A cut above: best Christmas roasts

Round & About

Round and About

Turkey is a traditional favourite but there are so many choices of meat when it comes to the festive table, and many excellent local producers

What scene depicts Christmas more traditionally than a large cooked bird being brought out to the table and carved by the head of the household?

Turkey is, of course, the popular festive choice. Tom Copas Jnr says: “Turkey is what you’re meant to have! We’ve been rearing the best turkeys in Britain for over 60 years and nothing tastes better on Christmas Day, especially knowing all the care and attention that’s gone into their welfare.” Visit www.copasturkeys.co.uk.

Walters Turkeys is a family business running since 1911 on the Yattendon Estate in the Berkshire Downs. The team are passionate about animal welfare and expert in the best way to cook and store your bird for the perfect feast; call 01635 578 251 or visit www.waltersturkeys.co.uk. Tell your butcher how many guests you have (and how greedy!) to select a bird or joint of the perfect size.

Excellent traditional alternatives to turkey include goose and duck, which are more expensive and do not give as much meat per size as a turkey. Cockerels (male chickens) clock in at about the 10lb in weight and are becoming a popular alternative to turkey. For more adventurous of home cooks there is also the three-bird roast, with a wide variety of bird breasts one inside another (such as turkey, pheasant and partridge). These have plenty of meat but need to be carefully cooked.

Hungerford butcher Christian Alba says: “In all the places I’ve worked, Christmas meat is usually turkey. But I grew up on a turkey farm, so I have beef fore rib.” Phil Currie, head chef at The Greyhound in Letcombe Regis says: “I like to use beef shin as the bone provides so much flavour which leaves you with a great sauce. For Christmas we serve it with classic bourguignon garnish and a twist with a blue cheese dumpling. It’s a great alternative to turkey.” Visit www.thegreyhoundletcombe.co.uk or call 01235 771969.

Jesse Smith Butcher & W.J Castle in Cirencester has a unique dry-aging process for its beef featuring a room lined with Himalayan salt bricks. The company, which goes back for several generations, are passionate about animal husbandry and welfare and also offer the very finest poultry, game, pork and lamb for the well-stocked Christmas larder; visit www.jessesmith.co.uk or call 01285 653352.

Recipe queen Lyn Deveson says: “I’ve always cooked turkey and a gammon; cold turkey, ham, turkey curried, stir fried, in sandwiches is a big part of the appeal. But I cooked a cockerel last Christmas and won’t go back to turkey – it has more flavour. I remember my mother cooking the turkey all night on a low heat but the French way is best; higher heat and less time. People complain it can be dry but if cooked properly, it isn’t. Good gravy makes all the difference, too!

“I also remember my mother cooking the turkey all night on a low heat, but the French way is best – higher heat and less time. People complain it can be dry but if cooked properly, it isn’t. Traditionally we cook turkey, stuffing, bread sauce, sausages wrapped in bacon etc. with the head male at the top of the table, carving! That’s the  picture we all have in our heads and everyone wearing paper hats and pulling crackers! Because turkey meat can be quite bland, you can go to town with the other flavours. A good gravy makes the difference and thanks to chefs such as Jamie Oliver, we are learning that Bisto is not the essential ingredient but I am shocked by the number of English who still use it! The trouble is we are so spoilt nowadays and can eat anything any time of the year, so Christmas lunch or dinner isn’t such a treat as it used to be.”

Enter our competition for a Christmas In A Box foodie hamper – including a 6kg turkey!

Will Greenwood: nice try

Round & About

Round and About

With the autumn rugby internationals on the horizon, we chat to rugby legend and father Will Greenwood.

Q. What would you do to help injury in the senior game?
“There is no perfect world – the key is to get children to enter adult rugby having had a good technical grounding in the contact area and tackle point and make sure they have had a safe and enjoyable journey along the way – that’s what’s most important.”

Q. You’re a great ambassador for children’s rugby – do schools do enough?
“Schools are constrained by budget, safety and numbers of qualified coaches. Mentoring schemes, access to club and academy coaches are improving and I hope it continues. I try to do my bit coaching at my local club [Maidenhead] and with my holiday coaching business Legend Holidays & Events.”

Q. With Twickenham ticket prices so high, would it be a good idea to play internationals elsewhere in the UK?
“I like having a ‘Fortress’ at Twickenham – not always a fortress – but it looks and feels like one to me! However I feel the occasional game could shift north – which it is next year… to St James’s Park with a world cup warm-up game which is exciting.”

Q. What would you say is the best moment of your playing career?
“That’s a tricky one, but probably Durham University 1991-92 – playing some great rugby with people who are my best friends to this day.”

Q. What do you think is the best position to play in to captain an international side?
“I don’t think there is a best necessarily – history would suggest the forwards – but great people come in all shapes and sizes. Rugby is a great sport that caters for all those shapes and sizes; a legendary captain could play in any position.”

Q. Is there another Martin Johnson playing now who can fill the role of captain?
“There will never be another Martin Johnson – unique and awesome! They’re big boots to fill if someone is up to the task.”

Q. Why are the All Blacks so good?!
“I think their success comes down to a few key factors; culture, geography, genetics and Importance of the game as a national sport.”

Q. How do you relax?
“I love a good Sudoku puzzle, whenever I get time!”

Q. What’s your favourite book?
“I’ve read some brilliant books, but my favourite would have to be Flashman Papers by George Macdonald Fraser.”

Q. Music?
“Easy: Oasis or Take That.”

Q. What are your ambitions for the next year on?
“My biggest ambition right now is to be a good Dad, it always comes before everything else.”

A print success story

Round & About

Round and About

Round & About Magazine expands in to its ninth county as the family business continues to fly the flag for print publishing

In October this year we launched the latest edition of Round & About Magazine, for all the residents of Hungerford, Marlborough and Pewsey. As per all our other magazines it‘s Royal Mail delivered to all the homes within the RG17, SN8 and SN9 postcodes, giving local and national businesses complete penetration within the area.

The region is a good match for our target audience, complementing our current geographical reach and it will offer existing and new clients another great region to target.

To cope with the demands of ever more editions and content creation we are very pleased to have Karen Neville join us. Karen, who leaves her current role of production editor at Bath Chronicle, has worked in newspaper publishing, including for the Oxfordshire Guardian group, for many years, and thus has a sound knowledge of the areas we already reach. She will bring a great amount of experience and a valuable skillset from an international business.

Working with Liz Nicholls, our talented editor, Karen will help Round & About deliver ever more localised content, writing articles on issues that matter to our readers and help the machine run smoothly!

Our expansion over the last few years brought us to Howbery Park in 2015, enabling us to have the space to grow and offer employees an enjoyable environment to work in.

To help us reach our growth plans in 2019 we are expanding our advertising sales team. The right person doesn’t necessarily come from a sales background but someone that is a “people person”, has strong customer service skills and can offer sound solutions to potential advertisers, matching their needs with our offering.

If you feel you have the skill set to manage some existing accounts and develop new ones we would like to hear from you. Please email the sales director Luke Maitland on lmaitland@roundandabout.co.uk

Find out more about our story

A cut above: best Christmas roasts

Round & About

Round and About

Turkey is a traditional favourite but there are so many choices of meat when it comes to the festive table, and many excellent local producers

What scene depicts Christmas more traditionally than a large cooked bird being brought out to the table and carved by the head of the household?

Turkey is, of course, still the popular festive choice. Tom Copas Jnr says: “Turkey is what you’re meant to have! We’ve been rearing the best turkeys in Britain for over 60 years and nothing tastes better on Christmas Day, especially knowing all the care and attention that’s gone into their welfare.” Visit www.copasturkeys.co.uk

For minimal stress, it’s important to plan your Christmas catering about now in the manner of a military operation. Ideally, place your order by 1st December and remember your butcher can help decide how big your roast needs be. As a rule of thumb, a 10lb turkey will feed between eight and 10 people and still give you leftovers. Tell your butcher not only how many guests you have, but how big an appetite they have to judge wisely.

“Talking to our customers, it’s become clear that many are looking for something a little different from the traditional turkey this year and we’re very pleased to oblige,” says Calumn Connelly of The Hungry Guest Butchers in Petworth. “The Goodwood rib of beef roast, or venison from the Merryworth Estate are delicious alternatives, looking wonderful as they’re served, and offering a glimpse back to older English traditions. There are, of course, many for whom turkey remains the centrepiece of the Christmas table; and alongside an offering of the finest whole birds, there’s the option of rolled turkey which is easier to prepare and serve, or a memorable three-bird roast. The Creedy Carver chickens and ducks used for these also make perfect alternatives for smaller households; and our homemade pigs in blankets will complement your meal, whichever roast you prefer!” Visit www.thehungryguest.com

Recipe queen Lyn Deveson says: “I’ve always cooked turkey and a gammon; cold turkey, ham, turkey curried, stir fried, in sandwiches is a big part of the appeal. But I cooked a cockerel last Christmas and won’t go back to turkey – it has more flavour. I remember my mother cooking the turkey all night on a low heat but the French way is best; higher heat and less time. People complain it can be dry but if cooked properly, it isn’t. Good gravy makes all the difference, too!

“I also remember my mother cooking the turkey all night on a low heat, but the French way is best – higher heat and less time. People complain it can be dry but if cooked properly, it isn’t. Traditionally we cook turkey, stuffing, bread sauce, sausages wrapped in bacon etc. with the head male at the top of the table, carving! That’s the  picture we all have in our heads and everyone wearing paper hats and pulling crackers! Because turkey meat can be quite bland, you can go to town with the other flavours. A good gravy makes the difference and thanks to chefs such as Jamie Oliver, we are learning that Bisto is not the essential ingredient but I am shocked by the number of English who still use it! The trouble is we are so spoilt nowadays and can eat anything any time of the year, so Christmas lunch or dinner isn’t such a treat as it used to be.”

Hungerford master butcher Christian Alba says: “In all the places I’ve worked, most of the Christmas meat customers buy is turkey. But I grew up on a turkey farm, so I have beef fore rib!”

Enter our competition for a Christmas In A Box foodie hamper – including a 6kg turkey!

Winter aches & pains?

Round & About

Round and About

Pharmacist Kevin Leivers from The Naked Pharmacy explains how to find effective natural relief for joint and muscle inflammation this winter

As the temperature drops both athletes and elderly people alike notice their muscles and joints ache more and are slower to recover from injury.

There are a number of great natural remedies for these problems at The Naked Pharmacy. Two stand-out herbal products that can be applied regularly to aching muscles and joints are Arnica Massage Balm and Copper Ointment. Both are effective for reducing rheumatic pain in addition to improving circulation.

We also recommend supplementing your diet with high-strength tumeric capsules. This is a proven, natural and low-risk solution for a number of conditions including arthritis and sporting injuries. The therapeutic benefits of turmeric are produced by a class of compounds in turmeric called curcuminoids.

For the turmeric to be effective it must contain the correct strength; a minimum of 360mg curcuminoids in each capsule. Secondly, it needs to be formulated to enable the curcuminoid active compounds to be absorbed well in the gut.

On its own, only a small amount of the curcuminoids in turmeric are absorbed into the blood. Adding piperine (black pepper) resolves this issue. When piperine is mixed with turmeric, the total curcuminoid absorption increases significantly.

A turmeric extract that contains the highest strength of curcuminoids will be the most effective compared with extracts containing only curcumin.

For more advice visit The Naked Pharmacy or to speak to a pharmacist  call 01483 685630.

Missing Frink: sculpture at The Lightbox

Round & About

Round and About

As our thoughts this November turn to the centenary of Armistice Day, the current exhibition at the Lightbox Gallery celebrates the work of the 20th century sculptor Elisabeth Frink.

This year marks 25 years since Frink’s passing in 1993. She was born in 1930 in Suffolk, and evacuated for her own safety to Devon aged nine. She drew from an early age, then studied at the Guildford School of Art and Chelsea School of Art and became a member of a group of post-war British sculptors known as the Geometry of Fear School.

The exhibition Elisabeth Frink: A Collector’s Passion, from The Ingram Collection, covers the key themes of Elisabeth during her career, which were described in her Times obituary as being “the nature of Man; the “horseness” of horses; and the divine in human form.” Shedding light on these key themes the exhibition will explore representations of animals, man and their relationship to each other. From early on, Frink regularly returned to motifs of standing men, men on horseback, men’s heads, horses, warriors and birds falling, flying and attacking.

Elisabeth Frink was unusual for a female artist of her day and even modern times in that she made sculptures of men’s bodies. Sculptures such as Warrior II (1964) and Riace III (1986) are prime examples of her exploration of masculine power. Frink’s men are muscular and strong, with protruding jawlines and large chins – but also naked and defenceless.

Wartime experiences also feature in her work; Spinning Man (1960) portrays a falling man – disorientated in mid-air, recalling her childhood experiences of witnessing aeroplane crashes near her childhood home in Suffolk and RAF aircrew without parachutes.

Closer to home is Soldier’s Head (1965), the misshapenness of the head reflecting Ted Pool, her second husband who suffered shrapnel injuries – with this sculpture she presents us with the image of a man, damaged beyond repair by war.

The works in the exhibition are from The Ingram Collection, and include personal responses to the artworks by Chris Ingram. Chris Ingram is, in his own words, “nutty about Elisabeth Frink”. The breadth of her work really struck a chord with him – her ability to convey a menacing and unsettling aspect of human nature, through to the naturalistic portrayals of animals. He loves the feelings that her work inspires and hopes that visitors to the show will come away knowing more about one of our great artists of the 20th century.

The exhibition runs until 6th January. On Thursday, 29th November, Jo Baring, director and curator of The Lightbox will give an illustrated talk about Elisabeth’s life and career; for more information visit www.thelightbox.org.uk

The Winter Prune

Round & About

Round and About

People say to me ‘It must be nice to have the winter off….’ Well it is actually one of the busiest times for horticulturists as it’s pruning season.

It is a challenge to identify the plants, know how they are pruned and then carry it out. Cathie has some advice for those brave enough to venture out!

Plant Identification

Wisteria is obvious, most people are aware that theyhave one clambering up the front of the house. Apple trees can be more tricky but generally the big ones are pruned in the Winter whereas the trained ones are Summer pruned to reduce vigour. Roses are almost impossible but for pruning it’s essential to know as you could inadvertently cut all the flowers off!

Where to start

Wisteria: Take all the long bits out and any dead. Untangle from wires, phone lines , drainpipes and take out of gutters. It’s essential to have a good support system to tie the branches too and remember that any long wispy bits are future branches so keep them to a minimum.

Apples: Remove any congested branches, reduce long extension growths and take out anything dead and remove old fruit. Try to learn the difference between a fruiting bud and a leaf bud. It’s also important to know whether your tree produces fruit at the end of a stem (tip bearer) or on short stems (spur bearer)

Roses: Remove any dead, weak, diseased and congested stems. If you do nothing else this will help. Try to ascertain whether your rose is a climber or a rambler, a bush or a shrub or an old fashioned type as they are all pruned differently.

The Prune

Wisteria: February, reduce the shoots to a short spur and keep it simple! Try to only keep a few main branches or you will be overwhelmed with growth. Nothing looks tidier than a professionally pruned Wisteria in the Winter followed by gorgeous blooms in late Spring. Wisteria are high maintenance and need pruning at lease twice a year.

Apples: Identify the fluffy fruit buds from the flat leaf ones and reduce the vegetative growth to encourage the flowers and fruit. Try to open up the centre of the tree to allow in light and air. Annual pruning ensures a healthier tree and good quality fruit.

Roses: Can be cut back harder that you think to encourage vigour. Climbing roses can be pruned so all side shoots that have flowered to a short spur. Rambling roses are pruned after flowering in the summer. If you know whether you rose is a bush or shrub variety they can be pruned accordingly. Cut just above a bud at a light angle to encourage healing. Pencil thickness is a good rule of thumb.

Cathie’s Gardening School Services now taking bookings for Spring

  1. Horticultural consultancy teaching you in your own garden.
  2. Cathie’s Garden Army of horticulturists to transform your garden following a consultancy
  3. Don’t leave it too late to book in your Winter pruning session!

Email cathiesgardeningschool@gmail.com for more info on Cathie’s Gardening School

John Challis: Boycie & beyond

Round & About

Round and About

National treasure John Challis comes to Farnham Maltings this month – he tells us more

Enjoy an intimate evening with one of the nation’s greatest comedy actors, best known, of course, as Boycie in BBC1’s Only Fools and Horses, who will reveal secrets from behind the scenes.

In fact, the man who portrayed a used-car dealer in the beloved series had been destined to become an estate agent. However, a lack of application and a tendency to impersonate the partners led to a parting of the ways, much to his parents’ horror. After spotting an advert on the back page of The Stage, he joined a touring children’s theatre.

Having worked with some of the biggest names in show business, John will spill the beans about his Only Fools and Horses co-stars Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst and friends and fellow performers including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Oliver Reed and George Best. He’ll also recall tales from his time in Dr Who, Coronation Street and other TV classics. A small cameo role in Citizen Smith incubated his best-known role. He played a policeman and decided on a very whiny voice, and was pleasantly surprised when John Sullivan, the script writer, said he loved the characterisation. He was further surprised when the script for Only Fools and Horses dropped through his door. None of the cast then knew what a phenomenon the show would become.

After John graduated from children’s theatre, he loved acting in thrillers. “One ambition of mine, though never achieved, was to appear in a thriller alongside James Stewart,” he says. But one of the astonishing plays he remembers seeing is Othello with Paul Robeson, Sam Wanamaker and a young Albert Finney. The love of the thriller is also reflected in his favourite books. “I think my favourite books are by John Grisham and Michael Ondaatje, but since moving to the Herefordshire countryside, these have been joined by historical books about the Welsh marches.”

John is looking forward to returning to this area of Surrey. Between the ages of 10 and 17 he was a boarder at Ottershaw School and remembers “many an enjoyable weekend cycling to and from my best friend’s house in Weybridge… To say nothing of picking up a guitar and joining a rock and roll band. Due to the fact it was a type of music not appreciated by the head a lot of the concerts were ‘underground’.”

l John will star in Only Fools & Boycie at Farnham Maltings on Thursday, 1st November followed by a Q&A and chat with the audience. Visit www.farnhammaltings.com

Indulge in the Foodie Festival

Round & About

Round and About

Enjoying food with your family, is always a great combination, add music, great attractions and a festival and that’s a whole new take on fun!

Food and family, always go together, add music, great attractions and a festival and that’s a whole new take on fun!

The Foodies Festival returns, with a whole lot of master and bake off chefs all descending on South Park, Headington over the Bank Holiday weekend, August 25-27.

Included in the star-studded line up of culinary geniuses, is MasterChef 2018 runner-up Nawamin Pinpathomrat and Kenny Tutt, the bank manager who beat him to the MasterChef 2018 title. Both will be cooking their favourite dishes in the Chefs’ Theatre.

Great British Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo, the TV contest runner up, Steven Carter Bailey and Italian chef Giancarlo Caldesi, who presented the BBC2 series, Road to Tuscany, will also cook live.

Local chefs Paul Bell, of the Cherwell Boathouse, Paul Wellburn, The Oxford Kitchen and Chris Bentham, The Black Boy gastropub, will share their signature dishes in the chefs’ theatre.

Street Food Avenue features more than 30 food stalls and a chance to sample and buy from more than 100 artisan producers taking festival-goers on a culinary trip of the globe.

This year the festival will also celebrate live music into the night on the newly-launched stage with performances from much-loved 90s headliners Toploader, power pop group Dodgy and hugely admired band The Hoosiers.

Supported by Musicians Against Homelessness, the live music stage will see talented emerging bands and solo artists perform with tickets raising money for UK-wide homelessness charity Crisis.

As well as lots to see and eat, there are a mouth-watering array of attractions including fun cream-pie throwing, chilli-eating and cheese-stretching contests.

Visitors can try their hand at chocolate-making, cake decorating and brewing health-boosting Kombucha tea.

The Drinks Theatre will welcome expert mixologists and sommeliers to the stage and give wine-buffs a chance to sample varieties from around the world. And, thirst-quenching cocktails will be available at Tequila Shack, Tikki Rum Bar and Gin Station.

Younger foodies can have fun in the Kids Cookery Theatre, craft area and play zone with bouncy castle and face painting. A ferris wheel and carousel will add to the festival atmosphere.

Naturally, you’ll want to be at this ‘gastronomical’ event and the festival organisers have partnered up with Round & About Magazine to offer visitors, two for one tickets.

Simply visit www.foodiesfestival.com and type in the code: FOODIES241 or call 0844 9951111 

Awakening the dragon!

Round & About

Round and About

Crowd participation will be very welcome this Saturday, 28th July, as The Henley Dragons celebrate it’s new racing boat with a naming ceremony – Boaty Mcboatface is not an option – but a rather more superstitious tradition will be followed. Club secretary Cat Cassell tells us all about it…

The Henley Dragons, who are part of the Eyot Centre, have recently accepted delivery of a new racing dragon boat. We are now in the throes of organising a ‘Naming of the Boat’ ceremony to be held on Saturday, 28th July, at 7pm, which is traditionally called ‘Awakening the Dragon’. We thought it would be a great opportunity to invite the public to come and celebrate this with us. We are to hold this event on the riverside at Hobbs of Henley who are sponsoring this event.

Rowers at Henley Dragon Club
Rowers at Henley Dragon Club

By way of background, in ancient China, the Dragon Boat with ornately carved dragon’s head and tail, was used for religious purposes as a way of appeasing the rain gods. The history of dragon boats can be traced back to more than 2,000 years ago, along the banks of the life-sustaining rivers in Southern China, such as the Chang Jiang (now the Yangtze).

There are two main legends popularly related to the custom of racing dragon boats.

Awakening the dragon – Chinese Dragon Boat Festival

The traditional Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is held on the 5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month (varying from late May to middle June), which is traditionally considered a month of death and disease, evil and darkness, due to the high, summer temperatures (in China). Therefore, venerating the awakening Dragon was meant to avert misfortune and encourage rainfall, needed for the fertility of crops and prosperity of the people.

The Dragon Boat Festival was primarily held as a ceremony to awaken the hibernating ‘Heavenly Dragon’. Sacrifices, sometimes human, were involved in this ritual and it could be a violent clash with the crew members of the competing boats throwing stones and striking each other with cane sticks. Originally, paddlers (or even an entire team) falling into the water could receive no assistance from onlookers as the accident was considered to be due to the will of this ‘Dragon Deity’ and could not be interfered with; and, if people drowned it was considered a sacrifice for the greater good.

Dotting of the Eye Ceremony

The ceremony called ‘Eye Dotting’ or ‘Awakening the Dragon ‘traditionally involves a Taoist priest dotting the protruding eyes of the dragon head carved on the boats, thus ending its slumber. The ceremony is practiced at many Dragon Boat events throughout the world today. 

Traditional Chinese Lion dancers
Traditional Chinese Lion dancers

We have invited the new Mayor of Henley, Councillor Glen Lambert, to perform the ‘dotting of the eye’ – awakening of the dragon. The ceremony, in respect to Chinese custom, will open the dragon’s eyes, ward off evil spirits and prepare the river for voyage. The ceremony not only blesses and cleanses the area for competition, but also the spectators and competitors.  It is considered very bad luck to paddle or race in a dragon boat that has not been properly awakened or has its eyes closed.

This whole ceremony will be a big celebration and spectacle at the awakening of the dragon.  Among the naming, a traditional lion dance will be performed around the boat. We have engaged with the local lion dancers who will be putting on a vibrant, loud and spectacular performance for us, to share in our celebrations.

Everyone is welcome to attend this free evening event, with the ‘dragon awakening’ at 7pm.

Visit www.henleydragons.online