OF THE YEAR
from the EDITOR
A Culinary Journey through
comfort food recipes
“There is something so special
in the early leaves drifting
from the trees–as if we are all
to be allowed a chance to peel,
to refresh, to start again.”
– Ruth Ahmed
There is something so special about
this time of year - it has a grounding
effect which forces us to consider
the passage of time and the tangible
changes around us. As the hues
of the trees shape our landscape,
we settle down into the embrace
of those cooler, darker evenings
- a sense of quietude before the
inevitable Christmas rush begins.
We hope this edition makes a good
companion to a cosy evening or
a peaceful morning with a cuppa.
We’ve filled it with interviews with
some titans of their fields - firstly, west
country expert baker (via France!)
Richard Bertinet and Chelsea seventime
gold medal winning garden
designer Adam Frost.
Our interview with
Key Account Manager Marion Cassidy
d/l 01225 984502
Planning for a
Editor Katie Thomson
Publisher Sally Thomson
Pre-Press Manager Kate Norris
Contributors Rebecca Rose, Peter Thomson, Sue Cooke, Matthew Biggs
Angela Cave and Pete Lawrence. Front cover courtesy of Waitrose
MINERVA PUBLICATIONS HQ
Unit 21c, Paxcroft Farm, Hilperton
Trowbridge BA14 6JB
t 01225 984 550
visit our website www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Disclaimer: The publishers shall not be held liable for any loss occasioned by failure of an
advertisement to appear, or any damage or inconvenience caused by errors, omissions and
misprints. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior permission from the
publishers. The opinions expressed within are not necessarily those of the publishers.
These lovely chats fall alongside
some delicious recipes and some
inspiration for the home and garden
- plus some advice on getting those
finances in order for retirement -
it’s never too early to start thinking
about it, nor to late to make an
assessment of where you are.
It wouldn’t be right to have an
edition without one of our most
popular pages - the competitions!
You can enter all the ones listed on
the page, plus some web-exclusives
at minervamagazines.co.uk - you
can also opt into being the first to
hear about new giveaways when
they are launched.
We are looking forward to seeing
you again in November, where we
will be unapologetically thrusting
you into the Christmas swing. Don’t
say I didn’t warn you! Until then,
take care and enjoy this issue.
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 3
A a two-night stay
for two people at
To enter any (or all!) of our competitions, head to
Find the competition and enter on that post,
using the appropriate keyword.
T&C’s apply and no cash alternatives available. Winners chosen at
random - entries made after closing date will not be accepted.
Whittlebury Park, a four-star countryside hotel in
Northamptonshire, is nestled in hundreds of acres of tranquil
ancient parkland, making it the perfect destination to get away
from it all. It’s surrounded by a host of local attractions, from
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Terms and conditions: The prize is for a winner plus one guest. Prize
winner and guest must be aged 18 and over. Only one winner will be
drawn. The prize is non-transferable, non-refundable, non-exchangeable
and there are no cash alternatives. Cannot be used in conjunction with
any other offer or promotion. The prize is available Friday – Sunday. Valid
until 31 December 2021 excluding, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and
Bank Holiday Mondays. Full terms and conditions available on website.
Closes 10/11/2021 - Competition keyword ‘WHITTLEBURY’
WIN We are giving one
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Ramekins & Wine offer
the wine takes
food is designed to
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Closes 10/11/2021 - Competition
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Leading flowers and
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4 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
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'A good education is about more
With a planned return to something more akin to a normal
school year set for September (school assemblies, no bubbles
etc), the summer is the perfect time to take stock of lessons
learned from the past two school years...
There is plenty to reflect on (the
strength of the school community, the
use of technology in the classroom,
the dedication of pupils, parents and
teachers supporting learning) but perhaps
the most important lesson is that a good
education and a good school experience
is so much more than ‘good academic
When the pandemic dictated a move to
remote provision, schools responded in a
variety of ways. At Arnold Lodge School,
we have used a variety of approaches
(depending on the subject, age and
stage) covering live lessons through to
pre-recorded lessons to work through
with teacher support. As our classes are
small (on average around 14), children
were able to receive a high level of
support from their teachers and keep
‘on track’ with their learning. Our exam
classes, for example, kept pace with the
coverage of their course and did not need
to ‘catch up’ when we came back to site.
Whilst academic learning continued
during remote provision, so much of the
richness of the school community was
lost as the pupils and staff could not
be together. Whole school assemblies,
lunchtime chess club or dance class
(or fencing…or choir…or the school
drama production) and, perhaps most
importantly of all, time with friends on the
The pandemic reminded us that a good
education is so much more than just
learning and that we should celebrate the
opportunities for learning throughout the
school day rather than just the things you
can measure with a test.
As we look to September, at ALS we
will be emphasising the ‘world beyond
the test’ as much as possible. After all,
a good education is about more than
If you would like to find out more about
ALS and what we can offer your child,
join us for our Open Day on Saturday,
9th October. Contact a member of
our friendly admissions team on
reserve your place.
David Preston, Headteacher,
Arnold Lodge School.
15-17 Kenilworth Road, Leamington
Spa, CV325TW, 01926 778050,
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 7
Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow
At St Patrick’s C.E. Primary Academy, academic and personal
development shine through, with pupils’ well-being at the heart of school
life. Pupils thoroughly enjoy their learning, are happy, feel safe and behave
exceptionally well, thriving on the broad and balanced curriculum.
There is a genuine sense of belonging to a community with the Christian
ethos at the very core of the school.
Also offering 30 hours and
Set in a beautiful, rural
location with new, modern
facilities - viewing is highly
Please contact the school office via:
Tel: 01564 702278
Virtual Tour available on the School Website
To find out more contact
Mrs Harryman • 0121 705 0354
Meet our team
• PLEASE JOIN US •
Saturday 25th September
9.30am to 12 noon (last tours 11.15am)
Independent nursery and day school for children aged 2¾ to 11 years.
Stratford upon Avon School
Engage Enthuse Inspire
Open Evening for Year 7 Entry
22nd September 2021 from 4pm
Sixth Form Open Evening
17th November 2021 from 5:30pm
Open Mornings and Tours
“The advantages of a
big school with the feel
of a small school”
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 11
An enriching life like no other
Which school should my child attend?
Choosing the right educational
environment for your child is one of
the most important decisions you’ll
ever have to make as a parent. But if
you’re looking for a boarding school
for your child, how do you choose
the right one? Robin Fletcher, CEO
of the Boarding Schools’ Association
‘How do I choose the right boarding school
for my child?’ That’s a question we’re asked
more often than any other at BSA. And
when you consider the UK boarding market
is one of the largest in the world, with more
than 450 schools of all sizes and types, in
all sorts of different locations, there isn’t a
But having such a wide range of choice can
really work to your advantage. If you know
exactly what to look for in a prospective
boarding school, your child will enjoy a
first-class education and gain invaluable life
skills, boost their confidence, become more
independent, and have the best possible
preparation for adult life.
The first key piece of advice I would always
offer when choosing a school is that it must
be a joint decision between you and your
child: they have to be happy with the final
As I’ve mentioned, one thing there isn’t a
shortage of in the UK boarding sector is
choice. You need to think about the best
location for your child: will they be best
suited to a large school attended by several
hundred students, or a smaller school
with fewer pupils? Would a school in the
middle of a city be better for them, or would
they prefer somewhere more rural? Would
they be best suited to a single sex or coeducational
school? Also, will full boarding
be the best option for them? Schools can
offer full, weekly or flexi-boarding, so you’ll
need to decide which works best for you
and your child. And is an academic school
right for them, or one that focuses perhaps
more on sport, music or more vocational
Once you’ve considered all those factors
and you’ve got a shortlist of schools you’re
interested in, I’d always strongly encourage
you to visit those schools in person. This
is the best way to tell if it’s right for your
child or not, as it will be clear very quickly
whether they are comfortable there.
Making that final choice of the right
boarding school for your child can be a
lengthy process, but taking the time to get
your decision absolutely right is crucial.
Boarding will not suit every child or family
- but for the right child, in the right school,
it can offer an enriching life experience like
For further information about the Boarding
Schools’ Association, or to search for a
boarding school, please visit www.boarding.
org.uk. In 2020, BSA also teamed up with
Bulldog Publishing to launch Schoolplaces.
org, a dedicated live information resource
for schools, parents and education agents.
For more information, please visit www.
Image: Courtesy of Highfield and
12 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Find out what Princethorpe can do for your child, come along to our
Open Afternoon on Sunday 19 September 2021
To book your place visit princethorpe.co.uk
Year 6 Taster Experiences are also available on Saturday 25 September 2021.
Registration deadline for September 2022 entry is Friday 1 October 2021.
An independent school for 11-18 year olds
Registered Charity Number 1087124.
For information call 01926 634201
or visit princethorpe.co.uk
Now taking registrations
Fun is an essential ingredient in all our nurseries where the
care and education opportunities for each and every child
are as extraordinary as our colleagues who provide them.
FOR CHILDREN AGED 6 WEEKS TO 5 YEARS
OPEN 7.30AM TO 6.30PM
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West Downs Day Nursery,
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WE LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU
Don’t miss our next edition which
includes our exclusive interview with
Amanda Owen. Amanda will also
share her wonderful recipes with us....
plus tales of her life in Yorkshire
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 15
Independent education for pupils aged 3 to 18
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Friday 24 th September
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Road, Birmingham B37 5FD
A pair of
tickets to see
Lucy Worsley: If Walls Could Talk
If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of Your Home
Tues 14 Sep, The Core Theatre
Following the four part BBC series and hit-selling book, If
Walls Could Talk, Lucy takes audiences on trip through the
home discovering the hygiene and homely habits of the British
over the past 800 years. Through the bedroom, bathroom,
living room and kitchen, Lucy Worsley explores what people
actually did in bed, in the bath, at the table, and at the stove.
To win two tickets worth £50 visit:
minervamagazines.co.uk/competitions find the
competition and enter the keyword ‘Core’.
Competition closes 10/09/21
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10-11/9 World Famous Elvis Show
14/9 Lucy Worsley: If Walls Could Talk
17/9 Sindhu Vee: Alphabet Tour
19/9 Eddie Reader Live
22/9 Malcolm Stent in the Aernoon
23/9 The Stars of Irish Country Show
25/9 Step Inside the 60s
26/9 An Audience with Lesley Garre
27/9 Talon - The Best of Eagles
28/9 NOT Lady Chaerley’s Lover
29/9 Graham Gouldman
1/10 The Upbeat Beatles
2/10 Sukh Ojla: Life Sukhs Tour
5/10 Geoff Norco: Blame the Parents
7/10 Buddy Holly & The Cricketers
9/10 The Music of Stevie Wonder
13/10 Steeleye Span
14-15/10 The Roy Orbison Story
16/10 Blake Live in Concert
20/10 The Syd Lawrence Orchestra
21/10 A Black Country Night Out
22/10 Twist and Shout Music & Dance
22/10 Henry’s Blueshouse in Studio
23/10 Simon Goodall & The Bourne
Again Shadows (Cliff Tribute)
26/10 Ballet Theatre UK: Snow Queen
29/10 Tarzanna Family fun
Box Office: 0121 704 6962
18 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Richard Bertinet is well-loved and well-known for being the
UK’s baking ‘godfather’. His books about baking and his breadmaking
courses alike have delighted audiences for many years.
Sally Thomson talks to Richard to discuss books, baking and
BBC Maestro, where you can catch him offering the ultimate
online bread-making course...
HOW ARE YOU ON THIS GLORIOUS
Making croissants with this weather! It’s
a bit hot in the kitchen but it’s nice to be
open again so all is good.
YOU ARE DOING WONDERFULLY
WELL AT THE MOMENT APART
FROM THE FACT WE HAVE ALL
BEEN THROUGH THIS RATHER
INTERESTING YEAR THINGS SEEM TO
BE GOOD WITH YOU.
We opened in April and we have just tried
to push everything we could this year and
last year. It’s very busy.
SO, PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO COME TO
YOUR CLASS NOW?
Yes, we reopened in April.
SO, THESE CURRENT RESTRICTIONS
HAVEN’T CHANGED YOUR PLANS?
No, we are Covid compliant and can still
have the same number of people.
In Bath 40% of the customers come
from the rest of the World so Japan, The
States and Australia. Obviously, they
cannot come to Bath at the moment so
we have a massive backlog of people
wanting to come when they can
YOU NEED TO BE CLONED SO THAT
THERE IS ANOTHER ONE OF YOU
AND YOU CAN KEEP UP!
That’s true but there is only one of me
WHEN YOU FIRST CAME INTO BATH
IN 2005 DID YOU EXPECT YOUR
CAREER TO TAKE OFF AS IT DID?
I knew the concept we had was good and
if it worked out, we would have success.
When I first moved to Bath a lot of local
businesses gave us 6 months to survive
but that made me more determined to
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 19
On his baking classes
for children: “It’s good
fun and nice to see
them smile when they
try something that they
haven’t done before. I
think it’s a shame that
so many schools don’t
use cooking and baking
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR
COOKERY SCHOOL - IT’S GOING
FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH BY
THE SOUNDS OF IT?
Well, the school has been going since
2005 and since then we have won a lot
of awards, we then sold the bakery and a
lot of things have happened in 15 years.
The school is so busy it’s a worldwide
attraction which means we bring a lot of
people to Bath. We won the South West
Tourism Award two years ago due to the
number of people that we attract to Bath.
We have a few guest chefs coming in as
well, but the core classes are with me
learning about bread making, as well as
what I write about in my books.
YOU HAVE SO MANY ACCOLADES
AND EVERYBODY ENJOYS WHAT YOU
HAVE BEEN DOING.
We pride ourselves on the services we
give our customers and also the way I
teach is quite unique - I’m very hands on.
Our school is quite small so it means that
I can spend time with everybody.
I SEE THAT YOU OFFER CLASSES FOR
CHILDREN, HOW DO YOU FIND THAT?
Teaching children was always very
important to us and we also work with a
lot of local schools in the area and teach
some classes plus talk to the children.
It’s good fun and nice to see them smile
when they try something that they haven’t
done before. I think it’s a shame that so
many schools don’t use cooking and
I SEE THAT YOU ALSO WORK WITH
Yes, Ping does classes for me. She
teaches Malaysian cooking plus stuff
from my book.
YOU HAVE PRODUCED 6 BOOKS SO
FAR. HAVE YOU GOT ANYMORE IN
THE PIPELINE OR DO YOU NOT HAVE
I’ve got a couple of ideas but it’s getting
the time to do it and I like to write a book
for the right purpose not just for the sake
of it so I need to get the time and wait
until things get back to normal.
DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU ARE
GETTING BACK TO NORMAL?
Until we get all our backlog of people
who couldn’t attend last year’s classes
hopefully then we will be back on an
even keel but not yet I’m afraid. We are
open and running and there are some
businesses that can’t do that so in a way
we are one of the lucky ones.
I HEAR THAT YOU WILL BE GETTING
INVOLVED WITH BBC MAESTRO.
Yes, it’s been amazing. We have just
finished editing. I absolutely loved it! It’s
a challenge to do live broadcasts, it’s
recipe lead and different from how I teach
in my classes, but it was well done. The
team were amazing.
YOU HAVE BEEN ON OTHER
COOKERY SHOWS SO DID YOU FIND
THAT THIS WAS A STEP UP?
Yes, I’ve been on Saturday Kitchen and
on James Martin’s show so it’s a different
buzz being filmed live and you have to be
mindful of what you do and say.
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WILL BE
It’s specifically about bread and things I
like to do at home. It goes from making
brioche, sourdough to bagels, all that
kind of stuff and things to give people
the confidence to bake at home and feel
that they learn something. It’s going to be
good. The production team was amazing,
and I can’t wait for it to launch.
YOU ARE FROM BRITTANY HAVE
YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO GO BACK
We went to France last year, Provence.
We have a house down there and
managed to visit just before lockdown.
*At the time of the interview there was
uncertainty regarding travel to the city
BBC Maestro with Richard Bertinet
is available now at bbcmaestro.com.
The course costs £80 for 23 episodes
including written class notes for
each one. An additional bonus festive
episode is expected to launch later in
the year exclusively to subscribers.
20 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
& PISTACHIO LOAF
150g good quality dark chocolate chips
75g roughly chopped pistachios
Zest of 2 oranges
50g mixed peel
1 tablespoon Cointreau (optional)
125g unsalted butter straight from the
125g full fat milk
3 medium eggs
500g strong white bread flour (plus extra
15g fresh yeast
45g caster sugar
10g fine sea salt
FOR THE GLAZE
Pinch fine sea salt
Mix the chocolate chips, nuts zest
and mixed peel in a bowl and stir in
the Cointreau if you are using it. Place
the cold butter between 2 sheets of
greaseproof and bash it with a rolling pin
to soften it and break it up into smaller
pieces (without warming it up).
Put the milk and eggs into the bowl of a
food mixer and then add the flour. Break
up the yeast and add to one side of the
bowl. Add the sugar and salt on the
other side of the bowl.
Mix on a slow speed for 4 minutes.
Increase the speed to medium for another
2 minutes then add the butter piece by
piece until it is all incorporated. Continue
mixing on medium speed for 10-12
minutes until the dough comes away from
the sides of the bowl.
Stop the mixer. Add the chocolate and
pistachio mixture to the bowl and mix
for no longer than 30-40 seconds on
the slowest speed – you don’t want the
chocolate and nuts to become mushy.
Lightly flour your worksurface and turn
the dough out onto the work surface.
Form the dough into a ball and then place
into a lightly floured bowl. Cover and
rest for about 45 minutes until just under
double in size.
Lightly flour the surface again, turn out
the dough and divide into 10 equal pieces
of about 110g each. Form each piece
into a ball and then press gently into
cake or loaf tins until they are full. In the
picture I have used tiny tins that only take
one ball but if you use a larger one you
will have a finished loaf or two that will be
perfect to tear and share. Whether you
have one or two will depend on the size
of your tins. Cover and leave to prove
for about 1 hour until just under double
While the dough is proving, pre-heat the
oven to 190°C and beat the eggs and
pinch of salt for the glaze. Brush the top
of each loaf with the egg glaze and use a
pair of scissors to snip into the dough for
Place the tins on a baking tray and
put into the pre-heated oven. Turn the
temperature down to 180°C and bake for
15-20 minutes until golden.
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 21
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When the darker nights set in, you
just want some go-to comfort food
recipes - and here, Waitrose has
delivered! Find more recipes at
Prep time: 20 minutes + marinating
Cooking time: 20 minutes
8 British chicken thigh fillets
3 tbsp Cooks’ Ingredients Shawarma
½ red onion, finely sliced
2 lemons, juice of 1, 1 cut into wedges
1½ tsp Cooks’ Ingredients Sumac
½ large cucumber
250g Yeo Valley Organic Greek Style
1 small clove garlic, finely grated
15 mint leaves, finely shredded, plus extra
4 Waitrose & Partners Hand-Stretched
50g pomegranate seeds
1-2 handfuls wild rocket
Slash each chicken thigh a few times,
concentrating on the thicker parts of the
fillet. Season, then rub all over with the
shawarma paste. Cover and chill for 20
minutes (up to 2 hours). Meanwhile, mix
the onion, lemon juice and sumac with a
good pinch of salt. Set aside until ready
To make the sauce, coarsely grate the
cucumber and put in a sieve. Toss with a
pinch of salt and leave over a bowl for 10
minutes to drain, then gently press with a
wooden spoon to extract as much liquid
as possible. Tip into a bowl and stir in the
yogurt, garlic and mint.
Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Cook
the chicken for 5-8 minutes on each side
(depending on the fillets’ size) until the
juices run clear and there is no pink meat,
then set aside for 2 minutes. Clean the
pan then use it to griddle the flatbreads
for 30 seconds on each side. Arrange
them on plates and top with the chicken,
pickled onion, pomegranate, rocket and
the cucumber and yogurt sauce, finishing
with the extra mint leaves and lemon
wedges for squeezing over.
This recipe also works well with lamb or
pork steaks instead of chicken (adjust
cooking times accordingly).
COTTAGE PIE WITH
Prep time: 20 minutes plus standing
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
1 tbsp olive oil
500g British beef mince
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 Oxo Beef stock cube
1 tbsp tomato purée
1½ tbsp plain flour
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 thyme sprigs
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Heat ½ tbsp oil in a large sauté pan or
casserole dish over a high heat. Add
the beef and fry, breaking it up, for 4-5
minutes, until browned. Remove from the
pan, add the remaining 1⁄2 tbsp oil, lower
the heat to medium and fry the onion,
celery and carrot with a pinch of salt for
10 minutes, until softened. Meanwhile,
dissolve the beef stock cube in 500ml
Return the beef to the pan, add the
tomato purée and cook for 1 minute, then
stir in the flour and fry for 1 minute more.
Add the stock, Worcestershire sauce and
2 thyme sprigs and simmer for 25-30
minutes, until the beef is coated in a thick
gravy. Meanwhile, slice the potatoes
as thinly as you can and put in a bowl.
Cover with just-boiled water from the
kettle; set aside for 10 minutes. Drain and
use kitchen paper to pat dry thoroughly,
then lay out on more kitchen paper to
Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6.
Melt the butter. Tip the beef and gravy
into a medium ovenproof dish. Toss the
26 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
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potatoes with the butter and leaves from the remaining thyme
sprig. Season and arrange in circles over the beef. Bake for 30
minutes until bubbling hot and the potatoes are cooked through.
Stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Scatter grated cheddar over the potatoes halfway through baking
to give the pie a nice cheesy crust.
CHERRY & ALMOND BRIOCHE
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
425g can black cherries in light syrup
3 tsp Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Cane Icing Sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 medium British Blacktail Free Range Egg
250ml whole milk
½ tsp almond extract
8 slices sliced brioche loaf
2 tbsp unsalted butter
150g pot vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp toasted flaked almonds
Put a sieve over a small saucepan and drain the cherries. Set the
cherries aside and simmer the juices for 5 minutes until reduced.
Add 1 tsp icing sugar and the drained cherries to the saucepan
and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the cherries are coated in
a glossy syrup.
Meanwhile, set your largest frying pan over a medium-highheat.
In a large, shallow dish, whisk the egg, milk, almondextract and
remaining 2 tsp icing sugar. Add 4 brioche slices to the mixture,
soaking on each side for about 45 seconds until they’ve absorbed
plenty of the mixture but aren’t too soggy. Add 1 tbsp butter to
the frying pan and, when foaming, fry the brioche for 4 minutes
on each side until golden and puffed up. Arrange on plates while
you prepare the remaining slices in the same way, frying in the
remaining 1 tbsp butter.
Serve 2 slices of brioche per person. Top with a spoonful of vanilla
yogurt and the warm cherries and syrup (reheat briefly if necessary).
Scatter with the toasted almonds and dust with a little icing sugar
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www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 29
Lady Katherine Housing & Care
Lady Lady Katherine Housing && Care Care
Rated by the Care Quality Commissio
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Rated Rated by by the Care Quality Quality Commission Commission as: as:
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RESPITE Chris CARE Mundell
(now taking Summer and Autumn Respite booking
If you would like to pay us a visit or discuss our current availab
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If If you would like like to to pay us us a a visit or or discuss our our current availability
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Hillers: the farm shop and so
Situated in a leafy corner of Warwickshire near the
Worcestershire border is the award winning Hillers Farm
Shop. Originally started as a fruit farm, Hillers has been
on the same site for 100 years and is now a large and wellestablished
farm shop and so much more.
It is owned and run by fourth generation
sisters Sally and Emma - they are at the
forefront of this busy, thriving Farm Shop.
The Farm Shop always has an array of
delicious products carefully selected
from specialist suppliers to bring their
customers the very best in fresh, quality
produce that is sourced locally wherever
Alongside the Farm Shop, which
includes Ragley Estate Meats and Hillers
Fish Shop (providing expertise in their
respective fields to accompany their
quality produce), there is also the well
regarded Garden Cafe serving breakfast,
lunch and afternoon tea. The Garden
Café has had a refurbishment this year
and now includes the beautiful new
garden room that looks out over the
Hillers Garden & Plant Centre with its
3 acre Display Garden, new wildflower
garden and Bird Hide which are free to
enjoy, has a large selection of plants
and garden equipment for gardeners of
all abilities and an experienced team on
hand to help and advise.
Hillers Gifts and Interiors stock everything
from cards and stationery and beautiful
home wares to children’s and ladies
clothing and jewellery, an absolute must
visit at this time of year!
So whether you want to browse in the
award winning Farm Shop, enjoy a
delicious meal in the Garden Cafe, walk
around the beautiful Display Garden
and Bird Hide or find the perfect outfit
or a gift for that special someone, visit
Hillers where you’ll be assured of a warm
Contact: 01789 772771
Facebook & Twitter
“The Farm Shop always has an array of
delicious products carefully selected from
specialist suppliers to bring their customers
the very best in fresh, quality produce that is
sourced locally wherever possible. ”
32 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Following a refurbishment and newly built garden room the Garden Cafe is now fully open
Come and visit us...
The Farm Shop • The Cheese Shop • Deli Counter • Bakery • Hillers Fish Shop
Ragley Estate Meats • The Garden Shop • 3 acre display garden free for all to enjoy
Hillers Gifts & Interiors • The Garden Cafe open 9.00am–5.00pm
The Hillers Hut is open for takeaway service 9.00am–5.00pm
Dunnington Heath Farm, Alcester B49 5PD • Tel: 01789 772771 • www.hillers.co.uk
Adam Frost is an
television presenter and
Best known for his
successes at RHS Chelsea
Flower Show, he is
passionate about inspiring
adults and children
alike to create their
own gardens and watch
hedgerows spring to life.
Sally Thomson caught up
with him to discuss all
WE WERE TALKING ABOUT GEOFF
It was originally in North Devon Parks
department that I did my apprenticeship
and then I went to work for Geoff when I
was 21 years old and spent an amazing
mind blowing, not that I think you realise
it in your early 20s working 6-7 years with
Geoff until he passed away in 96.
AN INSPIRATIONAL MAN I SHOULD
Yes, looking back I don’t think you
realised what he was talking about, peat
free gardening, Organic gardening, stop
ripping up limestone pavements and
destroying the countryside all the things
that were way before their time really. We
are now 30 years on and we’ve only just
decided to ban peat. I think in reality he
set my gardening moral compass.
HIS SON HAS GONE INTO THE SAME
LINE OF WORK ALSO?
He had 3 sons but Nick the middle son
was left the garden and nursery, so he’s
got Barnsdale plants and gardens.
TELL ME HOW THE GARDENER’S
WORLD EVENT WENT AT BEAULIEU?
I had a lovely weekend! I’d be lying if I
didn’t say I was a bit nervous. I had just
had my 2nd injection It was the first time
I had done anything in a public arena for
about 18 months! You realise that all the
shows are now your general catch up.
WITH THE PANDEMIC DID YOU FIND
IT STRANGE NOT BEING OUT &
ABOUT WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC?
Definitely, We run a school as well so
we had to close that. I did some stuff on
zoom like most people but that’s a very
strange experience. I’ve never spent
so much time at home or in the garden
through the summer months with my wife
and kids which was a mixed blessing and
gave me time to stop which I don’t think
I’ve done since I was 16.
I BET YOU MISSED THE VIBE OF
BEING AT CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW?
I was due to go back and do a garden
in 2020 so that went but it looks we will
be able to go back in September and
34 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 35
do some filming but I’m not building
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT BUILDING A
GARDEN FOR CHELSEA?
It can be 12 months to 2 years planning
but at one point I was doing them back to
back finishing one then moving straight
onto the next one. But it’s fascinating, it’s
how I built my career.
HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR
FIRST CHELSEA GOLD?
If I’m honest, I think I was slightly
oblivious to what they actually meant. My
dad was a landscaper and he built early
John Brooks gardens in the early 70s.
Recently I met Professor David Stevens,
garden designer, who also worked for
John Brooks. We were talking about
Chelsea and he said that my dad would
have been a few gardens along from
where we were. David also taught me a
lot about design in that sense.
WHEN YOU START A DESIGN IS IT
FROM A THOUGHT OR ARE YOU
PLANNING IT IN ADVANCE?
It depends on whether its for a client.
I think ultimately gardens are about 4
things; people, space, plants and place.
It’s normally one of those that I tap into
first and it might be a bit of landscape
it might be an individual picture I’ve
seen it might be the shape of something
whatever it is that gives me an insight
into a person or if it’s a show garden what
particular design will drive it that’s how I
start and then create from there.
DO YOU THINK BEAULIEU WILL BE A
REGULAR EVENT NOW?
I think so, I walked in and thought
what a glorious piece of landscape
and the moment I walked in the gate it
had a good feel. People really enjoyed
themselves and as a setting it had quite a
lovely intimate feel to it, even the stages
had an open canopy, and everybody
was sensible and had plenty of space.
The standard of the displays was really
good and Hilliers had gone there and
built a garden, so it was great that you
had something there of Hilliers quality. I
think a positive out of the last 15 months
is that people have slowed down have
connected or reconnected with what’s
outside their back door or in the area.
I’ve seen a report saying we now have
3 million new gardeners. Everybody
you talk to in the industry says that
the hunger from last year is still there
which is great. I just hope in a way that
stays. I think even the people that knew
gardening was good for you physically
and mentally, even for me I don’t think I
realised how important it was to my life.
I FIND IT VERY THERAPEUTIC AND
GOOD FOR THE SOUL
It’s interesting that we are seeing
statistics people moving out of cities
and into the countryside and are wanting
bigger gardens it wasn’t that long-ago
people were downsizing and didn’t want
a big outdoor space and this time has
now changed that.
I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE AN
RHS AMBASSADOR? WHAT DOES
Yes, I’ve done that for quite a few years
now. Basically, I help them with stuff
looking at helping youngsters to engage
more through events and I did a lot
of work a while back with Homebase
creating apprenticeships so that’s how it
started. I also do a lot of community stuff
with RHS and I’m just about to start a
new project which I can’t say too much
about which will be good. I have travelled
all over to schools, events for them. I
was brought up just outside London and
wasn’t the best behaved, I’m dyslexic
and obviously I’ve done OK and I think
that’s why they wanted me to help.
YOU ARE AT THE NEC IN THE
SUMMER WHAT WILL THAT INVOLVE?
I normally go from stage to stage and
talk all things gardening and there’s
different themes on different stages from
talking about ‘Grow your Own’, ‘Unusual
edibles’, soil and compost so all sorts
really. What I love about that show is you
have the gardens and displays but it also
interlinks with food and because its at the
NEC if we do have poor weather people
can get inside. Because it’s such a large
venue everything will feel alright.
DO YOU DO ANY JUDGING IN YOUR
I’ve been asked, and I’ve done bits and
pieces, but I don’t really like to just turn
up and judge other people’s work.
SO, AT CHELSEA FOR EXAMPLE ARE
YOU THERE WHEN THE JUDGES
You have a 2 minute conversation the day
before to explain if anything has changed
or there have been any adjustments
to the design. They then arrive at your
garden anytime between 7:30am and
9:30am on the day and you must be away
from your garden. Then you have another
24 hours until you find out the result.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THAT
YOU HAD AN APTITUDE FOR
I don’t think I did really, I love what I do I
think it just happened. I was talking to a
Robert Hillier at Chelsea and I said “Can
you remember the conversation we had
in 2015 where you said the BBC want me
to do some presenting as they think I’m
half decent”. He said “Are you sure that’s
what you want to do?”. And I said “I don’t
know but I’ll give it a go!”. And here we
WHAT WOULD YOU ADVISE OUR
READERS TO DO TO THEIR GARDENS
Don’t disengage with the garden, I think
we get to September the kids go back to
school and people pack up their gardens.
I think our environment has changed so
much that you can’t month to month
garden anymore, you have to react to the
month you are in. September, October
and even going into November we can
still have some cracking days and only
have our first frosts going into December
so I would say to anybody there is so
much glorious flower colour foliage
colour stem colour to be had and the light
is different so the atmosphere is different
you can still wrap up and enjoy it just
don’t disengage. Don’t chase perfection
just enjoy the moments.
Adam Frost, along with other gardening
celebrities, will be appearing at the NEC
in Birmingham from Thursday August 26
to Sunday August 29.
For ticket information, please visit
36 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
British Food Fortnight
What is it and how can you get involved?
Food Festivals are back and with the end
of UK lockdown we can’t wait to see the
return of the best Britain has to offer. Taste
of London may have already passed us by
but we are in the most prosperous period
for British Food, with strawberries, beetroot
and various other veggies in their prime.
So what better way to celebrate the UK’s
produce than through a fortnight of foodie
British Food Fortnight, which takes place
on the 18th September to the 3rd of
October 2021, celebrates the best of British
cuisine across the public sector in schools,
hospitals, care homes and universities.
This year marks our 20th anniversary of
the national celebration and it is set to
be the biggest and most popular to-date
with communities and organisations such
as Silverstone, NHS trusts, Houses of
Parliament and many more across the
county taking part.
There are a host of ways that you
(consumers) can get involved, the easiest is
to ensure you are buying British food from
supermarkets and choosing British food
on menus when you eat out. In Waitrose’s
Food and Drink report 2021 they highlight
that 74% of British people want to see more
food businesses in the UK express their
ongoing support for local British producers.
British Food Fortnight seeks to remedy this
by encouraging your local pubs and shops
to buy British Food through consumers
opportunities for harvest celebrations, such
as attending a traditional Harvest Festival
service in your community.
Finally, why not enter the British Food
Fortnight competition which is open to
everyone. Or perhaps you have someone
you want to nominate who has made a
huge contribution to the promotion of local
food in your area.
British Food Fortnight will not be one to
miss this year. The UK is home to some of
the most fertile soils and varied agricultural
output, what is not to celebrate about that?
See: www.lovebritishfood.co.uk for further
information. And follow the campaign @
LoveBritishFood for the latest news.
In previous years hundreds of schools have
taken part and encouraging your child’s
school to join British Food Fortnight is a
great way to show your support. Love
British Food has a Teacher Zone where
there’s swathes of resources on how to
include food into the curriculum.
In addition, now lockdown is over numerous
local festivals are happening across the
country and you can check out what is
happening near you. Even if nothing is
going on then why not organize your own
British Food Fortnight encompasses the
three Sundays of the Harvest Festival
calendar. Celebrations for this traditional
Pagan festival often include singing hymns
and decorating Churches with baskets
of fruit and food and there are lots of
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 37
D A Campbell
CURTAINS • BLINDS • SHUTTERS • AWNINGS
Offering a complete,
personal interior design
service to suit you
Photographs courtesy of Jane Churchill
D A Campbell offers a complete service from
measuring to fing, ensuring the highest
standard from start to finish.
All curtains, blinds and so furnishings are
handmade by experts in our Herefordshire
workroom. We employ tradional techniques
and me honoured crasmanship to
achieve a superb finish.
Phone to make an appointment
for a home visit or visit the showroom.
37 The Tything Worcester WR1 1JL
Call 01905 24313
JOBS TO TACKLE THIS AUTUMN
Home maintenance is a year-round
endeavour, but these are the top jobs
to get sorted before the worst of the
winter weather sets in:
CHECK ALL DOOR/WINDOW
SEALS FOR DRAUGHTS
Check that existing seals are still
intact and repair any cracks or holes
that have formed. For a quick and
easy solution, fit doors with draught
excluders to keep rooms warm and to
prevent energy wastage.
CHECK YOUR BOILER
Have a boiler service and check the
system is running efficiently. Many
people put off replacing older boilers,
but you will save money in energy with
more efficient models. If you have one,
make sure your external condenser
pipe is well insulated.
Clear gutters and drainpipes of leaf
debris to reduce the chance of leaks.
Also be sure to check drains for
blockages - prevention is better than
fixing it on a cold night!
CHECK THE OUTSIDE
Look over all external masonry,
checking for cracks, gaps around
windows or issues with roof. Make
sure your front door closes snugly (and
make sure your property is secure
whilst you’re at it).
Insulate your pipes (burst pipes cause
huge damage). Make sure your loft
insulation is adequate and look into
cavity wall insulation, which can
save hundreds ££ on energy bills.
If you can, look into upgrading the
efficiency of your windows with triple
or secondary glazing.
Why is it that we save all the
property redecoration for when we
are getting ready to move? How
about giving your rooms some
TLC with a fresh lick of paint and
swapping in some new accessories
to update the palette.
Try switching out cooler grey tones
for warmer neutrals and introducing
more natural materials like linen,
leather and wood - this means you
can use your base furniture pieces,
and just give them a lift with new
DIY panelling is another huge
trend which is helping people give
rooms a completely new look for
less - why not try adding a wall to a
bedroom in a strong contrast colour
for maximum impact?
It looks as though working from home,
or at least a hybrid, flexible model is
here to stay. With that in mind, many
of us are choosing to carve out proper
working spaces instead of balancing on
the end of the kitchen table.
Investing in a proper desk and chair
are fundamental - it’s well known that
sitting for long periods on chairs not
specifically designed for desk work can
cause long-lasting pain.
For desks, there are lots of options for
built-in models into wall space or even
stand up desks. If you don’t have the
space for a full office room, you can
still find inventive ways to incorporate a
desk into wardrobe areas or even into
cupboards, meaning the workspace
can be neatly tucked away at the end
of the day and the space can resume
its original purpose. Storage is another
essential element to stop work admin
spilling out into home life.
Finally, take some time to make your
work space look homely - it stops it
from feeling transitory. Hang some
prints, invest in some greenery or buy
some soft furnishings like cushions
or blankets to make it feel like an
extension of your home.
Boston Fern from £9.99, hortology.co.uk;
Hathai Cushion, £34, hauslife.co.uk
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 39
WEEDS The beauty and use of 50 vagabond plants - by Gareth Richards
Weeds are nature’s first responders, healing the wounds that man
inflicts upon the earth. They valiantly bring life back into even the
most polluted land, pushing green shoots of raw ecological power
through tarmac and concrete on abandoned sites.
The cheerful daisy in the pavement crack - or even, dare it be said,
the buddleia that turns derelict buildings into butterfly havens.
Countless plants that we dismiss as weeds have amazing powers.
Every weed has some redeeming qualities.
When the chips are down, weeds come to the rescue. You cut
yourself miles from home on a country walk, there are several
weeds you can reach for to help stop the bleeding - and they even
have antibacterial properties too. We might have lost much of our
countryside but a select band of plants paint the grey concrete
green again. They are a defiant echo of the wild.
In an age of extinctions, weeds offer hope: their very existence is
continual proof of nature’s resilience. Yet we are so often blind to
their beauty. “The notion that a plant is a weed is the most effective
barrier for stopping us looking at it closely” wrote acclaimed
naturalist Richard Mabey first published almost 50 years ago.
Does being native matter? Our perceptions are very much a
question of time: many of our most-loved wildflowers such as
field poppies and cornflowers are technically just as ‘non-native’
as Japanese knotweed, yet because they’ve been here for many
hundreds of years we’ve grown to appreciate and even love them.
Pinning down the native ranges of weeds is a tricky business. Often
they’ve been around mankind for so long that their precise origins
are unknown. Furthermore, the ever-accelerating rate of climate
change means that in Britain our definition of native and nonnative
(one that seeks to freeze our flora into what it was like many
thousands of years ago) is looking more irrelevant by the day.
Only humans make
weeds. Nature abhors
a vacuum. Bare soil
exists rarely in nature,
yet we strive to create
it by ploughing,
digging our gardens
buildings and roads.
If we hadn’t created
there wouldn’t be
nearly so many
weeds. They are
simply trying to
heal our scars on
Gareth Richards is
Digital Features Editor at RHS
and delivers the RHS podcast. Gareth has provided
horticulture expertise for a leading nursery, the BBC, ITV and Bauer
The Royal Horticultural Society is Britain’s premier gardening charity,
promoting horticulture and helping gardeners by providing inspiration
through its shows, gardens and expertise.
RHS Weeds - The Beauty and use of 50 vagabond plants is
published by Welbeck
Landscapes & Driveways
Yew Tree Cottage, Box Trees Road, Hockley Heath, Dorridge B946DE
CALL US NOW FOR YOUR FREE NO OBLIGATION QUOTE
40 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
y D o m i n i c M u r p h y , M a n a g i n g D i r e c t o r o f D M & C o . H o m e s
h o t o g r a p h s b y D M & C o . M e d i a
T H E P R O P E R T Y M A R K E T .
Well…what an incredibly fast paced
and aggressive market that was. It
is now some 18 months since
Covid-19 closed the industry down
momentarily before it was deemed
to be a necessary industry to be
kept active, and boy was it active!
The global pandemic, the end of the
Stamp Duty holiday, record-low
interest rates and the battle
between good old-fashioned supply
and demand, have all contributed to
a real shift in market conditions.
The latter being one that I would like
to discuss further as we have found
ourselves in this position on several
occasions recently. Now more than
ever, people would like to sell but
do not want to go on the market
until they have found their next
home. Unless you are in the
fortunate position to be able to fund
an additional home, being hesitant
will put you at a disadvantage.
If you do find your dream property,
and are not already on the market,
there most likely will be a strong
handful of buyers who are
proceedable and will be looked
upon more favourably – and
ultimately you will miss out on
Many people have spoken of their
fear in coming to market, “What if I
can’t find anything?”
You should not fear coming to market,
it is our job as agents to assist in both
the sale and purchase. DM & Co will
do our very best for you, attracting
properties that you may like, and have
an active database of vendors and
buyers, who just might happen to like
Please have faith in coming to market,
it is our job to set the expectation of
anybody who views your property. If
you haven’t yet found something then
please do not worry, your purchaser
will be made aware of the fact that you
have need to find a property. They
may be patient, or may continue to
look elsewhere, but most importantly,
they and you, know where they stand.
If you would like to, or need to move
home, we are here to help you when
you are ready, and we can and will
hold your hand throughout the whole
journey. Please do not feel under any
pressure to get in touch, we are here
to help when the time is right for you.
My team is on hand at both my Solihull
and Dorridge Offices on 0121 775
0101 and 01564 777 314 respectively.
YOUR GO TO PLACE FOR ALL YOUR
We are a time served company that has been delivering high
end building services in and around Birmingham and the West
Midlands with over 40 years of experience.
We specialise in high end residential properties, offering
full project management for the complete building service.
From kitchen extensions to complete renovations and new
builds. We can help you through the whole process, design to
completion and everything in between.
• NEW BUILDS
Rolan and his team were
very professional and
tidy and the personal
touch he gave with ideas
was great, we have our
0121 475 0030 | 07977 922 882
www.BBRCL.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie Thomson shares tips
for getting your financial
ducks in a row for a happy
Retirement planning is a multi-faceted
process which evolves over time - to
have a comfortable and secure future,
you have to have the means to fund
it. Fewer people have access to the
guaranteed income that comes with a
final salary pension, and with longer to
wait until eligibility for the state pension,
it’s pertinent to start planning as early as
possible for the retirement you want. The
better prepared you are now, the better
your retirement will be.
There are many strands to retirement
planning, and much of it depends on
your stage of life. It’s important to seek
advice from a registered financial planner
who can help you make the most of your
There are some handy way points to help
you get a grasp on where you are and
what you will need - here’s a checklist of
things to consider:
Understand what your retirement
income is likely to be:
You will be adding to your pension fund
during your working life, but it’s important
you get a handle on your various pension
pots to forecast the actual figure you will
have access to.
Check your state pension:
The rising state pension age can have a
real knock-on effect to your retirement
planning - a state pension forecast will
help you to gauge how much you’re on
course to get from the government.
Get an understanding of your
Having an idea of your expenditure will
help you plan longer-term. Your living
costs are likely to be a lot lower than
in other phases of life - you might be
mortgage-free and you don’t have the
same costs for commuting, recreation or
childcare for example.
You may wish to improve your home
or go on some amazing trips, so it’s
important you know you have the
financial reserves to do this.
When should you start drawing a
You don’t have to stop working to draw
down your pension - as long as you
are over the age of 55 - but be aware,
the sooner you start dipping into it, the
sooner the pot will deplete.
How much will retirement cost?
This is the golden question, and really
depends on the level of comfort or luxury
you are looking for in your autumn years.
A recent Which? study found that the
average retired household (those living
alone or as couples) spent an around
£2,170 per month - this is covering all
the basic areas of expenditure and some
luxuries like European holidays. Those
looking for a more luxurious lifestyle
including longer-haul trips and new cars
every five years would need to allow
for approximately £3,400 per month, or
£41,000 per year.
Once you have a framework for the
amount you’ll need, and what you are
on track for saving, you also need to
consider how you will access your
pension pots - these might be state
pension, a final salary pension and a
money purchase/defined contribution
With your defined contribution pot,
such as the one you might get in the
government employee scheme, you can
draw the entire pension pot in one go,
but this will mean it’s entirely down to
you to make the money last and you’ll
invariably pay a substantial tax bill. Most
people with these pensions will opt for
income drawdown or an annuity, or a
combination of both when it comes
taking money out of their pension.
With careful planning and accurate
forecasting, your retirement can be
something to really look forward to, but
it is essential to make an assessment of
your position as early as possible and
use the advice of experts to make your
money work harder for you.
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