Supper Club & Secret Dining

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Vegetarian Extravaganza!! 26th Jan 2013

Many many thanks to all those lovely people who came, ate, smiled and left, whilst smiling some more. I too was left smiling, admittedly slightly slumped in a chair with a glazed over look in my eyes and nursing half an armagnac, but smiling none the less!!

The vegetarian supperclub was so much fun, it was such a treat not to use meat but to really get excited about vegetables and to be creative with them, playing with textures & combinations and, despite the recent snow, still attempting to use mainly British produce. I should note that the risotto was something I tasted when working with Ben Spalding, and really wanted to recreate it!!
This was the menu:

Crude et tu”
Carrot Sticks cooked in Carrot Juice
Parsnip Sticks cooked in Cumin Milk
Pickled Potatoes

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Rustic Almond Pesto
Clapton Sourdough, Kimchi Sourdough, Raw Butter

17th Century Salad with a 21st Century Twist

Vacherin Risotto
With Barbecued Cucumber Juice Vinaigrette

Ode to a Cauliflower;
Spiced & Roasted, Pureed with Brown Butter & Romanesco
With Apple & Cumin

Ode to a Beetroot;
Marinated, Chutneyed, Crumbed & Wilted Leaves
With Goats Cheese Brulee

Fennel and Lemon Thyme Palate Cleanser

Chocolate Delice with Passionfruit Curd
Popcorn Pudding with Vanilla Salt Popcorn

Dark Chocolate and Lime Leaf Truffles

As we've just done two weekends back to back, therefore two blog posts back to back, i'll keep this one sweet and short. I think Kat is looking forward to having the flat back for a slightly longer period this time, deservedly so me thinks. Anyone who has been to the last three nights can vouch for her amazingness, she is. 

Next events are booked for 15th and 16th February, then its the 15th & 16th March, awesome, plus i've got a brunch pop up at Cakey Muto this coming Sunday (3rd Feb) so get down to Chatsworth Road Market and pop in and say hi!


Punchin it up with the Wassail

Crude et tu

Bread n soup



getting down with the fractals 

Ode to a cauli

Delice & popcorn pudding

Is there a better way to end the meal?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Saturday 19th Supperclub

What a night!!

This was one of my favourite supperclubs to date! 14 people coming down, there was a thick blanket of snow outside, and a good chance that TFL would grind to a halt leaving me with nothing else to do but eat food and cry a little. 

But no! everything went pretty much according to plan, I even managed to nip down to the Growing Communities people in Stoke Newington and collect my leaves, greens and crown prince pumpkins. Slightly precarious I admit was the cycling down the hill by our flat with a rucksack full of food and three newly purchased fold up chairs around one arm, scary but time was very much of the essence! The guys in the shop were laughing at me, but also help attach the chairs to my bag so at least if one went, we all went!

Friends old and new came along, some i'd known since I was 4years old but hadn't seen in nearly ten years, the power of social media!! 

This is the menu that we ended up doing:

Mignonette & Rockafella

Clapton Sourdough, Kamut Sourdough, Malthouse Rolls
Browned Butter

A many component salad from the 17th Century

Jerk Prawns, Caribbean Mojo

Venison, Marinated Beetroot, Roasted Onion Puree, Radish, Herbs

XO Pork Belly, Crown Prince Pumpkin Puree, Chard, Spring Greens

Fennel & Lemon Thyme Granita & Roasted Cumin Palette Cleanser

Chocolate Delice, Frozen Spiced Junket, Passionfruit Curd, Sesame Wafer

Homemade Fortune Cookie
Pistachio & Burnt White Chocolate Macaroon
Dark Chocolate & Lime Leaf Truffles

Oysters!! We keep them cool in a pile of snow

Rockafella is basically wilted spinach with garlic, shallots and butter, topped with parmesan, breadcrumbs and chervil. 

Mignonette is traditionally with champagne vinegar but I used balsamic to really boost it up and make  it sweet and sour with much more moody depth, plus shallots of texture and sweetness and again some chervil

It was quite amusing. I arrived home late on the Friday evening (1:30am) and decided that one type of sourdough wasn't enough, so split my mudda into three and feed them heavily with their respective flours, wholemeal and spelt for the Clapton sourdough, Kamut (an old Egyption grain, very creamy) and then a malthouse mix with whole grains. Shame no pictures, only this one from a few days before!!

fun salad!!
more fun salads!

I really like this salad, its got whatever I can find in it. I made a red pepper puree & a basil puree which I smeared across the plate, then some of those lovely Growing Communities leaves, fresh herbs, thinly sliced beetroots, radish, some pineapple, 
pomegranate, celery, apple, pear, carrot, sugar snap peas, samphire and others i'm sure but just cant remember! It was inspired by Michel Bras' Gargouillou, Ben Spaldings 35-55 piece salad, and a 17th Century British salad called Salamagundi which includes the addition of nuts, meat and fish.

Jerk marinade

Jerkin up the prawns

I love jerk anything: pork, prawns, lobster, chicken, anything. Today I went with some lovely looking prawns and spiced them up woth my secret jerk recipe
XO pork belly about to enter the oven!!

This contains dried prawns, dried scallops, soy, chilli, ginger and is a Hong Kong sauce that is extremely potent, rich and downright tasty. Highly recommend making some!

Venison, nice n pink, marinated beets a hit!

Roasted onion puree for this was delicious, marinated beets (with soy, honey, sesame oil) a winner with guests and the venison was deep, meaty, cooked to the rarer side of medium rare and throughly enjoyable, though I only managed to taste a very small amount!!!

homemade fortune cookies with handwritten fortunes, very amusing!!!

Finished off with some of my favourite petit fours: macaroons, truffles and fortune cookies. Had the idea that next time I will put my favourite Dylan lyrics in them, this time I went for quotes off the internet, which were still pretty cool and a lot quicker to compose too!! I tried to use peoples favourite quotes off facebook, but the only favourite quote I could find from a guest was very inappropriate!!

Many thanks to all who came, it was a real pleasure!

The next event is a Vegetarian Supperclub which is already fully booked, but after that we are planning a Sea & Air Feast for Friday 15th and Saturday 16th February, so if you fancy either of these dates, please RSVP, get in touch and let me know. The idea is to continue the stylings of the most recent menu but to only use meats and fish from the sea and air, an idea suggested by a close friend!

Also, on Sunday 3rd February, we're holding a brunch pop up at Cakey Muto on Chatsworth Road in Clapton. There's also the growing Chatsworth Road market  happening so definitely worth a trip down!

This a taster menu:

BRAP- bacon, rocket, avocado, spiced pineapple chutney

Braised beans smoked ricotta, pork belly and chorizo on Clapton sourdough;

Ricotta hotcakes with passion fruit curd or poached pear or roasted fruits or spiced butterscotch and banana;

.....this menu constantly changes so anticipate surprises..

Awesome, hope to see you all soon,

Warmest regards as ever


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Clapton sourdough in pictures

Sourdough bread, in pictures, cos I thought it would be fun!!

Now i've quit my job I supposedly have time on my hands (but where does it go?) so I have been feeding my mudda (name for future bakery?) to get it alive and kicking, and have been making sourdough every couple of days at home, fun and tasty too. Clapton sourdough, yeah!

Flour, water & mudda, with salt waiting to be added (apres autolyse)

Salt added, a few turns, some time and love later, see the gluten starting to develop
Gluten feeling good, no kneading, just fold n tuck, bit of the ol bulk fermentation init

pre shaping, rest then shape, boom
shaped and ready for final prove 

looking good, ready for the domestic oven me thinks

slice it up, preferably with a sharper blade!
out you go, razor work a bit dodgy here!
baked, check that crust!
delicious, 20% kamut flour too, almost creamy flavour, combined with spelt, wholemeal and white

Awesome, hope you enjoyed the breadmaking class, any q's please get in touch


Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Candle Stick Maker on Tour!!

Happy New Year to all!!

Hope it has been an extremely fun festive period and the kiss/smack of reality has been gentle and quickly soothed by the short week and the arrival of the weekend.

We've been all over the country and its been epic; food, family and friends. Christmas eve involved a seafood platter followed by a deliciously rare piece of beef. Possibly a tad too rare for my folks but then they always overcooked meat as I was growing up so perhaps, subconsciously, I was  returning the favour/flavour! I did cook them some medium & well done pieces on the side too, it was xmas after all!!

Christmas Day, drove for 5 hours and followed this with a delicious nut roast, an intensely clovey and lovely bread sauce, a boozey red wine sauce and plenty of vegetables courtesy of the missus' mum and her allotment. I returned the favour and cooked a vegetarian banquet for their family on Boxing Day. A few years ago I would have been confused, unsure, and scared of this prospect and probably would have snuck off to the local chicken shop (we all have vices) However vegetables aren't scary anymore, they are awesome!! Yeah the French taught us that a meal should be a chunk of protein with a sauce, some sides of veg and a garnish, but we're more creative than that!! Look at a lot of vegetarian cultures around the world, Hindus and Budhists for example, have very diverse and interesting (and tasty) foods. (Some Budhists will eat meat if someone else kills it. I think i'd be this kind of Budhist if I had to be, I'd probably have a mobile too) It shouldn't be about replacing the meat component, more thinking outside this societaly impose box.

Back to Boxing Day, bring on the veg!!! For starters I did cauliflower three ways; raw with lemon and parsley, panfried in butterand pureed, then blanched n shocked, spiced up an roasted. Made some spelt flatbreads to go on the side. For mains, with the help of Kat and her bro, we made a parsnip, celeriac and Jerusalem Artichoke bake, with cheese, cream, thyme and rosemary from the garden, easy peasy and I must admit I wasn't the only one picking the caramlised cheese off the edges. I made a red cabbage puree, chestnuts and Lissa's kale (which she went and picked in the pouring rain, commitment!) Pudding was a classic that was no doubt sered in homes across the country, Armagnac soaked prune chocolate fondant, with thick cream and frozen yoghurt, boom!!! This expereience has defintely inspired the Vegetarian Supperclub on Saturday 26th January, if interested get in touch!

New Years was awesome!! After some requests from amigoes we decided to hold an informal Candles Stick Maker event at a cottage in Kent, invitation only (ie only the peeps at the cottage and Ku & Amy) We were staying in a beautiful cottage in the rural area of Brook near Ashford. The starter was a selection of vegetables and fruits, the idea being inspired by Michel Bras' Gargouillou salad which is made from flowers, leafs, herbs, veg and fruit picked from the garden that morning. I was very happy with how this dish came together and am excited to work more on this idea, it will definitely appear in the vegetarian supperclub, in some form!! This was accompanied by roasted beets, some pureed, some caramelized and served with goats cheese cream, pickled potato chips and crisp bread. Mains were roast beef, roast ham (basted with the juices from that mornings pork heavy breakfast) and again lots of veg; celeriac puree, roasted sweet potatoes, celery braised in beef juices, kale amongst others that I cant remember at this point in time!!! Desserts were simple;  sweet fennel with a pineapple granita and toasted cumin seeds served as a palate cleanser, accompanied by caramelised apples, creme patissiserie (thick custard) and nut crumble. On the side was a light chocolate mousse with poached pears, I may of added booze, I cant remember, possibly due to brain cells demolished later in the evening!! 

Basically, as I'm sure you can all agree, the festive time is FUN, religious or not, but January isn't. Thats why I'm holding two Supperclubs this month, both in my lil' flat in the C side. One is a version of the last one from before Christmas, the Multicutural British Festive(ish) Feast on Saturday 19th January.

After numerous deliberations and conversations we have decided to allow the menu to evolve. Rather than changing everything every time, I want to move with the seasons, flavours and inspirations that get me at that particular point in time. This will allow dishes on the menu to develop, improve and change as feels natural and as supplies allow.

Below is the last menu from before Christmas which was a fantastic success. There are some obvious movements away from the festive theme,but other than that I will (attempt to) keep an air of secrecy over the finer details.

2012 Xmas Feast: 

Festive cocktail on arrival 

Oysters three ways; French shallot vinaigrette, Thai salad, Rockafella 

Confit salmon, berries and sourdough 

Jerk prawns and scallops, Carribean mojo 

Mutton loin, beetroot puree, mushrooms, radish, herbs 

XO pork belly with Bombay roast potatoes, bok choy 

Fennel palette cleanser with yellow snow 

Chestnut figgy pudding with kulfi ice cream 
Tamarind Margarita 

The other is the Vegetarian Supperclub on Saturday 26th January which I mentioned earlier, health kick time!! If interested, please get in touch and i'll send you more details.

I should probably also mention that I have now quit my job and launched my self into 100% self employment (woop woop!!) pushing ahead with the Supperclubs, food adventures and Cult Events, so expect to hear a little more from me, perhaps more coherently, and I may even get round to sorting out this blog thing so it doesn't look like a 5 year old has done it!!

Awesome, see you soon ix

Not the best pic of NYE salad, but was a little rushed at the time!!

Beets and fried pickled potato

Fennel, pineapple & cumin palate cleanser, apple, custard and crumble