Tag: supper club

The Food Report: Nom of Thrones

The Food Report: Nom of Thrones

Game of Thrones themed supper club

It was time for another Nom Nom Club this weekend, and in honour of a very special housewarming we visited Exeter via Westeros for a Game of Thrones themed feast.

We ate: a beef, mushroom and red wine (two bottles) pie (I can’t emphasise enough how good this was), two slowed cooked pork – one in Guinness and one in cider (the cider sweeter, the Guinness more smoky and deep in flavour), a huge bowl of garlicky mash, roasted beetroots and carrots, onion and cider gravy and an adapted Sansa salad. We finished up with a wonderful plum and blueberry cake and lemoncakes (of course) with lemon curd over the top. After a quick break we also had a little cheese board with some Dorset knobs (!).

Whilst we took inspiration from the cookbook A Feast of Ice and Fire most of these were adapted recipes (in particular the Sansa salad) based around the themes of good, hearty, medieval style cooking. We could certainly have been more Westeros-authentic, but probably not more delicious.

Game of Thrones themed supper club Game of Thrones themed supper club Game of Thrones themed supper clubGame of Thrones themed supper clubGame of Thrones themed supper club

We drank: both red and white wine from King’s Landing (otherwise known as Croatia, where our lovely hosts recently honeymooned!). A drop of port with the cheese.

Game of Thrones themed supper club

 

We talked about: moving house, new plans, mash techniques, going skiing, how to support people, the wedding, making friends in new cities and all our exciting hopes for the next year. We played a surprisingly successful game of Articulate too.

I always say this but this group of people really are a wonderful, inspirational lot and I’m so proud of everything they’re achieving – it was absolutely beautiful to spend 24 hours with them in the most fantastic home.

Game of Thrones themed supper club

 

The Food Report: Picnicking

The Food Report: Picnicking

P1080023

In a departure from our usual evening Nom Nom Clubs, this month we decided to go with a picnic. This was a slightly different style, with less of the communal cooking and chaos (although Olivia and I still got together for some of your preparations). Instead, we all arrived with our offerings, popped out some fantastic picnic blankets courtesy of Kat.

P1070990.JPG_effected P1080005P1080001

We ate: a taleggio and roasted vegetable galette, homemade scotch eggs, sumac griddled halloumi, cheese straws, orzo salad with prawns, asparagus and feta, caramelised red onion quiche, mustardy potato salad, pesto chicken wraps, blueberry muffins, strawberries and blueberries.

We drank: Joe’s homemade ginger beer and Olivia’s homemade lemonade. They were both great! Olivia has promised to share the recipe so head over to her blog for that soon.

Everything was delicious, and whilst I love the kind of picnic that has party rings and salty snacks, it’s nearly always better to have a homemade feast.

P1080036 P1080009 P1080010

Of course no picnic is complete without games! We played some ridiculous bat and ball, threw some poi around and had a very civilised game of boules (I even won a couple of times!). We finished up with a marvellous Winstones ice cream. I went for the coffee one and it was creamy and perfect.

P1080012

We had a really lovely day and we were so lucky with the weather. I’ll share my quiche recipe with you soon, as I seem to talk about quiche all the time at the moment!

P1080047

What are your favourite picnic foods?

The Food Report: A Croquembouche

The Food Report: A Croquembouche

view Liverpool marina

This weekend my very favourite group of friends traveled to Liverpool for the eighth edition of Nom Nom Club, our little supper club. We settled on a French theme for this weekend, and whilst we got off to a bad start with the Correspondents gig being cancelled, we were soon eating many delicious courses and basking in the marina-side sun.

les dauphins cotes du rhone
We had pâté, soup a l’oignon, moules marinière, boeuf bourguignon, ratatouille, pommes dauphinoise, tarte au citron and cheese – all the French favourites, and delicious they were too (you can see some of these here). We drank home-brewed blond ale, Côtes du Rhône and Muscat (plus an absolutely-not-French-but-delicious-all-the-same Pinot Grigio), and plenty of coffee. A mid-meal bracing stroll and shout along the Mersey was a perfect interlude to the evening, especially when it meant returning to slices of lemon tart, coffee and Cards against Humanity. 

moules mariniere

To end the night with a bang I decided to embark upon the baking mission of a lifetime: a croquembouche. Now for all you aspiring Michel Roux’s out there this probably seems like a fairly simple task – you’ve made choux buns before, you love spinning sugar, you’ve got your creme pat down, just got to throw it all together, right?

Well I had done not one of those things (although I’m a dab hand at caramel so that was a plus), so this was going to be my oven-based Everest. I used a very very good BBC recipe, which guides you through making a croquembouche over three days. Obviously not three days solid baking, I’m not actually Mary Berry, but it means that you get enough time for everything to cool and dry before the next step. If you’ve ever seen them do it on Masterchef (which was my inspiration, let’s face it) and watched the buns slide off each other into a toppled mess, it’s clearly because they don’t have enough time. Now I’m not going to reproduce the recipe here, because why would you trust a blog recipe when you have Auntie Beeb on your side? Head here for the real thing.

First up, making choux pastry really wasn’t as daunting as it seems when they’re doing it on telly. Just keep beating (really put some strength into it) until it looks right! I made my buns a little larger than they really should have been, but it wasn’t a major disaster. The next day I made my creme patissiere. The recipe offers you a limoncello cream, which sounds divine, but I wanted to do something a little less lemony. I made a traditional creme pat with the addition of a vanilla pod to give it that lovely speckled look and excellent flavour, and then a salted caramel version for some of the buns (I was a tiny bit more generous with the salt than this recipe). This is another of those things that can go badly wrong on cooking shows, but as long as you’re paying attention and whisking a little at a time it’s not the worst thing. If it does look about to split, use Nigella’s tip and plunge your pan into cold water, whisking all the while.

Then it was a case of filling up the buns, leaving them to set and then assembling the tower. I made the cone (as in the recipe), propped it up in a jug and set to work (tip: put something heavy in whatever you’re using to make sure it can’t topple over). I would say definitely dip the top of the buns into the chocolate rather than drizzling, as you get a much better coating (just be careful not to burn your fingers!).

Once you’ve turned it out you just need to decorate. The traditional way is spun sugar, crystallised flower petals and icing sugar. I did really want to go for a crystallised rose petal scattering, but I couldn’t find any. Instead, to go along with the white chocolate holding it together, I went for spun sugar, white chocolate stars, and plenty of edible glitter thrown over the top. Be prepared to make a mess and do be careful when you’re throwing hot sugar around.

Overall, it was a little bit of a leaning tower (it rather resembles the mountain from The Grinch), and I certainly have some work to do on my sugar technique, but it was tasty and enjoyed by all!

croquembouchecroquembouchecroquembouche

After a few days making this treat it had rather become my life’s work, but after all the photos be prepared to tear it all down and stuff it in your face. For a little perspective, here was the post-Nom Nom carnage:

morning after Nom Nom Club

What is your biggest baking mission? Have you ever made a croquembouche? Do you know where I can find crystallised rose petals? Let me know!

The Weekly Report

The Weekly Report

IMG_2256

Watching Masterchef, obviously. Let it Gorepeatedly. Black Books. The Trip – so happy to have a second series! I’m Alan Partridge (I know, I’m late to that party). New Game of Thrones – consider me excited.

IMG_2264

IMG_2267
IMG_2298

Listening to Regina, R.E.M., a very Parisian playlist for the French edition of Nom Nom Club, Mungo’s Hi-Fi, Bob, Pulp and Shirley Bassey, because we did the best Shirley impression on Saturday morning. 

IMG_2293

Reading Lots of newspapers, Olive, ABM, and Sylvia.

Writing Silly quotes in the new Nom Nom Club guestbook and bonus blog posts.

IMG_2290

Eating Lots of big salads and soup, curry, delicious plump cha siu bao from Bon Bon Bakery, and hastily homemade pizzas. As I mentioned, we held  the French edition of Nom Nom Club, but I’ll share that in this week’s Food Report. Suffice to say I ate a lot.

IMG_2273

Lusting after A Polaroid PoGo. Why don’t they make one for iPhone? Also beautiful views, as apparently that’s all I took photos of this week.

Talking about Having six friends to stay makes for some pretty rambling far reaching conversations. In a nutshell we talked about:

Moving to new cities, differing stages of grown-up relationships, how creepy Port Sunlight looks at night, shouting at the sea, Disney favourites, inventions (patents pending), interventions, boats, a nice deck, all of the French we know, future feasts, hosting skills, the most inappropriate Cards against Humanity plays, what constitutes modern art and how an overhead railway works (we went to the Tate and the Museum of Liverpool).

IMG_2292

This video art piece made me feel quite claustrophobic. I found the most recent DLA Piper Series: Constellations a little disappointing. We didn’t make it to the second floor but nothing really grabbed me and made me excited on the first – I’ll have to pop back and see if I find something I love upstairs. I did like Mary Martin’s Inversions, as I’ve always liked Cross which they have at the Walker, and Wolfgang Tillmans’ still life photos were excellent.

Then we headed to the museum where I was very excited to go in the overhead railway carriage and look at all the old biscuit tins!

IMG_2297

The Food Report: Caribbean Supper Club

The Food Report: Caribbean Supper Club

I really love creating new traditions. My friends and I can sometimes be a bit stuck in our ways when it comes to our little rituals and places to go, but we’re still always looking for new things to add to the list. When Olivia returned from Thailand last summer she wanted to cook us all Thai food. An afternoon in the pub and a few pints later, our supper club was born. The idea was simple – pick a theme, pick a date, everyone brings a dish or two and then we eat it all! Nom Nom Club was born.

So far we’ve had curry, Mexican, Japanese food complete with sushi, American diner, Alpine dining, Christmas nibbles and Chinese. This weekend, we headed to Stafford for a Caribbean edition.

P1070781.JPG_effected

We had goat curry, prawns, jerk chicken, rice and peas, sweet potatoes, slaw, and mango salsa – all washed down with a Red Stripe and rum punch. Nicole made an incredible upside down pineapple and coconut cake for pudding.

P1070771.JPG_effected

P1070774.JPG_effected

P1070769.JPG_effected

P1070784

We all agreed that Caribbean supper club was our best ever Nom Nom – delicious food on a beautiful day, everything was ready at the same time (we’ve been known to forgo a sit-down meal in favour of grabbing things out of pans in the past), and no excessive leftovers!

We played Articulate and Cards against Humanity late into the night, and a good time was had by all!

Have you ever been in a supper club? Do you like to hold dinner parties?

I’ll pop the rum punch recipe (it was constantly changing really) in the drinks report on Thursday.