Restaurant review: Amaru

This week I headed to St Katherine’s Dock in London to new Japanese-Peruvian (aka Nikkei cuisine, which is the same as Nobu serves) eatery Amaru. It’s small and a mix of take-out and eat-in food, but it’s brilliant value (think £4-£6 a dish) and amazing quality.

Toasted sesame-crusted tuna with truffle shavings at Amaru, London
Toasted sesame-crusted tuna with truffle shavings at Amaru, London

The miso soup was rich and dark and silky smooth; spicy edamame had a coating of sticky and delicious hot sauce, and sesame seeds for added crunch; the toasted sesame-crusted tuna with truffle and avocado looked almost too beautiful to eat. My favourite was the Peruvian cured beef, wrapped around shredded sweet potato with yuzu, although the rich chocolate ganache cake with mandarin wasabi was pretty dreamy, too (a bargain at £5). Light and airy, it was completely moreish – so much for the “one spoonful” that I was planning to eat!


This gem of a place seats just 15 and is designed to look like a Japanese izakaya bar inside – it’s the perfect place to try eating healthily without even realising it.


Find out more at @amaru_skd on Twitter.

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Smallable interiors

I’ve just discovered the online children’s department store, Smallable, that scours the globe for gorgeous kids’ clothes, decor, furniture and toys – all with a design twist.

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 09.41.10

Pictured here, from the new Spring/Summer 2015 collection, is the Moth hanging lamp (£68) and Klimoppe lamp (£133) from Studio Snowpuppe, Pineapple lamps (£64) from Goodnight Lamp, Watermelon stickers (£31) and Flamingo stickers (£31) by Love Mae.

Design spotlight: Eclect Design

Built from their shared love of Art Deco and Mid-Century homewares, Janette Reid and Daniel Snowden have created new online boutique Eclect Design to offer an array of modern retro pieces for the home.


Eclect stocks a variety of brands inspired by the owners’ love of Scandi and industrial influences, from House of Rym and Superliving to Muurla and also, exclusively for Eclect, the American Modern line of pottery by Russel Wright.


This pottery was created by Wright in 1929 however, more recently, Los Angeles based Bauer pottery have bought the trademark to reproduce Wright’s iconic designs which Eclect stock exclusively in the UK.

Joseph Alexander Goode

 They also stock more local designs including Hackney-based artist Joseph Alexander Goode’s eccentric art works that adorn cushions, duvet cover sets and kitchen accessories.


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Family-friendly festivals

Want to go to a festival but worried you can’t now that you have little ones? Don’t worry, try these out for size. Have kids, will party


What: Set in the rolling Cotswolds, on an 800-year-old deer park, this is possibly Britain’s poshest festival with food from St John, Polpo, Ottolenghi and Mark Hix, and its own spa.

Who’s playing? The line-up has yet to be announced but last year included Rodriguez, Empire of the Sun, Noah and the Whale, Martha Wainwright, Tom Odell, The Bees.

What to wear: Boden dresses with Joules wellies.

Family fun: The House of Fairytales, award-winning children’s Unicorn Theatre and The Oxford Museum of Natural History are all on hand to excite your children, while Boutique Babysitting might give you a chance to catch the main stage action unencumbered by babies.

Stay: Boutique camping options include tipis, huts, yurts, and even a bus – all come with hot showers, luxury toilets, baby-changing facilities and a chill-out area – there are even “barrow boys” who will greet you and take your luggage.

When is it? 6-9 August. Adult weekend family camping £143.50, under 10s £5. Cornbury Park, Charlbury,


End of the Road

What: At the End of the Road festival, in Wiltshire, set against the backdrop of Larmer Tree Gardens, with stages resembling front rooms, complete with standard lamps and pictures on the chintzily-papered walls. Expect thoroughly British food from Pieminister and music quizzes, too.

Who’s playing? Sigur Ros, Belle and Sebastian, Eels and Dinosaur Jr played last year, while there’s also comedy and film.

What to wear: Cath Kidston, Hunter boots and Barbour jackets.

Family fun: A dedicated children’s area offers performances, workshops and activities for little people.

Stay: Choose between the family campsite or the suitably middle-class accommodation at Toby of Fairlove Yurts.

When it is? 28-30 August. Adult weekend camping £160, under 2s free. Larmer Tree Gardens, Tollard Royal, Wiltshire,


BoomTown Fair

What: Hosting limitless winding streets and eccentric venues to explore, BoomTown Fair is a fully working city created by an ever expanding network of musicians, artists and creative. The four-day festival celebrates ska, reggae, dub, swing, punk and more.

Who’s playing? Altern8, Chas n Dave, Dub FX, Lady Saw (full live band), Ms Dynamite and the Dreadnoughts.

What to wear: DMs and denim.

Family fun: KidzTown now takes up a whole zone of the “city” and in 2014 will have its own dedicated main stage. There are arts and crafts workshops to entertain little ones, too.

What mums say: ‘I think the children’s area was absolutely brilliant and I know that from real experience cause my son had the best time ever and never wanted to leave it.’ Anne-Marie Williams, mum to Laurie, 6.

Stay: Camping is included in your ticket price and you can choose a ‘neighbourhood’ to camp in, from Chinatown and El Barrio Loco to Kidztown or Mayfair Avenue depending on your mood. If you’d rather “glamp” you can upgrade to the Boomtique Village for £30, which gets you access to luxury showers, wood-fired saunas and hot tubs, a chill-out lounger and a beauty station (like you’ll really have time for hair-straighteners??). You can even opt to stay in a tipi or luxury yurt.

When is it? 6-9 August. Adult weekend camping £150, 6 and under free. Matterly Estate, Nr Winchester.


Camp Bestival

What: Bestival’s family-friendly little sister bill’s itself as the greatest family show on earth at a castle campsite by the sea. While other festivals offer a “family area” this is a family festival with live acts, DJs, comedy and theatre.

Who’s playing? Basement Jaxx, James, Johnny Marr, Laura Mvula, The Wedding Present.

What to wear: Bright, beachy clothes.

Family fun: From circus and theatre workshops, to bouncy castles and soft play tents, a Dance Space tent, fairground rides and sandpits, children will be in heaven here. There’s a separate Toddler’s Area and a Breastival Mother and Baby Chill Out zone – we approve.

Stay: All the campsites are family-friendly, but you can also choose the boutique Tangerine Fields experience which offers pre-pitched tents or gypsy caravans, with proper loos and hot showers (

When is it? 30 July-2 August. Weekend camping from £180, under 11s free. Lulworth Castle, Dorset,



What: Latitude’s Best Family Festival Award (at the UK Festival Awards) is testament to its diverse and inclusive atmosphere. Arranged around the banks of a lake, the laidback and impressively organised Latitude is one of the most idyllic and civilized summer festivals around.

Who’s playing: Damon Albarn, Two Door Cinema Club, Royksopp,

What to wear: Boho vintage cotton.

Family fun: A dedicated kids’ area, with childrens activities that range from face-painting to pond-dipping to pizza-making and theatre workshops, they will never get bored.

Stay: Choose between the family camping area – think kids yoga and pop-up beaches – or pay to stay at Yurtel, a luxury canvas hotel with a bar, brunch included, and a pop-up spa (

When is it? 16-19 July. Weekend ticket with family camping £182.50, Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk,


Green Man

What: In the beautiful Black Mountains of Wales this small festival has been going for more than a decade and has built up a reputation as a family-friendly, independent destination that has a knack for picking future Brit and Ivor Novello award-winners before they make it big.

Who’s playing: Beirut, Neutral Milk Hotel, First Aid Kit, Daughter, Lanterns of the Lake, Anna Calvi.

What to wear: Opt for clever, low-key cool – think Toast or a classic Breton stripe top.

Family fun: As well as music, there’s comedy, poetry and literature, an area just for under 12s called Little Folk and another for teens. Mums will be appreciative of the spa and therapies, while dads will approve of the local cider, ale and quality food.

Stay: Hot showers and luxury camping areas come as standard at the award-winning intimate festival. Or make a week-long holiday out of it with a Settler’s Pass ticket (£199) which covers the festival entry and your camping for seven nights in the wild beauty of the Brecon Beacons National Park where you can go horse riding, caving, fishing, canoeing or stargazing in one of only five official “dark sky reserves” in the world.

When is it? 13-16 August. Adult weekend camping £159, children £5, infants free. Glanusk Estate, Crickhowell, Wales,


The Eden Festival

What: Scotland’s boutique festival has nine stages, a kids arena, circus tent, drive-in cinema, caberet, comedy and workshops, all with a new-age-y, chilled-out vibe.

Who’s playing: Calvin Harris, Dub Mafia, Beans on Toast.

What to wear: There’s a hippyish feel, so plait your hair and dig out your love beads.

Family fun: The Shellycoat kids tent is where you’ll find environmentally-friendly arts and crafts (is there any other kind?), performances, forest skills workshops and a play area – all for free. There’s also kids yoga, treasure hunts and an end-if-festival kids parade.

Stay: There’s a family camping area if you want to bring your own tent, or if you’d prefer to let someone else do that hard work for you, hire a bell tent with full standing headroom and a bed made up through Yippee Yurts – they even provide luggage portering and a barbeque.

When is it? 12-14 June. Adult weekend camping £85, under 12s free. Raehills Meadows, Dumbries and Galloway.



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Diets to your door

If you fell off the January diet wagon, there is a fail-safe solution. No need to shop or chop, these fully-prepared ready meals are all calorie-counted and come delivered to your door, so that you can slim like a celebrity

Paul Winch-Furness / Photographer

Balance Box

Choose from a 1200 calorie or 1800 calorie a day menu plan, and you’ll get a fresh breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks delivered to your door, from £19.99 a day. They arrive in handy pots that you can easily put in your bag to take to work. Millie Mackintosh has tried it, commenting, “I lost half a stone in the first 10 days! I’m really delighted – the food was always delicious and filling.” Delivers nationwide, from £19.99 a day.

Honestly Healthy Fridge Fill

Honestly Healthy Fridge Fill

A champion of alkaline-eating, which is said to be the most healthy and beneficial diet (diseases thrive in acidic conditions), Natasha Corrett is the author of best-seller Honestly Healthy Cleanse. And you can sample her dishes through her Fridge Fill service, which delivers an alkaline diet plan of smoothies, soups, salads and stews to your door. It promises weight-loss of around 5kg if you opt for the three-week cleanse. Dishes are quite delicious – think steamed pak choi parcels filled with grated vegetables and fresh sprouted salad – and all are free from wheat, dairy, sugar and meat. High-profile followers of her method include Victoria Beckham, Robbie Williams and Melissa Odabash. Delivers nationwide, from £137 for three days.

detox kitchen

Detox Kitchen

With a array of options, all of which are free from wheat, dairy and refined sugar, this London-based detox deli, delivers fresh, cleansing food each day, before breakfast, with daily menus from 900 calories upwards – no wonder the likes of Elle McPherson and Gwyneth Paltrow are fans. Expect dishes such as butternut, fennel, green bean, orange and hazelnut salad or Malaysian spiced pumpkin soup, all beautifully presented. As well as three meals a snack and a pudding, each daily delivery contains an immune-boosting wheatgrass shot, supplements, mint tea and a pot of nuts and seeds – and a handy jute bag for transporting your lunch to work. The 1,500-calorie protein package is their most popular plan. Delivers across London, from £29.99 a day.

my food

MY Food

With an emphasis on weight-loss, MY Food deliver freshly-prepared meals to your home weekly (you can then freeze what you aren’t going eat right away), and can cater for 5:2 dieters, as well as high protein, vegan and halal plans. Dishes such as chicken with quinoa, edamame and avocado salad and sun-dried tomato hummus are not only flavourful, but also so filling that you may struggle to finish them! Gabby Logan, Caroline Flack and Kirsty Gallagher are all devotees of this extremely efficient regime – a recent dieter, Kerry, lost 22lb in eight weeks on the plan. Delivers nationwide, weekly plans start from £17.85 a day.

Pure Package

Pure Package

Everyone from Lily Cole to Florence Welsh and even Hugh Jackman has signed to Pure Package, for its gourmet healthy food that promises results. Whether you opt for the Detox and Cleanse package, Training Support, Weight Loss or Skin Health, each fresh menu is delivered daily and you get support and advice from a nutritional therapist, who is just a phone call away and also “checks in” while you’re on the plan to see how things are going. This luxury option is so delicious you’ll forget you’re dieting and yet one customer lost more than two stone on the plan. The service makes it stand out, with each client getting a personal consultation and a tailored diet accordingly. “If we knew you were very stressed, for instance, we might include an extra evening snack as your cortisol levels will be higher and you may have trouble sleeping,” explains Frankie Ross-Smith.

Breakfast might consist of tomato, avocado and cottage cheese on organic rye bread, lunch could be a Thai chicken noodle salad with shitake mushrooms and coconut rice noodles, while suppers include coriander and lime marinated kingfish with black bean salsa. Delivers across London, from £29.95 a day.

soulmate food

Soulmate Food

Supported by a team of nutritionists. Soulmate Food’s diet regimes focus around different goals, including sports performance, weight loss, low carbs, and an alkaline detox. Imaginative menus include the likes of Cajun chicken and seabass curry, which are delivered fresh twice-weekly. Their Sportskitchen department creates performance-led menus for all sports disciplines, including athletes, professional boxers and Premier League footballers. Fans include The Saturdays, Pippa Middleton, Zoe Ball and the Olympic Team GB. Their Paleo menu launched at Christmas and has already become one of the most requested plans, with Mel C and Michelle Keegan both trying it. Later this year you’ll be able to buy the meals at Virgin Active gyms, and their book, Fitness Gourmet by Christian Coates, launches in the spring. Delivers nationwide, weekly plans from £99 a week.


Top tips to get the most from a delivery-diet

Avoid calorific coffees and wine
Lots of people forget to add drinks to their daily calorie tally, but a glass of wine has more calories than a donut, and a daily milky full-fate latte would add a pound to your waistline in a week if you don’t include it as part of your daily calorie allowance.

Make space in your fridge, freezer and cupboards
Some services deliver every morning, but many do a twice-weekly “drop” so you’ll need to clear a lot of space. It’s worth getting rid of those tempting items like ice cream, biscuits and crisps any way, so that you stay on track.

Get a lunch bag
Most companies provide a cold lunch and snacks that you can easily take to work and eat without any prep needed, so get a lunch bag and take everything you need with you. Repeat after us: step away from the Pret/Eat/Greggs.

Clear your diary
Of course, we’re not saying you can’t go out, but if you want to get the most from your diet, a trip to Pizza Express (one pomodoro pesto romana pizza has 1150 calories and 60grams of fat!) probably won’t help.

Focus on your goal not your weaknesses
Don’t dwell on feeling hungry or denying yourself, instead visualise how good you’ll feel at the end and why you’re doing this. When you have a craving, sip some water or herbal tea and remind yourself that you deserve to feel better about yourself! If you can’t resist the urge to snack, stick to fruit and veg, or a handful of nuts or seeds.


 This article appeared in Metro on 5 February 2015

diets delivered

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Inside Jimmy Doherty’s kitchen

Farmer and foodie Jimmy Doherty, 39, is best known as the presenter of Food Unwrapped and one half of Jamie and Jimmy’s Food Fight Club, which he presents with his childhood friend Jamie Oliver. He lives on his farm in Suffolk with his wife Michaela and daughter Molly Rose, 4.

Describe your kitchen to us…

I’ve just had it done, it’s got a central island, marble surface tops and an awesome little pantry that we designed – that was really important for me, I love a good old pantry. We had it built by a small, local company.


What’s your favourite thing about your kitchen?

Well it might seem a bit boring actually, but my favourite thing is the butcher’s block that I bought as we obviously started out as a butcher’s and a farm. It’s better than just a chopping board, I had to search online to find a real, authentic one that had really been using for jointing meat. It’s the proper job. It symbolises where we came from and the heart of our business.


What’s your most used kitchen gadget?

Perhaps a speed peeler, I’ve got one shaped like a chicken, which I quite like. Or a knife – I’ve had all my drawers sorted out now so I know exactly where everything is and can always find the right knife.


What do you eat at home?

It’s hugely varied, but obviously living on the farm we eat a lot of meat. And fish, I love fish and it’s nice to have something different. I had a lovely bit of brown trout the other day – I visited a trout farm in Hampshire and came away with some giant trout, it was more like a small salmon – it was a good 2 kilos. And lots of veg.


Do you cook much for yourself?

I do all the cooking, every day when I’m at home… to the despair of my wife. I can be a bit militant in the kitchen. A lot of what we eat is dictated by the children, but I’m lucky as they will eat almost everything. Spaghetti bolognese always keeps them quiet. On Sunday I did a full beef rib roast and Yorkshire puds – the works.

I love doing Sri Lankan curries, too – I go to Sri Lanka every year and there’s a brilliant little shack called The Spice Box where I stock up on blends of roasted spices and curry pastes.


Were you always into cooking, or has working with food drawn you into it?

Farming and food has definitely enhanced an interest in cooking. When I was 12 I had some Bantam chickens and I became obsessed by cooking with the eggs, and as a teenager I’d often get home and get the dinner on while my parents were at work.

Then as a student in Coventry, I flat-shared with a French guy and we’d go to the covered market and buy food, like whole salmons, chickens and pheasants and then we’d joint it up and cook it ourselves – it was cheaper and went a lot further that way. And then, because he was French I was determined to prove to him that British cooking and produce wasn’t crap so we’d make our own bread or go off on trips to Herefordshire cider tasting. It was great fun.


What are your store-cupboard staples?

Tinned chopped tomatoes; passata – it goes in everything from Bolognese to curry; chick peas; butter beans and pulses; Sri Lankan spices and curry blends; olive oil and good balsamic vinegar; and Aspall’s cider vinegar.


Do you have a favourite fast and easy meal that you could share with us?

Yes, it’s dead easy and you only need one pan. Cook some spaghetti and add some chopped up broccoli near the end. Drain the water and mix in and mush up the broccoli, and then run an egg yolk through it all. My kids hoover it up.


What three things would you save from your kitchen in a fire?

My chopping block, my Wolf cooker and my two Irish terriers Whisky and Ginger – they’re named after my favourite drink.


What’s in your fridge right now?

Oooh, a big tub of Greek yoghurt, white wine, salmon, trout, endless pickles and jars of things like chilli jam, butter and lots and lots of fresh, full fat milk. You can’t ever have enough fresh milk.


Your favourite restaurant?

It’s in Woodbridge in Suffolk, and called the Riverside. You go there and have great food and lovely wine… and they own a cinema so at end of meal you get given your cinema tickets and you go and take your wine and sit in a comfy sofa and watch the film.


Last supper?

I love squid. It would be salt and pepper squid or a massive fore rib roast of beef with Yorkshire puddings.


Your food hero?

It’s a guy called John Seymour, he’s dead now. He wrote a book called The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency. That book was the inspiration for The Good Life and it has everything from making a brick to making bread to getting hot water from the sun’s energy or killing and jointing a pig in it.


Your favourite cookbook?

Pork and Sons by the French food writer Stephane Reynaud – it’s a beautifully produced book with lovely pictures and some great French pork recipes.


Now you know what goes into so many of the food we eat, has it changed what you buy and eat?

Probably made me less prejudiced to certain things, that I thought were bad but in fact they aren’t. Just because something’s produced in a big factory behind closed doors it doesn’t mean they’re adding all sorts of terrible stuff. That factory is there because we demand cheap food and in order to produce the volumes and to put food on our table at a price that we will accept, it’s part of life.


What should we all be looking for or avoiding when we buy food?

What’s really important is that we support independent high street traders and small local producers because they add the spark and diversity to our shopping baskets, they are the rockstars of the food world. That’s why I think awards for local businesses and small producers are really good, because it encourages us to recognise their value and support and use them. Otherwise all our food options would be left to the choices of a few big supermarkets.


What made you decide to become a farmer?

From a very early age I was interested in our indigenous breeds of animals. At 11 I had a job at a local wildlife park as a part-time keeper and my best friend’s dad had a small-holding – I loved the cattle and sheep. Then I read John Seymour’s book.

So I studied zoology and then did a Phd in Entomology. I was obsessed by nature but academia had turned nature into theory for me so I was determined to get back to the grass roots. SO I decided to set up my own farm, and it was at a time when Farmer’s Markets were just taking off so there was a chance to sell my own product and butcher the meat onsite.

It all stemmed from there really.


Did you have any idea how tough it would be?

If I’d known how hard it was I’d never have done it! Naviety is a great thing because I wouldn’t have had the courage to do it if I’d known all of the hurdles that were ahead of us.


What else can we do with sausages, other than having them with mash and gravy?

Well I love sausage and mash and Toad in the Hole, but think of them as an ingredient – put them sliced in pasta dishes, or squeeze the meat out of the skin and make meatballs. You could mix them with a bit of coriander, chilli and soy sauce to make little oriental dumplings.


When you have a day off, what do you do…

I take my wife and kids to the farm and do a lot of colouring in. And I never go over the lines!


You and your friend Jamie Oliver went to school together. What did you both want to be, back then?

We both thought we’d be male strippers! No, I’m joking. I was either going to go into academia or the military – I spent five years in the TA when I was a teenager. And Jamie was always going to be in the chef’s trade because he was pretty much working in his parents pub as he was growing up – he was born into it. Or he’d have been in a band, he had a band called Scarlet Division and he played drums. There’s actually quite a lot of similarity in the way he drums and the way he cooks!

Jimmy Doherty has teamed up with Hotel Indigo, IHG’s boutique brand, to launch their ‘Flavours of the Neighbourhood’ campaign, a nationwide search for the UK’s best artisan food vendors and producers, who can enter until 15 February by uploading a picture of their products to the Hotel Indigo Facebook app,


This article appeared in Metro on 3 February 2015

Jimmy Doherty 




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Pheasant: are you game for it?

Want to impress your friends with a memorable dinner party meal – how about West Country pheasant from Dorset, a fancy bird that tastes rich and gamey? Sounds expensive right, like the kind of thing you’d by in Fortnum and Mason, or Waitrose at the very least…

Try Aldi. Yep, really. The game season may not have long left to run, but the discount chain Aldi started stocking Brookfield Game pheasant last week for just £3.99 a bird – and demand has been so high that the hunting society Taste of Game has had to send a message out to all pheasant shoots in order to keep up with sales. It’s part of a new luxury range that Aldi has introduced to try and lure in more middle-class shoppers. And if their sales figures are anything to go by, it’s working.

But once you’ve got your bargain bird, then what? Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall suggests pot-roasting it to keep it moist, “pheasant has a slight tendency to dryness but pot-roasting, with plenty of rich chorizo to provide a little fat and extra flavour, ensures a very satisfying result.”

“Game is generally very lean due to the fact the animals are constantly on the move and truly wild. So it’s important to be careful when cooking it and taking precautions to stop the meat drying out,” confirms Ben Tish, Chef Director at the Salt Yard group of restaurants. “I brine it and wrap it in fatty lardo (cured pork back fat) to help it to self-baste and lubricate while I’m grilling it – it is also rather delicious!”

“You can’t beat a traditional pheasant with bread sauce,” says Daniel Kent, head chef at Wilton’s, which is renowned for it’s game. His advice? “Early on, roast them; but like a chef. Colour them in the pan and then baste with butter and cook in the oven 180c for 12 minutes. I do it for three minutes on each side so it is basted on each and that rich butter flavour will go through the whole bird, and don’t forget to rest it.”

river cottage pheasant

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls’ pot-roast pheasant with chorizo, butter beans and parsley

Serves 4

A knob of butter

3 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil

2 onions, finely sliced

4 garlic cloves, finely sliced

A few sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

2 oven-ready pheasants (whole or jointed)

300g cooking chorizo, skin removed and cut into 2cm chunks

400ml white wine

500ml vegetable, chicken or light pheasant stock

400g tin of butter beans, drained and rinsed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place a large flameproof casserole (one that will accommodate both birds) over a medium heat and heat the butter with 1 tablespoon of the oil until foaming. Add the onions, garlic, thyme and bay leaves and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and slightly golden.

Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan. Season the pheasants all over with salt and pepper, add to the pan and brown on all sides over a high heat for 3–4 minutes. Transfer to the casserole. Add the chorizo to the frying pan and fry for 3–4 minutes, until browned, then add to the casserole too.

Deglaze the frying pan by pouring in a little of the wine and stirring to scrape up any bits from the base of the pan. Add to the pheasants with the rest of the wine, the stock and the butter beans. The liquid doesn’t need to cover the birds but it should come at least halfway up.

Bring to a simmer, cover and place in an oven preheated to 140°C/Gas Mark 1. Cook for 2 hours, until the birds are tender. Remove the pheasants from the casserole and leave to rest in a warm place for 15–20 minutes. If the chorizo has released a lot of fat, skim some off the juices in the pan. Cut the birds into halves or quarters and divide between 4 warm plates. Spoon over the chorizo, beans and sauce, and serve with mash or lots of bread.


Ben Tish’s Whole bbq  pheasant in lardo with porcini, crispy garlic and truffle butter

Serves 4

You’ll need a temperature probe and a lump of hard wood for this recipe

1 quantity of red meat brine

2 whole oven ready pheasants

50g finely sliced strips of lardo or pancetta

sea salt, black pepper and olive oil for cooking

200g porcini mushrooms or large meaty mushrooms such as king oyster, trimmed and cleaned

2 cloves garlic, peeled and very finely sliced

sea salt, black pepper and olive

Truffle butter

100g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

15ml white truffle oil

3 g black truffle, finely chopped (optional but decadent)

Place the pheasants in the brine to cover for 2.5 hours and then drain well and pat dry with a paper towel.

Light and set a bbq for direct/indirect cooking and place a lump of hardwood in the ashen coals to start smoking.

Make the butter by simply mixing all the ingredients together and seasoning to taste

Season the pheasants all over and drizzle with olive oil.

Lay the strips of lardo out on a tray so they over lap and form 2 rectangles large enough to wrap around the birds.

Spoon about a teaspoon of butter onto each pheasant and then lay each bird breast side down in the middle of the rectangle and fold over the lardo to seal.

Press carefully all around to make sure the fat “moulds” to the bird. Place the birds in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up. Slice the mushrooms into thick pieces and reserve.

Place the pheasants back side down on the indirect zone and close the lid. The bbq should be at around 170oc. Leave the birds to cook for 25 minutes and then transfer them to the direct zone, breast side down and cook on each breast for 2-3 minutes to caramelize. Check the birds with a temperature inserted into the leg it should be around 60oc. remove the birds to a warm spot and slather with plenty of the truffle butter and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Place a sauté pan on the grill on the direct cooking zone and add the remaining butter. When it’s foaming place in the mushrooms and season well. Cook them until tender and have started to caramelize all over and then add the garlic slices and continue to cook until the mushrooms and garlic are golden brown. Remove from the heat immediately and drain the mushrooms and garlic and pour the cooking butter over the pheasants.

Serve the pheasants whole on a platter with the porcini and garlic and pour the buttery resting juices into a bowl to serve on the side. 

Daniel Kent’s pheasant, cipollini onions and Marsala

Serves 4

2 pheasant (hen), cut for fricasse

15g flour

60ml rapeseed/oil

200g streaky smoked bacon cubes/lardon

10 cipollini onions (round shallots if you cannot get them)

Bouquet garni made up of 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 thyme sprig, two bay leaves, 5 black peppercorns, 1tsp juniper berries

175ml Marsala

300ml chicken stock (or use the trim and bones of the pheasant to make a quick stock)


Coat the pheasant with flour, pat the excess off.

Heat 30ml of the oil over a medium heat and add the pheasant, do this in batches to control the sealing and colour you want to keep the flavour in the meat and get a golden colour. Remove and drain in a colander.

Remove the oil and and the remaining 30ml, add the bacon and fry till golden brown, remove and place with the pheasant.

Add the onions and colour, you might need to reduce the heat a touch the pan will be hot at this point.

When they are golden brown add the Marsala and reduce by two thirds.

Now put back in the pheasant and bacon, add the bouquet garni and bring to the boil.

Reduce to a simmer and cover, let this cook for 45 min or until the leg meat is beginning to come away from the bone.

Let it sit for a few minutes to cool a touch, remove the meat and cover; it stays moist this way whilst you return to the sauce.

Return to the sauce, check its consistency it wants to coat the bird and then taste for the sweetness of Marsala; if it’s not there add another splash till you think it’s right.

Place the pheasant back in and it’s ready. Along with some roast parsnip and buttered kale.

Rob Andrew of Riverford Field Kitchen’s top tips! 

Blood orange marinade
Whatever you chose to do with your bird, 24 hours in this marinade can only be a good thing.

1 blood orange
6 juniper berries
2 garlic cloves
1 bunch of thyme
olive oil

Zest and juice the orange. Crush the juniper berries in a pestle and mortar. Add the garlic and thyme give them a rough bash. Mix everything together with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil.

Rub all over the bird. Leave in the fridge for 24 hours. turning every so often. Remove any herb and spice debris from the bird before use.

Red Cabbage one pot roast
Like spiced red cabbage with your pheasant? Kill two (game) birds with one stone.

2 small pheasant
1 small or 1/2 a large red cabbage
1 large red onion
1 apple or pear
500ml hot chicken stock
1/2 a cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 tsp allspice
small glass of red wine

Preheat your oven to 180/ 160 gas mark 4

Season the birds well inside and out with salt and pepper. Brown the birds all over in a large casserole pan. Remove and put to one side.

Add the wine to the pan to de-glaze, reduce by half.

Finely slice the red cabbage and the onion. Grate the apple. Mix together large casserole with the spices, and stock. Add some salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar.

Nestle them into the red cabbage mixture, cover tightly with a lid and pop in the oven for 1h 30mins or until the leg meat is soft and giving.
Check the seasoning and sweetness of the cabbage.

Herby butter parchment wraps
It is too often the case that the breast meat on most game birds has a tendency to dry out and overcook before the legs are ready. This is often countered by larding the breasts with caul fat (available from good butchers), or streaky bacon. In this case we use parchment paper spread with seasoned butter to the same effect. It shields the breast from the fierce heat of the oven while basting with fat.

50g softened butter
sprig of thyme, stripped from the stalk
sprig of rosemary, stripped from the stalk
couple of sage leaves
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
zest of 1/2 lemon
baking parchment

Finely chop the herbs and mix with the garlic, zest and butter. Season the pheasant with salt and pepper and brown all over in a pan.

Cut an oval of baking parchment to fit over the breasts. Smear the butter over one side of the parchment and place, butter-side down , on the breasts. Roast as normal.


This article appeared in Metro on 3 February 2015

pheasant metros



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