Whatever the Lower Mill Estate has, the Lakes by Yoo just has so much more of it. I remember reading about them when they first came on the market - Jade Jagger and Phillippe Starck were among the designers - and it shows. It's hard to believe these secret lakes are hiding behind the road. You leave security behind at the gate and it feels like you've jumped from the Cotswolds to the beating heart of a Tarkovsky or Bergman film set, slightly surreal - you sure get a sense of arriving somewhere special. Stunning.
While the adults had the ever popular asparagus with tiger prawns and oyster sauce dressing, for the children it was hard to pin down exactly what they both liked. In the end I remembered another event I did a couple of months ago. They had decided as I arrived that maybe their 4 year old would eat with them after all, but obviously I hadn't brought anything with me, and they had garlic doughballs in the fridge which their son really liked. In fact so did his brother and parents, uncle, aunt and grandparents who all 'helped' him along. It turned out the children tonight were fans too and I made and par-baked these just before leaving then put garlic butter on top and baked them just before serving.
Grilled fillet of beef with chilli and garlic baked chickpeas, french beans wrapped in pancetta and rosti potato
..... and watercress coulis. The beans in pancetta are lush - you get the flavour of the pancetta permeating the beans as they bake in the oven. Chickpeas start off being boiled in vegetable stock (1 hour) then baked in the oven with tomato etc. (another hour).
Assiette of dessert
I love the black plates they have at Larchwood Lodge. They sure make the food look great.
Each Assiette of desserts we serve is slightly different depending on what the guests choose. This one was:
Mini chocolate and orange bread and butter pudding (melted dark chocolate and orange zest mixed into the liason - first time I had done this, and seemed to be very popular)
Mini blueberry and white chocolate cheesecake
Strawberry meringue roulade
Spoon of creme brûlée
Sticky toffee pudding (now most popular assiette choice)