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March. The month of reawakening. Cherry blossom appears on the trees, flowers on the vines, and millions of green shoots are pushing their little heads through the soil. Everything seems to come to life.

And it was 39 years ago this month that the manor house of Great Milton in Oxfordshire was reborn as Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

We opened the pair of large iron gates on 17th March – St Patrick’s Day – 1984. Since then they have never been closed. In fact, as we celebrate our anniversary, I have flashbacks that are making me smile – my father on a ladder, hard at work, scraping away the rust from the gates before painting them black.

Papa was Le Manoir’s unpaid handyman, and he helped to sort out the tangled wilderness that was our garden. From our family home in Franche-Comté he brought seeds for fabulous varieties of vegetables: Ratte and Belle de Fontenay potatoes; coco and flageolet beans; Marmande tomatoes. All of these were mostly unknown to British gardeners who also tended to think that, when it came to vegetables, big was best. I remember lifting beautiful Nantes carrots from the soil as Richard, the gardener, looked pained. ‘Chef, those carrots aren’t even grown,’ he said. ‘They’re tinier than your little toe…’

Le Manoir’s opening night was not great, I must confess. The service was agonisingly slow and most guests didn’t receive dessert – caramel soufflé – until the early hours of the following day. Et voilà! They laughed, they forgave us, they came back to us. And I am still here to tell the tale.


Simply Raymond is a collection of my favourite home-cooked recipes. These are dishes that mean the most to me - those that connect me with family and friends and bring back the most wonderful memories. This is cooking from my heart and my home, with dishes to add to your weekly repertoire, and others for special occasions.

Every cook loves spring. The season brings beautiful, colourful, exciting ingredients. Here you’ll find plenty of recipes for fantastic dishes, and I have a few suggestions for your spring repertoire … As this is the season for English asparagus please see: grilled asparagus with vegetable crumble; poached asparagus with soft-poached egg and mustard dressing. For an easy, flavoursome starter (or a light lunch), try spring vegetable crudités with fresh green pea vegan dip, or watercress soup. Slow-roasted shoulder of spring lamb is the perfect celebratory lunch on Easter Sunday (on April 9). Or perhaps you’d prefer chicken with morels – my favourite type of mushroom – and sherry sauce. As for desserts, how about chocolate mousse or lemon tart or rhubarb soufflé? All of them are delicious. Simply follow my step-by-step recipes. Have fun and bon appétit!


Chocolate mousse recipe

Chocolate mousse recipe

This is the lightest, most delicious chocolate mousse I have ever tasted; it melts in the mouth but is so cheap to make.

My Five Seasonal Stars


The spring pea


The spring pea


The spring pea


The spring pea


The spring pea

The spring pea

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