Menu coming together….February 2015

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.

Save the date, and thoughts on a November menu

Next supperclub is set to be on Saturday November 24th. Once again it will be in the wonderful café at Macknade Fine Foods in Faversham. The menu is still shaping up but there’s bound to be some game, probably pigeon or maybe partridge. I am thinking that a Scandi inspired selection of cured fish might be good – I do make a mean cured salmon…and perhaps an excuse for Aquavit?
Then it’s a question of whether to do a cheese course or not? I wanted to make the cheese but have left it too late for the Camembert-style but still (just) enough time to make a fresh cheese.
Pudding was going to be light and fruity but the weatherman says a chill is coming so how about individual sticky toffee puddings with an absurd amount of toffee sauce?
So, as ever there are still decisions to be made and testing to be done, but that’s half the fun!

One week to go

This time next week I will be loading the car with all of the goodies for the diners at supperclub no.2.

As part of my (ahem) selfless ongoing research for brilliant local food and drink I loaded up my basket at Macknade today with a range of cheeses to taste and select for next week. One which I have seen often and never bought before is Ellie’s Goat, a wonderful fresh cheese, similar in consistency to the cheese I learnt to make at River Cottage and very mild – a goat’s cheese perhaps for people who don’t think they like it? I had hoped to make some cheese for next week but time has run away from me. Anyhow with such a lovely product made a couple of miles away it’s not at all necessary.

I discovered the Ellie’s Dairy blog where I then found that the Kelly’s goat which featured on the menu in May is made with their milk too – no wonder it’s so good!

Developing the menu and……the venue!

It’s hard to imagine and plan a menu celebrating Spring when it’s blowing a gale outside but I’ll do my best and perhaps even will the sun to shine.

Early contenders for inclusion are asparagus – I’m thinking blanched then chargrilled and finished off with some fruity olive oil and shavings of tangy, piquant “Kelly’s goat” from the fabulous and talented Cheesemakers of Canterbury. You can see a film all about their cheesmaking on their site which reminds me of a rather sunnier May last year when I learnt how to make cheese at River Cottage which may feature on a future menu.Image

Also high on the list, slim fillets of mackerel grilled under a high heat, skin crisp and served with gooseberries, compote or mildly pickled. Looking at my gooseberry bushes they will have to be sourced from further afield than 50 yards from the back door. Alternative fish thoughts include soused herrings, brown trout, skate cheeks ….and so it continues, A trip to Bluey in Oare is in order to see what’s looking good before I fix the menu.

On to the meat course. It has to be Spring lamb, but will it be a saddle, slow cooked shoulder or sweet cutlets with a salsa verde? More testing and tasting needed.

Pudding I think is pretty settled, a wonderful light macaroon cake by Tamasin Day-Lewis accompanied by the sharp pink stems of rhubarb straight from the garden, poached in a ginger and spice syrup.

Let me know what you think and if you’d like to be there and I’ll make sure you hear first when booking opens. May 26th, 7pm. Faversham, after hours in the cafe at Macknade Fine Foods. With thanks to Stefano Cuomo.