I grow a lot of vegetables; we are almost self-sufficient for most of the year which I have to admit actually gives me almost more pleasure than the rest of the garden. The first time I made Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables using ALL my own produce (including the olive oil) I had such a deep sensation of contentment it is hard to describe. Now it is something I make on almost a weekly basis from the end of July onwards; I still have enough of everything to make it one last time this year, but the courgettes are like marrows so I may use butternut squash instead this time.
I love cooking as much as I do working in the garden so I was thrilled with my birthday present from my husband (last mention of the birthday I promise); dinner and a night at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons.
I had heard so much about the vegetable and herb gardens and orchard which provide some of the organic vegetables used in the restaurant that the very first thing I wanted to do when we arrived was to look at how things were grown, which varieties are Raymond Blanc’s favourites and if possible chat to the gardeners to pick up any valuable tips.
First tip – stop pulling out the weed that grows all over the garden and begin harvesting it instead! If it’s good enough for the restaurant at Le Manoir it’s certainly good enough for the table here!
To think I’ve been putting this in the compost.
Second – don’t worry when I mix up the labels on my tomato plants (they do that at Le Manoir too)
Thirdly and this is something we should all think about – grow mainly produce that is difficult to find or that it is essential to use very fresh.
They grow zucchini romanesco which is my choice too for green zucchini
The vegetable garden can’t possibly produce enough for the restaurant which serves several hundred covers a day so they grow the special varieties that can’t be purchased commercially. I was interested to see that they plant their lemon grass outside during the summer, I have always left mine in its pot but will try it outside next year, I think it will benefit from more space and certainly from more water.
The meal was amazing, the presentation and attention to detail perfect. I have never stayed anywhere that I was made to feel so special by perfectly trained, friendly staff who were never aloof or superior.
If you have the opportunity to eat or stay at Le Manoir, go; you’ll enjoy every second!