Monthly Archives: August 2010

Some of you will know that when I’m not cooking and supper clubbing I am working for Moelyci environmental centre as customer service and publicity administrator in the market garden (in other words I’ve jumped into bed with one of my suppliers!!)….

Moelyci is a foodie haven, not just for the local community, who are welcome to pop into the farm shop and buy fresh produce any day of the week, but also for people far and wide who often join us for environmental/food related courses…I recently met a young lady who’d travelled up from Cheltenham especially.

Many of our events are free, or extremely well priced so I just thought I’d spread the word. Whether you wish to come to a free day event (such as the annual fungi foray) or book in for an accredited course (such as the grow your own food course, accredited by Coleg Menai or a two-day introduction to Permaculture) book in soon. Some of the courses are very popular so really do need to be booked quickly. For the Autumn/winter timetable check out the course list on the Moelyci website

If you want to attend, but live a way off, there is a brilliant B&B 2 minutes walk away…you could make a weekend of it in Wales!!!!

As for supper club….we had two great nights on Saturday and Sunday (write up to follow) and now look forward to our next event on September 25th…Autumn Equinox harvest supper….I am currently taking bookings and will do up to a couple of days before the event, then only by phone…I have recently missed last-minute emails as I haven’t been on-line so do feel free to call 07775 828769

Best wishes everyone

Denise x

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Menu for the 28th, British summer supper

Don’t forget our next supper will be held on August 28th and there are still spaces, but filling fast now, so if you’d like to join us please let me know ASAP by the usual method (email or txt)…the full menu for our British summer dinner will be

Pimms by the jug full

Slow roasted plum tomatos with mixed leaves, basil, garlic and goats cheese pearls

Wild salmon wellington with french violette and borlotto beans, rhubarb chard, chilli, chives, lemon and mustard seeds

Summer pudding

Local cheeses, home made chutney and crackers

Coffee

All the fruit and veg are from local growers and most will be harvested on the day of eating…cant get fresher than that!!

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The bits in-between

Some might wonder what goes on behind the scenes when there are no supper clubs lined up. Do we live on spaghetti and pizza or does the culinary feast continue?

Well, it’s often difficult with kids as they don’t always appreciate your attempts to produce earth shatteringly inspired cooking, or even vague attempts at experimentation. I have a vegetarian teen who doesn’t eat vegetables and a seven-year old who is strictly a meat and two veg man (with pizza and spaghetti to fall back on)…never easy to please both at once, so I often don’t try. I don’t believe in pandering to their whims and I’m certainly not prepared to cook several meals for each individual. I cook one meal for all and we all sit down to eat together, if they don’t like it they go hungry. I have learnt over time that my children will not die from starvation, that when they are hungry they will eat and what they claimed to like or dislike yesterday may not get a second comment today.

So, in answer to my own question, yes, sometimes we do live on pizza and spaghetti (albeit home-made pizza and home-made pasta sauces) and sometimes we all experiment, with varying degrees of success.

In between supper clubs over the summer we have experimented, we have held parties for friends, made food for festivals and preserved enough to keep us going over the winter, in true hunter-gatherer style!

Posh buns for Katy

My first festival job back in June was to make cupcakes for a vintage tea party being held by a group of festival workers at Glastonbury. It was Katy of Elfen celf gallery and shop in Llanberis that requested them and very pleased she was to…I wasn’t convinced they would actually last until the party which was scheduled for 3 days time…but evidently all but one did.

Friday night curry for friends

Following this was the arrival of my sister from Australia. Her requests were simple; curry and roast dinner. No matter that we were in the middle of a hot summer, whilst she had just left the Aussie winter. She was adamant, they don’t do curries and roasts like they do here…so her first night saw a particularly lovely chicken and spinach curry, potato and bindi bhaji, salad and flat breads. Can’t remember what I put in the curry, it was one of those stick in whatever you have and it was a while ago, but i have to leave you with the flat bread recipe (it’s a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe) and they are so simple and quick to make. You will need

250g plain flour, a teaspoon of sea salt and a tablespoon of rapeseed or olive oil.

Sift flour into a bowl and add salt. Mix oil with 150ml warm water. Pour into the flour in an even stream and mix to make a slightly sticky dough. Knead for about 5 mins til smooth then leave to rest under the bowl for about 15mins. Put a heavy based pan or skillet on to heat. When its good and hot and you are ready to cook divide dough  into 8 even pieces. Roll them out thinly (about 2 to 3 mm) and lay bread in the hot pan. When you see dark brown patches appearing and it looks ‘set’ flip over. Cook each side for about 30 to 40 seconds, but if they look like they are turning brown too quickly lower the heat a bit. Warp in a clean tea towel to keep warm and soft and serve. These are great because you can serve them with curries, dips or any kind of stew to mop up the juice.

family dinner number two

The family then decamped to London for 10 days for a host of family trips, festivals, nights out and topped off with our little brothers wedding. Aussie sis was still calling for curry and roast as we arrived….so on our fourth day, with my poor mother looking frazzled in the 80 degree heat, and as we nursed our post Guilfest hangovers, I was to be found preparing and shoving a huge joint of pork into the oven whilst negotiating feeding twelve in the tiny space of my mum’s galley kitchen….it was just like holding a supper club, but in more challenging surroundings. We churned out dish after dish, courgette fritters with parmesan, broad beans with olives, oak smoked tomatoes, fresh tomatoes basil and garlic, new potatoes, stir fried pak choi and a hearty green salad.  The pork was perfect (although I did stick a bit of the crackling to the top of the oven…ooops), the veg had all been brought down from Wales with me (from my garden and veg box which arrived the morning we left) and it was just about enough to appease my sister.

Back to the festival catering, my most recent little extra was providing food for the Late Lammas Green fair at Glynllifon park. Asked at short notice, I agreed to provide a soup and cake stall. Have to admit I was a bit daunted when Nichola from syrcas circus said we could have up to 400 people pass through…OK not that many in festival terms, but when you are doing it single-handed, bit scary. I have to thank everyone that helped out, that includes Coryn and Paul  from Moelyci who did a grand job veg chopping, Rich from the syrcas circus crew who lent me his industrial sized cooking rings and provided his gas too and Geraint from Environment Wales who came along to say hello and ended up pot washing!!

Must admit I rather liked the festival cooking…must do it again some time!

Denise x

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Pop-up festival cafe’s and other dates

At very short notice I was asked if I could do a bit of festival catering for the late Lammas fair at Glynllifon on Saturday 14th August…well you know what they say, ‘ask a busy woman’….so having thought about it and worked out the logistics of catering for up to 400 visitors…rather than the usual 12, I agreed…so anyone who fancies a free Green festival, with talks, workshops, kids entertainment, music and cheap and wholesome Moel Faban soup, cake and anything else we can throw together on a budget…come along to Glynllifon in Caernarfon…where of course you also get the beautiful surroundings of the Parc as well…

This will be followed up with our own late summer dinner back at home on the 28th August (and a Ruby wedding anniversary party on the 29th).

September 25th will see us celebrating the Autumn equinox with a harvest supper.

If you can’t make any of these and would like to book a private dinner for yourself and a group of up to 12 friends, family or colleagues, then drop me a line and let me know when you would like to come.

Denise xx

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Supper club lesson number one-expect the unexpected

I love the unusual, bizarre and unexpected (one reason I enjoy running a supper club so much) and there was no more unusual start to the day than to have a man knock, with a black plastic bag under his arm and looking furtive, to deliver a freshly caught wild river salmon. ..’was it cotia’, my mate said. It certainly was and has to be the freshest, most delicious salmon I have ever eaten!!.

I have to admit it wasn’t totally surprising..i’d had a discussion with the chap at work about getting me one next time he went fishing, but that had been 2 days earlier so I wasn’t expecting delivery quite so quickly. On top of this i’d had a very unusual last minute spurt of bookings, which took me to a full house, when i’d actually thought i’d have to cancel following a couple of cancellations.

The unexpected salmon formed part of a mezze starter (as I’d done for the previous party, but since it went down so well I thought i’d reprise the menu with a few tweeks). The main course remained the same, a chick pea and okra tagine, but this time I also included a lamb tagine for the carnivores, accompanied by a big bowl of Tabbouleh with fresh herbs from the garden and a good handfull of Pistaccio nuts. For dessert I made  a blackcurrant and cassis trifle instead of sorbet primarily because we’d had such a glut of blackcurrants at Moelyci  (in between making fruit puree for the trifle, I have also made home made Ribena, cassis and tubs of fruit puree frozen for the winter. I think we still have around 100 punnets in the freezer at the farm shop). We finished off with a cheese course of Gorwydd Caerphilly, Perl Wen, home made spiced courgette chutney, apple and elderberry chutney from last year and coffee and mint tea.

It was also lovely to have a full house, something we haven’t has for a while and to see people prepared to travel so far to visit us (Surrey being the furthest!!…although Abergele is a fair trek too). It generally is true to say that in an area like this everyone really does know everyone…or they have friends in common, or knows someone that knows their friends etc etc…..so it was also another of those happy coincidences that brought a couple to dinner, that had contacts with the centre where I now work. Of course over coffee we were able to sit and chat about mutual contacts and interests and as they were pretty new to the area as residents, about the area as a whole. 

All in all it was an enjoyable, but busy evening..my only regret being not having enough time to sit and chat to everyone a bit more (we were short staffed, Rosie the waitress off in London with her mates festivalling and other usual helpers similarly engaged) and leaving Sean to cover everything I couldn’t. I’m glad to say that no one was in a hurry to depart so I did get to sit down and chat in the end!!

supper club fruit and veg order

 

The 5lb Ogwen River salmon...or Nessie as it was named...only an hour out of the water...can't get fresher than that!!

 

three types of beetroot for the beetroot salsa...white, orange and the most widely recognised purple

 

poor Sean who got lumbered with the job of descaling, gutting and filleting Nessie...he'd never done a salmon before and he did a fab job!! Nessie became a delicious salmon ceviche

 

some of our guests enjoying their starters

more guests with their Mezze platter and flat breads

plating chick pea and Okra Tagines...predictably I forgot to take pics of the lamb tagine and the Tabbouleh

 

blackcurrant and cassis trifles, with sugared blackcurrants to decorate

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latest suppers…

Another lovely night last night…..blackcurrant cassis trifle to die for….great dinner guests…even the rain stopped for a while…review to come soon

Roll on next Saturday when we will return to a more traditional menu with a range of British favourites…fresh Ogwen river salmon Wellington, macerated summer fruit, summer pudding and the best of Welsh cheeses…to save your space drop me a line ASAP xxx

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