Following on from our jaunt at Bishopstrow House, Elldrew recently had the pleasure of another country weekend, this time at the Four Seasons in Hampshire (courtesy of a special friend who was celebrating a special birthday; both the friend’s name and age shall be withheld to preserve ones modesty). Unlike Bishopstrow where it was the two of us, this trip saw 20 friends converge on the New Forest for a fun filled weekend away!
Without sounding like a line from an episode of Nigella Bites, there’s nothing better than getting cozy on the sofa, on a wintery evening, with a bowl of hearty one-pot stew, a chunk of crusty rye bread and an optional glass of full-bodied red. Remote control in reaching distance. Cue chill-out time.
Regular readers will know that Elldrew like to escape the London rat race, so with the Christmas madness behind us and Ell’s birthday ahead we booked a weekend at Bishopstrow House in Wiltshire. Having done several country house weekends in the UK our favourite, by far, was a few years back when we stayed at Cowley Manor (pre-blog setup, before you go searching). Since then we’ve tried to find a good reason to go back, but being amongst the top in its class it also carries a certain premium price tag. For this trip we wanted somewhere that wouldn’t break the bank, a 3-night long weekend not too far from London.
Those of you that read our breakfast bread blog will know that every now and again Elldrew love a hearty home-made weekend breakfast, and never more so than when a friend comes and visits from overseas and we’ve been up chatting into the early hours. On these occasions we like to wake our guests up with the smell of Elldrew’s famous Bacon Twisties (courtesy of Lorraine Pascale) wafting through the house. Having done just that last weekend, and with the festive season soon upon us, we thought we’d share the recipe to inspire other readers entertaining visitors.
As quickly as it started it seemed to be over. Yes Planet Elldrew is talking about summer in London. But there is something still magical as the leaves start to turn brown and litter the pavements, the suns glare is exceptionally brighter with the contrast of looming grey clouds in the distance, crisp gushes of wind from side alleys attack the last of the holiday tourists as they grasp at their collar buttons. Autumn has arrived and us Londoners enjoy nothing more than the allure of relaxing in a warm and cosy pub. Chairs littered with coats and scarves as a log fire crackles and spits embers, the smell of roasting potatoes wafting from behind the kitchen doors as waiters buzz around the room as if on roller skates, a constant hum of relaxed banter with bursts of sporadic laughter fills the air, occasionally broken by the sound of clinking glass…all this takes place as the outside world seems to be going at a much much faster pace.
As Sunday evening creeps up on you, what better way to charge the batteries for the busy week ahead than with a home made Mediterranean Tapas. Stuffed Focaccia, Prosciutto, Dressed Mozzarella and Celeriac Remoulade – from Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute meals recipe book – we substituted the Focaccia with the left over Ham, Cheese & Chive Bread from last night. Packed with all the good stuff you hear about, nothing tastes (or smells better) than fresh pesto…the perfect meal to graze on as you chill out on the sofa watching the sun set. Bellisimo!
Nothing quite beats a gathering of friends for a Sunday roast at a gastropub, even better when it’s overcast. Pick the right venue and you feel the warmth and charm soak through your veins as you sit back, relax and catch-up over a glass of vino whilst deciding if you want a beef, lamb, pork, chicken or vege roast with all the trimmings.