How did it get to almost Valentine’s Day already?! It has been a busy start to the year here at Rossington Hall. Many of you will have met Gary and Michelle, who own Rossington Hall, at one of our events. After a wonderful Christmas and New Year, we asked Gary to pen a few words about the festive season. He enjoyed the task so much, he’s promised to provide snippets of news and history about the hall each month!
If you’ve any questions about the renovation or the history, then please get in touch and we will try to answer your question in a future article. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
A look back at Christmas 2013
Shortly after Christmas we held our first Wednesday staff meeting of the new year. A full debrief of the festive season was on the agenda and would you believe also for discussion was the massive amount of wedding enquiries we had since 23rd December (120 enquiries), the Valentine’s menu, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, oh and of course the proverbial any other business!
Don’t they know its January? The month when all other businesses have an easy time. Generally in our trade everyone has a holiday, or at least throws a couple of sickies! But not for us it seems not us, it’s off we go again! Of course we’re all fine with that. We have had a fantastic Christmas season. Christmas Day was a pleasure, a traditional Christmas dinner was enjoyed by our guests. That’s a difficult one to pull off as we all have pre- conceived ideas as to what Christmas Day is all about. I often tell the tale of this meal as being the most difficult one to satisfy all the guests. “Why?” you might ask, as after all it’s just Christmas dinner and everybody can do one, to a point at least! Well let me explain!
I will start with the sprouts, now this can kill 75% off in one go! Right, we have let’s say 100 guests, and we decide to put sprouts on the menu, (after all it is Christmas!) that’s got rid of 50% as probably half of the guests won’t eat sprouts. Now that leaves us with 50. Do we cook them al dente (firm to the tooth?) or mushy to within a minute of their lives? Either way we are going to lose 25 of the remaining guests. Let this be a lesson to all you restaurant goers! Talk to us before the meal, not afterwards, as we have the ability to cook them both ways! Anyway this year we did sprouts with bacon, roasted root vegetables which were a firm favourite, proper ‘pigs in blankets’ (with full size chipolatas) and a good portion of turkey breast cut the proper way. Now this one gets everybody, when cutting turkey breast, or chicken for that matter don’t just cut it off the bird as the first serving gets the dry bit and the last one gets the moist best bits. Always take the whole breast off first then carve the breast downwards so that each slice contains all the meat from the crisp skin through to the moist middle bit. Unconventional if you like, but the best way to carve it. Then our chefs served a portion of rolled leg meat stuffed with a home-made apricot stuffing. This to me is always the best bit but however you like your turkey Tom and Aron in the kitchen nailed it in my opinion.
That moves me on to New the Year’s Eve menu. Here I think they had a bit of fun. The canapés were delightful and went down very well with our dickie bow and evening dress clad, champagne drinking guests whilst they enjoyed listening to the live pianist and jazz singer. The starter was intense tomato soup and goats cheese with green garlic and herb butter and black garlic bread. That’s my description , not the official one, and I can tell you it was exceptional, albeit slightly wacky! The trio of salmon went down well too. Next was the braised beef in Rioja with baby veg and butter fondant potatoes. Now what can I say! If you forgot your false teeth it wouldn’t have mattered! Does that tell the story? Then came the deconstructed Rossington Mess. If you have a sweet tooth this was the dessert of the year and a gastronomic lesson of how to make hard work of probably one of the easiest desserts possible (if you’re a messy cook!). Then the final bit, the cheeseboard. I was told that this was going to be served on a square plate and they were going to touch all 4 corners! How can you do this with a cheeseboard? Ok so we had home-made salted water biscuits (salt). Port soaked prunes with preserve liquor (sour). Sugar frosted grapes (sweet) and a very well selected choice of cheeses ranging from mild to (intense) in order and a cheese that tasted like a caramel bar (Norwegian). All complimented by a local five person band who had virtually everyone on the dance floor for most of the evening. Oh what a night!
Now jumping back to Boxing Day!
Well I’m not one to boast but again this was just what the doctor ordered after anyone’s Christmas Day. Guests arrived for breakfast sandwiches at around 10am, then the clay pigeon shoot began. It was great to see people that had never had a go before having some success with the clays. A bit of tuition, the shout of PULL, and bang, the clay was obliterated in front of their very eyes (usually of astonishment!) – did I do that? Yes of course! Now all that’s left is that satisfying smell of gunfire lingering in the morning air. The log fires were roaring and the atmosphere was decidedly relaxing. At dinner time we made our way to the ballroom for the chef’s interpretation of a gamekeeper’s table. A choice of soup served as an amuse bouche was followed by a buffet of artisan homemade breads, duck risotto balls, ham hock terrine, estate woodland garlic mushrooms and breast of pigeon vol-au-vents . For mains there was the choice of bacon wrapped chicken breast stuffed with leek and sausage, local braised venison cobbler and game pie all with roasted roots and proper mash. For the seasoned professionals there was whole roasted wood pigeon, pheasants and guinea fowl carved to order. A selection of desserts were on offer, followed by a brandy in front of a roaring open fire. Delightful, could someone pull my boots off please and let me know when it’s time to go?! Oh and by the way can you book me in for the week next year?!