Monday, 13 November 2017

A luxury break in the Lake District at Ees Wyke Hotel...

The Lake District is an area of such outstanding beauty that it has inspired poets, writers and artists to create some of the greatest works ever known and the sense of peace the landscape evokes is immediate. I often holidayed in the Lake District as a child, but I have not been there for quite some time, so I was delighted to get the opportunity to review Ees Wyke Hotel* this weekend. 
This Georgian country house hotel is set in a stunning location in the village of Near Sawrey, surrounded by beautiful countryside overlooking Esthwaite Water. 



The house is refined and stylish and after a warm welcome from charming owner Richard Lee, we were shown to our en-suite room which had magnificent sweeping views of the lake. Our room was bright and spacious and it was furnished with both contemporary and antique items as well as every convenience for a comfortable stay, such as Penhaligons toiletries, tea and coffee and a decanter of sherry which showed a real eye for attention to detail.


 After settling in to our room, we went for a stroll to soak up the views across the water to the soaring Langdale Pikes and the treetops of Grizedale Forest, before driving to nearby Ambleside, a charming town full of cosy pubs, shops and restaurants.


Later, we headed back to get ready for dinner. Throughout Ees Wyke Hotel, sophisticated antique furnishings emphasise the historic appeal of the building, while the comfortable lounge areas are a great place to relax by the fire or to read one of the many books on the local area.


The restaurant has been recommended by the Good Food Guide as well as being awarded an AA Rosette and winning an award for its breakfasts, so we knew we were in for a treat.


My starter of seared scallops were succulent and perfectly cooked, with a balsamic glaze and tangy tomatoes and this dish showcased exactly why scallops are such a popular dish.


My dining companion enjoyed a starter of rolled black and white pudding with a haggis centre, glazed with veal jus, which was rich and hearty with a deep meaty flavour and a poached egg topping.


My fillet of sea bass was excellent, cooked to flaky perfection with a zesty Oriental style slaw of ginger, garlic, chilli and spring onion which perfectly offset the fish while roast potatoes, Chantenay carrots and green beans rounded off this delightful main course. 


My dining companion equally enjoyed his local lamb, cooked pink and tender with seasonal vegetables and jus which shone with simple flavours which worked well together. 


My dining companion chose the fresh fruit dessert, which was light and irresistible with accompaniments of vanilla ice cream and sabayon sauce glazed under the grill. There was a cheeseboard available too, served with a variety of regional cheeses. 


I can never resist sticky toffee pudding and this was springy and light with a silky hot butterscotch sauce - a true classic dessert. Overall this was an outstanding meal which illustrated exactly why the restaurant at Ees Wyke has received such acclaim. 


After dinner, we retired to the lounge for coffee and petit fours next to the roaring fire, which ended the evening on a relaxing note as we chatted with our dinner companions long in to the evening. 


The next morning, we headed downstairs to sample the award winning breakfast, feeling well rested after a peaceful night. There was a huge table in the centre of the dining room laden with cereals, fruit, yogurt and pastries as well as a huge casserole dish of porridge served with whisky and cream.


It only took one glance to see why the breakfast here is award winning and from now on I think I can only eat porridge with a drizzle of whisky and cream as this was so indulgent!


We enjoyed an array of toast and pastries before placing our orders for hot breakfast dishes, and my perfectly cooked poached eggs on toast were the ideal way to start the day, while my dining companion ordered bacon, sausage and fried bread with tomatoes. All the produce is locally sourced where possible and the sausages from Jonathon at Cartmel Valley Game and bacon from RB Woodhall were very tasty according to my dining companion.



The gargantuan breakfast spread really set us up for the day and after breakfast, we set off to explore the grounds again. Ees Wyke benefits from lake shore access via a pathway through the fields and the 45 minute walk down to the lake and back is not to be missed during your stay.



This hotel is a real find - Ees Wyke is a timeless and elegant country house which combines peaceful surroundings and exceptional views with top notch hospitality and food – if you are looking for a luxury country hotel for an autumn escape I would say that this is just the place to book in to and I look forward to returning in the future! The hotel owner is happy to take bookings directly and you can reserve a room over the phone or via their website.




Ees Wyke Hotel
Near Sawrey, 
Ambleside 
LA22 0JZ

015394 36393



What do you all think, do you like the sound of Ees Wyke and have you visited the Lake District? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,

Camille 

xo

*We were guests of Ees Wyke and this stay was complimentary for review purposes. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Pumpkin risotto, the ultimate autumn dish...

If like me you stocked up on too many pumpkins for Halloween and now you have one left over, I have just the recipe here which will save the day. I made this for family a few weeks ago and it was so popular that the entire casserole dish I made was all eaten in one sitting.There I was thinking that there would be enough left over for me to make arancini the next day, too! 



I know that risotto is a recipe which many people find daunting, but honestly it is easier to make than you may imagine and I am so glad that I have mastered making my own risotto because it is a dish which I love to order when I go out for dinner. The trick is to add the liquid stock little by little, stir often and repeat until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice and you have a nice creamy risotto. It is a game of patience! 


Ingredients:
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 medium pumpkin peeled, de-seeded and diced in to cubes (roughly 400g/14oz)
4 tbsp olive oil
2-3 teaspoons of garlic purée to taste 
30g butter
200g risotto rice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 litre hot vegetable stock, plus extra splash if needed
Few tablespoons of dry white wine
Grated parmesan, to serve 




Method:

I like to prep first to save rushing around, so first off peel, de-seed and dice your pumpkin into chunks and peel and dice your onion. Preheat the oven to about 200c (adjust for fan oven). Place the pumpkin chunks in to a large roasting tin and drizzle with about 3tbsp olive oil, then roast for 30-35 minutes until the pumpkin chunks are softened. 
For the risotto, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the butter in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat. Fry the diced onion and garlic until the onion is softened and then add the rice, stirring well until the rice is combined with the onion and garlic mixture. Sprinkle in the cumin and stir well. 
Now, add a ladle of stock and stir regularly until all the stock has been absorbed by the rice. Repeat this method, adding the stock (and the wine) little by little and stirring until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked thoroughly. With a little patience, you will have the perfect, creamy risotto and this is a great base recipe to which you can add your preferred ingredients to create a whole host of risottos!
When the roasted pumpkin is ready, take it out of the oven and stir it gently in to the risotto. Serve topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan and some fresh basil if desired. 
There you have it, this is one recipe which is a treat rather than a trick. I love this during the autumn months and if you find it difficult to source pumpkins, you can also use roasted butternut squash instead.



What do you all think, do you like the sound of this hearty autumn pumpkin risotto and would you give this recipe a try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.


Until next time,

Camille 

xo