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River Cottage expert to lead Kent forage

River Cottage expert to lead Kent forage


John Wright, the renowned foraging expert and author of four River Cottage Handbooks, is to lead two wild mushroom forages at Bells Yew Green near Tunbridge Wells on 13th & 14th October.

The art of foraging has almost been lost in the UK which John and other passionate foragers are determined to resurrect. Our European neighbours are expert foragers and this knowledge, along with the best sites are handed down in families. In France, you can take your foraged mushrooms along to the local pharmacy for verification – try that in Boots!

Scare stories about foragers poisoning family and friends are well-known but those attending John’s course will learn the characteristics of edible fungi and those to definitely avoid.

John has been visiting Moon Down’s site near Bells Yew Green every year since 2011.

"My annual visit to Moon Down is always exciting - the varied habitat produces a wealth of interesting and often tasty fungi, he said, adding, “Among the most engaging was a magnificent collection of Orange Peel Fungi, Aleuria aurantiaca. The other fungus which I loved was Lepiota aspera, in perfect young condition with the ring still attached to the cap edge. And for those whose interested is centred around the culinary aspect of the fungi were several Ceps, the Saffron Milkcap, several Puffballs, Slippery Jacks and much more. Two days of wonders."

After a morning’s foraging participants will be treated to a delicious 3-course lunch with wine where you have the opportunity to taste some of the morning’s edible finds, prepare to really appreciate the different tastes and textures of wild mushrooms.

The cost including lunch is £90.00.



Tonbridge Caste becomes Graze

Tonbridge Caste becomes Graze


Graze restaurant is to open on the site of former Tonbridge pub The Castle.

Sarah and Trevor Crysell, owners of Olive Stores and Olive Brasserie in the Hop Farm, will be opening at 89 High Street which has laid empty for a year.

The mayor of Tonbridge, Owen Baldock, will officially open the restaurant on 10th August, said Trevor, adding, “Tonbridge has never experienced a restaurant like Graze, it's different, it's fun and it's social.”

Graze will serve food all day, seven days a week, with items on the menu including "traditional British favourites" as American pancakes with blueberries and balsamic roasted vine tomatoes on sour dough for breakfast and Asian sushi salad with sesame crusted salmon and wild boar pappardelle for dinner.

It will also offer sharing plates such as sticky chorizo, Scotch egg of the day and lemon poached shrimp gazpacho.

The restaurant aims to host a child-friendly atmosphere with vegetarian and gluten-free options and will be open early mornings for take-away espresso and artisan pastries.

The Crysells plan to open an Olive Stores café and deli in the Autumn in Goudhurst High Street.


"Offensive" menu


A Giggling Squid Thai restaurant was surprised to receive a complaint from a customer who, despite describing the food as “good” and the service “friendly”, took offence at its “ill judged and “offensive” menu which demonstrated a “lack of respect”.

The complainant went so far as too say that the “ill judged” comments even ruined the diner’s enjoyment of her meal.

The cause of such offence? Light-heated comments from Pranee Laurillard, who co owns the Giggling Squid family of Thai tapas restaurants with English-born husband Andy.

“It was a shock coming to England, I found it hard to find anything that wasn’t from a packet,” described a tongue-in-cheek Pranee of her arrival in the UK as an impoverished student.

The diner, identified only as ‘Alison M’ also took umbridge at the description of the Thai Green Curry as a “farang favourite”, claiming it to be a derogatory term for foreigners in Thailand.

The word farang dates back to Thailand’s French colonial days (it’s derived from ‘Frank’) and originally meant Frenchman, but its usage is now widened to describe any European.

“It’s a neutral term and can be used equally as an insult or term of endearment – it’s all about the context,” said Pranee, adding, “Thais are known for the welcoming friendliness toward foreigners, I married one – and it’s not in our nature to be rude.”

The informal chatty style of the menu is intended to keep the personal touch of the growing company as it expands, to distinguish it from the faceless corporate restaurant chains which dominate the high street.

On the wine list Pranee describes the Nuviana Chardonnay as “Aromatic, rich and full of character … could be a description of my husband.”

Since first introducing the menu to the couple’s restaurants a year ago, the group has served over half a million customers, no one else has found it offensive.

The fast growing family of 'Thai Tapas' restaurants will open in Billericay on 17th August


Canterbury Cote Tales

Canterbury Cote Tales


Cote is to open a site in Canterbury on 17 August, having invested almost £1m transforming the previous retail space on Longmarket Parade into a restaurant.

“The dining out scene in Canterbury is thriving and we are looking forward to opening,” said Cote Joint MD Harald Samuelsson, adding, “We hope to bring even more choice to the city.”

Côte offers a "modern interpretation" of Paris bistros, serving brasserie favourites such as steak frites, moules marinières, corn-fed chicken from rural Brittany and tuna Niçoise and crème caramel and crème.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the specials menu changes fortnightly.


Indian Summer charity lunch

Indian Summer charity lunch


Brighton’s Indian Summer restaurant is to host a charity lunch on Sunday 18th October, to raise money for good causes and strengthen the city’s bid to become the Curry Capital of Britain 2015.

Indian Summer will serve a special menu with a contemporary twist on traditional favourites such as its Tandoori lamb with roasted cumin potatoes and Indian vegetables, South Indian beef and a vegetarian option. Indian Summer will donate £5 of the £18.95 lunch, which coincides with the culmination of this year’s National Curry Week (12th to 18th August).

Proceeds will be donated to Find Your Feet charity’s ‘Curry for Change’ campaign’ and its official partner the Curry Tree Charitable Fund. Indian Summer is the first restaurant outside London to support ‘Curry for Change’ which raises much needed funds to prevent hunger in poor rural communities in Africa and Asia.

Other top Indian restaurants supporting Find Your Feet are the Michelin-starred Benares, TV chef Cyrus Todiwala’s Spice Café Namaste, Cinnamon Club , Cinnamon Kitchen, Cinnamon Soho, The Regency Club and Carom Soho.

Indian Summer is also collecting a £1 donation for every dinner eating at its new East Street location in Brighton. Money raised is being matched by sponsor Natco Food the international spice company.

For curry lovers looking to host a fund raising event or dinner party at home, Natco Food will send a free bag of Natco spices, recipes from chef ambassadors, table cards to decorate the event, thank you cards to give to guests, poster and a donation form.

Indian Summer is again the prime mover in backing Brighton’s bid to become the Curry Capital of the Year 2015 and was instrumental in helping achieve the runners’ up spot in 2014 – up 13 places from 2013. The award’s judging criteria are the quality of a city’s Indian restaurants, efforts made to promote social cohesion and charitable activities.

“We’ve always been involved in fund raising for local and international good causes which is our primary motivation for holding the Tandoori Night,” said Indian Summer co owner Minesh Agnihotri, “If we can help Brighton become the country’s curry capital too that would be an added bonus – although I hate the word ‘curry’ to described such a rich and diverse culinary heritage of the Asian subcontinent.”

Indian Summer has been nominated as a finalist in this year’s Asian Curry Awards. Winners will be revealed at an awards ceremony at the London Hilton on 15th November.


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