Something to whet your appetite…


Welcome to my letter for the month of May. I want to remain in touch with all you good people out there.

I hope you are all doing well and keeping safe, following the rules as you should, so we can get our life and world back on track to normality at some stage.

From The Great House point of view there is little to report, we remain closed, we don’t know for how much longer but there is no doubt that restaurants and pubs will remain closed for a much longer period.

We are also in the unknown in terms of what restrictions will be applied once we are allowed to re-open. A 40-cover restaurant may only be able to accommodate 20 seats at best. However, I don’t want to talk of negative points but rather bring you some cheerful news which I hope you will enjoy.

Spring is a wonderful month for seasonal food availability and everyone benefits from it. If you enjoy fish you have bream, monk fish, pollock, sardines, crab and scallop too – I also love skate. Therefore, May really is a month of paradise for fish lovers.

If vegetables are your thing, that you are a vegetarian or not, heaven is not far away. Think of local asparagus, those lovely small broad beans – delicious in a salad. Think of peas, carrots, and not far behind – those lovely new potatoes and watercress.

Whilst I am not really a vegetarian, I very much enjoy vegetables and salads so the choice available during the month of May really excites me – I love dandelion too!

If meat is your thing, whilst availability is less seasonal it is important to support the natural life cycle of the animals. Your favourite cut of beef or pork will taste good but you may prefer it lighter, so a lovely local free-range chicken will be delicious but this is the time to find local spring lamb – a Sunday lunch of roast lamb is delicious.

I cannot ignore the various available fruit, although I know some might be imported, those ripe apricots, bursting red cherries, and the rhubarb from my garden makes an excellent crumble.

Spring is also about taking the old dog for a walk, enjoying the sound of the birds singing, the early sun in the morning and a certain crispness in the air.


As so much is available, I asked Chef Swann with his team to prepare a menu for you that would really whet your appetite and one that he would enjoy to cook as if we were open for business as usual.

My words to Chef Swann were, something you will enjoy and we would all enjoy eating. So let me know what you think? Does it whet your appetite?

What about wine? Those dishes deserve a nice bottle to go with them so the time of year, the weather we have been enjoying and coming from the South East of France the thought of lunch and a lovely bottle of a nice Rose in an ice bucket makes me think and feel like being at home – Really enjoyable!!

In conclusion, we are closed but we want to still keep in touch with you and we want to know how you are but also hope we can all look forward to normal life returning and perhaps appreciating it more than ever before. Not forgetting the suffering of many and the heroism and kindness shown by others.

Therefore keep safe, look after yourselves be good to the NHS and think good food.

Ps. If you are a fan of Instagram or Facebook, Swann and Mathieu, the French Chefs of Lavenham, are going to video some dishes they are cooking so please look out for them.