Great beauty is to be found in the gardens of Le Manoir during these winter months. I enjoy a stroll across the lawn, and some mornings it is a white carpet of frosted grass that crunches with each step. I wander the path, past the bamboo and the trees of plum and almond, and my memory takes me back a few decades to Kyoto, where I visited the Golden Pavilion Temple.
That is when I dreamt of creating a Japanese teahouse at Le Manoir… Then I reach the end of the path and there it is, the Japanese teahouse that I dreamt of. This little house that is made of English oak has provided the setting for many marriage proposals.
Our potager – a glorious ‘veg patch’ – is an ode to winter, with neat rows of vegetables; kale, Brussels sprouts, Cavolo Nero… Soon they will make their way to our kitchen, and then to the table. I smile always at the sight of the celeriac as they sit on the soil like a regiment of fat, green-topped Roman centurions.
‘But Raymond!’ I hear you say, ‘Celeriac is not beautiful. It is knobbly and ugly.’ Do not judge a book by its cover and don’t dismiss a vegetable because of its appearance. As a child I liked to eat it raw, and sometimes my mum would make sauerkraut, replacing the traditional cabbage with celeriac. Here, you will find a recipe for celeriac puree, and – for the ultimate celeriac experience – my recipe entitled ‘a celebration of celeriac’. Or quite simply grate celeriac, lightly brush it with hazelnut or walnut oil and enjoy.
You will not be disappointed!
These chilly months bring comfort food cravings which can be satisfied by the deeply moreish dishes in my Winter section. I am thinking of creamy fish pie and hearty, wholesome coq au vin, or French onion soup which, as a teenager, I’d make for my ravenous friends.
Perhaps you’d prefer Steak Maman Blanc, a fool-proof recipe.
If you are searching for dessert inspiration, may I suggest reverse chocolate crumble, or poached winter fruits in spiced wine. Bread and butter pudding is also popular, as is riz au lait (yes, rice pudding), one of my childhood favourites.
For those special occasions, please see my recipes for roasted pineapple or the iced coffee parfait.
Here are some of the exciting things coming up in my world
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