Looking for food for thought?

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Festive Thoughts

*

Just taking a quick break from menus and preparations to say, things here are just wonderfully busy and, twelve suppers in we have learned so much and have so many ideas of where to go next that we're really craving our wee late October escape. This will (hopefully) give us a chance to drink lots of tea, wrap up warm, toast crumpets and put our thoughts in order. And then, we'll share them.

Also, no sooner has Autumn crept in with its grey skies, comforting crumbles and warming soups but it's also time to begin to get our heads around all things festive. After a long, hard think about what Charlie and Evelyn might be up to in December we have reached a decision.

We will be offering just two early December dates, Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th. So please email us today if you'd like to reserve your place and bear in mind, we now have a mailing list which will keep you posted with 2011 dates as soon as they are decided if you'd rather wait.

For us, Christmas is a family time and while we absolutely LOVE welcoming curious supper club diners to our home, we're going to take a short break, refuel, decorate our tree, bubble vats of chutney, and above all eat, lots.
*Image courtesy of Cox and Cox, their latest lovely catalogue arrived this morning. I've already listed the toasting fork (above) and chestnut roasting pan to my list for Mr Claus.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Menu Fourteen

It's going to be a busy, two supper kind of weekend. We've finally finished the second menu. Here goes:

To start

Scallops, Borlotti, chestnut soup, parsley oil.

To follow

Beef, spiced cocoa, vanilla scented beans, saddleback potatoes.

To finish

Perry poached pears, blackberry-rippled cream.

Menu Thirteen

To start

Hot smoked salmon stack, beetroot, homegrown rocket, pumpkin seeds.

To follow

Caraway roast pork, pear puree, mustard, onion mash, braised red cabbage.

To finish

Apple and blackberry crumble, cinnamon ice cream.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Supper Twelve

The last of the sweet peas were brought inside from the Autumn air for this jolly supper. Pears, squash, sweetcorn and plums all made an appearance alongside more enthusiastic, first time diners.







To start {Flash roasted beef}, squash, rocket, pear, rosemary.


To follow Pan fried halibut, madras curry, cucumber salad, sweetcorn fritters.



To finish Kilmorich plum crumble, cinnamon ice cream, brandy snaps.


Friday, 24 September 2010

Brandy (free) snaps

This morning, I am making that tea room classic brandy snaps. Conjuring up memories of doilies and cream oozing from the crispy curls. These brandy snaps will not be filled with cream however, they will stand as wafers on tonight's cinnamon ice cream and add some extra crunch to the juicy plum crumbles.

The recipe I'm following is South African and uses honey (rather than golden syrup) and no brandy (practically healthy). So why the name? Some quick online research offers several possible explanations including the most obvious that brandy should be added to the sticky mixture, or that they should be enjoyed with a snifter of brandy or even that brandy should be stirred into the cream filling. Any ideas?

Tonight we're serving them brandy free.

If you've never made them before, they're surprisingly easy although my mix needed to chill overnight to achieve the required firmness. I found for optimum results, baking for ten minutes at 180 worked best and cooling for four minutes before rolling (around a wooden spoon handle) achieved the best curls! Well, just in case you were wondering.

Here are the photos step by step:


From this...











...to this.




Saturday, 18 September 2010

Menu Twelve

To start

{Flash roasted beef}, squash, rocket, pear, rosemary

To follow

Pan fried halibut, madras curry, cucumber salad, sweetcorn fritters

To finish

Kilmorich plum crumble, cinnamon ice cream, brandy snaps.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Anise and orange

As it's the day of the Papal visit, a heavenly flavour combination seems fitting.





Since Supper Eleven, I've been dreaming about this combination. I may not be recreating the starter salad in it's full glory for lunch, but I'll definitely be cheering up my salad leaves with this delicious dressing. It smells fragrant and fresh and as The Flavour Thesaurus states: "The anise seems to enhance the citrus juiciness of the orange."






You will simply need:


A good glug of orange juice


1/2 vanilla pod


1 star anise (whole)


2 cardamon pods


Heat in a pan and reduce until thick and syrupy. Cool and drizzle liberally to liven up your salad.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Kilmorich Windfall Plum Jam

It's very windy up here in Scotland, so it's no surprise these poor little plums could hang on no longer. Making jam seemed like a rather obvious thing to do with so many and was yesterday's mission.






I am a jam making novice. In fact, I have never made jam before. I don't have a jam pan, thermometer, maslin pan or funnels and I still managed it.



I followed a very straight forward recipe for Savoury Plum Jam in Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook (you'll find it under July-August, I'm afraid up north our plums are a bit behind).



For 3-4 jars you need:

1kg plums (stoned)

750g granulated sugar (I used a bit of caster too)

300ml warm water

25g finely chopped stem ginger (you could get away with more ginger if you like the heat)


Here's what to do:

Halve or quarter the plums and remove stones.

Put everything in a thick bottomed pan and allow to stand for an hour.

Warm the mixture slowly to dissolve the sugar, stirring for the first ten minutes.

Turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil. The recipe says cook for about 15 minutes but I needed 30 minutes to reach setting point.*

Jar, cover, seal and store for up to a year (in the fridge once opened).

Sarah does call this a savoury plum jam but I'd have to say it tastes pretty sweet to me. I'm not skilled enough to play with the sugar quantities just yet but I'm happy with a sweet jam for all my toast and jam sandwich needs.

*
To test the setting point, according to Sophie Grigson remove the pan from the heat. Take your saucer from the freezer and place a drop of jam onto the cold plate. After a few seconds push the jam with your finger.
If the jam surface wrinkles then it has reached setting point and is ready. If it slides about as a liquid, then it hasn't reached setting point and should be returned to the heat and boiled for a few more minutes before testing again.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Slainte!

As an added finishing touch, we were also able to wish Saturday's diners slainte! with a wee dram of Diurachs'* Own 16 and thanks to Isle of Jura.



Coincidentally, our happy guests had been discussing islands they had visited during dinner, so it made the final farewell all the more apt.


As the name suggests, Diurachs' Own 16 is nurtured for sixteen long years producing a subtle, understated malt. The tasting notes describe it as both rich and full-bodied with hints of citrus fruit, toffee, dark chocolate, oranges and spices.

Here's the man in charge of creating it:



Jura Distillery Manager Willie Cochrane.

Understandably, the islanders are drawn to it above all others and to honour this unique bond, the symbol of the Diurachs adorns each and every pack. Fans can also join the honorary Diurach community by stopping off here or here. In return you will gain access to a range of competitions including the chance to win stays for friends and family at Jura’s exclusive Lodge or rare and valuable limited edition whiskies. You'll also get discounted accommodation on Jura, a free Dram every month for life at the Jura pub and a free distillery tour.

Before you make up your mind, book a space at Charlie and Evelyn's Table for a complimentary taste, see you soon!

* Diurach is the Gaelic name for the people of Jura.

Supper Eleven

Curious diners gathered from across the city to welcome the change of seasons and flavours and enjoy the Charlie and Evelyn's Table experience.



To welcome Button mushrooms, butternut puree


Smoked salmon mousse, homemade oat biscuits

To amuse Sweetcorn soup, truffled popcorn


To start Beetroot, Buffalo mozzarella, orange

To follow Black pepper, poppy seed venison, sweetcorn puree, Chantenay carrots, port wine jus


To finish Pears, green ginger wine, blackberries, creme fraiche.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Menu Eleven

To start

Beetroot, Buffalo mozzarella, orange.

To follow

Black pepper, poppy seed venison, sweetcorn puree, Chantenay carrots, port wine jus.

To finish

Pears, green ginger wine, blackberries, creme fraiche.