8 March 2017
Editor's Picks March Edition
As the weather warms up there's no better way to shake off winter than to head off for a long weekend. Especially when there's something going on to suit every taste. From jazz to literature, to a day at the horses - if you're looking for a cultural city break, look no further. Spring is finally here.
14th - 17th March
Renowned for its atmosphere, especially the 'Cheltenham roar' - which refers to the enormous amount of noise that escalates as the starter raises the tape for the first race. Cheltenham is the place to see many of the best British and Irish trained horses. Join the thousands of racegoers and place a bet or two. Bands will be playing throughout. A Great British event.
BRISTOL JAZZ AND BLUES FESTIVAL
16th - 19th March
A long weekend dedicated to jazz and blues in and around Bristol's Grade II listed concert space, Colston Hall. The main act is multi award-winning, platinum selling soul songstress Macy Gray. Get your dancing shoes on for The Big Swing or tune into the most iconic theme tunes from the silver screen with 'Sounds for Spies and Private Eyes', performed by a string orchestra and a 21-piece band. Classic and contemporary.
YORK LITERATURE FESTIVAL
16th - 30th March
A two-week long festival dedicated to literature, spoken word and poetry in one of the UK's most beautiful cities - muddy wellies not required. Learn how to pen the perfect stanza, listen to famous writers (Mark Gatiss of The League of Gentlemen and Monty Python's Michael Palin) talk about their work or take the kids to a magical retelling of their favourite fairy tale. This is your chance to be transported to other worlds through literature, poetry, music, comedy or theatre.
ROAST RATATOUILLE WITH FETA
Serves 8 - 10
Veggie Month isn't just for vegetarians, and when it looks this good, ratatouille isn't just a side dish. Bestselling chef Rachel Allen - often referred to as Ireland's own Nigella - has shared this from her heart-warming new cookbook, 'Recipes from My Mother'. This is her own take on the Provençal vegetable stew with the added bonus of moreish chunks of feta. If your greenhouse is overflowing with fresh veg then you're in luck. If not, there's always Waitrose.
• 2 red peppers
• 2 yellow peppers
• 175ml (6fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil
• 24 cherry tomatoes
• 4 red onions, each cut into 6 wedges
• 2 aubergines, cut into slices 5-7mm (1/4-1/3in) thick
• 2 courgettes, cut into slices 5-7mm (1/4-1/3in) thick
• 200g (7oz) feta cheese
• 30 black olives
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE DRESSING
• 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
• 2 tsp coriander seeds
• 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6. Rub the whole peppers all over with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, place on roasting tin and roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes until the peppers are completely tender.
2. Meanwhile, halve the cherry tomatoes across the equator and place in a bowl, then add the onion wedges. Pour 75ml (3fl oz) of the olive oil into the bowl and toss to coat the vegetables, then season with salt and pepper. Push the peppers up to one end of the roasting tin and tip the tomatoes, onions and all the oil in the bowl into the other end of the tray. Place back in the oven to roast. When the tomatoes are juicy and tender and the onions are roasted and golden, tip them out onto a large serving plate and set aside.
3. The peppers at this stage might be tender; if they are, take them out, place in a bowl and cover with cling film. Pour the juices from the tray over the tomatoes and onions. If the peppers are not yet cooked, pop them back in the oven.
4. Place a griddle pan over a high heat to get nice and hot. Meanwhile, place the aubergines and courgettes in a bowl, pour the remaining oil over them and season with salt and pepper. When the griddle pan is good and hot, place the slices in a single layer (you'll need to do this in batches) on the pan and cook for 2 minutes on either side until deep golden in colour. Take out and place with the tomatoes and onions on the plate.
5. When the roasted peppers have cooled enough for you to handle, peel off the cling film and peel and deseed the peppers. Discard the peel and seeds but keep all the juices - pour these over the other vegetables on the plate. Tear the pepper flesh into strips and arrange over the vegetables.
6. Next, make the dressing. Place the oil and vinegar in a bowl. Put the coriander seeds into a dry frying pan over a medium-high and cook for a minute until roasted and slightly darker in colour. Tip out into a mortar and grind with a pestle while still hot and add to the dressing. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
7.Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables, crumble over the feta and scatter with the olives and chopped fresh coriander.