Strong Island Co.

Food & Drink

Down The Hatch Recipes #4 – Warm Spiced Cider

What better way to end this gastronomical guide than with seasonally fortified booze? Yep, the last mug friendly recipe from the Down The Hatch series is a luxurious spiced cider. And don’t wait for Christmas to make this either, make it into an annual Bonfire night staple too.

brown sugar
all spice berries
star anise
1 x apple
1 x pear
1 x orange

Thinly slice the fruit and mix all of the above into the largest pot you might own. Set it to the lowest heat and allow all the ingredients to heat gently and mingle. Add extra sugar to taste and serve into your enamel mugs with a ladle. Merry Christmas you sorts.




Click here, here and here for the previous recipes.

The Portsmouth Beer Festival Christmas Sessions

Seasonal greetings all ye beer drinkers! The festive term is well and truly upon us, and the Portsmouth Beer Festival is back! Hop on your luge this Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st, and speed down to the warmth of the Guildhall for the ultimate yuletide knees up. A great occasion to regale your friends with your embarrassing stories of 2014 whilst enjoying beers from: Irving & Co, Tiny Rebel, Magic Rock Brewing, Summer Wine Brewery, Dark Star, Bristol Beer Factory, Arbor, Wild Beer and Staggeringly Good to name but a few. Feeling peckish? The good people from The Hummous Shack, Brewhouse & Kitchen and O’Hagan’s Sausages will be on hand to quickly despatch that hunger. Once you are several beers in, remind the other half of what a great dancer you are with the live music courtesy of Hobo Jones and The Junkyard Dogs, Day Of The Rabblement, Mojo Dollar, The Paper Trains, Elasticated Waste Band and many many more. Tickets for this pre-Christmas must do event can be bought at Little Johnny Russells, The Belle Isle, The Leopold Tavern, Brewhouse & Kitchen, the Portsmouth Guildhall box office and of course at Strong Island on 12 Highland Road. However, if you find yourself snow bound, you can also buy them online here.

In addition to this, prizes can be won for most garish Christmas attire, so make sure you raid nan’s wardrobe on your way out.


Smiling Eyes Coffee Co

Smiling Eyes Coffee Co is the latest coffee venture to hit the city and is bringing the current trend of high quality, speciality coffee served from design-led mobile units to our fair city. This specially-converted Volkswagen T2 van houses a truly gigantic Astoria dual lever espresso machine and one of the friendliest baristas you’re ever likely to meet. Jo Hart, proprietor of this exceptional conversion, is what you would probably refer to as a coffee obsessive; passionate about each and every espresso she pulls and putting the quality of each cup at the forefront. “This is the first career in my life that I’ve been this fastidious and cared this much that makes me sure it’s finally the right one!” explains Jo as she prepares my short black. A small queue forms while we continue our caffeine dominated conversation but she remains unfazed and crafts each order with the same consideration and attention to detail as the previous one, coupled with a beaming grin and a hearty thank you.

On the coffee side, Jo is serving Winchester Coffee Roaster’s Synergy espresso blend; a smooth, sweet cup with excellent milk chocolate and red currant tasting notes, perfect as a short americano or flat white. Tea is of course provided by the local and inimitable All About Tea and their signature Portsmouth Tea blend while the chocolate in Jo’s hot chocolates and mochas owe their greatness to Green & Black’s drinking chocolate. The quality on offer from Smiling Eyes is simply unmatched in the small-but-growing Portsmouth mobile catering trade; it really is as close to a speciality coffee shop on wheels as you’ll get in the city.

You can find Smiling Eyes on a Monday at the Student’s Union market, Tuesday’s outside the Citywide Taxi office and on weekends at the Palmerston Rd market but be sure to follow @smilingeyes2014 to keep up to date with where you can next grab a top notch brew.

My Name Is Leila at Southsea Coffee

We have followed Leila Kemp’s artwork in and around the city over the past year. Her work has slowly been appearing more and more, cheering up passers by.

Leila had a busy start to the year with several huge pieces including ‘Bow Tie and Hat Bear’ at Make & The Craft Kitchen on Cornwall Road and another striking piece at the Gloucester Paint Jam weekend.

Leila’s latest work is set to have customers at the Southsea Coffee Company smiling. ‘King of the Jungle’ is another fantastic piece and we are left excited for what is to come next.

Married Mum of one and pregnant with her second is still adorning the streets of Portsmouth and Southsea and we are pleased to have such a talented lady in our local community. Keep up the good work Leila.

For more of Leila’s work please search for ‘My name is Leila’ on her website at

By Chantelle Wyatt

My Name Is Leila

My Name Is Leila

Twelve Days Of Christmas Competition

Between the 1st and 12th December I have been asking a question each day relating to the prize on offer. One lucky winner will win the whole package for themselves, just in time for Christmas!

Today we are featuring two of my favourite creatives currently plying their trade in our city, Katie Barrett and Laura Bennett from Raw & Auburn and Laura Bennett Jewellery.

Raw & Auburn began life early in 2013, the Southsea based company specialises in hand crafted accessories using raw and unique materials. Each item bears it’s own individuality and is different than the last. Using traditional techniques every product is finished to a high standard and comes with it’s own Mill Cloth bag and they are all finished with the Raw & Auburn signature cross stitch.

Raw & Auburn have kindly donated one of their leather envelope wallets for you to win. You can find Raw & Auburn on Etsy and Facebook.

Raw & Auburn

Laura specialises in hand made contemporary jewellery inspired by nature, sympathetically composing pieces made from found objects combined with precious metals while exploring the natural qualities of the materials. She has recently created a set of jewellery inspired by Portsmouth and its nautical images.

If you would like to contact Laura about a private commission or to generally find out more about on Laura’s work on her website and her Facebook page.

Laura Bennett Jewellery

If you would like to win all of the prizes on offer then all you need to do is email your answers to the following questions to The deadline for entries is midnight on 19th December. We will announce the winner on 20th December. Good luck!

Day One – Made By Burbs Print
Q1) The map shows Hilsea Lido but when did the Lido first open?

Day Two – x2 No 6 Cinema Prints
Q2) What Disney movie are they showing over he Christmas period and why is this showing different to normal?

Day Three – Angela Chick gift cards
Q3) In metres how long is the HMS Warrior over all?

Day Four – Magpie’s Lust Jewellery
Q4) What is the Latin name for the common Magpie?

Day Five – Caleigh Ill coasters
Q5) The first Russian nested doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin but were a designed by who?

Day Six – Bread Addiction Bag
Q6) What year was the first bread slicer sold?

Day Seven – Meal at the Wave Maiden
Q7) In Norse mythology The Wave Maidens were the nine daughters of Aegir, the undersea brewer to the Gods. Name any one of the nine daughters?

Day Eight – Mia Mai framed Print and Christmas cards
Q8) Which of our local theatres has Mia Mai most recently used for a photo shoot to showcase her latest range of lingerie?

Day Nine – Meal and drinks voucher for the Marmion Pub
Q9) The Marmion has been nominated for one of the annual Guide Awards, but under what category? (Please note we are looking for the full title of the award for a correct answer).

Day Ten – Strong Island Calendar
Q10) On what date did Portsmouth win their first FA Cup trophy?

Day Eleven – Custom made animal toy by Ooh La Lapin
Q11) Lapin is the French translation for what animal?

Day Twelve – Raw & Auburn and Laura Bennett Jewellery
Q12) Raw and Auburn has recently collaborated with Illustrator and artist Megamunden. What form of art inspired Megamunden to create his recent colouring book?

Photo by Josh Knill.

Post Impact Asteroid Beer Bread

Here at Strong Island we love seeing local businesses collaborating with each other, even more so when it’s something you can eat. So when the baking might of Elm Grove’s Bread Addiction came together with the brewing potency of Portsmouth’s Staggeringly Good, a doughy asteroid was born. Asteroid Beer Bread is a sourdough style barley loaf, made with the seasonal stout Post Impact Winter Darkness. You can land yourself one of these bad boys by heading down to Bread Addiction and / or the Palmerston Road Christmas market this weekend. Serving suggestions: with Bread Addiction’s utterly moreish Tunworth cheese. It will make your mouth taste like a foot for 24 hours, but in a really good way. Enjoy.






Down The Hatch Recipes # 3 – Crème Brûlée

Continuing on our mug based culinary commission is one for the sweet toothed amongst you, the french classic: creme brûlée. Voodoo Lady! An in-season pomegranate will provide a welcome sharpness that will cut through this rich dessert beautifully. Each mug serves two.

500ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
100g caster sugar
6 medium egg yolks
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 pomegranate

Preheat the oven to 150°C/ 300°F /gas mark 2. Pour the cream into a saucepan. Slit the vanilla pod open lengthways and scrape out the seeds into the cream with the tip of a sharp knife, then add the pod to the pan too. Scald the cream by bringing to just below boiling point, then taking off the heat. Leave for a few minutes to infuse with the vanilla.
Whisk the caster sugar and egg yolks together in a bowl, then slowly whisk in the hot, vanilla-infused cream. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug.
Pour the custard into six ramekins or your Strong Island enamel mugs. Stand the receptacles in a roasting dish and surround with enough hot water to come halfway up their sides. Bake for about 40 minutes until the custards are just set; they should still wobble a bit if you shake the dish gently. Lift out of the roasting dish and leave to cool, then chill thoroughly for 4 hours or overnight.
Sprinkle a very thin, even layer of soft brown sugar over each custard and put them under a very hot grill until the sugar melts and bubbles (or use a cook’s blowtorch, if you have one). Leave to cool, return the mugs to the fridge until the sugar is hard – just 15 minutes or so should do it – then serve with fresh pomegranate for a little added sharpness.




Twelve Days Of Christmas Competition – Day Nine

Between the 1st and 12th Dec I will be asking a question each day relating to the prize on offer. At the end of the twelve days you are invited to submit your answers to One lucky winner will win the whole package for themselves, just in time for Christmas!

Today we are featuring The Marmion Pub, which can obviously be found on Marmion Road. The pub underwent a refurbishment recently and to compliment the new look they have also introduced a new menu which can be found on the website –

The team at the Marmion have been kind enough to donate a meal 3 course meal for two and a drinks up to £75.

Q) The Marmion has been nominated for one of the annual Guide Awards for the News, but under what category. Please note we are looking for the full title of the award for a correct answer.

You can find out more about the Marmion on Facebook and Twitter @TheMarmionPub.

The Marmion

King Street Tavern Christmas Fair By Chantelle Wyatt

Every year Kendal James of Eyecandy, organises a beautifully cozy and festive Christmas Fair with local artists, designers, makers and crafters coming together to offer us fabulous stocking fillers and Christmas gifts.

The King Street Tavern hosts the event each year and it’s wonderfully relaxed and comfy setting offers the ideal place to chat over a coffee or over some tasty treats for lunch.

Kendal who contributes to Southsea’s creative movements in numerous ways including ‘Southsea Greenhouse’ and the infamous ‘Doodle Club’ welcomed Fair goers warmly and insured that sellers and buyers felt welcome.

Wonderfully hand crafted items were sold including cards, knits, mugs, and books and this sort of event reminds us all how superbly creative our city is and how talented our locals are. Events like this not only bring people together but encourage community spirit and festivity at this time of year.

Artists who gathered for the event included the likes of Rebecca Jones of ‘Untold Story‘, Lorna Apps-Woodland of ‘Create by Law‘, Daniel Cook of ‘Broken Record‘, Adrian Mundy of ‘Naughty Table Books’, 2nd Avenue Portsmouth and of course Kendal James.

A huge thanks to them all for making the event happen.

The fair was a huge success as it traditionally always has been a great start to December. We look forward to it next year and more upcoming events that Kendal is set to organise and be a part of this coming year.

By Chantelle Wyatt

KST Fair

KST Fair 1


Twelve Days Of Christmas Competition – Day Seven

Between the 1st and 12th Dec I will be asking a question each day relating to the prize on offer. At the end of the twelve days you are invited to submit your answers to One lucky winner will win the whole package for themselves, just in time for Christmas!

Today we are featuring the newest addition to the Portsmouth food scene, The Wave Maiden. Based in Osbourne Road, they specialise in homemade artisan cheese dishes, craft beer and real cider. They pride themselves on offering great service along with natural sincere products, organic and locally sourced where possible.

The team have kindly donated a meal for two, which can be redeemed before the end of January. You can take a sneak peak at the menu HERE. To be in with a chance to win you will need to correctly answer todays question.

Q7) In Norse mythology The Wave Maidens were the nine daughters of Aegir, the undersea brewer to the Gods. Name any one of the nine daughters.

You can find out more about the Wave Maiden on their on Facebook, Twitter @TheWaveMaiden and Instagram @TheWaveMaiden.

To find out the previous questions click HERE. Remember not to email in until you have all of the answers though!

The Wave Maiden

The Wave Maiden Logo

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Snow, Snow, Snow

Snow hit Southsea pretty hard last night and it snowing again this morning. Good luck to everyone battling the elements to get to work, college, school, etc today. Here are a few photos from last night, if you have any please pop a link to them in the comments, we would love to see them.

Adam Wintle (see more here):

Adam Wintle

Adam Wintle

Elizabeth Bick (see more here):

Elizabeth Bick

Elizabeth Bick

Vintage Southsea Postcards

I dug these off the internet a while back and forgot I had them. Some real old school winners here. Click the read more link at the bottom of this article to see the full set.



BBC Reel History Event

Portsmouth Film Society is taking part in the BBC series of events celebrating local history through archive film, in partnership with the Wessex Film and Sound Archive. Join PFS for a look back at Portsmouth and Southsea history on the big screen, with a talk from local artist Jez Stevens who will discuss his project “No Diving” on the Hilsea Lido, which uses footage from local amateur filmmakers taken at the Lido, and Portsmouth historian Dr. Dave Allen.
Date – Wednesday, November 16 · 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Omega Centre, Portsmouth.
Entry is £2 or free for full Portsmouth Film Society members.

No Diving film

For those of you that missed our post of Dave Allen’s lecture here it is below.

Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea

Awesome vintage photography collection from Pop Olive33 that I found on Flickr a while back. Check out Osborne Road and Guildhall. Epic. Hard to imagine a time when traffic flowed through Guilders, and that was only in 1968 and the shot looking west down Osborne Road is amazing. Trams, horses, grand buildings, a traffic cop, ladies & gents. It’s all going on. To view the full collection head over to Pop Olive’s Flickr photostream HERE and the Portsmouth set HERE.

It’s going to be a Strong Movember

Righto chaps, it’s time to clean shave your boat race and get that mighty moustache on the grow in support of Movember for The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. For 30 days of November you can help support and raise awareness through selflessly parading your top lip for charity.

You can sign up yourself, as I’m sure many of you already have, or you can join the Strong Island team and seek out sponsorship as a team. Through the Strong Island Movember page you can ask people to join the group, make donations, upload photos and post updates via the MoSpace page, Facebook and Twitter.

Head over to our MoSpace if you would like to get involved and grow a Strong Moustache to help raise awareness, or simply head over to and sign up to personally raise money.

The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers – prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

Poster: Tristan Savage

Strong Island Clothing Co.