November recipes: food with heart

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Food & Recipes

A new cook book Food & Kindness is raising funds for Oxfordshire’s Sobell House hospice with help from local restaurants

Two of those featured are Oli’s Thai in Magdalen Road, Oxford and The White Hart in Fyfield.

Oli’s Thai is a neighbourhood restaurant with a well-deserved reputation for fantastic food, the Aubergine Curry has become the most popular dish in the restaurant and they say, don’t be scared to burn the edges, that’s where the flavour is

Aubergine Curry

from Oli’s Thai

Ingredients:

For the paste
• 1 tbsp coriander seeds
• Small pinch of cumin seeds
• 1 tbsp dried Dutch chillies, some seeds removed
• 75g lemongrass, cut thinly across
• 25g galangal, cut thinly across
• 1 tbsp table salt
• 1 tsp ground white pepper
• 35g garlic, peeled
• 25g shallots, roughly chopped
• 40g big red chillies

For the curry
• 2 aubergines
• 8 tbsp vegetable oil
• 190ml coconut milk
• 30ml water or stock
• 80g fine green beans, halved
• 2 spring onions, cut into 3cm chucks
• Handful of Thai basil
• 3 lime leaves, torn up
• 20g caster sugar
• 80ml coconut cream
• 50ml soy sauce

PREP: 15 minutes

COOKING: 30 minutes

SERVES: 4

Method:

For the paste
Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan over a low heat until golden. Once cool, put them in a spice grinder with the dried Dutch chillies and blitz to a fine consistency. With a pestle and mortar, pound a small quantity of the lemongrass and galangal together until smooth, adding more until you have used them all. Add the salt and pepper, then the other ingredients one at a time, pounding the mixture to a fine consistency before adding the next. Finally, add the blitzed dry spices and mix well. If you are using a blender to make the paste, add all the fresh ingredients and blitz until fine. Then add the coriander and cumin seeds, chillies, salt and pepper.

For the curry
Preheat the oven to 180°c. Prepare the aubergines, cutting each one lengthways into 10 or 12 wedges. For each wedge, cut along the flesh making a deep incision nearly reaching the skin and repeat, leaving 1 to 2cm gaps between each cut. Put them onto a baking tray and drizzle with five tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until soft but still holding their shape. Don’t be alarmed if the edges burn slightly, this will give the finished curry extra flavour.

Put the remaining vegetable oil into a large pan on a low heat and add the curry paste. Cook the paste for a couple of minutes until you see the oil separate. Increase the heat and add the coconut milk, stock, green beans, spring onion, basil, lime leaves and sugar then cook for about 2 to 3 minutes while stirring continuously. Turn the heat down low, add the coconut cream and soy sauce, then simmer gently until the beans are cooked, which should take about 3 to 5 minutes.

Place the roasted aubergine wedges in a bowl and pour over the sauce. Garnish with basil leaves.

The White Hart in Fyfield is a charming country dining pub that puts great food and hospitality at its heart and what could be better than trying their Elderflower Crème Brûlée with Gooseberry Compote and if you’re feeling adventurous try the doughnuts too

Elderflower Crème Brûlée with Gooseberry Compote

from The White Hart, Fyfield

Ingredients:

For the crème brûlée
• 400ml double cream
• 35g caster sugar, plus a little extra to brûlée
• 120ml elderflower cordial
• 6 egg yolks

For the gooseberry compote
• 400g gooseberries
• 6 tbsp caster sugar
• 2 tbsp elderflower cordial

For the doughnuts (optional)
• 210ml tepid milk
• 50g unsalted butter, softened
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 100g caster sugar
• 10g fresh yeast (or 5g dried)
• 300g plain flour
• ½ tsp salt
• Vegetable oil, for frying

PREP: 15 minutes (plus 2hrs prooving)

COOKING: 30-40 minutes

SERVES: 6

Method:

For the crème brûlée
Preheat the oven to 150°c. Place the cream, sugar and cordial in a pan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Briefly beat the egg yolks in a bowl, then pour in the cream mixture while still beating. Pass through a sieve into a jug. Pour the mixture into ramekins (approx. 70ml in each) and place in a deep roasting tin. Fill the roasting tin with boiling water halfway up the ramekins. Place on the bottom shelf of the oven and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until just set. Remove from the oven and let the ramekins stand in the water for 10 minutes, then take them out and leave to cool.

For the gooseberry compote
Place the gooseberries, sugar and elderflower cordial in a pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 3 minutes, just until the gooseberries start to soften. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

For the doughnuts (optional)
Combine the milk, butter, eggs and 40g of the sugar. Place the yeast in a small bowl, then add a little of the milk mixture to form a smooth paste. Add this paste to the remaining milk mixture and whisk to combine. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Gradually pour in the milk mixture, whisking until smooth. Cover the bowl with cling film and place the dough in a warm spot to prove for approximately 1 hour or until doubled in size. Take the dough out and knock it back to remove the air, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge until cold. Roll the cold dough into 15g balls and place them on greaseproof paper squares to prove for a final 30 minutes.

Place a large saucepan, one third filled with vegetable oil, over a medium heat until the oil reaches 170°c. Place the dough balls in the oil and cook for about 4 minutes, turning often, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove and drain on paper towels. Once cooled slightly, roll the doughnuts in the remaining caster sugar.

To serve
Sprinkle a little caster sugar over the brûlée then heat with a blowtorch (or place under a hot grill) until the sugar bubbles and forms a caramel. Arrange the compote and the doughnuts artistically on the plate and we serve ours with raspberry ripple ice cream and fresh raspberries. Enjoy!

Food & Kindness, £15, and is available from Amazon, Waterstones and online from www.mezepublishing.co.uk

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October recipes: An apple a day…

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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

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August recipes: Fabulous fish

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Sea for Yourself is encouraging us to cook with fresh fish caught in UK seas, so ‘see for yourself’ how healthy and easy it can be

Fish is one of the healthiest foods you can eat and by buying and cooking delicious seafood caught in English waters, shoppers are not only supporting one of the country’s most important industries, but can also take advantage of the science-backed health benefits that support all types of lockdown lifestyles – Omega-3 fats boost brain function and maintain heart health, vitamins reduce fatigue and improve skin and hair.

Adding just two portions of fish to your diet can have a big impact on daily life. Fish is also packed with protein which helps to maintain healthy muscles and muscle mass, helping you to stay fit.

Sea for Yourself is a campaign launched by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, in partnership with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to encourage people to cook with UK caught fish species. Try these tasty, nutritious recipes.

Mouthwatering Fishcake

Ingredients:

• 1 pack smoked mackerel or equivalent cooked white fish
• Same weight mashed potato (approx 300g)
• Small handful chopped spring onions and parsley (optional)
• 2 eggs
• 100g plain flour
• 100g breadcrumbs
• Salt and pepper
• sunflower oil or any light mild oil for shallow frying (optional)

PREP: 10-12 minutes

COOKING: 26-30 minutes

SERVES: 4

Method:

1. Mash mashed potato with cooked white fish or smoked mackerel fillets.

2. Add onion/herbs and seasoning for flavour.

3. Shape or use cutters to get the desired effect.

4. Whisk the eggs and lay out in a bowl alongside a bowl of flour and a bowl of breadcrumbs.

5. Gently flour, egg and breadcrumb each fishcake.

6. Tidy up the shape if need be. Bake for 20 minutes or shallow fry for 10, five on each side.

7. Serve with healthy veg/mayo/tomato sauce.

Spicy garlic and tomato haddock

Ingredients:

• 750g salad tomatoes
• 1 tin chopped tomatoes
• 600g haddock
• Handful of Kalamata Greek olive
• Bunch of fresh parsley
• 4 cloves of garlic
• 2 anchovy fillets (optional)
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
• Salt & pepper

PREP: 5-10 minutes

COOKING: 10 minutes

SERVES: 5

Method:

1. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large frying pan on a low heat. Add the sliced garlic, red pepper flakes & anchovies (optional).

2. Slice the tomatoes into quarters and pit the olives. Add to the frying pan with a splash (100ml) of water and season with salt and pepper.

3. Once the tomatoes have formed a sauce, add the chopped tomatoes and 200ml of water.

4. Place the haddock (pre-sliced into 5 portions) on top of the sauce to poach. Cover with a lid for 6 minutes.

5. After 6 minutes, the haddock should be cooked and ready to go. Serve with rice or side of your choice and top with chopped fresh parsley and red pepper flakes.

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July recipes: Love those leaves

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Watercress is healthy, delicious and packed full of goodness – one 85g bag provides more than the recommended daily amount of vitamin C to help boost your immune system. It’s in season until October so get creating now!

Grilled mackerel & watercress salad with orange and chilli

Ingredients:

• 4 mackerel fillets
• ½ tsp ground coriander
• ½ tsp ground black pepper
• 2 oranges
• 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
• ½ tsp Dijon mustard
• ½ tbsp good quality honey
• 85g watercress
• ½ a small red onion, finely sliced

PREP: 20 minutes

COOKING: 5 minutes

SERVES: 4 as a starter, 2 as a main

Method:

1. Pre-heat the grill to medium-high.

2. Zest half an orange and mix well with the coriander, black pepper, and half the chopped chilli.

3. Lightly score the skin of the mackerel fillets with a sharp knife, being careful not to cut into the flesh. Press the spice mixture into the skin.

4. Segment the oranges. Cut off the top and bottom, then cut away any peel and pith using a paring knife. Holding the peeled orange over a bowl, use the paring knife to cut each segment away from the centre. Put the segments to one side and squeeze the remaining orange to release any juice.

5. Measure 2 tbsp of the orange juice into a small bowl, then mix the with mustard, honey and remaining chopped chilli.

6. Place the mackerel fillet skin side up on a grill tray. Grill for 4-5 minutes or until cooked through with crisp skin.

7. While the fish is cooking, divide the watercress between four plates. Scatter with the orange segments and sliced red onion. Drizzle with the orange dressing and top with the grilled mackerel. Serve immediately.

Seared beef & watercress salad with spiced charred pineapple, asparagus and chilli

Ingredients:

• 240g sirloin steak
• 2 x 85g bags watercress
• ½ a pineapple peeled, cored and cut into 6 wedges
• 2 tbs caster sugar
• 60ml olive oil
• 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
• Salt and pepper

For the spiced dressing:
• 1 tsp coriander seeds
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 shallot, finely sliced
• 1 red chilli, finely sliced
• 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
• 3 tbsp water
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• Salt and pepper

PREP: 20 minutes

COOKING: 20 minutes

SERVES: 4

Method:

1. First make the dressing. Gently dry fry the coriander seeds until fragrant, then add in all of the remaining ingredients except the olive oil and salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes, then set aside and allow to cool. Once cooled, remove the bay leaves and pour the olive oil into the mixture in s steady stream, whisking constantly. Taste and add seasoning.

2. Pre-heat the grill to a medium-high setting. Prepare your pineapple by combining the caster sugar and olive oil with a pinch of salt. Brush this mix over the surface of the pineapple wedges, then place chargrill for roughly 10 minutes, turning once, or until the outside of the pineapple is charred and sticky. Allow to cool slightly before serving as the sugary outside will be very hot!

3. While the pineapple is grilling, pre-heat a frying pan (or use the barbecue) ready for the steaks. Season the outside of your sirloin well with salt and pepper and add in a splash of oil to the pan. Once the oil is smoking hot, pan fry the steaks for a few minutes on each side (depending on how you like your steak), then remove and allow the beef to rest.

4. Cook your asparagus by blanching for two minutes in boiling salted water, then drain well and set aside until you build your salad. If cooking the asparagus ahead of time, make sure it is cooled in cold water quickly after cooking so that it does not become soggy and brown.

5. Cut your rested steak into thick slices. Add a good pile of watercress onto each of your four plates, then add in the charred pineapple and asparagus. Top with the seared beef and drizzle generously with the spicy pickle dressing. Serve and enjoy!

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British Pie Week

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Food & Recipes

Never has the saying ‘nice as pie’ been so apt – who doesn’t love a tasty pastry pie and what better time to indulge than in British Pie Week. 

With so many great recipes to choose from all you need to do is decide whether it’s savoury, sweet, crumble or pasty – why not make a different one every day this week and get all members of the family involved in the cooking too? 

According to the most common internet search results, here’s our top 10, love them or loathe them:- 

1: Cottage Pie 

2: Fish Pie 

3: Shepherd’s Pie 

4: Chicken & Leek Pie 

5: Chicken and Mushroom Pie 

6: Steak and Ale Pie 

7: Meat and Potato Pie 

8: Pork Pie 

9: Steak and Kidney Pie 

10: Corned Beef Pie 

We asked our star baker Christine Wallace to share a pie recipe with us so why not put this on the menu this week? 

Left over turkey, leek and mushroom pie 

 

• You will need an 8” (20cm) Pie dish.
• 500gm block of butter puff pastry.
• 1 large leek – cut into large chunks
• 120g button mushrooms
• 300g cooked turkey meat
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 1 tblsp oil
• 50g butter
• 50g plain flour
• 1 pint milk
• ½ tsp onion salt
• White pepper
• Beaten egg for glaze

Method 

• Place the oil and butter in a pan and add the leek, gently sweat for 5 minutes but do not brown.

• Add the mushrooms and thyme, cook for a minute.

• Stir in the flour and gently cook for a minute.

• Slowly add the milk until you have a nice thick sauce, add the turkey meat and cook for a couple of minutes.

• Add the onion salt and a little pepper then pour into your pie dish

• Roll out the pastry and cover the pie, sealing well and fluting the edges.

• Brush with beaten egg and cook for 30 minutes or until the pastry is well risen and golden brown.

N.B. If you are making the pie to freeze, do NOT add the turkey meat until the leek and mushroom sauce is completely cold. Use fresh puff pastry if you are freezing, not frozen! 

Hoppy ever after

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Food & Recipes

Danielle Bekker explains more about her journey to set up her award-winning local business Binary Botanical & how Woking has inspired her

I love beer but I have never enjoyed having beer with food and would typically switch to wine to have with dinner, which is far more alcoholic. So the original idea was to come up with beer that would go well with food and we have done everything to turn beer on its head. We infuse it with hop leaves (which are normally a waste product) and brew with a wine yeast to give a product which is aromatic, tangy like prosecco aromatic but not at all bitter. We have a 4% ABV version which is the low alcohol alternative to wine and the 0.5% which is the perfect adult drink when you aren’t drinking.

My real passion is the 0.5% ABV – it took a lot longer to get this recipe right . A lot of non-alcoholic beers are quite bitter and it took a lot of experimentation to develop something which was aromatic and flavourful but without the bitterness.

My favourite tipple at the moment is actually the binary 0.5.  I don’t drink very much and I love having an adult alternative to lime and soda.

In terms of inspiration there are quite a few – the range of delicious gins that are out there with the various botanical infusions  shows the range of flavours that can be achieved with different botanicals.   I think Seedlip have paved the way for elevating the non-alcoholic cocktail.

Because binary is so different biggest it is not aimed at the traditional beer consumer  – when people taste the liquid the invariably love it but it does confuse the brain – Is it a low alcohol sparkling wine? Is it a beer?.    Beer can be premium, drunk out of a wine glass with a meal by men and women.  It can make delicious low calorie cocktails.   Secondly – you have to get involved in so many different areas of the business  – from sourcing ingredients to packing boxes and trying to understand how to post a story on Instagram (I didn’t have an Instagram account before starting binary!)

Our highlights have been our listing in Harvey Nichols and Ocado – who both said they were excited to genuine new news and innovation in beer.  The second highlight would be being included in craft gin club as the cocktail mixer for their cocktail of the month – they took a big risk including us as their first ever beer and the feedback has been really positive.  And then lastly any time someone says – I don’t like beer and ends up loving binary is probably the biggest highlight of all.

On a more personal level, in my previous role in corporate I had to travel a lot so was away from home a lot so felt as though I missed out a lot on every day family life like hearing about the day at school.  So although I probably work harder now – I am home for dinner every day and see the kids off for school in the morning which is a real privilege.

My favourite part of Woking is probably Horsell Common (thanks to War of the Worlds –  nearly as famous as the Pizza express is now) – the perfect place to re-charge and go for a walk.  I think we are very lucky to live in a town which is so close to London but still has a great village feel about it.

It is so amazing to see how people want to support local businesses – the people we meet at Farmers Markets and festivals are all very passionate about supporting small, local businesses and events like Woking Food Festival go a long way to show casing local businesses in an affordable way.  I am always humbled by how many volunteers  give their time to the various events.   Locally, our aim is to convince more restaurants that innovation doesn’t just have to be in London.  With this in mind we are running a unique Cocktailcompetition for mixologists and bartenders to mark Dry January by creating a new low alcohol cocktail to demonstrate that no/low alcohol drinks can be exciting and delicious  and its only open to for people in the South East.

 

Q. What would be your dream for Binary Botanical?

My dream would be that we can exemplify a business which integrates its purpose and product into a single story.  By using a waste product (the hop leaf) as a core ingredient, not only are we are driving sustainability in the supply chain and revenue for local farmers we are also championing  the trend for moderation – drinking less or not drinking at all doesn’t mean a compromise on flavour.  We believe that the joyful wellbeing and sociability of beer can be enjoyed by many more people than it is today…. And we plan to convince people of this one sample cup at a time!

More info

To try these wonderful beverages or to find out more about the business head to the Binary Botanical website

Beeline to bliss

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Petersham Nurseries – Richmond’s visionary garden center and lifestyle mecca – is one of West London’s greatest treasures and creative success stories.

The family behind the business are celebrating their 15th birthday, looking back on their humble beginnings as a dilapidated local plant shop, and how much has changed. Now with a second branch in Covent Garden, the small empire includes a homeware shop, florist, café, two restaurants and a wine cellar, with visitors come from near and far to discover Richmond’s unique lifestyle destination.

For September, they’re celebrating their birthday by paying homage to the gardener’s best friend, the honeybee, with a one-off masterclass in all things bee-related. In keeping with Petersham’s ethos, this will include a tasting session with Bermondsey Street Bees’ honey sommelier, a gardening session in planting bee-friendly flowers, a delicious lunch, and a ‘preserving with honey’ cookery class with Rachel de Thample.

Petersham's 15th Birthday

To sign up for this, on Thursday, 26th September

Vino veritas

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Food & Recipes

Jessica Elphinstone learns a thing or two about wine at Vagabond,  Fulham’s most underrated date spot

If you detest wine snobbery, and the whole glass-swirling, Merlot-gargling pomp of it all, then I’m totally with you. I spent my entire three years of university drinking £4.99 Gallo rosé, and that sweet, sickly nectar has a special place in my heart. But the wonderful thing about Vagabond is that, despite being a bouji wine bar and boasting over a hundred carefully selected bottles from indie vineyards across the globe, it is somehow also unpretentious.

First of all, the way you order the booze appeals to my inner vending-machine-loving child: Pre-load money onto a credit card, swipe into the recently revamped wine fridges, before clicking on the bottle you’d like and watching with glee as your chosen amount of wine comes pouring out. Taster sizes of 25ml are mostly around a couple of pounds, allowing people to sample a whole range of different wines you wouldn’t normally risk getting a glass of. We taste a tangy Spanish Albarino, a buttery, Meursault-style Reserva Branco from a sustainable smallholding in Alentejano (yes – I stole that from the tasting notes), and a questionable Italian Pecorino from Abruzzo.

Each wine comes with an information slip, onto which you can jot notes like ‘beeswax and tangerine’ or ‘pomegranate and watermelon’ if you so wish. My friend Chloe is a picky soul, and finds GM Henry’s pick, a Condrieu from the Northern Rhône which is one of the most expensive wines, not to her taste. We play games, bringing each other wines with tasting notes of honey, straw and water chestnuts, and try unsuccessfully to guess them. Around us, we see couples (a lot of first dates, apparently) doing the same, laughing and chatting as they pair their Tempranillo with delicious cured meats, artisan cheeses and charred Padron peppers.

Finally, we strike gold, and both fall in love with an Australian Zibibbo from winemaker Brash Higgins. “English Pears and Freesia” writes Chloe dramatically, now slightly less than sober. I imagine that this balance of light-heartedness, mixed with some actual exploration into new realms of wine, is exactly what Vagabond’s founder Stephen Finch imagined when he opened to doors to his first Fulham wine shop in 2010.

Screen Shot 2019-09-02 at 18.12.40
Fulham-1-1

Vagabond

Visit Vagabond Fulham, 18-22 Vanston Place, SW6 1AX
Contact on 0207 381 1717 or visit

Fox & Pheasant review

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I’m a country bumpkin at heart, and when I moved to Fulham nearly three years ago all my edgy East London pals rolled their eyes and said it was highly predictable, the obvious choice for a Gloucestershire gal like me.

It’s true, there’s something about the leafy streets, parks and plentiful dog owners in SW6 that felt like home. But what I always missed was a cozy country pub, with roaring fires and stuffed foxes, the sort you’d turn up to in wellies after a long walk. That is until my little brother moved up to London a couple of months ago, and sniffed out the Fox and Pheasant. Hidden in a charming little mews called The Billings, a short walk from Fulham Broadway and Stamford Bridge, I’m embarrassed to say I’d walked past the faded Victorian exterior, with its green tiles and hanging baskets, a hundred times without a second glance.

This is probably exactly what James Blunt and wife Sofia Wellesley wanted, when they decided to buy their local boozer and save it from being turned into apartments back. It’s understated, and no expense has been spared in retaining the original charm of the 17th century pub. When I walked in, I was transported with a jolt to my favourite Cotswold pubs, and half expected to recognise the faces at the bar.

We plonk ourselves at the bar for a pint of the Fox and Fez, their house lager, and chat to charming manager Toby. The decor is so quintessentially British it feels a bit like a film set, with vintage wallpaper and original 1930’s oak panels and locals playing darts. The walled garden is divine, with ivy and jasmine and pot-plants galore, and a Wimbledon-style glass roof ready to pull over in case of rain. We sit here for supper, which blows us away with its quality and freshness and attention to detail. You can have your usual pub classics – scotch eggs; burger and chips; honey & mustard chipolatas; a killer roast with all the trimmings on Sundays.

Alternatively you can go off-piste and order soft shell crab tacos with sriracha mayo, or an Ottolenghi-esque roast cauliflower with rocket and dates, sprinkled with dukka grains and toasted almonds. For pudding, don’t miss the sticky toffee pudding soufflé, served with ice cream of the same flavour, which was mind-bogglingly delicious. The Fox and Pheasant is the perfect country escape, while barely having to leave SW6.

Find them

The Fox and Pheasant, 1 Billing Road, Chelsea, SW10 9UJ.

Call 0207 352 2943 or email [email protected]

The English Wine & Food Festival

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Vineyard varieties: The English Wine & Food Festival in Wallingford will showcase wines from 11 local vineyards

Raise a glass to all the great wine being produced on your doorstep at the English Wine & Food Festival.

If you didn’t even know there were vineyards in the Thames and Chiltern region then this is a great opportunity to discover and taste it for yourself.

There are 11 local vineyards taking part in the event which will offer members of the public the opportunity to taste, compare and buy award-winning wines all in one location – Brightwell Vineyard in Wallingford.

You’ll get to meet winemakers, growers and a Master of Wine specialising in English wine as well as learning more about the grape varieties that do well in our unpredictable climate.

You may know classic grape varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay but do you know your Bacchus from your Ortega?

The festival is a must for foodies as well as wine lovers with the chance to pair the wide range of crisp, fruity wines with the freshly made local dishes on offer.

The festival on Saturday, 8th June will include vineyard walks, wine sales and tastings, local vineyard information, artisan hot and cold food, local crafts and a pay bar.

The local vineyards taking part are:

Fairmile Vineyard, Henley

Brightwell Vineyard, Wallingford

Bothy Vineyard, Frilford Heath

Oaken Grove Vineyard, Marlow

Harrow & Hope Vineyard, Marlow

Stanlake Park Wine Estate

Winding Wood Vineyard, Hungerford

Chafor Wine Estate, Gawcott

Daws Hill Vineyard, Radnor

Hendred Vineyard, East Hendred

Wyfold Vineyard, Marlow.

Entry £2 adult, children free and wine tastings cost £10 for 10 wines or £8 if bought early. You can book your tickets here