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Gilly Smith


Talking about food and identity has become a staple on my podcast Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith. So it was a hop and a skip of an idea to bring it to life in my home in East Sussex.  

The idea is simple;  podcast guests as well as chefs, bloggers and would-be writers tell us the stories behind their food over a multi course BYO dinner for 26 at £45 pp. We’ve got plenty of room, so guests can stay over in one of our en-suite bedrooms overlooking meadows and woodland for an extra £60pp.

Trains run frequently from Victoria and London Bridge to Lewes (and less frequently) to Glynde. Car share from Brighton or come by train.

Copyright Lydia Fransiz

It began in July 2021 with Mandana Moghaddam’s Persian summer supper and the food, stories and poetry set a standard for nights to remember. Mandana’s story is about so much more than what was on the plate; the flavours and rituals form the glue for so many refugees who’ve had to flee their homes.

Wednesday November 24th

Bettina Campolucci Bordi

 The queen of plants,  aka @bettinas_kitchen showcases dishes from her latest book, Celebrate.


Pre dinner Nibbles:

 Pea & Mint Fritters with garlic Mayo

Blinis with Herbed Almond Feta and Figs

Medley of Mains:

Roasted sticky Cauliflower & Fennel on Pea SmashCreamy Sweet Potato and Leek Bake Crunchy Brussel sprouts, sesame and Mayo

Pumpkin Focaccia with Pesto Crunchy Orange Slaw

Dessert: Amaretto, Orange, Chocolate Mousse

Monday December 20th

Ruth Nieman

The author of Freekeh: Wild Wheat and Ancient Grains writes:

It is in the Old Testament that we first discover that the ‘parched grain’ gleaned by Ruth in Boaz’s wild wheat fields of Bethlehem is the immature, green wheat known as freekeh, that is re-emerging into our diets as the healthy staple of modern eating. The ancient agricultural tradition of reaping unripe wheat and smoking the husks on an open fire is still practised amidst the lush Galilean terrain and remains a principal staple in the Arabic cuisine. 

Paired with seasonal ingredients and flavours of the Middle East, this menu is full of historical, biblical and cultural tales, which Ruth will bring to life through her own Jewish background and experiences of cooking with these ancient staples, and take you on a journey from the land to the plate. 


‘Galen’s’ Barley Soup 

Freekeh Bread

Mushroom, Chestnut & Smoked Garlic Rye Tart

Freekeh Stuffed Peppers with Olives, Feta & Pinenuts

Cauliflower Spelt Latkes  

Arabic Freekeh Salad

Spelt, Date & Tahini Cake with Sticky Date Sauce

Blackberry & Apple Cranachan with Rye Flakes with a Khorasan & Lime Shortbread

Monday January 10th

MasterChef winner, Saliha Mahmood Ahmed presents a Foodology Feast

Saliha Mahmood Ahmed aka @salihacooks , is a MasterChef winner and author of Khazana, a foodie history of the Mughal empire.

But it’s her day job as gastroenterologist that has  inspired her latest book Foodology, a food lover’s guide to digestive health.  She’s all about the ramifications on what we eat, and is hilariously clear about her mission to get to the bottom of why we need to funk up the gut. And in a spectacular WonderWoman impression, she turns from doctor to MasterChef champ with some delicious ideas how to do it. 


Middle Eastern Orzo with Orange, Hazelnuts and Roasted Peppers 

Broccoli Tabbouleh

Smoked Aubergine Bhorta 


Baharat Roast Chicken 

Jewelled Bulgar Pilaf 

Cucumber, Grape and Dill Raita 


Mango Warbat 

Stuffed Dates

Green Tea with Cardamom and Fennel Seeds