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The Raymond Blanc Cookery School, Oxfordshire

As the first Michelin-starred kitchen in the UK with its own cookery school, The Raymond Blanc Cookery School offers a hands-on opportunity to develop your culinary skills.

Many courses focus on recipes important to Raymond Blanc, showcasing dishes that inspired him to become the Michelin-starred chef he is today. Passionate food-lovers and kitchen novices alike can join on this voyage of gastronomic discovery.

The school itself is located within the 2-Michelin starred kitchen, so you are never far away from the thrill of service, but courses are suitable for all experience levels. At the centre of them all are recipes close to Raymond’s heart.

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Raymond Blanc Cookery School.
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons as Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. 

Reservations · 01844 278 881
Phone · 01844 278 881
Address · Church Road, Great Milton, Oxford, OX44 7PD, UK

Oxfordshire heritage meets French flair. Le Manoir is tucked away in the picturesque Oxfordshire countryside, this 15th-century manor sets the standard for haute cuisine

Maître de maison, Raymond Blanc’s passion permeates throughout the hotel and cookery school—from the individually-designed suites to the menus in the two Michelin-starred restaurant. Lush gardens are an abundance of colour in summer, while the honey-hued manor is warmed by open fires through winter. It is truly a house for all seasons.

Since opening in 1984, the manor has earned itself a global reputation for fine gastronomy. But its prominence is more than just about what’s on the plate. Rooms are imagined by prestigious UK interior designers. Fragrant orchards and a mushroom valley elicit awe. An annual Festival of Music promises a feast for ears and appetite. Your experience at the cookery school will certainly be one to remember.

Additional content…

Watercress soup

Watercress soup

 

Introduction

This simple soup brings out all the qualities of watercress; fresh, tangy and peppery.

Serves (Yield): 4

Difficulty: ●○○

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins

Special equipment: Blender

Planning ahead:

This can be made 1 day in advance, but it is always better when it is made just before serving.

Ingredients:

20g / 1 tbsp Butter, unsalted

100g / ½x Finely chopped onion

400g / 4 bunches Watercress (*1), large bunches, stalks removed

100g / 1 handful Spinach, washed and picked

8g / 8 pinches Sea Salt

1g / 2 pinches freshly ground black pepper

750ml Boiling Water (*2)

750ml Ice (*3)

Method:

On a low heat, sweeten the onion in the butter for 8 minutes until softened and translucent. Turn up the heat, add ¾ watercress (reserving some of the leaves to add to the soup at the last moment) and spinach and wilt for 2 minutes.  Add the water (boiling), season with the sea salt and pepper and quick boil for 2 minutes. Purée in a liquidiser until very smooth and add the reserved ¼ of watercress to taste (*4).

Reheat, taste and correct the seasoning if required – serve immediately, piping hot to your guests in a large soup tureen.

Chef’s notes:

*1

According to the variety, the watercress may vary in its strength of flavour.  If your watercress is very peppery, cut off the entire stalk, but if it is mild, keep some of the stalk.

*2

The boiling water speeds up the making of the soup and retains the colour and flavour of the watercress.

*3

The ice stops the cooking, which will keep the vivid colour, the flavour and the nutrients. Reheat the soup at the last moment for the same reasons.

*4

Adding the raw watercress at the last minute increases the fresh flavour of the watercress and increases the nutritional content derived from the raw phytonutrients in the watercress

Variations:

As a good Frenchman, I would be tempted to add a clove of pureed garlic or flakes of toasted garlic to the soup. A tablespoon of Greek yoghurt would be a nice addition.

Nutrition Facts:

The technique of cooking and retaining the colour, the flavour answers all of the rules of nutrition as you get the best of both raw (higher vitamin C & phytonutrient content) and cooked (Carotenes and lutein better absorbed)

  1. Nutritional highlights:

Watercress is an excellent source of vitamin A & vitamin C and iron

Onion, leeks and garlic are all members of the allium family all good sources of vitamin B6, vitamin C and minerals but it is the sulphur compounds which are of particular interest.

  1. Health Benefits:

Watercress is a cruciferous vegetable and shares the rich nutrition profile of all the brassica family. The brassicas have the some of the highest antioxidants in particular the glucosinolates which help to increase the natural detoxifying enzymes in the body. These in turn get rid of harmful chemicals and hormones. The brassicas also contain the phytonutrient the indol-3-carbinol which has shown to increase the rate of oestrogen breakdown in the liver – therefore and important food group fro women.

Onion, leeks and garlic Many modern scientific studies have demonstrated positive effects in reducing atherosclerosis & heart disease. The sulphur compounds in particular Allicin acts to reduce total serum cholesterol and increase HDL and reduce blood pressure. Garlic has a reputation as natures antibiotic as its effects are antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal.

FIND US

The Raymond Blanc Cookery School, Le Manoir, Oxfordshire

Celebrating 25 years if inspirational cookery courses, Ashburton in the heart of Devon is one of the UK’s top, private cookery schools.

Offering more than 40 different cookery courses, lessons are taught by professional chef tutors who have worked in some of the UK’s most prestigious kitchens. Courses are aimed at home cooks of all standards, with a Chef’s Academy for the career cooks.

Whether your aim is to take your cookery skills to the next level, to cook for family and friends, or you want to learn to cook as a professional, Ashburton has a cookery course for you. The school also offers offers quality bed and breakfast accommodation to students in historic houses in central Ashburton. For more serious cooks, the school is currently enrolling for its 20-week Professional Culinary Diploma and new 20-week Patisserie Diploma, both commencing in January.

Stella West-Harling MBE founded the cookery school in 1992 choosing Ashburton for its beautiful location and local organic food producers. She was an early pioneer of organic restaurants in the country.

Ashburton Cookery School, Devon

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