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Chicken, red pepper and green bean risotto

With a little bit of patience, anybody can master the ancient art of preparing risotto in around 30 minutes and, once you've mastered this creamy, luxurious, Italian classic, you'll never look back.

Mushroom, prawns, pancetta, leftover roast lamb, crab, roast butternut squash, chorizo, courgette: variations on the risotto theme are endless, but a handful of rules must be adhered to. Firstly, high starch, short grain rice is intrinsic to the creamy texture of the finished dish – no other rice apart from Italian Arborio will do. White wine adds a fresh, complex, umami quality that transforms the dish from stodgy to sophisticated, and skimping on the quality of your stock can ruin all your hard work. Parmesan or a similar hard, Italian cheese such as Pecorino or Grana Padano further boosts the smooth, creamy end result, as does the knob of butter added at the finish. Never add cream – if you do, you'll end up with savoury rice pudding.

This tried-and-trusted combination brings a super-pretty risotto that pays homage to the colours of the Italian flag. For a vegetarian version, omit the chicken and use vegetable stock.

Ingredients (serves two)

100g fine green beans
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbsp of butter: one for frying, one to add at the finish
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, grated
200g Italian Arborio risotto rice
125ml white wine
500ml (approx) hot chicken stock
175g skinless roast chicken, cut into small pieces
100g frozen peas
75g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Freshly ground black pepper
Optional: dried tarragon, fresh parsley


  1. Steam the green beans for around 2–3 minutes and set to one side. Heat the oil in a large, high sided, non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, pepper, garlic (and a sprinkling of dried tarragon, if using) and fry for 2–3 minutes until just softened. 
  2. Add the rice to the pan and stir well for around a minute, coating the grains of rice with the oil.
  3. Add the wine and allow to bubble for a minute or two.
  4. Start adding the hot stock ladle by ladle, stirring continuously after each addition until the rice has absorbed the liquid.
    Note: you may not need all the stock; you may need slightly more – you're aiming for tender but al dente rice with a creamy appearance.
  5. Add the chicken, green beans and frozen peas and stir constantly until both are heated through.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining butter, a handful of Parmesan and a generous smattering of freshly ground black pepper. Stir well.
  7. Serve in warm bowls sprinkled with chopped parsley (if using), the remaining Parmesan and a glass (or several) of chilled Italian Chablis. Saluti!


The Common Room
Come try this sophisticated little Saville Row watering hole, where the upmarket, expertly mixed cocktails come at a 2 for £10 price every Monday to Friday, until 10pm. (See image above left.)

Vino Vino
The massive heated parasols on the spacious terrace turn autumn chills into a summer night-like sensation at this popular Saw Close bar where wine and cocktails are a speciality and the fizz flows in abundance. (See image above right.)

The Wolf Saloon
Enjoy wine, beer and coffee by semi-candlelight courtesy of Green Park Station's Wolf Wines head honchos, recently open for business on Lower Bristol Road.

The Botanist
Super-smart cocktail concoctions mingle with an ale inventory and an exciting wine list in these stylishly quirky, subtly theatrical surroundings in Milsom Street.

The Ivy Bath Brasserie
Relax and unwind with The Ivy's exclusive limited-edition cocktail menu. In collaboration with Seedlip, the world's first distilled non-alcoholic spirit, guests can enjoy a number of refreshing creations while de-stressing under The Ivy's exquisite floral installation.


Pale, luminous, and bathed in light and warmth with its large windows, roof lanterns and mirrored walls, Bouvardia Robert Zalus on Newbridge Hill has a dreamy sense of out of this world. The food is artfully presented, and provides an unparalleled treat for those who will appreciate a gentle gastronomic experience with classic luxury in a light-infused setting. Think smoked mackerel mousse, vegan bruschetta, Parmesan pork tenderloin with beetroot purée, and duck breast with fondant potatoes with pear and raspberry sauce. Come and be sprinkled with strawberry dust – or at least have it on your semifreddo, along with a viola or two. Two courses £22.50; three courses £34.50. Open Tuesday to Saturday, with orders taken from 6–9pm.

Bouvardia, Bathen House Hotel, 88 Newbridge Hill, Bath BA1 3QA


Author Maggie O'Farrell has just won the 25th Women's Prize for Fiction for her novel Hamnet, which imagines the short life of Shakespeare's only son during a global pandemic. What's more, the BBC have bought the rights so audiences can expect to see O'Farrell's profound tale of love and loss on our television screens soon. We can't wait!

In celebration, here is Millie Bruce-Watt's recent review of Hamnet, the pandemic novel circa 1590s, which displays uncanny parallels with the Covid-19 crisis circa right now.

Enjoy a five minute read on our website - click here

The White Ship by Charles Spencer

The sinking of the White Ship on the 25 November 1120 is one of the greatest disasters that England has ever suffered. Its repercussions would change English and European history forever. Written to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the shipwreck, historian and author Charles Spencer evokes the harsh and brutal story of the Normans from Conquest to anarchy. Publishes 17 September. £25

Charles Spencer will be appearing at Topping & Co. Booksellers on 30 November. Tickets cost £25, which are fully redeemable against a copy of the book. Doors open at 6.30pm, with the event starting at 8pm. Book your tickets here.


Inside Art – Curated by Monserrat Pis Marcos
Wedding Dance in the Open Air

Big weddings and merrymaking in groups are still a distant memory, but celebrations have always been part of our DNA, as Bruegel the Younger’s Wedding Dance in the Open Air (painted circa 1607–14) shows. Art curator and historian, Monserrat Pis Marcos from The Holburne Museum gives us some fascinating insights into the painting, one of over 100 compositions by Pieter Brueghel the Younger and his workshop. 

Enjoy a two minute read on our website.

Handmade quilt for raffle

This quilt by 91 year old Anne Rossiter, was made out of 500 pieces of fabric during lockdown to raise money for the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

Anne trained as a nurse in 1948 and went on to become a district nurse midwife before starting Rossiters Department Store in Bath with her husband Michael in 1961. They retired from Rossiters over 20 years ago.

The quilt is on display in Rossiters where raffle tickets can be bought for a chance to win this beautiful quilt. Tickets £5. All proceeds go to the RUH Bath.


John David Washington is the new Protagonist in Christopher Nolan’s original sci-fi action spectacle Tenet. Armed with only one word – tenet – and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. Not time travel, but ‘inversion’. Catch it while you can at The Little Theatre Cinema.


Based on the 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, Ratched follows the life of Mildred Ratched, a young nurse who begins working as a nurse at a leading psychiatric hospital. But beneath her stylish exterior lurks a growing darkness.

Starring Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story, Bird Box), Finn Wittrock (La La Land, American Horror Story) and Judy Davis (A Passage to IndiaHusbands and Wives), this American psychological thriller is sure to have you on the edge of your seat. Watch the first episode on Netflix on 18 September.


Steeped in tradition, quality and elegance, Montblanc's Meisterstück document case is the perfect business companion. Featuring a slim profile designed to hold a tablet, documents and pens. Made in Italy from smooth, soft grain black leather, it comes with a shoulder strap and the iconic Montblanc emblem centred under the handles. Get back to work in style. For further details see the Mallory website.


Sturdy yet lightweight, waterproof and agile the new PAMPA HI Recycled WP+ is a fully waterproof adventure boot, designed as a collaboration between French brand Palladium and Cornwall’s Finisterre to handle the toughest terrain. The boots are made with recycled and vegan friendly materials throughout so you can explore your world with as little impact on the planet as possible. On sale at Finisterre from 16th September. Get the boots at


OCL Accountancy

As millions of self-employed professionals continue to claim a grant through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, OCL Accountancy warns people to keep a record of their claims.

"As expected, HMRC said that you should keep a copy of records in line with normal self-employment record keeping, including how much you claimed under SEISS and the claim reference number (and this should be kept for at least five years after the 31 January tax return deadline or, if later, four years after you send your tax return). The SEISS grant is business income and taxable, so keep a copy of the calculation," says OCL Accountancy.

"The second element of the requirements is not so easy, as HMRC advise you must keep evidence of how your business was adversely affected by coronavirus. Originally it appeared that making a claim and confirming that your business was 'adversely affected' by coronavirus was sufficient, but now it appears you must have records evidencing the nature of the adverse effects to your business."

Read OCL Accountancy's full article here.

The Brave Zone

Clients ask three questions before they decide to buy your services: 'Do I like and trust you?'; 'Do you understand me?'; and 'Can you help me?' So Cynthia Wihardja of The Brave Zone says, 'Have you answered those in your marketing?'. This month, Cynthia is offering professionals advice on marketing their business.

"Marketing your own service is more than just creating a sexy slogan or a cool website. It’s about showing clients that you care and can help them. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes.

"What makes them like and trust you? Is it your list of achievements and awards? Well, maybe in part. But in my experience, it doesn’t start with achievements. It starts with intention. People can feel your intention. Do you care more about getting the sale for yourself, or do you really care about solving their problems? 'People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care' may be cliché, but it’s true. So what problem are you passionate to solve? Why?"

Read Cynthia's full article here.


Loaf’s new A/W 20 collection is chock-full of new goodies, with a new line of sofas to add to their huge range, and their 150+ choice of fabrics and colours. There are three new sofa designs making their debut in stores (the nearest being Bristol’s Cribbs Causeway). The Squisharoo is a more upright design than Loaf’s other deeper sofas, but check out the Squish, and a Bear Hug sofa – both are available in love-seat options. For those who prefer a modular option, then the Wodge range offers lots of plush choices. For full details, visit

Image: SQUISHAROO sofa in Burnished Yellow clever velvet from £1,295


Combe Hay, Bath

This impressive five-bedroom detached country home in an idyllic location boasts a generous entrance hall and spacious drawing room on the ground floor. A large open-plan kitchen and dining room with an island unit and granite worktops also provides a great modern family living space that is perfect for entertaining. Additionally, there is a practical utility room, two cloakrooms and a garden room/snug with French doors leading to the gardens.

On the first floor is the master bedroom with ensuite shower room and views across the gardens, guest bedroom with an adjoining shower room, two further double bedrooms, dressing room or fifth bedroom with a fine range of fitted wardrobes and the family bathroom. The property is approached through solid wood electric gates on to a block paved driveway. On the market at £1,350,000.

View the full property particulars on Savills Bath website

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