The Hundred House : looking back and looking forward.

Clear blue skies and the bulbs peeping above the ground are giving The Hundred House a feel that spring is on the way. We had a delightful time celebrating Christmas and New Year, and had a wonderful start to the year with a very romantic Valentine’s weekend.

I always find that this time of year puts me in a reflective mood, and one of the my main thoughts is what a significant twelve months this has been for The Hundred House.We have carried out extensive renovations and improvements, including a brand new thatch to our 15th Century Barn,and the installation of two new Biomass boilers .These boliers use  wood pellets as their fuel,which as a sustainable resource,means the boilers are carbon neutral. This reduction in reliance on imported fossil fuels, alongside choosing LED lighting and improvements to our cellar cooling processes are making vast improvements to our green credentials.  We are aiming to be truly green inside and out ! As with everything we do, we used a local firm Solid Future, of Ludlow, to oversee the project. We also have a beautiful log burning stove fires, to make sure of a thoroughly warm welcome where ever you are in the hotel.


We are also developing our menus, working alongside the Apley Estate, to bring you some of their delicious and unusual produce.  We share many values and production principles,and the ideas that are emerging sound truly mouthwatering. Check back in March to find out more. In the meantime, have a look at to get a sneak peek of the produce that is available.

Last year was also a very special year for the Phillips family.  Both Henry and Stuart celebrated significant birthdays, and of course, May brought the fabulous occasion of the wedding of Stuart and Joanne. I asked Jo to describe her lasting memory of the day ,and she described it as being ” full of joy and laughter”. I think that is a beautiful tribute to the  skilled team at the hotel.  As a guest I can confirm it was also full of tremendous food;it was no coincidence that the wedding was held at the height of Asparagus season!  A truly magical and memorable day.

What the day was all about

Jo and Stuart’s wedding began the wedding season in earnest,we held over 60 weddings over the last year and have over 75 to look forward to this year. The Hundred House is going to be a romantic place to be and to visit during 2015.Mr & Mrs Phillips Original-1214


Soft pink chair ties provide a subtle unity to the colour scheme.


Our memorable year was completed by the honour of winning the Best Posh Nosh category in the Spotlight Awards. These awards are voted for by thousands of Shropshire Star readers. All of our awards fill us with absolute delight, but this one is extra special, because it is such direct feedback from our guests.


It really has been an amazing year here at The Hundred House, and the best thing is, we have so much more excitement to look forward to. All our upcoming events including our famous Gourmet Nights, and Masterchef classes are updated on our website regularly. We look forward to seeing you soon .




Herbs at The Hundred House

Last year, Stuart visited  Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons; as well as learning new techniques for creating unusual and delicious breads, Stuart was also introduced to some new varieties of exotic herb. This sparked ideas for redevelopment of the herb garden, which has been an important part of The Hundred House since it began. Construction started about two months ago, with the creation of 14 raised beds.As with everything at The Hundred House, it was a fabulous team effort, including the help of Ron,who took part in the original refurbishment in 1985. Henry and Stuart decided to use a raised bed system, which allows for easier management of the variety of herbs used. This means a greater range of herb plants can be grown,which turn provides an array of new flavours and menu inspiration.
Henry starting work on the new raised beds

Henry starting work on the new raised beds

Ron, described by henry as "the best bricklayer in the world", using his many skills to help in the construction of the beds

Ron, described by Henry as “the best bricklayer in the world”, helping with construction.

During my day at The Hundred House, I was able to spend time with their resident  plant expert and gardener, Denise, who describes herself as passionate about growing. Her joy and enthusiasm for the garden  is infectious, and I came away with some useful tips for growing herbs at home. Denise explained that herbs are an ideal project  for a new gardener, or if space is limited. Many herbs are Mediterranean in origin, so they are tolerant of dry conditions,and  are happy in grow in pots or window boxes. Herbs can also provide attractive and useful borders for flowerbeds. Their only special requirement is lots of sun. She also passed on an excellent piece of advice which was to to grow only what I like to eat !

What a difference a few months make !
What a difference a few months make !
New herbs and salad leaves, almost ready to be used
New herbs and salad leaves, almost ready to be harvested

Denise explained that the new beds include edible flowers, such as nasturtium and viola, which are delicious in salads, as well as unusual varieties of coriander, and oriental greens, alongside less common examples of familiar varieties, such as thyme,fennel and mint.
Komatsuna leaves, which can be used in a range of salads soups or stir fries, giving a spicy,vibrant flavour.

Komatsuna leaves, which can be used in a range of salads soups or stir fries, giving a spicy,vibrant flavour.

Lemon Corainder is just beginning to emerge. This will be used for Moroccan inspired dishes such as Tagines,and fragrant couscous.

Lemon Coriander is just beginning to emerge. This will be used for Moroccan inspired dishes such as Tagines,and fragrant couscous.










Variations of familiar herbs , such as garlic chives are included.

Variations of familiar herbs , such as garlic chives are included in the new herb garden.

A range of beetroot will form part of many exciting dishes.

A selection of  beetroot will form part of many innovative  dishes.










The new herb garden is part of the ongoing development of The Hundred House, and as Denise says, there are very few eating establishments that can boast such an extensive culinary garden. She really enjoys the fact that she has been part of the process of the creation of the food served here.

One of the most special things about the gardens at The Hundred House is that they contribute to the unique experience of being a guest. Whether dining or staying in one of the luxurious rooms, guests are free to wander through the gardens,relishing the peaceful atmosphere. Being able to see exactly how local the ingredients are, is an added bonus.The Hundred House herb garden was a charming place to spend the afternoon, and I’m looking forward to sampling some of the new dishes. Perhaps I can be chief taste tester for the next blog !

Beautiful, calm surroundings

Calm and relaxing

Thatch,Flowers, and Frogs


Spring is here, and has brought with it the exciting rejuvenation of the thatch on the oldest part of the Hundred House Hotel, the beautiful 15th century barn.This is part of ongoing restoration of this historic building, which began in 1986 when the Phillips family undertook the task of creating their hotel, restaurant and beautiful gardens.

The barn before it's new look, it was last re thatched in 1961!

The barn before it’s new look, it was last re thatched in 1961!










I was lucky enough to be able to grab a few moments with master thatcher of 16 years, Paul Draycott, to find out a little more about his craft.

As a novice to the world of thatch,it surprised me that the material used is not straw,but water reed, sourced from East Anglia, or further afield as demand dictates. Water Reed is a naturally water resistant material, which has been used for centuries to protect homes and other dwellings from the elements.

To create a traditional thatched roof, the thatcher lays bundles, of up to 6 foot in length, on top of each other to create an impenetrable layer. The final roof is around 12 inches thick, and relies on the forces of gravity to help the ensure the wind, rain and snow to flow down the thatch.


Bundles of water reed, ready to be layered.

Bundles of water reed, ready to be layered.


Layers are built up to create an impenetrable surface.

Layers are built up to create an impenetrable surface.

The completed thatch will last around 40 years, so Paul does not expect to have to return, other than to carry out scheduled maintenance to the ridge, which will happen around every ten years. Paul works all over the region , sometimes driving for over two hours to reach a location. This creates some amusement for his associates in the South West, who have a short walk to their daily labours, so Paul finds working near to his home town a welcome change. Paul estimates that his work here will take around six weeks, and as you can see it is pretty close to completion.

Stuart inspecting progress

Stuart inspecting progress


Jo braving the ladders to take a closer look at the craftsmanship.

Jo braving the ladders to take a closer look at the craftsmanship.



The last part of the thatch will be Paul’s signature pheasant, which he uses to identify his work… can spot them around the county, recent locations include a boat house in Himley, and a cottage in nearby Ackleton.

The ridge is almost complete, ready for the attachment of Paul's signature pheasant.

The ridge is almost complete, ready for the attachment of Paul’s signature pheasant.










Hundred House Time Capsule

To add a little Hundred House flair, and to add even more history to this beautiful building, the team have created a time capsule, which is secured in the roof, ready to be opened  at the next replacement in forty years time. The capsule includes memories of significant events, alongside details of the day to day running of the hotel, which will delight future generations of the Phillips family,and their guests as well as providing a little surprise for the next thatcher !

Stuart handing over the timecapsule.

Stuart handing over the time capsule









OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Ta-da…….The Finished Article!”


……..and two Pheasants, mates for the next 40 odd years!

Spring has also brought excitement in the gardens. Alongside the beautiful blooms in the pots and borders, the Hundred House has it’s very own frog nursery! They are already delighting guests who are taking advantage of the beautiful spring weather.

Spring really has sprung!



Hyancinths ready to welcome guests

Hyancinths ready to welcome guests



Frogs and Tadpoles enjoying the sunshine.

Frogs and Tadpoles enjoying the sunshine.


Wild Boar Cassoulet


On November 8th, we celebrated our first Game Night of the season with a sold out menu. It was such a success, we thought we would share one of Stuart’s favourite recipes of the evening.

Wild boar in Bavaria

Wild Boar (known by many as the original Prehistoric Pig) is famous for a nutty, sweet taste but also as being a more  healthy alternative to other meat. It is one of the few meats that is leaner than domestic Pork, has less fat than Beef but contains much more protein. It is also known for promoting the production of white blood cells, in turn enhancing the immune system.

Stuart’s Wild Boar Cassoulet went down a storm on Game Night, you can find his recipe below…


Wild Boar Cassoulet (serves 8-10, but can be portioned and frozen)

You will need…

1lbs Cannellini Beans

1lb Toulouse Sausage (we use our own Chorizo)

2 ½ lbs Diced Wild Boar Shoulder

½ lb Wild Boar Skin

4 Duck Legs

½ pt Chopped Tomatoes

½ pt White Wine

4 oz Bread Crumbs

2 Onions, diced

1 head of Garlic peeled & sliced thinly

1 Bay leaf

1 large sprig of Thyme

1 spring of Rosemary (tie all herbs together to make a Bouquet Garni)

1 onion & 1 Carrot for Beans

Salt, Rosemary, Thyme and Garlic for Duck Confit



Day One:

Sprinkle Sea Salt, Rosemary, Thyme & Garlic all over Duck legs. Cling film and place in the fridge for 24 hrs.

Soak Cannellini Beans in cold water and leave over night.

Day Two:

Rinse off salt from Duck legs & brown lightly in the oven.

Drain Beans from pan. Replace in pan with 1 onion & 1 Carrot cut in half, with double the volume of water.

Simmer gently until all but tender (approx 45 minutes).

Drain the Beans but keep the liquid, removing the Onion & Carrot.

In a saucepan or a crock casserole dish; lightly brown the Onions and add half the Garlic, cook until golden. Add the wine and boil for 2 minutes, add the Tomatoes & cook for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté the Wild Boar & Toulouse Sausages until golden brown. Add a pinch of Salt & Pepper to the Wild Boar as you go.

Add half of the Beans to the Tomato mix in the Casserole and add the Bouquet Garni along with the Duck legs, Bacon, Wild Boar & Sausage.

Cut the Wild Boar skin into two strips and place around the side of the pot. Add the other half of sliced Garlic and top with the rest of the Beans & pour over the Bean cooking liquor until just covered.

Cook in an oven at 120˚for an hour and a half, possibly two, but after one hour, pour over the Breadcrumbs evenly across the beans.

Notes: The Breadcrumbs should form a golden crust, beneath which are the moist, creamy beans & tender chunks of the meats.

This is a substantial dish-Stuart recommends a good walk & a light salad beforehand!

Top Tip** The Wild Boar skin adds greatly to the gelatinous, unctuous texture of the stew. Best Kept Secret Awards 2013

Award winning gardens

As some of you might be aware, last month we won the Best Kept Secret Award for Best Gardens from, helped judged by Countryfile Magazine. There were several categories, including Comfiest Bed, Best View and Best Gadgets. All nominees were chosen by customers, so people who have actually visited the hotels and left us reviews. Countrfile Magazine helped to judge the award, with Fergus Collins quoting,

“For sheer romance and endless hidden delights, Hundred House pips its rivals to the prize. The maze gardens full of tumbling roses and shrubs and threaded with water features provide a restful sanctuary – as well as the freshest of vegetables and herbs for the hotel’s restaurant. The gardens are the perfect accompaniment to the charming rooms – each uniquely furnished with antiques.” 

BBC Countryfile 2 of 2 300913

We were thrilled with the award, as so much hard work goes in from the team (Henry, Libby and Denise) maintaining the gardens that Sylvia had the foresight and imagination to create, 27 years ago.

If you would like to see Countryfile Magazine’s article in full, click here, or if you would like to see the other award winners from, click here.


BUT, our awards news doesn’t end there! We have been lucky enough to have been nominated for the Shropshire Star’s Tourism & Leisure Awards in the ‘Best Posh Nosh’ category. There is certainly some stiff competition, which is why we would be extremely grateful if you would click on the link and vote for us please! Fingers crossed!

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*Please ignore the very old photo of Stuart!

Hundred House Crab Apple Jelly


September in the gardens brings us an abundance of Crab Apples, none of which go to waste. We make a fantastic Crab Apple Jelly that compliments such Game as Venison, Pheasant Breast or Wild Boar.

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Learn how to make the Hundred House Crab Apple Jelly:

You will need, Crab Apples 250g



1 Lemon

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 Begin by washing the apples and removing all of the stalks. Then place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for half an hour.

Once cooled, strain the pulp through a piece of muslin; this will help to keep the jelly nice and clear. Don’t be tempted to squeeze the pulp through the material as this will also make for a cloudy juice. Straining through a sieve is also a no no!

When measuring the Sugar, you need to aim for 7 parts Sugar to 10 parts Crab Apple juice.

Add the juice from the Lemon and the Sugar. Boil the mixture. While this is boiling, skim any white froth that rises to the surface (this again will help to keep it clear). Keep testing the jelly with a spoon to see if it is beginning to set. Once it is, allow to cool a little and pour into sterilized jars.

Pheasant dish

Smoked breast of Pheasant with Sage stuffing, served with a Pear glazed with Crab Apple Jelly, Sweede Puree and Potato Gratin


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Stuart, inspecting this year’s crop


Henry’s Herb Blog


A couple of weeks ago, I spent the afternoon with Henry in the Herb Garden and Vegetable Patch, learning about just a handful of the varieties grown by him and the team.

Over 27 years ago, when Henry and Sylvia first took on and began renovation of the Hundred House, the gardens were not the spectacular site they are today. Henry describes them in their former state, as a mere lawn at the front and a run down vegetable patch to the rear, that had been neglected for a number of years.

Today, Henry alone spends upwards of 25 hours a week tending the gardens, along with Head Housekeeper Libby, and plant expert, Denise.


You may or may not know that the rooms at the Hundred House, are named after plants and herbs that we grow onsite with Rose Geranium, Fennel and Dill and Anise being but a few.

Golden Marjoram~ According to English legend, Goblins hate Marjoram and should be sewn in one’s garden to ward them off. It is a very hardy plant and grows quickly with a sunny hue and an uplifting, zesty taste. Works very well in tomato sauces and in salads or casseroles.


Anise~ Over the years, Anise was thought to be a cure for sleepiness when chewed and used as a very early antiseptic. Has a similar flavour to Star Anise, Fennel and Licorice. The seeds can be ground in a Pestle and Mortar and used in Jams and Compots.

Angelica~ Pagans believed that Angelica would protect against negative energies and and promote healing. Identified by its lovely large, star burst flowers. This ‘herb of Angels’, is actually a member of the Parsley family. Candied Angelica is popularly used to decorate cakes and desserts or to flavour Gin and sweet wines.



Rose Geranium~With a very sweet, rosy scent with minty overtones; Rose Geranium has been used through the ages as an antidepressant. Excellent when used to infuse jams and preserves and can be used in many cakes and desserts.

Buckler Leaf Sorrel~The name supposedly derived from the French word for ‘sour’, Buckler Leaf Sorrel has a tangy, lemony flavour. It can be used in salads, as a garnish, in soups, or compliments fish excellently. Because of its strong taste, large quantities are not needed.


Sheila’s Summer Pudding

One of our customer’s absolute favourites; this superb seasonal dessert is a real show stopper and is really quite simple to make.

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One Pudding serves two people. All you will need is the following:

An even amount of fresh Strawberries, Red Currants, Black Currants, Blueberries and Raspberries.

1Tbsp of Sugar

A splash of water.

A load of medium sliced White Bread.

Fresh cream and fresh Fruit to garnish.

photo 1 photo 2

Begin by simmering the Strawberries, Red Currants, Black Currants and Blueberries in a saucepan, on the hob with a splash of water and the sugar. It is important that you don’t allow the mixture to boil. The fruit should become soft, but not mushy.

Once off the heat, add the Raspberries and leave the fruit to cool.

Meanwhile, cut out tops and bottoms for your puddings, using whatever vessel you are going to use for a mould as a guide (Sheila uses glass trifle bowls). Also cut out strips of bread to form the sides of your puddings.

When your fruit mixture has cooled, pour into a colander and capture the juice in another bowl. Soak your bread pieces in the juice. Do not throw any excess juice away; you will use it when serving your puddings.

Fit your bread pieces around the moulds and fill until they are bursting full of fruit. Place the bread lids on top.

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Find something flat, like a tray, to place over the top of the puddings and put something heavy top to weigh it down. Leave like this in the fridge for one day.

photo 2.Jlll

Once the puddings have set, tip them carefully upside down and out of their moulds. Cut each pudding into quarters using two ‘triangular’ shaped quarters per dessert. Pour over some of the remaining juice and pipe freshly whipped cream between the slices. Garnish with fresh fruit.



Aberaeron Seafood Festival July 2013

Aberaeron Seafood FestivalHead Chef Stuart Philips, has attended the Aberaeron Seafood festival for the last ten years. The festival takes place on the quayside of Aberaeron and is now established as a highlight on the Welsh food calender. Chefs present samples of their food using seafood, fish and local produce, all at £2.50 per portion. This money goes to cover the cost of the festival and is donated to local charities.This year, Henry, Jo and Stuart’s neighbours Mandy and Trevor (previous Masterchef  cookery class pupils) all joined him to help out.

The stall was set up by Henry, Mandy and Trevor with a lovely Beurre Blanc, spiced bean casserole with dill mustard and creme fraishe. Stuart and Jo arrived on Stuart’s motorbike, jumped out of their leathers, straight into whites and began cooking! They were soon knocking out Dill crushed new potatoes with Buckler Leaf Sorrel and Beurre Blanc and Hake Casserole with Turmeric spiced beans, Garlic butter and Lime and Coriander.


There were boxes of iced fish neatly stacked from Debbie and Paul at Swansea Fish. A brilliant array of the best Welsh produce including Razor Clams, Langoustines, Cockles, Mussels, Hake, Bass and Monkfish. Henry was kept busy filleting and portioning, while Stuart kept on producing pan after pan of Bouillabaisse, Scallops with Chorizo, Langoustine with Fennel, Clam  and Mussel Risotto. Mandy was stirring and cleaning while Trevor was slicing and dicing!

It was a boiling hot day, with around 7000 visitors roving up and down the quay from stall to stall from 11am-4pm.

P1000913Stuart says, “It’s a great day out with a great bunch of chefs and helpers. I really enjoy seeing people tuck into the different dishes and answering questions as people peer into bubbling pots. Thanks again to Glynn and Menna for organising it all.”

For more information visit

British Asparagus season

The British Asparagus season typically lasts a mere three months, between April and June (British weather depending!), giving all the more reason to make use of it while it lasts.

Asparagus-1It is known to have high levels of Vitamin A (an antioxidant) and folic acid, helping to fight against cancer, and at an average of less than 4 calories per spear, it really is a super food!

At the Hundred House, we are lucky enough to have one of the top UK Asparagus growers a mere five miles up the road in Quatt. Lodge Farm has been in three generations of the Lees family, with Asparagus produced there since 1972. At the peak of the season in June of this year, Head Chef Stuart Philips, went to visit Father and Daughter team, Caroline and Trevor Lees, to find out more about one of his favourite ingredients (and have a go on one of their buggies used for picking…).

Lodge Farm currently has up to sixty acres in full production of Asparagus growing. Waitrose are their main buyers, who take a keen interest in the Lees family as one of the biggest growers in the UK for Asparagus trials. Caroline and Trevor explain that they currently have around 1000 different varieties of Asparagus in testing that have already spent five years in a lab before reaching their farm. Out of these thousand, only about five varieties will actually make it to market, and that will take up to another fifteen years before you see them on the shelves.


Asparagus is grown from seed and planted as a one year old crown. These crowns are then harvested and sent to Lodge Farm at the beginning of April (this year was a little different, with unseasonal weather meaning they could not plant until May). Very little is done to the Asparagus in the second and third year of its life, but in the fourth year the first cut is taken. The farm will then get eight years of harvesting the plant, with one spear per week per crown being produced in the eight week cutting season from crops around 10-12 years old. This year at Lodge Farm, 140,000 crowns were planted, around 12.5-13,000 per acre (hence the buggies).