I love a TV chef /cook as much as the next woman: Mary Berry, Jamie, Tom Kerridge, Nigella – of course – plus I have a super sweet spot for the Observer’s Nigel Slater too. The whole shebang are sheer lying-sofaside culinary heaven. But when you get the chance to learn a trick or two from the master that is Raymond Blanc, your heart does indeed skip a beat. I was lucky enough to be invited to a day at le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in rural Oxfordshire last week by natural (fabulous) British beauty brand balanceme.
A posse of journalists met on a beautiful winter morning at Marylebone for a 40 minute train journey to green fielded countryside bliss. Arriving at Le Manoir is such a wonderful experience – it’s like letting go of a big sigh of stress and being cocooned instead in super calming glamour. Set in fields of home grown produce the house has been Raymond’s double Michelin starred home for 38 years.
I have actually been to Le Manoir once previously for my husband’s 50th – he is also a chef and was so delighted to meet the man himself, it was a surprise that surpassed expectation.
Today we were taken to the kitchen and taught to make a spicy lentil soup, seared salmon and greens (with wasabi dressing – utterly delicious!) and a chocolate fondant dessert. Difficulty rating – 4 – but I learnt super tricks I will use again like just sear salmon skin side only then flip and turn off stove as the oil is hot enough to cook the other side without fire: voila the perfect end result. Soupwise I learnt that tasting creamy doesn’t mean you need to add cream, but milk does work a treat. And chocolate – well chocolate with rose ice cream is quite simply the perfect marriage.
Once created, we got to eat the prepared goodies and guess who got a gold star for her salmon? Merci beaucoup – Just sayin!
Love Jane x