Monthly Archives: May 2010

New dates added for May, June and July

Upcoming dates for supper club are as follows:

Saturday 29th May – evening dinner

Saturday 19th June- evening dinner. Perfect for taking Dad out seeing as it’s fathers day the day after

Saturday 26th June-farmers market dinner (all the good stuff from the Ynys Mon farmers market)

10th July-private party

then we will be taking a short holiday until the end of July

31st July – high summer dinner with cockails on the patio…(Welsh weather permitting!!)

Spaces are limited to 12 per evening so if you would like to attend please contact me promptly to reserve a space.

Usual supper club details apply: If I don’t get the bookings the supper doesn’t take place, it is a flat rate donation of £25 for a 5 course meal of near gourmet food and please ensure you can attend before booking because last minute cancellations are a nightmare (often I have to cancel the evening, or let my suppliers down, or end up out of pocket)

Thanks everyone, hope to see you over the summer

Denise xx

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Ramona’s Saturday night supper….murder, fetish and a leg of lamb

a happy bunch of supper clubbers

Ramona, a local belly dance and yoga instructor http://www.ramona.org.uk/ and Kath Turner http://www.kathturneryoga.com/index.html another impossibly fit and supple yoga teacher had both been to supper club before, on that occasion to celebrate another friends birthday. This time Ramona booked her own party so partners and other mutual friends could enjoy a nice dinner too. Kath and her partner are vegan and another attendee was vegan and gluten-free….having said this I noticed that all three ‘vegans’ lapsed at some point during the evening….noticeably once the cheese board came out!!

I was asked to prepare a menu that kept both avid meat eaters and vegans happy…no small feat…but I hope I managed it their approval. The arrival of empty plates back at the kitchen is testament to it being good food I guess!!

The menu for the night was:

 Amaretto sour

Baked New season asparagus (with lemon)

Butternut squash risotto with crispy sage

Beef and wild mushroom Wellington, pink and green peppercorn sauce

Wild mushroom and spinach tart (vegan)

Potato and red onion gratin, Purple sprouting broccoli

Rhubarb and Cointreau cranachan (or compote for the vegans)

Tea or coffee, local cheeses, oat cakes and chutney

I noticed that one vegan decided to have the full cranachan for dessert, then the final two lapsed when the cheese arrived, although i did get some very lovely goats milk Camembert which is less harsh on the stomach than cows milk cheese if you don’t usually eat it . I also served Derimon’s smoked mature cheddar as used by chef Aled Williams for his smoked cheddar mousse on the Great British menu http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00sbqfc, just as it was with spiced apple chutney.

The wild mushrooms came from Cynan Jones who was featured on countryfile last night http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006t0bv and the Welsh Black beef from a local hill farm, via Paul, my usual butcher in Bangor. I had the advantage of being able to visit the Ynys Mon farmers market on the Saturday morning (its only on once a month, which for me is not nearly enough) so had my pick of the asparagus, onions and potatoes.The herbs and spinach all came from my mate Molly (again) and the rhubarb from other friends in the village Matt and Karen. I promised them all freebies in thanks!!!

The food inspired some weird and wonderful dinner conversations; Rosie the teen waitress, who was no longer on strike now I’ve agreed to pay her ‘minimum wage’ , like a ‘proper’ job, kept coming into the kitchen with anecdotes from the table…”do you know how to commit the perfect murder? I do. Go for a walk along the cliffs on a rainy night…” and then there was something about a leg of lamb…but I didn’t quite catch all of that one….when I eventually emerged from the kitchen I stumbled into the middle of a conversation about fetish wear. One lady was explaining how on a trip to London, being a country bumpkin, she decided to go check out a fetish wear shop…and was then encouraged to try something on. She squeezed herself into a lovely pink latex dress which left her “boobs round her ear lobes”.…but when she tried to get it off found herself stuck. Her companions tried in vain to peel her out and then the assistant came to help…he asked her if she’d used the chalk in the corner. She looked blank….It finally took several helpers to get the dress over her head and she eventually emerged which a pop…like peeling off a too tight rubber glove. Lesson learned, always add plenty of chalk or talc before putting on your fetish wear.

Another guest described getting lost on route to a friend’s, whom she was meeting on the way to a burlesque party. She ended up stuck in her car in a small country road fully dressed in stockings, corset the works, in the rain and the wind….and who said life in Wales is dull!!!!!!!

Anyway less of that, here are a few pictures of the night:

cooking wild mushrooms and herbs for the Beef Wellington stuffing

making beef Wellington with Welsh Black beef, wild mushrooms, herbs and spinach

The vegan and gluten free alternative, wild mushroom and spinach tart

new season asparagus

Sean shaking cocktails...Amaretto sour

baked tarts with potato and red onion gratin and PSB

Beef and wild mushroom Wellington with pink and green peppercorn sauce, potato and onion gratin and buttered PSB

Thanks family!!! Half the pictures of the night are of me with my head stuck in a cupboard trying to locate the last jar of spiced apple chutney. If only they took as many photo's of the food as they did my arse...

...anyway. I found it in the end

rhubarb and Cointreau compote and Cranachan's

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Dinner conversations

Learnt 2 interesting things at last nights supper club, how to commit the perfect murder and how not to get stuck inside your fetish-wear…..loving the dinner table conversations 🙂

Full run down of last night to come….

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The full menu for the BIG weekend warm up party

Cocktails on sticks….(maybe Pina Colada….good old Barry Manilow!!) and milkshake lollies
Homemade Vegemite bread sticks

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Either a lobster, snapper or mussel starter….something with  Caribbean flavour in keeping with the next course….

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It had to be chicken with all the references out there, so it will be Jerk chicken with Jamaican rice and black eye peas (authentic recipe sent, interestingly, by a previous ‘death row’ prisoner…who was given a reprieve (eventually) although he is still in prison starting his 24 year. He is also a working artist who has regularly collaborated with one of our own local artists (www.rkart.co.uk/index.cgi) She has brought his images, and the colours and vibes of the Caribbean to Wales.

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Gin and tonic sorbet
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Cheese and Crackers

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Carrot cake and coffee (and even ice cream if we can fit anything else in!!!) and a bottle of Jack

Hope this tempts you

Denise xx

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A vegan, south-east asia inspired lunch menu

Somewhat daunted at cooking a vegan birthday lunch for Emma, local vegan cook from earth kitchen I thought that the best way round it was to experiment a bit and embark on a slightly different menu to my usual theme of modern British and European cooking.

I’d also recently been inspired by Steve Parles South-east Asian menu at the Dock kitchen, where I was taken for my birthday in March. Fabulous food, my only criticism was that it was what I call ‘London potions’ i.e. not large enough to feed a rat, let alone a country girl with a healthy appetite. I do have to give him a big thank you for the Tamarind sorbet recipe….I collared him at the end of the meal. He’d made it up himself, so I was dying to give it a go….the other half said mine was better, less sickly sweet and pairing it with the mango coconut cream broke down the sharpness of it…having said this it was probably more than his life’s worth to say it wasn’t!!

My variation of Steve’s menu ran as follows;

Blood orange and Pomegranate Bellini

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Green Papaya, cucumber and carrot salad with palm sugar, ginger, lime and coriander root

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Squash with red chilli, lemongrass, lime leaves, coconut and sweet basil

Thai fragrant rice or white quinoa

Beetroot and mint salad

Fried bean curd with chilli

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Frozen mango and coconut cream with Tamarind sorbet and sesame caramel

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Coffee, tea and Emma’s vegan chocolate truffle cake with Goji berries

I have to admit I misjudged portions on the starters, so it was smaller than intended (more London than mountain sized) but the flavour was superb. This was primarily because it was impossible to get green Papaya. Not seasonal granted, but mixed beautifully with local shredded carrot, cucumber and coriander root.  I ended up serving the fried bean curd, which I’d bought from the Garden Hotel Chinese shop in Bangor, with the salad as I could only use half of each Papaya as they were just too ripe. They felt hard enough but you can never tell I guess.

Unfortunately like many small shops, the Chinese shop in the Garden Hotel has been hit by the supermarket and lack of use has brought its demise. It’s a case of use it or lose it. The girl who worked there told me it would be closing down soon.

It was also here that I got hold of the semi-dried Tamarind, palm sugar and lemon grass. I know some of these things are available in Tesco’s but I’d prefer to spend my money elsewhere!!

Again, I know squash isn’t seasonal but on this occasion I broke the rules!!

The lunch was a success and Emma very generously sent me a message saying

“Denise***Thank you for a fine dining experience.  Exactly what eating out should be all about.  I haven’t had a cooked vegan meal as good as that possibly ever!”

which pretty much made my day xx

Emma and friends with Pomegranate and blood orange Bellini'

toasted sesame caramel looking like a weird sticky mess. It did break up well once it had hardened

serving out the salad and bean curd starter...too damn small for my liking!!

beetroot and mint salad on pretty plates

squash with coconut, rice, beetroot mint salad...lovely contrasting colours and tastes

Mango coconut cream, Tamarind sorbet and shards of sesame caramel

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Research for the BIG WEEKEND warm up supper and party

Carrying out some research for our ‘food references in music’ menu for the BIG WEEKEND warm up party was the source of much hilarity….really, I never knew there were so many, although many only vaguely mention food in the title and not at all in the song, while it was quite difficult to find food references in songs if it wasn’t in the title!! !! I think we did quite well with our extensive (if not totally inclusive) list….

Seeing as it is music and rock and roll, we found plenty of alcohol related songs, titles or lyrics for example, The Streets -Too much Brandy or Dinah Washington- Me and my gin.
Gin, wine and beer seemed to stand out as being the most popular drinks in music think UB40’s-Red, red wine, Snoop doggy dogg’s-gin and juice

The teen’s contribution to the drink theme was ‘my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard’…which I’m very sure it does….but like many of the songs we found with food or drink related titles, isn’t really about food. Anything with a title that included the words sugar, honey, or candy or in this case milkshake is probably referring to other sweet offerings!

Back on the alcohol theme she also suggested Kesha-Dolla particularly the part where she says ‘Before I leave brush ma teeth with a bottle of Jack’. I like the idea of having a drop of Jack on the menu.

The other half went for the play on words approach coming up with Ragoo-Kings of Leon, River of Bass-Underworld, Ace of Bass, or Scooby snacks-Fun loving Criminals and Rokit-Herbie Hancock. He then went off on his own little random roll with ‘Cod is a DJ’ ‘Rice, rice baby’ and bizarrely trans-fatty acid-Lamb. I had to stop him before he got too silly, but before I could do that he was joined by Sophie the seamstress who added Sade-‘smoothie operator’ and Kate Nash ‘my hands are moulding into the shape of a crustacean’….somebody kill me now!!!

Most food references were in the titles but we did find some songs with food in the lyrics.

The streets-don’t mug yourself ‘2 plates of full English with plenty of scrambled eggs and plenty of fried tomatoes’
Or Men at work- Land down under ‘he just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich’ and 50 cent- ‘I love you like a fat kid loves cake’.

Then we aptly found Faithless-Insomnia ‘make my way to the refrigerator, one dry potato inside, no lie, not even bread, jam’ not that we wanted to put one dry potato on the menu.

Gorillaz-superfast jellyfish references carrots and chicken and the Black eye pea’s references rice and peas and chicken stuffing.

So far our favourite rock and pop inspired possibilities include
‘My Boy lollipop’-Millie,

‘Performance and cocktails’ (were ignoring their ‘too many sandwiches’ as there is no place for sarnies on the menu)

For seafood references we found ‘Pulling mussels from a shell ‘-Squeeze, ‘Rock lobster’- B52’s or ‘Spicy Snapper’-Ian Pooley any of which would make a great starter.

A gin and tonic sorbet might have to be in there somewhere as a nod to all of those gin related songs and of course Carrot cake for pudding after ‘Carrot cake and wine’-Stereophonics along with ‘Ice cream’-New Young Pony club.

Nirvana’s ‘Big cheese’ and Portishead’s ‘Biscuit’ will of course be served with coffee.

Thanks to our mate Rich for his Rock lobster suggestion, although I think we should skip the ‘I’m a spam eating homo, by Blah and an even bigger thank you to Sophie for her suggestion of the day Blur-Bank holiday

‘Grandma needs new dentures
To eat the crust on pizza
Been taken out by her daughter
Because she thought she oughta
The kids are eating Snickers
Because they’re so delicious
Then there’s sticky fingers
And mother loses her knickers
Bank holiday comes six times a year
Days of enjoyment to which everyone cheers
Bank holiday comes with a six pack of beer
Then it’s back to work
A-g-a-i-n
Barbecue is cooking
Sausages and chicken….’

Well, I haven’t lost my knickers (yet)…but there’s always time for that!!!!….The song kind of has it all there!!! I’m sure there are loads of good, if not better references out there….including
Beatles-Strawberry Fields
Queen-…fried chicken in there somewhere
Madonna-Hard Candy
Presidents of the USA-Peaches
Herbie Hancock-Watermelon Man
Tom Waits-Chocolate Jesus (plus others)
Snow Patrol-Chocolate
Moby-Honey
Whipped cream and other delights-Sergio Mendes
D’Angelo-Brown Sugar

With the bunch of songs we have I’m not sure were aiming for a gourmet menu on the night, but it will good home cooked food, lots of fun and truly rock n roll inspired for anyone who fancies a party!!…and of course after dinner drinks are a definite (brushing our teeth with a bottle of Jack!!)

Cocktails (maybe Pina Colada….good old Barry Manilow!!) and milkshake lollies
Homemade Vegemite breadsticks
Either a lobster, snapper or mussel starter
Possibly homemade pizza with rocket ….or fried or grilled chicken with rice and peas
Gin and tonic sorbet
Cheese and Crackers
Carrot cake and ice cream

If you fancy it email moelfabansecretsupperclub@live.co.uk to book a place or call us on 07775 828769
Denise xx

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BIG Weekend warm up supper, followed by an after party!!

We will be hosting a BIG weekend warm up supper on Friday 21st…..just so I can take my hangover with me on Saturday!!!
The Menu has yet to be decided…but i’m thinking a menu celebrating food in songs….i’m on to the research!!!

to save a place email moelfabansecretsupperclub@live.co.uk

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May Bank holiday lunch

Here is a round-up of the lunch in pictures.

English early season asparagus laid out in a roasting tin with lemon wedges and sprinkled with salt and pepper. roasted for about 8 to 10 minutes and served with Anglesey Sea Bream fish cakes, wild garlic and watercress salad and little bowls of fresh herb and yogurt sauce (below)

making individual Black beef and wild mushroom pies…what transpired to be the most time-consuming job ever!! It took me an hour and a half to make about 10 small pies!!!

Rhubarb, roasted with orange rind and juice and split vanilla pods

Pudding, mash and PSB

Rosie the teen waitress

JoJo the excitable supper club dog

Rhubarb and Cointreau Cranachan. The baked rhubarb was mixed with toasted oatmeal, Cointreau and whipped cream.

Me with home-made crackers (left) and Hilly, my kitchen helper warning me not to bring her any more washing up!!

Finally, I have managed to get some time to update the blog. Its fantastic having so many private dinners, but what with trying to get on with life and all the other things I seem to fit in, I find myself with so much to write, but never the time to do it!!

Our last dinner took place on Bank holiday Monday. A lunch for what turned out to be seven in the end (their teens dumped dinner for a climbing course). I was intrigued. I didn’t know much about my prospective guests other than that they were staying in Wales for the week, that they varied in age and there were no vegetarians.

The menu was devised to make full use of all the seasonal local produce possible, while still keeping it exciting (which is hard in spring when we still seem to be ploughing through the end of season root veg, while the new crops are still growing). It was as follows

Citrus blush cocktails – using my own home-made Limoncello

Anglesey Sea Bream fish cakes with baked early season English Asparagus, wild garlic and watercress and fresh herb dressing

Welsh Black Beef and wild mushroom pudding, creamed potatoes with leeks and purple sprouting broccoli

Rhubarb and Cointreau Cranachan

Local cheeses, home made Rowan and Damson and Crab Apple Jelly. coffee and tea

For the main bulk of the produce I didn’t even have to venture out of my village. Leeks, purple sprouting, carrots and potatoes were all from the local farm. Herbs and wild garlic were from my garden and my neighbours, rhubarb was from another friends garden.

The beef came from the local butcher and the cheese from my usual suppliers (mild Seriol goats cheese from Cwt Caws, Camembert from Rhyd y Delyn Farm and Smoked Brie from Dave at Derimon, whose smoked mature cheddar was this week featured on the Great British Menu (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00sbqrt/Great_British_Menu_Series_5_Wales_Judging/

The wild mushrooms were from Cynan, who is similarly tipped for celebrity, as he has just been filmed for Country file!!

As I believe I’ve mentioned before, we do have some FANTASTIC food producers around here, and I only hope my dinner guests enjoyed sampling the food. It transpired that they were up from London (Hackney being the home of the couple that booked) and they had spotted my details in ELLE Decoration magazine. They hadn’t yet managed to get to a supper club on home turf….so travelled 300 miles to visit me!!!…well not quite, but I like to think they did. Lunch was fab, with lots of interesting conversation and a very excited dog, who I think had become giddy on country air. Even the sun shone for our visitors. We couldn’t have asked for more!!

Denise xx

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May Bank holiday weekend and further updates

A fab, but tiring weekend with lots of other stuff going on too….I will be updating the blog with early spring escapades and a few changes to booking procedure over the next couple of days xx

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