Have Yourselves a Very Whitstabley Christmas

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Dec 242016

Nigella Bites in West London – but Jules Serkin is bringing BBC cooking right home to Whitstable.

Christmas With Jules Serkin will feature the former Whitstable Times columnist and broadcaster as she scours purveyors of our finest local food and drink – from Surman’s Butchers and the Tankerton Wine Rooms to Wheelers on the High Street. Next, we’re with Jules as she cooks, scoffs and quaffs, and banters with a dozen expert foodies and other local guests – all for broadcast on Christmas Eve
and Christmas Day.

“I picture this as the other party going on in your kitchen,” said Jules, who has lived in the Whitstable area for 20 years. “I can imagine the hubbub of family and friends coming round – and then there’s our gaggle giving a few last-minute tips to the cooks in your house, bantering and playing some really great music.”

Tune in to Jules’s special Christmas “Scoff & Quaff” show from Christmas Eve on the BBC iPlayer, or on BBC Radio Kent on Christmas Eve 2-5pm and Christmas Day 9-1pm. You can join in the banter too on Twitter @scoffquaff with the hashtag #WhitstableChristmas


LISTEN HERE-Christmas Eve
LISTEN HERE-Christmas Day

Note to Editors:
Contact Jules on 0776 101 5300 or jules@pressupgroup.com

Review: Deeson’s Canterbury

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May 092016

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I heard Deesons restaurant had launched a new tapas menu, so I thought I’d check it out.

Deeson’s is a real fave of mine, which I would frequent more if only there weren’t the beastly parking charges in Canterbury. Recently I’d paid my parking fees via Ringo and whizzed into a meeting with a new client, then on to my bank for another meeting which ran over. I duly topped up parking adding another £3. So far so good, then met my New Husband and we went for a quick supper at Cafe Mauresque , where as I waited for my tajine I tried to top up Ringo’s insatiable appetite yet again; £9 so far! Alas, no Wifi or phone signal to be had, so I wolfed my meal instead of savouring, charged back to the car ten minutes late and had a ticket for over 29 quid. My brain has blocked the exact amount – it was too painful.

But I digress; back to Head Chef Ross Barden and team – keen for us to try modern British tapas.

I’d expect nothing less from Deesons than tapas with a twist and so it delighted me to find dish upon dish of invention. The staff are super and the three of us (I’d invited my Chef posse) were welcomed by Hayleigh, who served promptly. I do love to eat the unexpected and with so many restaurants in Canterbury – more than the shops now on offer! – there has to be some innovative food to tempt diners to return.

We actually sampled the entire menu  (yes- I know!)  and were generally impressed but my mystery Chef friend did feel that maybe Ross was trying too hard and would be better to do fewer dishes to simplify the grand effort he had made.

Dishes that worked really well and were outstanding were a twice-baked “Old Winchester” cheese soufflé with a carrot pureé. Now Mystery Chef wanted a little more seasoning, but here we disagreed as I’m not a gal who cooks with lots of salt, though I do love seasoning – and I’d rather err on less than more – it is quite a debatable subject and p’raps one for another column and a vote!

We all raptured about the Confit Hen’s Yolk with buttered leeks and crispy chicken skin soldiers – comforting, creamy and inspired.

The Crispy Haggis with a poached egg and parsnip crisps was also flavoursome but technically the haggis was a tad dry from over-frying/baking, so it needed the soft egg to add liquid!

Cider Braised Beef Shin with apple juice and ginger with mash and cabbage was a wonderful dish – sauce just right.

The Spring Greens with wholegrain mustard worked beautifully as did the charred broccoli with cheese sauce and flaked almonds, whilst the picturesque so-fresh salad was divine.

We all commented how good the veg and salad ingredients were – naturally the Kentish Pork ( a dish from the a la carte menu) was a winner; I’d expect nothing less from Deesons.

The Smoked Cod Kedgeree was a good idea, but we thought we would find it more pleasing to the eye served as small balls – and Mystery Chef (himself well seasoned) suggested  a good livid coloured curry mayonnaise was much needed to moisten it.

The Pork and Potato Croquette served with an an apple butter was also oversized and would have been better smaller and perhaps served as a threesome. The apple butter on the tapas version did not pack the same punch that it did when served with the a la carte main course of Pork Tenderloin along with Black Pudding crumb and candied walnuts and a cider jus (to die for). A must order!

Deeson’s has come up trumps with something different from the many run-of-the-mill chains so go and support our independent eateries. I will certainly return.

Deeson’s British Restaurant

25-26 Sun Street

Tweet me @julesserkin  @SCOFFQUAFF 


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Cooking for Engineers

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Nov 122015

A great blog for anyone with an analytical approach to cooking! You can find out more here:


Jules Serkin on Supermarkets

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Dec 082014

Just as Whitstable is welcoming Morrisons to the High Street and planning a third supermarket for the Thanet Way, we consumers are apparently turning our backs on the weekly trolley dash.

Waitrose Chief Executive Mark Price told the Sunday Telegraph that a change as fundamental as supermarkets coming to the UK in the 1950s is sweeping the nation as people are increasingly buying their food for today. The notion of people going and pushing a trolley around for the week for a huge shop is a thing of the past, he said.

While we appear to be cramming more and more supermarkets into our own community, Sainsbury’s and Tesco have been pulling larger supermarket plans, including one in Margate, according to the Mail Online.

It must be said that Tesco is doing its level best locally to keep with the times and create a homely, community feel. For the re-launch of the store off Millstrood Road it’s created a community room where charities and local groups can meet for free and it donated welcome funds to the Whitstable RNLI on reopening.

As they say, every little helps. But to my mind no amount of catering to the community by the supermarkets can replace the feeling of wholeness that shopping locally gives. Going to my local butcher, (Surmans of Tankerton) knowing where the meat is sourced, having a good natter with Brian,(the dishy one) getting cooking times for the beef and then popping to the market for my eggs from lovely June, who always asks how my Mum is doing, and coming home to my home-delivered Riverford organic veg box & my Herne Bay Hudson’s Fish certainly for me beats pushing a trolley around for an hour and then feeling miserable at the price, the queues & the experience.

Tell me your favourite local shop & why?  Tweet me @julesserkin Tune in to my shows @SCOFFQUAFF food & drink show for Kent every Tuesday live 11-12 & 1pm @businessbunker with me & @vanillaweb  on www.channelradio.co.uk