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Eat, Sleep, Drink, Eat

Eton Mess

Thyme and Again

Eton Mess

Recipes and notes from Charlie Hibbert, Chef Director at Thyme: a pastoral idyll which offers a place to pause for thought in harmony with the seasons.

A bucolic retreat of rooms, luxury and rest, Thyme provides a range of workshops, treatments, events, and some of the most delicious, locally sourced food in the county at the Ox Barn.

Charlie’s Eton Mess

Eton Mess is a British classic and a perennial favourite of the nation. Everyone has had one or at least a variation of one. It crops up at barbecues, family dinners and has featured on every dessert menu… and for good reason – it’s a fabulous and simple dessert. One little tip is that Eton mess is better with drier day-old meringue, so you can work ahead of time without harming the finished product.

Serves 4

For the meringue:

  • 3 large free range eggs, whites only (120g egg white) – save the yolks to make some mayonnaise
  • 120g caster sugar

For the rest:

  • 500g strawberries 
  • 3 tbsp of icing sugar 
  • Juice of ½ a lemon 
  • 500ml double cream 


  • Preheat the oven to 100°C (normal) | 80°C (fan) | gas mark ¼
  • Beat the egg whites and when they reach the soft peak stage, add the sugar in a steady stream. Keep whisking until the meringue is stiff and airy.
  • Spoon onto a lined baking sheet and place into the oven for an hour. When done, turn the heat off and allow the meringues to cool in the oven with the door ajar; this will help them dry out (better for Eton mess, but a sin when it comes to a good standalone meringue!).
  • Hull the strawberries, then blitz about a third of them with the sugar and lemon juice to make a purée and halve the rest.
  • Whip the cream into soft peaks and break the meringue into large pieces before adding to the cream.
  • In your chosen vessel, add a good spoon of the meringue mix, then a few strawberries and the purée. Continue in this vein until all the mix has been used and serve immediately.

Thyme’s Happenings by Milly Hibbert

June’s national calendar is so tightly packed with quintessentially British celebrations (Henley, Ascot, Glasto, the RA Summer Exhibition and all of the rest) that we didn’t know where to start, so we’ve devised our own June, filled to whet a variety of different appetites. English Wine Week (17 to 25 June) turns into Month at Thyme, and Charlie has devised perfect seasonal food and wine pairings for his A La Carte menu.

Father’s Day will be a blast – Charlie’s specials include a succulent grass-fed, dry-aged sharing steak in the Ox Barn and, at The Swan, the ultimate burger with all the trimmings. The gardens at Thyme are working at full throttle, and the fruits of the team’s labours will shine in Swan and Ox Barn dishes. This sort of abundance encourages people to take to their chopping boards, so the School at Thyme has upped its game with two cookery lessons per week. Plans are afoot to bring in a guest speaker to talk about a modern-day hot topic – sleeping – so keep an eye on our social media. The Orchid House and pool are open for hotel business and the Ox Barn terrace is in full swing, not to mention the garden at The Swan. Thyme and the bees are positively buzzing this June.

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