November 14, 2023

NOVEMBER 2023 – Getting into the Christmas Spirit: Information and future events

Hello Foodie Subscribers
A warm welcome to those of you who have recently signed up, I hope you’ll come and dine with us soon!

“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat …..” No sign of a goose in our house! Rather a sensitive subject for me. In my childhood, growing up on a farm, my parents kept a gaggle of geese – they were known as “Freddie and the Dreamers” – I have such fond memories of that noisy gang. Anyway, one Christmas Day, Freddie was served up for the main course and it broke my heart – my brothers and I refused to eat him and I’ve never considered goose since!!

Inspired by a recent trip to an amazing restaurant called Fera Palma in Mallorca (see September blog), I’ve been trying out some new recipes on the neighbours – all the courses passed the tasting test and will now be featured on my new menu.

They include:-

Plump Kalonji Jhinga Prawns
Spicy Chickpea Croustades
Gravadlax with pickled cucumber served with cauliflower & horseradish sauce
Miso Cod
Poached Lobster Risotto
Spicy Sea Bass with Celeriac Puree
White Chocolate Parfait with passion fruit sauce

If a tasting menu is something you might like to try, please do get in touch 😊

“Surprise 80th”

We’ve had some wonderful celebrations here at Second-Helpings – Recently, an 80th birthday “surprise” where the family got together to celebrate their wife, mother & grandmother’s special birthday. Travelling from the south west, and taking time off from the army, the family were all ready and waiting for the main person to arrive!! The room was decorated with a beautiful collage of photographs, balloons, banners and gifts. They tucked into a delicious buffet, and the hungry grandsons came back for second and third helpings!!  King Charles, who has been hanging around since the Coronation, also made a brief appearance.

Oxted and Westerham Cancer Research

Oxted and Westerham Cancer Research  had their annual Preview Evening and Main Day Christmas Fair on 7th & 8th November at Botley Hill Barn – despite the horrendous weather, the place was completely rammed with an amazing array of 45 stalls and hundreds of visitors!  Second-Helpings helped out by providing a delicious packed lunch for some of the stallholders. £18,000 was raised for Cancer Research last year and this years total will shortly to be announced. Outstanding achievement by all the volunteers – I would highly recommend a visit to this one next year!

For Art Lovers

We have a selection of original artwork by Saatchi award winning artist Barry Wilson on display in our dining area (some of which are for sale). Barry was selected to show two of his pieces at the RA Summer Exhibition this year. Recently, he has been shortlisted for the 2023 “Discerning Eye Prize” the Discerning Eye Exhibition is on at the Mall Gallery in London and opens on Friday 17th November.


St. Peter & St. Paul Church Christmas Market – Saturday 18th November

Very excited to be part of this local fundraiser. I will be providing  some freshly baked goodies: quiches, gruyere cheese straws, sausage rolls, scones and some delicious orange crumble topped mince pies. No entrance fee 11am until 3pm – pop along and have a look, there are 22 local businesses all eager to sell their wares!

Charters’ Village Annual Christmas Fair – Friday 24th November
I love this event, such a warm and friendly atmosphere! I shall be providing some lovely packed lunches for the residents and manning a very busy home baked goods stall, so get there early. Things sell pretty quickly so if you want to pre order anything, get in touch.

YOGA by Alex followed by Festive Cream Tea – Sunday 3rd December

Yoga and Tea – This event is now fully booked. Guests will enjoy 90 minutes of yoga at the beautiful Starborough Manor followed by a festive cream tea at Second-Helpings. Christmas Jumpers will be on show 🎄 Following on from our inaugural Yoga & Lunch last summer, this type of event has proved to be extremely popular. Alex & I will be sure to arrange more next year so watch this space

Festive Florals & Luncheon – Saturday 16th December

We still have room for a few more guests at our Festive Florals & luncheon on Saturday 16th December. Tess Moore will be demonstrating some beautiful Festive arrangements using foraged foliage and white flowers. She will be showing us how to do a serviette place setting with a name tag, a terracotta candle pot (for everyone to take home) and other festive arrangements.  We will enjoy a three course lunch and the cost is £40 per person.  The event will start at 11.45 and will probably end around 3.30pm

Tess is a professional gardener and florist with many years’ experience in both industries, covering all aspects of garden maintenance, planting and design with a natural style of floristry for wedding and party flowers.  She trained in horticulture at Hadlow college to RHS level 3, Certificate in Garden Design and various floristry courses from Paula Pryke to Sarah Raven, as well as working in an established Florist shop and the country house hotel Gravetye Manor for many years. With a passion for growing flowers and vegetables from seed with special emphasis on border planting and cutting gardens, Tess loves a bee friendly cottage garden and her favourite flowers include Hellebores, Tulips, Roses, Peonies and Dahlias.

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