Ready, Stead, Glow at Thyme
Arriving at Thyme is a lovely experience, the reassuring crunch of gravel underfoot, the honeyed Cotswold stone and carefully curated spaces prompt guests to visibly relax, letting the peace & tranquillity of the estate wash the pressures of the outside world away. For Madeleine Shaw, 26-year-old nutritional health coach, blogger & cookery writer, whose simple approach to the healing power of food has captured the nation’s imagination, arriving at Thyme couldn’t have been lovelier. Her birthday had prompted partner Kieran Monteiro (the man behind London’s Boma Bar & Restaurant) to fill her room with flowers & a cheeky bottle of Rosé.
They are as approachable and friendly as their publicity implies, and settled into the relaxed atmosphere as if they had been with us all week. That evening, after dinner & watching rugby at The Swan with the locals, they joined friends in The Baa, our sumptuous drawing room & guest cocktail bar. We know our list is special – inspired by the hedgerows and water-meadows of the estate - but the classics get no less attention and prompted Kieran to tweet – ‘best manhattan ever.’ Both were clearly bewitched by everything, ‘we need to move here’. It was a long peaceful evening, cocktails, little nibbles prepared by the chefs, playing chess into the early hours.
So on Sunday, after a delicious kitchen garden breakfast of goose egg omelette in the quiet elegance of the Tithe Barn, they were joined by Thyme’s founder Caryn Hibbert, who quickly realised that the kitchen gardens were exactly where Madeleine would really be able to get to the heart of what we do at Thyme. There were some gorgeous snapchat stories that unfurled along the way, accompanied by the sort of conversation only possible between two really passionate foodies. Madeleine’s understanding of eating fresh unprocessed foods, cooking simply and engendering a sense of wellness through taking a little time out from our busy lives are completely aligned to Caryn’s own philosophy.
The day was cloudy, a chill in the air, but the rain held off and the evidence of Spring was everywhere. The pigs were being particularly playful, engaging in a comical tug-o-war with a length of rope, a lone boot was stuck in the mud by their sty, leaving the question ‘what on earth has happened here’ hanging in the air. It was the stuff of ‘The Darling Buds of May’ but the principals behind the kitchen garden and farm are as real as they could possibly be, healthy sustainable practices that result in delicious nutrient rich produce. And the chickens were an immediate hit with Madeleine, she took myriad pictures of the pampered poultry and described for Caryn a recipe that is from her new book, ‘Ready Steady Glow.’ It sounds delicious, her own version of the Vietnamese soup Pho Bo, made with plenty of delicious veg and rich hen’s eggs, vitamin rich and bursting with vitality. It could have been written at Thyme, its modern global influence underpinned by perfectly seasonal produce, and so she has very kindly shared it not only with our chefs but with the readers of ‘Thoughts from Thyme’ – enjoy!