a sunny spot on the patio
generously donated poppies from our neighbours garden
It was a supper club first…a hot sunny evening that meant we could serve cocktails on the patio! As our guests arrived we greeted them with a sweet and summery Glayva cocktail (1 part Glayva to 3 parts lemonade, some quartered slices of orange, ice and a sprig of mint) served under the shade of cherry tree, surrounded by the heady scent of honeysuckle, mint and thyme. Our guests enjoyed the panoramic view for which we are famous and soaked in the last rays of the sun. Just being able to do this one thing put a massive smile on my face and we hadn’t’ even started serving the food yet!
I really wanted to finish the patio last summer, but due to a lack of finances it didn’t happen; this year we managed it and it really was a pleasure to offer our guests a beautiful spot to become acquainted. So while our guests sipped their cocktails and nibbled on tiny cherry plum tomatoes, goats cheese balls with herbs and olives (from Y Cwt Caws), we put the finishing touches to the food in the kitchen.
The menu had a distinctly summery theme, although I did hedge by bets a little knowing what our Welsh weather can be like.
For starter we served the ever popular smoked mackerel pate, with beetroot and tomato salsa, horseradish cream and a home-made spelt roll. I’ve made this pate several times for supper club and it always hits the spot, but combined with a chilli infused beetroot and tomato salsa, and horseradish cream it reached new heights of pleasure, every mouthful a taste explosion of smoky, creamy, sharp and spicy and just a hint of sweet. I would share the recipe but I’m mean! I’m trying to keep it under wraps in the hope it will go into my much longed for book!!
plating the starters: smoked mackerel pate with beetroot tomato salsa, horseradish cream and a home-made spelt roll
Main course: Beef and ale pie with local new potatoes, asparagus tips and baby broad beans. It should also have had Samphire but I failed dismally in my foraging mission. I found a small amount of Golden Samphire, but not enough to make the dish….But unperturbed I will be avidly following up leads for next time!!
I adapted the pie from Linda Carters Britain’s Best Dish recipe. I used dripping instead of lard in the pastry (this is just beef fat instead of pig fat) to make a crisper crust and it worked very well. My only concern was that the meat was as flavoursome as it could be. I’m not sure if it was the particular ale I used from the Great Orme Brewery, but the filling initially tasted slightly bitter. Because of this I needed to add a little more Demerara sugar than suggested in the recipe, plus I also chucked in a couple of tablespoons of mushroom ketchup, just for the hell of it to see what it was like, and I think it worked perfectly as it added just a little more depth to what was a rich beefy flavour.
Welsh ale used in the pie
Welsh beef and pale ale pie, new potatoes, asparagus tips and baby broad beans served with extra gravy
During the week I’d received an email from one of our guests, requesting something special for their friend’s birthday. We do have lots of birthdays at supper club and usually I try to do something a little special, whether it be an iced flower bowl of sorbet (see my earlier post from last year) or Gemma’s cake topped with ceiling scorching flame thrower style candles, but usually most guests don’t want the fuss. It was nice on this occasion to make a big over the top dessert/gateaux. I’d already decided to use the first strawberries of the season, well who wouldn’t? So all I did was create an enormous strawberry meringue gateaux, topped with whipped amaretto cream and a strawberry, and vodka steeped loganberry coulis. A fairly simple dessert makes for a visually stunning conclusion to a lovely meal; rich, gooey and totally OTT!!
small child, lighter, candles...what would health and safety say!!!!!
singing happy birthday
We still finished with the obligatory coffee and local cheese course, this included the smoked Brie I’d bought at Derimon, some mild Seriol goats cheese from Y Cwt Caws and some Snowdon dairies Caerphilly, with two types of butter: smoked Anglesey and salted Rachel’s dairy and my own sweet caramelised red onion marmalade, but I really think everyone was full enough by then!
I started the evening with a smile and finished it with an even bigger one…no, not because I’d drunk too many Glayva cocktails, just because I’d made new friends, who’d enjoyed good food and good company and left happy, and that made me happy too!