Category Archives: living room restaurant

Recipe: Beetroot tart tatin

One of the hits of supper club this weekend were the little beetroot tart tatin’s I served as a starter. Beetroot is another of those quintessentially English ingredients that have fallen out of favour, but right now it is in season and if people only knew how delicious beetroot is they would be flocking to buy it.

Its lack of popularity these days has a lot to do with the pickled variety. Horrific memories of jarred beetroot tasting of malt vinegar were enough to put a person off for life, but put these thoughts out of your head and look deeper and you will soon discover that there are so many other ways of preparing and eating beetroot. It has a natural sweetness that makes it versatile in so many dishes and has a long growing season which means it retains its place on the menu almost all year round.

In the summer months it is perfect just scrubbed and grated in a salad, you don’t even need to peel it. It makes a delicious and unusual hummus or cooked in a risotto adding a lovely reddish pink colour. If you desperately want to save it for the late winter/early spring when the season ends then you can preserve it, not in the awful malt vinegar but as a chutney or relish, or for a more exotic dish try making the famous Ukrainian cold soup borscht, topped with a little sour cream.

It makes an equally good hot soup in the winter, topped with plenty of crumbled feta or goats cheese, or you can use it in a cake like you would carrots in carrot cake (check out Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls chocolate beetroot brownies or seek out a recipe for red velvet cake that uses beetroot).

I am a huge tatin fan (it might well be one of my signature dishes!) and as far as i’m concerned anything round or sliceable makes a good tatin topping. Why stick with apple when there are so many other things to try!…I’ve made pear tatin with vanilla salted caramel, potato and cherry tomato tatin and traditional of course traditional apple, but this time beetroot was my ingredient of choice; freshly picked from Pippa and John’s small-holding in Bethel and baked in a case of crisp rough puff pastry (which is much easier and quicker than puff pastry). Served simply with some fresh baby spinach leaves, deliciously creamy goats cheese pearls from Y Cwt Caws and a sweet and sharp apple balsamic vinaigrette. The small tarts made a fantastic and striking starter but you can easily turn it into a larger tatin for a wonderful lunch or supper or supper for friends or family.

Beetroot tart tatin:

For the rough puff pastry I used Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls recipe in everyday…its a good basic recipe;

300g plain flour, pinch of Halen Mon sea salt and 150g cold unsalted Calon Wen butter.

Cut the butter into cubes and toss with the flour and salt until just coated. Add really cold water drop by drop until the mixture comes together into a stiff dough.

Shape into a rectangle and roll out until it’s about and inch thick then fold into three like I have in the picture below, then give it a quarter turn so the seam is on the left…like a book.

Repeat this procedure 5 times and then wrap the pastry in cling film and place it in the fridge to rest for about half an hour.

For the tatin topping:

500g small beetroot, scrubbed and trimmed. No need to peel.

1 tablsepoon olive oil

25g butter

1 tablespoon soft brown sugar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon apple balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190 degrees C. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan or roasting tin, add the beetroot and toss to coat. Add sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper and taste…it may need a little more sugar or vinegar. Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes until tender.

Once cooked remove from the oven and arrange neatly in a large tin….if the beetroot are large they may need chopping in half, or if you are using individual tins like I did, they can be neatly sliced to fit.

Pour over any juices adding a little more balsamic vinegar if desired.

Roll out the pastry and cut a circle slightly larger than the pan (or pans). Place carefully over the pan and tuck in any excess around the sides of the beetroot. Return to the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. Leave to rest in the tin for a couple of minutes and then place a plate over the top of the tin and quickly turn it over. The tatin should come out pretty cleanly. Stand back and admire the results…they always look so effective and have that wow factor…probably why I love them so much!

For the vinaigrette:

1 teaspoon whole grain English mustard

1 tablespoon apple balsamic vinegar

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

chopped spring onion when in season or a small shallot…finely chopped

Mix the ingredients in a clean jam jar and shake well. Trickle over the tatin and serve with some scattered goats cheese pearls, salad leaves or baby spinach leaves

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Filed under baking, British food, home cooking, living room restaurant, local produce, Recipes, secret supper, Sources and suppliers, Uncategorized, welsh cheese

Christmas menu update

The festive period is rapidly approaching and bookings and inquiries are coming in thick and fast for both the December supper clubs, as well as for private Christmas parties in the period between the 5th and 18th December.

If you would like to book your own Christmas do with a difference drop me an email at moelfabansecretsupperclub@live.co.uk or give me a call on 07775 828769. We are offering a location for your party any day within that period and either a gorgeous, seasonal three course lunch or dinner for £21.50 a head or, the full monty (cocktail on arrival and coffee and Welsh cheeses at the end) for the usual £30 a head.

As well as this you also get a choice!!  In a break with the norm we are cooking a slightly fuller menu  from which you can choose when you book…the seasonal menu is as follows;

Starters:

  • Beetroot soup with feta or goats cheese
  • Chicken terrine with home made chutney and sourdough toast
  • Traditional Conwy mussel moules mariniere with bread

Main course:

  • Slow roast pork with braised red cabbage, roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables and gravy
  • Chicken with basil butter and pancetta, potato dauphinoise and ratatouille
  • Wild mushroom and squash risotto with white truffle oil

Dessert:

  • Chocolate brownie with mincemeat ice cream
  • Blackcurrant trifle
  • Seasonal crumble with creme anglaise

I hope there is something there that you find tempting and I look forward to hearing from you. If you think you might want to join us on the 17th there are just a couple of spaces left so don’t delay!!

Denise x

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Conwy Feast and Keralan spiced squash in the press

I’m very excited to announce that I will be cooking at this years Conwy Feast. On Saturday 22nd October ITV weather presenter Sian Lloyd will be hosting  a ‘secret supper’, where chef Jimmy Williams from Signatures restaurant and myself will be preparing and serving a range of dishes in the True Taste kitchen. Starting at 5pm we will cook a selection of simple, but delicious dishes that you can recreate at home to impress your friends and family. Wine expert Morfudd Richards will then lead guests through a guided wine tasting with wine specially chosen to match the food.

Tickets will be available online soon and will cost £5, but be quick as numbers are restricted to 50 to keep the feel of the dinner small and intimate.

On the theme of cooking at home, the North Wales Daily Post recently published my recipe for a seasonal Keralan spiced squash with coconut and beetroot and yogurt raitha. I last cooked this for a vegetarian / vegan dinner back last year and it went down very well so give it a try this autumn.

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December Supper Club’s: A quick update

I’m excited to tell you that in the run up to Christmas Moel Faban Secret Supper club will open everyday for a two period offering a set 3 course lunch with coffee and a full five course dinner in the evenings. Between Monday 5th December and Sunday 18th you have the chance to join us for a lovely freshly cooked meal with a group of  up to twelve friends or colleagues any day of the week. Remember booking is essential!

If you would like the opportunity to attend a supper club, hold a work Christmas dinner here or generally have a lovely time with friends having a pre-Christmas gathering please come and join us, we’d be happy to see you.

Please book via the usual Moel Faban email address or if you’d like to discuss further give me a call on 07775 828769….but don’t hesitate! I an anticipate that demand will be high and it will be a busy two weeks!

Normal supper club’s will be held on Friday 9th December and Saturday 17th December for individuals, couples and small groups of six or less.

Look forward to hearing from you

Denise xx

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Hello i’m back!!…and here’s what’s in store for September and October

Phew!! Its been a whirlwind month at the Green Man festival and it feels somewhat strange being back in my own house and not having to get up at six every morning to cook breakfast lunch and dinner for 50 people every day.

What with the long hours and intermittent internet access I have little time to think about the outside world, living in a self-contained little bubble, where everyone becomes family (albeit a somewhat dysfunctional one at times).   I made a lot of great friends, had a whale of a time but I’m glad to return to the real world.

But now that Autumn is creeping up on us, the kids are going back to school and holiday time is drawing to a close its time to look ahead. With so many exciting things coming up I have no time to feel sad about the end of summer and I really can’t wait for the Autumn and Winter!

Our next scheduled supper club is Saturday 1st October and unfortunately (or fortunately for me) it is already full. But do not fear, there will be plenty of other opportunities to attend.

On Saturday 5th November we are planning a bonfire and fireworks supper club where we will be serving lots of yummy warming food for a cold November, mulled wine, spiced punch, treacle tart and parking topped off with a bonfire and some fireworks to ooh and aah to.

and then Saturday 26th November which will have lots of hearty, wintry dishes

During September look closely and you will also find me at the Ogwen local Produce market (Saturday 10th September and Saturday 8th October) with freshly made jams and chutney’s; I will also be helping out Ellie and Rosie from Salad Club with their food stall at Harvest at Jimmy’s in Oxfordshire (9th – 11th September)  and at Conwy Feast doing a food demo and again with my Jam and Chutney stall (22nd -23rd October) more details to follow.

On 13th September and 22nd November I will be running a seasonal cookery course for  Moelyci Environmental Centre. Contact Naomi in the office for more details.

If none of these dates suit then feel free to call or email to discuss private bookings and bespoke cookery courses.

Look forward to hearing from youor seeing you over the coming months

Denise xxx

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North Wales Daily Post food hero nomination and Welsh blogging awards

I was very excited to find myself nominated as a Local Food Hero in the North Wales Daily post on Tuesday.

It was a lovely piece that made me feel rather proud to have started my little supper club. I still love doing it as much as when I started, which unbelievably will be two years in October. We’ve come a long way since our first dinner. I’ve learnt many things; tried many new recipes, making up many of my own along the way as part of the journey and I’ve met some wonderful people from across Wales and further afield (Belgium springs to mind!) who I would never have met had it not been for these dinners in my living room.

There have been lots of nice articles about us in the press and of course the infamous Britain’s Best Dish appearance, which came about by an ITV researcher reading my blog.

Of course that’s not all, so many other things have sprung out of the experiment: I now sell my own jams and chutney (that have always been so popular at supper club) at the Ogwen local produce market and run a monthly pop-up brunch there, I have an increasing number of requests for private dinners and have bookings to cook for two weddings!

What next you ask? Well on the third of August I’m off to Crickhowell for ten days to cook for a very hungry Green Man festival crew, followed by another 5 day stint after the festival. More on this to follow. This will take me to the end of August when I will take my well-earned holiday!!

In the meantime, for those of you that enjoy reading my blog, have read my reviews or used my recipes, it would be fantastic if you could drop a line to the Welsh blog awards suggesting little old me!

Thanks everyone…keep reading and enjoying my foodie ideas and supper club dinners

Denise x

 

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