June Newsletter

I have been busy this month making ginger wine from the May newsletter recipe. I used 7 pints of water instead of the recommended 1 gallon. This enabled the mixture to fit comfortably into a flameproof casserole and more importantly the final quantity was just below the shoulder of the demijohn. I used Gervin GV1, multipurpose yeast. So far, so good – watch out Crabbies!


AGM provisionally postponed until August.

North Tonbridge Horticultural Society Summer Show: 20 June – cancelled. Their autumn show is scheduled for 29 August (liqueur class only).


In 2014 [date of 1st publication of article] it seems apposite to have a photo dating from the years of the Great War a century ago. This photo shows the Red Lion (157 High Street, Tonbridge) which lay on the east side of the High Street just north of Church Lane. It was known as the George in the 17th century, and, from 1639 until the early 18th century it was owned by one family: the Wellers, who were lawyers and local landowners. In 1832 it was managed by George Langridge (b 1791). By 1861 it was in the hands of William Mitchell (b 1812) and his family of wife, 3 daughters and 2 sons. After a couple more changes it became the responsibility of Emma Kenward (b 1853 in Uckfield). Emma, a widow aged 38, is listed as a “licensed victualler” in the 1891 census. She lived a few doors down at 125 High Street. By 1901 she had moved into the premises. She remarried (to John F Mockford) in 1902. Emma and John must still have been landlords when the top photo was taken. Interestingly, John died in 1918 (aged 56) but I can find no record of the death of Emma Mockford. What did come up however was the death of an Emma Kenward (1853- 1936) in Maidstone. Was the marriage a happy one? Did she revert to her previous name after John’s death? We will never know... What’s there now? Er – Baldwins. Apparently, the pub continued trading until 1969. Does anyone remember it?

(My thanks to Shaun Jeffery http://tonbridgecollectables.com for permission to reproduce the photo of troops in front of the Red Lion Hotel)


Geoff and I now prefer this cocktail to a G&T, as it makes a lovely refreshing, long drink to enjoy in the garden on a summer’s afternoon.

Tom Collins

45ml gin

30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

15ml sugar syrup

Soda water to finish

Lemon slice and maraschino cherry to garnish

Fill a glass with ice. Mix the gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup together and pour over the ice. Top up with soda water and garnish with the lemon slice and cherry.


Recommended as a good table wine.


Peach Wine, TV Times - Make your own Wine


3 lb ripe peaches                   Approx. 6 pints water

Juice of 1 lemon                     ½ teasp tannin

Pectic enzyme                        2½ lb sugar

Sauternes yeast                     Nutrient

 Remove peach stones, put the peaches in a fermentation bin and pulp. Pour on the boiling water and when cool, add the lemon juice, pectic enzyme and tannin. Cover and leave for 3 days, strain thoroughly using a muslin bag, squeezing it gently to extract the liquor. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Pour into a demijohn and add the yeast and nutrient. Fit an air lock and ferment in the usual way.



Strawberry tart makes a perfect summer dessert. I used Marion Regan’s strawberries, variety MC1, from Waitrose. This variety is packed with flavour.


Strawberry, Almond and Lemon Tart (Serves 8)


For the pastry

225g plain flour

100g ground almonds

75g caster sugar

175g butter

Pinch of salt

1 egg yolk

For the filling

450g mascarpone

225g crème fraiche

Grated rind and juice of 2 small lemons

10 tbsp icing sugar

 700g strawberries (preferably medium sized)

To make the pastry put the flour, almonds, sugar, butter and salt into a food processor. Whizz until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Tip into a bowl, beat the egg yolk with a little water and add it to the dough. Mix gently and quickly until everything comes together. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for ½ hour.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 23-24cm tart tin with a removable base. It isn't easy pastry with which to work; if it falls apart, just press it into the tin and patch it up. Prick the base with a fork. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Line the chilled pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake blind for 8 minutes in an oven preheated to 200°C/gas mark 6. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 7 minutes; the pastry should be pale gold. Let it cool in the tin, then gently remove it.

Beat the mascarpone with a wooden spoon until it is quite smooth. Add the crème fraiche, lemon juice and rind and icing sugar. Put in the fridge to firm up slightly, but don't let it get so cold that it 'sets'.

Hull the strawberries.

When the pastry case is cool, fill it with the cream and just before serving arrange the berries on top, pointed side up.


Where have all the Wimbledon Strawberries gone?

Sunday Times: In November 2019 Marion Regan, Director of Hugh Lowe Farms, talked to us about supplying over 30 tons of strawberries to Wimbledon. Sadly, Wimbledon 2020 has been cancelled for obvious reasons. So no watching Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer this year, but what has happened about the strawberries? The Sunday Times reported this week that the plant seeds had already been sown, but instead of the fruit going to Wimbledon it will be heading for supermarkets, farm shops and independent stores, as well as local schools, with leftovers donated to a food bank. In addition, 750kg will go to the artisan jam company, English Preserves, to be turned into jam.

Fine Swiss Wines downgraded to Vin de Table

Daily Telegraph: Swiss wineries will receive 10 million Swiss Francs (£8.5 million) of state aid to repackage thousands of bottles of fine wines - appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) into cheaper vin de table, as a consequence of the closure of restaurants and bars during the last two months. Sales of these fine wines, some selling for hundreds of pounds, have dropped by 40%. Winegrowers will receive 2 Swiss Francs for each litre of AOC wine they downgrade. Financial aid will be proportionate to the surface of vineyards in cantons across Switzerland. “We need to make space in the cellars” said Frédéric Borloz, president of the Swiss wine producers’ federation. Wine sales have in general slumped across Europe as a result of the pandemic and vintners are warning of a “wine lake”.

Lockdown: Some Depressing Statistics

Daily Telegraph: Kings College London and Ipsos MORI have been following more than 2,200 people since the 2nd week of lockdown. 48% of those surveyed admitted they had put on weight, while 29% said they were drinking more than usual, up from 19% in April.

I’m sure these figures can’t possibly reflect the trends of any of us!


An appropriate poem to follow the previous article.   

At least I've got a stash of booze

For when I'm being idle

There's wine and whiskey, even gin

If I'm feeling suicidal!


So let's all drink to lockdown

To recovery and health

And hope this bloody virus 

Doesn't decimate our wealth.


We'll all get through the crisis

And be back to join our mates

Just hoping I'm not far too wide

To fit through the flaming gates!


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Latest comments

02.01 | 17:16

Thank you for contacting our website. I will see if any of our members are interested in your offer. Whereabouts are you located?

02.01 | 17:00

I have 8 clear glass demijohns if anyone wants them.

07.09 | 09:09

would the lady in hildenborough supply me with a demijon i live in hilden borough

02.09 | 11:53

Hi Linda - Thank you for your kind offer. I have contacted our members and will let you know if anyone is interested. Best wishes, Cathy Rishman

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