LYMP­STONE MANOR DI­ARY Mum’s the word on Christ­mas pud!

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Devon Life - - Cooking Goose -

The fes­tive sea­son, for me, is about the build-up to spend­ing time with fam­ily and friends, and re­flect­ing back on an­other year as it draws to a close. This will be Lymp­stone Manor’s se­cond Christ­mas - fol­low­ing our first full year of op­er­a­tion - and, I have to say, the house is look­ing fab­u­lously fes­tive.

We don’t put on the big group Christ­mas par­ties many other ho­tels of­fer, so the run-up is a qui­eter time for me and my staff. We of­fer a weekly chang­ing lunch menu with tra­di­tional turkey as one of the choices and my mother’s recipe for Christ­mas pud­ding as a dessert op­tion (more on that in the panel on this page).

This year, De­cem­ber is like a game of two halves. The first fort­night is taken up with a num­ber of events I’m look­ing for­ward to at­tend­ing. These in­clude two ma­jor fundrais­ing lunches at Sandy Park through my in­volve­ment with the Lord’s Tav­ern­ers and the Ex­eter Chiefs Foun­da­tion, which both raise fan­tas­tic sums of money for lo­cal char­i­ties.

I’ll be head­ing to Corn­wall to do a demon­stra­tion at the Pad­stow Food Fes­ti­val, and to North Devon to host a Christ­mas evening at Ken­tis­bury Grange. I’m also look­ing for­ward to cook­ing for a big char­ity fundraiser for the NSPCC in Lon­don.

Closer to home, we’re hold­ing our Christ­mas with Caines cel­e­bra­tion at Lymp­stone on the 18th. The evening will have a fes­tive twist but there won’t be any turkey on the six-course taster menu! I’ll be in­tro­duc­ing each dish, while Steve Ed­wards will present a care­fully-cu­rated se­lec­tion of wines.

This year, Christ­mas falls kindly on the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, right be­tween two week­ends. On Christ­mas Day it­self, you’ll find me in the kitchen cook­ing Christ­mas lunch and din­ner for guests on our fes­tive res­i­den­tial pack­age. The ho­tel will be buzzing with peo­ple en­joy­ing the day and real fes­tive fare.

I have my own time with my fam­ily on Box­ing Day. The morn­ing is spent qui­etly, then 30- 40 rel­a­tives join us for a buf­fet. Every­body brings along a con­tri­bu­tion, but I do the big food shop, which I ac­tu­ally en­joy, and I love putting on a spread for them all. We don’t buy Christ­mas presents for us grown-ups any­more - my gift to my fam­ily is to host them. In my down­time, I’ll be head­ing to watch some rugby at Sandy Park. I’m a big fan: it’s one of my favourite pas­times, along­side mo­tor­sports.

On New Year’s Eve, we have a won­der­ful cel­e­bra­tion planned at the Manor with fire­works over the es­tu­ary. Then it’s time to re­flect on the year and what’s been achieved. Over­all, it’s been amaz­ing. There’s still progress to be made in some ar­eas, but my team has done a stel­lar job, for which I’d like to say a mas­sive thank you.

Look­ing ahead, 2019 is go­ing to be a year of chal­lenges, par­tic­u­larly with Brexit, yet also one of op­por­tu­ni­ties. I have an ex­cit­ing new ven­ture com­ing to fruition in Ex­mouth, which I look for­ward to telling you more about next year. In the mean­time, have a fan­tas­tic fes­tive sea­son, what­ever you’re plan­ning, and a very happy 2019. For spe­cial recipes cre­ated by Michael to make the most of your Christ­mas left­overs, turn to pages 110-111.

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