Hollywood Comes to the Camera-ready Cotswolds

Hollywood Comes to the Camera-ready Cotswolds

Crumbs magazine interviewed me about my kitchen, my book Cotswolds Memoir and its sequel which I am currently writing. Enlarged text of article (below).

Crumbs Magazine

Text of Crumbs Magazine article ‘Setting the Stage’

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Crumbs Cover

Cotswolds Memoir:
Now available in Paperback, Kindle and Audio Book

Cotswolds Memoir_DizWhite

Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain
on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage
(Larrabee Libraries)

A portion of the proceeds of every copy of this author’s book COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions. Available on

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Cotswolds Lavender Lemonade and Gin Fizz Recipes

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Cotswolds Lavender Lemonade with Cotswolds Honey

Makes 6-8 large servings

INGREDIENTS
(Ingredients listed below are best sourced in the Cotswolds if possible).
2 – 3 cups full of fresh lavender blossoms or more if easily available – grown in the Cotswolds. Remove most of the stalks.
(If fresh lavender is not available culinary lavender may be substituted)
1 jar (or to taste) Cotswolds Honey – must be from honey sold in a glass jar.
3 cups of de-ionized or distilled water.
4 lemons (organic and from the Cotswolds if possible).
5 Cups of cold water – (or more or less to taste).

IMPORTANT
All kitchen items used to prepare this lemonade must be made of glass or stainless steel and the spatula must be wooden.
The method of squeezing the lemons must be done using glass or stainless steel.
The strainer used for the lemons and for the lavender must be plastic or stainless steel (Most strainers are not made of stainless steel).

METHOD

LAVENDER INFUSION

IMG_9202This is what will give the lavender colour to the lemonade.

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IMPORTANT
Use either a stainless steel saucepan or an ovenproof glass dish to heat the distilled water or de-ionized water.
If distilled or de-ionized water is used it is possible to store any leftover infusion in the fridge for up to two weeks and use it for more lavender lemonade.
If tap water is used this ruins the infusion if it is to be stored in the fridge.
Tap water may be used if all of the infusion is used immediately.

IMG_9195Heat distilled water and just before it boils remove it from the stove top.

Save 2 or 3 Table Spoons of the heated water and set aside.

IMG_9199Place the lavender blossoms in the heated water.
Prod and stir with wooden spoon occasionally as lavender steeps for five minutes or so.
Pour the 2 or 3 Table spoons of de-ionized water that was set aside onto the Cotswolds honey.
Stir to soften enough for it to be poured.IMG_9213Strain the lavender infused water through a plastic sieve into a glass container.
IMG_9230Pour into glass bowl to check for any remaining plant material. If found strain again or remove.

Squeeze the lemons and strain (through plastic strainer) Set aside.
Put the lemon juice into a large pretty glass or ceramic jug.
Add cold water in stages.
Add honey in stages until desired sweetness.
Add lavender infusion to the lemonade until whole jug of lemonade turns a lavender hue. Store any remaining infusion in a glass jar in the fridge (for up to two weeks) for more lemonade.
Add ice cubes and garnish with slices of lemon, lemon wedges, paper parasols or other decorations.
Enter competition (below)

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 Cotswolds Lavender Gin Fizz

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INGREDIENTS
25 ml Gin
1/4 Lemon (organic if possible)
20 ml Lavender Syrup
Elderflower cordial
6 Plain ice cubes

GARNISH
2 or 3 small frozen black grapes
6 Lavender infused ice cubes (optional).
(See Recipe for Lavender Infusion in Lavender Lemonade Recipe above).
3 or 4 Sprigs of fresh lavender (optional).

METHOD
Add Gin, Lavender Syrup and plain ice cubes to a cocktail shaker.
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Add lavender infused ice cubes.
Fill cocktail glass with Elderflower cordial.
Garnish
Enter competition (below)

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ENTER THE LAVENDER LEMONADE- GIN FIZZ COMPETITION:

Send me a copy of your Cotswolds LAVENDER LEMONADE AND/OR GIN FIZZ PHOTO with your own decorations.
The WINNER of the most inventive decorations submitted will receive as their PRIZE a Kindle copy of my book:
COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage (Available on Amazon)
This can be gifted to anyone of your choice
The winner’s photo will appear on my website www.DizWhite.com
and be Tweeted on my Twitter site @DizWhite
Send your entry to publicitypromo@aol.com
Competition is ongoing – prizes given periodically.

Photographs by Randall Montgomery

Cotswolds Memoir:

Now available in Paperback, Kindle and Audio Book

Cotswolds Memoir_DizWhite

Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain
on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage
(Larrabee Libraries)

Available on:

a.com_logo_RGB        
amazon

A portion of the proceeds of every copy of this author’s book COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions.

Broughton Poggs Blossoms at Cotswolds National Garden Scheme Tour

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Filkins and Broughton Poggs National Garden Scheme Garden Tour last weekend was an absolute delight. The gardens were wreathed in spring blossoms and the weather held with many glimpses of the sun before showers began at five o’clock.

IMG_7509It is a joy to visit the many beautiful private gardens on the NGS tours which cannot be seen other that through the open days organized by them.

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The owners work hard to bring the gardens to their peak to be ‘camera ready’ for the public and the proceeds from ticket sales benefit several important charities. A visit to a beautiful garden with wonderful tea and cake makes for a lovely day out.

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The Cotswolds setting of the two side-by-side villages of Filkins and Broughton Poggs could not be more picturesque with the River ……winding languidly between the gardens adding yet another dimension to their beauty.
IMG_7484Filkins House’s gardens boasted glorious fruit tree blossoms and…….
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a charming dry stone wall garden seat fashioned from Cotswolds stone. Perfect for lazy picnics or afternoon tea. The homemade cakes served at the tour in Filkins Village Hall were delicious, a highlight – Ginger fruit cake with Mascapone cheese spread liberally on top.
IMG_7514This garden in Filkins featured a 200 year old apple tree which spread a mantle of delicate pink and white blossom on the lawn.
IMG_7502The Grade II listed 18th Century Broughton Poggs Mill covered in Wisteria.
IMG_7504For a list of open gardens throughout the summer visit National Garden Scheme’s website
www.ngs.org.uk

Cotswolds Memoir:

Now available in Paperback, Kindle and Audio Book

Cotswolds Memoir_DizWhite

Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain
on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage
(Larrabee Libraries)

A portion of the proceeds of every copy of this author’s book COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions. Available on

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        amazon

Help Save Downton Abbey’s Cotswolds Film Location

Many of Downton Abbey’s scenes are filmed in the medieval Cotswolds village of Bampton and as I was writing about this lovely place in the sequel to my book Cotswolds Memoir: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage I came across this appeal (below) by Hugh Bonneville for a donation to help restore Bampton’s Old Grammar School (Downton Cottage Hospital in the series).

After I made a donation I was thrilled to receive this reply (below)

Thank you

Here is a revisit to my blog giving the history of ancient buildings used in scenes in Downton Abbey and lots more about the lovely Cotswolds village of Bampton.

A Downton Day Out

A Tour of Bampton’s Downton Abbey Locations 

Highclere Castle, Location for Downton Abbey- Daily Mail

The charming village of Bampton in the Cotswolds is used as a background to a number of outdoor scenes in the immensely successful television series Downton Abbey and this lovely spot is well worth a visit. Not only is it interesting to see where scenes of Downton Abbey are shot but there are many other attractions in Bampton that would make a leisurely sojourn there very memorable.

Bampton, or as it was once known Bampton-in-the-Bush, is situated in the county of Oxfordshire in the Thames Valley and is about four and a half miles southwest of Witney.

Visitors strolling around Bampton will recognize a number of buildings and streets that were used in scenes in Downton Abbey.

St. Mary’s Church

One of the locations frequently filmed in the series is Bampton’s church, St Mary of the Virgin which dates from the 12th Century. This church, like many ancient buildings in Britain was built on the foundations of an earlier structure and incorporates parts of the older building in the new edifice. In this case, St. Mary’s church was erected on the site of an Anglo-Saxon Minster. The tower was the only feature of the Minster that was spared and it is now part of the Church. St. Mary’s is also distinguished by its magnificent 13th Century spire.

William the Conqueror gave this church to the Bishop of Exeter and it has been rebuilt and added to many times through the centuries.

Cottage Hospital

Another location used in filming is Bampton Library which was used as the entrance to the cottage hospital that was portrayed in the second series of Downton Abbey.

According to Pevsner and Sherwood’s book The Buildings of England this library was once the Grammar school of St. Mary’s church and was built in 1653.

Isobel Crawley’s house

The Old Rectory which is close by St. Mary’s Church is used for the exterior shots of Isobel Crawley’s house in Downton Abbey. The south side of this building is late 17th Century and features five bays. The back of the house is older with a 16th century arched stone doorway and in the garden wall there is a stone inscribed with the date 1546. Next to the Rectory are 17th Century stables with a gabled dovecote built over them.

The interior scenes of Isobel Crawley’s house, however, are filmed at Hall Place near Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire.

Crawley_House interior

Downton Abbey’s conception

Downton2

The series is set in the fictional Downton Abbey, a Yorkshire country house, the grand home of the Earl and Countess of Grantham, and follows the lives and fortunes of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants through the reign of King George V.

matthew-and-mrs-crawley-arrive-in-their-new-home

Gareth Neame of Carnival Films originally conceived the idea of an Edwardian-era TV drama set in a country house and suggested this concept to Julian Fellowes, who had won an Academy Award for Best Writing in the category of Original Screenplay for Gosford Park.

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Shortly, thereafter, Julian Fellowes gave Gareth Neame an outline of the first series. Julian Fellowes writes the series, and his wife Emma acts as his story editor.

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Bampton Annual Events

In addition to Bampton being used for locations of Downton Abbey this beautiful town features plenty of Cotswolds character and is well known for several quaint traditions that take place every year and have been doing so for the past several centuries. Visitors would do well to time a visit to take in one or more of these fun-filled events after viewing the Downton locations.

Shirt Race

Bampton Shirt Race

Once a year, on the Saturday of the Spring Bank Holiday there is a bizarre pub crawl organized by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Junketing known as The Bampton Shirt Race. In past times the runners in this race were dressed in night-gowns and would compete in pairs with one runner pushing the other in a trolley. There was a time when there were fourteen pubs in Bampton and the race stops at every location for the competitors to down a large quaff of beer. Many of those public houses have now been converted to private residences but a stop at these former pubs is still included in the race. Nowadays, the race consists of larger teams using many different kinds of cobbled-together wheeled vehicles, such as prams, wheelbarrows and even wheelybins. These are used to transport the competitors who are costumed in outlandish fancy dress. There are prizes for the best outfits.

Morris Dancers

Morris Dancing

Bampton is well known for its Morris dancing which has been practiced in the village since the late eighteenth century. The town supports three world-renowned Morris Dance teams and the dancing is performed throughout the Monday of the Spring Bank Holiday in the latter part of May, beginning at 8.30 a.m. In the evening, visiting teams join in the dancing. Much is made of the traditional fertility cake which everyone samples as it is carried around the streets with the dancers.

Bampton002

May Garlands

The charming tradition of May Garland making by the children of Bampton began several centuries ago. It takes place at 11a.m. in the market square on the Monday of the Spring Bank Holiday.

Donkey derby

Donkey Derby

A Donkey Derby is run on the Monday of the August Bank Holiday, and organized by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Junketing. This begins at 2 p.m. at Sandford’s Field. In addition to the donkey races (all the jockeys are children) there are bric-a-brac stalls, skittles, Aunt Sally, crockery smashing and much more.

mummers2

The Mummers

The Mummers perform plays on Christmas Eve every year. These plays have been performed since the nineteenth century in Bampton but are most likely much older. These dramas have been handed down through family tradition by word of mouth as no scripts exist. In the Bampton version there are ten characters including Robin Hood, Father Christmas, a Prussian King, St. George etc. The plays are uniquely performed in two acts instead of the customary one. Pagan rituals may have figured in the original plays as the plot involves many scenes of characters being finished off and then magically being brought back to life. This could perhaps symbolize the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. Watching the Mummers perform is a wonderful highlight of the Christmas season.

Ladies

Ladies of Downton Abbey

Bampton Pubs and Restaurants

After all this fun a little refreshment might be in order.

The Romany Inn On Bridge Street in Bampton is an unassuming pub serving typical but good pub food.                                                               Accomodation available.  www.TripAdvisor.com

The Horse Shoes On the High Street in Bampton. No food or accommodation http://www.bamptonoxon-                                                                                       parishcouncil.gov.uk

The Trout at Tadpole Bridge Is well known for its fine dining and serves the best food for miles around. It is  just five minutes’ drive down the road from Bampton in Buckland Marsh Diners come as far away as London to eat at this excellent riverside gastro-pub. In summer there are tables in the garden which leads down to the Thames. Stroll by the river with a pre-dinner drink. Accommodation available. www.trout-inn.co.uk

Cotswolds Memoir:

Now available in Paperback, Kindle and Audio Book

Cotswolds Memoir_DizWhite

Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain
on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage
(Larrabee Libraries)

A portion of the proceeds of every copy of this author’s book COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions. Available on

a.com_logo_RGB
        amazon

 

Lobster Bisque with Puff Pastry and Cotswolds Butter

 

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This luscious lobster bisque  is enhanced by using locally churned Cotswold Butter which is available at many Cotswold farmer’s markets. Below is the link to farmer’s markets in the region. This link and other useful foodie information appear in the Travel Guide of my book COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage. (Available on Amazon in Paperback, Kindle and Audio Book)

www.thecotswoldgateway.co.uk

Serves 4
Ingredients:

Bisque:
2 each 1¼ to 1½ lbs. live lobster
6 cups Water
2 cups Dry white wine
2 cups Fish stock
½ cup Melted butter, salted (Cotswold if possible)
1 cup Onions, finely diced
½ cup Carrots, finely diced
½ cup Celery, finely diced
1 tsp. Garlic, minced
½ cup All-purpose flour
¼ cup Cognac (or Brandy)
1½ cups Tomatoes, seeded and diced (fresh or canned)
1 tsp. Paprika
½ tsp. Thyme
¼ tsp. Ground red pepper
1 cup Heavy cream

Pastry:
Ready-made puff pastry
1 Cotswold egg
1 tbls cold water

Preparation:
1.Place the water, the white wine and the fish stock into a wide, deep pot (or a Dutch oven), and bring to a boil on high heat.
2.Place lobsters, topside down, in the broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook covered for approximately 6 minutes. With a pair of tongs, turn lobsters and cook covered for another 6 minutes.
3.Remove lobsters from broth and put them to the side. When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, begin removing the meat from the shell, dicing the pieces into ½-inch cubes. Store the lobster meat in the refrigerator until later. Place the lobster shells back into the broth, reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
4.Strain the broth through a sieve into a container and store in the refrigerator until later. Discard the lobster shells.
5.Put your pot (or Dutch oven) back on the stove under medium heat. Pour in the melted butter.
6.Once the butter is heated up, add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Sautee for 3 to 4 minutes.
7.Add the cognac (or brandy) and cook until the alcohol has evaporated.
8.Mix in the flour, stirring with a heavy gauge spatula or spoon until the mixture is blond in color and has a buttery aroma.
9.Mix the diced tomatoes, paprika, thyme and ground pepper with the cold broth from the refrigerator. Then, pour the broth slowly into the butter and vegetable mixture. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes under medium low heat, stirring frequently so not to burn.
10.Remove bisque from heat. Blend small amounts of bisque in blender and then puree. Puree all of the bisque and pour pureed bisque back into pot with remaining amount.
11.Add chopped lobster meat and heavy cream, heat and serve. If the soup is too thick, thin it by adding milk or water prior to serving.

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To add puff pastry:
Allow bisque to cool over night
Pre-heat oven to 350F/200C/180C fan/gas 6
Fill ramekins almost to the top with the cooled bisque (if filled to the
top, the bisque will wet the pastry and prevent it from rising)
Roll out a square of puff pastry to overlap the ramekin by an inch or so
Brush pastry with a mixture of egg beaten with a tbls of water
Place ramekins in oven for 20-30 minutes or until pastry is puffed up and browned

Cotswolds Memoir_DizWhite

New! Cotswolds Memoir is now available as an AudioBook in addition to Paperback and Kindle

Click below to order
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A portion of the proceeds of every copy of  COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions.

Visit the Cotswolds for Lamb Wellington

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Cotswold Lamb Wellington Recipe

In both Metric and Imperial Measures
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 kg (2-3 lb) leg of lamb. Use Cotswold Lamb if possible.
Bone and trim the lamb or have butcher do this.
10 mushrooms, sliced
1 package of ready-made puff pastry
½ cup chopped shallots
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
Handful of fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
1 tbsp. butter (Cotswold Butter if possible)
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 egg (Cotswold egg if possible)

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 350F/200C/180Cfan/gas 6
Melt butter in frying pan
Add garlic, shallots and mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes
Season with salt and pepper. Set aside
Heat the olive oil in a large pan
Brown the leg of lamb for 2 minutes on each side
Season with salt and pepper and set aside
Wait 10 minutes before assembling the Wellington
While the lamb cools roll out the pastry to a thickness of ¼” (75 cm) thick
Beat the egg in a bowl together with a tsp of water
Line a baking tray with parchment baking paper
Place the puff pastry sheet on the baking paper
Place the lamb on one end of the pastry
Spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the top of the lamb
Roll the pastry over the lamb, tucking in the sides as it is rolled
Coat the ends of the pastry in the egg mixture and pinch together
Brush the egg mixture over the remaining parts of the rolled Wellington
Place the cooking tray in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden and dry to the touch
Cover the lamb with a sheet of kitchen foil and let stand for 10 minutes
Slice in thick sections and serve

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Cotswolds Memoir_DizWhite

New! Cotswolds Memoir is now available as an AudioBook in addition to Paperback and Kindle

Click below to order
a.com_logo_RGB  

 

 amazon
A portion of the proceeds of every copy of  COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions.