October recipes: An apple a day…

Round & About

Did you know in the UK alone we have more than 2,500 varieties of apple? Enough for you to try a different one every day for more than seven years and what better day to start then on October 21st, Apple Day. Why not try these recipes to start with…

Gala Apple and Sausage Tray Bake

Ingredients:

• 1x 400g pack of pork sausages, cut in half
• 2 red onions, cut into wedges
• 2 Gala Apples, cut into wedges
• 1 bunch of sage
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp honey
• 2 tbsp whole grain mustard

Serve with creamy mashed potato

PREP: 10 minutes

COOKING: 30-45 minutes

SERVES: 2

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C

Add the sausage halves, onion and apple wedges to a large baking tray and scatter over the sage leaves

Whisk together the olive oil, honey and whole grain mustard in a small bowl and drizzle over the sausage, onion and apple mixture

Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and sticky. Serve with creamy mashed potato

Braeburn Toffee Apple Cupcake

Ingredients:

• 125g softened butter
• 125g soft brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 225g self-raising flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 2 tsp mixed spice
• 120g Greek yoghurt
• 110ml whole milk
• 130g diced Braeburn apple, peeled finely
• Cream cheese icing
• 125g butter
• 250g icing sugar
• 125g cream cheese
• Splash milk

For decoration

• 12 dehydrated apple slices
• 4 tbsp shop bought toffee sauce

PREP: 20 minutes

COOKING: 15-20 minutes

SERVES: 12

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C

Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases

Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs one at a time

Sift in the flour, baking powder, spices and mix. Stir through the Greek yoghurt, milk and diced apple. Using a teaspoon, divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden. Place on a cooling rack

To make the cream cheese icing, add butter to a large mixing bowl and whisk until white and fluffy. Whisk in the icing sugar until combined, followed by the cream cheese – don’t over whisk or the cream cheese may split. Add a splash of milk if you feel the consistency needs adjusting

Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a large open nozzle and pipe a circle of icing on top of each cupcake

Finish each cupcake with a dehydrated apple slice and a drizzle of toffee sauce

See our other recipes

Win! £150 worth of Q+A skincare

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Enter our competition to win £150 worth of skincare from Q+A, the natural, clean and ingredient-focused skincare brand

Want to demystify your skincare regime? British brand Q+A have got you covered with effective and affordable skincare, powered by nature. One lucky reader will win a Q+A voucher worth £150 to spend online at qandaskin.com.

Pick your skincare and they’ll be delivered straight to your door. Choose from a range of 13 products packed with powerful natural ingredients, from expert favourite Hyaluronic Acid, to lip-plumping Liquorice Root.

Not sure which are best for your skin? No problem; check out Q+A’s checklist on every product, or take their online Skin Type Quiz for personalised recommendations.

To enter, fill in the form below before 12pm on Friday 30th October

Want to know more about Q+A? Head to @qandaskin on Instagram for all things skincare!

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Win! Family ticket to LEGOLAND®

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Enter our competition to win a Family ticket to LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort to enjoy Brick or Treat

You can win a family ticket to the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort this October ahead of its ultimate Halloween party, Brick or Treat. Guests can expect pumpkins, supersized spooky LEGO models and creepy ghouls, ghosts and cobwebs popping up in Miniland.

Also, in attendance is Lord Vampyre who will return with his monster friends at the Haunted House Monster Party Ride. Brick or Treat promises to be a fun-filled day out from start to end with character meet and greets, live shows and for LEGO builders, a special Halloween themed ‘take and make’.

To enter, fill in the form below before 12pm on Friday 16th October

Visit legoland.co.uk for details.

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Star Q&A: Katie Melua

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Liz Nicholls asks singer Katie Melua a few questions about her musical icons & more ahead of her new album No. 8 being released and a UK tour this month.

Q. Congratulations on your new album! How do you feel about it now it’s about to be released? “I feel like it’s been a long time coming. We’ve been working on it for so long and can’t wait to share it with everyone. When you’re working on it it’s always tricky to sort of be able to tell completely objectively how you feel about it or what you think about it. Now the dust has settled you start to feel like you begin to see it properly, and begin to hear it properly. There’s always like the excitement of a new record and that’s kind of bubbling in the team, so I just can’t wait for it to be out there.”

Q. What lessons did you ponder about love, and what do you feel is the most powerful lesson to convey? “I looked at it from the perspective of a record maker and a singer/songwriter who has sung great love songs. And so from that perspective I felt like I had to say and have lines like ‘I think we’ve given love too much airtime”’ which is about acknowledging these love songs, but as I’ve got older the reality of life has shown me that when records just celebrate the early love and the passion of love and the sort of that angle of love like it’s not enough. I think it’s important to honestly observe your life and to put that into your music and your words. Another song on the record – How’d you make a love like that last – is about being just honest and asking ‘what have I actually seen?’. What is the reality in all the relationships that I’ve observed – both mine and those around me? There is a real gap between what I’ve seen in culture to do with love and what I’ve seen in reality and I’m interested in seeing how much we can bridge that gap.”

Q. What activities have helped keep you sane during lockdown, are there any habits you will now keep up? “Well I think I’m going to keep up the habit of taking photos. But really meaningfully. I learned to use a film camera to take photos for the album and the promo photos, I never worked with one before, I’ve grown up with a telephone / iPhone camera. The photographer Rosie Matheson taught me to use a camera and I got to shoot the album cover. It genuinely changed my perception of how I view my visual world around me because I realised there’s so many possibilities of which angles you use and what you put inside a picture. It’s like my visual senses have been heightened through learning to take photos, and I’ve actually just bought myself a camera. So I think I will keep up the habit of taking photos and just being a bit more perceptive of my visual surroundings.”

Q. You’ve spoken poignantly about your mental health before, how are you now and how do you maintain good mental hygiene? “Thank you for asking, I’m feeling really good. You know I was sick in 2010, and I’ve had a really healthy recovering and I’m grateful for it, and I’m also grateful that it happened. And how do I keep my mental hygiene – well in a way the fact that I got sick is what keeps my mental hygiene because I’ve realised how the brain can break, basically, and I place a great deal of importance on my health, on not overworking, on just respecting my mind and my body, and my energy and really paying attention to it, and doing good things, things that I love and being kind to people.”

Q. I know you lived in Surrey for some time. What did you enjoy most about living in Surrey? “I used to live on Nutfield Road, up on top of that hill. I didn’t really used to hang out there much because we moved there when I was just starting Brit School, and so I tended to get the train from Redhill to Selhurst, change in East Croydon. I was always at the train station in Redhill! Because we were on top of the hill the view of the Surrey downs was incredible. Very close to our house there was a lake with water sports, and we’d go out on canoes and windsurfing.”

Q. And obviously you’ve played in Guildford quite a few times haven’t you? “Yes I have. And actually the shows we did there with the Gori Women’s Choir were brilliant. Mind you, my first show was there as well, supporting The Planets I think. Good memories, yeah, really good memories.”

Q. You’ve been compared to your namesake Kate Bush; would you like to work with her and are there any other dream collaborations or icons you’d like to meet? “Kate Bush is the ultimate icon. I would blow my head off if the possibility of working with Kate Bush came around. Are there any others? Yes, of course – I love Bob Dylan, I love Joni Mitchell. I think Laura Marling is brilliant, but you know what’s interesting is there isn’t a great deal of communication between artists, like we tend to keep to our own spaces, which is a shame really. But everyone works in their own cycles and I think that’s what makes it difficult. An artist can spend – years making an album and the work is very engulfing. It’s tough to form friendships because you could become friends one season, and then you could go off on tour for 6 months? And then you come back and then they’re on tour. And even at festivals the schedules are usually too relentless so you aren’t hanging out backstage.”

Q. What’s your first ever memory of music? “It is of my mum playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata on the family piano in Georgia when I was four or five years old. I can still picture it. There was a power cut so there were a couple of candles and I remember hearing that thing of beauty, you know in something that was so emotional and something that I couldn’t touch and I couldn’t see, and the melody just piercing me in the darkness, it was majestic.”

Q. What are your three favourite pieces of music? “Just My Imagination by The Temptations, because I think it is the most exquisite pop record. It’s like a sweet, divine movie that you see, and the vocals and the lyrics are done perfectly; they’re super subtle, they’re completely clear, they’re really bitter sweet, they’re about imagining a lover that the protagonist can’t have. And then the music just is draped around that in the most extraordinary way, and it’s got a great groove but it’s not too loud – it’s just perfect. My next piece would be Mourned By The Wind by Giya Kancheli, which is a classical piece of work, and I actually heard it live performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Southbank Centre. When I first heard it, it was an out of body experience, because it’s incredibly delicate in parts and then there are certain sections that are mind-blowingly – they hit you like the whole orchestra strikes. And finally I Remember by Molly Drake, Nick Drake’s mum. I just adored the philosophy in this song – it had the most beautiful lyric ‘I remember fire light, and you remember smoke’. You can tell her music and her songwriting influenced her son, it’s just perfect. I feel like her work and Nick’s work defines that sort of indescribable English quality, which is sort of subtle and delicate.”

Q. Your tour is due to visit Berkshire and Oxfordshire, do you know this part of the world well and if so any places you would like to visit? “I played at Blenheim Palace a lifetime ago, but I didn’t get a chance to explore much which is a shame. I just love the English countryside, and I actually worked for three weeks completely alone in a cottage in the Cotswolds. That’s where I completed a lot of the lyrics for the new record, and I think it’ll always be in my heart actually. I had an amazing time just being on my own for three weeks. I didn’t have a car, the nearest pub was a half an hour walk away, and I had a cottage that was generously lent to me by an old friend… for three weeks obviously, not forever [laughs].”

Q. Who would be your six dream dinner party guests, living or dead, real or fictional, and why? “I would say Virginia Woolf; her writing is a big inspiration to me. To The Lighthouse is my favourite book – how she describes life is I think one of the greatest things in western art. There’s a dinner scene in To The Lighthouse where she describes the fruit and the food on the table, and the light in the room and it’s just majestic. So, having someone like that who was such a keen observer of life is a must. I would also have Pina Bausch, a German choreographer who revolutionised modern dance. I love her way of working, how she explored male and female relationships and how she made commentary on it through her dance pieces. Her parents were restaurant owners, so she spent her childhood kind of hiding under tables observing life under the table at a restaurant, and then I think that’s where she developed her kind of – that’s what inspired her. She trained as a ballet dancer and then she was given the job of being the head choreographer at the Wuppertal dance theatre company. I saw her dance once. Maybe I Dreamt It on the new album is inspired by her. The third would be Bob Dylan. I love Bob as an artist – I love the idea of Bob, the character that we have of him on records. I especially love his love songs about women like Time After Time and Lay Lady Lay. I think it would be lovely if my guests are all at the same age that Bob might fall in love with one of my guests and might write a song about her. So we’ve had a writer, a choreographer, we’ve had a musician – let’s go for a painter. Levan Lagidze who is a legendary Georgian painter, a living legend. I know him, and I have a relationship with him where we converse about his work and the process of creating, and I find talking to him really fascinating – we talk about art, we talk about life, and I know the conversation with him will always be fascinating and funny. Next one, okay we should have a scientist! Let’s have… let’s have Newton. Why Newton? Because I loved physics at school, it was my second favourite subject at school after chemistry. His university life was interrupted due to the plague, and it was when he was at home he saw the apple fall and had a major discovery from that – I’m sure obviously that’s not what actually happened, I’m sure it was a build-up over years and years, so it would be nice to sort of hear the full story about his discoveries. And my final guest would be my grandma, Tamara (called her Babula; a Russian term for it) who passed away a few years ago. But she had a heavy influence on how I sing. From a very young age, she would always get me to sing for her in the kitchen – she was always the only audience. And at the age of six or seven, she’d give me proper critique that I could take like an adult, she never kind of molly coddled me – and she always told me to sing from the heart, and I think she really enjoyed doing that.”

Q. Do you celebrate Halloween at all? Is it a time of the year you enjoy? “I love Halloween! As a teenager I just adored Halloween, and I loved doing Halloween parties. I once did a Halloween party where I invited a ghost story teller, and around 15 friends and we listened to ghost stories – but we were about 23.”

Q. If you could make one wish for the world, what would it be? “I think for all of us to pay attention to our moods a little bit more, and go easy on ourselves… yeah, go easy on ourselves as humans because I think we’re alright.”

The Beatles: Get Back

Round & About

Get Back is set to celebrate the iconic band’s influence

“The Beatles gave my generation their genius and their joy and they changed the world through their art,” says Nicholas Callaway, founder & publisher of Callaway Arts & Entertainment. “The creativity and inspiration expressed in this landmark book and in Peter Jackson’s film are as important and relevant today as ever.”

His company, along with Apple Corps Ltd. are set for the global publication of The Beatles: Get Back, the first official standalone book to be released by the band since international bestseller The Beatles Anthology.

The 240-page hardcover tells the story of The Beatles’ creation of their 1970 album, Let It Be, in their own words. You’re invited to travel back in time to January 1969, the beginning of The Beatles’ last year as a band. The “White Album” is still at number one in the charts, but the ever-prolific foursome regroup in London for a new project, initially titled Get Back. Over 21 days, first at Twickenham Film Studios and then at their own brand-new Apple Studios, with cameras and tape recorders documenting every day’s work, the band rehearse a huge number of songs, new and old, in preparation for what proves to be their final concert, which famously takes place on the rooftop of their own Apple Corps office building, bringing central London to a halt.

Legend now has it that these sessions were a grim time for a band falling apart, but, as acclaimed novelist Hanif Kureishi writes in his introduction: “In fact this was a productive time for them, when they created some of their best work. And it is here that we have the privilege of witnessing their early drafts, the mistakes, the drift and digressions, the boredom, the excitement, joyous jamming and sudden breakthroughs that led to the work we now know and admire.”

Presenting transcribed conversations drawn from over 120 recorded hours of the band’s studio sessions with hundreds of previously unpublished images, including photos by Ethan A. Russell and Linda McCartney, it also includes a foreword written by Academy Award-winning director, producer and screenwriter Peter Jackson.

The book’s texts are edited by John Harris from original conversations between John, Paul, George and Ringo spanning three weeks of recording, culminating in The Beatles’ historic final rooftop concert. The release will be a special and essential companion to director Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back feature documentary film, set for theatrical release on August 27, 2021.

To watch the book trailer and find out more, visit thebeatles.com

Pre-order at lnk.to/thebeatlesgetbackbook

The perfect place to call home

Round & About

Taylor Wimpey invite you to discover ‘the perfect place to call home’ in the heart of the Cotswolds at Thornberry Green in Eynsham

Win! Rex London school goodies vouchers

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Enter our competition to win one of three £50 vouchers for back to school goodies from Rex London

Send your little ones back to school this September in style with bags, lunchboxes, waterbottles, brollies and more splashed with Rex London’s playful patterns, cute characters and pretty prints to make them the envy of their friends in the playground.

We’ve teamed up with Rex London to offer three winners a £50 voucher to spend on the colourful collection – will you choose dinosaurs, space rockets, kittens or pandas or how about educating yourself with a choice of accessories decorated with a world map?

These back to school essentials will make the new term all the more fun!

To enter, fill in the form below before 12pm on Friday 25th September

For the full range visit www.rexlondon.com

Win! A necklace from Aurum

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Enter our competition to win an ERIKA Necklace from Aurum

Icelandic jeweller Aurum by Guðbjörg are offering one lucky reader the chance to win the beautiful Erika necklace worth RRP £148 from their new Erika Collection.

The necklace is crafted in recycled 925 sterling silver and plated with 18K gold. Launched to commemorate the brand’s 20th anniversary, Erika encapsulates the spirit of Aurum’s origins.

The jewellery collection is inspired by designer Guðbjörg’s memories of her daughter, who was fascinated by the delicate flowers of the Icelandic countryside, collecting them for her mother and writing fairy tales about her adventures.

Aurum sources materials from certified fair trade companies and all packaging is environmentally friendly.

To enter, fill in the form below before 12pm on Friday 25th September

Visit www.aurum.is for more.

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Win! Oz Clarke’s new wine book

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Enter our competition to win one of five copies of Oz Clarke’s new book

Wine expert Oz Clarke has long been a champion of English wines. In his new book, Oz Clarke English Wine: From Still to Sparkling, he covers personal experiences and reflections from his many years of visiting producers up and down the country.

From Yorkshire to the far west of Cornwall and even  across Wales, Oz recommends wines he has enjoyed, found interesting and encourages the reader to try them for themselves.

England is the newest of the New World, New Wave, cool-climate wine countries. From a tiny base, it has become a real force for quality, regularly winning international competitions and Oz introduces you to these in his new book out on September 3rd.

We have five copies to give away.

To enter, fill in the form below before 12pm on Friday 25th September

Read more here

Star Q&A: Wine wizard Oz

Round & About

Jonathan Lovett catches up with wine expert and TV celebrity Oz Clarke ahead of the publication of his latest book, Oz Clarke English Wine in which he waxes lyrical about the newest new world wine country

What floated your cork to write this book?

I think the time had come. I’ve been writing about English wine and supporting it ever since I was an actor and singer years ago. Year by year I’ve noted what was going on and, to be honest, there wasn’t much in this country until Nyetimber came on the scene in the late 1990s. This wonderful English sparkling wine was a complete revelation which tasted better than most Champagnes! Every year since then I’ve seen new players arrive and the 2018 was our biggest ever vintage, which was talked about all over the media, so I realised then I had to write this. There was no high street book for anyone interested in English wine so it just had to happen.

And the book is also about the English countryside?

Absolutely. I’m a country boy from Kent and when I was growing up I was also in Cambridgeshire for a couple of years so my memories of early life are all about the countryside. When people ask me, “Where would you like to be right now?” they expect me to say, “San Francisco or Johannesburg etc” but instead I say, “Oh, take me to the white cliffs of Dover with the wind blowing in my hair and the sun in my face and I know in half-an-hour’s walking I’ll come to a beautiful pub where I can enjoy a pint of their local beer!”

What English wine would you recommend that won’t break the bank?

Firstly, if we’re looking at English wine, the best English sparkling wines are quite expensive, and deservedly so. But if you want to drink English wine for less money then try the still wines as we make a delicious range. There are vineyards such as Denbies in Surrey, Chapel Down in Kent or Three Choirs in Gloucestershire and you can get these simply outstanding white blends with names like Flint Dry for just a tenner. It’s the same price you’ll be paying for a supermarket New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and just as good.

Do you miss the acting at all? I hear you were quite successful…

I miss theatres and whenever I go round the country I often go to the local theatre and ask stage door, “Would you mind if I just go and stand on the stage for a few minutes?” as there’s something magical about an empty theatre. And sometimes I stand on the stage and sing, perhaps a bit of Sweeney Todd. I played that wonderful role opposite Sheila Hancock at Drury Lane and my first night was just about my best ever night on stage.

What made you switch from the stage to Sancerre?

Well, I did 10 years pretty much solid without a holiday and I was playing Juan Peron in Evita opposite Stephanie Lawrence. It was a big, successful show then Stephanie left and I should have also gone at the same time but they asked me to do another six months. During those six months I just lost the joy for what I was doing and I started losing my confidence. I started coming into the theatre, fearsome, and I thought, “This is absolute nonsense” and, “I’ve got to leave.” So I went away and sat in my little garret in Islington and wrote a book called Sniff, Gurgle and Spit and realised I could make a job as a wine writer!

BBC’S Food and Drink followed which propelled you into the stratosphere. Why was it so successful?

It was the first food programme to take a magazine approach to what was happening that week. We went out on a Tuesday evening and up to Tuesday morning we could still change what was going on so it was very up-to-date. Then there was the relationship between myself and Jilly (Goolden). Our fantastic producer, Peter Bazalgette, teamed us together and we got on so well. We both set out to democratise wine and wanted to share a happy world of eating and drinking that class-ridden England just wasn’t getting.

Finally, your real name is Robert…where did the Oz nickname come from?

Well, when I was a lad I played lots of cricket for the Cathedral Choir School in Kent. One day we played one of the local schools and they thought, “Ha! These fellows wandering around in their cassocks – what a load of weeds!” So these boys were bowling at our heads but my dad always taught me to watch the ball and whack it to the boundary and I kept doing that and scored 32 runs off eight balls! They compared my pugnacious approach to an Aussie cricketer so I became…Oz!

• Oz Clarke English Wine: From Still to Sparkling. The Newest New World Wine Country is out from September 3rd published by Pavilion Books.

• We have five copies of Oz’s book to give away