It’s been a while

We ran out of time for posting on here when we set up the Lop Eared Pig, then when we left the farm and started Duende, the pop up restaurant, this website got forgotten.

In April 2017 we moved to Somerset, and by November had finished the work on our Georgian townhouse – with a restaurant downstairs.

So, now Duende restaurant has a permanent location, in Wiveliscombe, Somerset.

Duende Restaurant



Goodbye 2014. Hello 2015.

It had its ups and down. I won’t say roller coaster, as that would be boring.

It was certainly an eye opener.

The new roving restaurant popped up in Chesham, Little Missenden, Ballinger, Ashley Green, and Hyde Heath. Next year we hope to be more at new venues, as well as returning to some favourites.
We may even be able to organise a pop up in brewery.
Here are some pics and menus from the end of 2014.
And here’s to a very exciting New Year!

Last Night of the year

A menu for Ballinger

Ballinger Menu


What do you get when you cross The Lop Eared Pig with Temperance? You get Duende.

I left the farm a while ago, and meantime I’ve been cheffing more sell out dates at Temperance, whilst looking for a new places to pop up.

The first dates I have are back in the Temperance Hall. But I’m coming back in another form, as duende.

Foodwise, think ‘Love child of Lop Eared Pig and Temperance’. Ten to twelve tapas dishes will come in a relaxed procession, so you can enjoy your company. Dishes will draw on on mediterranean influences, as the other events. Veggies and gluten frees well catered for, there will be both hot and cold dishes, and a pudding.

It will be the ever popular BYO, so a great deal at £27 per head. And like The Lop Eared Pig and Temperance, it’s cash only.

Meantime, The Lop Eared Pig will be at BuryFields on June 21st.

Foraging for St Georges Day Mushrooms with Johnny


Collage of pics of Johnny Mushroom and Tim

Johnny ‘Mushroom’

Johnny popped round the other day to say that St Georges day mushrooms would be out the next day. And he was right. Johnny started foraging at 5 with his dad, so he knows his stuff. Apparently St George’s day mushrooms come out regularly within a few days of St Georges day.

Last time Tim and Johnny went out they were looking for ramsoms/wild garlic, and came across two different types. One lot was like the one’s Tim found in Devon, and has picked up in the Amersham area, with a delicate garlic flavour. The other had a much narrower leaf, and white flowers, with a more pungent garlic aroma.

Johnny finds big puffballs sometimes, which he shares with neighbours that aren’t able to get about as well as he does. At 82 Johnny certainly gets about, he doesn’t waste a moment of life, getting involved in all sorts of things locally, and jaunts off to visit friends in other parts of the country, under his own steam.

Johnny ‘Mushroom’ is a bit of a legend locally, and a hero for Tim. He worked in engineering until he was 74!  He’s involved with amateur dramatics, goes to live music events and knows the words to plenty of German drinking songs – we hear he’s a spoon player, too. (One of my Uncle’s used to play the spoons, it involved some sort of business with swapping his knees around – wonder if that’s a Bucks thing?)
Johnny has given permission to post a bit about him and his foraging, with pictures – as long as we don’t reveal his foraging spots.

Tim is hoping to be able to add some foraged ingredients to Temperance Summer menu. Not mushrooms though – most mushrooms fruit later in year, late summer to autumn and it’s bit of a risky business, best left to the experts like Johnny.

Guest chef at the Temperance

In February and March next year I’ll be moonlighting from The Lop Eared Pig on the farm to go and cook in the heart of Chesham, in the Old Town.

This year, just as I was setting up The Lop Eared Pig, I met Peter Wright who part of the team responsible for the brilliant Buryfields Festival. He’s invited me to guest chef at the pop up Temperance Social Eating House. Bookings are already being taken, and some nights are completely booked.

The Temperance will pop up in the old Temperance Hall, now known as the Little Theatre on the Park.

The menu will be a set 3 course menu, plus an amuse bouche. And it’s bring your own wine, no corkage.

You can book by emailing

Twitter @temperanceSEH

Mackerel starter

Mackerel starter

Being wrong about food.

This last week has been an eye opener for me. Like many people, I’ve chosen to eat organic where possible, with the vague notion that it’s to avoid pesticides, or chemicals. I’ve also been thinking that what I eat, and what others eat, is a matter of personal taste.

I’ve baulked at the amount of sugar in fizzy drinks that I see young kids knocking back, and winced at the sight of already overweight people chomping through McDonald’s fries and shakes on the tube. But I still thought we all had a choice.

It turns out I was wrong.

This week I noticed a news item online that said that Tesco will no longer guarantee that their chicken will be fed with non-GM feed. So I started looking around, and saw that they were joined by Sainsbury’s and M&S in caving in to GM. I believe Asda and Morrison’s have never guaranteed their chicken would be GM free.

I thought this was depressing news, but thought that it would mean that the chicken would be labelled accordingly. (Personally, I’ve always used Label Anglaise organic for my business, and organic usually from a local butcher or Waitrose at home.) So I went to the FSA site to find out.

It seems that Government doesn’t see the need for food manufacturers to mention that meat, poultry, eggs, milk or cheese has been produced using genetically engineered feed.

If the government has decided this, I thought surely that must be because human trials have taken place over a long period, and proved eating genetically engineered produce is totally safe, resulting in 100% confidence?

Er, no. I’m wrong again.

I had a look at Monsanto’s website. Monsato produces much of the GM feed that gets into our food chain in the UK.

Monsanto states on their website that there’s ‘no need’ to test their GM products. There’s confidence. I would imagine that the makers of Thalidomide and DES were confident that their drugs were safe, too. Otherwise they wouldn’t have prescribed them to pregnant women. Because that would be negligence, wouldn’t it?

So, currently, we’re not allowed to know when GM has entered the food we eat, and it hasn’t been tested, because the people who make it say there is ‘no need’.

And in a way, Monsanto are right. For them, there is no need. We ARE the experiment. The testing is going on now, in what we unknowingly eat.

And if it goes wrong, Monsanto will be fine. Because Obama has just signed the legislation popularly known as the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’. This strangely worded legalese was snuck into a bill, apparently without the knowledge of Senator Mikulski.

Oops how did that get in there? 1

Senator Mikulski’s office states, “Senator Mikulski understands the anger over this provision. She didn’t put the language in the bill and doesn’t support it either.” Apparently this was a ‘mistake.’

So who did put it in there?

It seems it was written by ‘freshman’ Senator Ray Blunt, with the help of someone from Monsanto. Senator Blunt received $64,250 from Monsanto towards his election campaign. That’s handy.

But what does the Monsanto Protection Act, otherwise known as Section 733, of FY2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill, mean?

It means that the sale and planting of unapproved GMO crops cannot be stopped while the approval is under review by a federal judge, so that new untested GM crops can be planted, and sold without approval.

Why does any of this matter?

“Norwegian Veterinary Science College feeding trials on rats, mice, pig and salmon have found that GM feed produces significant changes. Rats and fish fed Bt corn grew fatter than the control groups fed non-GM corn. Salmon fed on GM corn were slightly larger and ate slightly more. Their intestines had a different microstructure, they were less able to digest proteins, and there were changes to their immune system and blood.”

Oops, how did that get in there? 2

“Prof Ashild Krogdahl of the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, one of the research team, commented on another worrying finding: “A frequent claim has been that new genes introduced in GM food are harmless since all genes are broken up in the intestines. But our findings show that genes can be transferred through the intestinal wall into the blood; they have been found in blood, muscle tissue and liver in sufficiently large segments to be identified.”


Curiouser and curiouser

Should we be campaigning to get GM foods labelled properly? In California state last year, there was a ballot to determine whether this was what the public wanted. It was known as Proposition 37.

Big food and Biotech businesses got together to contribute over $46 million to a campaign to prevent the proper labelling of GM foods. For some reason, they don’t want the public to know what’s in the food they eat. I find this particularly disturbing when one of those companies is a baby milk producer. Some companies are the usual suspects – Coca cola, Pepsi, etc, but was surprised to see Campbells, Heinz and Kraft and many more on the list.

Their argument is that it would be expensive, ‘misleading’ and lead to court cases. So they wanted the public to vote NO to proposition 37.

Anyway, they won by a very small majority. Google for the story about the 18,000 votes for YES that went missing.

California Proposition 37
Result Votes Percentage
No 6,442,371 51.4%
Yes 6,088,714 48.6%

Here’s the list of the big companies that don’t think we should know what’s in food. And what they paid to stop us knowing.

Contributors and Amount
Monsanto. $8,112,867
E.I. Dupont De Nemours & Co. $5,400,000
Pepsico, Inc. $2,145,400
Grocery Manufacturers Association $2,002,000
DOW Agrisciences $2,000,000
Bayer Cropscience $2,000,000
BASF Plant Science $2,000,000
Syngenta Corporation $2,000,000
Kraft Foods Global $1,950,500
Coca-Cola North America $1,700,500
Nestle USA $1,315,600
Conagra Foods $1,176,700
General Mills $1,135,300
Kellogg Company $790,000
Smithfield Foods $683,900
Del Monte Foods $674,100
Campbell’s Soup $500,000
Heinz Foods $500,000
Hershey Company $493,900
The J.M. Smucker Company $485,000
Bimbo Bakeries $422,900
Ocean Spray Cranberries $387,100
Mars Food North America $376,650
Council for Biotechnology Information $375,000
Hormel Foods $374,300
Unilever $372,100
Bumble Bee Foods $368,500
Sara Lee $343,600
Kraft Food Group $304,500
Pinnacle Foods $266,100
Dean Foods Company $253,950
Biotechnology Industry Organization $252,000
Bunge North America $248,600
McCormick & Company $248,200
Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company $237,664
Abbott Nutrition $234,500
Cargill, Inc. $226,846
Rich Products Corporation $225,537
Flowers Foods $182,000
Dole Packaged Foods $171,261
Knouse Foods Cooperative $164,731

Currently there are only a handful of GM products that are licensed to come into the UK, they include rape seed oil, yeast, maize, soy, potato, sugar beet. Mostly The GM products are used for animal and poultry feed.

(The GM yeast wouldn’t have to be labelled in bread, as officially it’s not an ingredient but a baking aid.)

But there is a long list of products pending approval. And Pig 26 and the Aquabounty salmon have recently had their genes messed with.

This week I asked Mark & Spencer’s customer help on Twitter whether they would be labelling their chicken accordingly now that it’s going to be GM fed. Their response was no, as there isn’t a logo for that. Does anyone fancy designing one for them?

Sainsbury evaded the question but assured me their So Organic chicken would continue to be GM free. (Doh. It wouldn’t be allowed to be called organic if it was GM fed.)

I haven’t heard back from Tesco yet.

So the message seems to be: Shut up and eat your food.

Further googling: Monsanto crop failure

Who needs electricity anyway?

I love waiting for things. Some things deserve a wait – a slow cooked kleftiko, a properly proved sourdough bread, a great Parmigiano. They all take a while. Apparently electricity takes a long time, too. The Lop Eared Pig Cafe is still waiting for electricity.

So, this Easter, I’ll be cooking on the farm without electricity, on a barbecue. Which is fine, it’s a method I’m very happy with. I’m happy to barbecue in the snow. Or the sun, or the hailstones. Whatever this Easter brings. Whatever the weather deals up, there’s stuff happening on the farm, and good food going on.

Just email me if you’d like to reserve a table, at

easter barbecue-page-001 (1)

Early days

Tim’s been busy ‘repurposing’ an old tractor garage on a farm.

It’s funny how things happen. If you’ve been following, you’ll know we’ve moved to the country, and have been visiting a free range, rare breed farm in Chesham, looking at the animals and talking about the produce.

Tim and the lovely people at Hazeldene Farm have been talking, and now there’s a plan. Which is all due to happen very soon.

Tim is going to open a cafe on the farm, in the old tractor garage. He’ll be doing lunch Saturdays and Sundays, using Hazeldene Farm’s own produce, and produce from other local places.

He’ll also be able to do the dinner parties that were so popular in Isleworth, and food for the events that go on at the farm.

We’ve set up a new WordPress site for the new venture, if you could follow that would be lovely!

It’s at

A ewe on the farm

Ewe on the farm

Free range chickens in Hazeldene Farm, in the snow

Free range chickens in the snow