Dinner at The Fat Duck is not simply a meal, it is an adventure – astonishing, delightful, utterly inventive and delicious in equal measure. Billowing cauldrons of dry ice producing frozen vodka meringues that explode with a burst of lime in your mouth or an edible beach accompanied by the sound of the sea or a smoking box of moss emitting the smell of the forest as you eat a multi layered delight of taste combinations. The wit and sheer imagination of it all put me in mind of the magnificent Tudor feasts I have portrayed in Queen's Gambit – a pie containing live frogs; a cockatrice with the head of a peacock, the body of a pig and the head of a swan; a sugar warship floating in mercury with firing canon. To me the same Tudor spirit of invention and humour and the idea of feasting as entertainment rather than simply nourishment lives on in Heston Blumenthal's truly extraordinary creations.
This early sixteenth century house, The Old Rectory in Wimbledon has come on to the market at a mere £26 million.
It was built by the church and requisitioned in 1536 to the crown. Henryy VIII stayed there when taken ill on a tour of his Surrey palaces in 1546 – when married to Katherine Parr who may well have been with him – he couldn't get up the stairs and a bed had to be built for him in the great hall. It eventually passed on to Sir William Cecil (Lord Burghley) Queen Elizabeth's foremost advisor.
I'm going to have to start saving up...
The photograph on the left is one of a series by Hendrik Kerstens, who uses his daughter as a subject, recreating the feel of Dutch Renaissance portraits using household items, in this case the humble doily. I'm not sure who the painting on the right is by (if anyone can enlighten me please post it) but it is most definitely not made from household items.
Subscribe to Elizabeth's quarterly newsletter below: