Food News and other bits and pieces

A slightly different post from me this time, but a brief insight into my perception of life in hospitality.

I’m happy

To hear of the great refurbishment plans for The Lygon Arms. I have known Graeme Nesbitt, General Manager, for some years, having first employed him as Head Chef. Graeme has given me an insight into developing plans and it really is exciting stuff. The Lygon was recently acquired by London and Regional Properties, who currently own Chewton Glen and Cliveden, two highly prestigious properties.

This beautiful property, The Lygon Arms
This beautiful property, The Lygon Arms

I’m sad

To see a change of ownership at one of my favourite hostelries, The Horse and Groom at Bourton-on-the-Hill. The Greenstocks were the greatest of hosts. I really hope the new owners can maintain the standards. Great to see a lot of the staff have remained.

A political rant

“I’m very sorry Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, but you clearly have no perception of the hospitality industry and your proposed lists of foreign employees is a huge blunder. It is an established fact that hotels and restaurants and other aspects of our industry simply could not exist without our fellow workers from overseas. In a recent conversation with a hotelier I was told that 80% of employees in food and beverage were from overseas. Please hear what we say!”

A pop-up lunch

….at The Spiegeltent at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. There is a restaurant in Soho called The Palomar. Owners Layo Paskin and Tomer Amedi have recently released a cookery book which they discussed at the lunch. The Palomar has a very distinctive Middle Eastern fusion  style with influences from Jerusalem and Morocco in particular.We enjoyed a delicious lunch and a fascinating interview with the two owners.

Needless to say I’m looking forward to a visit.

The Palomar
The Palomar

A recipe from The Palomar Cookbook

One of my very favourite dishes ever is Shakshuka. It’s a dish which works well for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is a classic middle eastern dish.

You need:
rapeseed oil 5 tbsp
red peppers 3, cored, deseeded and cut into 2cm square pieces
romano peppers 3 (if you can’t find them, use an additional 3 regular ones), cored, deseeded and cut into 2cm square pieces
red chillies 1-2, finely chopped (depending on how hot you like it)
garlic 3-4 cloves, finely sliced
cumin seeds ½ tsp, toasted and ground
chopped tomatoes 400g can, good-quality, strained
sweet paprika 1 tsp
water 250-500ml
eggs 8 (I serve 2 eggs per person, but you can go for more or fewer)
salt and pepper to taste
parsley a handful, chopped, to garnish

Heat a large frying pan (the heavier the better) over a medium-low heat. Add the oil, peppers and a pinch of salt, and let them sweat until they collapse. This should take about 35–40 minutes.

Add the chillies and cook for 10 minutes, then add the garlic and cumin and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. At this point your kitchen should be filled with a garlicky aroma. Add the tomatoes and gently simmer for about 30 minutes. The colour should become darker and the aroma more intense.

This is the time to add the paprika and salt to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You can eat it hot or cold, and it will keep in the fridge, in a sterilised airtight container, for up to a week.

Heat your your sauce (known as matbucha) in a large, wide, shallow pan, stirring in the water – you need to start with a loose sauce, as some of the liquid will evaporate during the cooking.

Season to taste with salt, then break the eggs into the sauce, one by one, making sure that you keep the yolks whole. Drag the egg whites a bit with a fork to allow them to mix slightly with the sauce. This will ensure that the flavour is spread evenly through your shakshuka.

Simmer over a very low heat for 10–15 minutes until the egg whites set nicely but the yolks are still runny. I always go for a runny yolk – nothing beats that buttery sensation in your mouth.

Season the yolks with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Shakshuka is best served straight from the pan and with some fresh crusty bread.

Serves 4

Tomer Amedi and Leo
Layo Paskin and Tomer Amedi


Last night was a very special evening at the Taste of Gloucestershire Food and Farming awards at the Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse and we were delighted to have been invited by Bottle Green Drinks.

Firstly, I should thank The Jockey Club for a very delicious dinner.

Bottle Green are one of the major sponsors of the evening along with some other very prestigious and local companies.

You probably don’t want me to take you through all of the awards but the significant ones for me were:
Chef of the Year – Gareth Fulford – Purslane Restaurant
Best food and drink business – Cotswold Gold
Food Retailer of the year – Jolly Nice
Best Eating Out Establishment – Bhoomi Cheltenham
All very well deserved!

A Spanish Evening at The Lifford Hall, Broadway with Food by Bazza

Tuesday 22 Novembser 7.00 for 7.30 pm
Reservations now being taken – please email me at to hold your space
£35.00 per person. Please bring your own drinks!
More details to follow shortly






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