Monday, 26 July 2021

Have a festive flute of champagne on us

CONGRATULATIONS and applause to all Christmas Day cooks. A home-cooked Christmas is the best.

CONGRATULATIONS and applause to all Christmas Day cooks. A home-cooked Christmas is the best.

Cooks do it for love, chefs do it for money. Those indulged with loving homely hospitality — let your appreciation gush. There’s a complimentary glass of champagne for all home cooks waiting for you at the Crooked Billet.

I cooked last year. Afraid I over-catered. Titan of a Christmas cake, which by February defeated us, even the dog tired of giving it an occasional lick.

Leftover turkey? Freeze some — use it when you’re next in the mood. I’m presenting

Hangovers and Leftovers
on Wednesday, December 30, from 3pm to 4pm on BBC Radio Berkshire, offering my “what to do with” ideas.

Only freeze leftover turkey if your bird was fresh, as opposed to the frozen varieties. Cool the meat quickly and into the freezer ASAP.

Food Festivals

In 2016 Henley hosts two food festivals. April 29 to May 1 is Henley on Food at the stunning Thames-side setting of Shiplake College — the UK’s first food and literary festival.

Feast on a variety of interactive cookery sessions, discussions, Q&As, wine tastings, supper clubs and stalls. Already confirmed in the line-up is BBC

host John Torode.

Just over a month later, the weekend of June 11 and 12 brings the Henley Food and Drink Festival 2016.

It will take the form of a huge marquee covering Falaise Square, hosting food stalls, showcasing local restaurants, pubs, cooks, drink producers, tastings and samples — with the town hall, local businesses and retailers playing key roles.

On offer will be cookery demonstrations from a host of local, celebrity and Michelin-starred chefs, together with loads of hands-on, children-friendly activities.

June’s festival is being organised by those clever people behind this year’s triumphant Henley House and Garden Show, so an enormously fun, slick and entertaining event is guaranteed. Chefs love a food festival. We’re show-offs. Festivals are an opportunity to showcase our restaurants and bolster the egos during cookery demos.

I’m also doing a series of demos from March 7 to 11 at the Crooked Billet. If anyone fancies watching me show off, details can be found online at

Quo and Zeppelin

On New Year’s Eve the Crooked Billet is offering an extensive delicious four-course dinner menu. Then boogie to Status Quo’s hits courtesy of original Quo member John Coghlan’s classic guitars, bass and drums line-up.

On January 5 and 6 it is the turn of Andy Crowdy’s Led Zeppelin Project. Britain’s finest jazz musicians leave their double bass and Maccaferri guitars at home. Wig up, plug in and rock out celebrating the compositions of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Table reservations and tickets on (01491) 681048.

Enjoy a complimentary flute of champagne in January at the Crooked Billet — cut this column out, present it on arrival, no purchase necessary. Join us for a drink on the house. Happy Christmas!

Paul Clerehugh is chef-proprietor of the Crooked Billet, Stoke Row, and the London Street Brasserie, Reading. Catch Paul every week on

Food on Friday

, 2pm, BBC Radio Berkshire, for light-hearted food chat, recipes and current affairs.

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