A specially curated guide to help you enjoy the next 48 hours (or more) in Bristol
MUSIC | BOTH LAND AND SEA
Shanty singers to celebrate new album by singing on amphibious vehicle
On Sunday 30 January at 11.30am, online shanty sensations The Longest Johns will launch their album in true nautical style in their hometown of Bristol in an obscure ‘Duck Boat’ which, like their music, is fit for both land and sea.
What started off as a joke suggestion will soon become reality when the band, who last year hit the headlines with their Wellerman global viral success, ship their energetic harmonies and vibrant oilskins from river to Rough Trade as part of their Record Stores Tour across the UK for album release week.
The Longest Johns will sing en route as they make their way across the water, then straight through town to their destination. Bringing new album Smoke & Oakum to life on the streets of Bristol, the four famous friends will serenade passers-by with heartfelt tracks such as single Hard Times Come Again No More and The Workers Song, which is dedicated to integral workers throughout the country.
Find their ‘Duck Boat’ route from the Bristol marina here; Smoke & Oakum is released today (28 January) and is available to buy by clicking here.
Image credit: Lily Batten
OUR FEBRUARY ISSUE: OUT SOON
Our February magazine features a collection of great reading by our team of wonderful writers as well as beautifully presented advertising by Bristol'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 – including our stands at Waitrose, John Lewis, House of Fraser and Harvey Nichols.
And if you would like to have a copy sent in the post every month, then we offer a postal subscription for just £30 for 12 issues, £15 for six issues or buy a copy for just £3.95. UK mainland prices. For Euro and World zone subscription prices – see our website.
Looking for a new walk to blow away the cobwebs? Andrew Swift takes us on a journey to Brean Down’s breezy heights and finds, just as renowed travel writer S.P.B Mais did in 1938, “infinite riches in little room”…
Chinese New Year falls on Tuesday 1 February – if that isn't a good excuse for a weeknight party, what is?
Few of us (if any!) have a wood-fired oven large enough to hang and roast whole ducks in, authentic Peking Duck-style. But this recipe goes a long way to capturing and creating the flavour, texture and sociable 'theatrics' of this classic Chinese crowd-pleaser without too much hassle or stress, making it the perfect centrepiece for your at-home Chinese New Year celebration.
High quality, ready made Plum Sauce is, of course, widely available. But a homemade version of this rich, fruity, piquant treat can be rustled up while the duck is roasting... and offers the added benefit of the possibility of saucy leftovers that can be stored in a covered tub in the fridge for up to a week, on hand to add an exotic twist to weekday lunchtime sandwiches or next week's Sunday roast. Gong hei fat choy!
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 whole duck (approx. 1.5-2k) 1-2 tbsp Chinese 5-spice 1 onion, peeled and chopped into 4 wedges 4 star anise 5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised White pepper
For the plum sauce:
8 large, juicy plums, roughly chopped into 2cm pieces 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder A sprinkling of dried chilli flakes 1 tbsp dark soy sauce 2 tbsp runny honey 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry) 2 cloves of garlic (peeled and minced) 1 ½ tbsp dark muscovado sugar 2 star anise 1 generous tsp white pepper
To serve: 16 duck pancakes; 6 spring onions, finely shredded; 1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks; plum sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Dry the duck with kitchen paper. Sprinkle the 5-spice powder into the cavity of the duck, using your fingers to press it into the cavity 'walls'. Fill the cavity with the onion wedges, star anise and garlic.
2. Using skewers, secure the neck skin at the head end of the duck and pull any excess skin around the main cavity, securing with more skewers (this process keeps as much flavour as possible within the duck, and allows it to steam from the inside out while roasting).
3. Put the duck on a rack over a deep roasting tray. Prick the skin all over with a fork (taking care not to puncture the flesh below the skin) and season with salt, white pepper and more 5-spice powder. Roast the duck for one hour, pouring the excess fat that collects in the tin into a container a couple of times during the initial roasting process (save that fragrant duck fat! It's perfect for roasting potatoes at a later date).
4. Meanwhile, make the plum sauce: put the chopped plums into a large saucepan or wok along with the Chinese 5-spice powder, dried chilli flakes, soy sauce, runny honey, Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry), garlic, dark muscovado sugar, star anise, white pepper and 3 tbsp water. Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook gently for around 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding the odd splash of water if necessary (you don't want the mixture to dry out) until the plums are very soft. Blend the sauce with a stick blender until smooth, adding more soy sauce and/or honey to taste. Set the sauce to one side.
5. After the duck has been roasting for one hour, increase the oven temperature to 220°C/gas mark 7 and continue to roast for a further 25 minutes to allow the skin to crisp up.
6. Take the duck out of the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes, by which time it will be cool enough to handle. Remove the duck legs and the breast, place on a warm serving platter and shred the flesh with two forks.
7. Serve warm with hot steamed pancakes, shredded spring onions, cucumber and plum sauce.
FOUR OF A KIND | SPRING IN YOUR STEP
Words by Melissa Blease
Chinese New Year 4
Sea Bass with Ginger, Garlic, Chilli and Spring Onions (serves 4)
Season the sea bass fillets with salt and white pepper, then slash the skin on each fillet 3-4 times. Heat around 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large frying pan and fry the fish skin-side down for around 4-5 mins or until the skin is very crisp and the flesh almost cooked through (you might need to do this in 2 batches). Flip the fillets over and cook for another 30 seconds, transfer them to a warm serving plate and sprinkle with 6 peeled, shredded spring onions and splashes of dark soy sauce. Add a little more oil to the pan and saute 1 thumb-sized knob of peeled, grated ginger, 2 peeled, minced garlic cloves and 1-2 fresh, deseeded thinly sliced red chillies for around 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is just turning golden. Spoon the hot aromatics over the fish fillets and serve immediately as part of a banquet or on a bed of freshly-steamed white rice.
Sweet and Sour Tofu (serves 4; vegan)
Heat around 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the tofu and fry for 5 mins, turning regularly, until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a warm plate and set to one side. Heat a little more oil in the pan over a high heat and saute 1 large peeled, chopped the onion, 2 chopped, deseeded red peppers and 3 peeled, crushed garlic cloves for 5-6 mins, or until soft but not coloured. Add 300g fresh or tinned pineapple chunks, 3-4 tbsp low-salt ketchup, 3-4 tbs rice wine vinegar, 2 tbsp dark soy sauce and 200ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce is sticky and slightly reduced. Stir the tofu back into the pan to reheat through. Serve in warm bowls as part of a banquet, or on a bed of freshly-steamed white rice.
Sticky Chinese 'Barbecue' Ribs (serves 4)
In a medium-sized bowl, mix 6 tbsp runny honey with 3 heaped tbsp oyster or hoisin sauce, ½ tsp dried chilli flakes, 4 Star Anise, 1 tsp white pepper and ½ tsp salt to create a marinade. Put 2kg meaty pork ribs (chopped into 2-3 rib sections) into a suitably-sized roasting tin or baking dish, tuck 4 peeled, roughly-sliced slivers of garlic in and around the meat, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Roast the ribs in a preheated oven (160°C/gas mark 3) for 90 minutes, turning, occasionally before turning the heat up to 200°C/gas mark 6 for a final 15-minute blast (keep an eye on them though, as the honey in the marinade can burn easily). The ribs are ready when the meat is tender and the sauce is sticky and almost charred. Serve hot as a starter or as part of a banquet.
Honey, Garlic and Sesame King Prawns (serves 4)
In a medium-sized bowl, combine 600g large, raw, deveined king prawns with 2 tbsp sesame oil, 3 tbsp runny honey and 2 cloves of garlic (peeled and crushed). Set to one side. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 tbsp water in a wok or frying pan over a medium heat and saute 2 large, deseeded, peeled and thinly-sliced red peppers with 1 large peeled, grated carrot for around 3 minutes, or until just starting to soften. Add 6 large spring onions (peeled and shredded), 1 chopped, deseeded red chilli, 1 x 3cm chunk of ginger (peeled and grated), 3 tbsp dark soy sauce and the marinated prawns (plus all the marinade) and saute for a further 3-5 minutes or until the prawns have turned pink and are thoroughly cooked through. Serve on beds of freshly-steamed white rice in warm bowls or as part of a banquet, sprinkled with sesame seeds.
EATING OUT | VALENTINE'S DAY
Love Letters from The Ivy Clifton Brasserie
This Valentine’s Day, celebrate with a limited-edition book, cocktail menu and dessert at The Ivy Clifton Brasserie.
The Ivy Clifton Brasserie has joined forces with Letters of Note to give diners a gift to treasure forever this Valentine’s Day. Love is an exclusive book compiled by Shaun Usher, featuring a collection of the most passionate love letters written in history, reimagined by The Ivy Collection with a bespoke cover and foreword. The book will be offered to all guests who book a table in the restaurant on Monday, 14 February.
A limited-edition cocktail menu designed to make even the cold-hearted blush will also be available for guests, alongside Pillow Talk (£17.95), an indulgent sharing dessert featuring peach and raspberry parfait, white chocolate mousse, popping candy and a raspberry sauce.
The Valentine’s Day specials are available from Friday, 11 February to Monday, 14 February.
ANON’s Spiced Cane is a non-alcoholic rum alternative. As well as tasting great served with coke or in coffee, and even in puddings, Spiced Cane is also delicious simply with ice! Providing a warming sensation with a spicy kick, with hints of cinnamon, vanilla and ginger, it is to be especially enjoyed by the fire during the Autumn and Winter months.
Visit the ANON website to shop Spiced Cane, and more alcohol free alternatives: anondrinks.com
WEEKEND WINE | SOMETHING SPECIAL FROM SPAIN
Special offer on Chivite wines
The Great Wine Co have just tasted two excellent, single-vineyard wines from J. Chivite Family Estates in Navarra, Spain – they are so good that they truly deserve to be better-known.
To this end, the wine sellers have agreed with Chivite to make the two wines available at a specially negotiated price for just four weeks. They retail at £16.65 each, but by using code CHIVITE40 you can try them for just £9.95 per bottle until 14 February. There is no limit to how many times you can use this code, so if you try them and like them (and we think you will!) you can stock up before the offer ends.
Finca Legardeta Chardonnay This has a lovely aroma of perfectly ripe, juicy William pears, with delectable nuances of spices, frankincense and ginger. Wonderful succulence of texture, with an understated richness reminiscent of Saint Véran in Burgundy. The flavours reflect the aroma: deliciously juicy and fresh, and displaying both orchard fruits and suggestions of pineapple and fresh papaya. Irresistible!
Legardeta Garnacha A vibrant cherry-juice appearance and scents of ripe cherries and strawberries, seasoned with vanilla, pepper and dried herbs, make a sip inevitable. On the palate, the lovely, soft, juicy texture forms the first impression, along with the lively fruit. It is rounded and mellow, without any heaviness - the balance is sensational. It might age – but it's so delicious now, why wait?
The birthstone for February is Amethyst, a variety of crystalline quartz that is known for its spectacular deep purple colour, but can also range from a blend of violet and red to a lighter lilac hue – and occasionally a light green.
Ancient Greeks believed that the stone protected the wearer from intoxication and enabled them to be level headed when stressed.
Mallory Jewellers have a fine display of designer collections as well as their own bespoke jewellery, all showing off the beauty of Amethyst in many faceted forms. We love these (from left, clockwise) :
Chopard 'Imperiale' 18ct white gold cushion-cut amethyst ring, on sale at £1,308 (was £2,180)
Marco Bicego 'Jaipur' 18ct yellow gold amethyst ring, £960
Amethyst stud earrings is 18ct rose gold, £870
Pomellato Nudo Maxi 18ct rose and white gold amethyst ring, £2,470
Click below to see a range of Amethyst jewellery at Mallory.
This lovely lobster swims into your bath and is filled with sodium alginate for an especially hydrating soak. Containing biodegradable red hearts, and scented with sweet benzoin and tonka, it’s boombastic, romantic and fantastic. £3.50
From bath bombs, to shower jelly and environmentally friendly gifts, there’s something for everyone in The Lush Valentine’s Day 2022 range.
Under pressure, fraying at the edges. In relentless night-time Liverpool, copper Chris is paired with a rookie. Will they save or destroy each other?
The Responder, starring Martin Freeman, has been met by a chorus of critical acclaim.
All five episodes are streaming on BBC iPlayer now: bbc.co.uk
CINEMA | SHOWMANSHIP
Everyman: Nightmare Alley
In Nightmare Alley, an ambitious carny (Bradley Cooper) with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) who is even more dangerous than he is.
Book tickets to see acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro's return to the big screen at the Everyman Bristol on the cinema's website: everyman.com/bristol
THE MAGAZINE KIOSK |WHY WE LOVE PRINT
Curated by Daniel McCabe
Sound American is a quarterly journal on experimental music that we’re now importing from the US. Published by trumpeter, composer and writer Nate Wooley since 2012, it’s quite an intelligent affair mixing interviews, essays and musings on obscure and better known artists, shot through with an appealing sense of discovery – you’re always learning stuff – and a refined literary bent which allows it to stray into areas that seem only loosely associated with the subject. Bookish in formal, each release has a particular theme which, as they say, you can 'build into your library'. £15.99
Magalleria is a Bath-based shop and online retailer, selling fine and interesting magazines from independent and selected publishers from all over the globe. Visit the website to find out more: magalleria.co.uk
• WHAT'S ON •
MUSIC | INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
Strata: a world premiere with the Brandon Hill Chamber Orchestra
A major new Symphony by renowned composer Eleanor Alberga OBE will receive its world premiere at St George’s Bristol in celebration of International Women’s Day.
Strata is a musical telling of the geological history of our world. It invites listeners to travel to the very dawn of time, when mysterious and colossal forces were forging planet Earth.
In its 35th anniversary year, BHCO is delighted to be giving the world premiere of such a significant work in Alberga’s canon.
The concert is conducted by the Estonian maestro Andres Kaljuste, and will take place on 5 March at St George’s Bristol.
To find out more about the orchestra, visit the BHCO website: bhco.co.uk. To buy your tickets, visit the St George’s website below.
Bruce Munro's world-famous installation lights up Marston Park, Somerset
Light at Marston Park, an immersive light exhibition by internationally acclaimed British artist, Bruce Munro, is now on at Somerset's Marston Park.
Munro’s light-based works have featured in urban landscapes and rural areas around the globe: his world famous Field of Light is currently illuminating Uluru in Australia and Paso Robles wine country in California.
Munro’s Field of Light will be at Marston Park until the end of March. The experiential light display features thousands of coloured spheres on stems, which are ‘planted’ along the lakeside path and through the woodland. Visitors can book an evening viewing for general admission anytime from 4pm, with drinks and snacks available to buy on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Tickets from £12.
University of Bristol announces 400 new PhD scholarships
The University of Bristol has announced it will create 400 new postgraduate scholarships.
The new £4.2m annual investment – totalling £16.8m over the next four years – opens up Bristol’s world-leading research to a global audience and helps shape the next generation of postgraduate researchers.
The University of Bristol Postgraduate Research Scholarships will be available across the University’s six Faculties and 25 Schools, creating a breadth of new and diverse research. Scholars will receive a stipend and have their tuition fees covered as they break new ground on topics as varied as climate change, medical engineering and atmospheric chemistry.
Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of Bristol, said: “Postgraduate researchers not only push the boundaries of their fields, but also build the world of tomorrow.
“They are responsible for world-changing ideas and technologies that we may all one day rely on. Many also go on to teach the next generation of students and researchers.
“Today’s announcement is a huge moment for the future of academic research.”
The announcement comes 100 years after the institution awarded its first PhD.
You can find out more about the University's PhD scholarships by visiting the website: bristol.ac.uk
Featured image: PhD scholarship student, Bongai Munguni. When Bongai graduates in two years she hopes to become a professor – perhaps via post-doc work at Harvard or Oxford – as well as a social entrepreneur
CHARITY | FEEDING THE HUNGRY
Volunteers needed by community meals charity
FoodCycle, the charity that aims to make food poverty, loneliness and food waste a thing of the past for every community, is in urgent need of volunteers.
FoodCycle’s free community meals are open to all, and guests range from low-income families, people affected by homelessness and those who cannot afford to buy food. No questions asked, you can just turn up and take a seat.
Serving up free weekly community meals using food that would otherwise have gone to waste, this vital service relies on its volunteers to provide nutritious food and conversation across the UK – Bristol included.
While FoodCycle welcome volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, the charity are particularly targeting retired community members to sign up and become volunteers. Alex Hatherly, South West Regional Manager explains that:
“Only around 3% of our FoodCycle volunteers are retired yet we’ve found with the combination of more time at their disposal and a wealth of skills and experience, many of our retirees have become key to the successful running of our projects. Volunteering with FoodCycle gives our volunteers the chance to help strengthen communities and also boosts self-confidence, offers new skills and connects them with people from all ages and backgrounds.”
To sign up as a volunteer or for more information on FoodCycle visit foodcycle.org.uk
• PROPERTY & INTERIORS •
INTERIORS | PLANT-BASED CANDLES
Cedarwood, Sage and Ylang Ylang calming natural candle from Ubiety
Ubiety's signature candle fragrance has been carefully blended to transport you to serene woodlands. A soothing blend of essential oils including earthy cedarwood, fresh and floral ylang ylang, spearmint and sage, chosen to promote calm and relaxation. £25
With all of Ubiety's profits going to Dorothy House Hospice Care, every purchase is an act of kindness – to you, to others, to the environment: Ubiety use nurturing plant-based formulations produced in England. Feel good, do good.
Visit the Ubiety website to purchase their cedarwood candle, or to browse the full home fragrance collection: findubiety.com
PROPERTY | CLIFTON TOWNHOUSE
Clifton Vale, Clifton, Bristol BS8
Offered for sale by Rupert Oliver property agents
6 Bedrooms | 4 Bathrooms | 3 Receptions
This is a fabulous Grade II* Listed townhouse, effortless in its charm. It forms part of an iconic terrace of limestone fronted family homes, each with a west facing balcony, deep front gardens and far-reaching views.
The house has been in the same ownership for some 40 years – much loved and cared for by the current owners and now presenting a wonderful opportunity for new owners to acquire it and add their own stamp.
Throughout, the property presents a warmth and depth of character as well as enormous versatility and is enhanced by the wonderful retained period features; from stripped wooden floors and tall sash windows to retained ceiling plaster work and period fire-surrounds. Stretching to some 3500 sq. ft, the house can cater to families who require a self-contained apartment – with the lower ground floor needing just a tweak or two, as well as the necessary consents, to achieve this.
Upstairs, over the hall and upper floors there’s plenty of accommodation for families of all ages and size. The welcoming entrance hall with its Georgian style hallway arch, period cornice work and stripped wood floor gives access to the light-filled family kitchen to the rear – with lovely views over the rear garden and access (via a sash window) to a decked terrace and down to the garden itself.
To the front is a lovely reception room – with the versatility to create a separate dining room or family room. Upstairs, is a marvellous first floor drawing room, with twin sash windows opening out onto the full-width decked and canopied balcony. The views from the balcony are amazing and with a west-facing orientation provide a perfect spot for a morning coffee or evening sundowner.
To the rear is a useful bedroom suite, which could also double as a work-from-home office if required. Over the upper two floors are four further double bedrooms served by two further bath / shower rooms along with a kitchenette / top floor utility space. The master bed on the second floor is particularly impressive, whilst the top two double bedrooms make perfect kids rooms – with more than enough room for double beds, storage and plenty of desk space. The front top floor room benefits from a wood-burning stove. The whole top-floor landing is lit by an impressive ceiling lantern, flooding the stairwell below with natural light. Once again the views from the top floor are breathtaking.
The house is approached via a deceptively spacious west-facing front garden, with a level lawn and pathway leading to the front door. To the rear is an attractive two-tiered garden laid mostly to lawn with a raised decked terrace accessed from the kitchen with steps down to the garden; and a courtyard accessed from the lower ground floor, with steps up to the garden. Overall a wonderful family townhouse, perfectly located and with great potential to create a separate self-contained apartment. Guide Price, £1,350,000
For further images and more details of this magnificent family home, click here to see the property page on the Rupert Oliver website.