Supper Club #1

I’ve set myself a challenge to host a supper club by the end of the Year. In true Bristol fashion, the preparation has been well underway with a soft launch supper club each month to friends and family.

On the menu for Supper Club #1 was;

SC#1

It was quite a daunting task trying to work out what to cook that didn’t;

(a) leave me flapping in the kitchen for a full 24 hours before

(b) leave me flapping once everyone had arrived

(c) kill anyone

and more importantly, that everyone enjoyed the event!

It goes without saying that (a) went straight out of the window and may as well as slept in the kitchen – but most importantly, it was really great fun and (after a few hours kip), I would quite happily do it all again!

The prawns were a great choice to start as they were quick and easy to do meaning that I had time to focus on the main course. The olive tapenade bread rolls were, if I’m being completely honest, a little tough – but for a first attempt late the evening before, I think they more than passed the test.

For the main course I opted to slow cook a shoulder of lamb. The cooking of the lamb was fairly simple, save for having to make sure it was safely in the oven in time to cook for 3 hours before being allowed to rest. The lamb was served on a bed of smoked aubergine puree which was an interesting task! Similar to making baba ghanoush, I had to closely watching four aubergines burning over separate stoves – and try not to panic as the outer skin burned. Happily I opted to do this the night before so that if it did go wrong, there was time to quickly make another.

Cooking aubergine over a naked flame

Turns out, it’s nowhere near as scary or tricky as it seems! If you’re using a gas hob, make sure that you cover the area in foil leaving small holes for the actual burners to protrude to as this saves on the washing up! Simply lay the aubergines on top of the burners and make sure you turn every so often when they start to burn. If using a charcoal BBQ – once the BBQ is up to heat, nestle the aubergines in amongst the coals, again turning often. You want to make sure that they are really burnt before removing.

Once burnt all over, place in a bowl to cool. If you want to make sure they are extra smokey – cover the bowl in foil before setting aside. Then once cool, just peel away the skin to leave the mushy flesh.

Cut the flesh into pieces and pop into a sieve suspended over a bowl and cover. Leave for the night in the fridge and discard the excess fluid in the morning – simples.

If turning into puree – blend with a bit of fresh mint and majoram and season.

If making baba ghanoush – blend with some fresh garlic, tahini, olive oil and lemon – and maybe a little bit of cumin if you dare.

Once the lamb was cooked, I took it out to rest before pulling the meat off the bone and popping into a terrine mould. This was then weighed down and allowed to set. Once I was ready to serve, the lamb was cut into neat pieces before being reheated in a pan.

To serve the dish, I laid the lamb on top of the aubergine puree and topped with some grilled Swiss chard. The dish was drizzled with a lovely jus made from the stock and topped with an anchovy crumb.

I couldn’t resist rustling up a few fondant potatoes to accompany the dish too!

Fondant Potatoes

I was always quite nervous about cooking fondant potatoes for the first time – as they look and taste delicious, and so I assumed they would be very difficult to cook. But NO! They’re really simple to cook, just make sure that you keep your eye on them.

Top tip: add minced garlic and fresh thyme to take them to the next level!

To make, peel your potatoes and slice a little bit off the top and bottom so that they can stand up on the pan. Melt some butter in your pan and add the potatoes. Cook for about 6 minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Once brown, turn over and do the same on the other side. Next pour in chicken/veg stock and add minced garlic and fresh thyme. Cover and simmer gently until the potatoes are cooked.

I wasn’t sure what to choose for desert until a friend gave me some fresh rhubarb from their garden the day before my supper club (I know, I really had left it until the last minute!). Armed with my rhubarb, I set about thinking what I was going to make. Dismissing a classic rhubarb crumble in search of something lighter decided on a classic rhubarb fool with a ginger biscuit crumb. The fool was layered with a rhubarb syrup which made it look really appealing and made it easier to present.

ALL IN ALL: Supper Club #1 was a complete success – and I absolutely loved the challenge! I definitely learn’t a lot of skills and cannot wait to do the next one!

Advertisements

Sweetcorn & Courgette Fritters with Maple Caramelised Red Onion

Recipe of the Week

Seasonal Produce: Sweetcorn

IMG_2218

I set myself a challenge of making sweetcorn the star of the show in every evening meal I cooked last week – which encouraged me to cook meals I’ve never done before. Who would have thought that this little vegetable could be quite so versatile!

I’ll put up a few recipes over the next couple weeks – and I’ll be picking another vegetable in October to be the main event for a week – so watch this space…

Continue reading

Bristol’s Urban Farming

Always a pioneer, and keen to maintain it’s legacy as European Green Capital 2015, Bristol has become a keen advocate for Urban Farming.

What’s now particularly exciting is the diversity of urban farming – no longer limited to vegetables, Bristol is even home to Street Goat, a collective of people raising, milking and eating their own goats.

‘Urban Farming’ is a simple concept – farming that would previously have been done on the rolling hills of a farm or estate have been adapted to suit farming often on a small scale within the urban city. There are many advantages of this, such as addressing issues with space – but more beneficially it is bringing people together from different backgrounds and creating new communities – whilst also regenerating some derelict neighbourhoods.

Grow Bristol

A new urban farming enterprise that is developing innovative and sustainable ways of growing food in the city for the benefit of all its inhabitants and the wider world. We are creating a new kind of market gardening with hydrophonic vegetable production in city spaces not normally suited to agriculture

Grow Bristol’s microgreens are an absolute delight, and happily they’re starting to be stocked in a few shops including Hugo’s Greengrocer in Bedminster and Better Foods.

The intense flavour of leek and coriander in the micro greens are quite amazing, and not expected. Definitely one to try.

Bristol Fish Project

Aquaphonics is the cultivation of fish and plants together in a constructed recirculating ecosystem utilising natural bacterial cycles to convert fish waste to plant nutrients

I hadn’t heard of this before writing this article – aquaponics are used to recycle waste to grow food and to help conservation efforts.

Bristol Fish Project produce fish and plants for eating, in a continuous cycle. Not only that, but they are focusing on helping with Eel conservation. Beautiful!

Street Goat

We want to bring goats into the city. Not just for their milk and cheese, but also for the enjoyment of their company

What a fantastic idea! The idea is just beautiful – joining communities together to improve overgrown land in and around Bristol by keeping dairy goats. Goats are a great gardening assistance – loving pesky weeds and brambles which is good – as we hate them! Dairy goats means milk, which also means cheese and yoghurt. Delightful!

The Severn Project

We aim to empower individuals and communities by providing authentic training, education and employment opportunities

An Bristol veteran, The Severn Project supply numerous restaurants and shops across Bristol with their salad leaves, herbs and vegetables grown in sunny Bristol. The Project provides support and training to people from all walks of life, giving people that helping hand where required to get away from tricky backgrounds and to help them build for a better future.

It’s really exciting to see Bristol evolve and indeed pioneer – let’s watch this space over the next few years to see what we can come up with next…!

Recipe of the Week: Homemade Baba Ganoush

Recipe of the Week

Seasonal Produce: Aubergine

5

This Middle-Eastern dip lends itself beautifully as an accompaniment to flat bread/tortillas whilst catching up with friends over a glass of wine or even as a great addition to lamb or chicken kebabs – homemade of course!

It’s become a staple in our house at the moment with the humble humous taking a backseat. I originally started making baba ganoush on my gas cooker – which actually worked very well – just as long as you prepare your workstation in advance! The arrival of the Big Green Egg has made this process much easier simply nestling the aubergines amongst the hot coals at the end of a BBQ.

Continue reading

We’ve Gone On A Summer Holiday..

It’s been almost three months since my last post, but ‘unprocessed eating’ and cooking challenges have been the flavour of the summer (pun fully intended).

The past two months have seen a discovery of foreign cooking in Croatia, fresh fishing in Cornwall, two supper clubs and a crash-course in going from cook to chef. It’s safe to say I’ve been hard at work thinking about new blog posts and new tips to share with you as well as challenges of going sugar-free and joining the Great British Chef Cookbook club.

The arrival of a new BBQ in June has also opened up a whole new world of cooking challenges and fun – so watch this space for the trials and tribulations…and a burnt spatchcock chicken or two….

Summer Salads

Recipe of the Week

Seasonal Produce: Salad!

With the weather that we’ve had over the past few weeks I’ve opted to keep it very simple this week. There really is something to be said for good ingredients speaking for themselves – and these salads prove that.

file-13

Continue reading

Let’s Not Forget the BBQ Salads..

Recipe of the Week

Seasonal Produce: Buuuuut it’s BBQ season!!!

Processed with MOLDIV

Well what a beautiful weekend that was! With weather like that – the only food option is BBQ, more BBQs and even more BBQs. The key to a good BBQ for me is the salad selection. It goes without saying that there needs to be chicken, steak and halloumi – but there’s nothing more depressing than rocking up to a BBQ and there’s only a bowl of lettuce leaves.

These salads can make or break an English BBQ – and we need to give them the true respect they deserve!

Here are just a few of my favourites – you never know, if this weather holds out – some more BBQ recipes will follow. But knowing how the weather works here – let’s not bet on it…..

Cards on the table, eh-erm, seasonal produce went slightly out of the window this week – I couldn’t resist! 

Continue reading