With just over two weeks until the next supperclub, and following a rather wonderful foodie trip to Copenhagen, I have fixed the menu. There are plenty of nods to Scandinavia and some crowd pleasing autumn favourites too. I do hope you can make it! Booking opens this weekend – keep an eye on your inbox if you are on the list, and send me your contact details if you aren’t.
What an awfully long hiatus, apologies for my absence. When I am not cooking, eating, preparing, thinking about, reading about, writing about and sharing my passion for food, I have an alter-ego who goes to work as an arts consultant and producer. I have managed for most of the four years since the emwilco supperclub emerged, to keep the arts and food in perfect balance. However for the past 6 months I have been lucky enough to work on lots of fabulous arts and cultural projects (possibly too many) and the foodie emwilco had to give way.
But May is here! The abundance of the new season’s food and sunshine are calling and we’re all shrugging off our winter despond. So I am really delighted to say that the next supperclub is in the diary, marked in indelible ink and with high walls to protect it from artistic incursions… So please put July 2nd in your diaries and keep your eyes peeled for menu and booking details nearer the time. As ever, the wonderful Macknade are the hosts – thank you to Stefano and the whole team for your ongoing support and encouragement.
Postscript…..actually, in the intervening month, I have cheekily allowed the art emwilco and food emwilco to collide and will be leading a food themed walk around Whitstable as part of the Whitstable Biennale.
Horizontal rain, dahlias, jam making, blustery wind, berries and birds, a glut of tomatoes and the sound of shotguns over the woods. It must be autumn and much as I love the seasons and the variety it brings to menus, I am not a cold weather person.
So as autumn heralds winter I need something to look forward to. And so perhaps do you? Hopefully we can cheer each other up with the thought of the next supperclub at Macknade. The date is fixed and the menu will emerge over the next few weeks. For now pop 21st November in your diaries and I will keep you updated with what treats might be in store. As ever, do tell your friends and fellow food lovers and ask them to sign up to my email alerts so they too can book before it goes out to everyone.
In the meantime you can get some foodie fixes with the upcoming Faversham Food Festival from the 18th-20th September across the town. And following that it’s the Canterbury Food and Drink Festival from 25th-27th September in the Dane John Gardens. Neatly sandwiched in between, it is Meet the Suppliers week at Macknade – lots to taste and a great chance to meet and chat with the people who make all the yummy things we love to eat. So you can eat, drink and celebrate all that’s good from Faversham and the surrounding area for nearly ten days in a row! That sounds like a mood improver to me.
One of the best bits of the supperclub for me is thinking about what to cook. Seeing what’s at its best in the markets, at the fishmonger, and seeing what the weather has in store. I love spending time trawling though books and magazines for inspiration too.
The weather this year is not helping at all, freezing northerly winds one day and baking hot southerly weather and thunderstorms the next. I am however an eternal optimist and so the menu I am pulling together will be summery, suited to hot days and warm (ish) evenings.
So far my thoughts include a Thai inspired beef salad, with lots of fresh herbs, lime and chilli. There’s an abundance of sorrel in my vegetable patch that’s calling out for a lovely piece of local fish – probably sea trout this time and hopefully some samphire from the marsh. The main course might well be based on the French classic of chicken and tarragon, or maybe some rabbit? Not quite fixed on that, but either way they’ll be accompanied by fresh peas and podded broad beans.
Lastly it would seem rude not to include strawberries, sat as I am in amongst acres of strawberry farms and having tasted an utterly delicious variety called ‘Driscolls Elizabeth’ at Open Farm Sunday last weekend at Langdon Manor Farm…..just need to find who stocks them. So I think a berry fool with a wonderful nutty cardamom and pistachio cake I made recently.
The menu will be fixed this weekend and then booking will open soon after.
Well done to all involved, the new Macknade website is great, lots of interesting content and great images
Menu is now finalised and if you are on the mailing list you will shortly receive a link to the booking site.
PLEASE NOTE – that we will be starting at 7.30 pm (usually 7pm) with drinks and nibbles and dinner will be served at 8pm. Carriages at 11pm
Just over a fortnight to go before the next supper at Macknade, so I have been finalising the menu. The weather seems to be turning, the sun working hard to warm us up and the days certainly longer. Hooray! I am not a winter lover and am coming to the end of my love affair with stews and braises, slow roasts and pies. It’s time to lighten up.
At the moment the menu looks like this, but I am still playing around with pudding ideas, so it might end up tweaked a bit….always the fun bit ‘playing’ as it means we get to eat lots of different versions and combinations at home. Perks for the family…
Roast heritage carrots, pumpkin and beets with Duddleswell sheep’s cheese from the High Weald dairy….just over the Kent/Sussex border
Cod and cockles with thyme butter – thank you Rob at the Compasses Inn for the inspiration!
Roast venison haunch with haggis and kale – we had this on Burns night with a leg of Muntjac and it was so utterly scrumptious that I wanted to share the love
Rhubarb, baked custards and ginger crunch…..or will it be Blood Orange curd tart with poached rhubarb…..or buttermilk puddings and ginger snaps…….I’ll let you know!
As ever, if you have specific dietary requirements then I will always try and accommodate them if you let me know when you book. And don’t forget, we’ll be serving a Kentish sparkler to start off the evening, thanks to Ben at Gusbourne Estate.
Happy 2015 and cor isn’t it chilly! Whilst lots of people head for their juicers, ‘dry’ Januarys and plates of kale I am afraid I need comfort food and hearty sustenance,not to mention a large glass of something red, to get me through the second half of winter. Alongside that I always find myself booking a summer holiday so that there’s something to look forward to and lots of yummy Mediterranean food fills my thoughts – well there’s always food on my mind!
In amongst all this dreaming and planning I have also found time to fix dates for a couple of supperclubs so that you are well warned and get them in your diaries. Remember if you want to be first to hear what the menu is and when the booking is opened then you need to be on my list. Enter your details here and I promise I’ll keep them safe and not share them. The suppers usually sell out in 24 hours, so it’s well worth being ahead of the game.
So Saturday 28th February at Macknade in Faversham and Saturday 27th June also at Macknade are your key dates for now. There’ll be a special angle to the Feb date with the lovely Gusbourne Estate’s CEO Ben joining us (and there’s rumour he’ll have some of their delicious wine with him…..) something to look forward to if you’ve been giving booze a miss this month.
The brilliant Hope Fitzgerald came and took these lovely pictures of my preparations for the last supperclub, which also involved harvesting nasturtium seeds from the bottom of the garden to make piccalilli with a little local twist. The stock I was making with some truly mighty beef bones and game bird carcasses was to create the sauce for roast partridge – recipe here. And the ham hocks were for a terrine, recipe by Russell Norman of Polpo
All images are ©Hope Fitzgerald
There are many lovely things that emerge from my supperclubs. Working hard on the menus, meeting the wonderful and friendly guests who attend and who share my passion and enthusiasm for good food and conviviality and then the feeling of immense pride when we present 30 beautiful plates and hear the dining room go quiet as people tuck in.
Getting to know the producers and suppliers from whom I source my ingredients is another of my favourite things and it sits at the heart of why I do what I do. Through the supperclub I have been introduced to lots of equally passionate people and today was one of those days.
Thanks to Stefano Cuomo, owner of Macknade where I host most of my dinners, I recently had a call from Ben Walgate, CEO of Gusbourne Estate, a boutique winemaker in Kent. Ben has been at Gusbourne for just over a year and is looking at ways to introduce their wines to a wider Kentish market, having already made a name for themselves in the trade, winning awards at the IWC and being listed by restaurants including Folkestone’s Rocksalt and in specialist retailers, as well as in the press. Ben invited me over to the vineyard near Appledore (they also have 21 hectares in Sussex) where the winery is and so I spent a fascinating morning finding out about their wines – they make mostly sparkling – and seeing the tens of thousands of bottles produced over the last few years.
Monday morning at 10.30 was a bit early for a tasting, but Ben very kindly sent me home with a bottle of their award winning 2010 Brut Reserve and also a bottle of the 2013 Pinot Noir – which apparently would have gone very nicely with last weekend’s partridge…I will taste them and let you know how I get on, tough job I know. More interestingly for you is that we agreed that Ben will come to an emwilco supperclub at Macknade in the new year and bring along some wines for you to try. And if you can’t wait that long then there’s Clive Barlow who I am sure would be happy to help…or Gusbourne’s own online shop.