Supper Club & Secret Dining

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Oxford asparagus, foraged wild garlic, herbs, new season peas, freshly made curds

Oxford asparagus, foraged wild garlic, herbs, new season peas, freshly made curds
-the starter for School Supper Society, this Saturday 10th May 2014 (

"I love this time of year"  as said by chefs all over the country, prob most notably on the television. Me? I love every part of the year for different reasons, but yeah I have to agree that after a few months focusing on roots vegetables and heart warming dishes, the arrival of some sunshine brings a different type of warmth to many a heart. Not only is it warmer, but the world seems like a lighter more inviting place, days are longer and life appears bountiful. Look out the window (if you're lucky enough to have one)  its green out there, chlorophyll is everywhere and that is the inspiration for this dish.

I'm not changing the world or breaking the mold with this one. There's no need, i'm very happy with the world as it presents itself to me and this time of year is when you should let that world speak.

So let it speak…..

New Season English Asparagus, which i'm hoping to pick myself from Oxford if time allows. Its amazing. If you can make it to a PYO in the next couple of months please do. You enter the field and you're like "where the fiddlesticks are the asparagus?" and then you see them. They are everywhere, shooting up in isolated little patches, aching to reach the sun. You can even smell them, which, to be honest, smells like the jimmy riddle apres an asparagus binge!!

An old picture of an asparagus dish in one of our very first pop ups!!

Treat them simple and eat them well. I like to snap the ends off and peel the stalks of their fibrous skin, though the younger ones won't need it. Boiling salted water, drop them in and literally a minute later squeeze one of the stalks and you'll feel it give, boom, that's it, get them out and into cold/iced water. Blanch and shock init. This technique will serve you well for many green vegetable and really locks in colour and nutrients. It also gives you a headstart when cooking for guests/friends/loved ones (all of the above, rolled into one?)

2 years ago, served from the back of a church, nice

If I was just eating asparagus then I'd foam some butter in a pan, pop in the asparagus, good sprinkle of Maldon, baste them in the foaming butter for a minute, squeeze of lemon, crack of black pepper, on the plate, simple. Now devour, maybe with a dip, maybe a poached egg, maybe on your own looking out of that window

I'm planning to serve the asparagus with wild garlic/ramsons, again another symbol of Spring which everyone shouts about, mainly because its so damn fresh, green and generally free!! I've found a few spots for both wild garlic and three corner garlic so all those coming on Saturday will have a bit of both. Really simple to prepare, treat it like spinach or blitz it with oil to combine or make into a pesto or salsa. f, f,f ,f ,f ,f fresh

The other components are there to add herb notes, flavour and a touch of citrus and then we are going to add home made curds to add a lactic/creamy component to the dish. This is a really simple process and the beginnings of cheese making. Basically……

Pour 2 litres whole organic milk into a clean non-reactive saucepan and add a pinch of salt. Heat the milk gently to body temp (38c), and remove from the heat. Stir in 2tsp rennet (or lemon juice/vinegar but not as effective!) until it's well combined, then leave for 15 minutes, for the milk to separate into curds at the top and whey at the bottom.

Line a colander with a large, double-layered piece of muslin or a clean blue dish cloth. Scoop up the curds in as large pieces as possible, and put into the muslin. Tie up the corners of the muslin and hang to drip above a bowl or sink for about three hours.

Ta da!!! You made Cheese!!!

And that's that. Put it all together or eat them separately its up to. This is the starter we are serving up alongside a plethera or musicians, artists and awesomeness this Saturday as School Supper Society, get involved

I do hope you have enjoyed this intro to the menu and a little delve into the mind of a chef/food obsessive/cook/eater/child

Enjoy ix

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cake Poppin, Aint no Stoppin!

Cake poppin, it aint no stoppin!

March has been a crazy month, busiest yet with all sorts of events, canapes launches, dinners and yes, over a thousand cakepops! 

They are very simple but lots of fun and have provided many smiles and entertainment this month. The method is straight forward, make cake, crumble it up and make it into balls with the help of some chocolate or icing and stick it on a stick! You can go proper American with this and coat it in coloured sugared craziness or you can mix it up and go all natural with real chocolate, toasted nuts, sesame seeds. I couldnt resist doing some OTT hundreds & thousand stylings as wel, however the highlight was easiy the spray gun that I acquired and created sunset scenes, rainbows, all sorts of colourful bits, so much fun!!!

The key to the topping is choosing it ahead of time and make sure you apply it appropriately. If it needs sticking to the cake pop then dip the cake in melted chocolate, give it a swirl to remove the excess, then sprinkle on the decoration, leave to dry in a carefully prepared area (I stuck them in a polystyrene lid!) and crack on with the next one. If you want to paint them or apply swirls and twirls of chocolate then you will need to let the chocolate coating or icing set first. 

Then let your creativity get the better of you and have fun ix

Monday, January 27, 2014

Vealification- the truth about Veal (Nov 2013)

I'm very lucky, in life and in general, that I get to work with amazing people doing the things I love. And part of this is that I have the opportunity to learn, and I embrace this, everyday, whenever possible. This is why veal is such an important topic for me as it is still so miss understood in this country (as is MSG but thats a different story!) 20 years we go banned the cages that calves were kept in (still are on the continent, again, whole new can of worms, think pig farmers and protecting our own) If you partake in any dairy then ethically you should eat veal, which at least provides some life to what is seen as a waste product of the diary industry. Approximately 120,000 male calves are killed shortly after birth in this country as they cant produce milk and there is little/no demand for veal. A friend of mine has recently started her company called Cotswold Veal, providing ethical reared organic veal, so we decided to hold a night celebrating veal and hoping to illuminate and educate as we went!

The menu went something like this:

Mini veal Milanese with veal ragu, confit lemon, served as a tortellini

Calves liver parfait with red onion 

Veal tartare with shallots, capers, lemon, on sourdough with hay smoked duck yolk

Liver n Onions- onion puree, fried onions, raw onions and herbs

Braised n BBQ'd jacobs ladder (short rib), celeriac purée, Hackney Wick herbs & toasted hazelnuts

Raw milk granita with mint oil, served off the bone

Roasted hay pannacotta, chocolate coated veal jerky, brown butter ice cream 


the produce arrived, we were pretty excited!!

the liver!

We roasted hay from the actual farm and infused it into cream and milk for our pannacotta- tasted amazing!

smoking the yolks, simple and effective

sourdough breads, we tried baking some in the hay, interesting smells!!

Veal ragu tortellinis, rolled by hand, perhaps a little too thick but by gosh they tasted good!

the veal tartare with smoked yolk

Liver and onions

40 people, 5 lots of 8, easy, no heat lamp though!!

the herbs we foraged from along the river lea, which is on our door step

Hugo Jeffreys (BlackHandFoods) was awesome in the kitchen with me and in the lead up to the event, so here's some of this charcuterie!! 

Raw milk granita, served on the veal rib bone, with mint oil!

I loved this dessert; we made veal jerky from part of the fillet, marinating and dehydrating it, then coated it in spices and then in chocolate, it was definitely a marmite!!

why not? Had all the egg whites left after smoking the yolks so marshmallows it is then!!

Hopefully not the last of these style of events that we do, thoroughly enjoyed it, had Chantal the Farmer, come down to speak about her calves which I think is amazing.

Here's some links to press n bits