April and May Supper Club Menu

Asparagus, broccoli and blue cheese soupTo begin: Asparagus, broccoli and blue cheese soup
Every year as I wait on tenterhooks for the beginning of asparagus season, this is the recipe I’m waiting to make. A lesser blog might give you the useful tip that you can use the leftover hard woody ends of asparagus to make the soup, but to be honest, I buy asparagus to make this soup out of the ends, and have to come up with uses for the rest. 

Main course: Slow braised lamb ragu with gnocchi and ribboned asparagus
My search for the perfect slow-braised lamb came complete with this dish – 48 hours of sous vide cooking at a low temperature leaves the lamb meltingly tender but without having lost any of its flavour to the sauce. For this Supper Club I’ve paired with a pile of pillowy, buttery gnocchi and ribbons of seasonal asparagus.
or
Wild mushroom and truffle ragu with gnocchi and ribboned asparagus
The wild mushroom ragu “alternative” is a creation that won over one of my most ardently carnivorous friends at a recent dinner party, who swore that while eating it he forgot that it was vegetarian. The depth of flavour comes from the variety of different types of mushrooms used, and is punched up by a good dash of truffle oil right at the end. 

Dessert: Salt caramel custard tart
In my kitchen, scraps of pastry and leftover crumbs get saved up in a jar, and when the jar is full, I mix them with melted chocolate and press them into a shell to make the base for this tart. Salt caramel custard, baked until set inside a chocolate pastry case, bruleed until the top is a crunchy, glass-like shard of caramel. Decadent. 

All dates for this menu are sold out, to be added to the waiting list for April or May message me via the contact page.

 

Leek and Wild Mushroom Fricassee

Leek and wild mushroom fricassee

Folklore says that stepping inside a fairy ring, a ring of wild mushrooms, leaves one in thrall to the illusions of the the fairies who built it. Now I might not be superstitious, and I certainly don’t think that the fantastic flavour of this dish is just an illusion, but if garnishing my plate with a ring of wild mushrooms might give me a helping hand from the supernatural, I’m not about to pass up the chance.

This is a dish that, appropriately enough, has mushroomed into my life – coming out of nowhere and rapidly expanding in size and scope until I ended up cooking it for thirty two people on Thursday, in two separate gigs. In this great but slightly busy past week that I’ve had, I’ve cooked and tweaked this fricassee at least eight times, so I reckon I’ve got it down.

“Fricassee” isn’t the most familiar of culinary terms, but it’s an elemental preparation in classic French cuisine. In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child describes it as midway between a sauté and a stew. A stew starts with liquid from the beginning, a sauté cooks “dry” – with fat or oil only. A fricassee starts off pan frying in the same way as a sauté, but then adds a liquid to continue cooking as a stew does.

As I mentioned in my previous post, leeks are in season right now, and this is probably my favourite way to prepare them. Leeks can be a stringy mass if underdone, or a sulky mush if they’re overcooked, but fricasseeing allows for a lot of control and a wide margin for error.

Because it’s creamy, delicate and saucy (yet substantial), when I’m not just eating it on its own I like to pair leek fricassee with white meats and white wines. It goes exceptionally well with slow roast pork belly, and at my pop-up we served it with a stuffed chicken ballotine. It also makes an exquisite pasta sauce, especially if you add a fried handful of lardons and use the rendered bacon fat to sauté the mushrooms.

Fricassee close up

Leek and Wild Mushroom Fricassee

Serves 3-4 Continue reading “Leek and Wild Mushroom Fricassee”