JANUARY SUPPER CLUB

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The supper club has proved to be a lovely idea. The process of deciding the theme, designing the menu, sourcing the products and finding appropriate decorations is such a satisfying thing to do. The theme is key, and helps the other elements to fall into place.

Having Burns night as our first theme went very well. Ninety percent of our guests were French and were fascinated by the idea of celebrating this classic poet. They had all been googling what it entailed and we found ourselves being questioned about haggis and other traditions that are often part of the event.We had decided to embrace beautiful Scottish produce and design a menu around this as inspiration.

It was a pleasure to use such delicious ingredients. The year before last we were lucky enough to run a cookery course with world-renowned chef Mark Greenaway, a passionate patron ofScottish produce and food. He helped to show us the importance of using seasonal produce. It’s the natural moment for that fruit or vegetable to be in its element, it tastes the best it ever will. Paying attention to what is going on around us and respecting the seasons is of utmost importance to Matt as a chef.

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Here is the menu, with lots of beautifulwinter vegetables to brighten up the dishes.

Aperitif
Whisky with marshmallow syrup and roasted marshmallow

Canapés
Whisky-cured gravlax with horseradish cream on toast

Smoked duck and crispy shallot andredcurrant jelly on toast

StarterButter-poached langoustine, scallop, roasted fennel puree, beetroot, baby salad with dill oil

Amuse bouche
Shellfish bisque with parmesan crisp

Main
Filet of venison, winter vegetable tower, greens and roasted bone marrow sauce

Dessert
Chocolate, whisky and orange mousse with crème fraîche and whisky shortbread

Cheese course with Scottish oatcakes

Coffee served with homemade pistachio, whisky and chocolate truffles/vanilla fudge

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Something we have recently become aware of is exactly how much the Frenchlove whisky! Apparently, after China, France is the biggest worldwide consumer of the malt delight. Who knew? 

It was an obvious choice to get whisky into the menu, and we started with the delicious whisky aperitif served with a marshmallow syrup. I’m not a whisky drinker myself, but this was sweet and homely with the toasted marshmallow and reminded me of bonfire night. It went down well and people enjoyed the drama! People were coming back for seconds!

Of course, Matt couldn’t miss the opportunity to cure the salmon in whisky to make his own gravlax. The fish was so tender and succulent, with a tangy kick from the alcohol: it is always a crowd pleaser.

I love being asked for my input with the menus as I make sure that a few of my own favourites are featured. Literally from heaven, this starter was divine. The fennel purée is rich in flavour and texture. It brings a sense of luxury to the dish. To inject some colour, which we feel is very important, beetroot is the best! Such a blast of red to excite the guests! People very much appreciated the interesting flavour combinations that made Matt's food stand out. The presentation was very delicate and people were very happy with the evening ... so far!


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I am afraid the shellfish bisque being on the menu might be my fault too, it’s just scrumptious! Such a lot of the depth comes from having good stocks and consequently good sauces. A beautiful broth made with prawn shells, butter and cream for a touch of decadence and a nice juicy langoustine! I really can’t take any more credit for the food than a small input with the menu. It is all down to Matt’s skill, passion and flare.

One of the delights of having seasons is the variety that awaits you with each change in the weather. Beautiful winter vegetable towers are such a wonderful accompaniment for most meats. They take the dish to the next level, bringing anintense depth of flavour, rich with the different root vegetables coming through with lashings of butter. The venison was cooked over the coals of the wood fire. It melted in the mouth and the whole plate came together with the glossy, concentrated bone marrow sauce. Plating is paramount as there are strong flavoursand bold ingredients that must be balanced together. After all, we need a little room to squeeze in some pudding!

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I kept it small, and we went the English way of dessert followed by cheese. It was interesting for the French guests to have a sweet in the middle of two savourycourses: I think they think we are a little bit crazy! But I love having the cheeseboard left on the table to keep coming back to,Maybe this is one of my downfalls! The Scottish oatcakes as accompaniments looked pretty and rounded off the meal with a final flurry of Scottishness. I decided to spoil our guests with some cheddar on the cheeseboard. Perhaps predictably, they all preferred the French cheese and we had to agree to disagree. In my book, cheddar is outstanding!


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One of our generous guests, a native Scot, revelled in an impressive delivery of a poem from Robert Burns. What a wonderful end to our first supper club!

The fires were roaring and the wine flowing. Pots of coffee to spark a last blast of energy as the guests, determined not to be beaten, tasted the whisky pistachio truffles and home-made fudge. A final farewell at 4 am sent us to bed with a smile on our faces!

Thank you to our friends, new and old, for their support!

A happy guest
‘I was lucky enough to be there and I have to say that the food was fantastic and the ambiance and the theme were absolutely spot ON. One of the best nights out in a long time. Thanks to Emily and Matt who are brilliant hosts 😀’

We will be running a supper club each month and would love you to come. The next will be the 16th February and will have a Valentines theme. We are also planning to celebrate St Davids Day and St Patricks Day. Please do get in touch if you would like to join us!

emilyclark1978@gmail.com

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