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September 2015

Posts on September 2015

Please help refugees

Sam Bertram

26 September 2015

This is your chance to help families - people just like us - who have been forced to flee their homes and livelihoods and make terrifying, gruelling journeys in search of safety. Imagine what it must feel like to turn your back on everything you know, watch your children endure prolonged hardship, and have no idea what the future holds.  We are coordinating collection of Refugee Emergency Packs to be shipped to Kos where there are 1000s of refugees arriving on boats. If we get enough to cover Kos’s needs they will be re-routed else-where. Local Uncovered and It’s members are working with Belinda Aspinall of www.lifeafterlondon.co.uk who is working with a contact in Kos from Kos Kindness. If you'd like to donate a pack please see below for what is required.  Each pack needs to be complete in a plastic bag & tied up loosely in a knot marked Male, Female or Child.  We have had word that Male packs are most short in supply : 1. Female Pack -  baby wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, sanitary towels (perhaps 5 out of a box), small hair shampoo, soap, flannel/sponge 2. Male Pack - razor, small shaving foam, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, flannel/sponge 3. Children's Pack - Children's toothpaste, Toothbrush, Flannel, Baby wipes, Small toy if possible Drop off points are as follows by 12th October: 1. Clementine's Shop, Lower Lawn Barns, Fonthill Gifford, Tisbury, SP3 6SG 2. Mimo, The Old Ropeworks, Kennet Place, Marlborough, SN8 1NG 3. Sticks & Stones, 3 Nurse Barn, Woodborough Garden Centre, Woodborough, SN9 5PF 4. The Three Tuns Great Bedwyn, 1 High Street, SN8 3NU 5. Gastro Nicks, Unit 4, Gardlands Estate, Collingbourne Ducis, SN8 3EB 6. Overtown Manor B&B and Meeting Venue, Overtown Hill, Wroughton, SN4 0SH If you want to organise your own collection point please email sam@localuncovered.com.   If you'd rather donate money there are two Wiltshire locals doing a night walk across Salisbury plain on Saturday 26th September to raise money for two refugee charities. Their page can be found on www.fundrazr.com/campaigns/212hR4/  Thank you for your support!

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Wiltshire's restaurant star

Sam Bertram

10 September 2015

Wiltshire is incredibly lucky to have The Harrow at Little Bedwyn in our midst. Proprietors Roger and Sue Jones have worked extremely hard in the last 16 years to make their restaurant one of the most highly acclaimed outside of London and they’re incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved. They received 3 AA Rosettes soon after launch and have had Michelin stars every year since 2006. They are constantly getting rave reviews in the national press, have been AA Restaurant of the Year, Decanter’s Restaurant of the Year, The Independent’s Top Dining Destination and are successively in The Times top 100 UK restaurants.  Need we say more? So what’s their secret? With Roger Jones as chef and his wife Sue at front of house they make a winning team. Roger places a huge amount of emphasis on provenance. As British Food Fortnight fast approaches The Harrow is a shining example of how restaurants can promote and demonstrate the benefits of buying from a home produced British larder.  Roger works hard to ensure that all ingredients are only from ‘real’ farmers whose animals live in their natural habitat and are given loving care and attention. Endless sourcing and tasting of artisan products enables the kitchen to discover hidden gems from all corners of the British Isles.  Free range meats and sustainable day boat fish, live shellfish and specialist growers of all fruit and vegetables allows the creation of dishes that are uncluttered and perfectly balanced. The freshness of the food speaks for itself and there is an intensity of flavours which wow the palate.   Their 900 bin wine list has been personally chosen through tastings all over the world, and the detailed descriptions and friendly advice from Sue and the team help with decision-making.  The wine by the glass selection is constantly updated to include iconic wines which can be matched to seasonal menus, and only Riedel glasses are used to enhance the wine drinking experience – matching each grape to its ideal glass size and shape.  Roger has become so accomplished in wine tasting that he now runs Roger Jones Consultancy; advising on food and wine matching events and regularly writing about his global vineyard adventures for various publications. They also run a couple of wine awards and competitions and have recently set-up the Tri-Nations wine challenge between South Africa, Australia and New Zealand – the naming of which is no doubt a nod to Welsh Roger’s love of rugby! Sue and her team provide an efficient but relaxed service so that any guest will feel personally pampered. As one review said 'The service while informal is thoroughly professional with all the staff displaying a complete knowledge of the menu and wines.’ As with any successful business it hasn’t been without blood, sweat and tears. Roger and Sue were living in London with two toddlers, and running a busy hospitality company, when they were tipped off about an abandoned pub coming up for sale in Little Bedwyn. Despite it not seeming the most sensible move with a young family, they loved the potential of what they saw and 48 hours later had put in an offer, sold their London house and were measuring up for new curtains in the dining room. Six weeks later they’d moved and The Harrow opened just five days before Christmas. It has given them so much joy sharing wonderful times with customers and suppliers, many who have become firm friends and helped them fulfil their dream of a successful restaurant. They also love living in such a special place and being able to give something back to their beautiful surroundings. Having eaten at The Harrow myself and been wowed by the tantalising taste of the dishes I couldn’t have put it better than the AA restaurant guide ‘A faultless dish, where every element is there for a reason’. If you're keen to try the highly recommended tasting menu you can get free tasting wines on the 6 course tasting menu every Wednesday and Thursday in September and October. Just quote 'LU offer'. http://www.theharrowatlittlebedwyn.com/   

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Celebrating Wiltshire Cuisine

Sam Bertram

9 September 2015

With British Food Fortnight kicking off on 19th September, it’s only right to take a look at some of the traditional dishes that have come out of Wiltshire. Pork has been synonymous with Wiltshire since Saxon times when people settled on the downs to raise their pigs.  Swindon originally means ‘Swine Down’ or ‘Pig hill’ and everyone kept pigs - pork, bacon and offal were all consumed.  Ham and bacon were generally reserved for the gentry but most cooked any part of the pig possible – Chitterlings were small intestines turned inside out, cleaned, plaited and boiled, blood was used to make black puddings and Bacon Fraise which dates back to the 15th Century was bacon fried with egg batter and then baked. Two dishes stand out as the most famous of Wiltshire’s cuisine – and while one is savoury and the other sweet they both use pork products.  Wiltshire Ham is probably the most famous; its cure has molasses added to give its sweet taste.  However Lardy Cake (pictured) which used bread dough, sugar and dried fruit traditionally used fat left over from the pork. There are also Wiltshire pork pies and Bradenham hams – the cure of molasses, coriander and juniper berries is said to be created by Lord Bradenham. The joint is left to mature for at least six months until it has a black exterior.  Devizes pie has pork, lamb, veal, tongue and vegetables and Wiltshire Market Day Dinner was a traditional west-country slow cooked casserole made of pork, onions, apple, potato and sage.  Calne is famous for the Harris pork curing factory which was started in the second half of the 18th Century but shut in the early 1980s and provided much of the employment in Calne during that period. It was started because pigs reared in Ireland were landed at Bristol and then herded to Smithfields in London via Calne. But it’s not all about pork.  Wiltshire Cheese was popular in the 18th Century but dairy farmers stopped making it when milk was more profitable. The Wiltshire Cheese loaf has a mellow flavour, slightly nutty and with a crumbly texture.  Wiltshire tatties are baked potatoes filled with chicken, butter and lemon mixture with nutmeg. And there are plenty of sweet things on offer. Marlborough Cake is a traditional sponge flavoured with caraway seeds and baked and dredged with sugar. There’s the Druid Cake, Wiltshire buttermilk cake and Malmesbury pudding, a form of well pudding, suet pastry filled with a butter, sugar and lemon mixture.  Many will know the Mop fairs – a favourite at these was Wiltshire Fairings; similar to a flat brandy snap they were made from syrup sugar and butter and flavoured with spices. Today there is a wealth of food and drink available in Wiltshire. British Food Fornight is the biggest annual, national celebration of British food and drink. It promotes the benefits of buying and eating from our home produced British larder so be sure to get out and enjoy all the food and drink Wiltshire has to offer.  Eat and cook regional food, eat in local pubs and restaurants and buy from local shops.          

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