Greenmarket tasting menu

IMG_9364UPDATE: View the full menu with photos here

Announcing a new upcoming event from Smoke and Thyme: The Greenmarket Tasting Menu. A seven course tasting menu based around local & seasonal fruit and vegetables. Over 90% of the produce for this night is grown within a day’s walk of where it’s being served, selected at its peak and cooked in the way that shows it off at its absolute best.

In a world where supermarkets can ship your asparagus from Peru and your strawberries from Spain, there’s no need to follow the seasons anymore. But constant availability comes at the cost of losing touch with what grows close to us and when it’s at its best. A sad result of the loss of quality that comes from picking produce for its ability to travel instead of for its taste, is that too often, vegetables get treated just as a supporting player on a plate where meat or fish is the star.

IMG_9352This tasting menu is completely suitable for vegetarians, and includes vegan alternatives for any dish that isn’t vegan already. You may have read my blog post about why I love cooking for vegetarians, and this night has definitely been inspired by the fantastic experiences I’ve had developing meat-free dishes for my supper clubs. It’s not just for vegetarians though – it’s for anyone who wants to celebrate the fact that during the summer and autumn, we have loads of amazing produce grown in allotments, gardens and farms all within a handful of miles of Oxford. 

I’m planning to run several dates with this menu throughout June and July. Click here to view available dates, or sign up for the mailing list to be the first to know about all new events. 

June Supper club: Fri 5th, Sat 13th. Strawberries and Fried Chicken

Update: June 13th now full also. No further dates for the June menu available – check back for July date(s) TBA shortly.

UPDATE: Extra date added due to popular demand. Friday 5th sold out. Book now for Saturday 13th June

IMG_1572Here we are again already. After the sell-out supper club on the 9th May, I really felt like I owed it to everyone to push the boat out for the June instalment. Without further ado then, here’s the menu:

  • Starter: Crab/apple salad
    (Vegetarian: Avocado salad)
  • Main course: Spicy buttermilk & cornmeal fried chicken with green vegetable medley
    (Vegetarian: Fried risotto primavera and courgette fritter with green vegetable medley)
  • Dessert: Strawberry custard tart with almond shortcrust pastry

Oxford strawberries are running a little late this season, but I still feel confident that I’m going to have some in time for the supper club, one way or another. I continue to be delighted by this season’s asparagus from Medley Manor farm, so that’s going to be making a reappearance alongside the fried chicken (pictured above) that I’ve been patiently tweaking for weeks now. I’ve also got a secret or two up my sleeve this month but you’ll have to attend to find out, or else read and weep about them on the blog here the next week.

As ever please let me know when booking if you have any dietary requirements. I’m already planning for vegetarian and gluten-free alternatives but it’s still very important that I know numbers for these, and if you have anything else you can’t eat please, let me know in plenty of time and I’ll find some way to accommodate you.

BOOK HERE, BOOK EARLY, BOOK OFTEN

Supper Club Info

Friday 5th June (SOLD OUT)
The Church Farmhouse, Holton, OX33 1PR. 7.30pm
Price: Pay what you want, BYOB

Saturday 13th June
205 Divinity Road, Oxford OX4 1LS 7.30pm
Price: Pay what you want, BYOB

Salmon and Saag Aloo

Salmon and Saag Aloo

It started with a fish.

I’d been looking for sea bass, but the sea bass were looking a bit fishy. My eye drifted over to the salmon, and I was hooked.IMG_0477

I came up with a plan:
Buy a whole salmon, fillet it myself. Preserve one side with a beetroot-cure and cook the other side for dinner tonight with nothing but a little salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon and maybe a bay leaf in the pan – just crispy skin and the essential flavours of the salmon.

But what did I want to serve it with?

A bowl of hot, buttery, new season potatoes, crushed by a fork and sprinkled with grassy chives and flakes of sea salt? Or a nest of wilted spinach – a bitter, dark-green, iron-y tang against the sweet, rich, blushing pink flesh of the salmon?

The answer obviously was both, but as soon as those two ingredients were in my head, my thoughts went to saag aloo. Melding spinach and potatoes with Indian flavours is the best thing I can think to do with either of those ingredients, let alone both, so I was sure it would be the perfect complement to the salmon.

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And it is.
Against a plainer accompaniment salmon can dominate a plate, but faced with the bold and spicy saag aloo it reveals the more delicate side of its fishy nature. At the last minute, I decided to add a vegetable fritter, which backed up the crispy salmon skin beautifully and brought the whole dish together.

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Salmon and Saag Aloo

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