to cook you dinner??
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Having spent all of my day so far (that would be 8 hours) binding presentations I have decided now is the time to sneakily skive away to write about the lovely Sunday lunch we had yesterday at The Shed.
Firstly, damn you BBC weather and your inane, misguided meteorological predictions. Poor Nicola and Andrew, hostess and host of this supper club in Newington Green, reliant on the licence payers money to present reliable weather info, moved their tables inside yesterday in order to avoid everybody getting soaking wet.
But it didn’t rain of course.
However, less with the negativity. The Shed also now known as ‘The Lounge’ was just delightful.
We were the first to arrive into Nicola’s lounge and we sat at the far table which was set for seven. My mouth was already salivating at the smell of the Beef, a bonus to being inside rather than the shed! At our heels were Alexis and her partner Yohanna (sp? I’m sorry!), followed by two more Aussies and a Scotsman. Sarah (one of the other Australians) and her boyfriend (the Scotsman) had been to Alexis and Yohanna’s supperclub, LexEat, recently and so they were already familiar. This twist of fate made everyone immediately comfortable, and drew the conversation to the art and caper involved with running a supperclub of one’s own.
Having discussed supper clubs the conversation turned to Curd and my Grandmother’s grumpiness at having her photo taken for publicity material and somewhere inbetween I ended up as Curd Girl. I’m unsure as to how I feel about this…somehow it sounds a little odd, maybe fungal, I don’t know. So grumpy Grandmother or not we are sticking with Violet’s Fruit Curds rather than Curd Girl’s Curds!
At this point I feel I should apologise for my lack of photography. So far on this blog I have added a couple of half-hearted, very crappy, iPhone pics and nothing more. It may come as a surprise that I do have some, not many but some, photography skills and I do use an old-ish Minolta to take Black and White film photos. However I have not yet entered the land of digital photography. I suspect this is where I promise to save up and buy a digital camera in order to enter the technological world everyone else is living in. I would love to, but I also have aspirations of developing my own photos in an at-home darkroom so the two ideas are conflicting in my bank account! I did notice Alexis taking lots of photos of the food so I’m sure if you go to her blog they will surface there soon enough! In the meantime you may have to suffice with my slightly poor prose!
We were swiftly presented with bowls of finely chopped Shallots, Capers, Lemon slices and Creme Fraiche, followed by a plateful of incredibly fresh Smoked Salmon and a bowlful of homemade Blinis. The other starter was a flavoursome Chicken Liver Pate, which I thought was amazing, with Date and Apple Chutney and toast. I think I remember Nicola worrying that it was too strong but I thought it was dead nice – strong pate = good pate in my book.
The main course of Roast Beef did just what it said on the tin and more. The meat was moist and well cooked, the yorkshire puddings traditional and the gravy absolutely divine, we all had seconds which of course is the beauty of a)supperclubs and, I suspect, b)the Shed.
Pudding was Rhubarb and Apple Crumble with perfect custard followed by some yummy Neal’s Yard cheeses. J and I mused over whether the crumble contained digestive biscuits, and if it did that’s definitely an idea I’ll be borrowing!
Despite how shattered we were from a weekend of hire-van driving and ebay cooker acquiring we thoroughly enjoyed the company, the food and the atmosphere at Nicola and Andrew’s flat. I will be returning next weekend for an Italian feast with an out of town mate who is down in London for the weekend.
Lastly, as I left Nicola showed me some of the knitted wares her mum has sent to her for the Underground Farmer’s Market on 28th March, which are just lovely, and so beyond my knitting patience and capability!
Tonight I’m having a go at Apricot Curd, so we will see what drops out – otherwise I’m going back to a Pink Grapefruit…maybe….I should probably stop being so indecisive!
Yesterday in London was one of those beautifully sunny days with a crisp bite that makes us all feel like Spring is at least on its way, absolutely perfect for baking with all the windows open and sun streaming in through the glass. It was also pretty helpful for the hangover I had left over from the wedding we attended on the Saturday.
So I forged on with the mini Hot Cross Bun project, to reasonably great success I feel. Having never made Hot Cross Buns at all before I really wasn’t sure of the consistency of the dough. The recipe book I had scanned before beginning and deciding 2 tsp of mixed spice was definitely not enough described it as a ‘moist dough’ but this wasn’t exactly what mine looked like when I had finished with it.
The second challenge once the buns had risen (sat atop my washer/dryer, completing another classic Sunday activity) was to ‘pipe’ the water and flour paste onto the top in the shape of crosses. This didn’t work. At least not for me. Maybe my paste was the wrong consistency. I found I had to roll the white paste out into little sausage shapes in the palm of my hand and carefully lay them over the top of the buns. Then I panicked because they didn’t stick! But once they were all done and in the oven they looked lovely.
They weren’t quite as mini as I had originally intended, and they did need a little more mixed spice and I wonder about a splash of orange juice instead of all milk, they were also lovely, especially with a dollop of Rhubarb curd on top.
So, I now have jars (although mostly no lids, and I definitely need more!), tasting receptacles and one out of a possible three recipes down. I need to get the Rhubarb curd just right and I also need to have a go at a Grapefruit curd…I think, although I do keep changing my mind!
I have been collecting jars for my curd experiments, and one endeavour has proved to be a particularly useful way of acquiring jars for free.
Living in a mega block of new build flats I have attempted to utilise the number of jam jars etc which must be either thrown away or into the recycling everyday. I take no issue with the recycling of course, but I decided that a more personal way of packaging being reused might appeal.
So, roughly a week and a half ago I put out a sign and a box , requesting jars from anyone who felt kind enough to donate them.
This has worked really well. The variety in size and shape of jars is lovely and haphazard. I have even found it inspiring, the baby food jars from the lady in number 80 are absolutely perfect for taster jars!
Despite the generosity of the majority of the residents in my building, I have found myself ponticating on the community spirit of several slightly inconsiderate residents who have insisted on using the green box as their personal rubbish bin/junk mail depository. It really isn’t neighbourly!
I have so far found success in my Lemon and Ginger Curd, although it definitely needs more Ginger, however a Rhubarb Curd with a boozy secret ingredient is a clear winner so far.
I have been eating a lot of Hot Cross Buns of late and they appear to be the perfect recepticle for a huge dollop of curd. Just not Nectarine Curd…. that one turned out a bit weird….
I fancy a go at making some mini hot cross buns, so stay tuned for disaster.
Thanks to MsMarmiteLover for my mention on her blog about the upcoming Farmers Market!
The Hatcham Supper Club currently exists only in our minds, but we are hoping it will become a reality very soon. Possibly not even in Hatcham to begin with, we will keep you posted!
Lemon Curd reminds me of my Grandmother. It reminds me of charity coffee mornings. The first batch of curd I ever made tasted like Lemsip. All of these things are vaguely sentimental and cliched but it’s irrelevant. I find the process of baking, cooking, jam, curd and marmalade making so incredibly satisfying that I don’t care about being domestic or fluffy.
The supper club is in the pipeline but in the meantime I will be experimenting with Violet’s Fruit Curds. The idea being to take exciting, great ingredients and traditional fruit curd recipes and develop new combinations and concoctions!
I have tenderly taken possession of my Great Grandmother Violet’s double saucepan and intend to document my experiments here. I have kindly been given a spot at the Underground Farmer’s Market in Kilburn, which is hopefully where I will market my first batch of wares!