Category Archives: underground restaurant

Branding, Guardian review’s and new supper club dates

January is supposed to be a slow quiet month. It arrives with false promise, new years resolutions swiftly broken as the month creeps through endless dark nights, rain and gloom. Like many I often feel lethargic and slightly despondent, lacking in vitamin D gained from a bit of natural sunshine. This year its different. The new year arrived with more of an explosion than I expected. Instead of drooping about the house I felt renewed, invigorated and ready for action. New year, new me. I had a feeling life was going to be different from now on, and I soon discovered I wasn’t wrong.

Moel Faban

Bursting with excitement I launched my ‘new look’. A fresh logo, new pictures and design graced my blog and Facebook page and received an enthusiastic response from readers. I’d procrastinated over branding and identity for a long time. Being a picky perfectionist i’m hard to please but wonderful artist and designer Nina Farrell at &Agency (who was also Felicity Cloakes art director at Penguin books) took up the gauntlet. She did so admirably really capturing the essence of ME! She merged colours that reflected my Welsh rural life, images that showed my love of local produce and foraged food, with a thoroughly modern, yet also kind of vintage logo.

A warm feeling of contentment crept through me with wedding and private dinner bookings rolling in, interesting discussions and plans for future supper clubs and just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I received a text from my neighbour saying

“Den, CONGRATS on being in the Guardian mag under 5 of best supper clubs Xx”

I read the text wondering what the hell she was on about. I called her back. Are you serious? I asked. I searched on-line and there it was…how about that to start the year?!!!!

Guardian article on starting a supper club and top 5 supper clubs in the UK

Guardian article on starting a supper club and top 5 supper clubs in the UK

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As January rolled into February life increased its pace. As I mentioned January and February are traditionally lean months in the catering world, no festivals, no weddings and very few parties, but this article kickstarted something. I suddenly found myself inundated with bookings for supper clubs I didn’t yet know I was going to hold, people wishing to collaborate, offering venues and wanting to help. It was overwhelming. My landlord gave me permission to run little suppers in my new house.

The article was a metaphorical kick up the jacksy. I knew I wanted to work with more people, engage more with the local community, use more interesting spaces. Last year I wanted to branch out but plans had to be put on the back burner…now i’m off into the unknown…time to be brave!

And so to dates….there is plenty going on this year and on Friday the first of those events came to life.  A mini supper for six VERY different people in my new house.  I was nervous as hell. I felt like a new supper club host doing it all for the first time. All those old fears of will it work? Will people like my house, feel comfortable, get on with each other!

I don’t know why I worried so much, everyone got on well, conversation flowed as did the wine and cocktails. What better way to christen the new house and enjoy Valentines evening than to have four supper club regulars and two ‘virgins’ (one of whom I have known for over 20 years…ever since I made Wales my home).

The evening finished relatively early (about 10pm which is a first) as people went off to other events or battled their way home through the foul weather, but that didn’t matter…it was lovely. Rosanna had no idea where her boyfriend was taking her for Valentines night, she looked terrified when she arrived  (she’s quite a shy person)….I looked at her and said “he didn’t tell you did he?”

“No” she replied “and if it was anyone other than you i’d have run away”

At the end I suggested it was  a romantic thing to do to. She agreed claiming it was probably was the most romantic thing he had ever done! Aahhh, how sweet!…just because I have no romance in my life right now, doesn’t mean I can’t bring it to others 🙂

Supper club table all ready to go

Supper club table all ready to go…sorry about the poor quality, I only managed to get a few quick pics on my phone!

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The table decorated with rose petals, hearts and a menu with cupid wings

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White onion soup with cider and thyme, seared scallops and parsley-garlic puree

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A full table of happy guests

AND SO ON TO THE NEXT EVENTS:…

8TH MARCH……pop-up supper club at Cafe Seren, Bethesda. The aim is to use local spaces when they are generally not in use. Cafe Seren is open during the day and hopefully this will be the beginning of a regular collaboration.

The evening features live acoustic music from John Lawrence and Jaci Williams…check out John and Jaci’s collaborations here. The menu will have a wild woodland theme…I saw John and Jaci play recently and they were fantastic!! ..(limited spaces so get in quick!! We have room for 24 and we are HALF FULL ALREADY)

21ST MARCH……Equinox Bal and French Feast (pop-up cafe). Another live music and food event this time at Mynydd Llandegai Community Hall and with folk band Mouton  …this is a ticketed event and prices are £11 in advance with food (purchased from Wegottickets here) or £5 on the door without food.

Feast menu: Two courses to include either…

Boeuf bourguinon or beetroot bourguignon with roast new potatoes and a mixed leaf salad with roasted nuts and seeds (meat or vegetarian/vegan)

Traditional French crepes with orange and lemon syrup and cream

29TH MARCH…..Celebrate Earth Hour with a candlelit supper at Ty Bryn Adda; the old laundry and drying house on The Vaynol Estate, Bangor.  This is a collaboration with the owners Kim and Martin who run personal coaching workshops, but would like to see the space used for some different events. She is also a supper club fan!…. To get an idea of what the venue is like watch this video on Youtube or check out their website

This is a rare opportunity to spend time in a very unique space. There are also three rooms available in the house and bed and breakfast can be booked by those wishing to make a weekend of it (this can be discussed directly with Kim). More details regarding the menu will follow shortly.

5TH APRIL….pop-up event (details will be confirmed shortly)

26TH APRIL……mini supper club (spaces for 6 to 8 people)

18TH MAY…..mini Sunday lunch (spaces for 6 to 8 people)

To find out more about any of these events please email me on moelfabansuppers@gmail.com, send me a message on Facebook, Twitter or give me a call on 07775828769

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Filed under home cooking, in the press, North Wales restaurants, reviews, secret supper, underground restaurant, Welsh food

From the Sea: a salty seafood pop-up

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To close the inaugural Menai Seafood Festival a very special pop-up charity supper took place. Inevitably salt and sea were its principal themes; the salt provided by Halen Mon (Welsh sea salt specialists) and every course focusing on a different type of seafood, provided by local fish monger Matt White and with local farmed sea bass from Anglesey Aquaculture.

Now I get little opportunity to attend supper club’s or pop-ups as generally there are none locally, and my forays out of Wales don’t always coincide with supper club dates or events elsewhere. This, as you can imagine was a massive treat for me! I also took my mum along to say thank you for looking after the kids over the holidays and I think she was just about as excited as I was. She’d seen the menu online thinking how delicious it looked before I told her I’d booked for us both. It wasn’t a  cheap night, but as it transpired it was the perfect, decadent end to a busy day.

Jess Leah-Wilson, glamorous owner of Shop Cwtch hosted the event. Her shop, transformed into a stylish intimate dining room for the evening, has a lovely vibe by day, and is the sort of place where you just want to buy everything (during the festival I think my Mum did!). She has great taste, an eye for detail and scatters the shop with so many beautiful things that it was destined to make the perfect backdrop for this dinner. The food, a seven course tasting menu with paired wine, cocktails and Prosecco was designed and cooked by Eamon Fullalove (yep, that IS his real name) with the help of three young aspiring chefs; my assistant chef Mark Burns helped out along with Elfed Roberts and Dion Hughes from The Oyster Catcher Restaurant, where Eamon is the motivational chef and a tutor. Waitressing and helping introduce the food and wine was Nia Williams, also from The Oyster Catcher. All proceeds from the event were donated to Hope House children’s hospices who give specialist nursing care and support to life-limited children, young people and young adults from Shropshire, Cheshire, North and Mid Wales.

Eamon’s background is impressive. Former head chef at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, he has years of high-end restaurant experience and this supper was the perfect platform for his skills. It offered the young chefs an opportunity to experience food preparation in a very different environment (i.e. in an open air kitchen outside the shop in Menai Bridge). They survived the onslaught of questions from relentlessly curious passers-by and later drunken hangers-on slumped over the kitchen wanting to taste the food!

I cannot make a single gripe about the evening, friendly, informal, great conversation, stunning food. At the beginning of each course Eamon introduced the dish and the matched wine. By the end of the meal we’d tasted many incarnations of Halen Mon salt…from  smoked water used to cook the puy lentils, spiced salt in the bisque,  plain sea salt to cure the salmon and vanilla salt to crust the glasses for the watermelon margarita….as Eamon introduced dessert he simply said “there’s no need to gild a lily” before bringing in warm chocolate brownie’s, vanilla ice cream with salted caramel sauce. He was right, it needed nothing more. Simple pleasures.

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mackerel cured with salted limes, pomegranate and cress

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Perfect scallops, puy lentils cooked with smoked water and unsmoked bacon to top…”Chefs hate unsmoked bacon, but here the smoke is in the lentils”….one of my favourite dishes of the night

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Happy guests

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four different salts…spiced, vanilla, plain and smoked. We were invited to use them to season our own seabass…which had not been seasoned at all. In fact I didn’t need anything extra, the samphire brought enough saltiness to the dish along with the olive tapenade. The fennel, cooked until it broke down, is referred to as Trufillo (to be like truffle) in Italy. There is no alternative translation in English so Eamon told us…its just fennel mush….apart from dessert this was my other favourite dish of the evening

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“no need to gild a lily”

We finally staggered off home at almost midnight….with a glass of wine matched to every course, a couple of Margareta’s and two glasses of Prosecco I almost carried my mother home. I smiled to myself as I escorted her to bed with a glass of water that this was a great night and one to remember.

Matched wines were sourced from Llyn Wines and were as follows:

  • Di Maria Prosecco
  • McPherson Verdelho
  • Yalumba dry white
  • Cher et Tendre Vouvray sec
  • Torre de Menagem Vinho Verde
  • Gavi La Battistina
  • Bacalhoa Moscatel de Setubal

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Filed under British food, eating out, Food festival, in the press, local produce, photography, seasonal food, secret supper, sustainable fish, underground restaurant, Welsh food

An Indian supper and recipe for Cardamom, orange and cinnamon custard tart

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Its been a while since we’ve held a supper club. For one reason or another I had to cancel those scheduled for October through to January (some due to low numbers but also due to weddings, festivals and pop-up events going on). I suppose in a way a change is as good as a rest. We needed a little break. It’s hard running a supper club in a family home and when at Christmas we transformed our living room back to normal the kids breathed a sigh of relief at having their ‘home back’.

It also gave us the opportunity to have a look at feedback from earlier guests. We’ve changed and experimented quite a bit since 2009, starting out with single tables, increasing our capacity to accommodate a dozen, moving to a more communal and interactive approach with one large table, increasing prices and taking on extra staff.

Comments such as …“the food is divine” are thankfully unanimous and overall we’ve had few criticisms. One thing people do say is that

“there is just too much food….I would prefer to pay less and have a smaller amount to eat”

or “I would come, but dates don’t coincide and the cost makes it prohibitive”

Clearly prices became an issue as well as unpredictable dates and the amount of food being served. So after our little break we relaunched; with a pared down menu of 3 courses plus coffee, a lower price of £25 a head, a smaller group of people and a regular last Saturday of the month slot. Clearly this has paid off. Our first supper of the year drew a full house, and we came back relaxed, calm and raring to go.

What better way to ward off the February blues than a sumptuous Indian supper. It was a particularly cold day beginning with a fine white covering of snow on the ground. I stoked up the wood burning stove and worried as flakes continued to flutter through the air throughout the day, mostly fine, but turning to swirling flurries as the day wore on and the time grew closer for our guests to arrive.

I heard my ten-year old shout from the lounge upstairs “are you looking for supper club cos it’s here” and six out of breath people (two worryingly clutching asthma inhalers and two in skyscraper heals) stumbled into the house.  Usually on my emails I tell people to beware of the uphill walk to my house…this time I’d forgotten, I presumed everyone knew where I was by now, clearly not!

It turned out that one of the women whose ankles I almost wrecked was Welsh up and coming pop-singer Sarah Wynn who has supported the likes of Emma Bunton, Liberty X, Blazin Squad and Bill Wyman.  The crowd also included street food vendors Providero who brought me a lovely present of some of their coffee (we had it for breakfast the next morning and it was truly delicious!).

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My menu

Spring onion and coriander bhajis

Vegetarian samosas

Yogurt, mint and cucumber raitha, tamarind and mint chutney, sweet and sour tomato relish and onion, coriander and lime salad

Parsi lamb curry

White bean and curry leaf with coconut

Maharashtran rice

Orange and cinnamon tart with a crisp cardamom base

Almond/pistachio ice cream

blackberry and rose coulis

Coffee / chai and cardamom chilli chocolate truffles

With seasonal local produce on the low side I did the best I could. U used parsley and mint from a friends polytunnel, onions from a local farm. Welsh butter (Calon Wen), yogurt (Rachel’s Dairy) and cream in my dessert and of course Welsh lamb for the curry.

I tinkered with a Anjum Anand recipe for Maharashtran rice as it went so well with the Parsi curry. I’m afraid I I’m sworn to secrecy over the Parsi curry recipe. The recipe came from Shazneen a band manager and festival organiser in India, she spent six months in the UK working with the Green Man festival team (which is how we became friends) and before heading back home came to stay in Wales for a week. The curry is a traditional dish made according to her mothers special recipe. She graciously cooked curry for us all then shared the recipe telling me there was NO WAY I was allowed to blog it. Don’t worry Shaz, your secret is safe with me!

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crispy vegetable samosa

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spring onion and herb bhajis with the mint and cucumber raitha

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sweet and sour tomato relish, onion, coriander and lime, yogurt with mint and cucumber and tamarind and mint

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Vegetarian option: Maharashtran rice, white bean and curry leaf with coconut and a red onion, coriander and lime salad

As for dessert, I’d intended to make a rhubarb and rose tart, with a cardamom pastry but clearly February is too early for even forced rhubarb in Wales so I made a last-minute change, which became a fab accidental recipe hit.

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Pastry flecked with cardamom

Orange and cinnamon tart with a crisp cardamom base:

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180 degrees C

To make a 12-inch tart case you will need:-

250g organic plain flour, Shipton Mill is the best

50g icing sugar, sifted

125 g Calon Wen butter

zest of a small lemon

8 cardamom pods crushed and the seeds ground well in a pestle and mortar

1 large free-range egg, beaten

small drop of milk

Sieve the flour into a bowl and cut the cubes of butter into it. Sieve the icing sugar over the top then rub the butter into the flour and sugar until you end up with a fine, crumbly mixture. Add the lemon zest and cardamom seeds.Add the egg and a small splash of milk and gently work it all together until you have a ball of dough. Don’t over handle it, simply flour it lightly and wrap it in clingfilm. Put into the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.Roll out to fit into a loose bottomed tart tin. Cover with a piece of baking paper and fill the tart case with baking beans. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the case from the oven and take out the baking paper and beans before returning to the oven for another 10 minutes so the base can firm up; it needs to set properly, just beginning to turn light brown so that the filling does not soak in.
For the custard filling:
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 pint single cream
4oz caster sugar
rind and juice of 1 orange
quarter of a teaspoon cinnamonPut the single cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan to heat over a lowish gas. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, cornflour and caster sugar. Add the orange rind and juice and cinnamon. as the cream comes up to the boil remove from the heat and pour over the egg mixture whisking continuously. Return the mixture to a clean pan and heat gently stirring all the time until it begins to thicken slightly.

Rest the tart tin on a baking tray (just in case it leaks) and pour the mixture into the case. Return to the oven where it needs to bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is puffy and slightly risen in the centre and beginning to turn a lovely golden brown.

Serve with fresh fruit, a coulis and some ice cream

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Roaring fire in the inglenook, table set for dinner…that’s our supper club 🙂

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Filed under baking, cakes & Baking, home cooking, Indian cooking, living room restaurant, Recipes, secret supper, Uncategorized, underground restaurant

Next event: Pop-up 1930’s Berlin dinner and dance

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Filed under event catering, Pop-up cafe, secret supper, Uncategorized, underground restaurant

Menu for Saturday 10th November Vegetarian Italian supper club

The day will begin with our monthly pop-up cafe at Ogwen Produce Market, Bethesda. This month we take up residence in the Jerusalem chapel so will have a warm and dry cafe space with tables, plus lots of produce and crafts to buy for Christmas. we will serve our usual breakfasts…local bacon or sausage baps, BLT’s and hot seasonal soups…come and pay us a visit and support your local producers!

We also still have spaces for our vegetarian Italian dinner next weekend (Saturday 10th November)….the menu is as follows…

Tomato & basil and tapenade bruschetta & Rossini cocktails

Pumpkin and crispy sage risotto

Chargrilled vegetables with caper and anchovies (for pescatarians)
Baked spinach with cream
Caponata
Mixed winter leaves

With CiabattaZabaglione ice cream & biscotti

To finish…coffee and chocolate salami

If you would like to join us at the table please drop me an email moelfabansuppers@gmail.com or give me a call on 07775 828769

** If bookings remain on the low side the evening will not take place, so please let me know by Thursday if you wish to attend! Thank you xx

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My Global Feast dish: Apple and cinnamon tart with bara brith ice-cream and Welsh Penderyn whisky

It’s rather remiss of me not to have posted this recipe yet. The glitz and excitement of Global Feast, the Olympics and Paralympics have already faded as Autumn kicks us up the backside with its sudden chill and yet more rain.

So what better to refresh the memory than a recipe that transcends that moment, staying with us well into the chillier months of the year. It is aptly seasonal, warming and British, but also light and full of the exotic spices that remind me of that hot and heady night back at the beginning of the Olympic celebrations.

Sponsored by Penderyn Welsh whisky the dish was accompanied by a shot of their Madeira finished single malt. Whisky isn’t always my drink of choice, but this is to die for! Smoother than some whiskies and with the toffee and honey undertones, this is definitely my kind of whisky! So nice was it that I kept making people try it (even though it was only 10 am!!), most claimed it was too early for whisky, but Kerstin (msmarmitelover) happily joined me for a taster.

I’m no going to pass over the recipe for everything I served on the night. A simple slice of apple and cinnamon tart, a bit of ice cream and some salted caramel sauce is more than enough to satiate the sweetest tooth and topped off with a shot of that damn fine whisky the dish is complete.

For one loaf of Bara Brith….of which you will need about 100g

200ml Strong Cold Clipper English Breakfast tea

50ml of Penderyn whisky

175g mixed fruit

200g brown sugar

425g Doves Farm self-raising flour

2 beaten eggs

A large teaspoon mixed spice (I used Steenbergs. Their spices are probably the best I’ve ever used!)

Soak the fruit in tea and whisky for at least an hour.

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl then put into a 1 litre greased, lined loaf tin. Bake for about an hour and a half gas mark 5/150 degrees C

For the ice cream:

1 litre double cream

1.2 litres single cream

8 egg yolks

200g caster sugar

3 vanilla pods split lengthways

Put the cream in a large heavy bottomed pan and heat gently. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pods out with a sharp knife and add to the pan along with the pods. Heat until it just starts to come up to boiling point then remove from the heat and allow to infuse.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl for about 5 to 10 minutes until pale and thick.

Remove the vanilla pods from the cream and pour a little of the cream on to the eggs. Whisk slowly to mix in then continue adding the cream until it is all combined.

Return the pan to the heat and cook slowly stirring constantly until thickened. Once it has thickened pour the mixture into a large cold bowl. It needs to cool quickly to stop the egg over cooking and to speed up this process you can also stand the bowl in a washing up bowl full of cold water or ice. When cold transfer to an ice cream machine and churn until almost frozen.

Once the ice cream starts to thicken crumble in about 100g of cooled bara brith, plus an extra shot of whisky (if required). Serve with the apple and cinnamon tart.

Vanilla salted caramel sauce: ….for decorating the dish really…

150g unsalted butter

400g caster sugar

100g golden syrup

250ml double cream

A couple of pinches of Halen Mon Vanilla Salt

Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a heavy based saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes.

Add the cream and vanilla salt and give it a quick stir. Test to see if it needs more salt. Cook for another minute or so and then remove from the heat and transfer to a jug.

Swirl some of the sauce on a plate and top with a slice of apple and cinnamon tart and a scoop of ice-cream

Apple and cinnamon tart:

Now, this isn’t really a Welsh recipe, but it does reflect my Kentish origins. I grew up in the garden of England before decamping to Wales so I suppose in a way i’m fusing food from my English upbringing with the Welsh produce that influences my cooking now. This recipe is really a variation on Canterbury tart, very traditional down that way!

400g sweet short crust pastry (200g plain flour, pinch of salt, 100g butter, 60g caster sugar, 1 egg yolk, iced water: Mix the flour and butter together, add sugar when the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and add egg yolk and a couple of tables spoons iced water. Mix with a flat knife until it forms into a ball. Rest for about half an hour then roll out to fit a 9 to 10 inch tart tin. Bake blind for about 15 mins gas mark 6/200 degrees C. Remove from the oven and take out the baking paper and beans then return for a further 5 minutes.)

6 or 7 good-sized dessert apples (Discovery & Worcester Pearmain are early UK varieties although the apple harvest isn’t so good this year)

2 lemons (finely grated zest and juice)

2oog caster sugar

50g butter

125ml double cream

3 large eggs

40g demerara sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus 1 extra)

Coarsely grate the apple into a large bowl and mix with lemon zest and juice.

In a separate bowl beat the eggs and caster sugar together for a couple of minutes. Add the melted butter, cream and apple mixture and a couple of pinches of cinnamon.

Carefully fill the pre baked pastry case (see above) with the mixture.

Mix the Demerara sugar and extra cinnamon and sprinkle it on the top of the tart. Bake in the oven gas mark 6/200 degrees C for about 40 minutes (maybe less) until the apple looks soft and the top is golden brown and set.

All photo’s courtesy of Kate Withstandley freelance photographer

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Filed under baking, British food, cakes & Baking, event catering, home cooking, local produce, Pop-up cafe, Recipes, Uncategorized, underground restaurant

I’m back! Plus some new dates

I feel as if I’ve been away forever. After a brief holiday (a lovely family trip around Ireland) I spent one day at home before heading off to Global Feast in London.

I spent the week planning, preparing and cooking at what was a hugely rewarding event. I loved it. Met lots of amazing people including other supper club hosts from around the country and generally enjoyed a bit of city life and the buzz around the Olympics.

After this whirlwind I returned home for two days before disappearing once again, this time to Crickhowell and The Green Man festival. This was the most intensive period of cooking of the summer. Up at six thirty every day and not finishing until nine at night. I, plus one helper, prepared, cooked and served four meals a day to the hungry crew and production team for a grand total of fifteen and a half days. In between I got to enjoy the festival plus a few extra days camping before it began.

Now I’m back! Its taking a while to recover so sadly I am cancelling Saturday’s planned supper club. We will restart a bit later in the month. With hindsight I think I was a little over ambitious believing I would have it in me to plan and shop so soon after my return, but I am looking forward to the Autumn and all the exciting jobs and supper clubs I have coming up. I’m already booked to run a couple of school based mentoring sessions and two private dinners, but there is plenty of room for open events. Planned dates so far are….

Sunday 16th September – Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens: Harvest at Moelyci: Preserving the Harvest

I will be running two sessions (morning and afternoon) on jam and chutney making. This will include my own personal tips on how to get the best from the fruit and vegetables we collect, plus practical sessions where I will teach you how to make two of my best-selling preserves. There will be recipes and sheets for you to take home.

These sessions will be fun and interactive and are free but registration is essential. Please register here

Our first two supper clubs will be on….

Friday 28th September – Supper Club – Open to all

Saturday 29th September – Supper Club – Singles night

Possibly we will stick with the Indian Summer theme….a fusion of spices, dishes, incorporating Indian flavours with a Western twist…but this has yet to be confirmed.

Look forward to seeing you soon xx

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Filed under British food, cookery courses, Food festival, Foraging for fruit, home cooking, Indian cooking, living room restaurant, local produce, preserving, Uncategorized, underground restaurant

Olympic opening ceremony and Global Feast

There was a tangible buzz of excitement rippling through East London as I began my Global Feast journey. Despite predictions there was no travel chaos, my trip between Ebbsfleet International and Stratford international was simple and quick (ten minutes from Kent to East London!!) although I was travelling at 10am and it did get busier as the day progressed.

As mentioned in my earlier post, Global Feast is a twenty night dining extravaganza coinciding with the London Olympics. More of a fringe event, it acts as an antidote to the corporate pressures pushed by the Olympic sponsors and instead focuses on the glorious eclecticism of the UK. This country is home to so many nationalities, cuisines, personalities and talents all living cheek by jowl on this small island and each night of Global Feast celebrates these talents and heritage of a different chef or chefs.

Then there is the table where guests seat themselves in a different country and are encouraged to move around to a different continent between courses. Alex Haw’s Worldscape table is an equidistant cylindrical map of the world showing its peaks, troughs and centres of habitation marked out by tiny lights set into the table. It is a perfect work of art and design and I’m only sorry that it wasn’t finished on the night I cooked (its intricacy and problems with machinery meant that completion was delayed).

If Alex was the artist and host for the night, his counterpart Kerstin Rogers (aka msmarmitelover) was the talented curator and coordinator of food. She is a small explosion of a woman. Loud, bold, direct and disconcertingly (for some) forthright. She can be rude and blunt but working with her on this project, up close and personal, gave me an insight into how she makes big things happen and how open, generous, supportive and good fun she is. I had a fantastic time! Clearly staging such an event is highly challenging and stressful and there were moments of near disaster (when we lost power to the fryers; as I almost had a flap because my first batch of gingerbread went wrong, no numbers on the cooker dial meant I turned it down instead of up!!; and it was such a hot day that everything kept melting, but no one lost their head and with help of the ‘backstage team’ (my unsung hero’s) Colin (from lovefood), Kiren (highly accomplished chef from The Bladebone Inn) and Linn (guest chef for Northern European night but helping out in between) it all came together. In Kiren’s words that’s why everyone loves British chefs, they just get on with it.

So here it is, in fabulous Technicolor pictures (courtesy of Kate Withstandley art blogger and my official photographer for the evening…as of course I was too busy!)

Starter of blue cheese salad with mixed leaves, flowers, pickled radish, pickled sour cherries and toasted oats by Aoife Behan of Jelly&gin, my co-chef for the nights

The menu, map napkins and beautiful plates with a relief of London

waitresses at our field kitchen and Col from lovefood

plating main course

fish (sustainable pollack in beer batter) with crispy chips sprinkled with truffle salt, French peas (cooked in white wine) and home-made tartar sauce cooked by Kerstin as her quintessentially English dish

plating my dessert: Apple and cinnamon tart, salted caramel sauce, Welsh ginger bread

The finished dish, completed with glass of Penderyn Welsh whisky

Kerstin’s world pop’s

My roll call of sponsors and suppliers:

  • Penderyn Whisky. Gorgeous Welsh whisky with a smooth honey flavour that paired beautifully with the spices in my dessert
  • Nantmor Welsh shiitake mushrooms
  • Snowdonia cheese company. Black bomber cheddar
  • The tomato stall. Oak smoked tomatoes
  • Calon Wen butter
  • Shipton Mill Plain flour
  • Halen Mon sea salt and vanilla salt
  • Cotswold Gold white truffle oil
  • Steenbergs organic fairtrade spices
  • Redcurrants from Moelyci environmental centre

Thank you to you all x

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Filed under British food, eating out, event catering, home cooking, Pop-up cafe, Uncategorized, underground restaurant

Global Feast 2012, the opening nights

That table…being built

Well, it’s started. Global Feast 2012 is a huge, ambitious underground culinary event that coincides with the Olympic Games and West African raw, vegan chef Chris Massamba got everything off to a flying start this week. Last night was the turn of the Mediterranean cooks. I would have loved to attend had it not been for the fact I had rather a lot of canapes to prepare!

And here we are today. British food night and my turn to feed the world. Along with Aoife Behan of jelly & gin and Kerstin Rogers (Msmarmite lover herself) we will be serving up the best from our shores.

I’m on pudding duty and will be creating a riot of Welsh tastes…with a bit of Kent (the place where I was born) thrown in for good measure.

I will be serving canapes; oak smoked tomato and Snowdon black bomber and Nantmor shiitake mushroom, with thyme and Cotswold gold white truffle oil. Not forgetting the pastry made with Calon Wen butter, Shipton Mill flour and Halen Mon salt.

Pudding consists of Apple and cinnamon tarts, Welsh gingerbread, Bara brith and Penderyn whisky ice cream and Vanilla salted caramel sauce. All served with a shot of Penderyn Whisky to whom I owe a big thank you for sponsoring my dish. The whisky is just the best!

The table is just amazing, the chefs are too…this event is NOT to be missed. There was a real busy of excitement at the press night on Wednesday and a flurry of lovely write ups following. Roll on tonight!!

my favourite canapes of the night by Anna Hansen of the Modern Pantry

Alex Haw of atmos studios introducing the event and talking about that amazing table

BOOK NOW and don’t miss out. There is something to tempt everyone’s palate.

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Global Feast 2012

When Kerstin Rogers (aka msmarmitelover) emailed me last week to ask how my supper club was doing, were we still up and running? I thought it was just a polite inquiry. The next minute she was asking me if I would be a guest chef at Global Feast 2012’s British food night!

Excited is an understatement. When I took a look at the other contributors ( list at the bottom of those confirmed) many of whom I have followed and admired from the depths of the Welsh mountains, you will get an understanding of just how excited I am and how amazing it will be. I’m brimming with more than a little nervous anticipation of what promises to be a busy, but superb twenty days.

Global Feast 2012 coincides with the Olympics and is the brainchild of Latitudinal Cuisine (started by Alex Haw, whose team at atmos also designed the central table…more on that in a sec!), a collective culinary project bringing people together to create and enjoy great global food and local conversation and curated by Kerstin Rodgers (msmarmite lover from The Underground Restaurant).
Between Wednesday 25th July and Monday 13th August guests will be invited to take a journey into the world of food. They will  travel through the cultures and cuisines of the entire world, tasting a different specialty each night lovingly prepared and cooked by the best local supper club cooks and chefs from the UK. The diverse culture of London and the UK will be there for all to see as will the quality and variety of the British and local produce used to create the dishes.
Lets get it right; this is not a night for the corporate, the glitterati or the feted….this is a night for those with a taste for the underground; those who like something a bit more creative, different, real.  With that in mind you can guarantee this talented group of Londoners (as well as a few of us that do not have a Londoncentric life), proper food lovers, artists and entertainers will be loving the opportunity to create a unique and unforgettable experience. If this isn’t enough in itself, guests will sit at Worldscape – part architectural masterpiece, part art installation-which is apparently the tallest table in the world, made from its contours and designed by atmos.
picture courtsey of atmosstudio

Dinners will take place in the covered courtyard of the Old Town Hall in Stratford (pretty much next door to the Olympic venue) and the schedule is as follows…

18:00 Bar opens
18:30 Welcome cocktail and canapés
19:30 Starter
20:00 Entertainment begins
20:30 Main Course
21:30 Dessert
02:00 Bar closes (4am on Friday/Saturday)

 

I will be cooking Welsh inspired dishes on British food night (Friday 27th July) and will be bringing in as many of my favourite suppliers (and products) as possible…there are so many to choose from!…

These are some of our glorious Welsh producers…but the list is endless….Welsh lamb from my mountain, Welsh black beef …so many growers within a mile of my home…Halen Mon salt are on my doorstep….Welsh cheese (how many varieties?)…we also have the best goats cheese dairy ever!….a smokery (fantastic smoked Brie and paprika)…amazing Welsh grown shiitake mushrooms…so many food orgasms without having to travel more than 20 miles!! Of course these are very Northcentric… but there are many fantastic South Wales producers too….Calon Wen cream and butter, Rachel’s Organics, Perl Wen and Perl Las cheese, Trealy Farm, Caws Cenarth….I could go on forever!! Not all will focus in my dishes, but I’m damn sure I will wedge in as many as I can!

If you wish to come along to any of the evenings (see the website for a full list of events and more information about the project) you can buy the Global Feast tickets by clicking on the link below.

http://www.globalfeast2012.com/#Book/

Those who already make up the all-star parade of guest chefs from the very best supper clubs are as follows….

Arno Maasdorp of the  SaltounSupper club (representing South Africa)

Aoife Behan of My Home supper club and Jelly and Gin (representing Scotland and Ireland)

Moel Faban supper club (representing Wales)

Plus Six Five supper club (representing Singapore)

Sabrina Ghayour supper club (representing Persia)

Uyen Luu of Leluu supper club (representing Vietnam)

Lee Sylvester of Tan Rosie supper club (representing the Caribbean)

Martin Morales of Ceviche restaurant and pop ups (representing Peru)

Carina of Russian Revels supper club (representing Russia)

Chris Massamba of Full House supper club (representing West Africa)

Caroline Hobkinson (representing Poland)

Pistachio Rose (representing Indian desserts)

As a last thought…if anyone would like to comment on or suggest their favourite Welsh dishes and desserts please I would welcome it!

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Filed under British food, eating out, event catering, home cooking, living room restaurant, London Restaurants, Pop-up cafe, Uncategorized, underground restaurant