Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Ocean Commotion, and getting things ship shape.

It could be the rolling waves, or ill winds, that sea [sic] this months supper club announcement coming a little late, so for that may we firstly apologise.

It's around this time, as captain of the TOOB vessel l start to think about things to do with the ocean. Partly because it's my birthday, and although l don't believe in the stars i know that Aquarius and Pisces are vaguely connected to the ocean. It was also, almost a year ago, that l visited a beautiful Welsh village called Tenby and found the following sign, which has supplied this months theme name - Ocean commotion.

Initially, l loved the idea of a landmark having such a funny and intriguing name so i had to snap it. I then proceeded on a voyage of discovery to find out what this mysterious landmark could be. Imagine my disappointment and finding the name belonged to a child's indoor activity centre; l guess not much happens in Tenby. Still, a great name.

Our next supper club is on the 27th February and is themed Ocean commotion, l'm sure you got that already.

So get your sea legs on, shout yo ho ho, and prepare for the romance of the sea to excite the depths of your appetite. The menu may be subject to a few changes as we've not fully tested all of it yet, but it won't be far of the following:

Ocean Commotion Menu

Scallop cream soup w/lime and deep fried chervil

Mussels in a fennel scented broth

Mackerel w/chorizo braised leeks and shallot crisps

Chocolate fondant with salted caramel and malted barley ice cream.

Fisherman's Friend Vodka Cocktail

Fancy taking a deep on our ocean odyssey? Email to make an enquiry.

Just thought we'd add a picture of our practice efforts to warm your cockles, or sea bass...which doesn't have quite the same ring.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Toob, the evil temptress

It only took our 2nd Supper Club before we decided to get evil on our guests, the theme being temptation, and Toob assuming the role of that wicked whisper in your ear.

It seemed the temptation menu had put a fire in our guests belly too, as Jamie and Agatha arrived with some home brewed hooch in their pockets for later. In fact it was a lovely home-made strawberry vodka, using strawberry's they'd grown in their garden. Thanks Jamie, we very much approve of our guests bringing gifts!

The first course was a slight amend from the menu we posted previously, as l trailed a black bean soup that used coke as a stock. I used half coke, that had been used for basting a ham and half vegetable stock with black beans, cumin, chillies and few other bits and pieces. The soup had an unusual sweetness from the coke, but ultimately I found it lacked the wow factor for the amount of cooking it required. Instead I hit on the idea of creating a kind of ying and yang soup which combined a classic black bean soup with a Tuscan white bean soup. By pouring them into the bowls at the same time it pretty much created a soup split in two. For some reason I couldn't help demeaning this in my head by singing 'Ebony and ivory' by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. O no, it's in my head again as I write.

The next course was a Mac n Cheese that I adapted slightly from a Simon Hopkinson recipe which can be seen here.

The inclusion of tomatoes really is a nice touch and I added some extra mature Red Leicester cheese for colour, along with some mature cheddar and a slight amount of gorgonzola for a creamy kick.

The third course of Sticky Ribs with Coleslaw really was the surprise winner of the

night, and a course I mostly picked due to the Adam and Eve connection. See what I did there? Aye?

It was the one course that most people insisted I gave the recipe for as they left so here is my take on BBQ ribs. This should serve 8 people comfortably:


24 Pork Belly Ribs

Sticky Sauce:

Tomato ketchup 400ml
Worcester Sauce 2 tbsp
Black Treacle 2 tbsp
Cider Vinegar 180ml
White pepper 1 ½ tsp
Ground cloves 1 ½ tsp
5 cloves of garlic crushed.

The Rub:

2 tbsp of Paprika
2 heaped tsps of English Mustard
4 heaped tsps of dried oregano
2 tbsp of sea salt flakes

Firstly you need to cook the ribs in salted water on a gentle simmer for 30minutes. The ribs should then be allowed to dry and then placed in a shallow dish containing the rub and liberally covered. Then dip the ribs in the sticky sauce (all the mixture needs combining) and then put them on a large baking tray and cook for 40-45 minutes, basting a few times if they look a little dry.

By the time the main course arrived I think the evil menu had started to take its toll on our guests...that and the extra portions of the ribs that most people managed to tuck away! Still, I can whole-heartedly recommend triple cooked chips as the best way to make chips. I've been doing this for a while now and the results really are worth the effort.

Lastly, and my personal favourite, was the Treacle Tart with clotted cream and raspberry coulis. This is a recipe I've been tinkering with for a while, but the key to making the treacle bit nice and light is to add lemon juice. I was inspired to do this by a Heston Blumenthal's recipe, but personally I found the amount he adds over powers the treacle. I know, I'm not sure where I get the gall to challenge it, but hey...personally I found it too lemony so cut the amount of juice added by half. Nurr.

I really enjoyed our second supper club, it feels like it's getting better and better, and in no small way it's due to our guests that are just so nice to have over, and help from friends. So a big thanks to Lauren, Llinos, Ella, Anna, Simon, Jenny, Simon, Gail, Jon, Nathalie, Matt, Jaime, Agatha, and Nicola.

Our next theme is The Sea...just for a sneaky peaky. x