Le Manoir courses with cheeky Adam, the tutor with sass

There were so many course to choose from and if you look on the website you will see a range of new ones including BBQs, cooking with children, macaroons, the choice is amazing. I would die and go to heaven if I could do the canape course bearing in mind my two favourite food groups were champagne and canapés. Now I have given up drinking to raise money for West Berkshire Mencap but can still eat my bodyweight in canapés.

 All info can be found here http://www.belmond.com/le-manoir-aux-quat-saisons-oxfordshire/cookery_courses

Below are some of the highlights and at the end I will give you just a few of the wonderful tips but not all because to get them you need to do the course. I was lucky enough to win the course from @Country and Town Magazine, a wonderful and inspirational read.

IMG_3210This is the poor lady paired up with a one handed blogger that just wanted to take photos. Luckily she was a great cook.

IMG_3223this was the braised squid with chorizo. There are two ways to cook squid, flash fry or slow braise which I had never done before. There were about a dozen ingredients plus some herbs and spices but the whole thing was really easy to do. Tip from Adam, don’t bother de pipping tomatoes when you are cooking at home, he doesn’t! In fact I cant be sure he skinned them either, this is my sort of cooking! I am not saying I don’t love my family and friends but they can eat tomato pips or pay to go to a restaurant of great quality, taking me obviously.

   IMG_3217 If only my good was set out for me like this EVERY time I cooked, it makes life so much easier and the quality of the food is really good

IMG_3222       Ballotine of poached salmon; dill cucumber, cauliflower florets and horseradish sauce (except we used wasabi)

Again such a simple dish to make and looked so classy, al of these dishes are given options to make little changes off the dish or garnish according to what you have in the cupboard or fancy. You also get advice on what you can prep in advance so that if you are having a dinner party you can be the cool serene hostess instead of the sweaty panicking scary hostess.

IMG_3220 Just an example of the beautiful products around the kitchen

IMG_3211so proud of my chefs jacket which I get to keep by the way


There are well placed screens around the kitchen so that you can catch all the detail. There Adam has rolled a small bit of pastry into cling film and is pressing the edges of the tart into the sides

IMG_3197How perfect is that, I haven’t done pastry for years

IMG_3202My long suffering friend was allowed to make a peach tart instead of a cherry tart

Ok because of my broken wrist Adam had to roll my pastry but I am sure I could have done it 🙂

IMG_3193Coincidentally a great demo of all Raymond Blancs wonderful books, most of which I have

IMG_3175Half time biscuits, guess how many were left at the end of the break 🙂

IMG_3189     Salt baked leg of lamb with salsa

This was delicious and quirky. There is something primeval about blowtorching the lamb then covering it in a saltcrust which keeps the moisture in. The salsa verde was a huge punch of flavour that gave the tender lamb balls, culinarily speaking.



    IMG_3186 IMG_3185 IMG_3184   Another pic of me with my chefs jacket, did I say how much I loved it.

IMG_3224I so wish I had room for this ham hock terrine with soused vegetables but I will definitely be making it. Adam says a ham hock is less that £3 and if you pressure cook it (another Adam tip, pressure cooking improves favour and you can buy a pressure cooker from Raymond Blancs products) There are gelatine options but I would go for pigs head or trotters. The soused vegetables were fresh and sharp and perfect.

Ok now you get some tips for free

Blanch basil before making it into pesto

drain bitterness from parsley by blanching it

Stock – half roasted and half not roasted chicken wings and use for everything, stock is a carrer for most sauces

Think outside the box

taste taste taste taste taste taste

Adam was brilliant, entertaining, matter of fact and inspiring, well worth doing his course.

And try these courses – they are amazing and if someone wants to sponsor me to do the canapé one I will come and do canapés for them

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