Friday, 11 February 2011

Nordisk Mad: Supper club screening of An Island

We consider ourselves a supper club that likes music as much as we like food. The eagle-eyed and musically tuned amongst you may have noticed where we took the inspiration for our name. So when i sat down to plan the next supper club, thumbing through recipes that fell loosely in the Nordic food category, it was like something somewhere was aligning (again loosely) as l spotted a call for screening venues for a new film by director Vincent Moon about the Danish band Efterklang.

A-Ha i thought, this is too perfect, so our next supper club is Nordic themed and will involve food inspired by those regions, followed by a screening of the film An Island.



On the 26th February, at 5 in the afternoon we would love to have guests arrive and sit down to the following menu:


Amuse Bouche: Buckwheat blini platter

Starter: Borscht w/ horse radish cream

Main: Beer, orange and spiced braised short ribs w/ walnut dumplings

Dessert: Cherry Strudle w/ fennel ice cream


This will be followed by a screening of An Island, accompanied by some interesting flavoured popcorn! Going to at least try to get something bacon-flavoured working. For more information about the film click here.

This is what's being said about it too:

"An Island is more than just a band documentary; it’s a love letter to family, roots, small-town life and the social/communal power of music to unify people … a mesmerizing 50 minutes … it’s universal and great viewing even if you’ve never heard of Efterklang"

A last bit of news too, l'm sad to report that this supper club will be the last one we hold in this guise. I'm moving to a smaller flat, so will have to assess the logistics of continuing it there...but for now, Toob is on hold. I will be continuing at least to cook, eat and blog about it though.

To book simply email me here and let me know how many will be in your group. I'll email you back with availability. Farvel.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Private event: Nordisk mad

This is a little precursor/trailrun to an exciting event we're hoping to host in February, involving a band from Denmark, a film, and food inspired by the region. More information to follow if we manage to pull it off. This event will be hosted on the 29th January, with the next on 26th February.


But for now, this is an example of the menu. May be subject to a few changes!

Buckwheat blini platter

Borscht w/ horse radish cream


Beer, orange and spiced braised short ribs w/ walnut dumplings

Apricot dumplings w/orange and poppy seed ice cream and apricot brandy syrup.


Monday, 13 December 2010

Calling all cooking enthusiasts!

You may have noticed that things have been rather quiet here over the last few months. We'll the truth is it has been a time of transition for us, for a number of reasons which we won't bore you with now. The main reason we've entered a state of hibernation, is that my partner in this adventure has moved to New York, leaving a substantial hole.

So for now, i'm afraid to announce that Toob has temporarily stopped trading (or filling bellies).

On the up side, this definitely isn't the end, as we'd very much like to start the New Year, with a New Trail of our Bread. So here goes our little advert.

TOOB IS LOOKING FOR AN ENTHUSIASTIC COOK TO JOIN AND SHAPE OUR FUTURE (or bread and the odd bit of pastry).

Are you an amateur cook that dreams of one day owning their own restaurant, or an enthusiastic cook that spends weekends cooking for large number of friends? The person that always takes delicious weekend endeavours into work on Monday, bribing the love an adoration of your colleagues.

Perhaps your a professional cook, looking for the opportunity to sharpen your knives on something more personal to you. Looking for an arena to be more creative and experimental.

If any of the above is the case then we may need you.

We can't lie, supper clubbing is hard work, doesn't pay well (if at all), and does require a lot of things other than cooking.

Typical tasks include:
  • Updating the Blog
  • Researching recipes
  • Answering booking enquiries
  • Posting news on social media channels (Twitter, Facebook etc)
  • Loosing most of your weekend on supper club nights to: Prepping, washing up, cooking, serving, shopping.

But hey, we do it for the love right, so if you have the love, are passionate about food, and want to get involved then drop me an email and we'll arrange a meeting. I'm interested to hear from people with ideas in making something that i spent a year building, into something new and exciting.

Get Involved. This could be the start of something beautiful.

Cheerio for now.

Jim

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Hampered, in a good British way

On Saturday 31st July l awoke, and as my peepers adjusted to the shock of being sprung from hibernation, they began to search ardently for light - lot's of it, but there wasn't enough. I sprung from the cloud, flung back the curtains and squinted into a solemn grey sky. This wasn't the plan, did I forget to tell someone that today was our first foray into supper clubbing outside…that today was the Great British Picnic!

For the weeks prior to the picnic, l had busied myself with researching a menu that personified hazy summer afternoons in Britain; food that complemented the smells of parched lawns and smouldering fauna, but alas it looked like the weather was going to dampen the mood.

Nevertheless, food had been bought, diners booked, the shown had to go on. What's more, there seemed something apt about a British picnic being enjoyed under heavy bulbous grey skies in July - or so I thought. As it got nearer to 4 in the afternoon, shards of glorious light began to break through as if beamed down by the smiling god of picnics (Hampa - the god of picnics?). Grass steamed off under the new heat, wildlife ventured from their dry hideouts, it appeared the scene was setting, putting the word 'great' back into the picnic.

As our guests carefully arranged their blankets, and unfolded camping chairs, we popped the lids off our homemade lemonade to "let the sunshine in", or get things going if you're not robbing lyrics from terrible musicals.

Homemade Lemonade


Our guests slurped, and didn't squint which mean't the lemonade was rightly sweetened, so our first course of Chilled Pea and Mint soup w/ truffle ricotta was served.

Chilled Pea and Mint Soup w/truffle ricotta


Now, l have to admit, l still find it hard to get used to the idea of chilled soups, but have tried a few this summer and this one certainly goes towards the top. For me chilled soups need to be light and zingy, so this one worked nicely.

For the main course we served a selection of dishes, that our guests filled there paper plates with; Black Pudding scotch eggs, shooters sandwich, summer ruby salad, homemade piccalilli, and Anya potato salad with shallots and vinagarette.

Scotch eggs w/ black pudding




Shooters Sandwich


Summer Ruby Salad


My favourite dish from the selection had to be the black pudding, but I'm totally biased as they have to be up there as one of my guilty pleasures. They retain a nostalgic fondness, which has only been slightly ruined by the odd occasion I've foolishly slipped one of those insipid grey meat covered versions (found in every service station) into my mouth. I took inspiration for my scotch eggs from a number of sources, but after a few experimental attempts, plumped for the following recipe.

Black Pudding Scotch Eggs Recipe (Makes about 8-10 eggs)

1 Onion
A few knobs of butter
400g of Pork Sausage Meat
200g of Black Pudding, chopped into small cubes.
Sage & Thyme (to taste, l used 1/2 tbsp of chopped sage to 1tbsp of Tyme)
Salt and Pepper
8 eggs
Breadcrumbs
Beaten Egg (for the wash)
Flour (for the covering)

Method

Firstly chop the onion into small dices and then cook on a low heat, preferably under a round piece of parchment paper, so that the onions become sweet and slightly crispy. Just as the onions look ready in the pan add the chopped sage and thyme then remove from the heat. Place the sausage meat and the small cubes of black pudding in a large mixing bowl and then add the onions once they have cooled. Next soft boil your eggs by placing them in a pan covered by 1/2 inch of cold water, bring to the boil, them simmer for 3 minutes. Once you've shelled your eggs, carefully roll each one in flour, as this helps it bind with the sausage mixture. Then wet your hands and take a small handful of the sausage mixture and place it into the ball of your hand. Next flatten the sausage mixture so it almost covers your hand and place the egg in the centre. Start enveloping the egg carefully until the sausage meat has entirely covered the egg. A handy video that shows this technique can be seen here. It's a little annoying so you may want to fast forward to 5 minutes in to see the technique.

Now most of the hard work is out of the way, you simply roll the covered egg in egg wash, then roll it in the breadcrumbs. I repeated this process as I wanted an extra crisp coating, although I'm sure this isn't essential. Lastly deep fry the scotch egg for around 4-8 minutes until the egg takes on a dark brown colour. I used a open fat fryer at 160 celsius.

To finish the experience of dining outside, it wouldn't be a British summer without a trifle, so l carefully pulled out 16 little cyclinders filled with Strawberry's, champagne jelly, creme anglaise, sponge, and whipping cream. It was fun watching our guests delve into the receptacles like red squirrels searching for carefully stored nuts.

Strawberry Champagne Trifle


Our first foray into supper clubbing outside had me sweating about the logistics of such an undertaking, but it seemed to go we'll, and I even got to eat with everyone too - which was extra nice!

We'd like to say a big thank you to Jon Baker from Good Food magazine who popped down to take some decent photo's of our food - the ones in this post. Very much appreciated, and if your interested in some of his personal work you can find out more about his work here.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

The Great British Picnic

Up and down the country, parched lawns groan for moisture, dogs pant under the cooling seclude of a kitchen table, and the smoky smells of food scorching on a barbecue, waft over garden fences. It's the time for eating outside and were in the mood to embrace this while the goings (hopefully) good. With the long days, comes the opportunity to bust away from the hot stove and the artifice of bulb lit kitchens, and to bask in sepia afternoons with hand held nibbles.


I love the careful preparation of making food to be enjoyed al fresco, so this month were stocking up on hampers, paper plates and cups and taking the next supper club outdoors. On the 24th July the theme will be the Great British Picnic with a menu looking something like this:

Homemade Lemonade

Pea and Mint soup w/ truffle ricotta foam

Black pudding scotch egg w/picallilli

Chick pea stuffed courgette flowers

Shooters Sandwhich

Summer Ruby Salad

Anya potato salad w/ shallots and vinagarette

English Trifle


This supper club will be taking part somewhere in Victoria Park and will commence from 4 o'clock, so dust the dried grass from your picnic rug and get booking.

Mexican food is tough work, it almost tequila'd us

Normally our supper club themes, see our guests turning up with easy drinking wines, but the Mexican themed night saw people arrive armed with various brands of Tequila. It was nice to see that everyone was getting into the spirit of things!

We'd planned to get things moving ourselves, with a homemade Margarita for all diners. Like any drink with tequila in it, the tentative drinker seems to approach the glass like a person who has to de-venom an injured colleague - slight fear, but a knowledge it'll probably be worth it in the end. I'm sure our Margarita didn't disappoint, which we followed from this classic recipe we swiped while holidaying in San Francisco.

(This makes 4 margaritas)
Ice Cubes
240ml of Sour Mix
85 ml Blanco Tequila
36ml Cointreau
18ml Orange juice


The tequila used was Arette Blanco Tequila, recommended by the shop I tend to buy most of my booze from - The Whiskey Exchange in Borough Market. It's a little tucked away (you have to walk through Lathwaites wine shop), but it's worth it. Always impressed how knowledgable the staff are there…and it's reasonably priced too. Ha, that really reads like an advertisement placement, but I mean every word!

So with a difficult act to follow, our first course was served - Salmon ceviche w/ fresh mango salsa and home made tortilla chips . I waited with bated breath to see if our guests would notice the authenticity of the home-made nachos, as they were a little labour of love.

While in San Francisco the notable difference between their tortilla chips and the ones we have in the UK was considerable. Wonderfully hot, crunchy yellow corn tortilla's would be bought to the table before glancing at a menu, and before you'd know it - the whole basket was polished off, and busily filled again. Damn the unlimited pot of triangular heaven. I had to recreate this for our guests, and so began my experiments in creating homemade nachos.

Our experiments started with cutting wedges out of the standard flour tortilla (that proliferates the supermarkets in the UK) and deep frying them in groundnut oil. The results were not unpleasant, but not better than anything that can be bought in a shop. Instead of a golden colour, the end result was rather pallid, and any attempt to get them looking heat kissed, resulted in them burning quickly. They also arrived crispy on the outside and a little chewy in the middle. I guessed this must have been something to do with some moister retention (being fresh flour tortillas) so I tried frying a batch using stale tortilla's and another fried after being dried out in the oven. Both methods seemed to rectify the soggy centres, but unfortunately it seemed there was no way to authentically replicate mexican chips using floured tortilla's. For that authentic mexican tortilla chips you have to use corn based tortillas, which unfortunately are not readily available in the UK, but if you feel inspired and live in the Bethnal Green area you can pick them up at Casa Mexico (along with most of the specialist ingredients i had to source for this supper club). Alternatively this website has a comprehensive list. To make the corn tortilla chips you simply cut a tortilla into wedges and fry in a deep fat fryer for around 2-4 minutes per batch, then dry on kitchen towel and toss in sea salt. They proved to be the perfect accompaniment to the Salmon Ceviche, as guest scooped large pieces of the raw salmon and mango onto the chips.

The second course saw Beef Empanadas served w/ salsa and salad, a dish very familiar with anyone that's travelled in South America, and that varies subtly between regions. The Mexican empanada tends to be a little fruiter than those on the South American continent, with many recipes I'd tested including pineapple, raisons, apple, and pumpkin. I opted to keep it to apple and raison as this gave them the right amount of sweetness. l did try a version with pineapple too, but found this too sweet for my taste.

Throughout this months theme, I really wanted to show the more experimental side to Mexican cuisine so was a little worried that Empanadas might be a little familiar to our guests, but when I read a little about the origins of the meaty parcels, I had to leave it on the menu. The Mexican Empanada is a variation of our very own Cornish Pasty, as it was taken over by Cornish miners, during times when the silver mines needed their expertise - a nice little link and not too surprising when you consider the recipe and look. It also appears you don't have to soot your face and wield a pick axe to work up an appetite to eat them, as some of our guests with healthier appetites went in for seconds.

The first two courses may have felt a little more like a dreamy siesta, as the next two dishes were my tequila soaked worm. For main came the Meatballs in Chipotle chile w/ mexican rice.


A homely dish that celebrates all that is good about Mexican food, heat, complex smokey spices with herbs springing freshness in the dish. When l tested the meatballs l ate them until my stomach felt like a pocket creaking under too much loose change. On the night every guest seemed to want more. Luckily l had prepared more than enough, so our guests lucked out, and my dinner the next day rapidly disappeared. Sob.

For the desert came a change to the planned menu - out went mexican chocolate pudding and in came Capirotada w/ homemade vanilla ice cream.

When l initially began researching the mexican menu, l thought that desert would have to be something macabre, something dark and chocolatey, with hidden heat from a chili so that Diablo himself felt he was scraping your tongue with a trident. I'm starting to regret building this up, because instead of the wicked, the Mexican chocolate pudding tested turned out a little predictable. At this point i turned to a recipe l found for a Capirotada, a desert usually eaten around Easter in Mexico and remarkably resembling the bread pudding we have in the UK; apart from the fact it has a spiced syrup, and cheese instead of custard. Yup you read correct - CHEESE. It seems Mexicans put cheese in everything, especially deserts, but intrigue got the better of me and l had to see how it turned out, so the recipe went into test.

The resulting pudding is a sure fire hit, and if l wasn't the caring sharing type, l would definitely try and keep this one to my self. It's a wonderful, hearty desert and would be a great alternative at Christmas, for those that find Christmas pudding or fruit cake not to their taste. It certainly seems to borrow a lot from these dishes, but has subtleties to suite delicate palates. The cheese is a stroke of genius too, as it really, really works. It adds a creamy sourness that cuts through the spiced syrup. Without it l suspect the dish would even be a little sweet.


It certainly seemed to be the star of the night and the dish that most guests wanted the recipe for so here it is. I urge you to try it, this recipe serves 10.


For the syrup:
500 g/18 oz dark muscovado or Barbados sugar
1 litre/1 3/4 pints water
4 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
5 ml/1 tsp fennel seeds
1 large lemon, juice and grated rind

For the bread pudding:
350 g/12 oz bread, two or three days old, sliced 1 cm/1/2 thick. In mexico they use bolillos as the bread, but a French stick is recommended as a replacement. I actually used an uncut white loaf as i wanted to control the presentation.
Soft unsalted butter
175 g/6 oz raisins
250 g/9 oz toasted, flaked almonds
250 g/9 oz eating apples, peeled and thinly sliced
200 g/7 oz fresh goat’s cheese, crumbled

To start, place all the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring all the time to ensure the sugar dissolves. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat right down and leave to simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Strain into a large jug and set aside. You can reserve the cinnamon sticks and use them when baking in the pudding, but I took them out as l didn't want guests to find bits of cinnamon bark in their dish.

Next lightly butter the stale bread on both sides and arrange a layer on the bottom of an ovenproof dish - You should aim for two and a bit layers of bread, so your dish should allow for this. Sprinkle with half the raisins, almonds, sliced apples (I used a cox apple and cored and sliced into discs for presentation) and cheese. Repeat the process, adding another layer of bread and the rest of the fruit, nuts, cinnamon and cheese, and finish off with remaining bread. Carefully pour the syrup all over the pudding and set aside for at least one hour, or even overnight in the refrigerator, to give the bread time to absorb all the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/gas 4/fan oven 160oC. Bake the Capirotada until golden, for approximately 30 to 45 minutes then serve. Capirotada is traditionally served at room temperature, but I preferred it hot and served it with home made vanilla ice cream.


After a few enthusiastic swings at the pinata, partly fueled by the effects of the worm, our guests departed - a little loco, with their pockets filled with sweets. We wouldn't want it any other way.

Monday, 31 May 2010

And you will know us by the day of the dead

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet in our neck of woods of late. We can only apologise for the slight absence, but we promise it'll be worth it.

We've been off on our holidays you see, and with travel comes new knowledge, new ideas. To be specific I've had a title stint in the United States of America, and to linger on the details more, a little time was spent in Chicago and a bit more time in San Francisco, with a few road trips in-between. It was of course incredible, and so was some of the food our eager mouths sampled. Well, actually some of it was incredible, and a lot of it just plain huge. They certainly do have an ethos of good food equaling large portions from my experience.

The culinary take-aways, from the land of fast food had to be brunch, good burgers, and Mexican food. America seems to 'do' brunch better than anywhere else, the best being Dottie's True Blue cafe in San Francisco, which I intend to blog about in another guise soon.

Obviously burgers seem to be the nations obsession, but the real joy for me is eating in Mexican restaurants. I love Mexican food, and it feels like a real discovery when ever I eat this cuisine on the west coast. For obvious geographic reasons the authentic Mexican dining experience has been a little off the mark in blighty (apart from more authentic experiences from Wahaca and a few of the better burrito joints popping up in London, of which Daddy Donkey comes recommended).

For that reason, this months supper club on June 19th has gone all Mexican with our theme Day of the dead. Now we know that this Mexican festival is strictly in November, but hey, it sounds good so to hell with it.



So gringo's, take a look at our 'Day of the Dead' menu, carefully crafted from the bulging bags of our travels. As ever, this may be subject to change on the night, but any deviations will be slight.

Menu para Dia de los Muertos (Day of the dead menu):

Starter:
Salmon ceviche w/ fresh mango salsa and La Palapa's tortilla chips
Ceviche de salmon con pico de mango y totopos de La Palapa


Segunda:
Beef empanadas w/ walnut cream
Empanadas de picadillo en nogada

Palate Cleanser:
Watermelon and tequila mojito granita.
Mojito de tequila y sandia

Main:
Meatballs in chipotle chile w/ avocado and tomatillo salsa, and mexican rice.
Albondigas al chipotle con guacasalsa y arroz a la mexicana


Dessert:
Mexican chocolate pudding
Casuelita de crema de chocolate



¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! Book here: info@trailofourbread.com