...

New Visitors Centre and Brewery Shop opening this December on North Street, Southville Artisan, hand crafted, call it what you like - our passion is great beer with amazing flavours... welcome to our world.. 0117 902 6317 •


Fishminster We offer the freshest, tastiest fish and chips using the best ingredients. Available to eat in or take away!

Our chips are freshly cut and made from locally sourced potatoes.

Our fish is sustainably caught by fishermen who care.

0117 966 2226

We use certified eco-friendly GreenPalm oil.

267 North Street, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 1JN


TIme FOr

Bedmo WO R DS BY J E S S I C A C A R T E R


It’s no secret that there’s one heck of a foodie party going on south of the river in Bristol right now. Bedminster is busier, more vibrant and more delicious than we’ve ever seen it, but, as locals will know, it’s not always been famed for its food...

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“There was just nothing here,” remembers Mark Newman, 33 years a Bedminster resident, when he thinks back to how the area used to be. “There was nothing going on. You probably couldn’t even have bought an aubergine from anywhere on North Street!” Nevertheless, this is exactly where he was determined to open his bakery: “I wanted to do it where I lived; I think there’s a real association between bread and community.” And so, in 2009, Mark’s Bread was born. It took up a small section of an old derelict building, and was kitted out with gear bought at auction. Now, the bakery has an adjoining café and a real rep for its handmade sourdough, made using a culture that’s at least 50 years old. “Bedminster used to be a sleepy backwater, but has become a very vibrant place – it has an energy,” he says, citing the 19th-century Tobacco Factory, which was saved from demolition and converted into a hub for independents in the ’90s, as a big player in the area’s recent regeneration. The former home of Imperial Tobacco, as well as comprising office space and a theatre, now has a large café and bar, which was opened in 2001, and a Sunday market, where you’ll find a host of local artisanal food stalls in the space that usually acts as the carpark. Other seasoned residents of this end of Bedminster include homely Spanish joint El Rincon (a cosy bar and restaurant offering tapas, live music and language courses), which opened in 2004, and the nationally known Bristol Beer Factory, established in 2003. “I read in the local paper that an architect – George Ferguson, who’d saved the Tobacco Factory – had bought a derelict former brewery too,” BBF co-owner (and native Bristolian) Simon Bartlett explains, “so I wrote to him with the idea of opening a new one.” Simon had been working in breweries all over the world, and felt like it was time for a project a bit closer to home. The space that Bristol Beer Factory took on used to be just one tiny part of the Ashton Gate Brewery, which started making beer in the 1820s. It closed down in the 1930s, and pretty much fell into disrepair over the next few decades. Now it’s once again a busy, evolving brewery,


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which the guys from Mark’s Bread often pop over to, with a bucket, to collect brew for their beer bread – and maybe drop off a few treats while they’re at it. You might have noticed some changes to the building recently, too – namely the disappearance of the theatre in front. Simon tells us, “We got the keys for that space in October, in order to turn it into a visitor centre, with a shop and a brewery tap. It will be a great place to start and end our brewery tours as well.” At the time the brewery set up shop, there were limited food and drink offerings on North Street, but what was already going strong was the original branch of what is now a pretty hefty bar-

restaurant group, The Lounge. The team here took a considerable gamble on the area, really; the Tobacco Factory and Southville Deli being the only existing food joints on that stretch before it. The deli opened its doors in 2001, and is still a popular spot for groceries, coffee, and lunch, specialising in wholefoods and organic produce, as well as local beers, ciders and cheese.


It was the second half of that decade when the whole Bedminster thing started to snowball. Two pubs were taken over in that time: The Windmill, near to Bedminster Station, in 2006 (it


had been run by a string of short-term tenants, then shut completely before this point), and The Spotted Cow, in 2008. The latter is housed in a 200-yearold building that stands in the middle (give or take) of North Street, and gets a pleasingly mixed crowd. All about quality and not at all about pretention, it’s become known for its great, modern take on classic British food – but is, at its heart, a really decent, welcoming, cosy watering hole, which appeals to all kinds of punters, from all over the city. Bedminster has pretty good fish and chip game as well; the Argus Fish Bar is a popular favourite, as is Fishminster, which appeared around the same time as The Spotted Cow. A tradish chippie (it even lists chip butties on its menu), it has a clean, modern feel and a proper devotion to freshness and ingredients, with loads of homemade options. A couple of years later, The Raymend, out Windmill Hill way, was replaced by The Victoria Park. It had been taken on by three mates who wanted a decent local to drink in, and was subsequently put through a five-month-long refurbishment project. Even more work has been going on here of late, too. “In the last 12 months we decided to rebrand the pub,” says Luke Freeman, “which involved a complete refurbishment of the interior and a total redesign of the garden. Along with the revamp we have also updated our menu; as well as keeping to the

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pub classics, we have thrown ourselves into the Bristol food scene, with our new head chef creating exciting and unusual twists on locally sourced British food.” There’s also now a full-time alfresco pizza oven, as well as an app and delivery service for said pizza – and for craft beer. Another 2010 birth came in the form of Soukitchen – which clearly judged the coming rise of Middle Eastern food rather well. Serving dishes inspired by the most easterly areas of the Mediterranean and Northern Africa, this award winning, nationally recognised joint came about thanks to the souks found across the Middle East. “These venues are often found in the middle of a town, and provide a centre for food and produce,” explains one half of the husband-and-wife team behind the restaurant, Ella Lovell. “Here you would always find a hive of activity with people sharing recipes, trading fresh ingredients, and sampling the finest in local cuisine.” Hence, the casual, sharing nature of the food in the Bristol gaff. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner, these guys are still going strong after six years, and are often fully booked on Friday and Saturday nights.


The Bedminster ball was well and truly rolling by this point, and locals now didn’t have to leave their neighbourhood for a decent night out. Cue the 2011 opening of The Old Bookshop. This place wasn’t only filled with neighbours, though; it helped make Bedminster into an area that people would travel to,

specifically for dinner. Even (gasp) from north of the river. Enticed in by the cool, quirky character of this tiny, taxidermydisplaying vintage curiosity, people could enjoy creative British small plates, cocktails and local beers. So popular did it turn out to be, in fact, that it soon extended into the building next door, to more than double its capacity. Now, after year and a half of hosting a diverse programme of pop-ups, the place has got its own permanent brigade of chefs again – led by ethically focused chef, Alex Bluett – and its own Psychopomp gin bar. Not long after that opening, there was movement a few doors down. The Full Moon pub had changed hands, and was reborn in early 2012 as cosy, quality boozer The Hare, serving a creative and


evolving collection of beers (including top-drawer real ales), and a thoughtful list of wines. Keeping it refreshingly old school, these guys don’t do any hot food, but stock a great range of pub snacks to go with their interesting brews. The year after, the cool, casual, Scandi-style Zazu’s Kitchen launched its second venue, and Bristol-born family of restaurants Thali Café moved into the old Teohs site at the Tobacco Factory. bringing its fresh, novel Indian food and colourful character to Southville. It’s since been refurbed yet again, and now features a street-inspired charcoal grill. Having continued to develop its offering, this fun, ethically aware urban restaurant is currently working with Indian chef and writer Meera Sodha on its menus. (We’ve been to check

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out her winter dishes already; read the review on It was also around that time that Zara’s Chocolates got itself a permanent shop. Having run her business from home since 2010, Zara Narracott met a florist at the local weekely market, and the two joined forces to open a shop together. (If you’ve narked anyone off, this place can sort you out with a pretty efficient apology package.) The tiny but awardwinning team of three – Zara, Helen and Kim – make all kinds of chocolate creations in the shop’s open kitchen now, including the ever-popular salted praline bites and soft salted caramel domes, as well as a constant stream of new lines. (We’re keen to try out the new bars, which have just recently been launched.) And that brings us up to 2014, which was a stonking year for the local food scene, seeing five new openings. Perhaps the most unexpected of them all was Birch. Housed in an old Indian takeaway, the small restaurant, owned and run by Sam and Beccy Leach, sits among Victorian terraces on Raleigh Road. Chef Sam started out at none other than Mark’s Bread, before the pair moved to London for restaurant experience. The intention was always to return though, as Beccy explains. “I think there’s something really special about Bedminster,” she says. “People really get to know each other; we’ve seen bumps turn into babies and

toddlers. Our neighbours even bring in surplus fruit and veg from their gardens.” That’s not the only way these guys get their ingredients, though. (Phew!) As well as chefs and front-of-house pros, the team also moonlight as gardeners, and grow heaps of produce themselves in their nearby plot of land. Meaning they’re often in the garden picking something in the morning, then serving it to a table for dinner the same day. And they were one of the first in Bristol to have this real homegrown approach. (News alert: Birch is going to be opening for lunch on Saturdays as of the New Year, but keep it between us, yeah?) Birch opened in the May, and in July of the same year came tearoom Margot May, courtesy of two local bakers. Hence the fact that all the awesomelooking cakes you’ll see on the counter – including gluten- and dairy-free


numbers – are baked by the pair. The guys down the road at Mark’s deliver bread by bike for the ace toasties (they sure get around, don’t they?), while other produce comes from all over Bristol. Afternoon tea is big news here, and the team has a fresh approach to it, explains co-owner Jenny Smith. “We’ve started serving seasonal afternoon teas – our autumn one is really popular at the moment and we’re very excited about the mini mince pies and chocolate yule logs that we’re baking for our Christmas version!” The brunch menu was also expanded recently to include the new banana scone, served with natural yoghurt, fresh fruit and honey. Great to go with something from the top range of teas… Specialist off-licence Corks of North Street arrived too, offering a huge collection of wine, beers, spirits and plenty of expert knowlege, while local chain Burger Joint launched a venue here as well. The Steam Crane came along an’ all, taking over a bit of a dodgy bar. It was out with the juke box and in with Chesterfields, antique-style furniture, craft beer and top chef team.


Before we crack on with the area’s newbies and most recent developments, we can’t not mention the two mainstays, which have been Bedminster residents far, far longer than any of the

N E W LO O K B A K E R Y & C A F É N O W O P E N

We specialise in sourdoughs, English and continental breads made from organic flour. Delicious sandwiches, cakes, pastries, Chelsea buns, sausage rolls, pork pies, seasonal salads, and other savouries to eat in or take away. Our exclusive in house Christmas specials include mince pies and stollen. Monthly Pop up Pizza night and Sunday bread making courses (Vouchers available). Watch out for Murder Mystery Pizza nights.

Mark’s Bread Ltd, 291 North Street, Ashton, Bristol BS3 1JP Opening Times: 8am to 4.30pm Monday to Saturday. 0117 9537997 •

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above. The century-old Clark’s Pies has been trading at its North Street site since the ’30s. (These still-famous pies used to be lapped up by workers at the Tobacco Factory when it was, well, a tobacco factory.) And Windmill Hill City Farm has been celebrating its 40th birthday this year (hip hip...!), and has recently announced the expansion of its café. This sits right next to the farmyard, and uses ingredients from the farm in its wholesome, homemade, seasonal dishes. The farm and café is a treasured community hub, explains Anna Ralph. “The people of Bedminster supported the farm when it was in danger of closure back in 2009, and continue to show their support,” she says. “Bedminster is full of people who want to get involved, and are interested in good food and where it comes from.”


This foodie movement happening in Bedminster hasn’t slowed up over the last year or two, either. Take 2015. It saw two businesses from Gloucester Road – the area which North Street is most often pitted against – open second venues here: the North Street Standard and The Fish Shop. The new fishmonger

filled a noticeable gap in the foodie retail market – which by this point had a couple of butchers, a handful of bakeries and a few greengrocers – with its great-value seafood, fresh from the south coast day boats. Pizza Workshop also launched, with a classy, less-is-more approach to the tomato-topped treat, which has gone down well with punters. This year has brought with it Bagel Boy, serving its signature homemade sarnies and bar drinks ’til late in the evening, and Tincan Coffee Co, which moved into the premises of former patisserie Curtis and Bell, expanding its popular mobile coffee van business. Its specialist brews – which change regularly and reflect the seasons – have earned this retro-style, environmentally conscious coffee shop a top rep. Going into 2017, then, Bedmister seems more than well-equipped to deal with the ever-rising expectations of the Bristol diner – from variety to quality – and has, perhaps for the first time, made going south of the river a necessity for the city’s keen food crowd. ✱ Have we missed off your fave Bedminster foodie hangout? Tweet us @crumbsmag!



Christmas gift vouchers available now

cookery school Free range local turkeys

ORDER NOW Proud to supply Bristol’s Michelin-starred chefs and you! Bespoke orders to your requirements All our beef locally sourced and aged in our Himalayan salt chamber Tailor-made meat boxes a speciality

0117 943 1200

To advertise call Kyle Phillips 01225 475800 //



0117 317 9200













Parsnip, sage & white bean soup served with soda bread (v) Ham hock terrine with a chutney piccalilli & crusty bread Brie & cranberry filo twists with an apple & walnut salad (v)

MAIN COURSES Roast turkey breast filled with cranberry stuffing served with roast potatoes, seasonal veg & a light red wine jus Pan-fried plaice fillet with a warm quinoa & edamame salad (gf) Butternut squash & goats cheese risotto with sage oil (v)

Book your Christmas meal now at

The Catherine Wheel Marshfield, Bath SN14 8LR 01225 892220

PUDDINGS Traditional Christmas pudding with brandy sauce Christmas spiced chocolate cake with cream (gf) Clementine cheesecake with orange curd sauce Marshfield Ice Cream Available from Thursday 1st December to 30th December (excl 25th & 26th Dec)



Not done your Christmas shopping yet? Running out of ideas/inspiration/motivation? We hear ya – and we’re saving your unorganised behind with this compilation of easy-topurchase local foodie vouchers that no one will guess was a panic buy… ALLIUM

Chris Staines’ restaurant at the Abbey Hotel in the centre of Bath has vouchers for all kinds of experiences; how about a traditional (if rather decadent) Champagne afternoon tea for two (£70), or a two-course lunch for two (£39)? ✱


For £30 you can get a voucher for one of Arch House’s cheese and wine tasting events, then invite yourself around to the recipient’s home to give them a practical examination on what they learnt. ✱


Get a Bath Pub Co voucher and you can use it in any of its ace venues: Chequers, Hare & Hounds, Marlborough Tavern and Locksbrook Inn. Know someone with a particular fave? Get a site-specific

one to dial up the thoughtfulness and, in turn, Brownie points. ✱


Coming in values from £10 to £100, Bordeaux Quay vouchers can be used for a meal in the brasserie or restaurant, products from the deli, or a class at the cookery school. Ideal for fussy recipients, right? ✱


This cool, urban steakhouse specialises in cuts of carefully sourced Argentinean beef. It has central sites in both Bath and Bristol, and sells its gift vouchers both here and online. Online vouchers go up in increments, but if you’re after a specific amount, then pop into a branch and talk to the team. ✱


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Voted Best Tearoom at the recent Somerset Tourism Awards, this Gloucester Road gaff offers a range of vouchers, from straight-up cash value to Champagne afternoon teas, and even gin and cheese for two. ✱


This vegetarian cookery school in the centre of Bath offers vouchers for any amount, which can be redeemed against the recipient’s choice, of course – from evening street food workshops to full-day masterclasses. The team recommend allowing £65 for an evening, £80 for a half-day, and £165 for a full day. ✱


Can’t buy them a holiday for Crimbo? Well, you can buy them a trip to an allAmerican rotisserie dinner (yeah, not the same, but they’ll get a good feed out of it…). Drop the restaurant a line on the old dog ’n’ bone to buy ’em. ✱


The Castle Inn in BoA and The Battleaxes in Wraxall are both part of the Flatcappers group, and offer vouchers that can be spent on food, drink and their luxury accommodation. ✱


This cool, casual restaurant in Wadswick Green amongst the Wiltshire countryside has vouchers for the values of £50, £75 and £100; pop in, or call the team to purchase yours. ✱



No one’s going to have any beef with you for getting them a voucher for steak now, are they? Call the restaurant to buy. ✱


From speakeasy cocktail hangouts to steak restaurants and a tapas bar, the Hyde & Co group’s vouchers give the recipient the option to choose exactly what they want to spend it on. Available in values from £10 to £100, they can be bought online to make things super-easy. ✱


The guys here can hook you up with a gift card for any value or package, so whether you want to treat someone to a bottle of wine, a two-course dinner, or just help out a bit with their bill, give the restaurant a buzz. ✱


Pop into this rustic 2-AA-rosette restaurant with rooms, set in the gorgeous village of Lacock, to pick up your vouchers, or else you can buy them over the phone and have them posted out. The recipient will get to choose whether to use their value on a meal, drinks, traditional cream tea, or an overnight stay. ✱


Addicts – of which there are many – of the seasonal, freshly-made gelato here will be over the moon to find this gift card in their stocking. If the addict happens to be you, though, then this is your chance to get a mate hooked on the gelato, cakes and semifreddos, and so make sure you always have a buddy to visit with. ✱


We love this Timsbury cookery school; a range of expert guest tutors cover everything from outdoor pursuits like shooting, fishing and foraging, to kitchen-based skills like butchery, baking and cookery. Vouchers are handily available in the costs of different courses via the website. ✱








138-140 Kellaway Avenue, Horfield, Bristol BS6 7YQ | Tel: 0117 924 7693

64 Downend Rd, Downend, Bristol BS16 5UE



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We now stock a wide range of vegan, vegetarian and meat based products as well as delicious cakes and Bath Buns. Ideal for lunches, picnics or any time snacks. Come and order you picnic and collect it when you need it. We can even cater for small business lunches. Our range includes: Vegan, lamb or chicken samosas, veggie or meat pasties, bhajis, vegan or pork sausage rolls and veggie or pork scotch eggs. We also and stock a range of speciality scotch eggs, pork pies and vegetarian quiches. Why not add a Lovely juice drink to your picnic.

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rIcK & Jack

Having launched a book and a restaurant in the same week, the Steins deserve a bit of a sit-down – but not before Jessica Carter’s quizzed them about both at the new digs...



LLORAN HOUSE SITS on the pretty High Street in Marlborough, it’s name painted above the striking wooden double doors with polished gold fixtures. And above that is now the name of one of the best-known and longest-established seafood chefs in the UK. Rick Stein, originally from the West Country, has obviously created a pretty huge empire during his years spent as a chef. (Although this vocation came after several others, the most notable of which was running a nightclub, serving ale and frozen curries. Legit.) Now, as well as his famous Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, he and his family have cafés pubs and bars all over the south, with the new Marlborough site being their most northerly opening to date. So why here? “Kate, my sister in law, knows the area quite well,” explains Rick’s son, and executive head chef of the entire group, Jack.




“There are things you could put on a menu now and no one would bat an eyelid, like pouting or whiting. And it’s because, you know, Hugh’s done his thing, Rick’s done this thing... “Which is good because, actually, the biggest issue we have is the seasonality of different species. Sea bass is obviously coming into the end of the season now, so if you want it you have to get it farmed or it comes trawled, so if you can replace that with something else...” “Red mullet we go for, in place of bass,” says Rick, “as it’s just coming into season. God, it’s good.” Indeed, these guys aren’t just clued up on cooking seafood, but know their stuff when it comes to responsible



“And we were looking at places that had a similar feel to Winchester – nice country towns with a good area around – and this had a similar sort of vibe. “I actually did the Marlborough food festival a couple of years ago and, you know, you go to food festivals all over the place and some are better than others, but at this one you could really tell there’s a lot of appetite for good food. So when Kate mentioned it, I was like, yeah…” “So then I came here,” picks up Rick, “took one look at Lloran House and thought, ‘That’s it, it’s perfect’. Right in the heart of the High Street – a beautiful High Street, with lots of nice shops... sensational.” But, let’s be real for one minute: when you’re a TV celebrity, author, celebrated chef, experienced restaurateur and recipient of a bloomin’ OBE – as Rick is – are you really going to have the time (or, dare we say it, inclination) to get involved with each new opening? “Me and Jack have had nothing like the involvement that Jill and Ed and Kate have in terms of the fit out,” says Rick, honestly. “But Jack’s been really involved in the kitchen, and we’ve both been really involved with the menu.” “And with the suppliers,” says Jack. “We’ve already got a big supply network, but also we’ve picked up lots of local ones too, because there’s a huge local supply area. So we’ve got Walter Rose and Son supplying our meat, then our veg supplier Reynolds, who we met at the Sustainable Restaurant Awards – you say where your restaurant is, then they go off and find those sorts of bits nearby. Then there’s Marlborough Mushrooms, who we’re just getting to know…” Hang on just a second there; meat supplier? Surely the Steins’ new gaff is all about the fish? “This menu is a little more meat and game and poultry,” Rick says. “We’ve still got lots of seafood – because that’s what we do – but it’s more meat dishes here.” “We asked people what they wanted,” says Jack, “and that came back quite a lot. But people still want to have oysters and langoustines, too. I think it’s a reflection of the area; we’ve had locals saying, ‘We have a shoot here, will you take our stuff?’.” While the likes of like pigeon and chicken do grace the new menu, seafood is very much still the speciality – and rightly so, after the work Rick has put in to help integrate it into our diets. When we asked him how people’s attitude towards seafood has changed over the last 40 years, there was not a split-second of hesitation before his answer. “Massively. When we first opened in the ’70s we had this fish pie, which we called ‘seafood thermador’, and we used to put monkfish in it ’cause it was cheap, right? But there was no way you’d say it was monkfish, because people would never go for the dish, so I used to say lobster, crab and ‘white fish’.” And Jack is the first one to credit his dad with helping to change said perceptions. “A lot of the chefs from the ’90s who we know, they used to… not laugh at Dad, but be quite dismissive of some of the ingredients he was using, like gurnard, monkfish and stuff like that. They all wanted Dover sole and things. “Now they have their own restaurants and you see it on their Instagram, saying ‘gurnard is the king of the sea’ and all this sort of stuff. It’s amazing how it all changes. It’s just a question of being consistent with your methods and finding the best ingredients. And now, with TV and social media, you can do that more and more. Even home cooks now have access to all the same ingredients we do.

Christmas Party Menu 2016 £35 per person


Cured Salmon, Horseradish, Cucumber and Dill Jerusalem Artichoke Volute with Truffed Potato Croutons Pheasant Rillettes, Serrano Ham with Pickled Mushrooms and Onions


Roasted Butternut, Parmesan Gnocchi and Sage Traditional Christmas Turkey with all the Trimmings Braised Ox Cheek, Watercress Mash and Rich Red Wine Sauce Honey Baked Cornish Cod, sauerkraut, and tarragon cream


Felchlin Chocolate Tart with Kumquat Sorbet Christmas Pudding, and Cognac Ice Cream Cornish Yarg, Quince Jelly and Walnut Bread

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food & drink



that won’t cost you the earth

Festive Menu Two Courses £21.95 Three Courses £25.95 AVAILABLE FROM 24TH NOVEMBER – 30TH DECEMBER, EXCLUDING CHRISTMAS DAY. The Battleaxes, Wraxall, Bristol, BS48 1LQ 01275 857473 •


( feature )

seven pounds a kilo, and a wild bass is roughly fifteen pounds a kilo, and this stuff is about ten pounds a kilo. But, unfortunately, you have to buy about ten tonnes of it or something to be able to get it. We’re not going to be there yet, so it’s more for supermarkets – but fingers crossed. “It’s the next level, and there’s only one place doing it – but, apparently, the whole delta has been cleaned of all the old mining effluent and everyone’s talking about it. It hasn’t really hit the mainstream yet, but I think it’s the future. “A lot of my job is to understand these things, as you have to teach people. I have to teach my chefs about it, certainly. I think in the last few years the level of farmed fish has finally gone above the level of wild fish caught, in terms of biomass. “I think the most interesting thing is trying to figure out something to feed fish which isn’t fish, because the argument is, ‘Why don’t we just eat the first fish instead of feeding them to other fish?’ I feel sorry for Peruvian anchovies, because they just get hovered up en mass and fed to salmon! “It’s a very difficult topic, though, because the wild fish fisherman and fishmongers have their own opinions, and you can’t really talk about farming or fishing or any industry like that without causing offence to someone. But looking at aquaculture in a more holistic sense, thinking about what’s best for the whole area rather than just for this tiny little pen, makes sense.” So, with there being so much pressure on the fish industry, and such increased demand, how is our local seafood landscape looking – and how does it compare with all the other places Rick has visited on his many well-documented travels? “Very well indeed, actually. We’ve got an enormous diversity of species and I think, on the whole, fish stocks in the South West are quite good. I’ve got a restaurant in Australia, so I do have to be a bit careful [keep it schtum, readers], but I do think our seafood is the best! They do have lovely prawns over there, some really great stuff – but I think our flatfish are second to none, really, particularly turbot and brill, and we’re lucky to have such a diverse selection of shellfish, too.” And, coming from someone who’s just finished some pretty extensive travels to some hot culinary spots for his TV show and book Long Weekends, that’s pretty darn impressive. “I had the opportunity to go to 10 different cities and sample the best dishes they had to offer,” explains Rick. “But the book is actually structured around the idea of a weekend at home. It’s with the understanding that people tend to cook a bit more elaborately during the weekend, because they have the time.” From Portuguese dumplings to Austrian strudel and Danish sourdough rye bread, the book has more than 100 recipes from all around Europe, and has been whetting our appetite for travel as much as for food. There are whispers of a potential second round for Rick too, and he already has a list of cities he wants to hit up on it...

sourcing, too. So, with practices of farming on dry land having come under scrutiny in recent years, is there a similar focus on improving the processes with fish? “There is some stuff happening which is called extensive fish farming,” explains Jack. “Intensive farming in the rivers causes problems with lice and things, then you’ve got the fact that you have to feed the fish on other fish... that’s what people don’t get. Sometimes, when you talk to someone about fish farming, they just turn off and aren’t interested. “There’s a place in Spain where they’ve done this thing where they have this ex-mining river delta, which used to be an old bird habitat, and they’ve filled it with bass and mullet and they’ve just let it go – it’s basically a big science experiment, led by a university. “Their argument is that you just let the whole eco system take over. The birds eat about 50 percent of the stock – a lot of farmers or fisherman wouldn’t allow that, but they’re like, no, let it happen. And the birds defecate in the water which feeds the prawns which the bass then eat, so it’s like a whole system. “It’s expensive: these bass aren’t as cheap as the intensively farmed ones, but they’re bigger. I think a farmed bass is roughly

✱ Rick Stein’s Long Weekends is published by BBC Books, £25;







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Kalpna Woolf gives us an A-Z run down of her favourite spices

This month we tried out new Clifton Indian, Nutmeg; ate all the baos at the Woky Ko launch party; cooked dinner with Riverford at Windmill Hill City Farm; and celebrated Beaujolais Day at Woods in Bath...



We reflect on 2016’s strong culinary game

Kitchen gadgets you didn’t realise you needed...

Brrr, it’s chilli (in both senses of the word). Luckily, we’re turning up the heat in January with a spicy special... Look for our next issue from

Friday, 23 december

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Afters Highlights

The guys at Pigsty spent hours hammering these nails into the wall at their Cargo gaff

WHERE THERE’S A WILL Bristol’s Wilsons restaurant is both small and mighty... Page 92


Lunch at porky mecca Pigsty, from the guys behind The Jolly Hog Page 94


So, how has Bath staple The Olive Tree fared over the decades? Page 96




quid’s worth of pork, scoffed

( R I S I N G S TA R S )


This small but perfectly formed neighbourhood restaurant in Redland manages to make an immediate fan out of Mark Taylor


Af ters


ristol restaurant-goers have never had it so good. In the past year alone, the city has seen a raft of top-flight new openings, many of which have already appeared on the national radar. In a year that has seen the likes of Pasta Loco, Adelina Yard, Box-E and Bulrush open, Bristol’s quality levels seem to have been cranked up to 11. And Redland restaurant Wilsons is very much part of this vanguard of exceptional new launches. Squirrelled away down a quiet side street – albeit one that already boasts £1m houses and a Michelin-starred restaurant in Wilks – Wilsons is the first venture for chef Jan Ostle and his wife Mary Wilson, whose family name inspired the restaurant. Mary’s parents ran a successful London eatery of the same name in the 1970s and 1980s, and the original stained glass sign hangs proudly in the window here. A former café, Wilsons is an intimate restaurant with a strikingly simple decor of white walls, black floorboards, unclothed, wooden bistro tables, and lamps with retro Edison lightbulbs. As far as interior design goes, this monochrome simplicity takes its lead from places like St John in London, although a more local reference point might be Birch in Southville, which is similar in many ways. At Wilsons, there are vintage vases full-to-bursting with wild flowers from the owners’ allotment, and Kilner jars of homemade quince vodka and sloe gin on the bar. Indeed, when we arrive for lunch, Mary is deseeding rosehips for another homemade tipple, as Jan prepares pheasants for the day’s menu. Before opening Wilsons, Jan worked briefly at the neighboring Kensington Arms, and prior to that was in London at such high profile places as The Square (working under uber-chef Phil Howard) and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. A keen hunter-forager, he spends much of his free time in the countryside, specifically Devon, where he and Mary have earmarked land on a friend’s

farm to grow their own produce next year. This plot-to-plate philosophy is the natural extension of their urban allotment and an exciting development. In the meantime, wild mushrooms and game gathered by Jan on his days off steer the seasonal blackboard menu, which changes frequently. With just Jan and one other chef in the tiny open kitchen, the tersely written menu is kept short and to the point. A chef with a genuine passion to feed people, Jan often brings out dishes himself with a Jack Nicholson-like grin. We had barely tucked our legs under the table before he was rushing over with cups of warming game broth spiked with dashi. Rich, intense and spicy, it may well have been something Jan had rustled up for his hip flask for the next shooting and foraging trip. There are just three dishes per course on the menu, so a table of more than two diners can taste everything with ease. As there were only two of us, we had to forego the gravlax starter and vegetarian main course of celeriac, trompette, hen egg and truffle, both of which deserve a return visit.


A starter of pork terrine (£7) was just that – a thick mosaic of piginess (pork belly, shoulder, and back fat) served at the correct temperature (that’s to say, not fridge-cold) with a couple of slices of toast and a dab of fruity plum purée. A simple classic perfectly executed. Across the table, J was making light work of her picture-perfect charred leek and punchy romesco (£7), topped with razor-thin slices of pickled red onion, a few mint leaves and a flurry of colourful edible flowers. J’s arresting starter made way for an equally enjoyable main of hake, roasted carrots, snails and parsley (£16) – the opaque, thick-flaked fillet of fish teamed up with chewy (in a good way) snails and a tangle of different coloured baby carrots, as gnarled as witches’ fingers. My main course of pheasant, chanterelle, onions and chestnut (£16.50) was quite literally early winter on a plate. The tender breast (it had been poached in mead and hay before being cooked in a water bath) was dusted with shaved chestnuts, whilst the more robustly flavoured leg was just visible beneath a bosky carpet of wild mushrooms and roasted onions. It worked especially well with the Villa Saint Croix Pinot Noir from the Languedoc – one of the jewels on a concise, intelligently curated wine list. To finish, slices of perfectly poached quince (£6) and a delicately floral rose sorbet had been placed on a bed of bee pollen with its uniquely soft and chalky texture. Meanwhile, the intense richness of a classic chocolate mousse (£6.50) was tempered by a clean and fresh almond milk sorbet. With deceptively simple cooking in an unpretentious, Bohemian setting, and people who care about single every detail of the food and service, Wilsons is a benchmark in neighbourhood bistros, and Bristol is lucky to have it. Drop everything and go now. ✱ WILSONS, 24 Chandos Road, Bristol BS6 6PF; 0117 973 4157;

Af ters



Jessica Carter goes the whole hog for lunch at this porky palace


igsty is the very first restaurant for the local brothers behind sausagemaking biz The Jolly Hog. Want a bit of context? The edited version of the story involves Olly Kohn, former Bristol and Harlequins Rugby player, receiving a sausagemaking machine (now a relic on show at the restaurant) as a gift, and subsequently setting about making the good quality, great-tasting bangers that he struggled to find elsewhere. Younger bro Josh soon climbed aboard, and later on, middle brother Max followed suit. Before they knew

it (did say this was the edited version), they were running a full-on catering and events company, and selling their products nationwide through Ocado, all the while getting their fair share of praise from well-known foodies. So now they’ve opened Pigsty – a pork-themed restaurant at Bristol development, Cargo. And, making this a proper family affair, the guys’ dad even did the fit-out of the adjoining shipping containers-turned-eatery. Thanks to some clever design, there’s room for a decent number of covers in the cosy gaff, without it feeling squashed. Obviously, the kitchen team


is limited in terms of space for both themselves and equipment, so the brigade is small and the menu offerings pleasingly straightforward. The day kicks off here at a blurryeyed 7.30am, with Clifton Coffee, and breakfast sarnies on sourdough to take away. If you have time to eat in, then the ‘breakfast in bread’ (£9) is the way to go – sausage, bacon, egg, cheese and tomato, packed into a hollowed-out sourdough loaf. Come lunch, there’s plenty more to pig out on – think baps (£8), Scotch eggs, sausage rolls (both £5) and the like, as well as sides of sweet potato fries,


( feature )

rosemary skin-on chips, and ’slaw, all served ’till 10pm. If all of the above takes your fancy, then we’d like to draw your attention to the Pig Board (£30), which, featuring a bit of everything, is the brave choice that we made on our visit… A curl of thick crackling wrapped itself around a generous slice of slowroasted pork belly, while golden, crisp croquettes with soft, fluffy potato and pork shoulder innards sat on a bed of baconaise (yup, it’s a thing, and it takes the form of moreishly salty mayo with hidden hunks of bacon). Tender wisps of pulled pork were coated in a light barbecue sauce and piled in a delicious heap, while a hefty sausage roll made itself comfy on top. Made with the same meat that goes into those much-loved bangers, the inside of the roll was flavoursome and lean (really good quality cuts of pork are used for Jolly Hog sausage meat, not just the usual off-cuts) and it was wrapped in a delicately flakey pastry, whose thickness was in good proportion to the meat. There were sausages too, of course; one classic pork and sage, one containing good-sized chunks of black

pudding and apple, and one that saw its porky insides mixed with sweet red onion. They were stacked on top of some really good onion relish. Cooked in the oven and finished off on the grill, these little guys wore crisp, caramelised jackets, with a sweetness that offset

the meaty, well-seasoned interior. And they’re all happily gluten free too, thanks to the omission of breadcrumbs or any other bulking agent. Scotch eggs are a big deal here. We tried the meaty kind, whose thick and runny yolk oozed out slowly when it was cut in half, but there’s also a mac ’n’ cheese version (we know, right). Drinks-wise, there’s a handful of brews on the go, including the local likes of Wild Beer Co (whose bar is just opposite), Wiper and True, and Hunt’s cider from down the M5 in Devon. Pigsty is a straight-up, no-nonsense kind of outfit – the space limitations mean that things have been honed and kept right to the point. Good quality, comforting and speedy British food, prepared to take away or eat in, will surely nail it for these brothers, who have bagged themselves one of the best locations at Wapping. You can pick up packs of their sausages and bacon from the restaurant to cook at home, too. (Funny you ask actually, because, yes, we have – and can vouch for the black treacle-cured rashers, especially.)

✱ PIGSTY, Units 1 & 2 Cargo, Wapping Wharf, Bristol BS1 6WP; 0117 929 7700;


( O L D FAVO U R I T E S )



Mark Taylor revisits an old faithful to find out whether time has been kind to it....

n his 1997 cookbook, A Pinch of Salt, former owner and chef Stephen Ross described The Olive Tree as ‘a neighbourhood restaurant, serving English and Mediterranean food of simple good quality, run by young caring staff’. Almost 20 years on, not much has really changed. Okay, it may be run by different owners – award-winning hoteliers Laurence and Helen Beere – and an ambitious head chef, Chris Cleghorn, who was probably in nappies when A Pinch of Salt was published, but there’s still a very similar ethos. Of course, the food has changed completely in that time; you’re unlikely to find ’90s dishes such as hake baked with cheese, cider and apples or Colonial Crumble (a tropical fruit crumble packed with mango, kiwi, peach, pineapple, banana and paw paw) on the menu in 2016... Descend the 11 stone steps from pavement level to the basement restaurant today and you’ll find The Olive Tree to be a serene and welcoming safe haven, away from Bath’s tourist-packed streets. Being part of one of the city’s most popular hotels means that the restaurant still attracts guests staying in

the bedrooms above, but it also lures local foodies and destination diners clutching their restaurant guide books. On a wet Tuesday night in November, the restaurant was doing a brisk trade with a mix of dressed-to-the-nines locals and casually attired tourists staying in the hotel. With its flattering lighting, neutral colours and low-volume Zero 7 floating around in the background, it’s all very civilised, with conversations hushed – not in an oppressive way, though – while framed cartoons on the walls lighten the mood. Chris Cleghorn took over the kitchen three years ago and his stellar CV includes stints with Heston Blumenthal and Michael Caines, among other gastronomic giants. Cleghorn’s modern British cooking sticks rigidly to the seasons, both on the a la carte and tasting menu, which is fairly priced at £65 (and £10 cheaper between Sunday and Thursday), with an additional £40 also bagging you a wine flight. Full disclosure time – I’m not the biggest fan of tasting menus. It’s not a question of cost or my child-like attention span, I just find too many tasting menus are drawn-out affairs and more about massaging the ego of chef


than the food or the customer. This is not the case at The Olive Tree though, where Cleghorn’s compilation excites from the outset and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the immaculate petit fours at the end. It’s a parade of dishes with perfect rhythm, pace and intelligence, from the lively opener of mackerel (firm, incredibly fresh) teamed with cucumber (pickled), avocado (in the form of a cream) and pink grapefruit, to the decadent finale of peanut butter parfait, milk chocolate and salted caramel. Between those two bookends, there was a memorable dish of partridge – a perfectly timed breast and a crumbed bon-bon of full-flavoured confit leg – with sweetcorn purée, Iberico ham and popcorn. This was followed by a precisely cooked fillet of sea bream with mussels, red pepper, courgette and chorizo – a combination that pressed all the right buttons with its sweet and salty twists and turns. A meaty main course of rosy pink barbecue beef sirloin was velvet-like in texture and accompanied by silky yeasted mash, roasted shallots and nasturtiums. With so many new openings launching, it’s sometimes easy to neglect old favourites, so it was good to be back at The Olive Tree. This was a meal of beautifully crafted food with substance, poise and intelligence – backed up by seamless service. After all this time, The Olive Tree is still delivering the same level of food, care and service: precisely why it’s still up there in Bath’s premier league of dining experiences.

✱ THE OLIVE TREE, The Queensberry Hotel, 4-7 Russell Street, Bath BA1 2QF; 01225 447928;

( feature )


Af ters

Little black book Bristolian DJ Eats Everything has been busy touring the West; he must be glad to get back to his stomping ground, and these local haunts...


Princes Pantry, without a doubt. Best bacon baps in town. BEST BREW?

Princes Pantry again; builder’s tea at its best. SUNDAY LUNCH?

The Ox. It’s more for the meat-lovers around here though, not for the vegans. QUICK PINT?

The Love Inn on Stokes Croft. Great atmosphere and some rather excellent music. POSH NOSH?


Now add this little lot to your contacts book Princes Pantry, Bristol BS1 4PH; 0117 925 0400 The Ox, Bristol BS1 1HT; The Love Inn, Bristol BS1 3QY; Casamia, Bristol BS1 6FU; Soukitchen, Bristol BS3 1JP; Pasta Loco, Bristol BS6 6JY; Mayflower, Bristol BS1 3LN; The Pump House, Bristol BS8 4PZ; MEATliquor, Bristol BS1 3RD; Urban Tandoor, Bristol BS1 1DE; The Canteen, Bristol BS1 3QY;

Casamia. Some of the best meals I have ever had have been there. The new restaurant in town is equally as good as the old Westbury-on-trim site. I love Soukitchen, too; two of my closest friends run it, and it does some amazing Mediterranean food. BEST NEW OPENING OF 2016?

Pasta Loco has been open for a little while now, so not brand new, but it makes incredible pasta and gives brilliant service.  WITH FRIENDS?

Mayflower in the Bear Pit. Open super late, and does great Chinese food. WITH THE FAMILY?

The Pump House in Hotwells is a great family restaurant, right on the edge of the Cumberland Basin. They do an amazing Sunday roast. CRACKING COMFORT FOOD?

MEATliquor. New to Bristol this year, but our one is definitely as great as its London origins would lead you to expect. BEST CURRY?

Urban Tandoor. This, surely, has to be one of the best curry houses in the country? BEST ATMOSPHERE?

The Canteen on Stokes Croft is always busy, has live music, and serves excellent food. That’ll do, right?



CELEBRATE THE TASTE OF AUTUMN Head Chef Dan Moon draws inspiration from the fresh, seasonal flavours of autumn to create a sumptuous Six Course Tasting Menu of classic dishes with a modern twist

SAMPLE MENU AMUSE BOUCHE Smoked Ballotine of Var Salmon Horseradish Potato Mousseline, Apple, Fennel

STARTER Chicken Liver Parfait Rhubarb Sorbet, Sorrel, Almond Granola

RISOTTO Wild Mushroom Risotto Poached Quail’s Egg, Parmesan Crackling, Cauliflower

FISH COURSE Diver Scallop King Prawn, Tomato Water, Yuzu Caviar, Pickled Radish

MAIN Creedy Carver Duck Breast Confit Spring Roll, Plum, Sesame

DESSERT Verona Chocolate Dome Orange Mousse, Ginger Gel, Baby Basil


per person

To reserve your table, please call 01225 358 888 or email and quote ‘Crumbs’. The Gainsborough Restaurant, Beau Street, Bath, BA1 1SH. thegainsboroughbathspa GainsBathSpa



Crumbs Bath & Bristol - Issue 57  
Crumbs Bath & Bristol - Issue 57