Tag Archives: Derimon

Out with the old and in with the new: a seasonal solstice supper

the end of the night...this time lots of food pics, but no people!!!

Now that midsummer is upon us and half the year is already gone, its time to bid farewell to some of my favourite early produce. Asparagus, which only pays a fleeting visit, sadly finished cropping this week and it seems the strawberries at Moelyci have almost finished too. I’m sure elsewhere they will continue for a while yet but I’m glad I have used and preserved plenty. But before I start to pine for these wonderful summer treasures, it’s a happy hello to all the rest of the joys of June. Redcurrants are plentiful in the fruit fields of Moelyci and in my garden at home; elder flowers are still with us and a new batch of black currants are on their way. I have been out collecting plenty of the elder flowers this week for cordial, champagne and to use in the dessert I made for supper club.

I also paid visits to my three favourite vegetable suppliers: Pippa and John who give me my weekly veg box currently have an abundance of beetroot, tender courgettes, sweet young carrots, new potatoes, lettuce, a variety of chard, basil; Paul at Moelyci who has all that wonderful fruit in the market garden shop as well as lettuces ready for harvesting and lots of fresh parsley (something I don’t have much luck with) and Hootons farm shop, which is where I’ve got my asparagus, and now they also have broad beans too.   All those vegetables have kept me busy chutneying, and I did have a good few jars of spiced courgette and beetroot relish until I sold it all on Sunday, but that’s another story! I also finally got round to bottling all the liqueurs that have lurked in the back of my cupboard since the beginning of March (Creme de Cassis, raspberry vodka, loganberry vodka and sloe gin) as I wanted to crack open the Cassis for supper club.

Supper club was also the perfect opportunity to try out my new toy. Inspired by Dave’s smoking exploits at Derimon I ordered myself a little Cameron’s stove top smoker; they aren’t cheap at £43 a go for a small one, but my goodness it was worth it. It came with two small tubs of smoking chips (Alder and Hickory) and a big bag of oak.

my new smoker

I decided to try salmon as a  first attempt and so following the instructions, and using Alder chips as suggested, I set up the smoker. Twenty five minutes later I gently slid back the lid to reveal a lightly cooked, delicately and perfectly smoked piece of salmon. It was remarkably simple, yet pleasingly effective. Once it had cooled I gently pulled the salmon apart, tossing it with some new potatoes and salad, olive oil and a dollop of horseradish cream. This then formed part of my pick nick to take to the teens sports day on Saturday afternoon so I could test it out on friends . The unanimous verdict was that it was absolutely gorgeous!

doing its thing

perfect hot smoked salmon

There was a full house at supper club this weekend, which saw us celebrating the solstice or midsummer, a birthday dinner, an anniversary, and a welcome visit from two regulars and a new friend. It was moderately boisterous and it was nice to see people relaxed enough to come and chat in the kitchen. The menu for the evening of course celebrated the best of the season

Prosecco with Cassis (does that make it a Kir Royale, or a Prosecco Kir or just plain Kir?) with ricotta, parma ham, basil and balsamic vinegar topped bruschetta

The we said goodbye to the asparagus in style with mini asparagus and parmesan souffle tarts ( a variation on my souffle-gratin recipe) served with beetroot relish and carrots and courgette slaw

tarts ready to bakeplating tarts on the bench in the kitchen

For main it was hot smoked salmon with pan-fried new potatoes, baby broad beans, asparagus and chard and topped with horseradish cream. I collected the salmon bright and early from Mermaid seafood in Llandudno (sadly our only decent fishmongers locally) who stock a fantastic array of local and sustainable fish. The fillets were a really good size, unlike those you might get in the supermarket. I cannot  emphasise how much better it is to buy fish and meat from a specialist: It is fresher, often local and the portions are so much bigger. I don’t think there is much difference in price bu if buying on the high street is more expensive…well you certainly get more for your money!

All I did was season the salmon with salt and pepper and squeeze over some lime juice. For the horseradish cream I used a tub of creme fraiche which I seasoned with salt and pepper and a pinch of cayenne then stirred in enough horseradish to taste, but not so it is overpowering. I used English Provender horseradish which was excellent.

Ideally, if I’d had the finances, I would have bought the large smoker, but i had no idea how accommodating the small one would be. In the end I was only able to fit three salmon fillets in it at a time, so had to cook in four batches, but I gave myself plenty of time and kept the salmon warm in the bottom of the oven. It was a simple dish; but in this case less was definitely more!

The elder flowers heads were wrapped in muslin and chucked in to heat with milk and cream, to impart a delicate flowery taste to another simple, but effective dish; Elderflower pannacotta. The light creaminess complimented the sweet sharpness of a strawberry and red currant coulis and fresh berries. I think I even saw one person rubbing his finger across the plate to get every last flavourful bit of coulis.

As ever we completed the meal with local Welsh cheeses, crackers and coffee. This time we included two hard but mild goats cheeses from Y Cwt Caws, our usual smoked brie from Derimon, a blue Perl Las from Caws Cenarth in Cardigan and we were lucky enough to be asked to sample a new Brie from Rhyd y Delyn, which was delicious although needed to be slightly riper we all thought.

A few lovely comments about the night, the first from Paola (of Dr Zigs Dragon Bubbles…if you ever need seriously GIANT bubbles these are the guys to call!)

“Just had the most awesome scrummy yummy tastiest glorious omgoodnes meal EVER at Moel Faban secret supper club. And met the most wonderful people! And we Bubbled too!! This is one of those things that just must be experienced to be believed – and really should be on everyone’s bucket list”

and from Anouska whose birthday it was…

“I’ve been eating out with Non for the last ten years and she usually complains about something. This is the first time I have ever heard her say that everything was delicious”

Thanks everyone it was a great night xxx

Leave a comment

Filed under British food, Foraging for fruit, home cooking, local produce, secret supper, Sources and suppliers, sustainable fish, Uncategorized, underground restaurant, welsh cheese

The ’30 mile radius’ and a visit to Derimon smokery

All kinds of conversations spring up at supper club. As I settle down with a nice glass of wine post pudding I find myself chatting away to  my guests about all sorts of things. Obviously they ask about the origins and inspiration for the supper club but they are equally interested in my suppliers, the food on the menu and the ’30 mile radius’ ethos I try to stick to. It’s a lovely time for everyone to get to know each other and for me to explain my reasons for doing this (aside from my love of food and entertaining).Popularity for Moel Faban has certainly grown and I think it is partly to do with my support for local producers and as I explained at our last supper club, I’m keen to show local people that they can get pretty much anything they want on their own doorstep.

Ok, fair enough it takes a bit of extra time and imagination, a change in our conditioned way of thinking, to return to using seasonal, local produce. One guest talked long and heatedly about how Asda buy their chickens from Thailand claiming that “it just doesn’t make sense, surely there’s enough chickens here?”. Its true, it can be quite difficult  to find British produce in our local supermarkets and I often find myself asking assistants what they have from the UK. I wonder why that is?

I guess it’s about cost: keeping it cheap, but why does buying British mean its twice the price? I don’t think it does and I find myself quite bemused at how it can possibly be cheaper to fly things in from South Africa, or Spain or wherever than to buy produce locally or at least from UK farmers. I think we been convinced by the big supermarkets not to ask questions, to shop like automatons, not to focus on the profit they make for their shareholders and to just accept what they put on the shelves. Weve become lazy, thinking we are far too busy to go to small shops, producers and butchers etc. A few years ago I would probably have said the same thing, but then I saw the light!

These days I only buy basics in the supermarket and some things you really can’t get in this country (mostly bananas, lemons and oranges!). I also try to make some time to get to know my suppliers visiting them at their own place (and not just the produce market), to see what they are up to. Last week I took a trip to visit Dave, owner of Derimon, the only smokery on Anglesey and the one featured in ‘The Hairy Bikers Tour of Anglesey’, who was kind enough to show me around, explaining the process of smoking, before I stopped off at the shop to buy some stuff for supper club.

I arrived as he was returning from an eel fishing trip. We chatted and I watched as he unloaded his slippery cargo, tipping them into their storage tank, while another tank of large and rather angry-looking lobsters scuttled around at my side (he sells these too. I was very tempted but at £10 a pound I thought it was a bit OTT for a midweek supper).

angry lobsters

We headed into smoke house where Dave explained the process of brining, cold smoking (to preserve) and then hot smoking to cook. Without this laborious process the produce would just go off. When they began, the fires which create the smoke were all inside the main building but the heat generated made it impossible to work, so they had the inspired idea of building two outside fire boxes created which have proved very effective.

the first smoker at Derimon: the fires made the building so hot it was impossible to work

 

the outdoor fire-box with oak chippings. Smoke is fed through a pipe into the smokers inside

 

Smoking mussels

Dave smokes all kinds of stuff, from mussels and mackerel and the eels he catches to chicken, paprika, cheese and butter, in fact I’m sure he would have a go at smoking most things! Their smoked brie is a massive success at supper club, although I’ve never quite got my head round how you smoke butter!

smoked cheese

 

Mackerel

Once we finished our trip around the smoke room I headed into the shop to stock up on goodies for supper club. The building which houses the shop was the original smokery for the house, but once business expanded it was too small so they extended to the rear. These days Dave’s award-winning range of products can be found at a number of markets across the local area, in selected shops, restaurants, at Hootons farm shop and online here.

Dave in the Derimon shop. I bought smoked Welsh butter, smoked Brie, Smoked paprika and bacon.

 

the dairy has won many awards

Derimon can be found just outside City Dulas in Anglesey. It’s not easy to locate but there are signs! They are open 9.30 til 4.30 Monday to Friday and 9.30 til 5 on Saturday. For more information call 01248 410536 or email derimon_smokery@btconnect.com. The main house is also run as a bed and breakfast. The perfect place to stay when visiting Anglesey and set in stunning surroundings.

The entrance to the B&B and smokery, just beautiful!

Leave a comment

Filed under British food, local produce, Sources and suppliers, Uncategorized

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

Leave a comment

Filed under home cooking, local produce, Organic meat, secret supper, Sources and suppliers, Uncategorized, underground restaurant

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

1 Comment

Filed under home cooking, local produce, Organic meat, secret supper, Sources and suppliers, Uncategorized, underground restaurant