Our 600th issue! 12 May 2022 Our £16m pledge to Britain’s pig farmers Waitrose makes huge financial contribution to support vital part of the country’s food industry in its hour of need, p5 DELIGHTS OF MAY Diana Henry’s delicious strawberry & lemon cake p24 MINNIE DRIVER Actor’s joy and pain in poignant newmemoir p10 OFFERS Enjoy great savings on selected barbecue lines p46 BACK ON TRACK Snooze on the move with the revival of night trains p42
12 MAY 202 2 2 NEWS&VIEWS Food to inspire a new generation A charity that puts chefs in school kitchens is playing its part in encouraging children to enjoy what they eat at school and at home, writes Anna-Marie Julyan Today, more than one in 10 children arrive at primary school obese and by the time they start secondary school it’s one in four. In areas with high socio-economic deprivation, that second number rises to one in three, with children facingmalnutrition as well as obesity, according to the National Child Measurement Programme. Chefs in Schools co-founder Nicole Pisani and head chef JoannaWeinberg, know only too well the importance of a school dinner. “It’s somuchmore than a filler to get a child through the day – inmany of our schools, lunch can be the only chance a child gets to eat,” they say. Chefs in Schools launched in 2018 and operates in 58 state primary and secondary schools in London, Bournemouth and She eld, focusing on areas of high social deprivation. And there are plans to spread further afield. It recruits chefs to cook in those kitchens and trains existing teams to source andmake nutritious meals from scratch. Packet mixes are rejected in favour of fresh, seasonal food and their school kitchens cook a culturally diversemix reflecting the sta themselves. There’s SouSou’s burek (Turkish baked, filled pastry), Toni’s jollof rice with pot-roast chicken and Nicole’sMaltese potatoes. These tried and trustedmeals enjoyed by thousands of school kids every day are now distilled into a book, Feed Your Family: Exciting Recipes fromChefs in Schools, proving just how open children are to trying new foods with the right encouragement and education. The idea for the charity first began in London’s Hackney, after Nicole left her job as head chef at Ottolenghi restaurant Nopi in Soho in 2013 to join Gayhurst Primary School, a Leap Federation of Schools (Gayhurst Community School, Mandeville Primary and Kingsmead Primary). “I spent 20 years working in restaurants and thought it would be a good idea to find out what else I could do,” says Nicole. “I felt I wanted to pay it forward with the skills – I wanted the job to be rewarding as well as satisfying. Then randomly I said yes to a text and ended up at Gayhurst.” The text was fromHenry Dimbleby, a parent at the school, author of the School Food Plan and, most recently, the government-commissioned National Food Strategy. Along withNicole and Leap executive head teacher Louise Nichols, he became a co-founder of Chefs in Schools, which also has high profile patrons such as Dame Prue Leith and YotamOttolenghi. Sited in the garden of Mandeville Primary, a former caretaker’s red brick cottage has been converted to the Hackney School of Food where a class of 27 seven-to-eight-yearolds froma neighbouring school prepare a Neolithic pot stew and spelt honey & oat bread (they’re studying the Stone Age). It’s a space for the charity and the whole borough, as well as organisations such as Migrateful, which run cookery classes led bymigrant chefs. Gardener Lidka D’Agostino shows o the garden’s 28 di erent fruit trees – varieties of apples, pears, plums, damsons, gages, apricots and figs – some espaliered neatly against a south-facing wall. There’s also a fire pit and pizza oven, which are used in cookery lessons. “We’ve got raspberries and strawberries, garlic and onions, purple sprouting broccoli and tomatoes,” she says. “Loads of di erent herbs like oregano, bay, rosemary, sage, mint, thyme, lemon verbena, andmeadow flowers, because we have a beehive here.” She points to the biggest tree in the garden’s centre: “Our wild cherry tree. We use the cherries andmake jam– it’s really delicious – quite tart and not too sweet.” TASTE TEST Frankie, Gifty, Nicole and Lidka eating purple sprouting broccoli ( left); SouSou’s burek (below left); Toni’s jollof rice with potroast chicken (below) Photography: Richard Cannon, Issy Croker, Getty Images Cover photography: Cristian Barnett, Mark Williams, Photography: Sam Folan, Food stylist: Sian Davies. Prop stylist: Wei Tang
12 MAY 202 2 3 GETTING A GRIP ON PLASTIC There’s still time to join The Big Plastic Count, the UK’s largest-ever plastic survey, running from 16-22 May. Led by anti-plastic campaigner Daniel Webb and supported by wildlife presenter Chris Packham, the aim is to get a better understanding of how much plastic is being thrown away in the UK, what happens to it and how we can reduce it. thebigplasticcount.com Pupils Gifty, seven, and Frankie, 10, swing on the branches of the tree, munch purple sprouting broccoli and tell how they learned apples are related to roses, and howmuch they love their school chef Margaret’s jerk chicken and coconut rice and her sausage, mash and (homemade) beans. Lidka works there two days a week. Children come and do lessons in the garden with their teacher and are also rewarded for good behaviour with ‘golden time’, when they can choose to visit the garden. “They just spend time with the chickens or growing withme,” says Lidka. “They do everything – digging, planting.” Yesterday, Giftymade pizza at after-school cooking club with ThomasWalker, head educator at the cookery school. “People learn in di erent ways,” he explains. “So watching me, listening tome and reading the recipe, and I also use pictures to remind them. “I think the real key to getting the children engaged is to be as excited as they are and open your mind to that sense of wonder. Maybe it’s a good philosophy for life.” Not every school has this kind of space, but you could start by just planting a few beds, suggests Lidka. Parents can speak to the head teacher or governors, adds Nicole, perhaps find a like-minded group of parents and research on the Chefs in Schools website (chefsinschools.org.uk). They’ve created a toolkit for schools to convert redundant old caretakers’ cottages into cookery schools. The one thing Nicole says she has learned is that food educationmust come before changing themenu. The kitchen and curriculum should be linked. But she believes things are changing, with a concerted e ort fromother charities like The Soil Association, Bite Back, School FoodMatters and Grow as well as the government’s Levelling UpWhite Paper published in February this year. “A lot of schools understand that you can’t have wellbeing and attainment if you’re not looking at what you’re serving in the lunch hall and the education around food,” Nicole explains. “It links tomental health, it links to concentration in the classroom. It’s something the government is now telling schools to prioritise.” The School Food Standards, which include, for example, restricting deep-fried food to nomore than two portions per week, have beenmandatory since 2015 but have not been enforced and there are fears that some schools are failing tomeet them. As part of the Levelling UpWhite Paper, the government will pilot measures for inspectors from the Food Standards Agency to check up on school lunches – amove that Nicole welcomes. Schools will also publish statements on arrangements for their ‘whole school approach’ to food. “We don’t give school food and training the importance we should,” she says. “Fundamentally, it’s about teaching kids to have a good relationship with food so if they’re hungry, they’re going to eat it. “We believe children should eat with excitement, adventure and joy.” Feed Your Family: Exciting Recipes from Chefs in Schools by Nicole Pisani and JoannaWeinberg (Pavilion) is out now HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE Frankie and Gifty hold some chickens (main); Lidka D’Agostino, Nicole Pisani and Thomas Walker ( left); Hackney School of Food’s raised beds with pizza oven and firepit (below) 1 COOK TOGETHER, EAT TOGETHER Make the preparation of food an activity that everyone can get involved in. Turn your family table into a communal one, inviting neighbours and friends on weekends, and set technology aside. 2 WHERE NECESSARY, HEALTH BY STEALTH Our priority is to teach children to love vegetables for themselves, but some are wary and it takes time, so making them integral to a recipe means you can set aside worries about nutrition. Put veg in sauces, cauliåower in mash, greens in mac and cheese, even butternut squash in a cake. 3 DON’T MAKE DINNER A BATTLEGROUND The main goal is to create a positive relationship with food. Improving children’s eating habits is a marathon not a sprint. 4 INTRODUCE NEW FLAVOURS GRADUALLY Children love spicy and umami åavours as well as foods that are exciting and new. Let them try challenging foods such as lemon and olives. Be patient and do things gradually by adding a pinch of extra åavour to meals each time to make it a journey. 5 MAKE MEALS THEATRICAL AND HAVE FUN Our chefs put out platters of beautiful vegetables and interesting salads for the children to explore. It could be a whole roasted cauliåower or tray of pea shoots with scissors to snip off. 6 SNACK ON VEG FIRST Serving it as a starter will also mean they eat more. Offer crudités, thread veg onto sticks, try broccoli stalks roasted in chopped rosemary and olive oil until crisp, raw veg in taco shells or corn cut into ‘ribs’ and roasted. 7 GROW IT Children eat what they have grown. Herbs are easy and make a dish interesting and fresher. If you live in a åat, a small cherry tomato plant on the balcony is enough. NICOLE AND JOANNA’ S GOLDEN RULES ‘You can’t have wellbeing and attainment if you’re not looking at what you’re serving in the lunch hall’
4 12 MAY 202 2 NEWS&VI EWS WEEK 18: USING SHAMPOO BARS Whether it’s homemade kitchen sprays or green laundry products, I’ve always been an enthusiastic adopter of ecofriendly cleaning goods. But when it comes to shaking up how I cleanmyself, in particular my hair, I’ve been less committed to change. The truth is, I have been wary of the potential compromise, which has mademe reluctant tomove away frommy trusted collection of (plastic) bottles. But it’s time to change. Every year in the UK, we throw away 520million bottles of shampoo. We’re particularly bad at recycling them– only 50%of our bathroompackaging, including shampoo and conditioner bottles, makes it to the recycling bin. Over the past few years, shampoo bars have come to the fore, with a growing number of options on o er that last far longer than a bottle, as well as leaving nothing behind but a paper or cardboard wrapper. I like EcoWarrior’s Shampoo Bar (available atWaitrose) and L’Occitane’s range of solid shampoos (fromJohn Lewis). My kids prefer Cosy Cottage’s Lavender Shampoo Bar, which comes with a conditioner bar made with cocoa butter and orange essential oil. My daughter says it’s like rubbing chocolate orange on your head. I love the way the children embrace our new approach – in fact, it’s easier for small fingers tomanage a bar than a fiddly bottle. It’s worth pointing out that you do need to adjust your expectations. Some bars don’t create the same frothy lather that conventional shampoo does, although Percy &Reed’s Cleansing Shampoo Bar does a good job with this. But my locks certainly feel clean, smell great and look exactly the same as usual. I’meven asked by one friend, post-wash, if I’ve just been to the hairdresser. Maybe she was picking up on that virtuous glow achieved by going plastic-free. My year of living sustainably ANNA SHEPARD Hooray! The Eclair-Powells have been on holiday, flying for the first time since 2019, travelling fromHeathrow to Stockholm. Lovely as it was to get away, it was a stark reminder of how vile plane travel is these days. All the glamour has gone out of flying, unless of course someone is paying for you to travel business or first class – inwhich case, hahahaha. Seriously, in 2017, lying down inmy little pod, with everything I could possibly need, I once laughed all the way toMelbourne and back. Not so long ago, flying used to be properly exciting, regardless of class. As a child, I remember my sister Sara and I looking in awe at theminiature salt and pepper pots, serviette and sick bagmy grandparents had kept as souvenirs froma 1973 flight to Palma. Because even in economy class, you used to get a little plastic tray with a tin foil lid, containing a hot meal that may have been chicken. Not anymore. Now, once on board, youmust join your airline’s wifi and order your snack online, not that there was much worth ordering on the 7am to Stockholm. I was grateful for the squashed eggmayo sarnie I’d taken the precaution of buying at the airport before take-o . Anyway, talking of breakfast, let me take you tomy Swedish holiday highlight – the hotel breakfast bu et. I have spent a great deal of my career staying in hotels and nothing depresses memore than a bog-standard breakfast bu et. Those terrible troughs of congealing fried bacon and greasy eggs, the tragic boxes of cereals and the dreary queue to toast your own bread. Occasionally, of course, you get something special and your whole day shifts – a little bit of charcuterie, amorsel of cheese! Having been born withNorth European taste buds, I was in breakfast heaven in Stockholm. This was mymeal of the day. It was also included in the hotel rates, so it would’ve been daft if I hadn’t filledmy boots (or pockets). Here was a basket of soft-boiled eggs, a selection of cheeses (hard and soft), a bowl of freshly churned butter, or cream cheese if you prefer (I do), slice after slice of smoked salmon, gleaming with health and omega 3. Or how about some smoked turkey, a little wafer-thin ham? For afters, there were tiny flaky croissants and pillowy buns, soft enough to lay your head on, plus all the usual jams and marmalades. Hold on, what’s this green stu in a cut glass dish? It turned out to be fresh guacamole, smashed up avo, with flecks of chilli pepper. It’s the kind of thing we’ve all been eating for years, but which has resolutely refused to appear onmany hotel breakfast tables in the UK (I realise there are exceptions). It was breakfast heaven – hot dishes were available, but why bother? I was inmy element sni ng around the bu et table – ooh, pumpernickel. Lovely. They also had little pots of grey semolina pudding, amake-your-own wa e station and massive round wheels of cracker biscuits, all smashed up on a wooden board, the crispiest of crackers. OK, so I lost a filling and had to spend the rest of the holiday chewing on the other side. But it was worth it. In fact, my mouth is watering as I write – there is actual dribble on the keyboard. I’m sorry, I have to stop writing, as not only is my keyboard soaking, but I’m suddenly very hungry and nothing but a smörgåsbord will do. Nothing compares to a breakfast spread that’s filled with heavenly joy Illustration: Bodil Jane/Folioart MY WEEK Jenny Eclair Illustration: Amelia Flower/Folioart
5 12 MAY 202 2 NEWS&VI EWS JAMES BAI LEY Partner & executive director, Waitrose & Partners Waitrose makes £16m pledge to help support Britain’s pig farmers Britain’s pig farmers are facing their greatest ever challenge. Loss of markets and labour shortages, combined with rocketing prices for feed and production, have pushed many to the brink. To help them survive, we’re taking urgent action – paying them a fair price and investing £16 million in their long-term future. It’s time other supermarkets stepped up too. Here’s more about how we are taking a lead to support this vital part of the British food industry while reinforcing our commitment to animal welfare: Paying a fair price We source frommore than 250 British pig farms, many of whomwe’ve worked with for more than 30 years. Their dedication to the highest quality animal welfare has allowed us to o er the best British Buy British: See DianaHenry’s delicious slow-cooked pork shoulder with peas &mint, p25 ‘Waitrose’s move will inject muchneeded confidence for their farmers. We need all supermarkets to take similar action and come to the aid of British pig farmers in their hour of need’ Minette Batters, farmer and president of the National Farmers’ Union of England andWales pork products on the market – with us, whatever the range, all our pork is British and outdoor bred. We think it’s only right that farmers should receive a fair price for their hard work – a price that reflects the changing market conditions. So, in November, we updated the amount we pay our farmers to support them through these unprecedented times. Sadly, the situation hasn’t improved. Investing an extra £16m Now we’re going a step further, with a commitment to invest an additional £16m in supporting their cause. It is the biggest contribution from any retailer to support the pig sector during its time of crisis and I hope it will help our pig farmers keep their business running in a sustainable way. Enabling them to not only survive, but thrive – long into the future. Creating an industry-wide shift This is a huge issue, and every British pig farmer is a ected. Which is why we can’t go it alone. I’m calling on the entire food industry to get behind us and support UK pork farmers, as well as all British producers, at this turbulent time. And I’m asking our customers to play their part too. When you are shopping, please buy British pork and back retailers who are truly supporting their farmers. And if you’re looking for all of the above, as well as the best in welfare standards and quality, shop at your local Waitrose or at waitrose.com.
6 12 MAY 202 2 IN MY OPINION Fi Glover The Radio 4 journalist airs her views IN MY OPINION i lover j l I loved nearly everything that the late, great Joan Rivers said. One of her best lines was: “I hate housework. You make the beds, you do the dishes and sixmonths later you have to start all over again.” It’s a good one. Housework is boring. Chores are dull. Who wants to admit to doing either? It’s far funnier to say you don’t. Although actually I do. Especially at this time of year. Oh, the joys of spring cleaning! How I enjoyed the bank holiday weekend, wiping all parts of the house, cracking cobwebs, easing a cushion out of its cover and hanging blanket-like things out of windows for ‘an airing’. However, the runes are not good for the future of mankind if we are to believe a recent survey about the simplest of chores – changing the bedsheets. Bed linen company Pizuna Linens asked 2,250 adults about their sheet-changing habits. Awhopping half of the singlemen said they didn’t wash their sheets for up to four months at a time. That’s 16 weeks. Their spring cleaningmeans they are now changing sheets they’d been sleeping on at Christmas. And if they did change their sheets over the bank holiday weekend they’d still be sleeping on the same ones at the start of September. This is a sorry, itchy state of a airs. It’s also reinforcing pretty stubborn stereotypes. The same survey revealed that single women changed their beds far more often – 62% cleaned their sheets every two weeks. Strangely though, couples averaged a three-week turnover – which I don’t understand at all. Surely with two of you, your sheets are twice as dirty, but you can change them in half the time. Let’s be honest, one of the problems with any kind of housework is the simple PR of it. As Joan found, slovenly just sounds more fun. I’mnot saying people aren’t always scrupulously honest in surveys, but perhaps it’s tricky for a singleman-about-town to say he can’t come out on a Thursday, he’s busy doing laundry. But there is joy to be found in cleaning. Treat it as a workout, build an app if you need to, pop it in a Fitbit stat buster, if youmust. I will also add that the clue to how to change all of this might lie in the headline of this survey – you haven’t put clean sheets on your bed for a whole season? And you are still single, you say? I wonder, could the two be linked? ‘The problemwith any kind of housework is the simple PR of it. Slovenly just sounds more fun’ Fortunately…with Fi and Jane and The Listening Project are on BBC Sounds @fifiglover NEWS&VI EWS MissWillmott’s Ghost – o cial name eryngium giganteum – is a type of sea holly. Invasive and prickly, it’s named after an equally prickly horticulturalist, Ellen AnnWillmott, who carried its seeds in her pocket to spitefully sprinkle in other people’s gardens. Or so the story goes, and they get more colourful the deeper you dig. A sharp-tongued eccentric, MissWillmott was infamous for keeping a gun inher handbag, boobytrapping da odils and being horrible to her gardeners. Someone even accused her of strangling a budgie. But gardening writer Sandra Lawrence (right) isn’t so sure. She’s spent the last five years rifling through Ellen’s archive of damp letters, dusty photographs andmouldy paraphernalia to uncover the real story. The result is a newbook, MissWillmott’s Ghosts, a fascinating riches-to-rags tale of humour, heartbreak and some seriously green fingers. “There are things Ellen did that I can’t defend, but it’s important not to just erase somebody because there are bits about her that, frankly, we would cancel today,” says Sandra. “I realise that she has some serious feet of clay, but she also has some really amazing qualities, and I want to celebrate both.” Born in 1858, EllenWillmott was one of gardening’s greats. She was famed for her spectacular collections Harridan or heroine? The life and times of a gardening genius Ellen AnnWillmott is remembered for her grouchiness rather than her horticultural talents, but the plot has thickened as biographer Sandra Lawrence sets the record straight in a new book. She talks to Emma Higginbotham of prize-winning da s and roses and, thanks to a stupendously rich godmother, owned glorious gardens in France, Italy and at home inWarley Place, near Brentwood, Essex. Hugely important in its time, the 30-acre site featured an alpine ravine with streams and grottos, andmore than 100 gardeners tended its thousands of rare plants. Today it no longer exists, having long been swallowed up by nature. For Sandra, who grewup a couple of miles away, visitingWarley as a childwas always a thrill. “I treated it asmy own personal secret garden,” she says. “It was only when I grewup that I started thinking: ‘Whomade this extraordinary place? Andwhy was it abandoned?’ “Everybody I askedwas less interested than I expected, generally because Ellen’s considered to have been ‘not very nice’, but I just foundmyself drawn to her.” Ellen’s true gift was for cultivation. She co-funded plant-hunting trips fromChina to South America in search of unusual species, “and of the seeds that were sent back, Ellenwas often the only one who could grow them,” says Sandra. “She did a lot of plant breeding, andwon stupid amounts of cups, prizes, medals and certificates. And she had these three extraordinary gardens.” In addition toWarley, Ellen’s cli garden at Boccanegra, near Ventimiglia on the Italian Riviera, Photography: Berkeley Family and the Spetchley Gardens Charitable Trust,Sandra Lawrence, Freddie Pearson
7 12 MAY 202 2 7 QUESTIONS WITH… HUSSAIN MANAWER The poet and mental health advocate on spelling errors and a special torch 1Where do you live? East London. I was born and bred here, and I don’t think I’m ever going to leave. 2 What were you like at school? I was an underachiever. I especially struggled in English, which is interesting. In my new book I’ve made a conscious decision to keep a few spelling mistakes in, because I want to encourage people to read and write, regardless of whether they’re making errors. 3 When did you become a poet? My English teacher entered me into a slam poetry competition when I was around 15. But I never believed a career in the creative arts was possible, so I did a degree in quantity surveying instead. It’s taken a long time to get here, but it’s been worth it. 4 Strangest job you’ve ever done? I once was an extra in EastEnders. When Aläe Moon was released from the police station, I was standing outside, looking at him. 5 Coolest thing in your house? The Olympic torch. I ran with it in 2012 and you get to keep it. It’s gold-plated and big. People see it and they’re like: “Oh my days!” 6 Who is your book Life is Sad & Beautiful aimed at? The poems are from when my mum died, so it’s for anybody who has lost someone they love. There’s comfort in being able to relate to other people. 7 Mental Health Awareness Week runs until 15 May. Any advice for someone who is struggling? Conversations save lives. Find a place, a person, a specialist, an environment where you can openly speak about your feelings. It’s the ärst step into the healing process. Life is Sad & Beautiful (Yellow Kite) is out now. Interview: Emma Higginbotham neighbours (one threatened to shoot her), and spent her entire inheritance on gardening obsessions. She became known as amiser who refused to pay bills, employees and tradesmen. The truthwas she’d run out of cash. Her reputation as a cantankerous oddball seemed set, yet fromnewly discovered documents, Sandra sees a talented, misunderstoodwoman in a man’s world, whomaintained her dry sense of humour until her death in 1934. “Ellenwas a di cult character, but if youwere her friend, youwere really her friend,” she says. “She’d give you sackfuls of plants to put in your garden, and send you nice things, frommushrooms to Bovril. She genuinely wanted to be generous and helpful.” It’s also thanks to Ellen that we have RHS GardenWisley – she was the one who persuaded her friend, Sir Thomas Hanbury, to buy and donate it to the Society. As formaliciously spreading sea holly, Sandra doesn’t believe that story. “It’d be nice to imagine she was the first seed bomber, but I can’t imagine she’d do it regularly. Ellen liked it. She even had its portrait painted.” Perhaps she was sprinkling it out of kindness. ‘Ellen was a di cult character. But if you were her friend, you were really her friend’ plant prowess Ellen owned a cli garden at Boccanegra in Italy (below); Warley Place conservatory (bottom) is now a nature reserve maintained by Essex Wildlife Trust MissWillmott’s Ghosts: The Extraordinary Life and Gardens of a Forgotten Genius by Sandra Lawrence (Blink) is out now brimmedwith succulents, spiky plants and huge aloes, while her hillside garden at Tresserve, in the French Alps, featuredwisteria-draped pergolas, ornamental gourds and vines, as well as 12,000 roses of 900 di erent varieties. Yet in spite of her prowess, Ellen became persona non grata at the Royal Horticultural Society. In 1897, she and Gertrude Jekyll were the only two women (and 58men) to win the inaugural VictoriaMedal of Honour, gardening’s highest award – but Ellen didn’t turn up. It was seen as an unforgivable snub. After unearthing eyebrow-raising love letters, Sandra believes she knows why. In 1894, it seems Ellen began a relationshipwithGeorginaMary ‘Gian’ Tufnell, lady-in-waiting to PrincessMary of Teck. They spent three blissful years together until, out of the blue, Gian got engaged to a Canadian railroad magnate, with the wedding set for the day after the RHS ceremony. Stung, Ellen hid away. “I’m fully expecting to be shot down byWillmott aficionados that can’t possibly imagine she had an a air with a woman, but all I can do is look at what I’ve found and try andmake sense of it,” says Sandra. “And forme, it’s nothing to do with gender, it’s just good, old-fashioned heartbreak.” Ellen’s problems spiralled. Rheumatism left her with crippling back pain, her sister left Essex for Worcestershire with her husband, then hermother died. Lonely and depressed, she fell out with a life less ordinary An early depiction of Warley Place, Essex (top left); horticulturalist Ellen Willmott (above)
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9 12 MAY 202 2 NEWS&VI EWS VOLE-UNTEERS NEEDED Immortalised by Ratty in The Wind in the Willows, water voles used to be a common sight, but since the 70s their numbers have dropped by 90%. You can help by volunteering to survey a river, ditch, stream or canal as part of a national water vole survey by wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species. Visit ptes.org/watervoles DRAWING INSPIRATION You don’t need to be an artist to appreciate The Green Sketching Handbook by Dr Ali Foxon. The former climate change adviser set up Boggy Doodles (boggydoodles.com) to run courses on the practice, which focuses on connection with nature rather than artistic perfection. Observation, she says, is a ‘secret superpower’ that can make us conädent, calm and curious, and her book has guidance for looking at nature in a whole new way. DINER WITH A THAI TWIST Classic American food is getting a Thai twist at new opening Chet’s, a four month pop-up at London’s Rondo La Cave from 17 May. It’s the brainchild of American-Thai chef Kris Yenbamroong, whose Los Angeles Night + Market restaurants attract stars including Gwyneth Paltrow and Leonardo di Caprio. Think burgers with bird’s eye chilli thousand island sauce, and hot dogs with nam prik ong (spicy pork ragù). WONDERFUL WATERCRESS Celebrate the start of UK watercress season at its historic heart, Alresford in Hampshire, which hosts the Watercress Festival on Sunday (15 May). A King and Queen of Watercress will parade through the town handing out the local harvest, alongside stalls, music and the World Watercress Eating Championships. Visitors can even arrive on a steam train along the heritage Watercress Line from Alton to Alresford. watercressfestival.org THE GOOD NEWS GUIDE A weekly round-up of uplifting stories Fromeating less meat to buying seasonal fruit and veg, many of us are considering how our food choices a ect the planet. But what about drinks? The environmental impact of our favourite tipples is increasingly important to customers, according to the Waitrose Drinks Report 2022. Out this week, it highlights a growing demand for organic wine – the supermarket now lists around 100 certified organic producers, includingmany small artisan wineries – as well as an interest in sustainably produced ‘biodynamic’ wine. “Biodynamic farming not only avoids Say cheers to more sustainable drinks the use of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides in the vineyard, much like organic wine, but takes a spiritual, ethical and ecological approach, treating the vineyard as one solid organism,” explains Barry Dick, Partner and wine buyer. “It considers the health of other plants, animals and insects, and its aim is to create a self-sustaining system that leaves the land in better shape for future generations. Many of the best wines in the world have beenmade using the INFORMED CHOICES More people are weighing up the environmental impact of drinks, leading to an increase in sales of organic wine Moat blossoms into life for Jubilee display Over the centuries, the Tower of London’s moat has been used for allotments, a zoo and the iconic FirstWorldWar commemorative poppy installation. Now it’s transforming into Superbloom, a spectacular display of wildflowers to celebrate HerMajesty The Queen’s PlatinumJubilee. More than 20million seeds sown in the moat earlier this year will blossomover the summer, creating a new and permanent biodiverse wildlife habitat in the centre of London. From 1 June until 18 September, ticket-holders can stroll through Superbloom to see waves of seasonal favourites, including poppies, cornmarigolds, sunflowers and rudbeckia covering an area larger than 70 tennis courts. Visitors can enter the Superbloom walkway on foot, or zoomdown a giant stainless steel slide, which has been re-purposed fromClivedenHouse in Buckinghamshire. The project also features sculpture and sound installations, and a Queen’s Garden with a planting scheme inspired by the 1953 NormanHartnell Coronation gown. Superbloomwas devised by Nigel Dunnett, professor of planting design and urban horticulture at the University of She eld, working alongside landscape architects Grant Associates. He describes it as “a real combination of art and science” and “the most thrilling project I’ve ever worked on.” “We hope the e ect of being surrounded by a sea of colourful, sparkling and vibrant flowers will release feelings of pure liberated joy in visitors to the Superbloom,” says Nigel. “It will be such a powerful, emotional and celebratory experience.” Faith Eckersall biodynamic philosophy,” adds Barry. Biodynamic wines to try atWaitrose include Reyneke Organic Cornerstone, The Hedonist Shiraz and ChâteauMaris Les Vieilles Vignes OrganicMinervois. Eco-conscious wine lovers should also consider the packaging, as up to 40%of a wine’s carbon footprint can be down to its heavy glass bottle. “The bag-in-box format has a carbon footprint up to 10 times lower than glass, and keeps a wine fresh for up to six weeks once opened, so it’s really practical,” says Barry, adding canned wines, such as The Uncommon Rose Bubbly and IGOOrganic wine, are also planet-friendly options. “They have a low carbon footprint, recycle easily and are a handy option for picnics and barbecues, or if you only want a glass of wine once in a while.” Emma Higginbotham Photography: Getty Images, Shutterstock
10 12 MAY 202 2 NEWS&VI EWS Photography: Bertie Watson/Contour by Getty Images
11 12 MAY 202 2 ‘I feel galvanised, goddess-like… and terrified’ Minnie Driver has always been prone to ‘big, troublesome emotions’ – and now she’s poured her heart into a frank and funny newmemoir, writes Paul Kirkley Minnie Driver’s newmemoir is not the book she originally set out to write. “I knewwhat stories I wanted to tell,” says the Oscar-nominated actress, talking to Weekend over Zoom fromherMalibu beach house. “But whenmymum died, I just couldn’t write, for about threemonths, about anything except her dying.” Eventually, she found the headspace she needed to wind back to the start of the story, and the result is Managing Expectations – a wickedly funny and poignant series of snapshots fromMinnie’s first five decades – an odyssey taking in everything from childhood trauma to the highs and humiliations of a Hollywood career and the struggles of having really, really unmanageable hair. But it’s the essay chronicling her mother Gaynor’s final days in hospital during last year’s winter lockdown that gives the book its unexpectedly devastating final act. Minnie describes her mother’s death in that chapter as “the darkest night – the night we have feared as children”. It’s the perfect description – because it’s a day we all know is coming, don’t we? “Exactly that,” she nods. “As a child at boarding school, I hadmany wakeful nights, and it was the fear of being separated frommymother that was the driving force behind that. So there I was in that moment, knowing I was actually losing her... It is terrifying – that formulation of a child’s fear.” Themoment when she receives the news about her mother’s diagnosis, Minnie is shopping inWaitrose. “Felled by the words”, she sinks to the floor in front of her shopping trolley, while aman reaches above her for a tin of custard powder. “It’s the one o Westbourne Grove in west London,” she explains. “I still see the lady who helpedme when I go in there. I was completely incapacitated – an absolutemess – but they were so kind tome.” A year on, Minnie is back in California and, when we speak, it’s just a few days after the Oscars, where she was among the shocked audience who witnessed firsthandWill Smith slapping host Chris Rock. “That was a really intense moment,” she says. “Really incredibly shocking, actually, for something that’s usually just a great, glitzy celebration. It was a real downer.” An American citizen since 2017, Minnie spends half her time in California and half in the UK, where her 13-year-old sonHenry is a boarder at Bedales school inHampshire, her own almamater (and her mother’s before that). “I have to be there because…well, I love him,” she says, laughing. “I had no intention of sendingmy child to boarding school, ever,” she adds. “I’d have Henry withme at all times if I could. I loved himbeing home from school during Covid. However, when the schools were open in England but shut in America, it was a very natural transition. And he completely fell in lovewith it.” This is more than a little ironic, given that the young Amelia Driver (she acquired the nicknameMinnie fromolder sister Kate) spent most of her early days at Bedales running away from it, following a dramatic rupture in which her young life had been turned upside down. AsMinnie tells it, her father Ronnie, an RAFwar hero turned financial adviser, loved her mother Gaynor, a fabric designer and former model, ‘with all his heart’ – but just not enough to leave his wife and other family for her. WhenMinnie was six, her parents’ 13-year relationship finally came to an end, at which point she and Kate were hoiked o to live in a tiny, damp-mottled cottage in the middle of nowhere. They were soon joined by a new stepfather, an ‘interloper’ with whomMinnie fought constantly (at one point, after he’d slapped her face, she drew around the stinging handprint in blackmarker). In despair, her mother packed her o to Bedales, where she spent her nights lying awake in terror, and her days making a bid for freedom, or hiding up trees. It’s a time that’s vividly recalled in the first chapter of Managing Expectations, which begins with our heroine being driven back to school in the family Volvo, screaming out of the window that she’s being abducted, before taking all her
13 12 MAY 202 2 NEWS&VI EWS clothes o and throwing themout of the window. Such were the ‘operatic levels of desperation’ displayed by someone who, by her own admission, has always been prone to ‘big, troublesome emotions’ (albeit expressed, in Weekend’s experience, with a disarmingly cheerymatter-of-factness). It was, she stresses, “the separation frommymother, rather than the school itself”, that was the problem. “The school was actually themost nurturing place I could have wound up.” It is also where she discovers her passion for performing. When Bedales staged a protest musical against a planned new road, she was picked to perform the solo on TV current a airs show Nationwide, sitting up a tree in a howling gale, her face barely visible behind a ‘thicket’ of her unruly curls. A star is born. Or is it? Later, at drama school, Minnie is “robustly instructed by every teacher in every department that unemployment is assured”. Sure enough, she is the last in her graduating class to get an agent, instead earning pinmoney singing in restaurants (a skill she will return to in later life as a recording artist), before getting her break playing the lead in the 1995 film Circle of Friends. But, a blink-and-you’ll-missit role in Bond film GoldenEye aside, it fails to jump-start her career – a point driven home when, back to auditioning for TV adverts, she finds herself faking an orgasm in front of ‘a bunch of pervy execs’ froma chocolate company. When her career does eventually take o – with roles in movie hits such as Sleepers, Grosse Point Blank and GoodWill Hunting (which earns her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination) – it’s ‘like being shot out of a cannon’ into fame. “It’s so exalted in theminds of people, particularly through social media now,” she says, of the hunger for stardom. “You only see the private jets and the clothes and the free stu and the sort of amazing, glamorous Kardashian lifestyle. But I would add that there is amassive payment in your soul. You pay for it in all sorts of ways. It’s extraordinarily overwhelming and you often have very little guidance. And it mostly happens to young people who are barely equipped for it. “It’s also the idea it will bring you this gift that will somehow sustain you forever. But you get the crown, and then what? You are still a human, you are still going to be in relationships that work or don’t work. Maybe you’ll have loads of money, but you’ll still wonder why you’re hollow inside.” The problems of those failing relationships are also magnified when they’re happening in the public eye –Matt Damon, her GoodWill Hunting co-star, called time on their romance by announcing his single status on Oprah. “It’s a weird prison to live in, when you have to look at your ex on a billboard as you’re driving down the street,” saysMinnie, who also dated John Cusack and Josh Brolin (her partner is now documentary filmmaker Addison O’Dea). “Or you’re confronted with the next person they’re with, the children they have, or whatever it is, throughout the whole of your life.” Themargins of success and failure in Hollywood are also wafer thin –Minnie famously lost out to KateWinslet for the lead in Titanic, and recently disclosed that the producer of GoodWill Hunting had taken some persuading that she was ‘hot enough’ for the role. “But I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t part of the fun of it,” she admits. “It’s high risk, but big reward, and there’s big payment for that reward.” Eventually, she writes in the book, “the tireless ambition of my twenties gave way to the suspicion there was something else I wanted”. At the age of 37, that something else turned out to be her son, Henry, froma brief relationship with Timothy J Lea, a writer on her TV show The Riches. That said, her first response to finding out she was about to become a singlemother – having been told by a doctor aged 18 that she’d never have children – was less emotional fulfilment, more shock and panic. During a scan, she was informed the baby was a girl, and she even gave her a name, Bel. Which explains why her first ever words to Henry, moments after his birth, were a lessthan-maternal “What the ****?!” In Managing Expectations, Minnie writes candidly about being “overwhelmed by a strange grief” for the daughter she’d never meet, and “guilt that this baby onmy chest had arrived into the world a stranger”. Is she worried what Henrymight make of all this? “He knows that story already,” she says. “And he’s grown up knowing that he is the light of my whole life.” Recently, Minnie described herself on Twitter as being “at the nexus of freedomand regret… alternately goddess-like and terrified that time is running out”. Is that as good a summation as any of life at 52? “That’s exactly it,” she says. “It really was Mumdying. It’s suddenly like there was this clock ticking, and it’s both terrifying and also like… an engine. This bulwark betweenme andmy ownmortality was removed. When our parents die [she lost her father in 2009], we’re next, in a way. So I do feel galvanised by it, and goddess-like, which is the most exaltedway a woman can feel. And also terrified that I’ve wasted somuch time – but that’s useless.” We return to her mother. Shortly before she died, Gaynor told her daughter that life is a journey – “you just need strong feet”. DoesMinnie have strong feet? “I think I do,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean they don’t buckle from time to time.” ‘Fame is so exalted now, but you pay for it in all sorts of ways. It’s extraordinarily overwhelming’ Managing Expectations is out now in hardback and audiobook (Manilla Press) “Managing expectations is what we are all programmed to do, as humans,” says Minnie of her memoir’s title. “Clearly dispensing with expectations, and living more presently, would be the best way to live. But it’s impossible. So I just try to manage them.” Growing up, Minnie spent her summers at her dad’s home in Barbados, and a recurring theme throughout Managing Expectations is her need to escape into the ocean (as we speak, within earshot of the Paciäc, she’s wearing a T-shirt of a suräng Jesus, while behind her on the wall is a framed 30s bathing suit). “It’s my happy place,” she says. “It always has been.” She is ‘absolutely aware’ of her privileged background, she says. “But we are human before we’re privileged. Anyone whose parents aren’t together will know that being well off can’t protect you from the trauma around that.” MINNIE NOTEBOOK driving force Starring in Good Will Hunting with Matt Damon (right); getting her break in Circle of Friends (below); with partner Addison O’Dea and son Henry in January 2020 (bottom) Photography: Alamy Stock Photo
15 12 MAY 202 2 FOOD&DRINK Just desserts Benjamina Ebuehi’s delicious blueberry cardamom shortcakes p19 Taste the sunshine The story behindWaitrose’s Summer Food Festival range p20 Diana Henry AMay menu including eggs, asparagus, broad beans & radishes p24
16 12 MAY 202 2 FOOD&DRINK Egg recipes containing raw or semi-cooked egg are not suitable for pregnant women, elderly people, or those with weak immune systems. For information on nutrition and health, visit waitrose.com/nutrition. V vegetarian. Savings to savour One of the most fun parts of my job is getting a sneak preview of our new ranges before they hit the shops. It’s always exciting to see and taste what our talented product development teams and chefs have come up with. This summer, they’ve excelled themselves. The inspiration for the new Summer Food Festival range was the joy of food festivals, discovering new tastes from around the globe and sharing them with friends or family, hopefully outside in the sunshine. And that’s exactly what they’ve captured. As our development chef Paul Gamble explains in this issue (p20), this summer, we’re going to want to make the most of every moment – and what better way to do that than with good food to share? ALISON OAKERVEE Partner & food and drink editor Spicy roast carrot & avocado salad Serves 2 Prepare 5 minutes Cook 35 minutes ½ small Essential Red Onion, sliced 1 Essential Lemon, juice 4 large Essential Carrots, peeled and cut into chunks 1 tsp baharat spice mix 1 tbsp Essential Olive Oil 4 tbsp Essential Natural Yogurt 1 tbsp tahini 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 large Essential Avocado, halved, stoned, peeled and sliced 100g watercress 1 Preheat the oven to 220ºC, gas mark 7. Steep the onion in ½ the lemon juice with a good pinch of salt and set aside. Place the carrots in a roasting tin and toss with the baharat and olive oil. Season and roast for 35 minutes, or until golden and tender. 2 To make the dressing, mix together the yogurt, tahini, garlic, remaining lemon juice and 2 tbsp water. Season. 3 On a large platter, layer the roasted carrot, sliced avocado and watercress. Drizzle over the dressing and dot over the drained pickled onions. V Per serving 1538kJ/369kcals/16g fat/2.5g saturated fat/38g carbs/28g sugars/18g äbre/8.6g protein/0.9g salt/ low in saturated fat/gluten free 3 of your 5 a day Roast cabbage with mussels & butter beans Serves 2 Prepare 5 minutes Cook 30 minutes 1 large Essential Pointed Spring Cabbage, cut into 8 wedges 2 tbsp Essential Olive Oil 250g frozen soffritto mix 2 tsp urfa chilli paste 400g can Essential Butter Beans, drained 500g fresh rope-grown mussels, scrubbed and debearded (discard any open or damaged mussels before cooking) 200ml dry cider 5 sprigs tarragon, leaves picked and chopped 1 Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Put the cabbage into a roasting tin, drizzle over 1 tbsp olive oil and 6 tbsp water, then season and roast for 30 minutes, or until tender and turning golden at the edges. 2 Warm the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the soffritto mix and urfa paste. Season and fry for 1520 minutes, partially covered, until tender. If it begins to look dry, add a splash of water. Stir in the butter beans, plus 200ml water. Cover and allow to gently bubble for 10 minutes. 3 Check all the mussels are closed, discarding any that remain open or have damaged shells. Add them to the pan with the cider, then cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, until all the mussels open (discard any that do not). Stir through the tarragon and serve. Per serving 2043kJ/489kcals/19g fat/2.8g saturated fat/35g carbs/20g sugars/15g äbre/30g protein/1.4g salt/3.4mg zinc/3 of your 5 a day High in zinc Cook’s tip Butternut squash or sweet potato would also work well in this recipe. To make the salad go a little further, fold through some cooked Essential Lentils or Essential Chickpeas too. Cook’s tip If the cabbage is colouring too quickly but isn’t yet tender, add a splash more water to the tray and check on it after 5 minutes. The butter beans can be replaced with Essential Cannellini Beans. Mussels are high in zinc, which helps maintain healthy hair, skin and nails.
17 12 MAY 202 2 If you’re looking to save money on your food bills without sacrificing any of the flavour, the Weekend food team have created these simple and delicious midweek meals– all making the most of our great value, great quality Essential range Cook’s tip Make extra sauce so you have it on hand for other meals. It’ll keep in the fridge for up to a week. If you prefer things less spicy, split the chilli along one side and scrape the seeds out using a teaspoon, before griddling. Cook’s tip Make sure you adjust the asparagus cooking time based on its thickness. If in doubt, under-do it a little as it will continue to cook as it cools. And don’t waste those trimmed asparagus ends – keep them for making stock for soups and sauces. Cook’s tip Allowing the peppers to cool, covered, loosens the skins, so taking them off is much easier. Chicken & baked potatoes with chargrilled tomato and chilli Serves 2 Prepare 10 minutes Cook 1 hour 6 Cooks’ Ingredients Sundried Tomatoes 300g even-sized Essential Charlotte Potatoes 4 tsp Essential Olive Oil, plus a little extra to drizzle 3 large Essential Tomatoes 1 large red chilli 30g blanched almonds, toasted 1 clove garlic 300g Essential British Chicken Breast Fillets 25g wild rocket, to serve Sherry vinegar, to serve 1 Preheat the oven to 190ºC, gas mark 5. Soak the sundried tomatoes in boiling water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place the potatoes into a roasting tin and rub with about 1 tsp oil, then sprinkle with salt and bake for 1 hour, or until golden and tender. 2 Warm a griddle pan over a high heat and, once hot, add the fresh tomatoes and chilli. Cook, turning occasionally, until blackened. Transfer the tomatoes, chilli and drained sundried tomatoes to a blender and whizz to a paste with the almonds, garlic and remaining oil. Season. 3 Rinse the griddle pan and return to a medium heat. Season the chicken and drizzle with a little oil. Cook the chicken for 12-14 minutes until golden, thoroughly cooked, the juices run clear and there is no pink meat. Let it rest for a few moments, then slice. Split the potatoes, divide between 2 plates, then spoon over the tomato sauce. Lay the chicken on top and add a mound of rocket, drizzled with a little oil and sherry vinegar. Per serving 2176kJ/519kcals/21g fat/ 3.2g saturated fat/34g carbs/12g sugars/7g äbre/42g protein/1g salt/ 1 of your 5 a day/gluten free Low in saturated fat Griddled cucumber, asparagus & feta salad Serves 2 Prepare 10 minutes Cook 15 minutes 1 Essential Cucumber, halved lengthways, cut into chunks 2 x 230g packs asparagus, woody ends trimmed, then cut into short lengths 250g pack Merchant Gourmet Glorious Grains 1 preserved lemon, pulp discarded, rind änely chopped 4 sprigs mint, leaves chopped, plus a few little leaves to serve ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil ½ Essential Lemon, juice 1 small clove garlic, crushed 40g Essential Greek Feta 1 Heat a griddle pan until very hot. Add the cucumber and griddle, turning occasionally, until well charred. Allow the cucumber to cool a little before chopping into smaller chunks. Boil the asparagus for about 2 minutes, until just tender, then drain and place onto a tray lined with kitchen paper to dry. 2 Heat the pack of grains in the microwave for 40 seconds. Add them to a large bowl, along with the preserved lemon rind, mint, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Season well and gently toss together. 3 Gently fold the asparagus and cucumber into the grains. Transfer the salad to a platter, crumble over the feta and scatter with a few extra mint leaves to serve. V Per serving 1982kJ/473kcals/20g fat/5.2g saturated fat/48g carbs/8g sugars/11g äbre/19g protein/1.1g salt/ 2 of your 5 a day Source of äbre Pan-fried fish with grilled pepper & potato salad Serves 2 Prepare 5 minutes Cook 40 minutes 1 pack 3 Essential Mixed Peppers 275g baby new or Essential Charlotte Potatoes 1 small clove garlic, crushed 4 sprigs oregano, leaves only ½ x 25g pack basil, leaves only, chopped 1 shallot, änely diced 2 tsp sherry vinegar 1½ tbsp Essential Olive Oil, plus extra to drizzle 250g ärm white äsh ällets (such as Essential Hake), cut into large chunks 1 Preheat the grill to high. Line an oven tray with foil and grill the peppers for 20-30 minutes, turning from time to time, until blackened all over. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a plate and set aside for 20 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, peel and discard the stalks and seeds, reserving any juices. Tear the peppers and place into the bowl along with the pepper juices. 2 Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Drain and allow to steam dry and cool slightly before slicing. Add to the peppers along with the garlic, most of the oregano and basil, shallot, vinegar and 1½ tbsp oil. Season to taste. 3 Season the äsh and drizzle with a little olive oil. Set a frying pan over a high heat. Once the pan is hot, fry the äsh for about 5-6 minutes, until golden and the åesh is opaque throughout. Serve with the pepper and potato salad and remaining herbs. Per serving 1423kJ/339kcals/ 10g fat/1.4g saturated fat/33g carbs/ 14g sugars/8.5g äbre/24g protein/ 0.8g salt/2 of your 5 a day High in protein Recipes: Lola Milne, Photography: Liam Debois, Food styling: Joss Herd, Prop styling: Wei Tang