Page 1









Wild and sweet Fergus the Forager gets creative with chocolate leaves

SLOWLY, SLOWLY Travel to Italy and discover true food appreciation

PIRATE’S LIFE Why rum is finally getting its time in the spotlight

Excellent taste

The Mistress of Wine, Sam Capron, teaches us how to appreciate our glasses


Eight pages of delicious recipes to see you through summer

big day out


“The French have brasseries. The Spanish have tapas. In Britain, we have the pubs”



The Michelin-starred celebrity chef tells us about pub grub’s evolution

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What’ll it be, then?


et’s hope it’s a warm

your wine glass with her flavour

welcome to our summer

tree (page 44).

edition of Gastro.

Finally, Tom Kerridge – celebrity chef

Everyone here at

and fellow gastro pub owner – talks

Whiting & Hammond

to us exclusively about his upcoming

certainly have our fingers crossed for

gastronomic Glastonbury Pub in the Park

some lovely sunny weather over the

and how food should be fun (page 16).

upcoming months; check inside for our

I always believe this time of year is

dates for the beer and music festivals,

when our pubs come into their own, as

which are well worth putting in the diary

there is no better place to spend a lovely

nice and early (page 10).

afternoon, or pint after work, than in

We’re capturing the spirit of the season in this edition; it’s packed to the rafters with light and fresh recipes from Whiting

the perfect English pub garden – truly heaven here on earth! Hope you can visit the Volks Weald

& Hammond at home (page 20), news

event this year at Penshurst Place, where

from the farmers’ markets (page 38),

I will be pouring a few pints over the

expert advice from local nutritionist,

weekend, July 13 to 15, in our inflatable

Katie Arnold (page 46) and tips from the

pub. It’s a great weekend of cars, music,

fitness professionals (page 50).

food and the pubs are well worth a look.

This issue also sees the arrival of Sam

Don’t forget to book early for Father’s

Capron, aka ‘The Mistress of Wine’, who

Day on June 18 as well – dad deserves a

has trawled our wine list to find the very


best bottles to serve up with our recipes (page 28) and she also gives us a step-

Hope you enjoy the read...I’m off to the pub.

by-step guide to making the most of


Brian Keeley-Whiting

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68 38

06 WALK ON THE WILD SIDE Furry and feathered friends for the family to visit near us

28 WINE PAIRINGS Sam Capron scours our wine list to find the best match for our recipes

42 SUMMER WINE Jonny Gibson highlights the trusty tipples for those warm nights

10 FRONT OF HOUSE Catch up on all of the latest news and events from W&H

31 MEET THE CHEFS Step through the kitchen doors to meet the masters

44 HOW TO... TASTE Sam Capron introduces us to her flavour tree for wine tasting

12 THE STORY SO FAR Look back on the year that followed the Mark Cross fire

34 THE RIGHT TECHNIQUE Discover how we make mouthwatering ribs in our smoker

46 NUTRITIONAL NEEDS Kate Arnold tells us why fibre is back in foodie fashion

14 FOOD FOR THOUGHT Immerse yourself in these great gourmet experiences

36 A DAY IN THE LIFE Matthew Noakes introduces us to his 3.4million honey bees

48 TW RUGBY CLUB Three experienced players reveal what they eat to keep fit on season

16 TOM KERRIDGE The Michelin-starred chef talks exclusively to Gastro

38 FARMERS’ MARKETS Bruce McMichael talks about the perks of shopping locally

50 THE GREAT DEBATE Two local fitness experts battle it out over how they keep in shape

20 RECIPES Try your hand at these W&H dishes in your home kitchen

40 SPIRIT TREND Adam Wyartt says that rum is finally set to be the next big thing

53 FOODIE FACTSHEET Wow your friends with these little-known tasty titbits

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The Gastro team Editor Hannah Patterson Senior Writer Frederick Latty Head of Design Rowena Cremer-Price Design Xela Ruy Lee Smith


Editorial Director Richard Moore Commercial Director Nick Moore T







54 FORAGING Fergus Drennan makes sweet treats out of nature’s gifts

76 GARDENS Garden designer Victoria Truman tackles outdoor dining

56 GET WALKING Enjoy the countryside in all its glory with these woodland walks

78 SHOPPING Brighten up your summer dining with our kitchen wish list

59 BIG DAY OUT Delve into our comprehensive guide to family fun over summer

80 CELEBRATE All the important dates for rejoicing in the world of food and drink

65 TRAVEL Journey to Italy with Aine Fox to uncover its delicious heritage

82 DINING ETIQUETTE The dos and don’ts of attending a summer dinner party

68 MOTORING Jack Evans ramps up the speed in the new Caterham 620S 71 PROPERTY Step inside some of the most spacious homes on the market

Fergus the Forager gets creative with chocolate leaves

The Mistress of Wine, Sam Capron, teaches us how to appreciate our glasses



Eight pages of delicious recipes to see you through summer

Travel to Italy and discover true food appreciation


big day out

Why rum is finally getting its time in the spotlight


“The French have brasseries. The Spanish have tapas. In Britain, we have the pubs”



Excellent taste

Wild and sweet


The Michelin-starred celebrity chef tells us about pub grub’s evolution

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29/03/2018 09:23

Contributors: Kate Arnold Sam Capron Fergus Drennan Jonny Gibson Aine Fox Alison Harvey Craig Matthews Bruce McMichael David Sexton Victoria Truman ONE MEDIA AND CREATIVE UK LTD 16 Lonsdale Gardens, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1NU 01892 779 650 • Whiting & Hammond Gastro Magazine is owned by Whiting & Hammond Ltd and published/distributed by

One Media and Creative UK Ltd. All rights reserved. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the owner or publisher. All prices are correct at the time of going to print. Neither the publisher nor the owner can accept responsibility for any errors or omissions relating to advertising or editorial. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from the publisher. No responsibility is taken for unsolicited materials or the return of these materials whilst in transit.

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Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Kent TN13 2QA 01732 452 081 @kingsheadbg @Kings_Head_BG @kingshead_besselsgreen

THE CRICKETERS INN Wrotham Road, Meopham, Kent DA13 0QA 01474 812 163 @TheCricketersInnMeopham @Cricketers_Inn @cricketersinn

Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation Open seven days a week, this is ideal for the school holidays. The park houses eagles, vultures, falcons, hawks, mammals, reptiles and farm animals, which can be observed, touched and experienced. Imagine a hawk with a fivemetre wingspan landing on your arm…

Go wild…

Hemsley Conservation Centre This charming little zoo is only a short drive from the inn, and packed to the brim with exotic, colourful and cheeky animals. They‘ve just welcomed a brand new primate species to their Tropical House – white-lipped tamarins – which is well worth a visit.


Deans Lane, Walton-on-the-Hill, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 7UE 01737 819 003 @TheBlueBallTadworth @TheBlueBall_ @theblueball_

Don’t forget to follow us on

Go wild…

Go wild…

Wildwoods Riding Centre No need to buy the kids that pony they keep asking for on their birthday. Head on over to Wildwoods Riding Centre for either lessons or a hack through National Trust land. Suitable for beginners to advanced riders, there’s no better time to get back on that horse.

@whitinghammond, @Whiting_Hammond and To find out more, visit


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Farnborough Way, Oprington, Kent BR6 6BT 01689 869 029 @BR6RoseandCrown @TheRoseCrown_ @therosecrownpub

Go wild…

Willows Bird of Prey Centre For an experience that’s up close and personal, this centre has it all. There are plenty of encounters to choose from with a wide range of impressive wildlife on display. They offer a very special two-hour owl experience to learn all about the UK’s most loved bird.

THE CHASER INN Stumble Hill, Shipbourne, Kent TN11 9PE 01732 810 360 @TheChaserInn @thechaserinn @thechaserinn

THE LITTLE BROWN JUG Chiddingstone Causeway, Kent TN11 8JJ 01892 870 318 @thelittlebrownjug1 @LittleBrownJug1 @thelittlebrownjug

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens If you consider yourself a true adventurer, grab your camera and go hunting for the infamous yeti that can often be found roaming Riverhill’s den-building trail. The yeti tends to be lurking between 2pm and 4pm on the weekends, and during the school holidays.

Mark Cross, East Sussex TN6 3NP 01892 852 423 @TheMarkCrossInn @TheMarkCross @themarkcross

15 Friday Street, Langney, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN23 8AP 01323 766 049 @farmfridayst @farmfridayst @farmfridayst

Hoppers Animal Farm Perfect for youngsters, hop along to Hoppers Animal Farm to meet all of the adorable farm animals who live there. Pet the mini-cows, horses, ponies, donkeys, llamas, goats, guinea pigs, rabbits and more in their newly formed farmyard.

Go wild…



Go wild…

Go wild…

Bluecaps Llamas A more unusual family outing beckons at Bluecap Llamas, situated in Cousley Wood. Llama trekking is available for groups of two or more; you can meet your own llama and take them for a leisurely stroll through the surrounding countryside. Prices start at £31 per person.

Go wild…

Knockhatch Adventure Park Ever dreamed of being an animal keeper for the day? Well, now you can. Knockhatch offers two-hour experiences for children aged eight to 15 years. There’s an informative introduction from the keepers before you assist them in their daily tasks.

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Volks Weald

Penshurst Place Friday July 13 to Sunday July 15 Come and find the pop-up Whiting & Hammond pub at this year’s Volks Weald; a weekend of all things Volkswagon at the magnificent Penshurst Place. The very best beers will be on tap throughout the event and you can tuck in to some delights from the barbeque – there’ll be a tasty hog roasting too!

Food and music festivals Summer approaching means only one thing: The Whiting & Hammond food and beer festivals are back. You can expect fun-filled weekends celebrating amazing food, flowing ales and entertainment for all the family. And if that wasn’t enough, they’re also free to attend.

St George’s Day festival

The Little Brown Jug Friday April 20 to Sunday April 22

Food and music festival The Cricketers Inn Friday July 6 to Sunday July 8

Food and music festival The Mark Cross Inn Friday July 20 to Sunday July 22

Rugby 7s

Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club Saturday April 28 to Sunday April 29 For the fifth year running, Whiting & Hammond is sponsoring the Tunbridge Wells Rugby 7s. It’s going to be a weekend of fast-paced rugby action, with a smidge of fun and frolics thrown in too. Teams from across the region are encouraged to sign up, with the men’s elite and social on the Saturday, and the festival of female rugby on the Sunday.

Bottomless Brunch The Kings Head Saturday May 26

This May, The Kings Head in Bessels Green will be bringing back its everpopular bottomless brunch. Enjoy delicious food with two hours of unlimited Prosecco or Bloody Marys. A great way to start the weekend!

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Father’s Day Whiting & Hammond pubs Sunday June 17

This Father’s Day, you’ll find some great dad dishes on our menus across of the board. Expect all the classic favourites, including hearty pies, dangerously delicious burgers, and our very famous roast dinners. Booking is advisable, as it’s always a busy day for all of the pubs.


Takeaway service comes to W&H Whiting & Hammond has launched its brand-new takeaway service. Whether it’s food or drink you’re after, our daily offerings are now available for collection to enjoy at home. Initially, the concept is being trialled at The Farm @ Friday Street in Eastbourne and The Kings Head in Sevenoaks, with a view of rolling it out across the group. With pub classics such as fish and chips and shoulder of lamb on offer, special attention has been paid to packaging, to ensure that the quality is as you would expect from one of our pubs. Managing director Brian Whiting comments: “We’ve been listening to our customers, who have repeatedly asked when we’ll offer food to be taken away. As a business, we’re constantly assessing consumer trends; a desire for accessible dining and quality food ‘on the go’ is becoming more and more apparent. “With our very own smokehouse running from The Little Brown Jug, and the barbecue shack and pizza oven at The Rose and Crown, the selection available will be fresh and tasty – far better than any fast food establishment that you’d find on the high street.”

Pie and ale tasting board success British Food Fortnight

Saturday September 22 to Sunday October 7 We’re proud to once again be sponsors of British Food Fortnight, the biggest annual, national celebration of British food and drink. You can expect food initiatives, events and projects taking place across the entire country, highlighting local producers and suppliers nationwide.

We love a foody week here at W&H, and at the beginning of March, we introduced our ale and pie tasting boards at all of our sites. There will be a selection of three ales, along with three pies with mash and gravy to enjoy! They were a great hit and something that may be found on the menu more regularly.

To keep up to date with the latest W&H events, visit, like us on Facebook @whitinghammond, follow us on Twitter @Whiting_Hammond or Instagram @whiting_hammond

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From the Ashes

This April marks 12 months since the fire that led to the closure of the beloved Mark Cross Inn for three months. A year on, we catch up with manager Michelle Fairless to talk about th pub’s triumphant return… Photography by Craig Matthews

t was Saturday April 15 2017 when Michelle Fairless was woken by a call just before midnight from the onsite manager at The Mark Cross Inn. “He’d been doing his final checks when he noticed smoke coming from the kitchen,” she recalls. “I immediately got out of bed and drove to the pub. All we could do was stand in the car park and watch the pub we loved burn, as the fire department worked to control the blaze. It was lucky that it was caught as early as it was, and thankfully no one was hurt.” For The Mark Cross Inn, this terrible event was turned into a golden opportunity; the chance to start afresh and look carefully at what changes they wanted to make. Although perhaps not a blank canvas, it was certainly the chance to evolve and grow. What followed was the closure, and with it the relocation of all permanent staff to other Whiting & Hammond locations. “We were all devastated to have to leave The Mark Cross Inn – it was our home from home – but being able to


work on another site felt like a good opportunity,” Michelle says. “Watching how the pubs were run at the other locations was a wonderful learning experience, and I certainly came away from it with a million ideas that I wanted to implement when the pub re-opened.” The Mark Cross began trading again on August 11 following a major refurbishment, including a newly fitted kitchen, equipped with an array of new appliances, which have opened up a wealth of opportunity for the pub’s head chef, Minerva Jensen. Whilst the pub classics that have always been favourites can still be seen on the menu, both Michelle and Minerva are keen to spread their creative wings when it comes to the pub’s offerings. “Being aware of new trends in food is so important for keeping things fresh,” continues Michelle. “I love surfing social media to see what everyone’s talking about. One example is the ‘Yorkshire pudding wrap’ that went viral. We have an excellent new oven that’s ideal for the puddings.

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A word from Brian Whiting…

So, having the equipment to be able to offer something unique to our customers is very satisfying.” But this is only one part of the journey. With an increasing focus on developing a quality breakfast offering, courtesy of South American native Minerva, there are no limits as to what the pub is hoping to achieve. But the one thing that Michelle is particularly keen to gush about is the new bar, which boasts not only more space and beautiful new décor, but also over 30 types of gin, ready for the summer. “As a local pub based in a county with so many wonderful and unique suppliers, I feel it’s our duty to have a comprehensive drinks list that includes both small and big names in the industry.” They are enthusiastic about celebrating great drink and, in Michelle’s case, especially gin. Following the dramatic rise in popularity of the spirit last year,

it seems like it’s almost become a necessity to make sure that demand is met. “It’s the garnish,” Michelle states. “Customers see these beautiful drinks served in gorgeous glasses with fresh fruit, and they want one for themselves. “Being experimental and creative with what we serve is so freeing, and it means we can listen to what people want from us, and always strive to make it a reality.” With summer just around the corner, this is the time for the renovated pub to truly shine; especially with the return of its popular Beer and Food Festival, from July 20 to 22, where you can sample a spectacular range of beers, ales and ciders from local producers, and Michelle cannot wait to showcase the true potential of the new Mark Cross Inn. She concludes: “When people think of great drink, delicious food and quality service, I want them to think of us.”

Following the devastating fire, we took the opportunity to make a few changes to The Mark Cross Inn, after our 11 years of trading. We hope you agree that the alterations have enhanced the look and feel of the pub, and we’re looking forward to having the new bi-folding doors open in the summer months, so that the magnificent view of the East Sussex countryside will no longer be restricted. There are a few things up our sleeves that we have left to do, but we’re immensely happy with the outcome and strength of the pub’s trading since the reopening.

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Thought FOOD FOR


Shop... The chocolate industry has undergone a revolution in the UK, and it needn’t be a sin, as Tunbridge Wells-based Chocolatl can attest to. This colourful gem of a café and shop is bursting with a million different ways for you to enjoy top-quality chocolate that demands little guilt. Keen to showcase the work of artisanal crafters, who have selected the finest beans to create a vast range of exciting flavours, you can purchase the outstanding products of bean-to-bar producers. You’re not lacking choice either, as you can take your pick from bars, truffles and gifts, and with dairy, gluten and nut-free options available, there’s no one who has to miss out.

Learn... It’s become increasingly important to know what we’re putting into our bodies, and even more so for our children. On June 2, Rosemary Shrager’s Cookery School will be running a summer course for parents who want to learn to cook...with the kids! This one-day course at the celebrity chef’s training haven in Tunbridge Wells is a fun-filled day for all the family, jam-packed with inspirational recipes that are sure to be loved by children and grown-ups alike. The course runs from 10am to 2pm, and every ticket covers one adult and one junior, aged eight to 16. The course costs £160, and is inclusive of all necessary ingredients and tools.

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Taste… Squerryes Estate sprawls over 2,500 acres of spectacular countryside within the Kent Downs, where the beautiful house has been home to eight generations of the Warde family. Visit their tasting room and terrace at their winery during all seasons, where you can take your pick from their entire selection of white, red, pink and sparkling wines. You can also tuck into their locally-sourced charcuterie and cheese, which are the perfect match. The winery likes to keep its tasting room informal, so groups under six can just walkin. You’re welcome to wander the vines, and the staff are always happy to answer any questions about the wines.

Travel… Vietnamese cuisine is generally considered to be one of the freshest and most fragrant on the planet, so it’s of little surprise that the tours there are a popular choice for the foodie traveller. Intrepid Travel offers a 12-day adventure from the capital of Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (from £1,290), on which you can cook and eat all the way through this culturally rich country. The price is inclusive of all meals and travel while in Vietnam, as well as additional activities, such as a cooking class, market walks and motorcycle tours. One particular highlight is a street food tour of Hanoi, which covers northern specialties like pho, bun cha and the golden-yellow xoi xeo (sticky rice with mung bean and fried onion).

Read... Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Fit Food: Mouth-watering recipes to fuel you for life, provides nutrient-rich recipes that will give you the energy you need to beat the bulge. Ramsay himself is a committed athlete, and appreciates the necessity of providing your body with the fuel it requires. Try your hand at the spiced fish tacos or lamb steaks with cauliflower tabbouleh – these are particular favourites. There’s no better advice you’ll get for the food necessary to achieving your goals than from this Michelin-Starred chef and fitness fanatic. Pick up a copy today, priced £25 (RRP), published by Hodder & Stoughton.


Experience… Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, along with his merry band of foodies, is coming to Tunbridge Wells for his celebration of all things tasty – the Pub in the Park festival. Kerridge will be setting up camp in Dunorlan Park (July 6 to 8) with world-class chefs, Michelinstarred pubs, live music and artisan producers, all of which will be at hand to help you not just taste food but experience it. There will be plenty of cooking demonstrations, as well as masterclasses for those who want to get their hands dirty, so this is the perfect opportunity to roll up your sleeves with all the family and get stuck in.

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tanding at a whopping six foot and two inches, Tom Kerridge packs quite the punch when I’m introduced to him at Sankey’s Seafood Brasserie in Tunbridge Wells. In spite of this being the last interview of the day, he’s still bursting with energy and speaks with unfaltering enthusiasm. Perhaps that’s because we’re here to talk about his huge food festival, Pub in the Park, which is coming to town for the very first time; an event that he’s poured all of his passion for the gastro pub into. This celebration of British food is the concept of a man who’s a pioneer on the front line of ensuring that pub cuisine is recognised around the world as some of the best grub around. Alongside his army of Michelinstarred chefs and trailblazers in the gastronomic universe, Kerridge is making the sometimes exclusive menus offered at the best pubs in the country accessible to the masses. He’s busy enough as it is. Between his books and television appearances, why has he created this festival of pub grub and grooves? “Pubs are British through-andthrough,” he declares proudly. “You have French brasseries, Spanish Tapas bars, and in Britain we have the pubs. They’re something that should be celebrated.” The celebrity chef is thrilled to have pub food recognised on the world

stage, which is something that he says certainly wasn’t the case when he started out in the industry over 20 years ago. But for Kerridge, it’s not just about the dishes that are being created, but the produce that’s being used. “Pubs are known now for offering really great dishes, whereas back in the day, I feel they were considered a bit of a laughing stock,” he recalls. “We’re now really proud to be cooking British produce. In the beginning, we were using a lot of aubergine, courgette and tomato, but you know what the British are really good at growing? Potatoes, carrots and turnips. This is a country where we have to wear a jumper nine months of the year – it’s cold and we grow good root vegetables.” When Kerridge considers the evolution that’s occurred in the British pub scene, from how it was when he started, to where it is now, he uses Stephen Harris of The Sportsman in Whitstable as an example. Harris is known across the globe for his food, and Kerridge relishes in the fact that both he and his dishes are famous from Kent to Tokyo: “Some of the greatest chefs in the world know Stephen Harris, and that’s simply phenomenal. That never would have been the case back in the day.” This evolution in pub food is evident in both the line-up at, and the popularity of, Pub in the Park, which was born in Marlow, Buckinghamshire; a place that also happens to be home of Kerridge’s two award-winning pubs,

The Hand and Flowers and The Coach, the former being the only pub in the UK to boast two Michelin stars: “We wanted the festival to be the quality of a large national event, but in your own backyard.” In spite of all of the award-winning chefs attending the festival, Tom is quick to clarify that the accolades aren’t what the festival is about. “We set the Marlowe festival up in 2017 because I wanted to bring all of my friends who own pubs and restaurants to showcase what they do in a much more relaxed environment without the pressure of exceptionally high expectations,” Kerridge says. Pub in the Park is just as much for the chefs as it is for those who have come to see them. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the food, not just the name behind it; it’s about the flavour, the heart and the soul. He wants the food to be experienced – to be eaten, tasted, enjoyed and appreciated. That’s what he wants people to take away from the event, which will be running in Marlow, Bath, Knutsford and Tunbridge Wells, four locations that share something: They’re all family-led communities that are passionate about food. “If they come away having learned something from the chefs, or have taken on some cooking techniques to try at home themselves, then that’s great, but it’s not the aim,” Kerridge tells me. “It’s just about having fun in a beautiful park with great food

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and fantastic live acts – both local and national. He’s dedicated to making sure that local chefs, music acts and producers aren’t drowned out by the sheer magnitude of this featival. The initial Pub in the Park in Marlow featured 10 pubs and, although all of them will be returning to the festival this year, they won’t be present at every location, in order to free up spots for local pubs to be involved: “We wanted it to have the production of a national festival, but with a local feed.” Today, he’s accompanied by Rob Taylor, Gastro Chef of the Year 2017, from The Compasses in Canterbury, who’s bursting with enthusiasm regarding his involvement with the Tunbridge Wells event. “It’s always exciting for chefs to be involved in events like this,” Taylor says, “especially with such a local feel to it. Local producers and chefs should

be showcasing their work and the journey that it’s been on.” Never has this been more important, with the need for people to know where their food is coming from growing ever stronger.

LOCAL PRODUCERS AND CHEFS SHOULD BE SHOWCASING THEIR WORK AND THE JOURNEY THAT IT’S BEEN ON “People want to know the name of the field and the name of the cow,”

Kerridge laughs. “I think it’s great. It always makes me think of those who claim that food is too expensive. If you take a moment to sit down and think about the journey that someone has gone on to produce those ingredients, you wouldn’t be making such a complaint. Take a steak, for example; someone is rearing and nurturing cattle, then taking it to slaughter, then packaging and sending it off to the butchers, and it’s there for weeks before it even comes to the chef. “Rather than questioning why things are so expensive, they should be questioning why things are so cheap.”



is coming to Dunorlan Park Friday July 6 to Sunday July 8 2018. For more information, visit

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A healthier approach

If you’re looking to keep your food a little lighter than pub grub this summer, try out this recipe from Tom Kerridge’s new book Lose Weight for Good Photography by Cristian Barnett

BAKED COD WITH BEANS, COURGETTES AND CHORIZO Feeling that you are depriving yourself on a diet is a short trip down the road to giving up entirely. Don’t do it to yourself! Although there’s not much chorizo in this dish, it gives such a tasty, crispy extra layer that you won’t feel you’re missing out. [ SERVES: 2 ] Calories: 535 per serving • 2 tsp flaky sea salt • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika • 2 cod fillets (200g each) • 3 medium courgettes, cut into chunks • 4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced • 200ml fresh fish stock • 1 tsp dried oregano • Olive oil spray • 400g tin butter beans, rinsed and drained • 200g cherry tomatoes on the vine • 40g pitted green olives • 8 thin slices of chorizo • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper • Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, to finish

1. Mix the flaky salt with ½ tsp smoked paprika and sprinkle over both sides of the cod fillets. Place them on a plate, cover with cling film and refrigerate for one to two hours 2. Preheat the oven to fan 180°C/gas mark 4. Line a roasting tin with baking parchment. 3. Place the courgettes in the roasting tin. Add the garlic and pour on half of the fish stock. Sprinkle with the oregano and some salt and pepper. Spray with 25 to 30 sprays of oil. Cook on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes. 4. Remove the fish from the fridge, wash off the salt and pat dry with kitchen paper. 5. Take the tray from the oven and mix through the butter beans. Nestle the fish fillets into the mixture, along with the cherry tomatoes and olives. Pour on the rest of the fish stock. Lay the chorizo slices, overlapping, on top of the cod fillets. 6. Sprinkle the lemon zest and juice and the remaining ½ tsp smoked paprika over everything and season with salt and pepper. Spray another 20 sprays of oil over the surface and bake in the oven for 12 minutes, until the fish is just cooked. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve. Extract taken from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge (Absolute Press, £22), available now from all good retailers

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Lighter than air Gone are the wintry months filled with heavy meals and warming dishes. With the arrival of sunny evenings spent with friends, and that summer holiday calling in the distance, now is the time to embrace a lighter way of life with these deliciously fresh meals from the team at Whiting & Hammond… PHOTOGRAPHY BY CRAIG MATTHEWS


Fillet of halibut, herb crust and roasted cauliflower with clam and samphire butter sauce SERVES: 6 Preparation time: 40 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes

For the herb crust Ingredients 15g chives 25g parsley 10g dill 4 slices fresh white bread, crusts removed 100g dry breadcrumbs 20ml vegetable oil 80ml melted butter

Directions • Place the herbs in a food processor and blitz for one minute. Add the fresh bread and blitz again until a crumb has formed, before adding the dry breadcrumbs. Process again for a further two minutes. Slowly add the vegetable oil and melted butter to the mixture until combined • Remove the mixture and place between two sheets of baking

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and giving them an occasional stir • Add the samphire, cream, tomato concasse and chives, then slowly add the butter to the pan and keep stirring until all of it has emulsified • Season to taste

paper. Roll out to the thickness of a 50 pence piece. Place in the fridge for a minimum of an hour to set • Once set, cut into squares that are the same size as the fillets of halibut

liquid. Secure the top of the blender and purée the mixture until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, thin it by adding some of the remaining liquid. • Season to taste

For the caramelised cauliflower purée

For the clam and samphire butter sauce




2 heads cauliflower, core removed and cut into florets 1tbsp vegetable oil Seasoning 500ml milk 500ml water

200-250g clams, submerged in cold water for 20 minutes to release the salt and sand 2 shallots, finely diced 500ml white wine 40g samphire, washed and trimmed 30ml double cream 30g tomato concasse 10g chives, chopped 175g unsalted butter

6 x 170g Halibut fillets

Directions • Spread half of the cauliflower florets on a sheet tray with the oil. Season with salt and bake for 25 minutes, or until caramelised, at 200°C. Set aside a few florets for garnish • Meanwhile, combine the remaining cauliflower, milk and water in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender. Strain the cauliflower from the milk mixture, reserving both • Transfer both batches of cauliflower to a blender. Add half of the reserved milk

Directions • Rinse the clams with fresh water and drain • Put some oil into a large saucepan and gently sweat the chopped shallots, being careful not to burn them • Add the clams and the white wine to the same pan • Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over a high heat until they begin to open, shaking the pan

For the halibut

Directions • Season both sides of the fish with salt • Place on a buttered grilling tray and place under a preheated grill for approximately three minutes. Turn the fillet over and grill for a further three minutes • Once the fish starts to easily flake with a fork, place a square of the herb crust on top and grill for a further 30 seconds to one minute To assemble the dish • Add the caramelised cauliflower purée to the plate with some of the caramelised florets • Place the herb-crusted fillet on the plate, with the butter sauce dressing over the the fish and around the plate

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Sautéed Kentish asparagus spears served with poached free range egg, glazed hollandaise sauce and shaved Wiltshire truffle SERVES: 4 Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes For the hollandaise sauce Ingredients 4 egg yolks 250g clarified butter, warmed 1tbsp white wine vinegar Lemon juice, to taste Directions • Place the egg yolks and white wine vinegar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Continuously whisk until the volume has doubled in size and can hold a ribbon shape • Remove from the water then very slowly whisk in the clarified butter until a nice thick sauce has formed • Whisk in the lemon juice to personal taste. Use as soon as possible

• Place the asparagus in a pan of boiling salted water and boil for two minutes, or until cooked. Drain the water away

• Bring back to the boil. Reduce to a simmer for three minutes

For the poached egg

Wiltshire truffle, shaved (optional)

Ingredients 4 Free-Range eggs 2l water 80ml white wine vinegar Directions • In a pan, bring the water and vinegar to the boil • Gently crack the eggs into the water

To assemble the dish Ingredients

Directions • Serve five spears on each plate • Cover the peeled part of the asparagus with three tablespoons of the hollandaise • Place under a preheated grill and allow to colour until golden • Remove from the grill and add the freshly poached egg • Add the shaved Wiltshire truffle over the dish

For the asparagus spears Ingredients 20 Kentish asparagus spears Directions • Snap the bottom of the asparagus to break off the woody part of the spear and discard • Peel the asparagus downwards from below the start of the spear

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Cured fillet of mackerel served with poached rhubarb and radish and watercress salad SERVES: 8 Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking/curing time: 1 hour 45 minutes For the cured mackerel Ingredients 100g sea salt 100g caster sugar 10 juniper berries ¼ bunch of dill, finely chopped zest of ½ lemon 4 large mackerel fillets Directions • Add the salt, sugar and juniper berries into a food processor and blitz for three minutes • Remove from the processor and mix in the dill and lemon zest • Lay the mackerel fillets on a large tray and cover evenly with the mixture. Turn the fillets over in the mixture a few times, to ensure that they’re coated all over • Wrap the whole tray in cling film and place in the fridge to cure for one hour and 30 minutes, or until firm to the touch • Once cured, remove and rinse off the remaining salt with cold water and pat dry • Cut the fillet in half down the length of the fish

300g fresh rhubarb, washed and cut into three-inch batons

For the watercress & radish salad


200g watercress 16 radishes, sliced 20ml olive oil Sea salt

• Add the sugar to the water and bring it to the boil • Once boiled, turn down to a gentle simmer and add one quarter of the rhubarb batons. Leave to simmer for approximately three minutes until just cooked with a slight firmness • Remove and allow to cool. Once cool, cut in half on the angle • Add the remaining batons and cook for five to six minutes until soft. Remove and drain off any excess liquid • Place in a food processor and blend until smooth


Directions • In a bowl, add the watercress and radish • Gently dress with the olive oil and a light sprinkle of sea salt To assemble the dish • Serve one half of each fillet per plate • Add the batons of rhubarb • Dot the purée around the dish at random • Scatter the watercress and radish around the plate

For the rhubarb batons and purée Ingredients 1l water 350g sugar

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Devonshire clotted cream panna cotta served with elderflower poached strawberries and strawberry meringue SERVES: 4 Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 2 hours with 4 hours’ chill time

For the clotted cream panna cotta Ingredients 2 bronze gelatine leaves 100ml cold water 300ml double cream 50ml milk 65g caster sugar 150g clotted cream Directions • Place the gelatine in the cold water for five minutes to soften • Add the double cream, milk, sugar and clotted cream to a pan and

gently heat to 90°C. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to 70°C • Remove the gelatine leaves from the water and squeeze out any excess water. Add the gelatine leaves to the clotted cream mix and strain through a fine sieve • Set into desired moulds For the elderflower poached strawberries Ingredients 12 ripe strawberries 150ml elderflower cordial 400ml water

Directions • Remove the tops of the strawberries • Combine the elderflower cordial, water and strawberries together in a pan, and gently heat until the strawberries have softened • Remove the strawberries from the water and allow to cool For the strawberry meringue Ingredients 50g egg whites 50g caster sugar 10g freeze-dried strawberry pieces To assemble the dish • Place the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl or stand mixer. Whisk to combine, gradually adding the sugar until fully incorporated in a glossy meringue • Spread thinly onto a paper-lined baking tray and sprinkle with the freeze-dried strawberry pieces • Place in the oven at 90°C for approximately one hour, or until not wet to the touch

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Roast rump of lamb served with fondant potato, caramelised onion puree, summer baby vegetables and mint gravy SERVES: 4 Preparation time: 40 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes

For the lamb rump Ingredients 4 x 160g lamb rumps 30g butter Directions • Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 8 • Season the meat all over to taste • Place a pan over a medium to high heat. Once hot, add the lamb skin-side down and allow

the fat to render out of the meat. Once golden, turn and colour evenly on all sides. • Add the butter, allow to foam, and use to baste the lamb • Place the pan into the oven and allow to cook for six to eight minutes for a medium/rare finish – or 55 to 60˚C when tested with a meat thermometer • Remove the pan from the oven and allow the lamb to rest for six to eight minutes

For the summer vegetables Ingredients 6 baby turnips, peeled and cleaned 8 baby carrots, peeled and cleaned 8 baby leeks 80g broad beans, shelled 80g fresh peas, shelled Directions • Bring a pan of salted water to the boil • Add the turnips and cook for six minutes • Add the carrots and boil for five minutes • Add the leeks and boil for four minutes • Add the broad beans and boil for two minutes • Add the peas and boil for two minutes • Refresh in ice cold water For the caramelised onion purée Ingredients 2 medium-sized white onions, peeled and finely diced 60ml vegetable oil Continued

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Directions • In a medium-sized pan, heat the oil on a high heat • Add the onions and onstantly stir to avoid burning. After five minutes on a high heat, turn the heat down to medium and cook until golden-brown and soft • Transfer to a blender and blitz until a smooth purée For the fondant potato Ingredients 150g butter 3 garlic cloves

5 thyme sprigs 4 King Edward potatoes, peeled and cut into rounds 100ml vegetable stock Directions • Melt the butter with the garlic and thyme in a medium-sized pan • Place the potatoes in the pan and cook for about five to six minutes until golden on the bottom • Cover the potatoes with the vegetable stock and gently simmer until cooked

For the mint gravy Ingredients 6tbsp lamb dripping 1tbsp plain flour 300ml lamb stock 1tbsp mint sauce or 20g fresh mint Directions • In a frying pan over a medium heat, warm the dripping and sprinkle in the plain flour. Stir until it forms a paste • Gradually whisk in a little stock at a time, allowing the gravy to thicken after each addition • Once the gravy has reached its desired consistency, stir in the mint sauce or fresh mint • Season to taste To assemble the plate • Add a swipe of the caramelised onion purée • Place the potato fondant on the plate, along with the sliced lamb rump • Arrange the leek around the lamb and scatter the remaining vegetables on the plate • Finish with the lamb sauce over the rump and around the plate

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Tea-smoked breast of duck served with orange-glazed plum salad SERVES: 4 Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 14 minutes plus chilling

For the tea-smoked duck breast Ingredients 2 duck breasts 6 Rooibos tea bags Directions • Heat a smoking tray on a gas hob • Once hot, add your teabags and light them with a blow torch to start the smoking process • Add the duck breast to the smoking tray’s insert, skin-side up, place over the smoke and cover

• Reduce the heat to medium • After eight minutes of cooking, remove the lid and flip the breast. Continue cooking for a further four minutes • Pre-heat the frying pan, then place the breasts in skin-side down to render down the fat until crisp. Let them sit until cool For the orange-glazed plum salad Ingredients

500g mixed salad to serve 30ml olive oil Directions • Zest the oranges into the olive oil • Remove the pith. Segment the orange, then squeeze the juice from the pulp into the olive oil and whisk • Destone the plums and cut each half into three

2 oranges 3 plums

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Gastro Pairings Blanc APRIL | Journeymaker Chenin ted cauliflower with clam and Fillet of halibut, herb crust and roas samphire butter sauce es to ng heroes, especially when it com In my opinion, one of wine’s unsu it is e Loir the from Blanc. Historically food matching is the grape Chenin s, fish clam er, butt the with the weight of also excellent in South Africa, and the sh refre to ity acid with texture but also and cauliflower you need a wine . palate, and Chenin ticks every box

JUNE | Ramon Bilbao Rioja Rosado Cured fillet of mackerel with poached rhubarb, and radish and watercress salad This summery June dish works really well with a rosé, especially one with plenty of fruit to stand up to the flavour of the rhubarb, which can often be found in rose wines! A suggestion of sweetness is fine, but the key here is the red fruit flavours and a swathe of acidity to cut through the oily character of the fish.

JULY | Clos Dady Sauternes Devonshire clotted cream panna cotta served with elderflower poached strawberries and strawberry meringue With puddings, the rule of thumb is to make sure that wine is sweeter than the actual dish or else the wine will appear too dry and won’t marry with the food so well. Meringue, strawberries, elderflower and cream however, while sweet, are quite delicate flavours and so an elegant pudding wine (rather than a fortified sweet wine) is just the ticket here, such as this classic Sauternes.

MAY | Crossroads Milestone Series Chardonnay Sautéed Kentish asparagus apears with poached free range egg, glazed hollandaise sauce and shaved Wiltshire truffle Asparagus on its own is sensational with Sauvignon but here you need to consider the texture and creaminess of the egg and hollandaise and also the earthiness of truffle. Ideally you need to look for a wine with more texture and some oak. For this, a Chardonnay with light toasty oak notes is sensational and, if you are pushing the boat out, Champagne would also work!

AUGUST | De Gras Cabernet

Sauvignon Reserva Roast rump of lamb served with fond ant potato, caramelised onion pure e, summer baby vegetables and mint gravy Roast lamb, especially when served with a mint sauce of any description is a match made in heaven with Cab ernet Sauvignon. The reason for this is that the dominant flavours of Cab ernet Sauvignon are notes of cassis, blackcurrant leaf and mint and so they work very well with the mint sauce and green vegetables whilst the wine has the structure to cope with the mea t too.

SEPTEMBER | Mac Murray Central Coast Pinot Noir Tea smoked breast of duck with orange glazed plum salad The trick to matching wines with game or duck is to select a wine that is light to medium-bodied with red cherry, plum or berry flavours. This primarily means a lovely pinot noir or a juicy Italian wine (such as Barbera) and both would work well here as you want a wine with soft tannins and pretty, succulent yet elegant fruit but I went for the classic match of pinot noir with a New World fruit profile.

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The brains BEHIND


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Minerva Maersk Jensen

The Mark Cross Inn Chef for 22 years Whiting & Hammond chef for one year and six months

Daniel Curtis

The Chaser Inn Chef for 28 years Whiting & Hammond chef for nearly ďŹ ve years

Simon Haywood

The Little Brown Jug Chef for ten years Whiting & Hammond chef for ten years

Matt Pask

The Farm @ Friday Street Chef for eight years and three months Whiting & Hammond chef for eight years

David Mathias

The Rose and Crown Chef for just over 20 years Whiting & Hammond chef for one year and six months

Carl Phipps

The Cricketers Inn Chef for ten years Whiting & Hammond chef for three years and six months

Adam Barritt

The Kings Head Chef for 14 years Whiting & Hammond chef for four years

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Minerva: I trained at a Spanish hotel

chain in South America with a French executive chef.

flavours and textures to choose from. Saying this, I do enjoy cooking meaty dishes like steak, but I also enjoy creating more delicate options. If I really had to choose, it would be something like beef wellington. It just looks and tastes delicious.

Carl: My favourite dish to make at home would be curry or anything like that because it’s the one I can get my daughter to eat without moaning.

Adam: Sounds a bit boring, but bread! Daniel: My training was completed Me, or the missus, make it on a daily basis. at Thanet College. doesn’t feel like a proper start to my day David: Honey and soya seared salmon, Itunless smell of a homemade loaf Simon: I was lucky enough to work my with pan fried scallops and grilled herb bakingIingetthetheoven. way up and learn the trade on the job with Whiting & Hammond.

Matt: I also trained with Whiting &

Hammond. I got my NVQ qualification at The Farm @ Friday Street.

polenta, cray fish tails, served with a prawn toast, and chilli and ginger dressing.

Carl: I love getting creative, so I

always enjoy working with pastry – there’s so much you can do with it.

David: I qualified at Stratford College Adam: I don’t really have a favourite in East London. dish, but my favourite produce to work with is seafood. It’s very intricate, and I Carl: I was helping out at a private like the fact that I never know what I’ll be school on Sundays, and started to learn bits and bobs. After that, I took an apprenticeship at a country club and started attending West Kent College.


: I started my career at Claridges before moving to a gastro company called Geronimo Inns where I learnt the majority off what I know.



: There isn’t a specific dish, as I like them all, but if I was forced to choose it would be the baked cheese cake – it is my own recipe.

Daniel: No favourite; I simply enjoy

seeing what’s in season and incorporating them into the dishes.

Simon: The great thing about our

kitchens is the versatility, and being able to create and prepare new specials on a weekly basis. Coming into summer though, I always look forward to preparing dishes in the smoker – it’s a new toy!

Matt: I get asked this a lot but I can never answer; there are too many great

ordering until I speak to our supplier to see what has been landed that morning.


Minerva: Ceviche, which is a popular

seafood dish from Latin America. It’s practically bursting with flavour and it reminds me of where I’m from.

Daniel: I’m always working, but when

I’m at home, I always go for a simple dish that is quick and easy – just enough for my girlfriend and I.

Simon: When I cook for the family, I

like to do dishes I’m not so familiar with from around the world and try new things. It is that or baking; it is nice to bake at a leisurely pace.

Matt: Stir-fry is a staple. It’s great to throw together something that’s quick, fresh and packed full of flavour.

David: A dish from my homeland of Barbados: Pilchards cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with roasted bread fruit, fried plantains and boiled cassava.



: My kitchen and the staff. It is the perfect size and we share the same vision, mission and work ethic.

Daniel: I love all aspects of my job,

but working for Whiting & Hammond allows us, as an established team, a lot more freedom to create menus and new dishes, which in turn allows more time to focus on the young chefs to give them the training they need.

Simon: The different challenges

every day, having the freedom to create dishes, pushing myself and my team.

Matt: The rush of a busy service.

Working as a team to produce quality food for happy customers is very fulfilling.

David: I truly believe that Whiting &

Hammond are a good company to work for, which makes it easier for me to enjoy my job. Also, having the freedom to be creative with the menu and having the support when needed.

Carl: Getting compliments on food knowing you’ve done a good job and working with a good group of people.


: The fact that no two days are the same. I get to work with wonderful produce, have a chat with suppliers daily, meet new people and be creative. This week we are off foraging for wild garlic and wood sorrel!

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A smokin'

Summer Head chef at The Little Brown Jug, Simon Haywood, tells us how to smoke the perfect rack of ribs Photography by Craig Matthews

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Preparation 1

“The membrane can be removed from the ribs by hand. Pull off the layer bit by bit and discard. It’s important to remove this part of the rib, as otherwise the finished product can become tough or a little chewy. You want the meat falling away from the bone.” STEP TWO

The overnight rub

“For the rub, we use cayenne pepper, paprika, chilli powder, onion powder and garlic powder in equal parts – I’ll use a little less of the chilli. Once the seasoning is mixed, rub it into the ribs, making sure there’s even coverage. Once that’s done, leave it to absorb the flavour overnight in the fridge. This isn’t a dish that you can rustle up last-minute; you need to prepare the night before.”



A slow smoke


“We smoke the ribs using what’s called the ‘three-two-one’ method, named for the hours we leave the meat in the smoker. Once the ribs have marinated overnight, we put them in the smoker, bone-side down, at 22°F for three hours. The logs are applewood, which produces a stronger and sweeter smoke – it’s really versatile and adds so much to the flavour. I add separate trays of apple juice; the steam from those circulates with the smoke, so that the ribs stay lovely and moist.” STEP FOUR


“After the three-hour smoke, the ribs are removed and placed in air-tight containers with butter, brown sugar and apple juice, before smoking for a further two hours, bone-side up. Following this, we uncover the ribs and let them smoke for the final hour.” STEP FIVE

Get saucy


“Finally, the ribs are smothered in barbecue sauce and grilled to bring out the glaze. It adds a lovely sweetness to them that compliments the spice of the rub. What you’re left with is a meat that falls away from the bone and is packed with flavour.”

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Keeping it sweet

Matthew Noakes of Wishfield Honey tells us about how the bees keep him buzzing

What does your average day look like, Matthew?

How do you spend your weekends?

There isn’t really an average day. During the spring, I’m repairing equipment, building frames and cleaning the equipment for the season ahead. In early summer, my time is spent on swarm control; increasing the size of the hive to deter swarming, and giving the bees more room for honey. Autumn is the main harvest, preparing the bees for winter, checking that they have enough stores and are of a good size, so that they can produce enough body heat to survive the cold. And then, in the build-up to Christmas, I visit local shows and fairs. Essentially, the job changes as the seasons do.

I usually attend a couple of the local farmers’ markets, and will visit a few fairs during the summer. But to be honest, my time is taken up mainly with the bees. If someone calls about a swarm, or the bees are increasing at a rapid rate, then I need to be there. I do like to have Sundays off, as I need some rest, but that doesn’t always happen.

How long are your days? This also changes with the season. My days in springtime are typically seven to nine hours long, which increases to 10 to 12-hour days in the summer. Saying that, if I’m extracting honey, this will increase to 14 or 16 hours. Autumn sees the return of 10-hour days, and finally it drops back to around eight hours in the winter. I always look forward to the New Year, because that’s when I can switch off for a while and catch up on some much needed relaxation.

How long have you been keeping bees? A very long time – about 11 years. It had originally started as a hobby, but by the third year I had 50 hives. At that point, I had to decide whether to keep going with beekeeping, or stick with the other job I had at the time. Obviously, the bees stuck and I’m pleased they did. How many bees do you keep at the moment? I’m currently floating around the 80-hive mark, but have, in the past, gone up to over 100. At the moment, I’m looking at growing the number thanks to my increased knowledge and experience of them. With an average of 40,000 bees per hive, you’re looking at about 3.4million bees, so best to exercise a little caution when dealing with them!

How did to you come to keep bees? I originally started beekeeping for health reasons. I suffer from particularly bad hay fever, and found that local honey really does help. It won’t cure you, but it certainly alleviates the symptoms. I was also recovering

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from shingles, and found that beekeeping was very therapeutic. What’s the importance of keeping bees? It’s hugely important. They play a very significant role in putting food on our plates, and are pretty much the foundation for a lot of other wildlife. As the bee population increases, so does the number of flowers; they respond to being properly pollinated, resulting in a natural lushness that’s of benefit to a whole host of other creatures. However, we do need to be aware of over-population, as a single bee can visit 2,000 flowers per day, and ideally would need that for six months of the year. A balance needs to be found somewhere. Finally, in your opinion, why is it important to support local producers? We’re fortunate to live in a very fertile part of the UK – Kent is called ‘The Garden of England’ for a reason – and there are a lot of small producers in the area making some outstanding products. By buying local, it helps to keep the local economy going, and reduces the carbon footprint. This looks after the environment and the bees as well. Look out for Matthew at Kent Farmers’ Markets across the county. For more information, visit 

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Make friends with salad

With the summer months comes an abundance of fresh delights direct from the Kent and Sussex countryside, and Bruce McMichael tells us why our local market is good for the body, and the soul ating al fresco is one of the great joys of the summer. Sunshine, grass under our toes, warming sun on our faces and the thought of eating light, healthy food makes us all feel better. With a little planning, it’s a joy to eat well at this time of year, although it’s also easy to indulge in too many ice creams and burnt burgers from the barbeque. Farmers’ markets and farm shops are great places to visit for local, seasonal artisan food and drink. There is always an array of options to choose from; fresh bread, make and bake cakes, cheeses and charcuterie, fruit and vegetables, summer berries and so much more. Often grown or sourced on the farm, or within a few miles, the food is still fresh and bursting with the vitamins and minerals that are often lost when buying plastic, shrinkwrapped produce that may have been in storage for many days, even weeks.


There are plenty of delicious, healthy options that are in full flush during the warm summer months and can be found on colourful displays across farmers’ markets and farm shops. Both outlets offer the chance for family, neighbours and friends to connect with their local farmers and artisans in a fun, friendly environment. Cauliflowers, new potatoes, baby veg, spinach, Savoy cabbage and spring greens are among the crops cut fresh in the field and being artfully displayed. Locally grown staples including fresh herbs such as parsley, mint, dill and even coriander are now abundant. People are discovering the health benefits of fresh produce for themselves, and are increasingly growing their own produce at home, with opportunities ranging from smallholdings and allotments, to raised beds, a window box or tomato growbag on the porch. But if you don’t grow

your own locally, fresh vegetables and fruit are widely available sold at farmers’ markets in towns and villages such as Shipbourne, Tonbridge and Eastbourne. The chalk, sand and clay soils of Kent, Surrey and Sussex, and the drier climate in this corner of England compared to the rest of the UK provides perfect conditions for growing apples, strawberries and grape vines. Vineyards across Surrey, Sussex and Kent are thriving and are often found in farmers’ markets resulting in a heritage that spans centuries. Champagne house Taittinger recently bought a vineyard near Chilham village in Kent as the site for its venture into English sparkling wine. You can sample the wine for yourself at Whiting & Hammond pubs. The iconic corn on the cob without butter or salt, a high-fibre, low-calorie food, is found in farmers’ markets such as Shipbourne, Kent. The market is held

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every Thursday morning and can be found in the Church next to Whiting & Hammond-pub, The Chaser Inn. Cobs are great on the BBQ or boiled and served with a small knob of butter and salt. Try shaving raw cob slivers into salads for a little extra crunch. Fruit salads are a great way to start the day or finish an evening meal. Summer is peak season for colourful, vitamin-rich berries and stone fruit. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries are all available at farmers’ outlets and pick-your-own farms, which is a great way to introduce children to eating fresh fruit and getting an appreciation of how such delicious food is grown. To complement drinking water, fresh juices and homemade smoothies, eating fresh fruit also helps energise and hydrate our bodies, particularly when the weather heats up. A vegetable that’s best in summer is the versatile courgette which can be prepared and eaten raw, grilled, rolled, sliced or diced. It is a brilliant summer veg. Jo Banks, a west Kent-based cookery teacher, blogger and events organiser, says: “This summer I will be eating plenty of salads. There’s nothing like locally grown tomatoes and courgettes. I personally love summer berries – raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, as they are nutritious and easy to munch on, dress up a dessert or summer cocktail, and easy to have at any time of day.” With its distinctive flavour and satisfying crunch, celery is a fabulously healthy snack or ingredient, perfect for use in salads, soups, casseroles and more. Jo says, “a positive approach to healthy eating is all about looking for simple ways to increase the nutritional potential of your everyday diet. For example, you could sprinkle berries over your porridge for more vitamin C, or add frozen peas to the family’s spaghetti bolognese.” Summer is a wonderful time to be outdoors enjoying the buzz of a farmers’ market, followed by a walk with friends and family before enjoying a delicious pub lunch. Farm fresh food is healthy, tasty and local – perfect for a garden party or al fresco picnic. To find a farmers’ market near you and times of opening, go to the Kent Farmers’ Market Association website at Bruce McMichael is a food writer and manager of the Penshurst Farmers’ Market, which is held on the first Saturday of the month. He blogs at and has launched a company making citrus-based foods and drinks

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sexy back

WE SPEAK TO ADAM WYARTT, GLOBAL BRAND MANAGER FOR MULTI-AWARDWINNING ABLEFORTH’S, ABOUT WHY RUM IS THE NEXT BIG THING - FOR REAL THIS TIME... Gin has experienced a surge in popularity over the past three years. Can we expect to see the same from rum? During my 20 years in the industry, it‘s been said that rum will be the ‘next big thing’ for the past 12, but I have a feeling that this time will be different. Recently, I spoke to a famous spirit connoisseur, described an upcoming ‘rum renaissance’. What do you think is the source of the spirit’s popularity? Rum is an extremely sexy drink. It has connotations of being abroad in beautiful places on beautiful beaches, so I can very much see this renaissance happening. Do you believe there’s anything holding rum

back from being the ‘next big thing’? The regulations on rum are somewhat lacking. It’s too easy for brands to manipulate their product in order to boost sales. It’s commonplace to add lots of caramel, for example, which can make a rum appear visibly darker; this can lead to people assuming that it’s an aged product and worth a higher price, when the quality isn’t necessarily there. Moreover, the laws surrounding rum mean that you can class a bottle as a ‘seven-year-old’ when that’s the age of only one of the components. The product could mostly comprise two and three-year-old rums, but if it contains a single drop

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of seven-year-old rum, it can be referred to as such. Whisky, however, is regulated in a way that you can only label it as ‘seven years old’ if there’s nothing younger than that in the product. The negative conation of this is that you can end up with very dark, apparently aged rums that are largely just sugar. This may make the drink more accessible to the masses, but it doesn’t help in preserving the reputation of rum, or monitoring pricing. Do you find that the public are generally aware of these differences in laws? You’ll find that rum has a very loyal following – there are many forums online dedicated to the preservation of the reputation. A lot of very dedicated rum fans are also whisky lovers, and this crossover emphasises the differences between the legislations surrounding the two spirits. It has a big effect on the industry, and means that, while a bottle of whisky in the top 10% tier could cost anything between £800 to £3,000, a top-tier rum like an aged FourSquare will remain nearer to £300. Another notable difference is overstating alcohol by volume (ABV) content too. You’ve got forums of rum fans battling

their thoughts and concerns regarding such issues, and it’s having a real impact on the industry. With this being pushed into the light, I believe that the general public will start seeking out quality rums and gaining an appreciation for them.




There aren’t a lot of locally-produced rums. How would it affect the local industry if rum were to take off in a similar way to gin?

It’s the world’s first spirit

I think positively as a whole. It would be great for people to expand their knowledge of the spirit beyond just thinking that there’s white, silver and dark rum, and that dark rum is the oldest.

Before 1870, rum was often prescribed to cure sailors of scurvy.

An understanding and appreciation of rum would make some people realise that you don’t have to like a brand like Bacardi to be a fan. Flavour profiles and knowledge of usage will allow people to adapt the drink in a way that works for them; you would use a lighter Spanish rum in a Daiquiri, which is a completely different experience to drinking a British naval rum. Broadly speaking, former British colonies in the Caribbean often make heavier and thicker rums, while former Spanish colonies make lighter and sweeter versions. Agricole rum, which is a different style altogether, holds a French influence.

It was in the 1620s that the first distillation took place in the Caribbean. Rum is the cure

Pay up During the 18th century, it wasn’t uncommon for sailors to receive rum as part of their pay package. Older and wiser Dating back to 1705, Mount Gay prides itself on being the oldest existing rum company in the world. Sitting pretty Rum was a go-to beauty product for its ability to clean hair and strengthen roots in the 1800s.

We’re living in a time when people want to buy better and know where the products come from, and that’s where the appreciation of quality rum will come from. For more information, visit

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First of the

summer wine

Jonny Gibson of Sussex Wine School talks asparagus, barbecues and lighter wines ne of the best things about this time of year is when the signs appear at the end of the dusty tracks around Sussex and Kent of fresh asparagus. If you take your local and seasonal food as seriously as I do, then you’ll know all about the joys of buttery steamed Jersey royals, quickly cooked asparagus and hollandaise sauce. But what to drink with this early summer classic? The wine and food pairing gurus suggest Sauvignon Blanc, particularly the herbaceous version from the cool climates of the Loire Valley as this seems to partner with the asparagus so well. Sancerre or Pouilly Fumé are great choices if you’re looking to impress, but you can save the pennies by choosing a Touraine Sauvignon, or a wine from a lesser-known village appellation like Quincy, Reuilly or Menetou Salon. I particularly like Domaine Henri Pellé’s Menetou-Salon Morogues 2015. There’s no need to stick to Sauvignon either, as there are plenty of zingy, grassy whites out there from other grape varieties. You can match your


local asparagus with something closer to home, like an English dry white wine. The excellent Davenport Vineyards Horsmonden Dry White 2016, Albourne Estate Bacchus 2016, Biddenden’s Gribble Bridge White, and Bolney Pinot Gris 2016 are all great choices. An undoubted perk of this job is the fact that I get to try a lot of different wines every week; either at our own tastings, or in wine shops and trade tasting events. There really are some hidden gems out there, and it’s always a joy to stumble across them. I’m a big fan of green fruit wines with a stony mineral edge (think Chablis), and am always on the lookout for them. This style of white wine is perfect for summer drinking – it helps that my wife loves them too. Recent finds have included the excellent Govone Gavi di Gavi 2016, Nunzio Ghiraldi ‘Il Gruccione’ Lugana 2014, Grüner Veltliner 2016 Weingärten Weissenkirchen, Wachau and Pazo de Villarei Albariño, Rías Baixas 2016. If you do have a craving for Chablis, I can point you in the direction of Domaine Fournillon’s Chablis from The

Secret Cellar – an absolutely delicious, benchmark small producer. Spring and summer usually means light to medium-bodied reds. Good Beaujolais is a wondrous thing, and we should drink more of it at this time of year. I really like Marie & Matthieu Lapierre’s Vin de France ‘Raisins Gaulois’ for a juicy Gamay hit. There’s quite a buzz at the moment about wines like this one, which are made without chemical sprays in the vineyard, and without much of anything in the way of additives or adjustments in the winery. These so-called ‘natural wines’ are made from organically farmed grapes (some are from biodynamic vineyards), and are usually either lightly filtered, or not filtered at all. They have an enticing freshness about them and are finished with much lower levels of the preservative SO2 in them compared to other wines. Try the Beaujolais-style wine or the fresh Tempranillo Gran Cerdo Rosso 2017 to get a feel for what these wines are like. Closer to home, Davenport Vineyards wines are all made this way too.

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GASTRO WINE If you have a barbecue in mind, you may want some ripe fruits and spices from warmer climates. Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Syrah from New Zealand’s warmer North Island has a gentle smoky and peppery blackberry fruit, very much like a northern Rhone wine, and is perfect with lamb. The Sottana range from Argentina includes ripe, classy Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon reds, and is a good bet with chargrilled meats. My final lighter red tip is Byron’s Santa Maria Valley Nielson Pinot Noir 2013, which I thought was absolutely stunning, with soft red berry fruits, floral and

mineral notes, and was more Burgundian than Californian. I could enjoy this wine all day long when the weather warms up. I couldn’t find it listed any further south than Noel Young wines in Cambridge. To the independent wine shops in Sussex and Kent: Please stock it! Jonny Gibson is a wine educator and owner of Sussex Wine School, an independent company that runs regular tastings and courses, including WSET Levels one to three in Tunbridge Wells and Brighton. For more information, visit

Jonny’s Wine List Albourne Estate Bacchus 2016 South Downs Cellars £14.95 Biddenden Gribble Bridge White The Secret Cellar £11.50 Bolney Pinot Gris 2016 Waitrose £16 Davenport Horsmonden Dry White 2016 £14.60 Domaine Henri Pelle Menetou-salon Morogues 2015 Virgin Wines and The Wine Society £13 to £14 Govone Gavi del Comune di Gavi 2016 The Secret Cellar £12.50 Grüner Veltliner 2016 Weingärten Weissenkirchen, Wachau Majestic £10.99 Nunzio Ghiraldi ‘Il Gruccione’ Lugana 2016 Cucolo Deli, Heathfield £16 Pazo de Villarei Albariño, Rías Baixas 2016 The Wine Society £9.50 Domaine Fournillon Chablis The Secret Cellar £14.50 Domaine Lapierre, Vin de France Gamay Raisins Gaulois 2016 Les Caves de Pyrene £14.50 Gran Cerdo Tempranillo Gonzalo Grijalba 2017 Les Caves de Pyrene £9.60 Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Syrah 2016 Hailsham Wine Cellars £12.95

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A matter


Sam Capron, a.k.a ‘The Mistress of Wine’, tells us how to appreciate the complexity of flavour

If you’re interested in wine tasting, it’s ultimately because you enjoy it; you drink it at home, or in a restaurant with your partner or friends. But are you really getting the most out of the glass and appreciating the flavour to the fullest? Tasting is an art that requires a mental database of tastes, which is something that can only be developed with time and understanding. But for those who wish to add a new sophistication to their wine drinking, here are some steps on how to get started.


st step: See

The colour of a wine can give a good indication as to the varietal, provenance and age, so take a good look. This isn’t the most important of the steps, but it can certainly tell you something: For example, if it’s a very pale wine, the colour could suggest that it hasn’t had any oak. Though it’s not just the colour

that you can keep your eyes peeled for. The legs of the wine – the tears that form down the edge of the glass – can be indicative of sugar and alcohol content. If you’ve got yourself a very rich red wine, you’ll not only be able to see this from the colour, but from the way that it almost sticks to the inside of the glass due to high alcohol content or sugar.



nd step: Swirl

Next, swirl the wine gently around the glass, as this lets the air in and releases those all-important aromas. This action activates esters and aromatises them, which is why a wine glass is shaped much like a tulip; it concentrates the smell so that it shoots up the nasal passage. Be sure not to fill your glass too high, otherwise you’re sure to spill. Pour yourself a smallish sample to get the most out of the experience. Pick your glass up by the stem for control and to avoid warming the wine if you’re tasting white or fizz.


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rd step:Sniff



As you don’t really wine taste, you wine smell, ‘nosing’ a wine is an integral part of tasting, so take your time. In spite of the common misconception, the five tastes – sweet, bitter, salty, sour and umami – isn’t what give you flavour; it’s the mixture of both the aroma and these tastes. Taking note of the accents and hints within the aromas is something that requires practice, but my handy flavour tree (left) will be able to give you an indication of what you should be looking for. But this isn’t the only reason. When a waiter in a restaurant asks if you would like to try the wine, they aren’t asking if you like it. It’s important to check the wine isn’t corked – a bottle that contains the chemical compounds 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA; or 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA). This occurs when there is a taint in the cork, which can leave a wine, depending on how badly it’s corked, smelling a little like mould or damp. Once you’ve smelled that particular scent a few times, recognition becomes far easier. That’s a lot of what smelling wine is about; building up a strong knowledge of aromas.


th step: Sip

Now, draw air into the mouth through the lips so that you can continue to taste and assess the wine. What you taste is very similar to what you smell. When you see drinkers slurping their wine, it’s because they’re trying to draw air into the mouth, to cause a similar effect to the swirling process (step 2). With this technique, you get the aromas hitting the back of the mouth and travelling through the oropharynx passage, which translates to the brain. Sam Caporn MW has been in the wine trade for over 20 years, and qualified as a Master of Wine in 2011 – one of only 370 people worldwide to have achieved the wine world’s most prestigious qualification. On top of that, she’s also one of only 13 women (again, worldwide) to have been awarded The Madame Bollinger Medal for Excellence in Tasting. Sam is a freelance wine expert, consultant, educator, presenter and judge. For more information visit

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Fabulous fibre… and why we should be eating more

Nutritionist Kate Arnold tells us why fibre may not be sexy, but is certainly necessary


hen I was very small, I remember my mother making me sit for hours until I’d finished my bowl of bran cereal – there was absolutely no chance of me leaving the table without doing so. I still remember the vile little brown sticks (which I tried to tell myself were Twiglets), finally giving in to the milk to form a pale brown soup. That’s my memory of so-called fibre; bran and a few B vitamins thrown in for good measure – yuck!

Over the last 40 years, fibre has been thrown in the cheap DVD bin as a subject so boring that it‘s lost its edge and relevance. But I have news – as the fashions come and go, fibre is back, even bigger than ever. Yep, fibre is the new black.

digestive system, and great at getting rid of waste. It contains substances like pectin, which is resistant to the action of digestive enzymes.

WHAT IS FIBRE? Essentially, fibre is a complex carbohydrate that’s poorly digested by the human body. However, as it passes through our digestive system, it does some seriously good work. It’s essential to a well-functioning

SOLUBLE FIBRE This type is soluble in water. When mixed with water, it converts to a gel-like substance as it swells. The scientific names are pectin, gums and mucilages. Good examples are oats and psyllium husks.


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GASTRO NUTRITION INSOLUBLE FIBRE This doesn’t dissolve in water. It passes through our GI tract in pretty much the same form in which it started. Scientific names for such fibres include cellulose. Most insoluble fibres come from wholegrain wheat, as it contains the bran. The daily recommended amount has been increased to 30g, as advised by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. And what does this mean? To be blunt, we’re not meeting our fibre recommendations, not even by the old readings. What we are achieving is a paltry 12g per day. There can be many explanations for this, including not meeting the adequate amount of fruit and vegetables, or opting for refined grains instead of whole. At the moment, we get 40% of that measly 12g from cereal and cereal products, 30% from vegetables, and 9% from fruit. Put simply, we need to do better.

WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF FIBRE? • Decreases the ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) • Decreases blood pressure • Decreases C-Reactive Protein (CRP), which is a marker for inflammation and predictor of cardiovascular disease • Decreases your glucose absorption rate • Keeps you feeling fuller for longer • Decreases transit time during digestion • Increases short-chain fatty acids • Soluble fibre can be good for mild to moderate constipation, and help with straining and haemorrhoids • Feeds our gut microbiome in a really

good way, and can help good bacteria thrive longer ARE THERE ANY DOWNSIDES TO EATING TOO MUCH FIBRE? Eating more fibre is beneficial for most people. However, there are certain conditions where it can exacerbate symptoms. A good example of this is Crohns disease, where a low-fibre diet is often prescribed for some patients, something that’s also common after bowel surgery. Additionally, a high-fibre diet can result in wind for some people; although humans can’t digest fibre, the bacteria in our colon can to some varying degrees of success, but can still leave us feeling a little windy.

TOP TIPS FOR GETTING MORE FIBRE IN YOUR DIET • Pick products that have whole grains high up on their ingredients list • Aim to incorporate beans, peas or lentils into your daily diet. You can add them to your soups or salads, and they’re also great for making dip • Consume fruits and vegetables with their skins or peels intact • Do your research on how to eat specific foods as how you eat foods changes their fibre content (for example, whether they’re consumed raw, stewed, fried or baked) • Pick unrefined grains over refined. Try to pick brown rice above the white variety • Pick whole fruits and vegetables

TOP FIBRE FOODS • Fruit, such as apples and pears • Vegetables, such as avocado and broccoli • Grains, such as brown rice, oats and barley • Nuts and seeds, such as almonds and flax seeds • Beans and peas, such black beans and lentils

rather than juices • Eat unsalted nuts or seeds as snacks, or sprinkle them on salads and yoghurts Although it seems a fairly boring subject, patients of mine have managed to decrease their cholesterol by simple changes, like eating two apples and two oatcakes every day. It’s easy to forget about the simple things in life, but I hope I’ve reminded you how important fibre can be for your health. Kate Arnold Nutrition is a nutrition consultant specialising in gastrointestinal health and fatigue disorders. To find out more, call Kate on 01323 310 532, email or visit

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How long have you been playing rugby? Most of my life! I started around 19 years ago, as my dad was a keen player in his youth, and I grew up surrounded by the sport. It was destined to be.

How do you monitor your nutrition?

Nick Doherty Age: 25 Position: Eight

I wouldn’t say I monitor, but I do moderate. I’m healthy during the week and then allow myself one cheat day at the weekend. I try to keep six days healthy and have one day off per week,

which works for me. I also have a lot of cookbooks, which helped to keep me inspired. Healthy food shouldn’t have to be boring or repetitive.

What’s your go-to training meal? I’ve been using the Joe Wickes’ Body Coach cookbook at the minute which I’ve found is great for quick and easy meals. I eat a lot of meat, vegetables and omelettes. My perfect cheat day, however, would be at my mum’s house having her famous steak with homemade battered onions and chips.

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How long have you been playing rugby?

Charles Edward Spence Age: 22 Position: Scrum half

Michael Hathway

Age: 24 Position: Back row

Since I was eight. I took a small break during secondary school to play football, but soon realised that rugby was where my talent lay. I then continued to play throughout my school years at the Judd and Skinners’ schools.

particularly important to me, as my body gains weight very easily.

What’s your go-to training meal?

I use the MyFitnessPal app to help track macros and calories. Macros are

Porridge every morning – that’s a goto. As a mid-morning snack, I’ll have a wholemeal pitta bread with peanut butter at work. Lunch is always based around rice, meat and vegetables. Dinner is much of the same, but usually with a fair amount of peppers and chilli thrown in for flavour.

How long have you been playing rugby?

ourselves – that certainly helps keep track of what my body is up to.

Since I was six years old, so it’s been 18 years now. My father was a rugby coach, so I followed in his footsteps and fell in love with the game.

What is your go-to training meal?

How do you monitor your nutrition?

How do you monitor your nutrition? I don’t monitor it as such as I find the constant inputting of data a bit of a faff. We do a lot of weight training so we’re constantly weighing

I try to mix it up. Saying this, I do prepare all of my lunches at the start of the week, so they’re usually pretty repetitive – meat, roasted vegetables, and pulses like chickpeas and lentils. I eat a lot of meat and am a big fan of kale. If I’m off-duty, my girlfriend does a delicious chocolate brownie. I’m also a lover of crisps and dips.

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MEET THE EXPERTS Name: Charles Foulkes Profession: Owner, Fit4Less Tunbridge Wells Time in role: Two and a half years Name: Anissa Germain Profession: Owner and instructor (soon to also be osteopath), Bora Studio Tunbridge Wells Time in role: Nine years WHAT’S YOUR USUAL WORKOUT ROUTINE? CHARLES: I like to vary my exercise routine as much as possible. Sometimes I do weight training, while other sessions are all functional, and I also try out a range of classes. By changing it up, it avoids any risk

of boredom and also means that I’m presenting my body with different challenges, which is key to progressing. Everything I do is with the aim of improving stamina, strength and flexibility, and there’s always some core work included. I try to ensure that I always fit in three sessions a week, although sometimes this drops to two when I’m busy. ANISSA: With the workload I have, it’s sometimes very difficult to find the time to exercise when I’m not leading a class. Saying this, I always make sure that I set aside 40 minutes a day to work out. Usually, I do two barre classes a week, and the rest of the time I exercise on the Reformer machine.

IF YOU COULD DO ONLY ONE TYPE OF EXERCISE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? CHARLES: At the moment, I’d say it is the Boxercise classes. These are circuits based on the training that boxers undergo, but encompass a lot of different elements. In a group environment, you tend to work harder and push your body further, and having the instructor there means that you’ll be exercising correctly, and getting the best out of your workout. ANISSA: Without even hesitating for one second, it would be Reformer Pilates! Sometimes I have only 30 to 40 minutes to exercise between clients, so will hop on the

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Reformer, which will give me the best workout in a very short amount of time. It’s a full-body workout that’s great for strength and flexibility. I always feel amazing afterwards. WHAT ARE THE MAIN HEALTH BENEFITS OF YOUR FAVOURITE TYPE OF EXERCISE OVER OTHERS? CHARLES: The variety keeps it fun, but also means that your body is being tested in new ways all the time. Each circuit is carefully designed to provide an overall balance, though, so that your whole body gets a good workout. This builds up strength, stamina and endurance in a well-rounded way. ANISSA: Reformer Pilates targets every muscle. I always hear from my clients that they can feel themselves working muscles that they didn’t even know they had. Reformer Pilates is all about focus, precision and quality of movement. And, let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to look like supermodels Alessandra Ambriosa and Rosie Huntington-Whitely?

They’re both big fans of the Reformer. WHO WOULD YOUR TYPE OF EXERCISE SUIT THE MOST? CHARLES: The great thing is that you get all sorts of people – young and old, men and women, complete beginners and marathonrunners. Each person can adapt the pace to suit them in a very supportive environment. ANISSA: Anyone! Complete beginners, those needing rehabilitation, and professional athletes. We do a lot of one-to-one sessions at the studio for those who have never tried it before, as well as the very advanced. There are classes that are especially designed for older clients, and it’s so beneficial for them. It’s also so rewarding as an instructor to see clients go from strength to strength. HOW LONG UNTIL YOU START FEELING THE BENEFITS? CHARLES: The first couple of times you’ll ache a bit. But you also get a feel-good endorphin rush

post-exercise, which is what leads most people into making it a regular part of their routine. Once you start, it’s not something that you want to give up, and you’ll certainly start feeling stronger and more energetic within a few weeks at the most. ANISSA: Joseph Pilates said: “You will feel better in 10 sessions, look better in 20 sessions, and have a completely new body in 30 sessions.” He was living proof of the incredibly rapid potential of his methods. After suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever as a child, Pilates transformed him.

Fit4Less Tunbridge Wells 01892 804 007 5, Enterprise Centre, North Farm Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 3DR Bora Studio 07402 666 847 86 Mount Pleasant Road, Tunbridge Wells TN1 1RT

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Here are some fun titbits and trivia gems that you may not have known about food

Ripe cranberries will bounce like rubber balls

Pearls melt in vinegar

The oldest evidence for soup is from 6,000 B.C.

Think peanuts are nuts? Wrong! They’re legumes…

Honey is the only food that will never rot

There was a time when chocolate could be used as currency

A cucumber is 96% water

Carrots have zero fat content

Apple bobbing is possible because 25% of an apple’s volume is air

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nature’s book

Fergus Drennan, a.k.a. ‘Fergus the Forager’, shows us how to use the beauty of autumn in more ways than one


n a damp late-autumn day sometime, in a street somewhere, in a town someplace, and with a state of mind somehow ponderous with the seeping chill and reflective pathos of pre-wintered awareness, you may have noticed that most ephemeral of ghostly forms, that fleeting watery shadow of transience personified: The full-contoured imprint of a leaf that fell, lay prostrate in damp isolation, then, drying ever so slightly to furtively reveal an upturned edge, must have been prized up and completely peeled away, a plucking gust of fingered wind leaving nothing but a clearly defined yet water-damp simulacrum of the leaf’s true self. Leaves such as these can be the catalyst for beauty and magic. Now, the energy is vibrant and alive, in stark contrast to the tired drear of dying autumn’s wane. Spring’s determined march parades full-tilt into celebratory being; sap is rising, tendrilled roots thrum and pulsate in dirt-penetrative abandon, and leaf buds swell to bursting life. Soon, there will be such a riotous abundance of foliage that the foraging opportunities for caterpillars, deer, rabbits and wild humans alike will be near endless. In March, April and May especially, but in some cases on into the summer months too, the more common and forage-ready raw materials that comprise this leafy abundance of possibilities appear. Like the salad-loving insects and animals, we can enjoy eating many leaves in their fresh and raw state.

syrup and dehydrated into flavoursome stained-glass magnificence, especially when using a botanical syrup made from the same leaves, or another part of the plant from whence they came. Good examples include oak leaves candied in acorn syrup, young bramble leaves cooked in sweetened blackberry juice, or the evocatively aromatic small hand-like leaves of the fig tree, prepared using the exquisite flavour of green fig syrup. But what of those leaves I mentioned, the ones possessing such a natural grace of form that they can I’d certainly include fig be the catalyst for beauty leaves among the elect of and magic, even in their final absence? It’s a question of those manifesting a sublime one’s particular aesthetic and joyous form sensibilities, of course, and I’d certainly include fig leaves among the elect of those manifesting a sublime and joyous form. Indeed, I’ve successfully and sauces, vinegar pickling, lactoused fig leaves for this edition’s recipe fermenting, or perhaps drying, freshly suggestion. Yet, what’s exciting and infusing or decocting for teas, wines, so much fun in what follows is the use beers, syrups or seasonings. of edible and inedible leaves. Of what Of course, the uses of any particular leaf importance is edibility if what taken from will often defy simple categorisation, or a leaf’s flavour or nutritive substance, at least can cast their range of potential but isn’t simply delightful shape and across any such categorisations. For patterning? Common sense would, example, the leaves of Ramsons or Wild nevertheless, caution against the use of Garlic Allium ursinum can be used as a overtly poisonous leaves...perhaps. salad leaf, in salad dressings, as a side Over the winter months, much vegetable, in soups, and in sauces such as experimentation went on in my kitchen, pesto. Alternatively, it can have practical as I made chocolate leaves from welluses, such as protein extraction to make chosen evergreen or overwintering a pungent curd, for pickling and lactoplants. Two favourites in particular fermenting, for flavouring cheese and were ivy and Viburnum rhytidophyllum. butter, and for puréeing and adding to The former is shapely, abundant and fresh pasta dough, among other uses. easy to find, while the latter has a Some leaves can be transformed in wonderfully deep and attractive veining. flavour profile by crushing and oxidising, Check out my recipe on the next page. while others can be candied in sugar Saying this, we may decide on an alternative use, depending on the variables of differing size, shape, texture, flavour, aromatics and stage of growth; the use that will best bring out a particular leaf’s unique qualities. There are many ways to incorporate foraged materials into your meals. This could involve using them as a garnish, cooking as a side vegetable, or in soups

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A selection of milk, dark, white, and flavoured chocolate


Select beautifully shaped fresh leaves, especially ones that also have deeply grooved, protruding or interesting vein patterns. Ideally, to facilitate easy peeling away once the chocolate has dried, the leaves should be neither too firm and inflexible (e.g. Mahonia aquifolium) nor too contorted in different planes (e.g. some holy species). Leaves that are either too thin or too hairy can also prove problematic. Melt chocolate

Leaf imprinted chocolates

in a pan over a bain-marie. Place the side of the leaf to be celebrated face-down in the melted chocolate to thinly coat, or alternatively, brush on. Set aside to dry then peel off the leaf. Gift as they are, or use as an attractive garnish. This recipe calls for the use of foraged ingredients. If you’re unsure of the safety of cooking with wild produce, please proceed with caution or consult an expert. Neither the owner nor the publisher can accept responsibility for guaranteeing the safety of any ingredients or cooking processes mentioned in this article.

Look out for...

Adria Bellfower Alexanders Annual sea blite Bilberry Birch Bistort Black mustard Bramble Bristly ox-tongue Broad-leaved dock Buckshorn plantain Burdock Charlock Chickweed Common mallow Cow parsley Crow garlic Daisy Dandelion Dittander Douglas fir Duke of Argyll’s tea plant Fat hen Fennel Field madder Garlic mustard Gingko Golden samphire Ground elder Greater plantain Ground ivy Hairy bittercress Hawkweed ox-tongue Hawthorn Hedge bedstraw Hedge mustard Hogweed Honesty Horseradish Hottentot fig Ivy-leaved toadflax Japanese knotweed Juniper Lady’s smock Lesser celandine Lime Marsh samphire Marsh thistle Mugwort Nipplewort Oak Opposite-leaved golden saxifrage Orpine Ox-eye daisy Pelitory-of-thewall Perennial wall-rocket Pennywort Pignut Pineappleweed Pink sorrel Poppy Purple deadnettle Rape Reedmace Reflexed stonecrop Rock samphire Rosey garlic Salad burnet Scented mayweed Scot’s pine Scurvy grass Sea arrowgrass Sea aster Sea beet Sea buckthorn Sea campion Sea kale Sea plantain Sea purslane Sea radish Sea sandwort Sorrel Sow thistle Spear mint Spring beauty Spruce Sweet cicely Sweet woodruff Swinecress Tansy Three cornered garlic Watercress Water celery Water mint Water-pepper Western hemlock White deadnettle White mustard Wild cabbage Wild carrot Wild celery Wild garlic Wild pea Wild thyme Willow Wintercress Wood sorrel Yarrow

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Wondrous woodland walk The counties of the South East play host to some of the most glorious woods and parkland in the country. Here, we point you in the direction of a few…


ABBOTS WOOD There are two gentle walking routes around this wood – Abbotts Amble and Oak Walk – both suitable for the whole family. The former is a partially-surfaced trail that leads down to a lake through towering oak trees and pretty bluebell woods, while the Oak Walk truly bursts into life at this time of year. Look out for the nest boxes that have been erected along the path – you’ll see an array of forest birds flitting between the trees. NEAREST WHITING & HAMMOND PUB: THE FARM @ FRIDAY STREET

DENE PARK This park is an important site for moths, dormice and butterflies, so it’s the ideal spot for those with a keen eye for wildlife. The route is a circular one and a good choice for cyclists, especially as there’s a large car park if you’re travelling from afar with your gear. It’s also a great choice for our furry friends, as there’s a huge mixture of woodland to explore for dog walkers. Enjoy the variety of deciduous trees and conifers, and catch glimpses into the beautiful surrounding countryside. NEAREST WHITING & HAMMOND PUB: THE CHASER INN

TROSLEY COUNTRY PARK Sprawling over an impressive 170 acres, this beautiful park is worth a whole day of exploring. The area boasts some spectacular views of the North Downs, an abundance of wildlife, and open chalk grassland that’s classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Three trails are waymarked; if you’re game for a challenge, the blue route boasts some steep parts, while the red route is a lot gentler and more suitable for the little ones. Make sure you look out for butterflies! NEAREST WHITING & HAMMOND PUB: THE CRICKETERS INN

PENSHURST PLACE Although known for the grand house and grounds, if you venture out a little further, you’ll find an exceptionally pretty country walk. Leading you into the woodland past the famous 13th-century carp ponds, walkers will be able to spot ancient oaks and a variety of wildflowers as they stroll through the 8.18 acres. There’s also plenty of history to be enjoyed; an arboretum, planted in 1992, commemorates the life of 1st Viscount De L’Isle, VC, KG, who lived at Penshurst Place. NEAREST WHITING & HAMMOND PUB: THE LITTLE BROWN JUG

NAP WOOD This is the perfect visit for those wanting a short stroll. As a National Trust site, Nap Wood is an ancient track of the Weald – an oasis of beauty that can be seen carpeted in the spring bluebells. It’s an easy stroll of 20 to 30 minutes, and is one mile in distance. This is the perfect walk for the history buffs too, as a Stone Age flint axe head and a Roman coin have been discovered here – just some of the artefacts found – suggesting evidence of a settlement.

KNOLE This park caters for all ages and physical abilities, with three waymarked walks that vary in both distance and difficulty; Seven Oaks Walk (5km), Wheels Walk (5km), and the Family Woodland Ramble (4.5km). It’s also home to a 350-strong deer herd, which can be viewed from a safe distance in their natural habitat. There’s comprehensive guide to each walk available from the National Trust website, so there’s no risk of getting lost or missing out on points of interest.



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HEADLEY HEATH Another National Trust walk, the Headley Heath to White Hill route is an hour-and-a-half trail of moderate difficulty. There are some utterly magnificent views of the Surrey Hills for you to take in along the way, and the route is both dog and horse-friendly for those who want to bring them along. The National Trust has a step-by-step guide, available online, along the route, which points out several interesting places of note, including the ‘pyramids’, where the Canadian army kept pyramids of stores.

HIGH ELMS COUNTRY PARK In total, this park has 250 acres to explore, packed with woodlands meadows, formal gardens and plenty of wildlife. The park is a Local Nature Reserve, Site of Special Scientific Interest, and enjoys the support of the Friends of High Elms, Natural England and the Forestry Commission. The woodlands are made up predominantly of oak and beech trees, chalk meadows and formal gardens, and the information centre has plenty of material to make sure that a visit here is an informative one.




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Thinking of where to go before settling in for a delicious pub lunch? With so many sites and attractions to choose from, you’ll be well and truly spoiled for choice when deciding what to see and do! Read on as we guide you through a selection of our favourite family-friendly places



BEDGEBURY PINETUM GOUDHURST, KENT Distance to The Mark Cross Inn: 10.9 miles (21 minutes’ driving time) There’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained at this 350-acre conservation site. Among the 12,000 trees and shrubs, children’s play, bird watching and cycling are all readily available, as are walking, orienteering, horse riding and Go Ape, the UK’s number-one treetop adventure.

BRITISH WILDLIFE CENTRE LINGFIELD, SURREY Distance to The Blue Ball: 16.3 miles (32 minutes’ driving time) Discover Britain’s wonderful wildlife when you pay a visit to the finest collection of native fauna in the UK. There are more than 40 different native species to experience here, from tiny harvest mice to magnificent red deer, along with informative keeper talks.

BEWL WATER LAMBERHURST, KENT Distance to The Mark Cross Inn: 8.9 miles (19 minutes’ driving time) Outdoor adventure awaits at the South East’s largest stretch of open water. The 800-acre site is open all year, so you can ride a pedalo, enjoy a spot of fishing, or immerse yourself in the many outdoor events and activities that take place there.

CHIDDINGSTONE CASTLE EDENBRIDGE, KENT Distance to The Little Brown Jug: 3 miles (6 minutes’ driving time) Boasting breathtaking views of the Greensand Ridge, Chiddingstone Castle occupies 35 acres of Kent countryside. Upcoming highlights include May’s Literary Festival and the Summer Vintage Fair in July, plus the Country and Food Festival in September, and October’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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EASTBOURNE MINIATURE STEAM RAILWAY ADVENTURE PARK EASTBOURNE, EAST SUSSEX Distance to The Farm @ Friday Street: 2.1 miles (5 minutes’ driving time) At this railway adventure, you can travel behind the famous one-eighth scale miniature locomotives, as they meander for nearly a mile around the beautiful country park. Alternatively, why not take in a stroll around the five-acre lake? EMMETTS GARDEN SEVENOAKS, KENT Distance to The Kings Head: 3.6 miles (10 minutes’ driving time) This Edwardian estate and family home’s garden contains exotic and rare trees from around the world. This year, a half-term pony trail takes place in May, followed by an ant trail in June, and open-air performances of The Tempest and Peter Pan in August.

HEVER CASTLE & GARDENS EDENBRIDGE, KENT Distance to The Little Brown Jug: 4 miles (8 minutes’ driving time) Lose yourself in this romantic double-moated castle, which was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Children will enjoy the playground, while visitors of all ages can challenge themselves to find their way through the Water Maze and the 100-year-old Yew Maze. HOLE PARK GARDENS CRANBROOK, KENT Distance to The Mark Cross Inn: 19.5 miles (38 minutes’ driving time) The delightful Hole Park is one of the best-known gardens in Kent. Spanning a total of 15 acres, the gardens here host such standout events as the Great Kent Chilli Festival in June, as well as the Napoleonic Re-enactment Weekend in September.

GROOMBRIDGE PLACE GROOMBRIDGE, TUNBRIDGE WELLS, KENT Distance to The Little Brown Jug: 7 miles (15 minutes’ driving time) Welcome to the award-winning gardens and enchanted forest of Groombridge. Alongside a deer park, treasure hunt and Sherlock Holmes museum, there’s also a maze, giant chess and birds of prey displays, not to mention the UK’s longest and highest treetop walkway! HERSTMONCEUX CASTLE HAILSHAM, EAST SUSSEX Distance to The Farm @ Friday Street: 6.6 miles (14 minutes’ driving time) Dating back to the 15th century, the 600-acre Herstmonceux features seven formal themed gardens. Get swept up in the Magic Garden, discover a world of colour in the Butterfly Garden, and embrace your love of the Bard in the Shakespeare Garden.


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THE HOP FARM PADDOCK WOOD, KENT Distance to The Chaser Inn: 9.9 miles (18 minutes’ driving time) From indoor soft-play fun to a wonderful animal farm, there’s endless entertainment at The Hop Farm. Attractions cover the ever-popular Giant Jumping Pillows, 4D cinema and Combat Laser Quest, in addition to an outdoor adventure play area, children’s rides and magic shows. IGHTHAM MOTE SEVENOAKS, KENT Distance to The Chaser Inn: 2.2 miles (5 minutes’ driving time) Get lost in this romantic 14th-century moated manor house, which is surrounded by peaceful gardens, complete with an orchard, water features, lakes and woodland walks. While you’re there, be sure to take your four-legged friend on a dog walk around the garden and estate. KNOLE SEVENOAKS, KENT Distance to The Kings Head: 3.3 miles (11 minutes’ driving time) Be a part of the 400-year history at Knole, which sits within Kent’s last medieval deer park. There are over 1,000 acres to roam, where you’ll catch a glimpse of the wild deer herd, picnic in the outdoor seating area, or join a guided walk.


LULLINGSTONE CASTLE & THE WORLD GARDEN EYNSFORD, KENT Distance to The Rose & Crown: 9.8 miles (22 minutes’ driving time) Home to the UK’s first ‘World Garden of Plants’, Lullingstone contains some 8,000 plant species, cultivars and hybrids. For youngsters, there’s a gun powder-packed Medieval Weekend here in May, not to mention an exciting Plant Hunters’ Weekend every August. THE OBSERVATORY SCIENCE CENTRE HERSTMONCEUX, EAST SUSSEX Distance to The Farm @ Friday Street: 6.3 miles (13 minutes’ driving time) Spectacular astronomy lies in store at this interactive science centre, which has operated in the former home of The Royal Greenwich Observatory since 1995. The unique attraction explores scientific discovery among the domes and telescopes of a world-famous observatory.

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PENSHURST PLACE AND GARDENS PENSHURST, KENT Distance to The Little Brown Jug: 2.2 miles (5 minutes’ driving time) Described as ‘a grand place on a charming scale’, this 14th-century manor house is open to locals and visitors. Kids will love the Toy Museum and Adventure Playground, or there’s a Woodland Trail and Maize Maze for adventurers of all ages.

SISSINGHURST CASTLE GARDEN NEAR CRANBROOK, KENT Distance to The Mark Cross Inn: 16.2 miles (30 minutes’ driving time) Historic, poetic and iconic in equal measure, the worldrenowned garden at Sissinghurst is a refuge dedicated to beauty. Don’t miss the vast panoramic views to be enjoyed from the top of the tower, the working farm, and the 450-acre wider estate.

RIVERHILL HIMALAYAN GARDENS SEVENOAKS, KENT Distance to The Kings Head: 5.5 miles (7 minutes’ driving time) There’s so much to see and do at Riverhill. Plan a great day out by discovering world-class British sculpture and learning about the gardens’ history. You can also build dens, take in secret pathways and incredible views, and even spot the elusive yeti!

SPA VALLEY RAILWAY TUNBRIDGE WELLS, KENT Distance to The Mark Cross Inn: 5.1 miles (10 minutes’ driving time) All aboard the heritage railway where there’s ‘a destination at every station’. Steam and diesel trains operate throughout the year between Tunbridge Wells and Eridge, and there are children’s events like a Day Out with Thomas in September and October too!

SCOTNEY CASTLE LAMBERHURST, KENT Distance to The Mark Cross Inn: 7.9 miles (18 minutes’ driving time) Here’s a country house, romantic garden and 14th-century moated castle – all in a beautiful wooded estate. Relax in the picturesque garden with its glorious backdrop of a fairytale castle, or venture into the wonderful woodland and parkland, with over 770 acres to explore.


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Not Food,

but tradition Aine Fox travels to Puglia in southern Italy to discover what a deep-seeded passion for food looks and tastes like



t’s the squeak in your mouth as you chew,” a bystander whispers while the traditional Italian cheesemaker, Anna Casulli, transforms a bowl of curd into the bright white mozzarella that I recognise from deli counters at home. Fresh food is almost a religion in Puglia, the long region in the heel of Italy’s boot, where local producers speak about their creations with enthusiastic pride and passion. They may lack the style and sophistication of dishes created further north, but nowhere else will you find eating more connected to local culture. Olives, grapes and wheat are staples here; symbols of family, peace, abundance and fertility are printed on tablecloths in local trattorias. Anna’s organic farm, Azienda Nuovo Muretto, around 30 minutes from Alberobello, serves local ‘peasant’ cuisine. Focaccia made with tomatoes and dipped in local olive oil tastes softer and lighter than what I’m used to at home. And then there’s the cheese. We’re filled to the brim with chewy mozzarella, plaited treccia, knotted nodini, and scamorza (a smokey-flavoured cheese similar to mozzarella). Traditional pasta

follows – little ear-shaped orecchiette – handmade and cooked al dente with a simple tomato-based sauce. “We don’t buy anything,” Anna’s husband Angelo says with a proud smile. When I suggest they must visit the supermarket for something, Anna insists, ‘only cleaning products’.

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The 80-hectare farm has pretty much everything they need – cows for both meat and milk, plus chickens, fruit trees and fields filled with vegetables. The couple, aged in their late 50s, lead a simple, self-sufficient and hardworking life, and farm the land themselves with no outside help; it’s a Pugliese way of life that goes back decades. Even Alberobello’s most

famous tourist attractions, the trulli, have links to this agricultural and pastoralist past; the cone-roofed stone buildings were once used to store wheat for pasta or bread, while others housed families and their animals. “In Alberobello, the trulli have all been converted into boutiques – none really remain as before,” says Angelo, who owns 10 of them.

The only way to dine is slowly, slowly. The traditional way of life is also popular further inland, around an hour’s drive away, in Altamura. Mina Castoro, who opened the Tre Archi restaurant Via San Michele with her husband Peppino in 1985, delights in telling me about Altamura’s strong message to McDonald’s when it opened there some years ago.

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While every other part of the world seems to have one on every street corner, the residents of Altamura voted with their feet. “It had to close in about a year,” the 48-year-old, who grows much of it in her own garden, tells me. “Locals do not want to eat fast food, they want to savour wholesome, tasty produce.” “In Puglia, it’s important to us. It’s about quality and tradition. We eat well together for three hours, slowly. It’s a way of getting to know each other.” Our meal in her restaurant lasts a little over three hours – and what a tasty time it is. It’s a four-course menu, although with all the antipasti, it feels like much more. The whole meal costs us £35, including the wine. We feast on Mina’s favourite, purè di fave e cicorielle (purèed broad bean with wild chicory), cialledda (the traditional bread salad), pizza fresh from the wood-fired oven, and more handmade orecchiette pasta. The highlight for me is the melt-in-the-mouth braciole (beef and vegetables slow-cooked in a clay pot). After lunch, Mina guides us through a pasta-making class, where I attempt to roll the short capunti into shape and delicately craft shell-like orecchiette. But I cannot talk about food in Altamura without mentioning the

bread, as it’s a staple here. This is obvious when I watch locals queue up for freshly-baked loaves outside the Di Gesu bakery. It’s a few decades since the family-run bakery hosted a neighbourhood oven – forno di quartiere – used by those living nearby to bake their breads. With hundreds of loaves baked at a time, the bread is branded with a family stamp to ensure that everyone claims the correct dough. I’m transfixed watching Giuseppe Di Gesu knead and twist the dough into shape with the type of speed that only comes from a

lifetime of experience. The 44-year-old is the fifth generation of his family to work in the bakery, which now sells various products, including focaccia, taralli (the traditional tiny doughnut-shaped crunchy snacks), and Pane di Altamura – labelled to show that it’s only produced in that region using local grain. He jokes that he’s really 65, and puts his youthful appearance down to the power of the bread. His uncle Luca’s daily routine of rising at 4am after around five hours’ sleep to help in the bakery six days a week has me wondering – if an 84-year-old can do that and still appear sprightly, maybe there is some magic in the bread. So, why is this E2 loaf, available to buy in the shop a stone’s throw from where it’s baked, so good? Luca says with a twinkle in his eye. “It’s written in the Bible. And because I make it!” HOW TO GET THERE Explore offer an eight-day ‘Taste of Puglia trip from £1,295 per person. The trip is inclusive of flights, transfers and some meals, as well as additional activities, including pasta-making, olive oil and wine tastings, visits to the bread makers and the cheese farm, and walks of between one and three hours on five of the days. For more information, call Explore on 01252 884 723 or visit

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Life in the

fast lane Jack Evans test drives the new Caterham 620S that offers supercar-beating performance in a compact package, and is a mad, powerful track car for the road

What is it?

If you want to go fast, you usually have to part with a fair amount of money. The Bugatti Veyron, famously one of the quickest cars ever built, cost the best part of £2 million. Then there’s the Caterham way. The 620S we have here can hit 60mph in under four seconds - close to the Veyron’s time - yet costs from £44,995. In short, there are few ways to go as quick for as little money.

What’s new? Our 620S used the SV chassis, making it wider and more accessible to taller drivers. In addition, the 620S gets a smattering of design cues that help it stand out from the crowd, including a nose with an air intake embedded in it - an easy way to differentiate this car from the rest of the Seven line-up. Of course, the biggest changes are mechanical; the 620S’ supercharged motor is

supremely powerful, while the S pack brings a softer, more road-focused suspension setup than the one you’ll find on the more hardcore R version.

What is under the bonnet? The engine is nothing short of remarkable. Two litres in capacity, featuring a supercharger, it produces 310bhp and 296Nm of torque – yet the car weighs just 610kg, giving it a figure of 508bhp per tonne, which is more than a Ferrari Enzo or McLaren 650S. It’s simply a breathtaking amount of performance to be found in a ‘regular’ road car. That fury is sent to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission, and can power the 620S to a top speed of 145mph. If you’re looking for economy, this isn’t the place to

go. The 620S will return an estimated 30mpg on the combined cycle, though this will drop harshly under heavy driving. That said, the S model benefits from a larger fuel tank than other Seven models – so touring is a more viable prospect.

What is it like to drive? A dramatic experience. The steering is impeccably welljudged, with the smallest of hand movements on the wheel directing the Caterham exactly where you want it. The five-speed gearbox is smooth to operate (though can feel notchy when cold), while the softer suspension is exactly as you’d want on UK roads – not

too firm for the bumps, but not so pliable as to leave the car feeling wallowy. Then there’s the performance. There’s nothing to prepare you for the way a car with over 300bhp and weighing just 610kg fires itself down the road. The twin-outlet exhaust howls in a close-to-demonic way, rising to a near-deafening tone under heavy acceleration. There are really very few cars quite like it on the road today.

How does it look? The Seven remains somewhat of a design classic, but the 620S is about as modern as that look can be. As mentioned, it’s recognisable thanks to the vented nose cone, while it also benefits from a gunmetal

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colour-painted chassis, giving it a stealthy, undercover look. Of course, there are plenty of options that you can add to make it look even more special. Caterham can even finish your 620S with any colour you could think of – just supply the paint code and they’ll do the rest. Everyone loves the look of a Caterham and there are few who don’t stop and stare when it passes by. It’s still an iconic design, even 50 years after the original was penned.

What is the spec like? As mentioned, you don’t get a lot of toys for your money. The key attributes are all mechanical - The car’s overall cost is spent on the

engine, chassis and gearbox. As standard, you get a lovely Momo steering wheel, black leather seats and a four-point racing harness, as well as the previously mentioned windscreen and side screens. The 15-inch alloy wheels are shod in sticky ZZS tyres, while a limited-slip differential comes included in the price too. There are swathes of options to choose from too. Heated carbon-fibre seats will no doubt appeal to those who want to be a little warmer, while that wider SV chassis is a good option for those who want a little more space in the cabin. In truth, anyone over six foot will struggle for room in a ‘regular’ Caterham, which is why the SV chassis is such a handy option.

Verdict The Caterham 620S is a real giant killer, capable of taking down nearly any supercar on sale today. However, even a ‘regular’ Caterham can deliver big thrills without the razor-sharp edge you’ll find in this one. Though the 620S benefits from many features designed to make it more comfortable, it remains overwhelmingly spiky to drive, with traction close to non-existent in the wet. Though just under £45,000 may seem good value considering the performance, in truth, you’d be just as happy with a lower-powered Caterham at half that price.


at a glance Model: Caterham 620S SV

Price from: £46,995 Engine: 2.0-litre supercharged petrol Power: 310bhp Torque: 296Nm Max speed: 145mph 0-60mph: 3.44 seconds

MPG: N/A Emissions: N/A

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ROOM TO ROAM Gastro takes you inside four of the most spacious properties on the market, whatever your style...


Yew Tree Lane, Rotherfield East Sussex TN6 3QP Guide price: £1,695,000

Check out this outstanding character country house with a pretty, detached cottage. Set in beautiful gardens and grounds, Acorns borders a lake and spans approximately four acres. This property has been superbly updated, refurbished and substantially extended to a high standard, all in keeping with the original character and style. There’s extensive oak joinery and high-quality fittings throughout, including Lauffen sanitary ware, a surround-sound system to each room,

an air-sourced central heating and hot water system, plus solar panels for the hot water. The large kitchen/breakfast room is beautifully fitted and equipped with integrated appliances, including a full-height fridge and freezer, Neff microwave and dishwasher, plus waste disposal, a boiling water tap, long Corian work surfaces, and a Range Master range cooker. The utility room, meanwhile, has matching units and plumbing for the washing machine and tumble dryer. Elsewhere, an elegant, wellproportioned sitting room has a polished wood floor, as well as two pairs of double doors to the south and a

west-facing terrace. Equally impressive are the family room and dining room, both of which have attractive polished oak parquet flooring. A delightful principal bedroom enjoys views over the gardens and lake, and has a luxury en suite shower room. Two further bedrooms both have excellent en suite shower rooms and the family bathroom, which, in addition to the bath, also has a separate shower. › To arrange a viewing, call Hamptons International Tunbridge Wells on 01892 516 611

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Hildenborough Road, Shipbourne, Nr Tonbridge, Kent TN11 9QA Guide price: £3,650,000

Impressive and imposing, this modern country home is finished to a high specification, set within established and private grounds in a sought-after location. The house was completed in 2008, boasting excellent proportions throughout. Offering formal and informal entertaining areas, it’s ideal for modern family living, with the well-presented accommodation arranged over four floors.

Features include a Rencraft kitchen, modern and stylish bathroom suites, and in-ceiling speakers with sound system, plus under-floor heating throughout, and a pressurised water system, ground source heat pump and rainwater harvester. An oak-pillared porch with front door leads to the vestibule with glass screens, while double doors open to the impressive reception hall, with an attractive fireplace and oak stairs rising to the upper floors. Principal reception rooms provide well-proportioned, elegant areas for entertaining. The drawing room has an open fire and is double aspect, with bi-folding doors to the southerly terrace, whereas the double-

aspect dining room has a fireplace with gas fire, and a bay window to the front. The excellent kitchen/breakfast/ family room has a roof light and is double aspect, with full-height windows and doors leading to the terrace. The kitchen is fitted with a comprehensive range of wall and base cupboards by Rencraft, with an island unit and marble work surfaces incorporating a breakfast bar. Appliances include a four-oven Aga, Neff microwave, dishwasher and integral fridge and freezer. › To arrange a viewing, call Savills Tunbridge Wells on 01892 507 000

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Greenhill Road, Otford, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 5RS Guide price: £4,625,000

Don’t miss this imposing and striking residence of excellent proportions, which includes a self-contained flat, set in landscaped gardens of 0.7 of an acre, situated in a private road on the edge of Otford. Gargirita is an impressive Queen Anne-style residence, completed in 2016 and finished to an exceptionally high standard throughout. Features include a Chambers kitchen, bespoke cabinets and wardrobes by

Paul Riches Furniture, and Elan G home control and automation, with in-ceiling speakers and external speakers on the south-facing terrace. Plus, there’s under-floor heating in all rooms beneath stone and marble tiles, and air conditioning to some rooms. Also of note is the self-contained flat located over the double garage. A wide front door opens to the spacious reception hall, which features an impressive imperial staircase rising to all floors with metal and chrome banisters, and access to a stylish cloakroom. The principal reception rooms provide excellent areas for entertaining, while a double-aspect drawing room has an attractive

bespoke display cabinet, stone fireplace with gas fire, and double doors opening to the rear terrace. The dining room has an outlook to the front. The striking kitchen/breakfast/family room is a superb area for modern family living, with an outlook and doors opening to the rear terrace. The Chambers walnut kitchen comprises a range of wall, base and full-height cupboards with a matching island unit. › To arrange a viewing, call Savills Tunbridge Wells on 01892 507 000

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The Sheiling Coopers Lane, Penshurst, Kent TN11 8AT Guide price: £1,500,000

This delightful detached country house was built in 1980 and subsequently extended about two years ago, now providing excellent, spacious and light, well-presented family accommodation. The accommodation’s well-arranged layout over the three floors includes some particular points of note. The superb drawing room is an elegant, well-proportioned room with a high-vaulted ceiling to the full roof height, along with a triple-aspect

outlook and deep fireplace with wood burner. Adjoining is the study, with outlooks to the front. The dining room, which is a good size, also includes a family sitting area with an open fireplace and wood burner, along with double doors to the terrace, and double doors to the excellent wellfitted and equipped kitchen/breakfast room. This has an electric two-oven Aga with Calor Gas Module, Corian work surface and breakfast bar, plus a bespoke range of cupboards and drawers, and Neff American-style fridge freezer, set into a further bespoke unit with an attractive range of cupboards. On the first floor, there are two

delightful bedroom suites – one with a shower room, and the other a bathroom plus shower. The two further bedrooms on this floor are served by the family bathroom. On the top floor, approached by a continuation of the attractive staircase with a large mirror to one side, there are two further double bedrooms, which enjoy far-reaching views and a further family bathroom. › To arrange a viewing, call Hamptons International Tunbridge Wells on 01892 516 611

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A little al fresco H The lighter evenings are returning (hurrah!), and Victoria Truman has just the ticket for getting your gardens ready for those summer nights

ere are some ideas to give you food, ahem, for thought. Whether you have, or are planning to add, a dining area to your sprawling lawn, a tidy patio or even a roof terrace, here are some recommendations for making the most of it.

Make use of a tree

Let nature do the hard work of setting the scene. Not only can a mature tree provide dappled shade for a leisurely summer lunch, but it can also be employed to support bunting, fairy lights or even candle-filled lanterns. There’s something magical about being surrounded by lush grass too, rather than hard landscaping; but if you don’t have a lawn, throw down a few rugs to create a soft surface underfoot.

Create a sense of seclusion

Tall fences, corner trees, a pergola waiting to be covered with verdant climbers… This is how to create a hidden spot for dinner in an urban garden that would otherwise be overlooked. Building a structure like a pergola also gives plenty of opportunity for atmospheric lighting: fix up-and-down lighters to your posts, or drape outdoor festoon lighting to create a twinkling canopy. Plants such as wild grasses that rustle in the breeze will also add enchantment to the evening.

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Get out there

The spot right outside the back door is often the most obvious place to set up a dining table, but by thinking outside the box, or rather, outside the terrace, you can make the experience of eating outdoors much more connected to your garden. This idea could work on a smaller scale too, with a folding table and chairs for two and everything scaled down. The principle of extending out decking or paving into the beds and lawn area is what’s important.

Introduce interest for the evening

One of the benefits of having a small garden or courtyard is that you can potentially afford to spend less on absolutely packing it with plants, and what could be more soothing than dining in the middle of your very own verdant oasis? A courtyard garden with strategically positioned lighting, to ensure that all the greenery adds to the atmosphere after dark, is simply magical. Think about the details in your garden that you want to pick out with light, and select lighters that you can position in pots or beds.

You don’t need a lawn to create a lush garden...

philosophic moments of your life. If the surrounding nature is picturesque, enjoy a calm dinner with candles; if you live in a big city, the light of the night would be great. A wooden deck is a classical variant, so add some modern furniture and a glass fireplace. With plants, you can easily create a privacy fence to protect you from harsh urban environments. Builtin benches and planters make a terrace look modern and stylish, while utilising all of the space effectively.

A smaller plot needs greater attention to detail, as every inch counts

Outdoor kitchens

...and flower beds aren’t necessary either. A low-maintenance flooring option such as gravel is great for small gardens. Add lots of pots filled with everything from the tiniest flowering plants, to tall and bushy trees. Finish off with some garden furniture, and you’ll have the perfect spot to enjoy a summer’s day.

Make use of a fence to add colour and greenery. Climbing plants and trellises are a great solution for small gardens, as they lift flowers and foliage up off the ground. A pretty fence will do a lot to detract attention from a teeny plot; after all, if you or your visitors are focusing on beautiful roses rambling up a trellis and across a fence, they’ll embrace the small space that will be filled with scent. Use an evergreen jasmine like Trachelospermum jasminoides; it’s excellent for introducing scented glamour into courtyards, city gardens or roof terraces.

Roof terraces

Designers create amazing roof terraces of different styles, with gardens, fireplaces and dining zones. Here, you may spend the most relaxing, wonderful and

An outdoor kitchen gives an opportunity to enjoy staying outdoors not only while eating, but also cooking. It allows you to prepare food for your guests and socialise at the same time. If you want a functional outdoor kitchen, think about a large prep space, a sink, some storage space, and even an outdoor refrigerator.

Fire Pits and sculptures

Why not finish your dining space with either a beautiful fire pit or a sculpture? Alternatively, you could have two in one with the completely unique fire pits from The Fire Pit Company, who I saw at the Chelsea Flower Show last year. I was very impressed by their level of design and creativity; turning the norm into something impressive and functional at the same time.

Victoria Truman Landscape and Garden Design 07711 620 000

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The kitchen wish list

The cold and dark months of winter have passed for another year. Now is the time to celebrate the light and the bright by adding pops of colour to your kitchen and dining areas



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Celebration IT’S A

Whip out the diary and take note of the days to rejoice in some foodie favourites NATIONAL TEA DAY Saturday April 21

UK COFFEE WEEK Monday April 16 to Sunday April 22

BRITISH BEEF WEEK Saturday April 21 to Monday April 30




ENGLISH WINE WEEK Saturday May 27 to Monday June 4

NATIONAL BARBECUE WEEK Monday May 28 to Sunday June 3


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WORLD GIN DAY Saturday June 9

HEALTHY EATING WEEK Monday June 11 to Friday June 15





NATIONAL ALLOTMENTS WEEK Monday August 13 to Sunday August 19

WORLD PLANT MILK DAY Wednesday August 22

ORGANIC SEPTEMBER Saturday September 1 to Sunday September 30

SOURDOUGH SEPTEMBER Saturday September 1 to Sunday September 30

WORLD SALAMI DAY Friday September 7


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GASTRO SOCIAL Gastro magazine’s guide to:

Modern manners with etiquette coach Prudence Sitwell

1. Show up

An RSVP is not a contract, but it should certainly be treated as such. Every guest is at liberty to accept or reject an invitation to a dinner party, but accepting then changing your mind when Netflix releases a new show, or your hair just has to be washed, is simply not the done thing! Very poor form…

2. Dress to impress

I can forgive the dinner jacket falling out of favour with party guests – one cannot expect a perfect world – but there are limits. As a hostess, and a seasoned one at that, I’ve most probably invested half my day selecting the perfect dress, and most certainly expect the same from my guests. Thinking of turning up in a checked shirt and ripped jeans? You can eat in the stables. Good day, sir!

3. Switch off

Put those phones away, ladies and gentleman! It is not, and nor should it ever be, acceptable to take your phone out at the dinner table. Your hosts have been kind enough to make you dinner and are deserving of your attention. Take your phone out at my dinner table and it’s going straight in the punch bowl.

ever-flowing, engaging and lively. Guests should be aware of how much of their time is spent talking and listening – an equal 50/50 split please, chaps!

5. Back to basics

Although a wide vocabulary is preferable, you’ll be able to survive a dinner party when armed with three vital words – ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. They’re vital in good etiquette, and appear to have fallen off the radar in these dark times. Your parents and school masters would have taught this to you in the early days, unless the modern world truly has gone to the dogs.

6. Eat up

There’s no greater compliment to the host than a clean plate. Not only has the chef worked hard to prepare the meal for you, but the ingredients have been grown, harvested, packaged and sold, so the least you can do is eat it. Spare the tender feelings of your hosts, as it makes for such a rotten evening when one is left sobbing on the kitchen floor.

4. Talk sense

Don’t turn up with all the charm and personality of a wet teabag, as you most certainly won’t be invited back. Read up on current events and popular topics before attending; the conversation should be

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Gastro issue18 april18  
Gastro issue18 april18