Menu finalised for 4th May

The weather finally seems to be making an attempt at Spring and there has certainly been some rapid growth in the garden so hopefully the fresh, fabulous produce we are all waiting for will soon appear. I had hoped to be able to include asparagus on the menu but there is very little sign of it so far. If some does pop up over the next fortnight then I may well tweak the menu, but for now our greenery will come in the form of a vivid nettle and wild garlic soup which has become a favourite of mine and of which there is plenty! To follow, a rich crab tart based on a recipe that one of the chefs at Quaglinos gave me years ago when I worked there. I used to do a twelve hour shift on Fridays and Saturdays, starting at lunchtime and getting home early enough to pick up the next day’s papers as I drove through Camden. Often wrapped up in a piece of greaseproof paper in my bag would be a hastily (and cheekily..) grabbed slice of crab tart from the kitchen. I hope to recreate the flavours for you and memories for me, wonderfully crisp pastry and warm filling using the freshest crabs from West Whelks in Whitstable. The main course will be lamb, dainty cutlets with new potatoes and purple sprouting. To round it all off a rich chocolate pot and gorgeous chewy Amaretti biscuit an Ottolenghi favourite of mine.

I hope to see you there, booking will open on Sunday.

Tasting and testing and Twitter

One of the may wonderful things about Twitter is the people I have met who share my love for food, both locally sourced and from farther afield. I can no longer just pop in to the Goods Shed and grab things quickly as I always want to stop and say hello to the stall holders who have become my friends. Lee who runs Murray’s Stores, Dianne who works for Lee and is also an expert butcher for Carl at Canterbury Butchers, Clive Barlow and his tempting wines, Johnny Sandwich, Patrick’s Kitchen and Rafa who is responsible for the fabulous restaurant there.

For those who have been following this blog and the supperclub since the beginning you will know that it was a fantastic dinner at Rafa’s restaurant at the Good’s Shed organised by Helen (who blogs as A Kentish Kitchen and who set up Eat Drink Kent to celebrate all that is great about food in the county) that gave me the kick start I needed. At the dinner I met Adelina who has too many blogs to keep track of, and over the past year we have become friends and enjoying sharing meals and tales of meals, recommendations and plotting where to go next. Her latest venture is as a partner in a new business Quimet, launching next weekend in London, importing Catalan specialities and I was delighted to be asked to come and taste and test the samples, well you know, it’s a hard life but someone has to….

And so here is a brief write up of what we tried from the future Quimet range, and I can heartily recommend Ratafia, Cava and dessert wine before 11.30am on a Friday to set you up for the weekend.

And elsewhere this week I met a whole other group of Twitter friends at the wonderful Gizzi Erskine feast which took place at the Drapers Arms to celebrate the publication of her new book. What an extraordinary meal that was.