Summer favourites from Atul Kochhar

Liz Nicholls

Food & Recipes

We asked Atul Kochhar the twice Michelin-starred chef, and owner of Benares in London, Sindhu in Marlow and many other restaurants, about his summer favourites

Atul Kolchhar
Atul Kolchhar

Q: What’s your favourite kitchen gadget?
“I wouldn’t be without a wok or a karahi. A slightly heavier wok is best as you can stew, braise and fry. It’s a good idea to season a new wok before using it for the first time; Put plenty of salt in and heat then take a kitchen cloth and rub the salt all over the sides and base, wash with weak soapy water and dry.”

Q. What’s your fave al fresco dish?
“Anything I can do on the barbecue, meat, vegetables or fruit. You don’t need to add lots of spice; keeping it simple with salt, pepper and lemon juice is ideal. Try to retain the juices as much as you can by grilling on a high heat so the food seals quickly and retains flavour.”

Q. Do you have a favourite pub or restaurant?
“I love The Footman in Mayfair where, once in a while, I go for a pint with my team. A great place.”

Q. What about a fave farm shop or supplier?
Laverstoke Park Farm [in Basingstoke] does the best cheese, especially buffalo mozzarella.”

Q. Which British summer produce do you love?
“Early this year I made a pact with the family to spend less time travelling and more time at home so I’m mostly in the UK. Strawberries are my favourite. Chard and rhubarb I love, too, especially at this time of year. Chard is best blanched quickly, used in the same way as spinach. If I’m cooking a chicken curry I’d add the whole leaf to the pot – which makes it slightly salty but amazing, since it absorbs all the juices. The eating is fantastic! If you’re a vegetarian chard is a great option.”


Ale & Hearty

Round & About

Food & Recipes

Here at Round & About Magazine, we are passionate supporters of local pubs, restaurants and producers. After all, anyone working in the food and drinks industry will know it takes a lot of hard graft to help punters relax!

We have so many to mention that are especially beautiful in summer. For starters, top picks for a romantic meal include Kinghams in Shere (GU5 9HE, once known as Hangman’s Cottage) and Jodie Kidd’s wondrous Half Moon in Kirdford, RH14 0LT, (check out the events and sun terrace!). The March Hare in Guildford, (GU1 3SY), hits all the right gastro notes and The Dog & Pheasant in Brook, GU8 5UJ, is famed for its amazing roasts and garden – for free-range children. The roof terrace at Guildford’s Thai Terrace (GU1 3RW) is perfect for tom yum and cocktails while The Windmill in Ewhurst (GU6 7NN), offers great views. Oliver Reed’s old boozer, The Plough Inn at Leigh Hill (RH5 5RZ) might just be the quintessential village pub, especially when a summer cricket match is on, with its own brewery.

Speaking of breweries, hoppy bunnies are spoilt for choice. For tours, tastings and hearty ales, check out Hogs Back Brewery in Tongham (GU10 1DE), hand-batched brews at Windsor & Eton Brewery (SL4 1SE ) and Alton’s Pride and other award-winners from Triple fff in Four Marks (GU34 5HN). Cheers also to the teams at Ascot Brewing Company in Camberley (GU15 3DX), the Crafty Brewery Company in Dunsfold, Tillingbourne Brewery near Guildford and Surrey Hills Brewery (creator of the Shere Drop and Albury Ruby) based at Denbies Wine Estate near Dorking (RH5 6AA). We’re also smitten with the Sussex Dry Gin by artisan creators Blackdown Cellar in Lurgashall (GU28 9HA). High spirits indeed!

So, we’d like to know; what’s your favourite pub, and your favourite brewery, and leave a comment below!

[totalpoll id=”2914″]

[totalpoll id=”2926″]

Stir Crazy with Ching He Huang

Round & About

Food & Recipes

We asked Ching He Huang, one of the many chefs starring at Woking Food Festival 31st August – 2nd September, about her kitchen faves

Q: What’s your favourite kitchen gadget?
“My Lotus Wok is a one-tool wonder; you can braise, steam, shallow fry, deep fry and make pop corn in it. Woks have thousands of years of history, but this humble tool is in danger of extinction as Chinese embrace western cooking equipment like the oven!”

Q. What’s your favourite summer dish?
“I love a noodle salad. A Chinese-style salsa verde with ginger, spring onion, sichuan pepper chilli oil tossed with courgetti noodles, sliced radishes, basil and fresh hand-picked Cornish crab – British produce with a slight Chinese twist.”

Q. Do you have a favourite food supplier?
“My husband’s family have taken me to visit Garsons Farm recently – you can pick blackberries and sugarsnap peas. I love the farm shop there; you can get organic milk from Goodwood Estate and Woodhall’s ham, which is perfect sliced and stir fried with scallops and black rice vinegar.”

Q. What’s your fave summer fruit and tipple?
“Strawberries – my garden patch has produced quite a bit this year so I’m delighted! They’re perfect in a glass of Pimm’s, of course…”


Stir Crazy by Ching He Huang
Stir Crazy by Ching He Huang

Round & About Magazine has a signed copy of Ching’s book, Stir Crazy, and one of her Lotus Woks to give away. Simply answer the following phrase: Which ingredient would you find in Ching’s noodle salad…
a: Homegrown Strawberries
b: Cornish Crab
c. Woodhall’s ham

    By EmailBy PhoneBy Post


    Wine quench marks

    Cherry Butler

    Food & Recipes

    We uncork some of our favourites food and drink places to enjoy this summer, starting with Cherry Butler’s visit to one of Bentley’s sparkling wine-producing beauty…

    Once home to hops, the fields at Jenkyn Place are now filled with vines – although at one point, it could have been Christmas trees. After buying the Hampshire estate in 1997, property entrepreneur Simon Bladon considered farming festive firs. Then he tasted some “Champagne” that turned out to be from West Sussex which he enjoyed so much he set about growing grapes.

    Simon Jenkyn
    Simon Jenkyn

    Judging by the delicate, fruity rosé I tried (and found especially moreish), this was a wise decision. Jenkyn Place has won numerous awards, its brut cuvée scoring gold several times. Since 2016, the vineyard has produced vintage sparkling wines every year, as long as the grapes pass muster. The North Hampshire Downs climate and chalky “greensand” soil is ideal for growing the classic Champagne varieties: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier.

    Cherry Butler Vine Planting
    Cherry Butler Vine Planting

    Camilla, Simon’s daughter, manages the business, with dogs Bertie and Oscar and brothers Freddie and Jack lending a hand/paw. Heat killed a fifth of the first vines in 2004, when the fledgling viticulturists planted them before laying down polythene sheeting. Rebecca, Simon’s wife, informed him that of course they should have laid down the poly first (like Nigel Pargetter just had on The Archers). Despite this, they let me – a rookie – plant a new vine; I hope to return one day to taste the fruit of my labour!

    Right at the top of the first field, a wooden gazebo provides a sheltered spot to take in the view, and some wine. On the north side of the Wey Valley, the sloping site is carefully landscaped. Oak trees form a windbreak; and each row of vines is bookended by roses, which act as a “canary in the mine”, picking up any pests or diseases before the vines do. An 18th-century red-brick house and walled garden with a fountain complete the English country scene.

    Roses at the end of each vine row
    Roses at the end of each vine row

    Anyone can visit, since Simon and his winemakers offer tours on selected dates. Wine buffs will appreciate the chance to see how the grapes are produced and ask questions, while casual enthusiasts can have fun soaking up the setting and tasters. Bottles to take home are available at a discount. Happily, Jenkyn Place is a five-minute taxi ride or half-hour walk from Bentley station, so there’s no need for a designated driver.

    It’s said that if Wimbledon fortnight is sunny, the autumn harvest will be good, so we wine-lovers – and the Jenkyns team – should be able to reap the rewards of a particularly fine 2018 harvest.

    Tour & tasting sessions £15. Visit

    Booze & Bites in Surrey

    Liz Nicholls

    Food & Recipes

    We live in a rich and fertile part of the country with many hard-working food & drink producers to appetise you! Here are some nibbles…

    The Hampton Estate produces mouth-watering grass-fed beef from their pedigree cows which graze the southern slopes of the Hog’s Back. The meat is hung for three weeks to mature and is sold directly from the farm at the famous monthly Hampton beef days. Also check out the Hampton Herby sausages, beef bangers and wild estate venison. To order email [email protected] or call 01483 810465.

    Cordon Bleu-trained chef/proprietor Suzanne Rose has been delighting fellow foodies with her Lavender Hen Catering Company catering services in the Virginia Water area for 30 years. Suzanne has worked at prestigious establishments in the UK and honed her craft around the world, too. Her Supper Club is well worth checking out for five-course feasts in a beautiful summer house setting and BYOB booze (no corkage). Visit

    Planning a summer bash? Wrights of Farnham has been operating since the 1950s and is now the area’s longest-standing family-owned off-licence and wholesale outlet, catering for all your liquid needs! The business has a fresh look but the same vintage charm and ample parking. Lion Brewery, GU9 7AB; 01252 715749

    Some saucy news for health-conscious foodies! Henry Kay and Nick Briggs, local founders of In The Buff, launched their Sweet Paprika Ketchup in May and it’s not only delicious (we’re addicted) but made with all-natural ingredients, high in fibre, amino acids, vitamins A, E and B6 and iron, suitable for vegans and coeliacs and has anti-inflammatory properties.

    Alex James: feast of fun

    Liz Nicholls

    Food & Recipes

    Liz Nicholls chats to musician, cheese maker and dad Alex James, 49, ahead of The Big Feastival which takes place 24th-26th August, in the Cotswolds

    Q: How do you start planning each new Big Feastival?
    “The first thing we do is invite The Cuban Brothers and Justin Fletcher; then we’ve got a party. Justin turns up and marches on stage with his little red nose on to sing One Man Went To Mow and brings the house down, without fail, every year. As time goes on it gets easier to attract the big stars. I’m delighted Marco [Pierre White] is involved this year; the whole British food revival started with him. Raymond Blanc and Pierre Koffmann complete the trio of culinary granddaddies.”

    Q. Do you love the local food scene?
    “Totally. We’re lucky with such a brilliant culture of food, starting with Daylesford just up the road and that’s drawn loads of brilliant chefs to the area. I love all the great pop-ups, farmers, producers…”

    Q. Do you get to enjoy the festival once all the hard prep work is done?
    “Yes; it takes all my charms and the odd cheese parcel, as well as loads of hard work. But when the sun’s shining and everyone’s jumping up and down, having a good time, it’s worth it. I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun as this – it’s an absolute scream. I get the whole family involved; everyone’s got a role.”

    Q. You make parenting look easy, with your big brood!
    “Haha! Yeah but I do get stressed too, man. Having a big family teaches you to roll with the punches, focus on the horizon, keep pushing.”

    Q. You seem very productive?
    “I’ve made five children, six cheeses and seven records. That’s the only reason I can do a food, music and family festival. You’ve got to care to make it happen.”

    Q. How do you stay so svelte, making so much cheese!?
    “Thanks for saying; I don’t feel it! I’ve got two new cheeses out this year so each one is quite a bit of time in the gym. It’s difficult not to invent cheese without eating loads of f***ing cheese!”

    Q. Where do you want to travel next?
    “Marco and I were talking about this the other day – he wants to go round Europe. South America, for me, is mind-blowing. The last time I was in Chile with the band I had a great meal and there wasn’t one ingredient I recognised. There’s interest in doing a festival down there, actually. I love travelling as a family; it’s so easy to travel in the 21st century.”

    Q. Do you still love astronomy?
    “Yeah; I watch lots of videos on YouTube; science, physics. It’s a good way to zone out at the end of a long day. Since the kids arrived I’ve got more down-to-earth concerns but my love of astronomy has gone into a more abstract realm of higher maths.”

    Q. Who’s your favourite author?
    “I like to re-read those books I’ve always loved, especially Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson.”


    Hurry! Enter for our The Big Feastival Competition – ends Friday, 27th July

    Oxford Organic

    Round & About

    Food & Recipes

    Michael Soth of West Oxford Food Coop explains more about the co-operative making organic food available, accessible and affordable in Botley

    Are you interested in buying organic food at two thirds of the recommended retail price?

    Do you avoid unnecessary packaging?

    Are you interested in sustainability?

    Would you want to join a community group that organises wholesale delivery of more than 5,000 products? We have been organising a small neighbourhood buyers’ group for more than 20 years, buying organic products from wholesaler Infinity Foods in Brighton, whose team deliver to Oxford once a week. For many years we had been collating a collective order every few months.

    Since October 2016 we have been inviting more members, to expand the group, generate bigger orders, get even better discounts and maybe establish a local cooperative community enterprise. This would help to concentrate on expanding these orders to a wider group of households to make it worthwhile increasing the frequency of deliveries to weekly, renting local storage space, so we can set up a refill station that would help us avoid packaging and make organic food available and accessible in Botley.

    We intend to partner with SESI Food and Household Refills who have been operating in east Oxford for more than 10 years. In the future, we might look into cooperating with other projects to extend the range into fresh produce.

    We have now expanded to include about 26 households and have had 10 deliveries since then. One of our members has calculated that he has saved 40% as compared to shopping at wholefood shops. Currently we are aiming at a delivery about every six weeks.

    The big news for 2018 is that we have just transitioned to online ordering – Infinity has set up an incredibly fast and efficient online system. Each member can have their own log-in and complete their own sub-order as part of the overall Food Coop order. This makes our project fairly hassle-free and keeps the admin to a minimum.

    To get an idea of the range of products available (most items you would expect to find in a wholefood shop, i.e. more than 5,000 lines), visit

    If you are interested in joining such a community enterprise, please contact us to receive a membership form.

    To spread the word about this project, please visit or Facebook.

    Christine Wallace: in the mix!

    Round & About

    Food & Recipes

    Hello everyone! Is it just me or is there a feelgood factor in the air recently?

    In general people seem to be quite happy and smiley. Just passing someone in the street or at the shops seems to generate a “hello” and my goodness, doesn’t it make you feel good!? I put it down to summer, the weather isn’t bad and holidays are on everyone’s mind so lots to be happy about. There also might be a measure of trying to forget that we live in quite a troubled world and the news can be depressing so let’s just live for the day! Whatever it is, I hope it lasts!

    July brings hedgerows heavy with berries, fennel to liven up salads and lots more including aubergines and courgettes. Cherries and peaches are at their best and the glorious gooseberry is here. The poor gooseberry doesn’t get a good press and it’s hard to find them, even in farm shops. But there are wonderful recipes using this vitamin C-rich fruit; poached gooseberries with a creamy vanilla custard, gooseberry compote which is super used in cakes or to top a cheesecake, gooseberry jam or the very delicious gooseberry fool. Take 400g gooseberries and cook with 50g sugar over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until soft. Remove from the heat, crush and cool. Pour two tablespoons of elderflower cordial and 1tbsp lemon juice into 400ml double cream and whisk to medium peaks. Add 4 tablespoons of ready-made custard. Fold half the gooseberries into the mixture. Spoon half into four glasses. Layer the rest of the gooseberries, then top with the rest of the cream mix. Chill until ready to serve. You’ll love it!

    Also in shops is new-season lamb (the best is from Kent). Lamb breast is a great make-ahead meal – slow cooking turns a cheap cut into a luxury. Tom Kerridge’s breast of lamb with broccoli, anchovy and caper dressing is lovely!

    The Greeks and Romans are returning! Stretch Didcot’s Roman Festival at the Didcot Girls School on Saturday, 7th July (10.30am-5pm) will have more than 20 different experts and events, including me! Tickets are a fantastic £4.

    Visit and please get in touch!

    Have you tried a TFKC?

    Round & About

    Food & Recipes

    Malaysian, Portuguese and a sprinkling of London sophistication is what inspires the cusine created by husband and wife team Test Kitchen Food, writes Rachel Wakefield

    The Test Kitchen van has been seducing late night drinkers, near the Windsor and Eton Brewery, for more than a year now. It’s also been turning heads every Saturday morning near the Loading Bay Cafe, with its tasty, cooked-to-order food.

    It’s easy to understand why – just talking to owner, Milly O’Connor about what she serves is beyond distracting. Take for example, the popular Super Bon Bon: marinated pork loin, in paprika, garlic and thyme, grilled and served with melted cheese, fried mushrooms and a garlic aioli sauce, in a ciabatta roll. Or, the TKFC: deboned chicken thighs, marinated in mirin sauce, soy sauce, garlic and ginger, then covered in sweet potato flour, deep fried and finished with a maple syrup and soy glaze, with a spiracha dip. In my mouth!

    Milly and her husband John, who is the chef, met through a mutual love of food. She was managing the Kensington restaurant and nightclub, Dirty Bones, he was a cook at Fulham’s Malthouse. They both have interesting foodie heritages, he’s from Portugal and her mother is Malaysian.

    “I was nine months pregnant when we bought the food truck,” recalls Milly. We had just moved back to my home town of Windsor, as we had made a decision to bring up our son Salvador here. “We had this idea to bring the London, foodie sophistication in the neighbourhood.”

    It has not taken John long to establish good relationships, with his main supplier being the Royal Windsor Farm Shop. “Our menu is based on good, local, seasonal produce and Tony, the butcher always delivers from there,” says Milly.

    “We called the business Test Kitchen Food, because we wanted to be flexible in the food we offered. Not sticking to one style of cuisine.”

    The adventurous pair will be curating a foodie event on Friday, 25th May, called Hawkers Bazaar. This event is inspired by the vibrant night markets and hawker centres of Malaysia. It will take place at the Loading Bay Cafe, Vansittart Estate, Windsor SL4 1SE. It will be a showcase of local talent including an experimental cocktail truck, an exotic ice cream roll trader, lots of authentic hawker style food plus local musicians performing late into the night. Tickets available to book online, visit:

    To keep up-to-date with what’s cooking in the kitchen, take a look on the Facebook page @testkitchenfood.