Tourism awards for local businesses

A number of businesses from the Howdenshire area were among the winners at the 2020 Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards. The annual awards ceremony at Bridlington Spa had to be cancelled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so the host, Blair Jacobs, announced the winners from the comfort of his living room instead!

One of the new categories introduced this year was the Remarkable Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award, which was won by William’s Den, of North Cave. Judges praised the “highly professional and well-integrated activities outdoors and an imaginatively arranged wooden indoor play area”, which they described as “an extremely well-designed building making great use of recovered, renewable and natural materials and thoughtfully planned for the benefit of less able users.”.

Meanwhile, Hotham’s Gin School took the Remarkable Experience of the Year title for providing a  ‘thoroughly entertaining and enlightening experience’.

The Remarkable Hotel Award was won by Saltmarshe Hall, near Howden, which the judges said is run by a ‘great team of people who are passionate about their work’. 

The full list of the winners is as follows:

Remarkable New Tourism Business Award – Bonus Arena, Hull.

Remarkable Bed & Breakfast and Guest House of the Year – The Wold Cottage, Wold Newton.

Remarkable Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award – William’s Den, North Cave.

Remarkable Visitor Attraction – Sledmere House.

Remarkable Restaurant of the Year – Rupert & Darwin, Hull.

Remarkable Local Producer Award – Wold Top Brewery, Hunmanby.

Remarkable Tourism Event – Pride in Hull.

Remarkable Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year – Wold’s Edge Holiday Lodges, Bishop Wilton.

Remarkable Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award – Broadgate Farm Cottages, Walkington.

Remarkable Cuppa – The Granary at Rustic Riddle, Ulrome.

Remarkable Business Events Venue of the Year – DoubleTree by Hilton, Hull.

Remarkable Pub of the Year – The Lion and Key, Hull.

Remarkable Self Catering Accommodation of the Year – Broadgate Farm Cottages, Walkington.

Remarkable Hotel – Saltmarshe Hall, Saltmarshe, near Howden.

Remarkable Experience of the Year – Hotham’s Gin School, Hull.

Siemens Mobility selects Selby College as its Goole training partner

Siemens Mobility Limited has announced it has chosen Selby College as its training partner for its new rail facility in Goole, which aims to create up to 700 skilled jobs locally, as well as 250 other roles during the construction phase.

As part of this, Selby College will act as a key part of the Level 3 Rail Technician Apprenticeship programme. Apprentices will spend their first year at the College developing core engineering skills, as part of a comprehensive, three-year training programme beginning in September 2020, through to joining the workforce at the Goole factory when it opens in 2023.

Phil Sayles, Principal and Chief Executive of Selby College, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Siemens Mobility as they deliver one of the most significant developments in this area for decades. Now more than ever, it’s vital that we train local people so they can take up new opportunities and fill roles, which are vital to the UK’s future and to rebuilding the nation’s economy following COVID-19.”

Siemens Mobility has already received 200 applications for the facility’s first 12 apprentice roles, with the majority of applicants from East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

The apprentices will be the first of up to 700 employees for the pioneering rail manufacturing facility, which is expected to start later this year, pending detailed planning approval from East Riding of Yorkshire Council. The project will be complemented by research and development, digital innovation and supplier facilities, together forming a unique “rail village” at the Goole site.

Sambit Banerjee, Managing Director Rolling Stock and Customer Services, for Siemens Mobility Limited, said: “The appointment of Selby College is another important milestone for our Goole facility and will have a key role to play in helping us create a legacy of highly-skilled engineers.”

He continued: “The number and quality of applications indicates the level of interest in this incredibly exciting project. The demand for these entry-level opportunities bodes well for future recruitment for a wide range of manufacturing, engineering and associated roles as the project continues to move forward.”



A Howdenshire home transformed on a budget

Words by Heather Dixon

Pictures by Dave Burton

Nothing is quite what it seems in Sue Holliday’s cosy two-bedroom cottage near Howden. Look a little closer and her home takes on a theatrical quality thanks to her ability to upcycle and reinvent.

The shelf in the sitting room is half a chair; a set of coat hooks on the wall is actually the tailgate off a lorry and the stylish bathroom toiletries unit is made from timber cast-offs. 

Husband Greg is also adept at reworking furniture – so much so that it’s hard to tell which items are original and which have been modified. Yet their combined skill in finding new uses for items other people might throw away has saved them a small fortune. It has also given their home a truly eclectic style.

’We are both avid collectors of all sorts of things, from glassware and tins to fabrics, wood and furniture,’ says Sue. ‘We spend our weekends looking around car boot sales and antique fairs for bargains, then giving them a new lease of life. Neither of us like to see things go to waste if they can be loved and appreciated. It’s really satisfying to rescue a discarded piece of furniture and turn it into something useful and beautiful.’

They first spotted the property when they were out walking and enquired about renting it for a while until they could find a more permanent home.

‘It had nothing inside – just a cooker and shelf in the kitchen and an old red tiled floor in the dining room,’ recalls Sue. ‘We just loved the original features and its location and decided to move in. We had to buy kitchen units because it was literally just a shell.’

Their short term plans turned into a 20-year stay, during which time they decorated and installed new bathroom fittings.

‘We saved up and gradually  spruced it up, and made it our home, but we always felt a bit restricted because it wasn’t ours,’ says Sue. ‘There were cupboards we wanted to take out and changes we dreamed of making, but we didn’t want to invest our time and money in someone else’s property.’

Their patience, however, paid off. The owner eventually decided to sell the cottage and gave Sue and Greg first refusal.

‘We jumped at the chance. We loved living here and this meant we could finally make it our own.’

Sue and Greg replastered the walls, laid wooden floors, removed old fashioned fitted cupboards, hung new doors and put in a chimney breast and fireplace ready for a Suffolk farmhouse cast iron rang.

‘I bought it online and it was delivered in the back of a van,’ recalls Sue. ‘It was far too heavy for myself and the van driver to lift into the house, so I called on  two neighbours to help us carry into the dining room.

‘We literally shuffled it into the fireplace,’ recalls Sue. ‘It was a perfect fit and I love it. It’s in fabulous condition.’

The house began to evolve in a way which reflected Sue’s love of painted furniture and Greg’s passion for wood. 

‘He was worked with wood all his life,’ says Sue. ‘He is always making things, reinventing and creating. We generally go shopping together and rarely come home empty handed. We like the same things and often see potential in something that someone else wouldn’t give a second glance. We rarely keep things the same as when we bought them – they are re-worked, adapted or painted, and often completely transformed.’

As a result the house has evolved – and continues to evolve – as Sue and Greg  bring home bargains and salvaged furniture which they do up to keep themselves, or sell at fairs across the country.

‘Sometimes I have to be really strong and not buy something because we haven’t got room, but there is always space for the smaller things that turn a house into a home. I like things to have a memory and a meaning attached to them. Everything in the house has a story attached to it,’ says Sue. 

 The couple have even rescued unwanted furniture from skips. The pelmet in the dining room was destined for the tip when Sue spotted it and asked the owner if they could have it.

‘Most people are happy that someone else can find good use for something they no longer want,’ says Sue. ‘We don’t want our home to be the same as anyone else’s and this way we make everything individual and personal.’

Sue and Greg’s appreciation of anything with history or of sentimental value is already rubbing off on their sons Sam and Joe.

‘Sam recently got his own house and he has already asked us to do up one or two things for him,’ says Sue. ‘They both like the idea of creating a lovely place to live on a budget. You don’t have to spend a fortune to create a beautiful home.’

All aboard!

When word reached us of a Howdenshire property with its own train line running through the garden, we assumed that it must be a model railway. How wrong we were! 

When we visited Elizabeth Shutt’s home near Wressle, we were greeted with a standard gauge – that’s full size – working railway line, complete with an engine and carriages. The East Wressle and Brind Railway, as it’s officially known, is one eighth of a mile long and even has a level crossing, a platform, waiting room and an engine shed! 

It’s modelled on the network of branch line railways that were built up and down the country by Colonel Holman Fred Stephens during the early part of the 20th century. The ambitious project was the work of Elizabeth’s late husband Colin Shutt, who was inspired to create it after building a replica of the Ford rail buses that would once have transported passengers along Colonel Stephens’ lines.

Elizabeth explained: “After building the rail bus for a competition, Colin thought ‘what can I do with it?’, so, he built the railway around the garden! He had to apply for planning permission, then he and a friend built the engine shed. 

“Although the rail bus has since been donated to the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum at Tenterden in Kent, we have a Ruston 48DS diesel locomotive and various other rolling stock, which is in the process of being restored.”

Colin first came up with the idea in 2004 and worked on the project right up until his death in February 2016. Since then, a number of his friends have given up their free time to ensure that the project continues, visiting each week to maintain the line and give the locomotive a run out. They’re currently busy restoring an old goods carriage and creating the façade of a station master’s house, complete with a porch and cottage-style garden, in the end of an old outbuilding, in keeping with Colin’s vision for the site.

David Bancroft, Colin’s former business partner, explained: “We’re all friends of Colin’s and, because we’re retired, we come here most Thursdays. There were others involved too in the early days.

“The Ruston shunter dates back to the early 1950s and had been supplied new to a firm in Leicester, where it had been used to pull aggregrates from the main line to their works. Elizabeth bought it for Colin for his birthday one year, but he had to pay the delivery costs, which ended up being more than the cost of the engine!”

Cousins Gerald and David Christian became involved after spotting the railway line in Elizabeth’s garden through a gap it the hedge and stopping to chat to Colin about it. David lives at Laytham, but Gerald travels from Mirfield in West Yorkshire each week to work on the project. 

He said: “We come to do maintenance, but we have lots of fun. Recently, we completed the level crossing that Colin has started making and we’ve got the old coal truck to restore next. That’s our project for this winter; it came from the Derwent Valley Railway.”

In a strange coincidence, after they began working together on railway line – originally alongside Colin – the men realised that they’d all grown up in Horsforth near Leeds, although they didn’t know one another in those days.  If anything, it was their shared passion for engineering that brought them together. Before they retired, David Bancroft and Colin ran an engineering company together in Leeds; Gerald was a mechanic at Kirkstall Forge; and David Christian was a buildings surveyor for Selby District Council. It seems fitting that the group of friends have continued to work together to enhance and preserve Colin’s wonderful legacy.

  • Although, the East Wressle and Brind Railway is not open to the public, it has hosted visits from interested parties, including The Branch Line Society, the Railway Ramblers and a bus trip organised by local company Thornes Motor Services.


The wildlife artist of the Wolds

The floor-to-ceiling window in Robert Fuller’s studio frames an unspoilt view of the bird feeders in his garden, the hedgerows that he planted to attract wildlife and the green dale beyond. When I arrive, the celebrated wildlife artist is putting the finishing touches to a painting of a male kestrel and informs me that his subject is a frequent visitor to the garden. In fact, Robert has been watching the same family of kestrels for several years and they’ve become so used to him that he’s able to sit just ten metres away as they feed. 

Robert explains: “A lot of time is spent getting the subjects into the right location, especially with the owls and kestrels; it could take months or even years. The kestrels I’ve been painting have lived in the garden since 2008 and I feed them every day on day old chicks – they’re cockerels that come from the egg laying industry – and mice. I think a lot of people don’t realise that the subjects of my paintings are often birds that I know well.”

Typically, Robert will take a huge number of photographs of his subjects, often at high speed to capture every movement, before starting work on a new painting. He goes to great lengths to attract wildlife to his property so that he can study it up close; there are 14 cameras trained on different locations, including the residence of a family of stoats and a number of nest sites. Robert has also created several hides from which he can watch and photograph wildlife. 

The artist lives and works in an idyllic former farmhouse near the village of Thixendale in North Yorkshire, together with his wife Victoria and their young daughters Lily and Ruby. It’s just a stone’s throw from Givendale, the village where he grew up, and, since moving there in 1998, he has planted 1,200 trees and more than 500 metres of hedgerow, as well as digging several ponds. He has also erected countless nest boxes and has a daily feeding routine for both garden birds and birds of prey, explaining: “Some people don’t want certain birds in their garden but if I feed the tawny owls, kestrels and sparrow hawks they’re not doing damage to the other species.”

For Robert, adding a spacious purpose-built studio to the family home four years ago was one of many high points of a career that has enabled him to travel the world. It’s not bad going for someone who openly admits that he struggled at school and was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia. 

He said: “My mum was a teacher and she really used to try with me but I had no interest. I only developed my reading and writing skills as an adult when I had children of my own.”

Uninspired by school, Robert found solace in sketching and painting wildlife, and admits that his parents were probably ‘relieved’ when the full extent of his talents became apparent. 

Robert credits his father, Richard, with instilling a love of wildlife and conservation in him from a young age, adding: “At a time when people were still ripping out hedgerows, my father, a beef farmer, was planting them, as well as digging ponds for wildlife. He was a keen conservationist and very much ahead of his time.”

When Robert left school shortly before his 16th Birthday, York College of Art and Technology beckoned. From there, he headed on to Carmarthen College to complete a more specialist course in wildlife illustration. At the ripe old age of 18, he made his first commercial sales to staff at Chester Zoo, where he’d worked during the summer, and was soon earning a regular income from his work. 

He recalls: “I sold £1,200 worth of paintings to people working at Chester Zoo the day I left college, which bought me half a car!”

In 1992, Robert exhibited for the first time and, since then, his paintings have appeared in galleries worldwide, including the prestigious Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris and the Tryon Gallery in London. Painting has given Robert the chance to travel extensively; he’s been to Africa on many occasions, as well as the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. These days, Robert’s family accompany him on his trips abroad, and his young daughters already share his passion for wildlife and adventure. He laughs: “Lily has already snorkelled with sharks; in fact she’s always one of the most confident in those situations!”

Although Robert counts Africa as one of his favourite destinations because of the sheer wealth and diversity of wildlife that can be seen there, it’s the creatures of the Yorkshire Wolds that inspire him most, particularly the owls and kestrels. He works in either acrylic or oil paints, first creating the background and then gradually adding the detail, and also produces bronze sculptures. The walls of Robert’s studio are lined with images of wildlife that he has photographed around the world, which provide the inspiration for his artworks. Although Robert’s family home is very much off the beaten track, the adjoining gallery and shop attracts a steady stream of visitors all year round and his original artworks now sell for thousands of pounds. Yet, despite such acclaim and commercial success, Robert is clearly happiest when pottering around Thixendale feeding, watching, photographing and painting the many wild species that he’s happy to share this particularly beautiful corner of the Yorkshire Wolds with.

The fascinating tale of Joshua Barrett of Snaith

By local historian Susan Butler

Ever since J K Rowling featured mandrake root in her Harry Potter books, most people have heard of it. In her stories, mandrake roots are depicted as having the appearance of human babies with leaves growing out of their head. When they are removed from the ground their cry is fatal to anyone who hears it.

In fact, the mandrake plant has been used since ancient times as a medicinal plant and was traditionally associated with magical activities. The root can be up to eighteen inches long and often resembles a human figure. For centuries it has been used as a painkiller and a sedative and, when rubbed onto the skin, was said to help cure rheumatism. But what connection does the mandrake plant have with our local history? 

In late Victorian times, Mr Joshua Barrett and two of his sons moved to Snaith from London. Joshua was a farmer’s son from Bluntisham near St Ives. He was originally a commercial traveller selling lace but, in the 1880s, he went into business producing and selling his ‘Barrett’s Mandrake Embrocation’, which he said would cure ‘Headache, Earache, and Toothache instantly … also Sprains, Sciatica, Lumbago, Gout, Neuralgia, Chilblains and Bronchitis’.

Joshua also made other products, such as Mandrake Liver Powders and Mandrake Tonic. He probably used English mandrake, sometimes known as white bryony, and grew it on his family farm. Joshua mainly sold his ‘cures’ at fairs and shows, and advertised in newspapers.

In the 1890s, Joshua moved into a house on Gowdall Lane, which he promptly named Mandrake House – it still bears the name. His wife remained in London.

Many years later, in 1993, a book named Fragments out of Time was published; it was a lightly disguised account of life in Snaith (renamed Priors Ings in the book). The author was the former Sadie Nash, writing under the pen name of Sarah E. Francis.

Sadie lived in Mandrake House from the 1930s onwards with her younger brother, John, and parents, John and Sarah. Her father had come to Snaith before the war as the chauffeur to Mr and Mrs Roderick Shearburn of Snaith Hall and had fallen in love with Sarah Fairbairn. After the war he worked as a chauffeur in Pittsburgh, USA for a director of the steelworks there and earned enough money to come home, get married and buy a piece of land on which he erected the garage near Carlton Bridge.

In her book, Sadie describes how ‘in the early part of the year many people took their Sunday walk down Gowhill [Gowdall] lane and stopped to peer over the hedge of Owd Mandrake’s garden. There in the middle of the lawn, picked out in yellow and purple crocuses, was the shape of a drake’s body with a man’s head wearing a top hat. Owd Mandrake himself was an impressive figure in his striped trousers, frock coat and top hat. He wore a tea rose in his button hole and his thick white beard was neatly trimmed.’

She also writes of the visit by Harold Barrett from Australia. He was Owd Mandrake’s son. Harold explained he and his brother were at boarding school (probably the school at Drax), but, during the holidays, were looked after by the housekeeper, Martha, who was a ‘real tartar’ and kept a diary of their misdemeanours, which she read to their father every evening.

Harold also described how his father, Joshua, made ‘the elixir of life’ from the mandrake roots which grew in the garden. He brewed his medicine in a workshop in the orchard. Harold said his father was living proof of the efficacy of the medicine as he drank bottles of it himself.

Joshua Barrett eventually left Snaith just after the war and moved to Blackpool. There he married his housekeeper, Martha, and, again, named his new house Mandrake House. He died in 1931.

Sadie’s book (still available online) is an evocative look at Snaith. Before moving to Mandrake House, her family lived in the middle of the town. She writes of the High Street being full of stalls on market days which were ‘lit at night by flaring naptha jets’ and how the fogs in November were so bad that two people meeting in the street could only just recognise each other in the pool of light thrown down by the mantle of the gas lights.

She also writes of the Snaith clog sole mill (now a brewery premises) which supplied clogs all over the country. A particularly large number were bought by Lancashire cotton mill workers as the wooden soles were waterproof. 

Before the First World War, the timber for the mill, mainly beech or alder, was brought up the River Aire by boat. Later it arrived on large articulated lorries. The air was often full of sawdust around the mill, which ran six days a week and employed many local people. Those living in the town would set their clocks by the clog mill buzzer, rather than rely on the ‘fickle church clock’.

Perhaps the most interesting chapter is about how Snaith was affected by the terrible floods of 1947. Mandrake House was flooded up to the first floor and Sadie, her mother and elderly uncle had to be carried by her young brother through the rapidly rising waters to the nearby railway cottage.

People stood at street corners ‘watching the water ebb and flow past the clog mill’. The army brought amphibious ‘ducks’ in but they were apparently useless in the narrow streets and one had its bottom ripped out when it ran over a submerged car.

Sadie’s brother and a friend made a raft and sailed back to Mandrake House to rescue their chickens by chopping a hole though the shed roof with an axe and lifting the birds out into a tea chest. 

The family were able to return home after a month, and the house and furniture dried out during the hot summer which followed.


Scrummy summer eating

Katie Taylor is undoubtedly best known to most Howdenshire Magazine readers as the owner of Drewton’s Farm Shop near South Cave. A passionate champion of locally-sourced food and drink, Katie also loves cooking and entertaining. Several years ago, she wrote a recipe book – By George…it’s Scrummy: The Country Cookbook – to help raise funds for The Leeds Teaching Hospital’s Lymphoedema Service. It’s a charity close to Katie’s heart because her son, George, suffers from the condition. Here, she shares some of her favourite summer recipes from the book: 

Baked pesto salmon

Serves four.


50g basil leaves
150g pine nuts, toasted – see below.
One lemon
50g grated parmesan
100ml olive oil
Balsamic glaze
Salt and pepper
50g breadcrumbs 

Four salmon fillets


Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (gas mark 5).
In a food processor, quickly blend the basil leaves, toasted pine nuts, the zest of the lemon, parmesan, a generous slug of olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. You should have a nice thick chunky paste. If it looks too dry, then add some more oil.

Place the salmon in an oven dish, spread the pesto over the top of each fillet and sprinkle a generous covering of breadcrumbs over the tops. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until the salmon is cooked and the breadcrumbs are golden.

Serve with new potatoes, seasonal vegetables and a wedge of lemon.

Scrummy tip: To toast the pine nuts, simply dry fry them over a low heat, turning to lightly brown all sides. This makes such a difference to the flavour of the pesto.

Pesto pasta


250g penne pasta (or any other dried pasta)
150g pine nuts
100ml olive oil
50g parmesan
50g fresh basil leaves
One clove garlic
One tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper


Cook the pasta in boiling water for a good five minutes, until al dente, and then run under a cold tap to cool it. Overcooked pasta is useless for this refreshing cold pasta dish!

Dry fry the pine nuts in a pan until they are golden in colour (as per the previous recipe). Place in a food processor and roughly chop them, adding the parmesan, basil and garlic until you have a rough dry paste. Stir in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and seasoning and add to the cooled pasta, tossing it until the pasta is totally covered.

Scrummy tip: A superb accompaniment to any buffet of barbecue as a cold dish. This pesto sauce can also be stirred into hot pasta for a warm dish, sprinkled with parmesan shavings.


Coronation chicken

Serves four.


Four chicken breasts
One tablespoon olive oil
50ml water
Salt and pepper
300g mayonnaise
One teaspoon grainy mustard
One teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
One teaspoon dried thyme
One teaspoon paprika
50g flaked almonds
100g sultanas
400g tin cubed pineapple, drained
400g tin sliced mango, peaches or apricots, drained
20g fresh chives, chopped
Six spring onions, chopped
One lemon
Two teaspoons medium curry powder.


Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (gas mark 5).

Put the chicken, oil, water and seasoning in an oven dish and cook in the oven for half an hour. Lift the chicken out onto a board and cool thoroughly.

Mix all the other ingredients in a mixing bowl along with the zest and juice of the lemon. Slice and add the chicken once cool and mix well.

Scrummy tip: I love this dish cold with salad, but it easily adapts to a warm dish simply by putting the mixture in an oven dish, adding a breadcrumb topping and baking for 30 minutes.


Summer Fruits with white chocolate sauce

Serves four.


400g frozen summer berries
300ml double cream
70g packet of white chocolate buttons
One vanilla pod.



When you’re ready to serve your pudding, evenly line your dishes or plates with the frozen fruit.

In a saucepan, gently heat the cream and chocolate buttons. Scrape in some seeds from the vanilla pod and stir until the chocolate has melted and you have a hot, thick sauce. Pour into a warmed jug and serve to your guests at the table, pouring the sauce over the fruit. The heat will defrost the fruit and give a hot and cold twist to an easy-to-make, attractive pudding.

Scrummy tip: If the fruit is particularly large, you may need to let it stand a few minutes to defrost slightly before serving.


Paris-Brest and pots of summer trifle with a bit of mother’s ruin!

Blogger and lifestyle writer Donna Holland, who originates from Howden but is currently living overseas, shares some of her favourite, seasonal recipes:


If you’ve been to France, you’ll no doubt have seen this; the most famous of French desserts! A real showstopper, the Paris–Brest comes out on special occasions and holidays, in fact pretty much for any celebration since its invention in 1910! I realise not everyone will want to bother making choux pastry, but, if you’ve made profiteroles before, you’ll know it’s not that difficult! The fabulous thing about the ring shape is that you can fill it with anything really, which is great during the summer months when there’s an abundance of berries. You can fill it with a traditional French mousseline cream or just fresh cream. I like to add a little tartness in the form of a good dollop of lemon curd, then fill with vanilla cream – it’s not too sweet – and bang in a ton of strawberries or raspberries! 

P.S. You can add sliced almonds and hazelnuts to the top for added crunch! 


Donna x 

Choux pastry


  • 70g of milk.
  • 70g of water. 
  • One inch of salt.
  • 60g unsalted butter.
  • 90g fine bread flour.
  • Three eggs (no more than 150g in weight in total).


  • Bring the milk, water, salt and butter to the boil. 
  • Make sure the butter is fully melted before reaching boiling point. 
  • Remove from the heat and add the flour immediately. 
  • Stir with a wooden spoon and then return to the heat and beat the dough with the spoon. 
  • Keep doing this for a few minutes to dry the dough out a bit. 
  • It should come away from the sides of the pan easily. 
  • Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and rest for five minutes.
  • Now add the eggs and stir in, one at a time. 
  • Once all the egg is combined and the batter is shiny and firm, transfer it to your piping bag. 
  • Draw a circle on your parchment paper and turn the paper over. 
  • Pipe the outer ring and then continue inwards, piping one more ring, making sure the joins are not in the same place. 
  • Then pipe one on its own the same size as the first ring. 
  • Bush lightly with egg wash. 
  • Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 40 to 45 minutes. 
  • Let it cool now. 
  • Slice the bigger ring in half horizontally, carefully. 
  • Place the smaller ring inside the bottom half of the big ring.

Cream filling

 Whip together the following:

  • 450mls of whipping cream.
  • Two teaspoons of vanilla extract.
  • 20g of icing sugar (more if you want).


  • Pipe your cream on the bottom half using a medium sized tip. 
  • You can add another layer of cream to gain height. 
  • Fill with the fruit or berries of your choice. 
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar.

Pots of summer trifle with a bit of mother’s ruin! 

The Paris Brest is a bit of a faff, so here’s something a little less demanding but just as delicious for your summer gatherings. You can cheat all the way with this one! Or, if you are like me, you’ll be #homemade all the way! Either way, the outcome is the same; I won’t judge, I promise! 

Donna x 

Serves eight in small glasses.



Four madeleines or use any plain sponge or lady fingers. 

One glass of your favourite botanical gin and tonic to pour over the sponge. 

120mls of vanilla custard. 

One teaspoon of finely chopped pistachios.

20g of white chocolate chips. 

100g of fresh raspberries. 

Two ripe peaches, sliced, or used tinned. 

1One tablespoon of raspberry compote or coulis. 

Eight meringue kisses (See the for my recipe).


To make the mascarpone mix, whisk together:

200g of mascarpone. 

50mls of whipping cream 

20g of icing sugar 

Two teaspoons of vanilla extract. 


How to:

This is more of an assembly job than a recipe! 

So, do that and enjoy! 


The Howdenshire farm offering lessons in self-reliance

When Di Hammill’s three children were younger she spent several years living completely off-grid in a remote dale in the North York Moors. There was no TV in the house and the family would collect firewood, forage for food and bathe in the river. Di would even line her children’s Wellington boots with the fur of rabbits that had been killed on the roads.

At the time Di was a single mum and admits: “It was very lonely and isolated, but I wanted to get as back to nature as I could and take the kids of away from popular culture to let them develop in their own way.”

Ten years on, Di and her children, who are now teenagers, are living a much more conventional existence here in Howdenshire. Di rents a former farmhouse close to the village of East Cottingwith, which has become the headquarters for The Wild Harvest School of Self-Reliance, a business venture inspired by the years the family spent living a totally self-sufficient lifestyle.

Di explains: “My kids are normal teenagers now, it wouldn’t have been fair of me to impose that lifestyle on them as they got older but they do say that the values asserted in our childhood come back to us; they certainly did with me. It’s true as my daughter can make pretty much anything.”

It was Di’s own childhood that equipped her with her fierce independence and steely determination, together with a ‘make and mend’ approach and a raft of practical skills, such as the ability to make traditional remedies from plants. 

She was raised by her father and grandfather but acknowledges that she pretty much brought herself up, explaining: “I was given to my Dad in a custody battle, which was rare in the 1970s. He was a single dad and a hippy. I was brought up by him and my Grandfather, who both expected me to become self-reliant from a young age; they’d kind of forget about me at times, each thinking the other was looking out for me. They even taught me how to break into the house when they’d accidentally locked me out! I wouldn’t change anything though; I’ve seen friends who had it all – two loving parents – and they’re weak as anything!”

Di continues: “If Dad wanted something, he would grow or make it, we had a very simple life. When I had my kids I started to see notice how everything is farmed out; we’ve become deskilled as women. Once we’d have cooked everything from scratch and known what plants to treat our kids with when they were ill. I wanted my kids to have these skills, and be quite tough and self-disciplined.”

She adds proudly: “They are pretty tough; they’re never ill!”

Keen to share what she’s learned with others, Di began running wild food walks showing people how to forage for ingredients and self-sufficiency workshops. 

She explained: “I was already working as a teacher and some of my skills, such as willow weaving, are self-taught, but I wanted to reskill myself so I went on loads of courses, usually with the kids!”

The Wild Harvest School of Self-Reliance really took off when Di moved to Boundary Farm near East Cottingwith following a spell living York and working as a teacher. She has established a network of self-sufficiency experts who she can call upon to run different courses, covering everything from bee keeping and wild medicine to an introduction to permaculture.

Boundary Farm’s old foldyard and brick outbuildings make a charming setting for the day courses that Di runs and she can now offer craft retreat weekends, with accommodation provided in a series of white tipis with wonderful views of the Howdenshire countryside. 

With a camp fire and quirky outdoor kitchen, not to mention the family’s Silkie hens and pet dogs roaming freely among borders stocked with herbs and medicinal plants, the farm is restful and creative environment for people looking to escape the rat race for a weekend or those who simply want learn some new skills.

The retreats are proving particularly popular with hen parties, who jump at the chance to try their hand at a wide variety activities during their stay – everything from making rag rugs, candles or bath bombs to willow weaving and archery. Di is keen to demonstrate that self-sufficiency ‘can be an urban concept’, rather than an exclusively rural way of life, and she regularly stages wild food walks in the centre of York, which have attracted students from as far afield as France. She’s an in-demand speaker at events nationwide and hosts workshops as part of the annual Country Living Fairs in Harrogate and London.

Like the mother, Di’s children can turn their hands to almost anything. The family grow their most of their own vegetables and Di has an apothecary stocked with remedies made from wild plants. 

Although she admits that she’s not such a ‘purist’ now her children are older because she doesn’t want deprive them of the typical trappings of teenage life, such as shop bought hygiene and beauty products and iPads, her mission remains the same; to empower people to provide for themselves and their families using the natural resources around them. 

  • For more information about day courses and craft retreats at the Wild Harvest School of Self-Reliance, visit


Recipes to relish

Recipes from some of Yorkshire’s finest chefs feature in a book entitled Relish North East and Yorkshire Volume 3.

Published by Relish Publications, the beautiful, hard-backed book profiles some of the region’s top restaurants and the chefs who run them, but also includes a starter, a main course and a dessert recipe from each of the eateries featured.

The Pipe and Glass at South Dalton and The Westwood at Beverley are among the restaurants featured, and we’ve chosen a recipe from each of them to whet your appetites.

 The Westwood’s loin of Fallow deer, red cabbage, roasted cereal and grains, brassicas, game jus, blackberries.

Serves four.

Wine to enjoy with it: Botrosecco, Le Mortelle, Antinori 2015, Tuscany (Italy).


Red cabbage purée

90g butter 

1 shallot (sliced)

500g red cabbage (thinly sliced)

500ml water 

160ml dry red wine

160ml port 

160ml red wine vinegar 

1 tbsp caster sugar 

70ml chicken stock

Salt and white pepper


Roasted cereal and grains

45g coarse oatmeal 

12g sunflower seeds

5g pumpkin seeds

¼ tsp mixed spice

10g soft brown sugar

½ tsp Maldon sea salt

12g golden syrup

 2 tsp honey

1 tsp sunflower oil


Game Jus

2 tbsp redcurrant jelly 

1 litre game stock

500ml red wine

200g tin chopped tomatoes


Loin of Fallow deer

1kg fallow deer loin (larder trimmed) 

Salt and pepper

Butter (knob of) 

Rapeseed oil (drizzle of)


To Serve

200g turnip (sliced)

Chicken stock

500g kale



1 punnet blackberries

Red chicory leaves



For the red cabbage purée

Heat two-thirds of the butter in a large pan over a medium heat until foaming but not browned. Add the shallot and sweat until soft. Stir in the cabbage and cook for five minutes. Season with salt. Add just enough water to cover the cabbage, then place a lid on the pan. Turn the heat to low and cook the cabbage until very soft – for about 40 minutes. When the water has nearly evaporated, add the wine and port, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the liquid until the pan is nearly dry. Add the vinegar and sugar, reduce until almost dry. Transfer the mixture to a blender and purée on high until smooth. Add the remaining butter and stock. Blend until emulsified. Pass through a fine sieve. Season with salt and white pepper.


For the roasted cereal and grains

Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Heat the honey, syrup and sunflower oil in a pan, then pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients and mix well. Place on an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake for 25 minutes, stirring every five minutes for an even colour. This can be made days in advance; store in an airtight container.


For the game jus

Combine the ingredients in a pan and reduce to 500ml. Pass through a fine sieve and set aside.


For the loin of Fallow deer

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Cut the loin into four portions. Season and sear on both sides for two minutes in rapeseed oil and butter. Transfer to the oven for five minutes, then leave to rest for six minutes.


Chef’s Tip: Buy the fallow deer from a quality, high street butcher. Wild is preferred, however farmed is a good alternative.


To Serve: Blanch the turnip in chicken stock until tender. Sauté the kale and gently warm the cabbage purée. 


The Pipe and Glass’ dark chocolate honeycomb bites


75g honey

540g sugar

5 tbsp water

20g bicarbonate of soda

300g good quality dark chocolate buttons (54% minimum)

Large tray (lined with greaseproof paper)

Silicone mat



Put the honey, sugar and water into a deep pan (it needs to be deep as the mix will bubble up to the top) and bring to the boil. Continue boiling until the mix turns light golden in colour. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the bicarbonate of soda – this is when the mix will really bubble up. Pour onto the prepared tray and allow to cool. When cool, break into bite-sized pieces by tapping with the heel of a knife. Melt 200g of the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Remove from the heat and add the other 100g of chocolate, stir to melt. While the chocolate is still runny, dip and coat the pieces of honeycomb in it, then lay onto some greaseproof paper or a silicone mat and allow to set. At the Pipe and Glass, we serve these as a garnish with our cinder toffee ice cream, which has been on the menu since day one and is always a firm favourite with our customers!

Chef’s tip: When the mix turns light golden in colour, speed is of the essence; remove from the heat immediately and add the bicarbonate to prevent overcooking.

Relish North East and Yorkshire Volume 3 is on sale from all of the participating restaurants, leading Waterstones stores and online at Amazon and the Relish Publications website: