All Posts By

Susan Holtham


7 effortless all-natural kitchen spring cleaning hacks 

12th March 2018

Chemical-free spring cleaning tips and tricks made so easy, you wish you’d done them sooner.

Kitchen lovers, it’s that time of year again. Get ready to savour the spotless happy place that will be your kitchen after these cost-effective, all-natural spring cleaning tips.

1. Stainless steel: Put a bit of vinegar on it

7 effortlessly easy all-natural kitchen spring cleaning tips and tricks

Vinegar is acidic so it’s perfect to use anywhere where you want to get rid of smears and stains. Clean stainless steel by spraying distilled white vinegar mixed with equal parts of water. It’ll wipe out greasy surfaces, fingerprints and reduce limescale in no time, leaving you with shiny taps and mirrors.

You can also use it to get rid of the damp smell on clothes from your washing machine. With no clothes in the machine, pour half a mug of distilled white vinegar where fabric conditioner goes in, set it on a run at 90°C and follow up with a rinse. Just don’t reach for the balsamic .

2. Burnt pans: Cake them in bicarb

spring cleaning made easy

…or use lemon halves to brighten up copper pans. Photo: Natale Towell.

Sodium bicarbonate is a mild alkali and that can cause dirt and grease to dissolve easily in water. Save the outside of burned pans by covering the offending area with a thick layer of bicarbonate of soda and leaving it overnight. The brown bits should wipe off and use a scourer if there’s a bit of resistance.

For the inside of pans, try adding some water to the bicarb, heating the pan briefly with the solution in it and leaving it for 24 hours. Whilst suitable for stainless steel, cast-iron and non-stick pans, don’t do this on aluminium. For aluminium pans you can remove water tide marks by boiling water with sliced apple, rhubarb or lemon peel. For tough stains, boil three parts vinegar to one part water. To brighten up copper pan, use lemon halves dipped in salt or baking powder.

3. Ovens: Don’t reach for oven cleaner…

7 effortlessly easy all-natural kitchen spring cleaning tips and tricks

Who knew oven envy was a thing…

Reach for the bicarb (again) to degrease your oven. Not only will you avoid harsh chemicals, but you’ll also resist the need to invest in a biohazard suit.

Spread a paste of bicarb and water all over the inside surfaces of your oven, being careful to avoid the heating elements. Leave it overnight and wipe it all off with a damp cloth. You’ll probably need to give it a little elbow grease and spray some distilled white vinegar onto any soda residues. This will get it to gently foam up and make it easy to wipe away anything left.

4. High surfaces: Do the cloth trick

Baffled by how the top of cupboards get so dusty? Even more baffled by how to clean them? Lay a piece of cloth over the surface and when it comes to cleaning time, just carefully remove it, give it a shake outside and a wash.

Gone are the perilous days of scrubbing an area that you can’t really see properly and no one else will ever see, making the whole escapade feel like a total waste of time…

5. Larder: Fall in love with jars

7 effortlessly easy all-natural kitchen spring cleaning tips and tricks

Go on, give good kilner. Photo: Helen Cathcart.

Storing dry goods such as rice, pasta and lentils needn’t be a matter of shoving bags into an already jam-packed giant Tupperware. Show off your staples by investing in a few large kilner jars and artfully displaying them on a shelf.

No, this is not just a thing for other people with fancy kitchens. Not only will you be able to easily see what you’ve got in your larder, it’ll urge you to actually use it.

Pop a label on with the before before date and basic cooking instructions. Remember to do a little stock rotation too, i.e. decant what’s already in there first before adding the new stuff.

6. Crockery: If it’s chipped, chuck it

7 effortlessly easy all-natural kitchen spring cleaning tips and tricks

Chipped? Chuck it. It’s the crockery rule.

Unless you have a real attachment to something  – we’re talking about the mug that got you through university – get rid of any chipped crockery (and invest in some super-tough Duralex glasses).

They’re both a breeding ground for unwanted bacteria and a weak point that could lead to breakage mid-slurp. Sort through your cupboards and remove them from your kitchen. Go on, you can do it.

7. Spices and frozen foods: Be ruthless

7 effortlessly easy all-natural kitchen spring cleaning tips and tricks

If you haven’t seen it in a year, it’s time to get rid.

Spices lose their flavour over time. If you bought a giant pack of garam masala when travelling around Kerala in 2012 and it’s still in your kitchen, now’s the time to bin it.

Same goes for old mystery meats, stews and bread in your freezer over a year old. Sounds tough, but if you haven’t used by now, chances are you never will. Keep frozen ground meats for up to four months and frozen cooked meat up for to three months.

Don’t forget: after you’ve taken a lazy afternoon to give these all-natural spring cleaning ideas a go, pour yourself a much deserved cup of tea / coffee / negroni and enjoy the fruits of your low-labour efforts.

Replenish your larder and pick up essential eco cleaning products at

Treat your shelf to some DIY pantry goodies such homemade kombucha, tahini, mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar.

Treat yourself post-spring cleaning to one of these beautifully simple gin cocktails with a twist.


Why ‘new season’ spring lamb is a myth

8th March 2018

Why you need to forget everything you thought you knew about eating spring lamb.

spring lamb myth

Sheep with their lambs in the summer at Fernhill Farm.

Easter Sunday lunch wouldn’t be complete without a leg of ‘new season’ spring lamb on the table, so supermarkets tell us. After all, there’s almost no better sign of a change in season than the sight of young lambs frolicking in lush pasture.

However, when you think about it, this makes little seasonal sense. Surely spring is when lambs are born, not eaten?

Why lamb at Easter?

History, custom and eating ‘celebration food’ at the end of fasting play a large part in the idea of eating lamb at Easter. In Medieval England the celebration fell at the end of a period of fasting known as ‘the hungry month’. People were able to get hold of lamb at this time, symbolising the lamb of God.

Where does spring lamb actually come from?

Up until around mid-summer, a lot of the lamb sold at supermarkets is imported from countries with longer lambing seasons such as New Zealand. British ‘new season’ spring lamb sold at this time of year will have been born in January and reared indoors with their mothers’ milk during the cold months.

A few sheep breeds can lamb naturally in winter in Britain, yet most can’t. Some ewes will be given oestrogen to bring them into season earlier. Ewes lambing outside of spring won’t be fed on spring grass but on a supplementary feed such as ‘concentrate’ which is pelleted cereal. Known as “suck lamb” it is sweet but paler with a mild flavour that some say is a little porky compared with lamb born in the spring and raised on grass outdoors over the summer.

What happens to lamb born in spring in Britain?

spring lamb myth

What are ewe looking at?

British spring-born lamb comes into the height of its seasonal best in the summer, from around mid-June and into September. Much of the British lamb sold at this time of year will have been born in the spring of last year.

In the trade this isn’t technically called lamb but is known as hogget, which is a one-year-old animal in its second spring or summer. Having had a full year out on grass, it’s the best of both worlds in terms of being full of flavour yet terrifically tender.

We need to talk about ‘terroir’

Small-scale farmers proud of their provenance will tell you there is such a thing as lamb ‘terroir’. This is where consumers can expect differences in flavour and taste depending on the location of where grazing happens and also the breed of sheep.

Romney lamb raised on natural grasses and samphire of the salt marshes in Kent has a rich flavour and natural marbled fat. Head to the Shetlands and you’ll find a leaner meat from native breed lamb raised on its heather-filled grassland.

Shepherd Andy Wear amongst the clover with his sheepdog on his farm, Fernhill Farm, in the Mendip Hills.

Farmers Jen and Andy Wear rear sheep at their record-setting Fernhill Farm in Mendip Hills. They describe their lamb as having a “distinctive flavour gained from a forage diet that is part of this green and pleasant land”, says Andy. “Sheep have the ability to harvest minerals deep within the soil when they eat a nutrient-rich mix of a variety of plants and grasses,” Jen explains.

On the importance of spring-born lambs spending time out on pasture, Jen says: “During the summer months, mature plants put their energy into setting their seeds for the survival of their species, thus bringing up deep-rooted minerals that sheep can digest and release to us. Slow maturing lambs fed on mature plants naturally bring beneficial qualities.” Not baaad huh.

All lamb reared by our shepherds Andy at Park Farm and Andy at Fernhill Farm whose flock graze on the land at Luke’s Story Organics’farm in the Chew Valley too) are nearing hoggett age at this time of year. They will have had a full year out on grass. Grass-fed meat tends to be lower in total fat and also has higher levels of ‘good fats’ such as Omega-3 and higher vitamin levels, particularly Vitamin E.

Grass fed vs. grain fed beef: here’s why you need to know the difference.

Pair lamb with new season wild garlic in our recipe and here’s more ideas on how to wild stuff in our handy guide.


Homegrown talent: Meet the florists backing British blooms

8th March 2018

We’re proud of our food, so why not British flowers? The UK spends more than £2 billion on cut flowers per year, but around 90% are imported. Meet the new breed of florists helping the homegrown industry blossom.

The Tregothnan Estate in Cornwall grow and source all of their British flowers from their historic gardens, meadows and surrounding land.

The Tregothnan Estate in Cornwall grow and source all of their British flowers from their historic gardens, meadows and surrounding land.

If there’s one thing the English are known for, outside of tea and biscuits, it’s that we know how to grow a jolly good garden. It may then come as surprise to find out that only 12% of flowers sold in the UK are British.

However if you’re you British flower grower, this 30-year long battle now looks like it may be at a turning point.

What happened to the British flower industry?

In the 1950s domestic production occupied the majority of the British flower market.

Things changed when the Dutch government invested heavily in their flower industry. State-led subsidies helped the industry grow quickly by producing flowers at a lower price and more efficiently than competitors — and so the world-famous Dutch flower industry was born.

The warehouse of a Dutch flower market.

By the 1980s British florists welcomed the opportunity to distinguish themselves by working with new varieties whilst benefiting from savings on competing products. This coincided with the parallel rise of the supermarket in Britain.

Supermarkets now occupy almost 60% of UK flower sales today, with florists contributing to around 25%. It’s interesting that this is opposite to the trend in other Western European countries where, ‘on average, florists account for the majority of sales and supermarkets contribute around a fifth’, according to Amy Gray, Horticultural Advisor to the National Farmers Union.

“In the 1970’s there were over 120 Chrysanthemum growers producing some 60 million stems a year. By 2013, there were only 3 growers left,” says Gray. It looks the supermarket habit is one we Brits find hard to shake.

How sustainable is your bunch of flowers?

The demand for a variety of fresh cut flowers all year round and a market driven by high volumes and low prices led to the high amount of imports into the UK. However, an awareness is gathering pace amongst growers and consumers alike who are conscious that it’s not only the price that’s unsustainable.

Tulip plantation in a greenhouse.

Dutch imports are mass-cultivated in huge fields and glasshouses across Europe and developing countries such as Africa or South America. These flowers are sprayed with chemicals preservatives – such as ethylene blocking chemicals to delay ripening – to see them through the journey  where they are  flown, or sometimes shipped, across time zones.

Then there’s the impact of this gargantuan supply chain on the health and labour standards of the people picking and processing these flowers around the world.

Why now’s the time for home-grown blooms to shine

British flowers can now begin to compete with cheap imports as subsidies are being phased out and the cost of production  is rising. Perceptions are also starting to change as consumers are demanding traceability and quality.

Much like the growing market for specialist food producers, British growers can enjoy an integrity of provenance, freshness and an ability to offer something different from the mainstream. These qualities have captured independent florists who are seeing customers change their minds about what they want.

A new breed of British florist

British florists are growing their own and using seasonal stems instead of relying on flown. After making a documentary for the BBC about the history of the British flower industry in 2007, the Shropshire-based florist Juliet Glaves decided to take control and start a flower farm for her own use.

Homegrown talent: Meet the florists backing British flowers

Florist Juliet Glaves gathering flowers she’s grown on her Shropshire farm.

On the loss of the majority of UK growers, Glaves explains: “What was once a thriving industry had become a shadow of its former glory within the space of just 30 years. It seemed especially sad because our climate is perfect for flower-growing.”

Following in the footsteps of her nurseryman uncle and florist aunt, she bought a pig farm and set about overseeing the whole process — harvesting to arranging her own flowers.

The Tregothnan Estate sell 100% British flowers and foliage direct to consumers grown on the largest, historic, botanic garden in Cornwall. Set over 100 acres, house flowers were historically an important part of the gardeners’ duties.

Bella Percy-Hughes, who works at the gardens says: “We specialise in wild Cornish flowers and our florists are familiar with what we grow  – they’re tasked with picking them. You get to know your favourites too and look forward to the time when they come around - there’s a real beauty in that.”

Homegrown talent: Meet the florists backing British flowers

Florist Hazel Gardiner has seen a rise in an interest in provenance.

North London-based florist Hazel Gardiner has also noticed a gear change in demand: “Customers often ask about provenance. Many imported flowers have a significant carbon footprint, are grown using pesticides and have predominantly less scent. Naturally grown, seasonal British flowers have an intoxicating perfume and a non-identical beauty that elevates them above imported competition.”

Growers going wild and native

Britain’s climate is ideal for growing flowers in tune with natural rhythms of the year. Cornwall in particular has a unique microclimate, making it possible to cultivate varieties not available elsewhere. “We grow Manuka and put them in our edible bouquets” says Bella. “We’re the only place outside of New Zealand to grow it.”

Homegrown talent: Meet the florists backing British flowers

An archway of Camellia trees at the Tregothnan Estate.

Mid-June to mid-October is the height of the British flower season. At Tregothanan “tulips, stocks and daffs are in abundance at the moment but it changes weekly. As we get deeper into summer, the list gets wider and we savour the season ,” says Bella.

Currently, there is no overarching grower association to promote the British cut flower industry. However, Yorkshire farmer Gill Hodgson set up not-for-profit group Flowers from the Farm in 2011 to encourage more homegrowing in order to reduce imports and make less familiar varieties available to the public. With now over 500 members, it’s the UK’s biggest network of cut flower growers on a mission to “get local blooms back into every vase”.

So, will you be backing British blooms this Mother’s Day?

Discover our range of seasonal British flowers delivered via train from Cornwall from the historic Tregothnan Estate at

Why we pay British farmers double what they get at supermarkets and how you’re saving farmers with each shop.


5 time-saving tips to ace slow cooker recipes

28th February 2018

Invaluable tips for getting slow cooker recipes right to help you slow-cook like a pro and slice hours off your working week.

Pork and bean stew, slow cooked to perfection. Photo: Natale Towell.

Slow-cooked meals are a dream to eat and a breeze to cook. With the weather not up to much, now’s the perfect time to be whipping up wintery warmers. Think you don’t have enough time for slow-cooking? Think again. You’ll actually save time, money and win major nutrition points by making the most out of seasonal ingredients with little effort and a lot of tasty reward. Here are our top hints and tips to help you become a slow-cook pro and save hours in the kitchen.

1. Embrace cheaper cuts (and save money)

Ward off ills with homemade Chicken Noodle Broth. Photo: Natale Towell.

It’s an old chestnut, but cheaper cuts of meat really do bring tons of flavour to the pot. Cuts such as brisket, shoulder, shin, skirt, chuck and belly demand slow cooking because they’re from a part of the animal has had to work harder. The result? Deep, layered, incredible flavours that just can’t be replicated in a quick-cook scenario.

Have a go at a classic meaty stew by throwing chuck or shin in a pot with root veg and red wine. Or try using beef bones or chicken carcasses that would otherwise go to waste to get your broth on. Slow-cooking performs the same magic on vegetables too, amping up flavours to reveal layers of luscious depths as well as keeping all of their goodness in.

2. A little prep goes a long way

Try slow-cooking dahl in advance and enjoy with pan fried hake for warming midweek supper. Photo: Natale Towell.

Browning meat or vegetables at the beginning imparts a caramelised flavour that’s essential to the magic slow cooking and is a step that shouldn’t be skipped. Recognise the gnarly brown bits at the bottom of the pan when you fry something? These bits are where the flavour building begins and is a step well worth doing if you’re after some glorious umami.

Try browning meat cuts lightly dusted in flour to ramp up the caramelisation and keep the flavour locked in. The same goes for vegetables. Pan fry onions on the lowest heat until meltingly soft (at least 15 minutes) to knock your soups, stews and curries into next Sunday.

3. Batch it up (and save time)

Always prepare for seconds when it comes to pulled pork. Photo: Natale Towell.

The beauty of slow-cooked meals is that they do the hard work so you don’t have to. This is where the time-saving part really kicks in. Taking some time to get your slow-cook on means it’s effortlessly easy to make every dinner day like a Sunday. The flavour of a cooked stew or pie-like dish intensifies over time as the ingredients have had longer to intermingle and get cosy – making that weekend bolognese all the better come Monday.

To make the most of your slow cooked meals, make double the original amount and freeze in tupperware. Batch cooking slow-suppers in advance will give your midweek meals unbeatable flavour and you’ll also save yourself a lot of time during the week. Double win.

4. Go slow, go low

Go low and slow for Phở. Photo: Natale Towell.

The great thing about dishes cooked slowly is that in their nature they ooze flavour, without all the legwork you’d usually need to put in to impart a big flavour punch in quick dish. Take things up a notch and slow-cook your dish for longer on the lowest heat and you’ll find most dishes benefit from gentle heat over a longer period of time.

Going low and slow means flavours have more time to develop with the added benefit of your kitchen smelling scrumptious. Go from 4 hours to 8 hours and you’re destined for a spot on the slow-cook hall of fame. Throw fresh herbs in the end for a clean kick and voilà – supper’s sorted.

5. No touching

If you like it then you better put a lid on it: slow-cook Spag Bol for flavour like no other. Photo: Natale Towell.

One phrase to bear in mind is ‘set it and forget it’. As tempting as it may be, don’t lift the lid for a peek. Each time you open the lid heat and moisture are released, lowering the temperature of what’s inside and letting that luscious liquid go up in vapour. Opening the lid over a period of eight hours will make also make a dent in your timings.

The joy of not peeping means you keep all the nutritious liquid in one place. If you’d like to thicken it up, add some cornflour right at the end, or reduce in another pan on the hob before devouring your sticky stash.

This article was originally published in November 2016 and has since been updated.

Feel good food: discover why British farmers receive double the pay the get from supermarkets at Farmdrop.

Need a wine with that? Here’s your seasonal food and wine guide to get you through a lingering winter.

Discover six utterly soothing slow cooker recipes from London’s top chefs.


5 of the best restaurants to build a country weekend break around

28th February 2018

Desperate for a foodie getaway? Feast on five hand-picked delectable destinations just two hours (or so, ish) from London worth building the ultimate country weekend break staycation around. So go on, book that Friday off and make plans for a game-changer of a dinner-meets-weekend away. Your inner chef deserves it.

1. The Sportsman, Whitstable

5 best restaurants to build a country weekend break around near London

The Sportsman: the best ‘grotty rundown pub by the sea’ you’ll ever eat at.

When this pub was crowned National Restaurant of the Year 2016, it left it’s chef/patron Stephen Harris ‘gobsmacked’. It won again in 2017 and was also named Gastropub of the Year for the second time in a row. The only non-London restaurant to make it into the top five, you can find the Michelin starred-pub on the windswept barren beauty of the Seasalter coast. Self-taught cook Steven swapped a career in finance in 1996 for a professional kitchen and three years later landed near his home town of Whitstable.

Previously a self-proclaimed ‘grotty rundown pub by the sea’ (via their Twitter bio, now minus the words grotty and rundown), Stephen used ingredients he could see from his kitchen window long before the farm-to-fork movement hit the mainstream, saying: “This bit of salt marsh on the north Kent coast was owned by the kitchens of Canterbury Cathedral, and for more than a thousand years it was the larder for this area, so it seemed right to use the land.”

Now equipped with a small kitchen garden, his dishes let native ingredients do the talking with beautiful finesse. Whether going a la carte and or for the excellent value daily tasting menu, dine on Whitstable Native Oysters, slip sole grilled in seaweed butter and round it off with a rosehip ice lolly. Book far in advance and don’t forget to take a trip down the coast to see the sights, shops and sounds of Whitstable seafront too.

Getting there: 1hr 40mins by car from central London.

Find it: The Sportsman, Faversham Road, Seasalter, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 4BP

2. 64 Degrees, Brighton

5 best restaurants to build a country weekend break around near London

Truffle tagliatelle with confit egg yolk at 64 Degrees, Brighton.

Tucked away in the Brighton Lanes, 64 Degrees is a tiny restaurant serving small plates using fresh, local produce from an open kitchen. Founded by chef Michael Bremner (a Great British Menu finalist), his award-winning kitchen sits bang in the middle of the seating area. Perch on a high stool — one of only 27 seats — and you’ll see every slice and dice as you sit at the pass.

There are just 16 plates to choose from — four of each meat, veg, fish and sweet — and its relaxed muted interior leaves space to focus on all the drama happening before your eyes. The co-creator behind dishes such as ‘tongue, pea, jowl’ and ‘celeriac, chestnut, yolk’, head chef Sam Lambert says: ‘we just stick to local, and the fact we’re face to face with customers means we can tell them exactly what’s in the food’. And the name? We hear it pays tribute to the optimum temperature for poaching an egg.

Getting there: 1hr train ride from Victoria + 10 mins walk

Find it: 64 Degrees, 53 Meeting House Lane, Brighton BN1 1HB

3. Hartnett Holder & Co at Lime Wood Hotel, New Forest

5 best restaurants to build a country weekend break around near London

Hole up for the weekend at Hartnett Holder & Co in the New Forest. Photo: Áamy Murrell.

If you weren’t aware already, Angela Hartnett’s cooking is an Italian-inspired tour de force (pop to Murano and you’ll know what we mean). Hartnett Holder & Co is the restaurant of the luxury country-house Lime Wood hotel set in 145 square miles of ancient heath in the heart of the New Forest and makes for an idyllic epicurean country weekend break.

Together with chef Luke Holder, Angela and the team create locally sourced Italian dishes with a respectful nod to the seasons. Pretentious fine dining and big plates are out and home cooked sharing plates are in. Expect dishes such as fresh wild garlic, served simply with gnocchi, Parmesan and pine nuts or a cashew nut hummus (as spotted on Instagram). Complete with cosy wood fires, oak interiors, and an onsite smoke house, handily there’s a sumptuous bed you can roll into after dinner.

Getting there: approx 2hr drive from central London

Find it: Lime Wood Hotel, Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst, Hampshire SO43 7FZ

Honorary mention: The Pig, Brockenhurst

Sister hotel of Lime Wood, it’s another fine example of the right amount of glamour needed to make a time-precious country weekend break go with a bang. Expect locally sourced and foraged ingredients with a story without any old-fashioned stiffness. Its menu is uncomplicated seasonal British garden food influenced by the forest and coast and all to enjoy in a stunning country house.

Getting there: approx 2hr drive from central London

Find it: Beaulieu Road, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7QL

4. Hand & Flowers, Marlow

5 best restaurants to build a country weekend break around near London

Fancy an Essex lamb “bun” and a pint?

Zoom down the M40 and you can be at chef Tom Kerridge’s Hand and Flowers  – the only pub in the UK to hold two Michelin stars  –  in just over an hour from central London. Located in the Georgian town of Marlow, there’s a little whimsy to be experienced amongst it’s chocolate-box pretty, winding historic streets along the Thames. A thoroughly modern British pub that you can stay over in, Tom and his wife opened in 2005 with the idea of it being a place they’d like to go on their day off. Now it’s a place that folk from around the world are desperate to visit on their day off.

The menu’s focus is on making the most of the best seasonal ingredients with little fuss and lots of charm. Dishes include lovage soup to start, and an Essex lamb “bun” for a main and chocolate and ale cake to finish. Book a table in advance or if you prefer to be spontaneous on a country weekend break, head to his second non-bookable pub called The Coach, also in Marlow.

Getting there: 1hr 10 mins drive from central London, or 1hr 30mins by train and bus

Find it: The Hand and Flowers, 126 West Street, Marlow SL7 2BP

5. The Ethicurean, Bristol

5 best restaurants to build a country weekend break around near London

Dine overlooking an exquisite Victorian walled garden and the Mendip Hills at The Ethicurean.

The Ethicurean is a must-visit destination for arguably the most beautiful setting to eat in on a country weekend break in Somerset. Focussed on sourcing ingredients from the nearby fields, forests and orchards that surround their garden, its philosophy is simple: “eat local, celebrate native foods, live well.”

Its story began when friends Jack Adair Bevan, Paula Zarate and brothers Ian and Matthew Pennington met working at farmers’ markets. They took a shine to an apple business at Barley Wood Walled Garden and its conservatory-style cafe was available to rent too. Together, they grabbed the opportunity and use everything from its bursting vegetable and herb patches to make their own vermouths, fermentations and of course, apple juice. Expect vibrant dishes such as cucumber with labneh at lunch to a scones adorned with jam made from their walls which ‘drip with fruit’ for an afternoon tea break. Check out their cookbook to try their dishes at home.

Getting there: 2hrs 40mins drive from London (okay it’s not 2hours, but you need to go!)

Find it: The Ethicurean, Barley Wood Walled Garden, Long Lane, Wrington, Bristol, BS40 5SA

In need a rural escape that requires a flight? Take a look at our top 8 international farm stay holidays guaranteed to beat winter blues.

DIY Pantry

How to make tahini at home – a step by step guide

26th February 2018

Quick, easy and inexpensive, here’s an incredibly simple recipe for making tahini at home so you’ll never be in a hummus shortage situation again.

You’re moments away from your own homemade tahini. Photo: Natale Towell.

The backbone essential to any good hummus, tahini is a sesame seed paste that is great to have in your store cupboard. Like any nut butter, it lasts for ages, tastes great slathered on toast, blitzed into smoothies, whisked into a dressing or baked into sweet nutty biscuits. In the Middle East, tahini is mixed with date syrup and drizzled onto bread for a quick sweet treat. In a similar vein, you can loosen it with water until spoonable, add salt, a bit of garlic and lemon juice and drizzle that onto bread too. All delicious!

For now, though, you need just two ingredients: sesame seeds and a neutral-flavoured oil, like light olive oil or groundnut oil.

When you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, this is how you make it.


You’ll need a frying pan, a food processor and a sterilised jar to store your tahini in.

5 easy steps to homemade tahini

Step 1

Photo: Natale Towell

Place at least 100g of sesame seeds in a dry frying pan. Any less will make it difficult to blitz in your food processor later. Toast over a medium-high heat, stirring and shaking the pan often. Watch they don’t burn: a bitter seed will give you bitter tahini.

Step 2

Photo: Natale Towell

Tip into a food processor and blitz to a rough paste.

Step 3

Photo: Natale Towell

With the processor still running, add a drizzle of neutral-flavoured oil, such as light olive oil or groundnut oil.

Step 4

Photo: Nat Towell

Keep going, adding small drizzles of the oil until it starts to become a looser, smoother paste – as a rough guide, 2 tablespoons per 100g of seeds works about right. The more oil, the looser the texture and the more diluted the flavour, so try to strike a balance, adding small amounts of oil until it’s just smooth enough.

Step 5

Photo: Nat Towell

When you’ve hit your just smooth enough consistency, store in a jar and keep in the fridge or at room temperature.

And that’s it! Beyond homemade hummus, be sure to try it as an alternative to nut butter to spread on toast or thrown it into brownies and cakes for a savoury edge.

Caught the DIY pantry bug? Learn how to make a stunning apple cider vinegar, an easy mayonnaise, gut-friendly kombucha, a go-to paneer cheese or creamy yoghurt at home.

Try our homemade hummus recipe and keep your eyes peeled for a step-by-step coming soon to our DIY Pantry series.

Want to buy before you try? Discover tahini at