Tag Archives: smoked butter

Hooray for a sunny, summery, supper club!

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

serving 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!

 

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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!

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