Plus, a delightfully indulgent recipe and an Academy Award-nominated film View in browser

A specially curated guide to help you enjoy the next 48 hours in Bath


Recipe by Melissa Blease
Vanilla panna cotta with raspberry sauce

Creamy, fruity, indulgent and glamorous, panna cotta is a fabulous finale to a celebratory dinner (and a wonderful alternative to rich, heavy Christmas pud, perhaps?) But given such high fallutin' qualities, it's surprisingly quick and easy to make! To make it even easier, both the panna cotta and the accompanying raspberry sauce can be made up to 24 hours in advance of serving; just chill them both separately until you're ready to assemble and serve.


For the panna cotta:

250ml whole milk
250ml double cream
3 gelatine leaves
1 tsp vanilla essence (or the seeds of 1 vanilla pod)
1 tbsp caster sugar

For the sauce:

350g raspberries
175g caster sugar
175ml water
Optional: splash of cherry liqueur

To serve:

Fresh mint, icing sugar


  1. Soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water. Put the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla essence (or seeds) into a saucepan pan and bring to simmering point. 
  2. Take the pan off the heat, squeeze the excess water out of the gelatine leaves and add them to the warm, creamy mixture. Stir until dissolved before dividing the mixture between four ramekins or small bowls and allowing to cool before refrigerating for at least one hour, until set.
  3. Meanwhile, make the sauce: bring the water, sugar and cherry liqueur (if using) to the boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Add half the raspberries and blend with a hand blender until smooth before passing the sauce through a sieve to remove the raspberry seeds. Add the remaining fruit to the sauce and stir gently, without crushing the fresh raspberries. Allow to cool completely.
  4. Turn each panna cotta out on to individual serving plates (you might need to run a knife around the inside of each ramekin to ensure a smooth transition).
  5. Spoon the fruit sauce over the top of each panna cotta, encouraging it to dribble down the sides a bit and form a pretty puddle on the plate.
  6. Garnish each panna cotta with a sprig of fresh mint and dust lightly with icing sugar.


Out from 2 December

As always, there will be so many great reads by our team of wonderful writers and contributors as well as beautifully presented advertising by Bath's best businesses. We hope you'll enjoy the read.

15,000 copies are delivered door to door, and you can pick up a copy at many places around town and from our stands at Waitrose, Sainsbury, M&S Foods (Twerton Mills), (Tesco Weston Village) and the Holburne Museum.

Alternatively, you can read all our previous issues on our website


Virtual artisan market

Wells Food Festival with Charlie Bigham’s is offering Christmas shoppers the chance to discover and buy delicious treats from local food and drink artisans, in an imaginative online alternative to the traditional Christmas market.

Foodies can fill baskets with artisan produce from Somerset and the South West of England, from seasonal goods to gifts, including Christmas puddings by Plum Duff & Stuff, Charcuterie from Somerset Charcuterie and award-winning cheese from Feltham’s Farm, plus tipples from Fenny Castle Vineyard and Chew Valley Gin.

As well as the online food stalls, the festival’s Tent Talks include a series of masterclasses in Christmas preparation, such as making sloe gin with MasterChef winner Matt Follas. Visitors can also enjoy highlights of the virtual Bigham’s Banquet, where 650 home cooks prepared a five-course feast alongside top chefs, including Osip’s Merlin Labron-Johnson, to raise £13,000 for Chefs in Schools.


Pop-up art gallery in Milsom Place

Online art gallery and consultancy Modern ArtBuyer is launching a pop-up art gallery in Milsom Place Bath for a pre-Christmas group show. The exhibition will run from 3 – 13 December and visitors will be able browse a curated selection of affordable and collectable artworks representing the best of Modern ArtBuyer’s portfolio, including contemporary limited edition prints and original paintings.

The pop-up will showcase recent pieces by Modern ArtBuyer’s talented and hard-working artists. Many of the works on show were created during this year's challenging times, with artists looking for new inspiration close to home and striving to create a moment of escapism and positivity. Artworks on show include Maria Rivans’ wonderful ‘Pin-up’ prints, Bonnie and Clyde’s cool urban prints, Paul Bennett’s moving seascapes, Hatty Butler’s striking portraits and Trudy Montgomery’s vibrant abstracts, alongside respected Bath artists Paul Minott and Kelly O’Brien, among many others.

23 Milsom Place, Bath (downstairs opposite Bandook/Cote); Mon-Sat 10am – 6pm; Sun 11am – 4pm;


By The Great Wine Co.

The Great Wine Co. team wanted to spread a little Black Friday joy in form of bubbles! For this weekend only, receive a FREE bottle of fizz with orders over £100 and up. Order before midnight on Monday and take advantage of one of our fancy free gifts. You don't have to do anything, the bottle will be added automatically to your order. It doesn’t feel like we’ve had a reason to celebrate much this year, so hopefully this spreads some joy.

  • Spend £100 and a FREE Ruggeri Argeo Prosecco worth £13.95
  • Spend £200 and get a FREE Champagne Pannier worth £29.50
  • Spend £300 and a great a FREE Champagne Taittinger Vintage worth £66.50

Need some inspiration to get that Christmas shopping organised?... Look no further, we have a plethora of mixed cases available with great savings, our Cabinet Essentials offer with savings of up to 38% and more – all these promotions can be found online! Further details can be found on our website, including T&Cs.

Happy shopping! The Great Wine Co.


Peanut, Date and Coconut Powerballs

Tip 1 tbsp linseeds (also known as flaxseeds) into a blender with 250g roasted, unsalted peanuts, 100g chopped dates and 50g dessicated coconut; blitz until the mixture starts to come together. Add 2–3 tbsp warm water and blend again until a rough purée is formed. Tip the mixture onto a board, divide into 20 and roll each piece into a ball. Roll each ball in the remaining linseeds/flaxseeds (or more desiccated coconut, if preferred) and store in an airtight container, handy for snacking on.

Date and Banana Smoothie

Smoothly does it! Blend 30g oats, 1 chopped banana, 2 tbsp clear honey and 4-6 dates with 100ml apple juice and 300ml natural yogurt until creamy. That's your basic date and banana smoothie – and now the fun starts. Get fruity by adding strawberries, blueberries or a mixture of the two before blending; chill out with a handful of frozen raspberries for a healthy Slush Puppy; go nutty with the addition of a tablespoon of peanut or cashew nut butter added to the basic mix.

No-bake Date Brownies

Line a brownie tin with cling film. Pulse a large handful of walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Add 10 large dates (roughly chopped), 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tbsp clear honey and 1 tsp vanilla essence and pulse well until combined. Add small splashes of water and continue to pulse until you've created a crumbly mixture that will stick to itself when pressed between your fingers. Turn the mixture into the brownie tin and press into the edges/corners. Allow to firm up in the fridge for an hour or so before slicing and serving dusted with cocoa powder.

Cheese-stuffed Dates with Honey

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Make neat little slices in the tops of 20 large dates and fill each 'pocket' with creamy goat's cheese or little wedges of blue cheese (Roquefort or Stilton both work well). Place each date on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake for around 10–15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling. Remove the tray from the oven, transfer the dates to a serving dish and drizzle with clear honey while still hot. Serve warm, with drinks.


Protecting our amazing heritage

Jem Hobbs is a Bath-trained craftsperson who owes his skills and current success as a stonemason to a holiday diving trip to Egypt. When he wasn’t exploring the underwater wonders of the Red Sea this former graphic artist was exploring the country’s past, marvelling at the workmanship of those who had carved out the huge ancient temples and their statuary. Straight lines and curves cut from massive lumps of stone by simple tools and the incredible human labours of hundreds of people.

This was the inspiration behind him enrolling with Bath College to train as a stonemason – and he has since worked on many prominent national buildings from Westminster Abbey to the Prime Minister’s residence at Chequers.

Jem's most recent project was more local, working on one of our World Heritage city’s most prominent landmarks which was suffering from erosion. In the middle of Queen Square stands an obelisk, a tapering stone pillar ironically much loved by the ancient Egyptians, but this one was set up in 1738 to honour a visit to Bath by Frederick, Prince of Wales. The city’s Master of Ceremonies, Beau Nash raised the cost of its erection by squeezing the purses of many of the city’s illustrious visitors. 

John Wood the Elder, who designed Queen Square, originally set this impressive 70 foot high central feature in the middle of a circular pool, and formal paths and gardens radiated out from it like a giant Union Jack.

Things have changed a bit since the early 18th century. The obelisk lost a bit off the top during an electrically charged storm in 1815. While Wood’s formal layout has disappeared from what is now just a patch of green dotted with trees in the middle of a square-shaped 'traffic roundabout'.

Jem was called in by Cliveden Conservation to replace crumbling Bath stone blocks at the foot of this needle-pointed pillar. This was paid for by the Bath World Heritage Enhancement Fund, a partnership between Bath Preservation Trust and B&NES Council. It’s a modest pool of money but is used sensibly to affect minor heritage repairs in the city like renovating Georgian street names carved in the stonework and restoring the fountain in Hedgemead Park.

No one knows how many Georgian masons worked on putting up John Wood’s obelisk, but Jem was tasked with removing and replacing two large blocks of stone on his own. He had no room to lift them and just a couple of millimetres to spare in ensuring he could slide his freshly dressed masonry into place.

Jem told me this wasn’t the first repair to the structure – his keen stonemason’s eye had noted other interventions made in the more recent past to keep John Wood Senior’s central feature standing. He told me it had a good line and he was full of praise for the men who had set it up.

Job done, and Jem can add repairing an obelisk to his body of work. Spare a thought for the people who, like him, look after our amazing heritage, when you next pass Queen Square.


Lalique Crystal Glass Fish Sculpture

The original fish in glass was designed in 1913 by René Lalique and has become an important and iconic piece for Crystal Lalique, the ultimate symbol of French luxury. It first appeared in turquoise and has been re-issued in an extensive palette of colours designed to mix and match to create a ‘Lalique Aquarium’. There are more than 20 colours to choose from so why not start your collection now? £75.

Visit Mallory Jewellers for more Lalique crystal inspiration.

Shown here: Mint, Cobalt Blue, Yellow, and Emerald Green. Handcrafted in France. Dimensions are 4.5cm high x 5.3cm wide x 2.1cm deep.


Curated by Daniel McCabe – Magalleria

‘What is the last leaf to fall with you?’ asks the poet Peter Dale in the just-arrived Winter Hortus. From ‘leaflessness' to Larkrise to Candleford, from the long-tailed tit to the Monkey Puzzle tree, and around the world from Cap Corse in Corsica to Carrick Hill near Adelaide in South Australia, this really is an inquisitive, roaming issue of the literary, horticultural and so-called ‘mind-gardening’ quarterly. You’re unlikely to spot a Hortus anywhere outside the publisher’s shop at Bryan’s Ground in Herefordshire other than on our shelves here on Broad Street in Bath, so do take advantage of our privilege to pluck this little plant lover’s gem.



Review by Eleri, Topping & Co.
Our Bodies Their Battlefield by Christina Lamb

Shortlisted for this year’s Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, Christina Lamb’s Our Bodies Their Battlefield is one of my top books of the year. It is an incredibly well-written and sensitive account of the use of rape and sexual abuse as a weapon in warfare. Christina weaves together a deep historical background and first-hand interviews with survivors, taking on cases from across the globe, from the Yazidi women in Syria to the silent and forgotten stories of German women in WW2.

This book gives a crucial voice to women on a subject that has often been overlooked in mainstream accounts of warfare. It is a hard, devastating but incredibly necessary testament to one of the gravest weapons of warfare.

Review by Matthew, Topping & Co.
The Zoologist's Guide To The Galaxy by Dr Arik Kershenbaum

The Zoologist's Guide To The Galaxy is a fascinating piece of projected natural history writing that theorises about life beyond our planet. Dr Arik Kershenbaum uses the rules of natural selection that govern life on Earth not simply to imagine what form life might take on distant planets, but to determine what life would need to be to survive.

Because the foundation of the book are the laws and theories of the observed natural world, you are, uniquely, simultaneously learning about life on our planet and also about the mechanics of the universe in a detailed, rich and rewarding way.

Want to share this newsletter? Go on then...


Bombshell (2019)

The provocative real story of three whip-smart, ambitious, strong women who anchored one of America's most powerful news networks, becoming headlines themselves when they risked everything to stand up to the man who made them famous.

Starring Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, Gretchen Carlson and Nicole Kidman, Bombshell picked up a number of nominations at the Academy Awards.

Watch it on Amazon today

Digital events at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution

Throughout December, the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI) is hosting a selection of unmissable online events, exploring some of the world's most prominent thinkers. On 1 December, Professor A.C. Grayling returns to BRLSI to deliver a live virtual lecture entitled Philosophy's History. This lecture, part of BRLSI's ongoing philosophy programme, will bring the delights of philosophical enquiry to your own living room, where you can ponder his thoughts at the same time as reaching for the Spinoza or the Schopenhauer!

On 15 December, Professor Robert Morrison of Bath Spa University will give a live lecture about Christmas in the Regency period, as experienced by some of its most notable figures, including poet John Keats and novelist Walter Scott.

On 17 December, viewers can also tune into a lecture with Professor Joanna Bryson of Hertie School of Governance entitled Artificial Intelligence and Human Lives: Looking forwards 2025-2070, which is about wealth, power, and intelligence, and how we are communicating these due to the digital transformation.


By Oriental Rugs of Bath

Oriental Rugs of Bath have hundreds of rugs and kilims, all craft-designed to suit homes and spaces of any size. These vibrant and authentic kilim cushions will make the room the heart of the home.

Left: Afghan natural kilim cushion; £45. Right: Afghan veg dye kilim cushion; £45

See more from Oriental Rugs of Bath here


Henrietta Road, Bath

An impressive four storey semi-detached Italianate early Victorian villa, dating back to 1849. Positioned in a wonderfully quiet residential location with beautiful views over-looking Henrietta Park and within five minutes level walk of Bath city centre.

The property features four double bedrooms, two lovely bathrooms, a formal drawing room, a family room and a conservatory. On the market with Cobb Farr at £1,750,000.

Popular on our website this week:
Unlimited thinking: Bath Unlimited
Bill Bailey: The caretaker of dance
The Tokachi Millennium Forest project
All quayed up: the Bath Quays development
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2 Princes Buildings,
George Street,
Bath BA1 2ED

© MC Publishing Limited 2020

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